The SWTOR Community Manager says that Bioware is listening to us, searching the vastness that is the internet for “thoughts, comments, questions, and general feedback.” So, without further ado, here are mine:
F2P: Is a good thing. I like the fact that I can log into the game without having to pay a monthly subscription in order to do so. I can check on my character, craft a few items, check the GTN, or even work on my storyline quest. If new content comes out, I can decide if it is worth paying for it. F2P will allow me to stay connected to the game and not have to read about future updates and enhancements in the patch notes or in an editorial at Massively.
I imagine that the move to F2P will bring in a slew of new players who haven’t tried SWTOR yet, which will hopefully decide to stick around for a couple of months. But, Bioware will soon run into the same problem with these new players that they did with their player base over the past six months: they will play a character up to Level 50, see that the endgame is either RAIDing (saying FLASHPOINTing seems a little wrong) or PvP. Many will thank Bioware for a nice six weeks, collect their parting gifts, and then move on to another game.
Let Us Earn Cartel Coins: If players can earn Cartel Coins through in game accomplishments, many players will take the opportunity to do so. It could even be something as simple as earning 5 coins for killing 100 droids or finding all of the datacrons on a certain planet. Many MMOs drive gameplay by putting a carrot at the end of a stick. Earning cartel coins is another carrot that Bioware can use to keep some players around for a little while longer.
Implement a New Type of Instance: As someone who would place themselves at the upper end of the casual scale, I am a big fan of the Skirmish system in LOTRO. These skirmishes are small instances of a battle that I can play solo or with a group of three, six, or twelve other players. For completing the battle, I earn marks, seals, and other rewards that become the “currency” for skirmishes that I can then trade in for many different in game items that range from cosmetic to XP boosts.
If there is a particular item that I am looking for, I enter a skirmish and I’m off playing within a few seconds. Of course, these skirmishes also allow me to earn new titles and Turbine Points to spend in the official store. For people at level 50, it would give them something else to do and give them a chance to earn unique rewards. For new players, it would give them another method of leveling up their character.
Customize Everything: Give players the ability to change the color of their gear. Almost every MMO has the ability to create, buy, sell, and trade dye kits in order to customize their armor. For many players this is practically a necessity if you are looking to give your character a unique look.
Cosmetic options should also be available for the ships. Since these ships are player “housing” we need to be able to customize them. Give us paintings, plants, more storage devices, droids, hologrammy thingies, a doorbell….anything. The more customizable a world is, the longer players will spend (in both time and money) acquiring the items they need in order to get everything the way they want it.
Dual Spec Characters: The SWTOR classes for me have always been a tad disappointing. Even with the advanced classes, you typically are locked into playing one of the traditional MMO roles of tank, healer, or DPS. I understand that SWTOR wants to have a balanced class system and that they wanted the story to drive this game, but most players have a few level 50 players by now and would love to be able to customize their game play experience by having a “hybrid” dual spec system.
In other MMOs, I have literally made a “Pro-Con” list of each character class before deciding on one to play. With SWTOR, I had two that I really wanted to play. After that I was thinking, “Well, I haven’t rolled a DPS with a gun yet, so let me try that.” By adding dual spec, players will have to make serious, Google searching, decisions about how to spec their character. Combat logs will be analyzed. Spreadsheets will be created. Flame wars will be started on the forums about which spec and which class is superior in both PVE, PVP, and making cookies.
Take Space Off of the Rails: I try as hard as I can to not compare SWTOR to SWG. But, when SWG implemented space combat, it was a ton of fun. Yes, there was a faction grind, but you didn’t have rails guiding you to the end of every mission. You were free to roam, explore, and meet your mission objectives the way you wanted them to. Maybe space without rails could be the new “skirmish system” that I mentioned earlier?
With space off of the rails, you could also incorporate a PvP component into it. PvP was one of the things that SWTOR did a great job with out of the gate. If they were to add a PvP element to space, people would come running back to the game in droves.
Add Player Bounties: What if you had to play SWTOR constantly looking over your shoulder? What if you were afraid to go AFK without entering into a safe house out of fear for a Bounty Hunter appearing out of nowhere and trying to take you down? Adding player bounties would be an incredible amount of fun. By now, many players have accumulated a significant pile of credits and would be more than willing to part with a few to see their nemesis dead (at least for a few minutes anyway).
These are a few suggestions that I have for Bioware on a caffeine deprived Friday afternoon. I still believe in this game, and with the right direction, SWTOR can become an incredibly fun and immerse experience.