21/10/2012

Thinking about Tython... and F2P

Back when I used to play WoW, I would sometimes create a character on a server where I didn't usually play (as I had no character slots left on my "home" servers as it was), just to play through a certain starting zone again, with no plans to take the character any further. It seems to me that traditionally the starter areas in an MMO tend to be some of the nicest virtual spaces, as the game tries to make you feel welcome and invite you to stay. (In comparison, high level zones are often desolate or ravaged by whatever evil you have to fight in the game.) Not to mention that the thrill of progression is never as fast again as during those first couple of levels.

In TOR, I think Tython does this best. While neither of the two Jedi types is my favourite in terms of gameplay or story, I do love hanging out on Tython. Green grass, blue skies, sparkling waterfalls... who wouldn't want to have a picnic there? What do you mean, flesh raiders and ancient droids are a plague on the land? Bah!


Some time ago I made a lowbie consular on what is now The Harbinger, before Bioware had increased the character limit per server to twelve. He was still in the starter zone when I went back to check up on him the other night, and I was amazed by how busy Tython was. The server merges have made all planets reasonably busy, mind you, but Tython was buzzing like a beehive. You could definitely feel the difference caused by the first fifteen levels of the game being on an unlimited free trial.

Some people were saying dumb-ish things in general chat, but none of it was hideously offensive. More importantly, there was also a guy who was holding some sort of Star Wars trivia contest. It was all expanded universe stuff that I had no clue about, but it was still fascinating to watch. Everyone who joined in seemed to rather enjoy themselves, and it struck me as a very nice thing to do.

It really made me think about the upcoming free to play conversion in a good way for the first time. Star Wars is an incredibly popular IP - the problem is that only a small fraction of those Star Wars fans are traditional MMO players. Maybe Bioware isn't completely crazy with their reasoning that too many of them don't want to pay a mandatory sub these days, when you can access so many online games and services for free. There's definitely no lack of interest in Star Wars itself.

I'm still a bit wary of the whole thing of course, but I do have to admit, if F2P brings in more people wanting to share Star Wars trivia in general chat, then it can't be all bad.

6 comments:

  1. That trivia contest? It was also happening on Tatooine last night. I went from wailing and gnashing of "Alliance Suck!" in Warsong Gulch to "Okay, where did Han Solo grow up?"

    Made for a helluva night.

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    1. Where did Han Solo grow up? I'm thinking Corellia, but that's probably wrong because it would be the obvious answer.

      But yeah, that kind of thing is fun. :D

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    2. I don't think anyone got that question. It probably came out of one of the books.

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  2. It's an important point for at least some players. I found my enjoyment and feeling of immersion falling as the players dropped off after launch.

    F2P can have a dramatic effect in this regard. I remember the impact it had on LoTRO's starting areas, at least in the short term it'll hopefully have a major positive impact.

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  3. Yeh I used to run weekly trivia competitions in guild in Galkaxies :)

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  4. This is an interesting take on the F2P conversion. My first character was a consular and Tython certainly went a long way in defining my experience for the game.

    The trivia game sounds awesome - I wish I saw things like that in WoW.

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