All is not well in the world of Star Wars: The Old Republic. According to Eurogamer, BioWare is rethinking the restrictions placed on free players and will be improving on them. Since its relaunch as a free-to-play game in November, the game has been panned by critics for the restrictions it places on free players.
"Our community team truly has an ear to the ground with community concerns and discussions and we often make changes based on player feedback," wrote Executive Producer Jeff Hickman on the Old Republic website. "We want you to know that this is an ongoing dialogue."
Not faring too well in a galaxy Far Far Away
Changes are already being made to the restrictions. Preferred Status players—those who are returning to the game or those who have paid a small fee for the status—have had the number of hot-bars they can use increased from two to four. Those who have paid for the service will be recompensated. Preferred Status players will also be given four additional character slots in an upcoming patch, increasing the total character slots to six. The same patch will also remove the 50 limit for Global Active Characters that subscribers have.
BioWare had changed the free-to-play model even before the relaunch. Thanks to the changes, those playing the game for free enjoy some extra bonuses, such as a second quickslot bar, and the ability to engage in five warzones per week instead of the originally planned three warzones.
According to lead designer Damion Schubert, “originally, the second quickslot bar was part of preferred status [players that cancel their subscription and move to free-to-play], but this morning based on feedback here and what they were seeing in the community we decided to give it to everyone.”
BioWare had announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic was going free-to-play back in August. “Players want flexibility and choice. The subscription-only model presented a major barrier for a lot of people who wanted to become part of The Old Republic universe,” said Matthew Bromberg, GM of BioWare Austin.
During the announcement, Hickman said, “Since launch we have been adding new content and refining The Old Republic at a breakneck pace based on the feedback from our fans. We believe we are in a position to help improve the service even more, not only by continuing to add new content, but also by expanding the game to many more Star Wars fans, increasing the populations on worlds and the vibrancy of the community.”
Current and former players will find additional benefits as part of the new free-to-play program. BioWare will be increasing the frequency of game content updates, with the first of many having come out back in August. In addition, subscribers receive Cartel Coin grants and qualify for access to special in-game items. Even former players who re-activate their account qualify for special benefits.