It has been a little over a year since Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) went free-to-play (F2P). Now is a good time to review my time in the game. There were some things I liked and some things I disliked. Overall, I had a good experience, but it definitely took some work to make that experience good.
I should be clear: my sole interest in playing SWTOR was the class stories. Over the last year, I was able to level one of each class to 50 and see all of the stories. While my favorites were Smuggler and Imperial Agent, all of the stories had good moments. I would not say any of them were bad. Some of them I felt were a little slow moving, but I ultimately enjoyed all of them. Getting to that point involved spending some real money and a lot of grinding, however.
I played my first character to around level 30 before the F2P restrictions were starting to annoy me. It was then I started looking at the Cartel Market to see how much it would cost to unlock all the restrictions versus paying a subscription. Obviously, the subscription was the better deal upfront, but permanent unlocks were a better deal in the long run. That changed when I found out players could sell these unlocks on the Galactic Trade Network (GTN) for in-game credits.
Account-wide unlocks on my server went from around 150,000 to 1 million credits, depending on the type of unlock. Me being a free player, I had a cap of 200,000 credits. That put many account-wide unlocks out of reach. The solution I came up with was to subscribe temporarily to remove the credit cap, speed my character to level 50, farm credits every day, and then buy the expensive unlocks while my credit cap was removed.
It took a lot of grinding. I was probably spending 4-6 hours a day just farming credits. I would do all the dailies plus the daily flashpoint and daily hard mode flashpoint. If I had any time left, I went to Section X and just farmed monsters for credits drops. I also picked up all the crafting materials I found in the world. I had my companions farming crafting materials too. The crafting materials and any other saleable items were put on the GTN. I made between 300,000 and 500,000 credits per day. Most days I was able to buy an unlock, some days more than one.
In the end I had to subscribe 3 months to get enough credits to buy all the unlocks from the GTN. On the third month, I finished about 15 days early. I spent that extra time farming more credits to buy all the Legacy unlocks. I originally planned to only buy unlocks directly related to leveling, but I wanted to really get my money’s worth out of that subscription time.
So it cost me $45 to level 8 classes to 50 and see all the stories. That was not all in 3 months; I finished the last class earlier this month. I would estimate I spent about 3 days “/played” per character on average. It was much higher on my first character per side. On later characters I “spacebar’ed” through the planet quests that were shared by all classes. Most classes seemed to have the similar generic responses to those quests, with the original dialogue saved for class quests.
That is good value for money in my mind, but the sad thing is that the stories are over. Unlike what Bioware originally said, they are not going to continue the class stories. Without new class stories, I had no reason to play the game. It is now uninstalled. If Bioware ever continues the class stories, I will be happy to return and pay for the new level cap. Unfortunately, the game is likely to stay in this Cold War-esque mode for the remainder of its life.