So I recently allowed my subscription to lapse for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It wasn't a mistake; I had subscribed for a month and enjoyed it, but I knew going in that I'd be headed back to a free-to-play status. Well, not exactly that; SW:TOR has a middle tier called "preferred" players, giving a few extra bonuses for players who have spent any money in the Cartel Market, or have ever been subscribers. The middle tier has a few more character slots, quickbars (which really shouldn't be limited on any tier; they're part of gameplay), auction slots, etc. It's also got a credit limit of 350,000 credits for each character, and this factor has had an effect that I couldn't have anticipated:
I'm playing the game again.
While I was a subscriber, I spent the majority of my time trying to make money. I was going to say "a good portion," but the truth is it was a majority of my time in the game. I would log in, send my crew on missions to pick up crafting materials, then peruse the auction house for this or that, then Alt+Tab to work on whatever else I had going on, or just watch Orange Is the New Black.
Sometimes I'd swap into another character while I was waiting for my crew to get back, so that I could send another companion on another crew mission. I was literally grinding out a job on days I had off from my real job. And not even with a goal in mind; there isn't really anything credit-wise I was saving up for. I was just acquiring credits so that I had them.
But now, with the 350,000 credit limit, there's no reason for me to wildly accumulate. As a result, instead of wallowing on the Imperial Fleet, I'm pushing forward with my class missions. I'm a bit over-leveled because I have a habit of doing every single mission I get, so I only get experience on like half of the missions, but the story is moving along, and I'm enjoying that.
Additionally, I'm less concerned about spending money on the Galactic Trade Network (I called it the auction house earlier, but GTN is the official name). The one thing I'd spent money on before was mounts, but I was always reticent to shell out the cash, because I didn't know if I was getting a good deal. Now I don't care much; I have a credit limit, so if I don't spend the money, it gets locked away in "escrow" until I pay to have it transferred or re-subscribe. So if I see a mount I don't already have, I buy it. No researching the prices, no wondering if it was for sale somewhere from a vendor, just nom nom nom.
I still send my guys on crew missions, of course. I'm not going to change who I am at my core. But the credit limit has helped to change my play habits, I think for the better. I'm getting a lot closer to that "experiential gaming" I mentioned in a post last week.
And I am pleased.
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