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Gamescom 2012: SWTOR will sell statted gear, debating new planet monetization


How do you take a subscription title like Star Wars: The Old Republic and turn it into a free-to-play MMO? According to Executive Producer Jeff Hickman, you do it as carefully as possible. "Give the story away," he explained. "Make the casual player understand what that is. Don't try to monetize that. Monetize all the things around that. I think, actually, as we looked through it, it is not as complex as you think it is. It is very difficult."

While plans for SWTOR's cash shop are not finalized, Hickman did admit that players could use it to purchase gear to help them level up: "I don't want to unbalance the game by putting things out on the store that somebody can walk in on day one, buy and be the winner. Having said that, there will be some things that we put out in the store that do enhance power value in some way, but not at the top end."

Hickman nibbled around the topic of the planet Makeb, which is still under construction. With more story and more systems, he hopes players will be pleased with the final result. However, Hickman could not confirm nor deny that the update will expand the level cap, nor would he go into detail about whether or not BioWare is going to attempt to sell this to subscribers.

[Thanks to Scott for the tip!]

Every summer, the gaming industry descends on Cologne, Germany, for Gamescom, the world's largest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment. Massively's on the scene in 2012, bringing you all the best scoops, impressions, and interviews from the MMOs at the show!

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