By Trey Atwood
Free-to-play has been available to players of The Old Republic for almost a month now, and Bioware says they’ve been taking feedback from their test servers very seriously and encouraging new players and former players alike to play The Old Republic. Now they’ve announced that they’re going to modify their preferred status model to accommodate more features.
What is preferred status?Preferred status is an upgrade from free-to-play, but still doesn’t involve a subscription. To be a preferred status player you have to either buy the game, a Cartel Coin Card, or anything from SWTOR’s online store (this includes the security key, subscription plan, or digital upgrade pack). This means that essentially all you have to do is buy something, and the cheapest thing you can get is 5$ (USD). Former subscribers are automatically placed into preferred status as well.
What benefits were already attached to preferred status?Preferred status players have the ability to run at level 1, making travelling around the lower-level planets much easier and more efficient. They also get Cargo Hold access to store items from their inventory, higher log-in queue priority, and increased access to chat and secure trading. Personally, with these and the upcoming benefits of preferred status I’d say it’s more than worth it to get some cartel coins so you can access these features.
What are the new changes? How will they effect the game?Right now preferred status players enjoy a slight advantage over their free-to-play counterparts by having the amount of quickbars (menus on the screen used to access your abilities) doubled from two to four, making it easier to play as you get your character to higher levels and receive more abilities to use. Those who have purchased the quickbars from the Cartel Coin Shop already will have their coins refunded.
Bioware also says that in their next patch (no date has yet been given) the amount of characters that preferred status players can have will be increased from two to six, in effect tripling the amount that the basic free-to-play model will allow.
Finally, Bioware has stated that in their upcoming patch that subscribers will have the overall limit of fifty characters spread across all servers removed entirely so that “If you wanted to, you can truly create your own army of Troopers or a legion of Sith Warriors.”