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SWTOR: free to play vs subscription

My wife an I have been playing Star Wars: The Old Republic since beta testing and we’re big fans.  We’ve had subscriptions since day one.  With the onset of free to play, we had to decide if we would rather keep our subscription or go free to play and either buy or not buy individual bonus upgrades with cash a-la-carte.
There are alot of factors, but I’ll only really discuss he ones that pertain to us.

We play once a week with the two of us and each of out brothers for 3 hours as Republic characters.  We occasionally do flashpoints, but not often as my wife isn’t a fan. We do pretty much all the planetary missions.

We also have imperial characters that we play together, a bounty hunter and an imperial agent.  No flashpoints.

I have a solo character I play every so often.  I don’t play for very long at a time, so again flashpoints are difficult to fit in.

Across the board, things start getting restricted when you don’t have a subscription.  If you have “Preferred Status” because you paid $5, you bought the game originally, have ever had a subscription or bought the expansion, things are slightly less restricted.  You can buy Cartel Coins with cash a-la-carte to make up for most of these deficiencies.

You’ll have to look at it personally to see what matters to you, but some of the things just don’t matter to us?  Oh, we can’t do operations, not a big deal.  Here are the ones that mattered to us:

  • Crew Skills.  I like crafting, and it would be more difficult without the sub.
  • Cargo Hold.  I don’t like inventory management to be a chore, so this helps.
  • Credit Cap.  I love to be able to just buy whatever I want, again so that part of the game is not a chore and this would be a nightmare with the limit.
  • Mail.  Lower level characters are much easier if you can send them stuff from your higher level characters.  This restriction would be a pain.
  • Galactic trade slots.  This is how I make money for my characters and this restriction would put an end to it.
  • Revives.  Reviving is even more of a pain.
  • Experience Rate and Rest XP.  This is the biggie.  You get much less XP for not subscribing, I believe it is 25% less.  In addition, you don’t get rest XP, which would get you double.  Basically if you don’t subscribe, your leveling will be much slower.  You can pay for XP boosts but it won’t make up for it and you’ll still be shelling out cash.

The XP was the biggest one.  Since we don’t do flashpoints, operations, or many of the heroic areas, we already have some trouble keeping up XP wise.  It felt like the game would be a pain without a subscription.  If we didn’t play as often as we do, it would have been questionable but we would have had to just run around killing stuff just to catch up, which isn’t worth our time when we can just pay the $12 a month.

As a bonus, we get the Cartel coins every month with which we can buy XP boosts to get even farther ahead so we can ignore the boring missions.  So far, subscription has been the right choice.

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