Star Wars: The Old Republic has gained more than 2 million new users since going free-to-play
Jeff Hickman, Executive Producer of Star Wars: The Old Republic published an open letter detailing the state of the game for fans earlier today. This is the first state of the game update since the game went free-to-play in November of last year, a transition that was not without its problems.
In my time with the game after it had been revamped for the free-to-play model, I noted that the designs felt more like a punishment for those who chose not to pay than an enticement to get people to pay. Instead of keeping the base experience even and enjoyable for all and adding extras for paying customers, The Old Republic gimped the game so that you couldn't even equip the best gear without unlocking the ability to do so.
“Sooner or later, you’re going to defeat that monster at the end of the dungeon. You’ll slice apart that Sith Lord or Jedi Knight,” I wrote in my impressions. “You’ll feel so proud of your accomplishment, so happy that you’ve completed the task set before you. You’ll click on the enemy’s body, ready to retrieve your winnings, and then you’ll see it: the notification that you can’t wear that armor, can’t equip that lightsaber, until you unlock the ability to do so using Cartel Coins. Would you like to purchase Cartel Coins? No. No thanks.”
It doesn't seem those limitations have kept others away from the game however, as Hickman noted in his open letter that more than 2 million new accounts have been created since the move to free-to-play. Hickman doesn't say how many of those accounts are still or regularly active, or how many are transitioning to paying customers, but it is a bit of light in a game that has suffered from some major issues. Hickman also boasts about the addition of a Group Finder option that was sorely needed, and says that feedback has been overall positive.
“We know that there are still a lot of things we need to do to make playing Star Wars: The Old Republic the best experience it can be. We hear you on features such as hood toggle (as one example of many), Asia Pacific server populations (we are actively looking into solutions that make the most sense given our current tech and should have an announcement soon), continued improvement to the Cartel Market pricing and content, and the need to keep working on performance improvements and bugs,” Hickman's letter states.
“In fact, our major focus after Rise of the Hutt Cartel launches is going to be on 'quality of life' improvements. We will keep at it, I promise. We’ll keep listening to your feedback and continue to dedicate ourselves to making the game the best it can be. Nothing is more important to us than getting it right.”