And to be fair, just about every other mainstream MMO has a more in depth progression system than SWTOR. It's true that SWTOR is the newest of them, so they have time to come around, but have a much higher hill to climb. This includes a large subscription game, a small subscription game, and a mid sized F2P game. All three of them launched new expansions this year that put SWTOR to shame just on features alone. The actual games aren't important, we can all guess what they are anyways.
Like I said, SWTOR should have time to get there, but the reality is that they needed to launch with some of this. Adaptive gear and mods for cosmetic purposes was the only thing ahead of the curve/in step with standards that they had as far as a 'feature'. They experimented with events, with decent success, but have made large missteps with that recently. They dabbled in pets and mounts, but only really added it to the game through the Cartel Market.
Basically it seems they are sacrificing things that could add enhanced elements to their game to the Cartel Market gods. I think that is a very fair criticism.
Why not add more pets on rares/elites/bosses? Why not add quests like the ones to kill all the raid bosses for mounts, but add them to old world heroic quests? Maybe let them reward daily/gear currency to get people out in the world? I mean these are just simple features that could integrate with what they already have.
Going into what they need to develop would take forever. I've already given long lists of that stuff in the past.
Unfortunately, the Cartel Market will be churning out all the fluff goodies that could have potentially been added to the game as real content. Your ideas would breath much-needed life into the game world, but that would require EA to actually give us filler content without nickel and diming us for it. And we all know they're not interested in that.
It would provide people with the option to do what they want to, play with who they want to, and probably make the environment a little more friendly for everyone.
They already use technology to raise everyone's level in WZs, it's just the reverse formula to get people down to lower levels. Now that I'm mentioning it, I can't believe they haven't done this. /facepalm
Mentoring is an AMAZING concept and I love the way it was handled Rift. One of the issues with SWTOR, on the other hand, is that there aren't enough alternative planets to explore to make it worth downleveling. That is the downside to having a Class story that leads you by the nose from Planet A to B to C.
This effectively makes every planet it's own daily area for people to choose how they want to play. All you have to do is put a limit on how much currency you can earn a week and then it's controlled. It might actually help lower level and free players get help doing them as well...knowing that they will get some rewards for max level, it's much easier to ask a friend, guild member, stranger to come help you do a planet's heroic quests.
Those results aren't all that surprising new things generally always result in more people spending money (I wouldn't be surprised if they saw an uptick in subs in the last few months)... but honestly the real question is if this is sustainable. I wonder how sales of the expansion is going... and how things will be 6 months from now. I feel like the way they are currently doing things can't possibly be sustainable. But it would be interesting to be wrong about that.
I'm pretty happy with the results. Anything to disappoint the players that want the game to crash and burn. But I'm going to agree with Arlee about sustainability. Primarily, because the game is still unplayable on lower-end systems. Until the economy turns around, and your average gamer can afford to upgrade their PC (sometime late 2015 at the Fed's last guess), then this game will cap at around a million subscribers. And the existing "whales" buying cartel packs will decrease substantially as the items become more prevalent on the GTN. Of course, I hope I'm wrong (about the economy).
PC performance has far less to do with the success/failure of the game. Skyrim sold VERY well on PC, and that's as graphically intensive to run as SWTOR is. It has to do with the game itself and the model they've chosen to go with. It's a destructive model that isn't gaining them any new fans (the thing the model was supposed to do).
In my experience if you add a cash shop to your game people will spend money on it. A portion of your player base will spend a lot of money on it even.
It's why a lot of games that went from P2P to F2P suddenly does it a lot better.
On my server specifically I'm still seeing multiple instances being launched, and plenty of people on the planets while leveling.
Those numbers just seem right to me based on how many people I see on my server, and multiplying that by how many servers there are.
I bought $20 worth of Cartel Coins. I bought a few packs, and spent the rest on legacy perks. My Guild Master said he spent $140 on Cartel Coins. He kept buying them until he got the levitating chair mount.
This is a great case of sampling bias.
People who follow DH's page enough to participate in a poll are more likely than most other swtor players to be invested in the game and thus pay more.
(Warframe) - Dragon & Typhoon-
(Neverwinter) - Trickster Rogue & Guardian Fighter -
Someone has to buy the mount for it to go on the GTN, so why not that individual?
It's all a matter of value determination. When someone has a ton of disposable income, the value of that money drops significantly for them, so they are more likely to spend it on "fluff" purchases. Simultaneously, time is an asset that rarely changes in value, as there is no way to effectively control it. Even if you have a ton of free time, people don't want to spend it doing stuff they don't enjoy, so time always has an inherent value attached to it.
So you take someone with tons of disposable income that the attach a low value to, a finite amount of free time, and an item that they want that can be acquired by either spending real money (possibly too much due to poor pricing), and you have the sales you speak of. They don't value the money as much as they value the time it would have taken to farm the credits to purchase it.
You need to remember that there are large groups of people who have tons of disposable income and have zero problems dropping hundreds, if not thousands, at the blink of an eye. These are the people (and those who have issues controlling their money/expendetures for one reason or another) that are the ones that drop hundreds upon hundreds more often than not.
You're attaching your values placed on time and money on others who don't value those two things similarly.
While edgecrusher does make a valid point of value of things changes from person to person and what the market demands. There is ALSO an objective value of these items and if people were smart enough to realize how much value y=they placed on these stupid items they would kick themselves.
...but it seems like MMO people or cash shop customers are about the worst people with money I've ever known. It's not whether they have the money to waste on that junk but I think they should be declared legally unstable if they decide to blow such preposterous amounts on a intangible fake item, that will at most give them fleeting joy when they move onto the next piece of Junk Bioware shovels out..