F2Pmeter: Is SWTOR Truly Free-to-play?

F2Pmeter: Is SWTOR Truly Free-to-play?

Are free-to-play games truly free to play? A couple of weeks ago we began our new F2Pmeter series testing the free-to-play-ness of TERA and today it continues with Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). Buckle up, you are in for a bumpy ride.

Remember that games start with a 100% of free-to-play-ness. And that percentage will vary depending on the answers to our questions. Get ready!


SWTOR - F2PMeter - Image

When it was launched, SWTOR got one million subscribers within three days but in the following months the game lost a huge share of its subscriptions, which made them to adopt a free-to-play business model with an optional subscription. Nowadays it’s a pretty popular MMO. Now we’ll test the current model with our F2Pmeter.


EN - Question 1

No. SWTOR was originally launched as a pay-to-play title that required a monthly subscription fee after purchase, but didn’t even manage to keep this business model running for an entire year before switching to free-to-play. Players may now create an account for free and play up to level 50 with some restrictions but without having to pay anything.


EN - Question 2

Yes (optional) ― -15%. Besides offering the opportunity to play for free, the game still maintains a subscription-based system with different options, such as a non-recurring 60-days membership ($29.99) or regular monthly/ quarterly/ six-monthly subscription ($14.99/ $13.99/ $12.99 per month), which grant access to more content, ways to level up more quickly, better customer service support, higher login queue priority and fewer restrictions. Players moreover have the option to upgrade their free player status to Preferred by making any purchase of at least $4.99 at the cash-shop.


EN - Question 3

Yes and No ― -10%. That’s a tricky question, as SWTOR’s first digital expansion, The Rise of the Hutt Cartel, is only available for free to subscribers whereas other players have to pay a regular price of $19.99. In contrast, other expansion packs, which are released at a regular basis, are obtainable for free by everyone (at least for the time being), with early access for subscribers and Preferred status accounts.


EN - Question 4

Yes ― -5%. The game features the so-called Cartel Market where players can trade their Cartel Coins, which have to be bought with real money, for items and unlocks such as XP boosters, gear, vanity items and item packs of rare goods.


EN - Question 5

No, but… For any purchase of $4.99, your free-to-play account is upgraded to Preferred status, which grants access to bank storage, a raised in-game currency cap, enhanced chat, mail and trading options, 6 instead of 2 character slots and more. The items sold as such may only serve as time-savers or may even be acquired through other means/ bought with in-game currency (Credits). Due to the Credit cap for free-to-play users and Preferred account holders, it is arguable if they can afford them.


EN - Question 6

Yes ― -5%. While subscribers have unlimited access to UI customisation and can have up to six quickbars, Preferred accounts are restricted to four and free players to only 2 quickbars.


EN - Question 7

No ― -15%. Although the f2p option grants access to all classes, the available races for each class are limited.


EN - Question 8

Yes ― -10%. Subscribers may post up to 50 items simultaneously on the Galactic Trade Network (GTN) while free-to-play users and owners of a preferred status account can only post a total of 2 and 5 items respectively.


EN - Question 9

Yes ― -10%. Free-to-play users only get access to bank storage via the in-game market GTN or Cartel Coin purchase. Preferred status grants bank access and the option to purchase additional slots with Cartel Coins while subscribers may expand their bank storage with either in-game credits or Cartel Coins. The same restrictions apply to the expansion of inventory slots.


EN - Question 10

No ― -15%. As free-to-play users are unable to level their characters past level 50, they don’t have access to zones or dungeons designed for players above that level cap. Moreover, players with an F2P or Preferred account may only enter 5 Warzones a week and have to purchase a pass to unlock additional entries with Cartel Coins whereas subscribers’ access to Warzones is unlimited. Ranked Warzones are completely unavailable for non-paying users.


EN - Question 11

Yes ― -15%. As already mentioned above, the free-to-play option doesn’t allow players to level their characters past level 50, which means they are unable to access end-game content.


EN - Question 12

Yes ― +10%. In spite of all those restrictions applying to non-paying players, it’s possible to enjoy SWTOR. Players can play all the main class-story-quests, which it’s probably the best thing within the title. This feature makes SWTOR a real treat and gives players hundreds of hours of fun for free.

Nevertheless, the free-to-play option appears to rather be an appetizer to lure players and then seduce them to spend some money in order to be able to fully enjoy the MMO.

Our F2Pmeter test of SWTOR results in a feeble 15% of free-to-play-ness.


SWTOR - F2PMeter - Result Image

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5 Comments - "F2Pmeter: Is SWTOR Truly Free-to-play?"

  1. Ria August 29, 2014 at 11:10 AM -

    Unexpectedly real. Liked it!

    I think SWTOR’s free to play is a trial version, a huge one, but just a trial version of the game

  2. Lerch2000 September 10, 2014 at 12:25 PM -

    I loved the game but a large portion of that is because of the Star Wars theme, because of that I think I put in a total of 6 hrs into the game. But with so much of it locked, its like Ria said it “is a trial version, a huge on”.

    The game has limits on every aspect of it, great play But it really isn’t a F2p game, they will nickel and dime you to death.

    If you love MMO’s and Star Wars then I would suggest you give this game a try.

  3. Xelf February 4, 2016 at 4:39 PM -

    Is f2p but lots of cannot , on top of that.
    Storywise however it is very similar to kotor 1and 2. There is lots of lore and the music is good. Also, everything is voiced. every single person that communicates anything, does so in a voice. Its pretty impressive, especially since many do not have the english vocabulary. Gfx is ok, not special but good.

  4. Xelf February 4, 2016 at 4:46 PM -

    Hmm id like to add mass effect to the similar game list. Its basics from bioware series are all over this. If kotor or mass effect was yer thing. This is more of the same. Also many enviroments are set in the same kind of tech state. Talking to a 20000year old hologram computer you just restored some battery in, yields very much the same feeling those mass effect games conveyed.

  5. Little Flame February 1, 2018 at 12:45 PM -

    Well there are a couple changes since this post got made. F2P’s are now able to access “subscriber only” areas if they travel with a subscriber in their group (although they will be cannon fodder due to the enemies outlevelling them)

    There’s however plenty of roleplay going on which makes the game feel more alive. And you’re not restricted from obtaining the “rare” items from the Cartel Market if you get some friends, or join a guild. Most guilds present outfits to their members if they’re roleplay based so that’s a good way to obtain something.

    Overall I’d say this game’s a 7/10, due to there still being plenty of things that aren’t the way most would like it. The roleplay communinity’s great to get along with, at least on the server I play on (Darth Malgus).

    The main thing that might cause F2P players to turn away from this game, is that the stories for some classes take a while to get anywhere, making it a little boring. On top of that, thanks to a lot of bots scamming people and spamming the chat, F2P’s are only able to chat after they pass level 25. Thankfully thanks to Double XP events and boosts given out after most story missions for both F2P’s and Subscribers this is easy to get to if you put some effort in it.

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