SWTOR’s race problem

hk

Yesterday on SWTOR’s dev stream, BioWare revealed that it will be rolling out a subscriber rewards program (to no one’s surprise). As much as I’m liking Knights of the Fallen Empire so far, I have to say that I’m not inclined to feel very generous to the studio’s marketing efforts here.

Maybe it’s because we’ve already seen version 1.0 of subscriber rewards earlier this year. Remember? Remember how BioWare was pushing subscriptions so dang hard based on the promise of a COMPANION! And… um… his CAR! And… dang it… his COAT! And GUNS!

Can you tell I was generally unimpressed with these extras? Because I totally was. Especially the crappy coat. Man, that was a dull design that totally wasn’t the duster that Niko wore in the opening cinematic.

Anyway, so version 2.0 has two rewards announced so far (are they the only two?) — getting HK-55 as a companion and getting to play as HK in a special questline/chapter. This marks the 50th time that BioWare’s gone back to the HK well with SWTOR. It’s almost as bad as how Star Trek got with the Borg. Yes, it was popular once. It might still be really cool except you drove it into the ground, then buried it, then dug it back up and put on a parade with its corpse.

BioWare is the most begrudging studio I’ve ever seen when it comes to its free-to-play model. It has it. It offers it. And it clearly loathes that it’s had to include it. Want to be F2P? No expansion chapters for you! And no HK! Nyah nyah! No way to buy those a la carte, no sirree.

My companion dance card is already full (and I have HK-51, so why do I need another one?), but more importantly, the whole play-as-HK thing feels as a tease. You know what I wish the developers would actually spend their time on? Kicking down the fence of character barriers and open up the game to embrace the fuller Star Wars body of races.

Am I the only one who’s more than tired of playing yet another very-similar-to-human race? This is freaking Star Wars. Remember Galaxies? You could play as a Wookiee or a Mon Calamari there. A decade later, we’re in a game that’s restricted its immigration policy to only allow the least interesting races.

If BioWare can scoot off its butt and figure out ways to fix its story, it can fix its racial problem too. There are options, even if it’s just a cosmetic overlay. Let me play as a droid. Or a Jawa. Or Second Lieutenant John Ackbar. Something other than a regular person, a green person, a gray person, a person with head tails, a person with totally different head tails, and a cat person.

I think I’ve complained about this before. I’m sure I have. But if BioWare wanted to put out subscriber rewards that really tempted me, it would make more than just HK playable — and for more than a mere side quest.

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5 thoughts on “SWTOR’s race problem

  1. Nick Foster (@goldenhornet) December 2, 2015 / 9:09 am

    Lamest subscriber rewards program I’ve ever seen.
    This is how you do it properly – http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Veteran_Rewards_Program
    Reward players with cool stuff each month/quarter/whatever based on how long they’ve been subscribed.
    SWTOR is basically trying to bribe players to stay subscribed because they know a 30 minute quest once a month is not enough to keep people paying for long. They’re basically admitting they have no content for the raiders/PvPers/etc. until at least next winter.

  2. wolfyseyes December 2, 2015 / 12:47 pm

    “Begrudgingly F2P” is probably the most succinct description of TOR’s monetization I’ve heard. I don’t mind that I have to pay for the things. I would just like it more if it felt as even a semblance of a choice.

  3. Tyler F.M. Edwards December 2, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    I don’t play SW:TOR currently, so I can’t really comment on the quality of the rewards, but my understanding is that this is not a standard loyalty program, but a limited time offer where you have to sub continuously for a specific period of time?

    That, to me, is not cool. A proper loyalty program should recognize total time spent subscribed, regardless of when you sub or whether it’s continuous.

  4. Wilhelm Arcturus December 2, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    I think EA has hit the point where they have learned that the cash shop only goes so far, especially if you are looking for something like a stable income stream. So now they are on a full court press to get subscribers again.

    The funny/odd/everybody has to learn their own lesson aspect of this is that earlier this year we saw Daybreak toss its hands in the air saying that throwing benefits at people for subscribing only worked up to a certain point. You can give away the whole store with a subscription and some people will never subscribe, while your core player base likely already is. They were even trying to retreat on the monthly Station Cash stipend before that, no doubt because they didn’t think it was making a big difference. Of course, that pissed off the core, so they had to compromise. Now you have to log in every month and click a button to get your Station Cash (or Daybreak Cash now) or you lose it.

  5. ZombiePirate December 3, 2015 / 5:20 am

    Totally agree with you Syp. The models are in the game for a lot of races so let’s get them to players already. Or, if you want to earn a lot of cash, put them in the store, Nautolans, Wookiees, Kel-dor, Mon Cal, Gran, Nikto, Chadra-fan they could all be in there.

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