Senior Producer Blaine Christine took on the forums today, to answer questions regarding the upcoming Free to Play system, implemented into Star Wars: The old republic. BioWare have neem coellecting questions from the community the last week and now we get some more answers. The full Q&A can be found at the official forums here, or as a copy/ past below:
Now that the Cartel Market has hit the Public Test Server, we wanted to open up this thread to give you the opportunity to ask any lingering Free-to-Play questions that you may have. After we’ve collected your questions, Sr. Producer Blaine Christine will try to answer as many as he can.
Please be sure to be respectful and courteous and also remember to report any Cartel Market issues on the PTS thread.
Update: As promised, Sr. Producer Blaine Christine has taken time out of his crazy schedule to answer some of your Free-to-Play questions! We’ll try to get some more soon, so keep asking! Answers below.
Tatile: It’s been mentioned that Darth Nihilus’ mask dropped from one of the gambling boxes. Is everything in the boxes available outside of them or are some things exclusive? If so, which?
Blaine: A large portion of the items in the Cartel Packs are exclusive to the packs. The great news for anyone who does not want to purchase Cartel Packs is all items in the store can be traded (and thus gifted to friends!) and sold on the Galactic Trade Network. This means that you can get what you want via the GTN if you are patient and have the in-game credits to spend. Also important to note is this is just the start of the offerings you will see for sale in the Cartel Market. As we gather information and feedback on what players want to see, we will certainly make adjustments.
Coldin: While Weekly Passes have been mentioned for accessing Warzones, Flashpoints, and Operations, is there any intention of letting players purchase a Monthly, or Multi-Month pass for that content? Or potentially allowing players to purchase unlocks that increase the number they can run per week?
Blaine: We think that the weekly pass gives players the best option for consuming the content they desire as a Free-to-Play player. Ultimately, if you find that you’re playing the content that much, we strongly recommend converting to a Subscriber – you’ll get more bang for your buck! Of course, if we see that the Weekly Passes are not working as well as we expect, we will continue adding more options or adjusting functionality.
VarrusTheEthical: How often can we expect new content to appear on the Cartel Market?
Blaine: You’ll see regular adjustments to the Market that line up with game patches. We plan to make content additions as often as once a month (including new Cartel Packs!), but the major releases will be every 4-6 months.
SentinelDranoel: As for my question… when are we getting paid transfers?
Blaine: As soon as we possibly can. We know that this is a very important feature that the community wants and we want it too, but due to the effort of launching our new Free-to-Play option, we had to delay this just a bit longer. Sorry I don’t have a more concrete date just yet!
AlixMV: if you’re a Premium Subscriber with Legacy racial unlocks and revert to a Free Account, what will have precedence, the f2p restrictions or the Legacy unlocks?
Blaine: First off – if you change from being a subscriber to a Free-to-Play player, you will always go to Preferred status and will never become a Free Account, so you’ll have some features unlocked that you otherwise would not. Additionally, you will absolutely retain the Legacy unlocks that you earned/purchased as a subscriber. In almost all cases, if you have been a subscriber, you will find that things you purchased for in-game credits will be retained when you go down to Preferred. Including things like Cargo Hold access and Inventory Slots.
Ripster: There is a welcome screen that lists a benefit of subscribing as 10 additional slots. Will this mean subscribers will have 22 or that F2P will have 2?
Blaine: Great question and we want to make sure we’re clear on this one. Subscribers will still have 12 character slots available on a single server. F2P players will have 2 (as will Preferred). At Launch, we are not enforcing the penalty on subscribers who convert to Free-to-Play, but we will in a subsequent patch. A further wrinkle is that if you have more than two and you delete characters at Launch, you will not get that slot back. Example: I have 10 characters as a subscriber this November, but in December I cancel my subscription. When I login, I can still use all 10 characters (for now), but I cannot create new ones and if I delete one, I will have 9 and not be able to create another until I go down to 1. Make sense?
DarthTexas: Why is the armor obtained from the Market & mystery boxes not bind to legacy? It seems a step backward in regards to giving players choices and flexibility.
Blaine: Bear in mind that you are completely free to trade the armor, mail it to your Alts, or put it on the GTN even though it is not BoL, so you have an awful lot of choice and flexibility. That said – we’ve heard this feedback and are considering some options for the future that may satisfy this desire.
Rassuro: If someone who is a subscriber later chooses to cancel their subscription, will they then lose their rights to for example equip gear of Artifact quality, use all six quickbars, and have bank access, or will rights such as these count as permanently “unlocked” for anyone who has a subscription?
Blaine: Most (but not all) of these items will be retained when you move to Preferred Status (which is what happens when you cancel a subscription). Your ability to equip gear is dependent on what items are bound to your characters. Anything that has been bound will still be usable, but any new Artifact items you acquire will NOT be usable without a one-time purchase of an Authorization. Your quickslot bars will be reduced to two (but you can purchase the other four as account unlocks if you wish). You will retain Cargo Hold access. Our goal is to make the transition as easy as we can for former subscribers, while putting in place the restrictions that make subscriber status a true value.
Dscount: If I purchase an “Account Wide” Cargo bay does it incrementally add one to each existing character and future characters I create? So my 50 with 3 bays would get a 4th, but my new character would get a complete 2nd bay and my other toon with 2 would get a 3rd bay.
Blaine: Yes, you have it exactly right if you are a Subscriber. The main difference for a Free-to-Play Player is that you must purchase the ability to access the Cargo Hold before you can purchase additional bays, so you could be in a position where you have purchased the access on a character basis, but not an account basis, then if you purchase account wide expansion bays, they would only apply to characters that had purchased the Cargo Hold access first. And last, but not least, remember that Preferred Status players automatically get Cargo Hold access. *whew*
Rabelais: Regarding crew skills, if I cancel my subscription and choose the FTP route, I will be left with one crew skill. If through the cartel shop I unlock the other two crew skills I lost, will I have to re-level them?
Blaine: First of all, if you cancel your subscription, you will moved to Preferred Status and go down to TWO active Crew Skills, which should be good news! However, you will have to select the two Skills you want to mark as active. You will not lose skill levels or schematics from the other Skill (unless you manually untrain it), you will simply have to choose which one you want to use as a Preferred
Darthbuckets: If I choose to purchase an account-wide unlock and use it, do new characters I create automatically get the items unlocked (or is it only applied to existing characters)?
Do the account-wide or Legacy unlocks apply to characters / Legacies on different servers?
Blaine: Thanks for asking this question, as it points out just how much value the purchase of Account-wide unlocks is for our players. Account wide will in fact apply to new characters and will span across servers, so when you see the relatively modest price increase for the account unlock, you start to see just how valuable this can be!
Brewski: How does the process work when a subscriber becomes free to play to determine what characters and equipment they still have access to? For example, if I have a level 50 character of a non FTP species with full storage unlocks and all purple gear, will I still be able to play this character if I convert to FTP? Will I need to purchase the equipment unlock to continue to use my purple gear? Or will the fact that this character existed before I switched automatically unlock those features for the character in question?
Blaine: Yes, you will still be able to play this character as a Preferred Status Player. You will only need to purchase the equipment unlock for new gear you acquire (and remember – the restriction is on bound items – so even items in your inventory, such as alternate gear sets, are also available to you as long as they are bound). The main difference you will notice immediately upon going to Preferred status from a subscriber status are the reduction in quickslot bars, the slower XP gain at level 10 and beyond, and (in a near-term patch) the reduction in character slots.
Nilrem: How often does your escrow account refill your Wallet as a F2P?
Blaine: I assume we are talking about the credit escrow in-game for Free-to-Play and Preferred players. If that is the case, then let me clarify the functionality here. As a player reaches and then exceeds the cap, the in-game credits that are earned after reaching the cap are placed in escrow. The funds in escrow stay in escrow until you become a subscriber (or if you move from F2P to Preferred status, then the cap is increased and 150,000 credits are released). If you reach the cap, then spend coins, the money stays in escrow and you refill your balance by earning credits in-game to reach the cap again.