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  1. #1

    SWTOR Livestream Q&A Panel: 1.4

    George talks about himself @Bioware and operation Terror from Beyond.

    I am a designer on the operations team here at Bioware Austin. We are really excited about the new operation TFB which is going live in 1.4. TFB continues the story which started with Karagga’s Palace operation about the Dread Masters. This one focus on the Gree species, which if you are a Republic player you probably played the quest on Coruscant with the four droids – Black Bisector and all that. This time you will actually get to meet a Gree and interact with them.


    Black Bisectors – there are something unique about them in the operation that involves the puzzle right?


    Yes, as you know in every one of our operations we have a puzzle fight (it has became our hallmark). For this operation, since we have access to the Gree and the unique way they speak we really wanted to focus on that, especially with the colors and such. The puzzle fight for this operation is you actually enter into a Gree computer and play a Simon says type game with your different color signatures and black parallels green scalars.


    We did tease in one of our community blogs that someone is going to be returning in this operation. Can you tell us a bit more about that?


    Some of our more acute players who have being paying attention to cinematics and such realized that the end of Explosive Conflict the Dread Masters actually resurrect Kephess. Kephess is back, he is big, angry and upset that you killed him.


    Blaine, can you talk to us more about the FTP option coming this fall.


    I am the producer of the internal team that is helping us craft this additional option for players to enter the world of the old republic. We are introducing the FTP option and also a store call the Cartel Market. This came about because we got lots and lots of fans out there (Star Wars fans, Bioware fans) that would like to experience this game and one of the things we learned since launch in interviewing potential players or players who have come and gone that subscription can certainly be a barrier to entry in getting to SWTOR. With lots of FTP games out in the market these days, people see it as a more viable option in terms of the times they spent. This fall in November, we will be introducing a new option to allow players to enter the game and play the game.


    There is also a rewards program right?


    Thank you for bringing that up, one of the cool things we announced when we announced the FTP option coming this fall is the rewards program where players who have being with us for a long time perhaps brought a Collectors Edition and being a subscriber with us since launch. We got a system which allows you to gain some free Cartel Coins to spend in the Cartel Market when we launch as long you are an active subscriber when we launch this program. You can go to our website to find out the details of this program. Essentially if you are an active subscriber when we launch this FTP option, you can stand to amass a large pile of Cartel Coins to spend in game.


    Q: One of the concerns with the FTP model is the risk for pay to win, you say you are against it, but pay to win is a sliding scale, it is not black or white. In fact, some of the boosts you said you are putting in the shop are considered pay to win by some players. Could you explain your decision making process about what you will or will not put into the cash shop.


    This is obviously something we are very sensitive to. We got a lot of people out there who have dedicated a huge amount of time into the game. Of course one of the big fears people have is that when we go free to play we are going to allow new players to come in and purchase their way into the same level of expertise (i.e. cool gear, weapons).


    Our philosophy is this, free to play players will have a lot of restrictions placed upon them when they enter the game. Subscribers are essentially (as far gameplay is concerned), not going to see a large change. Our goal here is that for people that are playing alt characters or coming into the game as FTP players and having restrictions like not having rested experience where they have means to sort of accelerate their progression through the game without becoming a subscriber. If they see something as a potential pediment, they have a way to purchase their way out of it. We really see it as a net benefit. We are not going to sell things in the game that are allowing players to be competitive at endgame PvP or PvE. However, at mid levels, if somebody is try going through the game with an alt or as a FTP player can purchase a gearset that is going to help them at level 15 for example. So what you are going to see are experience point boosts (beneficial to subscribers as well) but we are not going to do anything that is going to harm the endgame folks. We are very cautious about that.


    Q: What sort of content do you have planned for players who don’t enjoy PvPing or endgame PvE content like operations
    .


    We are very aware that operations are not for everyone. As part of our more frequent updates that we are producing now, we are definitely focused on giving the sections of players who don’t enjoy operations more endgame content that they can do beyond questing.

    We already have a few those that we have announced – new daily questing area that is coming out, Ancient Hypergates warzone, and lots of stuff we are cooking that we can’t talk about yet.

    Q: It was mentioned that along with the free transfers we would be offered paid transfers for characters who like to move from one server to another. Is this still in the works?


    Certainly we want to offer people the option to do character transfer as a paid service. We got a little bit of additional work that is going to need to go in before we can actually offer it as a paid service but that is coming in the near future.


    Q: When can we look forward to the expanded storyline? Please just give me a month to look forward to.


    We teased the planet of Mekab which is going to be the location of the expanded storyline. In a future update when we release Mekab there will be continuation of where the story left off.


    Q: Will Cartel Coin shop be in before the FTP crossover so that any bugs can be resolved


    Our current plan is the same thing we do to any new content we introduce to the game – you will see that a couple weeks before we launch the FTP option players can go into the PTS and our intent is for anybody that logs into PTS to get some Cartel Coins that they can play with only on PTS – those don’t xfer to the live game! We will have items for sale on PTS that people can go in, make purchase and give us feedback.


    Q: With the coming new 1.4 Update, what is the reason behind relics that cost 400 Daily Commendations but only marginally better or new Black Hole gear that costs 350 Black Hole Commendations


    The side effect of PTS is that occasionally items that are not intended for live made it up there and unfortunately that specific item was the case of that. So that item in particular is going to be removed, reviewed, and hopefully a better version will come out in a future update.


    Q: When will we be seeing the Cathar and HK-51?


    Cathar and HK-51 are both in the works. HK-51 I am confident that you will see before the end of the year. Cathar have no definite timeframe at this point but we intend to introduce them as the first species in SWTOR.


    Q: What kind of things can we expect to see in the Cartel Coin shop.


    Really cool mounts, cool pets, some gearsets (not impactful to endgame) that help players as they level up. The gear you will find will be interesting to everyone because it is not going to be restricted by class or by faction and all moddable. The gear you purchase in the CC shop is hopefully something you will be able to use for a class you got.


    We also have a really cool thing called Cartel packs. Cartel packs you buy give you a random assortment of really cool items and a chance to get some of the cooler items that maybe in the game (not powerful, but very cool – they going to make you look AMAZING!)


    Q: Are FTP, 1.4, and CC all hitting the same time?


    1.4 is already on the PTS and will be coming very very soon. CC coins and the market are not PTS so they are dissociated – November timeframe.


    Q: When are we going to see Nightmare mode for Denova and TFB


    Nightmare mode EC will be first, and will be coming very soon. Some point after that we will see Nightmare TFB. We realize that this is something for the very hardcore operation players so we want to make sure we do it right. Nightmare mode now is not going to be like Nightmare mode in Karagga’s Palace or EV. It is not a fully fledged mode – differences from hardmode and it is going to be very difficult.


    Q: XP Boosts and rocket boots have being mentioned for the Cartel Shop (they are also available as legacy perks). How much overlap will there be between ingame legacy perks and cartel coins.


    I don’t know if we are prepared to go into details about that yet. We will have to reserve that one for future interview.


    Q: What is the current design intent for PVE gear progression for high end PVE groups. Having BiS except set armorings available BOE through the crafting system in 1.4 and beyond.


    We want there be multiple vectors and options for players to their character’s power. We don’t want to always be a drop from an operation boss. Having a mix of craftable items and operation drops will be more fulfilling for players.


    Obviously operations will be always the be focus but having some variety is good.


    Q: Has there being any discussion on allowing cartel coins to be used for purchase race unlocks instead of credits options we use now.


    The intent would be players would be able to use Cartel Coins to purchase Cathar as the first race to be unlocked when they becomes available. We are certainly more than open to exploring other species option depending on how popular Cathar become.


    Q: US is down to 8 servers, how will this affect lag and server load when FTP hits. Will subscribers have priority in queue times.


    With our recent server consolidations and on our new high pop servers , we are more than adequately equipped to deal with increased player load we expect when we go FTP. We done projections based on what we seen with other games, experiences within the studio and we think that we are definitely able to handle the load. For those using the PvP finder or group finder, there are even more population to jump there within you.


    One of the perks of being a subscriber is yes you will get priority access in the queue if we get to the point where we have queues.


    Q: Is there any reason why the hood toggle option mentioned in the works months ago has not being added yet.


    Sometimes things that sound so simple are actually not so simple. As a side effect of researching that, we were able to release the companion unified colors and toggle helmet options in 1.4. The hood toggle option is something we really wanted to do and it is coming.


    Q: How do you think the gear progression is affected that TFB is now dropping Rakata gear and not Campaign gear.

    TFB storymode drops Rakata. When EV and KP normal modes were released, they were meant as a progression into hardmode. We now changed that into storymode – for players who want to experience the story so now there is not so much gear progresion in storymodes.

    TFB hardmode will drop the new Dread Guard gear, which we just changed the colors recently. The colors we originally put on the PTS were less than desirable – ketchup mustard, banana sage were some of the words describing them.


    Q: Will we ever seen (operation) content downscaled for groups who solo playing.


    Operation bosses are some of the most complicated content that we have created – they require a lot of testing and scripting. Taking an operation boss and make it into four players content is not as easy as it sounds and require us to remake it from the ground up.

    While that won’t be an option, we are definitely considering other ways to create more content that is not part of operation for smaller groups of players.

    Q: Are you happy with the current HM TFB difficulty, do you expect guilds to clear it within a couple days of release or find more of a challenge.


    We are very happy seeing the challenges players have run to on the PTS. I think it is inevitable that some guilds will clear it in the first couple days but I don’t think that will be the majority of players.Majority of players who go in to attempt the hardmode will take a while – you might be able to kill the first couple bosses.


    Q: How do you address concerns from players who associate FTP with some sort of negativity?


    As a subscriber, you can expect virtually no changes beyond the new stuff from the patches. You are getting addition of loyalty program where you get a monthly grant of cartel coins. Some new content we generate in the future maybe restricted to FTP players where subscribers are certainly able to easily get in there.

    FTP can experience the entire storyline to L50 but there are going to be restrictions like warzones – FTP players are restricted to number of Wz and FPs they can do without purchasing access for more where subscribers are going to have the same experience as you have now.

    Blaine anything else you want to talk about?


    One thing we havn’t mentioned is the ongoing loyalty program for players who subscribes beyond the FTP launch. As part of your subscription, you will be receiving a monthly grant of cartel coins that you can go and purchase cool items from the store (this is in addition to the large amount of CC you will get when we launch the FTP option for active subscribers).


    One of our goals when designing the FTP experience is making sure that players really get a chance to experience the entire game. Despite the fact that there are restrictions in place, players will be able to experience the story in its entirety as a free to play experience.


    George anything you like to add?


    I like to thank anybody who were on the PTS to help us test 1.4 TFB operation. Operations are very hard to test, we could see here 24 hr/day play it and not find all the bugs.

    source.
    Last edited by Forsedar; 2012-09-22 at 04:19 AM.

  2. #2
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    Well, at least they've gone into more detail.
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  3. #3
    Didn't they release the HK-51 trailer (or some sort of preview) like several months ago? And they still don't even know when it's going to come out?

    Really need to get their shit together.

    And offtopic, just a little annoyance... whoever wrote that summary up really needs to work on their grammar.
    Last edited by vizzle; 2012-09-22 at 05:47 AM.
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  4. #4
    Wasn't expecting any huge revelations from that Q&A and didn't get any. Some minor useful hints though. I wish they didn't feel the need to keep everything so secret.
    WoW having more subs than SWTOR is the same thing as Justin Bieber having more youtube plays than Tupac. Just because its more popular doesn't mean its good.
    Warcraft Lore has gone from one of the most vast and interesting stories in all of gaming to a bad Thrall Fanfic by Chris Metzen.
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  5. #5
    I would've fixed the grammar but I wanted to sleep instead. It did annoy me as well.

  6. #6
    I did find "Space" and nothing came up.

    I'm not sure if I want to read this.

    ---------- Post added 2012-09-22 at 03:34 PM ----------


    Q: What sort of content do you have planned for players who don’t enjoy PvPing or endgame PvE content like operations

    We are very aware that operations are not for everyone. As part of our more frequent updates that we are producing now, we are definitely focused on giving the sections of players who don’t enjoy operations more endgame content that they can do beyond questing.
    We already have a few those that we have announced – new daily questing area that is coming out, Ancient Hypergates warzone, and lots of stuff we are cooking that we can’t talk about yet.
    Not sure if stupid... Or trolling.

    ---------- Post added 2012-09-22 at 03:41 PM ----------

    Essentially if you are an active subscriber when we launch this FTP option, you can stand to amass a large pile of Cartel Coins to spend in game.
    Wait, so I'll have to pay 15 dollars to reactivate my account to get the cartel coins per month, 150 according to previous posts, of subscription that I've amassed since launch?

    edit: READING WAS A BAD CHOICE!!!
    Last edited by Bardarian; 2012-09-22 at 03:43 PM.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    I did find "Space" and nothing came up.

    I'm not sure if I want to read this.

    ---------- Post added 2012-09-22 at 03:34 PM ----------




    Not sure if stupid... Or trolling.

    ---------- Post added 2012-09-22 at 03:41 PM ----------



    Wait, so I'll have to pay 15 dollars to reactivate my account to get the cartel coins per month, 150 according to previous posts, of subscription that I've amassed since launch?

    edit: READING WAS A BAD CHOICE!!!
    Go to Darth Hater and watch the Live Stream. I thought the same thing, but the way this is transcribed is actually very terrible. It comes off like the guy is a moron, but in reality, that's not how it came out at all. The part about "already have a few of those" was a lead-in that Joveth was giving him where he was just talking about content in general. And he prefaced "Ancient Hypergates" with "I know you said no PvP, but...." But, yeah, very poor transcription.

    Still though, while there is a little bit of detail, much of this interview was very vague.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    Go to Darth Hater and watch the Live Stream. I thought the same thing, but the way this is transcribed is actually very terrible. It comes off like the guy is a moron, but in reality, that's not how it came out at all. The part about "already have a few of those" was a lead-in that Joveth was giving him where he was just talking about content in general. And he prefaced "Ancient Hypergates" with "I know you said no PvP, but...." But, yeah, very poor transcription.

    Still though, while there is a little bit of detail, much of this interview was very vague.
    Well, I still paid for like 8 months.

    Am I seriously going to have to reactivate my account to get the 1200 cartel coins?
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Well, I still paid for like 8 months.

    Am I seriously going to have to reactivate my account to get the 1200 cartel coins?
    It is unclear to me as well. I mean, I'll be paying for a sub so I don't care either way but that should be a question specifically answered.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Forsedar View Post
    It is unclear to me as well. I mean, I'll be paying for a sub so I don't care either way but that should be a question specifically answered.
    Not to be overly pessimistic but I think this is their way of making people like me drop another 15 dollars in an effort to not lose their cartel coins.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Not to be overly pessimistic but I think this is their way of making people like me drop another 15 dollars in an effort to not lose their cartel coins.
    Cartel coins that to this date has no relative value, they could buy you a Yoda bumper sticker for your speeder or a garage full of speeders with a custom pain job for your ship.

    The lack of information regarding the costs to unlock various aspects of the game and pricing of shop items this long after the announcement is not helping them one bit. While they had to announce when they did for other reasons one would think they had enough time to iron out the details by now.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Not to be overly pessimistic but I think this is their way of making people like me drop another 15 dollars in an effort to not lose their cartel coins.
    http://www.swtor.com/support/helpcenter/6478

    Unless they've changed their stance, that pretty much sums it up for you.

    ---------- Post added 2012-09-22 at 12:32 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Cartel coins that to this date has no relative value, they could buy you a Yoda bumper sticker for your speeder or a garage full of speeders with a custom pain job for your ship.

    The lack of information regarding the costs to unlock various aspects of the game and pricing of shop items this long after the announcement is not helping them one bit. While they had to announce when they did for other reasons one would think they had enough time to iron out the details by now.
    I wouldn't expect a more detailed account of the value of Cartel Coins. Basic information like # of Characters allowed per server, number of weekly WZs, number of weekly FPs would serve them better. As far as I'm aware, no game has leaked what their currency would go for or what it would afford you.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    I wouldn't expect a more detailed account of the value of Cartel Coins. Basic information like # of Characters allowed per server, number of weekly WZs, number of weekly FPs would serve them better. As far as I'm aware, no game has leaked what their currency would go for or what it would afford you.
    I think that they by now should be able to outline the whole system with costs, the reason I think they should be able to give the cartel coins a relative value is simply because they try to sell or have sold subscriptions with the coins as a motivator. Without giving them a value it's basically investing your money with a company that can alter your return as they see fit after the fact.

    Now I don't think they will give more details before it's launched or very close to the launch, something that (imo) hurts them more than it benefits them at this stage.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    I think that they by now should be able to outline the whole system with costs, the reason I think they should be able to give the cartel coins a relative value is simply because they try to sell or have sold subscriptions with the coins as a motivator. Without giving them a value it's basically investing your money with a company that can alter your return as they see fit after the fact.

    Now I don't think they will give more details before it's launched or very close to the launch, something that (imo) hurts them more than it benefits them at this stage.
    They're already afforded that benefit by giving you the ToS caveat of "Monthly sub only goes to server access." They can raise or lower prices at any time they deem necessary. As for the currency, that matters much less than what benefits you'll receive as a monthly subscriber as opposed to a F2P member. What would benefit them far more, in the long run, is finding the right balance to make the benefits of a subscription far outweigh that of a F2P member and then expressing those benefits to their playerbase. Give them that and a few extra "Hey thanks for sticking it out" rewards. Like I said before, no game (that I know of) that's gone from P2P to F2P has ever told anybody what the value of their currency would be until after they launched their F2P program. So far, it hasn't seemed to hurt any of them.

  15. #15
    It am a little disappointing that if you bought this game way back almost a year ago. We are reaching into the 9th month this game has been out, almost the 10th. Unless your sub is active you do not stand to gain for the 5 months you did have an active sub and did pay for the DDE item in which I did. That's a disadvantage to make players return even after it goes free to play.

    The companion thing is frustrating. They promoted that thing a large amount months ago. Fact that it's still not complete. Did they just announce a compainion was coming but 4 months away? and the free to play. When exactly is the fall. It leaves a ton of questions un-answered.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hk-51 View Post
    Not to be overly pessimistic but I think this is their way of making people like me drop another 15 dollars in an effort to not lose their cartel coins.
    I'm late to the party, but this was the first thing I immediately noticed from the statements.

    "Essentially if you are an active subscriber when we launch this FTP option, you can stand to amass a large pile of Cartel Coins to spend in game."

    Umm, excuse me? No. You said specifically that people would be earning them for every active month from the beginning of this game. Now there stands a chance that if you are not active when it goes F2P, you get jack shit. I seriously hope this was a communication error on his part, or else I'm going to screenshot their website to use for my future law suit to get all the money back I've ever spent on this game, plus a million for time wasted talking, thinking, stressing about it.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    They're already afforded that benefit by giving you the ToS caveat of "Monthly sub only goes to server access."
    That is widely different from Subscribe now and earn 100% more cartel coins up to the launch of free to play, it's advertising with the promise of of something that has no definable value to the customer.

    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    As for the currency, that matters much less than what benefits you'll receive as a monthly subscriber as opposed to a F2P member.
    Unless you would desire to use said coins to unlock features individually.

    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    Like I said before, no game (that I know of) that's gone from P2P to F2P has ever told anybody what the value of their currency would be until after they launched their F2P program. So far, it hasn't seemed to hurt any of them.
    As far as I know they didn't announce 4 months ahead while promising extra currency if you subscribe up to that re-launch, if they had given it to old subscribers only without the advertisement campaign I'd care much less about it's value as it wouldn't matter until it was launched anyway, they did however choose to give it a value prior to it's launch them selfs and should inform accordingly.
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  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    That is widely different from Subscribe now and earn 100% more cartel coins up to the launch of free to play, it's advertising with the promise of of something that has no definable value to the customer.
    No, it has no definable value to the non-subscriber. They've explained what it will be used for, to purchase products from their cash store. Some of the products have been teased. It doesn't mean that it needs to have a value. Let's put it this way. Currently, the subscriber gets what they're getting, which is the same as what they were getting before the F2P announcement. The Cartel Coins are an added bonus to receiving what they were already receiving, not in lieu. The truth is that they aren't going to lure in people to subscribe that have not subscribed before. I think they know that. So what's the point of trying to put a value on a product that means little to someone who isn't going to subscribe now if they hadn't subscribed already? And for the subscriber, the coins may matter, but it's only for extra shit they weren't currently getting with their sub anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    Unless you would desire to use said coins to unlock features individually.
    Which goes back to my original statement. What they NEED to do is attempt to keep people from leaving instead of trying to get people to begin a new sub. The F2P is the enticement for those people. The understanding of the benefit of keeping your subscription as opposed to going F2P is much more needed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Alyssa View Post
    As far as I know they didn't announce 4 months ahead while promising extra currency if you subscribe up to that re-launch, if they had given it to old subscribers only without the advertisement campaign I'd care much less about it's value as it wouldn't matter until it was launched anyway, they did however choose to give it a value prior to it's launch them selfs and should inform accordingly.
    It doesn't matter whether it's 4 months or 1 month or 2 weeks. Nearly every MMO that's switched to F2P didn't make up their minds a month beforehand, they knew what they were doing several weeks in advance. As for promising extra currency, yes, LoTRO offered subscribers Turbine Points for each month they remained subbed. The fact is that they are attempting to KEEP people or get people to resubscribe, but it's still only being used as a bonus. "Get this shit for free in order to buy things that other people have to pay for." Either way, as long as it isn't P2W, who gives a shit what those coins will buy? It's all going to be cosmetic anyway. The subscriber really wants to know how much more they are getting than the F2P player in order to understand whether or not it's worth it to remained subscribed. The coins are just a bonus.

  19. #19
    I really hate how they only took part of my question about Nightmare modes. I asked for specifics, timetable, and even asked if they were going to put them on PTR for testing or release to live straight away. Also, in the same message I asked them if they had any plans to make the current HM EC and TFB harder since they are still super easy. I facepalmed when George said very soon.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    No, it has no definable value to the non-subscriber.
    Sure it has, if you are not subscribing right now but had a relative value on the coins you would see what benefits you would be able to unlock later on by buying in to their offer, as it stands the offer is worth nothing as it has no relative value. A bit like advertising your product for X price and claim that it's super ultra cheap discount yet not reveal the original price.

    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    Which goes back to my original statement. What they NEED to do is attempt to keep people from leaving instead of trying to get people to begin a new sub. The F2P is the enticement for those people. The understanding of the benefit of keeping your subscription as opposed to going F2P is much more needed.
    While I don't disagree that with the importance of this I'd say it's as important that they follow through on their offer that is clearly aimed at old subscribers that stopped playing, why they fail at that is explained above, they should have followed through on this much sooner though as now there is little benefit to it as so much time passed.

    Quote Originally Posted by notorious98 View Post
    Either way, as long as it isn't P2W, who gives a shit what those coins will buy?
    Well this all depends, you don't know that the cartel coins will only buy cosmetic stuff, we don't know if they can unlock features and content piece meal for example, something I'm fairly sure it will as it would be plain stupidity not to allow that. This is where the relative value becomes important, if there would have been a relative value on the coins early on, my self and others could have seen that X coins could unlock X features or Y content for Z amount of time and either find the offer worth investing in or not, as it stands now it's not as you don't know what your subscription between announcement and re-launch is worth as far as the coins go. Same goes for subscribers at the time of the announcement, I'm fairly sure some canceled to wait for F2P re-launch but if the coins had a relative value they might have found the offer worth while hence remained subscribed.

    Now if the coins won't allow you to buy features or content piece meal then they are worthless to a fair few players that couldn't care less about cosmetic crap, again the same issue though, we have no information about it.
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