Home / Podcasts / TOROCast – Ep 155 – DOOMED!

TOROCast – Ep 155 – DOOMED!

Road here, bringing you the next episode of your favorite SWTOR Podcast, TOROCast! Join Tom, Jeff, Russell and myself as we finally get to the subject on everyone’s mind: SWTOR goes F2P! Warning: we might get wordy. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe on iTunes, and leave your comments below!

About Road

Host of TOROcast and The Ban Hammer. Lead podcaster for Twonk Hammer Entertainment.


  1. Such fanboyism. While I liked the contrast from Sam and Tom, in that you’re able to get a stronger interpretation with forceful fun personalities, this cast was like Tom and the MMT reject show.
    Repeating what Tom says, without the fun British accent, and with less fun personality is not an interesting radio show. There’s no conflict. There’s no new perspective or expertise these other hosts bring. They basically serve to give Tom an echo chamber.

    There’s two ways of looking at the zynga model that EA believes is the future. One is to only look at it from the revenue. One is that instead of making $15 a month from 1 million players, they can make $1000 from 1,500 players, $100 from 15,000, $10 from 500,000, and $2 from 10,000,000 players, with $0 being made from millions more above that., and thus in turn make more money. This price discrimination model takes advantage of the fact that some people would play tor for $1000 a month, and some people would play tor for $2 a month, and that combined they make a ton more than all the people at $15.

    It’s a lovely way of looking at things. The reality is that the curve is highly skewed population wise such that most of the revenue comes from the power users spending hundreds a year, who increasingly dictate the direction of future content, with the majority of the people beneath that being icing on the cake.

    There’s another way to look at Microtransaction models, and it’s from the COST perspective.

    Denova, also known as Explosive Conflict, cost hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of programming to create. New art assets and voice had to be created. Story had to be written. The level had to be designed, created, and tested. Then, before they could release it to the public, it took weeks of testing on PTS and even then there were a few problems. Same is true for Lost Island and to a lesser extent Novare Coast.

    Denova probably easily cost a million dollars to make. In total, it probably extended players subscription an average of 6-8 weeks. If nightmare mode had launched it probably could have added another 4 weeks to the subscriptions, longer if they stretched out what kind of items dropped from it (but at the expensive of gear inflation and burning out the customers a bit more so we’ll ignore that).

    A jawa party bomb reuses artistic assets already in the game. It reuses AI already in the game. It reuses the partybomb code already in the game. True this is a novel implementation, and could result in some buggyness, but for the most part it probably took one of their developers half a day to cook up and get working.

    The Zynga model works not by expanding the player base by millions but by offering crap that costs nothing to make.


    You know why the premium model failed? Because way back in the days of Modems your bandwidth cost money. People understood that they were paying to connect to a server, that cost a ton of money to maintain and keep up. You’d pay UO $10 a month, and that just made sense cause it probably cost them $5 a month to keep you connected, and the remainder went to updates and stuff.

    Bandwidth is so cheap right now, but prices keep going up. You’re paying $15 a month for what? This is just the nonsense of our age. Servers and bandwidth are so cheap right now, so that $15 should be going towards faster and better content. In the first 18 months of City of Heroes you had 6 major content updates, and a new full expansion: City of Villains, AND A COMIC BOOK for your money.
    What is your $180 per year buying you in SWTOR? 2 flashpoints and 1 operation a year? The customer is getting bad service, and they know when they’re getting ripped off.

    It’d be nice if the longest running swtor podcast had the guts to point the above out. I can’t believe the community bailed it out back in March.

    • Heya Alexandrite. Thanks for listening.

      What you’ve said is some valid concerns. However, a lot of it is guess work. You don’t know that Denova cost over one million to make. You don’t know the kinda of model that Bioware will take up with F2P because there just isn’t enough information out there.

      You chose to pick a pessimistic view of this change whereas I look at things more positive light. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I try and look at things in the best possible way I can. But I’m not afraid to criticize when called for.

      I’m scared shitless that this F2P change will reduce content flow and I’m pretty damn pissed off there hasn’t been any information on a future patch. I’ve said this in past shows but I don’t want to keep repeating myself. However, I’m still having fun in the game and thus to me its still worth my monthly sub.

      I also love how you jumped straight onto the worse possibly F2P model out there. The Zynga model. There is not just one way to do F2P. Lord of the Rings Online has their own way, Star Trek Online does too, Sony, Age of Conan, GW2… though similar each has a different way of portraying their game. I’m going to wait until I see what Bioware has to offer before I cast judgement on them. Its so easy for people to jump on the hate bandwagon because its big bad EA but it doesn’t take much more effort just to wait and see.

      Also saying we are Fanboys. We are fans of SWTOR and Bioware, thats why we’re doing a podcast and playing the game. If we weren’t fans we wouldn’t be doing so. Does it mean we’re going to accept everything they throw at us? No of course not. As I said, I’m damn pissed off of the lack of communication Bioware gave the community for so long. Now it seems they are trying to change that and I’m willing to give them a chance. I’ll let the other guys speak for themselves.

      Again thanks for listening. <3

      • I agree with whatever Tom said.


      • Denova probably represents an average of 100 salaried employees working for about 5 weeks. The cost to bioware for 100 employees, counting benefits, taxes, and all that, probably is about $100k. 1 million is probably a good estimate, but we can assume a range of at least 100k to 2 million. That’s a hundred employees that aren’t working on ME3 DLC or Dragon age 3, or Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition.

        In any case, the actual number isn’t as as important as the fact it’s a heck of a lot more than a Sith meditation throne, which looks a bit too much like the chair at the end of Red Reaper.

        What I want is someone to come out and say, “I think BIoware is strip mining 1.4, that should have been out by now, so they can get more stuff to pay for when they go free to play”. Or “I think Bioware’s content delivery has slowed to a crawl because adding the Origin store to the game will take hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of development time that their stripped down staff can’t deal with.” Or “I think they’re saving money lately by removing the people working on live events, and have massively reduced the CSR staff.”

        I want people to come out and say, “This is what’s wrong with the ranked warzones at the moment, and here’s how I’d fix it, and when I interviewed a bioware developer on it, here’s how they said they’re addressing the problem.”

        I want people to come out and say, “I think Annihilation Marauders are due for a nerf because their dots gain too much directly from power, which is super easy to stack right now, and we could address this by nerfing that ratio slightly, or by applying a DR to power. We’ve talked with the new class balance developer about this and this is what he had to say”

        And even if you *don’t* talk to the developers, pointing out *this is what I think is wrong with the game, and this is how I’d fix it*.

        Or maybe not even that. How do you guys handle campaign drops? How do you guys schedule Nightmare Pilgrim, when it’s permadown so often? How do you know what to set prices for crafted gear?

        Let’s try this again. Torocast is the first and best podcast for SWTOR. You try to discuss bimonthly all the new updates that happened in the news for the game. The news content for this game has been drying up considerably. So, you either have to go out there and find ways to make news, or you’re going to have to do *more* than just read developer posts and give a quick response. What am I not listening to in other podcasts that I want to listen to? People don’t read Newsweek or Times for news, but for their interpretation and depth they bring to the subjects. The extra time lets their writers come up with stronger articles than what you can get in the dailys. You are a bimonthly podcast, you need to bring more from the hosts. More informed opinion, in depth analysis, reactions, predictions, and well, *thickness*.

        By the way. On that Zynga model, the one that currently looks like its failing due to the lack of long term viability of the micro-transaction model. One of Zynga’s board members was a former Chief Creative Officer of EA Games, who left EA to work for Zynga in 2008. Before 2008 Zynga was just an online poker company.

        Greg Zeschuk never told you where they got the idea for Shale DLC did he?
        The Zynga model is the EA model. Search your feelings, you know it to be true!

        • [quote=Alexandrite] So, you either have to go out there and find ways to make news, or you’re going to have to do *more* than just read developer posts and give a quick response. What am I not listening to in other podcasts that I want to listen to? People don’t read Newsweek or Times for news, but for their interpretation and depth they bring to the subjects. The extra time lets their writers come up with stronger articles than what you can get in the dailys. You are a bimonthly podcast, you need to bring more from the hosts. More informed opinion, in depth analysis, reactions, predictions, and well, *thickness*.[/quote]

          I think that is a fair bit of constructive criticism.

        • Oh my… well said.

          Torocast ans some other podcast are fun, but what you said makes sense.


        • Its difficult too provide in-depth analysis when we know so little about certain things. But I do hear where your coming from.

          It will take a few episodes for the other hosts to come out of their shell and push forward their thoughts.

          This show was primarily F2P because it was such a big announcement but again I hear your feedback. People don’t want us to repeat the news what they already know.

          I read the swtor forums regularly as other sites such as reddit for such topics. I’m actually planning on doing a more rapid fire news segment early and then into what we called the ‘Meat and Potatoes’ of the show. However, we are limited on time, so there is a finite amount of things we can talk about. And because its such a free flowing show, we can unintentionally talk long.

          Again it will take a few shows for us all to settle down and get used to each other but I’m hoping with feedback like yours we can make the show better 😀

        • Cynacious (Breklinn)

          Just reading this response left a smile on my face

          – Breklinn

  2. Some contrast for you: “Bah, blah… SWTOR fail, TORtanic… meh… SWTOR let me down… WoW, WoW, blah… content… F2P lol… FAIL ROFL.”

    There you go, your contrast right there Alex.


    Now, about SWTOR going F2P, yes they are going F2P to make more money, but they did not wanted to be a F2P game neither they believe it’s more profitable than sub based MMOs, if they did so SWTOR would have a cash Legacy Shop since day 1.

    IMHO they are going F2P because a lot of people bored with WoW tried SWTOR (anyone reading this did not played WoW yet? So yes… 🙂 ), and if you are not a Huge Bioware/Star Wars fan you will be bored with SWTOR in no time because the lack of features and content, I do not deny that SWTOR lacks and was NOT ready for launch by 12/13/2011.

    Example: you loves PvP while you are leveling, then you hit 50 and now you got pwn3d over and over again, then you realize you will have to gear grind to be competitive… hmm, is that fun?

    As you pointed out: 2 new FP, 1 new Ops, 1 new Warzone in 6 months… is it worth US$ 15/month?

    Dunno, but 1,000,000 players did not think so…

    If you are EA’s CEO and you product loses 60% subscribers (aka: US$ 15,000,000 less per month in subs) in 6 months, well… you WILL DO something. You will NOT be happy, and you will call that Project a “MISS”.

    “Ok, people think the game is fun (1-49), but is not worth a monthly sub to play dailies (50) and get no new relevant content. Lets open it up so people can experience the game and we get more people talking about us. We put a cash shop in place, and we will still have subscribers because we are Freemium. YaY.”

    I think sub based MMO will work (ROI) if you have a couple of millions subscribers, if you have a couple of hundreds (CoH, LOTRO, SWTOR), maybe ‘Freemium’ To Play would be ideal.

    And I said MAYBE, because RIFT/EVE/TSW/etc have a couple hundreds thousand players and are still sub based MMOs. From what I heard RIFT is really good when it’s about adding new content, so they justify being a sub based MMO in 2012.

  3. People keep on talking about the loss of subs as marking TOR as a failure, but they keep on forgetting that for the KOTOR community, you know, the game at which 2MIL purchases was considered a “platinum” game, (and subscribers replace ppl who have unsubbed, making the total amount of potential tor players in its current lifetime ((here and gone))around 2 mil). So for people who wanted KOTOR 3… well TOR is selling almost as good as it would have being labeled as a single-player RPG.

    Personally I would have preferred each class story to take place on seperate planets, with multiplayers acting as other interactive party members, would have similar purchase amounts by prospective buyers and function as a single-player game when needed. However, I do LOVE tor as an MMO. I just think that people need to keep in mind that for KOTOR fans, TOR has sold around the same amount that KOTOR did when it was released. Love or Hate TOR itself.

    Make Sense?

  4. So this game isnt DOOOOMED! 🙂

    Its a big overreaction that isnt warrented. The game will stay around for many years to come. If you compare SWTOR to WoW, and see it like a running race, then SWTOR is FAR behind and will never catch up. Thats not what this is…its not a running race.

    The restrictions that BW put on F2Players encourage them the subscribe. Wow is no different. Unsubbed players currently may be waiting for a F2P option as they have already finished their class stories, some flashpoints and an Operation or two and figure they want to play something else in the meantime. Thats fine, let them.

    F2P also tells players that they can come back into the game if they wish. If they did play and unsubbed, and if they are new to MMO’s and dont quite understand, they CAN come back after some time, with their gear, achivements, speeders, etc all still there.

    If it were up to me, only subscribers should be allowed into Operations. No ifs ands or buts. But if I know EA they will expand that to F2Players in the following way:

    (my theory)
    F2Players can puchase an amount of Cartel Coins for $5. It just so happens that $5 worth of Cartel Coins is enough for 1 of the 3 main features in the game, which gives access to “unlimited play for a month” of Warzones or Flashpoints or Operations. Add that up and u get your $15/month. If you subscribe for $15/month you also get ALL the other features u normally get now(character customization, etc).
    (still my theory)
    If you havnt made it to lvl 50, then you need a way of getting there fast! This is where the legacy unlocks come into play. You use Cartel Coins to make the leveling experience faster.

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