A lot of friends of mine are playing Star Wars: The Old Republic lately, whether it’s inspiration from watching the latest movie or just an urge of theirs. That’s how I found myself downloading the client last night. The game is free to play, but it has been a long time since I felt so incredibly shunned as a free to play player. First, there are tons of race restrictions. Even as a subscriber there are race restrictions for certain classes that you have to unlock through various ways. You can’t sprint until level 10, subscribers get this at level 1. Whether or not you can sprint isn’t going to necessarily make or break the actual gameplay, but while you’re questing through wide open spaces and everyone else is running past you it can be painful. You also can’t hide your helmet graphic unless you subscribe. That one bugs me a lot. You can’t use group chat until level 10, even if you’re on friends lists, so that meant I couldn’t actually talk with any of my friends playing. At least not yet.
You can’t choose your quest rewards, they’re already designated to you. None of this is new and the comments and discussions have already happened, but as someone who has never played before it’s very off putting.
As a Canadian gamer, subscriptions are a prickly cactus. They’re typically charged in US dollars, and the Canadian dollar is worth less than 70 cents to the US one these days. That means a regular $14.99 subscription actually costs me $21.71 and there are rumors about it falling to around 50 cents to the US dollar before the end of the year. A failing Canadian dollar means my groceries get more expensive as they’re imported, and so I have less money for things like subscription games. Not a big deal if you’ve only got one subscription game on your plate, but if you play more than one subscription game, or your a multi-gamer household, it gets expensive, fast. That’s why games like WoW, EVE, and EQ2 appeal to me. I can earn enough in-game currency to purchase a token to continue playing. Of course that means casual games are almost nonexistent, you need to be able to dedicate x number of hours in order to raise the funds.
I did manage to get to level 10 last night and unlock sprint as well as the ability to talk to people. The game is pretty, the story amazing. Whether or not I continue to play however will depend on how many more limitations I come up against and whether or not I decide to subscribe.