Sunday, April 14, 2013

SWToR Rise Of The Hutt Cartel - bait and switch

Bioware - the dark side is strong in them.

Their latest move that caused me a lot of grievance is the release of exclusive content DLC called Rise Of The Hutt Cartel. I would care less if this was an subscription based game, but BioWare markets and advertises SWToR as an Free to Play model. Then RotHC happened ...

Back in November last year, Bioware took the game to a Free to Play model because it was heading straight into a black hole. Since then, they announced that F2P model was a success and saved the game from disaster. Now they're shoving their free players over the ledge.

I downloaded and played the game, to find out that all was not roses and the game wasn't free to play - more like free to try. In the following months they changed a few things here and there and they actually did made the life easier to preferred account owners. I started investing a few $ in the game with the genuine hope BioWare would eventually expand on the free2play model of the game.
I was dead wrong! Today, RotHC finally launched for everyone that did not had pre-ordered the DLC back in January.

Quote directly from SWToR Scum and Villainy Game Update 2.0 page:
Take advantage of class combat modifications that make you more powerful at every level as well as new skills for every character at Level 51 and beyond!
The level cap increase to 55 is included with the purchase of the Digital Expansion: Rise of the Hutt Cartel.
Note: very important difference - Scum and Villainy is the game update and Rise of the Hutt Cartel is the DLC, don't mix them up.

So, where does it say the levels 51 to 55 are actually exclusively restricted to the DLC owners? it doesn't! And this is the problem - you can read it as lvl 55 cap is is included, but not exclusive (!) to RotHC DLC owners. Nowhere does it say the lvl 51-55 are exclusive content, NOWERE!

With their move, BioWare screwed the subscribers, that paid hard cash - neither do they have access to lvl51-55 unless they buy the DLC.

I spent money on the premise that the game will stay free to play. Oh boy I was wrong!

This practice is called "bait and switch" - it's criminal practice
a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one - as defined by Merriam Webster
For example, in UK, this practice is banned under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Do not forget that free players and preferred account owners are forbidden from creating and/or replying on the SWToR official forums.

My advice - stay the fuck away from Star Wars: The Old Republic, this is not a free to play game!
Do not spend a dime on this game, BioWare did with RotHC, expect that they will do it again with the next so called "DLC".

Wonder why EA got to be voted worst company in US two years in a row? this is why ..

This is the same tactic Piranha Games tried to pull with MechWarrior OnLine, by making ClanWars a subscription only feature. But they had the brains to back-up on their moronic idea, or maybe it was because the forums were on fire hearing the "news".

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