26/10/2012

Can't sleep, probe droid is watching me

I was curious enough about the detailed workings of the new cash shop that I decided to pay another visit to the public test server myself. It was quite fun to have a considerably sized allowance of fake money to play around with for free. Talking to other people who were playtesting the patch provided some interesting insights as well: for example I didn't know that new players will now unlock their legacy after the starting planet. I think that's a nice change, and since legacy names aren't unique anymore there isn't really a risk of people who give up on the game soon afterwards "taking up" highly desired names.

Anyway, I bought a couple of the "gambling" packs and every single one of them contained a pet among other things. I take it that that's not the standard though, as my SO joined me, tried to do the same things and ended up with no pets at all - instead he received some funky new emotes and a shiny Republic banner that he could show off all over the place on a short cooldown.

The first pet that I got was supposed to be a new model according to the name and icon, but when I summoned it I somehow ended up with a Hagnoffarl. Bug report time!


Another pet I "won" was the Low-atmosphere Miniprobe, or "probe droid" as I called it for short. This turned out to be a big source of amusement for us as it made me feel irrationally paranoid after a while. Somehow it didn't feel like a friendly companion by my side; it made me feel as if someone else was spying on me! When I shared this with my boyfriend, he started making probe droid noises - FRIMMIN ON THE FRIM FRAM, FRIMMIN ON THE FRIM - and I completely lost it. Of course the only way to conquer my fear after that was to have the damn thing with me for the rest of the evening and keep making probe droid noises myself. Good times.

After today, I can heartily recommend messing around on the PTS this weekend, even if it's a huge download - especially if you're interested in what the F2P player experience will be like. I may not be a fan of gambling with real money, but gambling with fake money is quite fun. On Monday all accounts on the PTS will be changed again, I'm guessing to experiment with "preferred" player status or something.

I do have to say that some of the current restrictions do feel a bit ridiculous as it is. Mind you, I want free players to be restricted, because I want my continued subscription to provide good value, but a lot of it is just so... random. I noticed someone levelling up next to me and typed /cheer into chat, just to see my character do nothing at all and find myself faced with a message that this emote was locked. Cheering is a privilege? Come on. Or when I tried to use the /who command to check who was currently on, and was again faced with a "this function is locked" message. More than anything else, some of these restrictions simply strike me as a bit odd.

3 comments :

  1. To be fair, some capabilities get locked down just because of server load or to prevent spammers/hackers/bad people from negative effects.

    For example, /who does require a server call, which then has to identify all the people currently playing, and return that data to the client. In normal play it's probably insignificant.

    But imagine if someone had 500 F2P accounts, automated them, and then spammed /who on all the accounts at the same time. Quite possibly you could bring a server down.

    Some of the weirder lockdowns (the no credit boxes on Slicing, for example) are explained by this. Asking yourself, "if I had 500 (free!) slave accounts, could I break the game with this?" is always good to keep in mind when looking at some of the restrictions.

    Of course, this doesn't apply to /cheer. That's just Bioware locking fun stuff.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good point about /who. And the restriction does get lifted as soon as you hit preferred status. I guess I'm not imaginative enough to always see the options for potential abuse. Though there are still a lot of things that free players get locked out of seemingly at random.

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  2. I suspect that *most* people are going to have preferred status and won't have to worry about stupid restrictions like /who. All you will need for preferred status is a $5 physical authenticator. Which, honestly, is a good idea anyway. I think this is a GREAT way for bioware to encourage people to get the stupid things.

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