Star Wars: The Old Republic is headlong rushing towards a free-to-play release with a trial version already in testing on its public beta server. Early last week Bioware announced the restrictions on free-to-play players, included limited PvP warzone bouts and the number of quickbars they're allowed. Yup, quick bars are seen as an optional extra. Well, some of these choices have come under flack and Bioware have announced some changes.
"Some players have concerns that putting limitations on Warzone runs might make Warzone queues less likely to fire [...]If it turns out that the Free-to-Play conversion results in a degraded Warzone experience once we go live for subscribers, you can rest assured that we will quickly make adjustments to the system to ensure that subscribers have an optimal experience."
So, allowing free-to-play players to take part in the warzone more often means there should be more warzone events occurring more frequently. Initially the free-to-play crowd were allowed to enter three of these large-scale PvP bouts a week, now that's been bumped to five.
Another change is the number of quickbar slots available to players. Currently, free-to-play testers have one quickbar with which to equip actions ann macros to. The testers complained, which led to this odd answer: Subscribers who choose to cancel their account will typically revert to something that we refer to as preferred status. [...] Originally, the second quickslot bar was part of preferred status, but this morning based on feedback here and what they were seeing in the community we decided to give it to everyone." So, yes, free-to-play players were going to have one bar but testers who are complaining about this shouldn't have worried because ex-subscribers were always going to have been given two: this somewhat sidesteps that free-to-players were going to be given something knowingly sub-standard. The reason? "It is important conversely that the subscription offers subscribers strong, tangible benefits over the Free-to-Play experience. We value our subscribers greatly, and they are crucial to the success of Star Wars: the Old Republic."
It's not all bad for free-to-players, in a separate post Schubert explains why high level lightsaber crystals are being unlocked for low level players:
"The reason why we put these in with low level requirement is pretty simple: getting an item you can't use in the Cartel Packs really sucks. It's the same reason we pursued the tech that allowed us to make mounts adaptive - we expect a very large influx of new players when we launch free to play, and those guys opening cartel packs to get items they can't use for months (literally, for casual players!) is a negative experience, not a positive one.
"Slapping one of these color crystals in your saber at level 10 effectively makes levelling from levels 10 up somewhat easier, with the benefits tapering off quickly as the player levels up, and eventually zeroing out altogether. We felt, in general, that that was okay."