Star Wars: The Old Republic Manages To Piss Off Players By Handing Out Free Game Time

After all the trouble Star Wars: The Old Republic has seen since its launch late last year, BioWare today decided to reward its "most loyal players" that stuck with the game a free month of game time. How could that possibly go wrong? It's all about the definition of "most loyal players".

BioWare apparently defines them as "every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT". Accounts that fall within those criteria receive a free month of game time. It's a positively lovely gesture, but not everyone that's maintained an active subscription since the game launched has a level 50 character.

It's not that getting to level 50 is particularly difficult. Some players are alt-aholics, creating new characters every few days. Others are more social players, spending their time online chatting and fooling about instead of levelling. Others still don't have as much time to play, grabbing a quick hour here or there. Those players will still benefit from the Legacy Tauntaun Ram being given out to players with a registered account in good standing, but they won't get the free game time.

One would assume "most loyal" would apply to any player that's stuck with the game over the past five months. Star Wars: The Old Republic has had a rather tumultuous relationship with its players so far. The first major update broke high-end player-versus-player combat. The latest update went live without Ranked Warzones, further irritating the fanbase.

And now this.

The game forums are once again awash in conflict over this "gift". Players with level 50 characters are pleased with the present, as one might expect. More casual players, not so much. From the forums:

Good to know only level 50's matter. A free month would have kept me playing in the hope you would actually improve pvp. I'm not willing to pay you every month on the small chance you will eventually fix the broken pvp in this game.

I'm upset that I'm not going to be able to receive my free month. I've been a subscriber since early access, but because of school and work, don't have the time to play all that often. I have a level 43 and 47 on different servers, and it kinda angers me that I wouldn't be able to get my free playtime even though I've been here since day one.

Some players are trying to explain the decision away as being meant to appeal only to the hardcore PVP crowd, upset over the exclusive of the eagerly-awaited Ranked Warzones. Whatever the reason, this seems like a real boneheaded move on BioWare's part. Perhaps they should have started with a smaller game and learned the ropes instead of consistently screwing up one of the biggest MMO releases of the past decade.

Celebrate Game Update 1.2: Legacy [Star Wars: The Old Republic - Thanks, Brian!]


    Jeezus. The amount of self-righteous entitlement people have developed is incredible. The notion that they DESERVE free play time for doing absolutely nothing is ridiculous. Some people get the time, the others are no worse off than they were before. I have two lvl 25 SWTOR characters, I didn't wake up this morning thinking "I've really earned some free playtime." And you know what? I didn't get any. The world keeps turning, I'm not going to spend the rest of the day bitching about not getting a free handout. Grow the hell up.

      Sounding a little self-righteous there

        No, I actually agree. So, I didn't get something extra for free? Am I now worse off? No. I am exactly where I was 24 hours ago. I'm sick of this 'sense of entitlement' crap, too.

          damn right...

          I love BioWare, I love SWTOR and Mass Effect 3, gamers are turning into a massive bunch of assholes. WE DESERVE FREE TIME what a load of crap.

          On a positive note for BioWare, its only 5 Months until COD Black Ops 2 is released and sells 10,000,000 copies and all the hate will turn to Activision for making the same game again.

          I'm not sure I agree.

          The point of giving away free time was to make them feel good about the game, not "oh crap, I missed out".

          It's not the end of the world for the people who didn't get it, it's just human nature that people don't feel good when they "miss out".

      The problem is not necessarily that they feel they deserve free play time, the problem is that, in trying to apply an objective measure of a subjective criteria ('How loyal are you to the game'), BioWare really screwed it up. Play time aside, i'd feel a bit annoyed at BioWare if i'd supported the game for 5 months, despite it's qualms, but because I didn't have the time to max out a character, even if I have the most online time in the world, but only have 10 level 49's, and had been termed 'less loyal' than someone who had a bit of annual leave saved up, and decided to get SWTOR to fill that void and thus achieved level 50 on a character, but doesn't enjoy the lack of endgame content and thus doesn't plan to touch it again.

      For the record, I haven't played a BioWare game since ME2, and don't intend to, but if this were a game that I had put considerable time and effort into but never fully maxed out a character for one reason or another (say, like, Diablo 2 for example), and thus Blizzard said I wasn't really a loyal player because of this, i'd be quite annoyed, and with good reason IMO.

        Quoting from the email I myself received,

        "You are one of our most active and valued high level players"

        Note, 'high level', they didn't just say 'loyal' so I'm not sure where this word came into it. It's phrased quite deliberately, so why people are going batshit over this, I have no idea.

          Because they are blindly believing a misleading and somewhat inaccurate re-phrasing of the basis for the gift.

          They re-worded the emails. The website announcement is what is pissing people off. It still reads: "As a thanks for being one of our most valued players, every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT, will receive thirty (30) days of game time** in appreciation for your support and loyalty."

      You say they have done absolutely nothing to deserve some free play time but the fact of the matter is that they have been paying 15 dollars a month on a game that should still be in beta.

      If it makes you feel better consider it a refund instead of a gift.

        See I don't get why people think this should still be in Beta. Yes there are issues with the game (PVP is still a mess), but if we waited until everything was perfect, the game would never see the light of day. From my experience the ToR launch was one of the smoothest MMO launches I've seen.
        The combat works, the quests are well done and the voice acting is mostly well performed. I think that gamers of late seem to grab one aspect of a game that they think is not up to their standars and compleatly overlook everything about the game that makes it fun. Fair enough if you don't enjoy it, but instead of flooding the forums with hate, starting petitions to have things changed etc, just find something else.

          There other thing is that SWTOR was never ment to be a PvP MMO. Its a Bioware game, so the main focuse was always going to be the story, so anyone who thought that PvP was going to be the best thing ever was a bit daft.

            Pvp was a major selling point. ROFL

      They don't think they deserve free play time for the sake of it. They just feel it's an unfair way to judge who gets compensation and they're absolutely right. It's a terribly unfair way to decide.
      If this was a compensation for the lack of end-game content patches it'd make sense, but this is just a general 'here's a gift to our most loyal fans'. At the very least the implication that you have to be 50 to be loyal is a slap in the face to anyone who stuck with the game but hasn't had the time to hit 50.

      Frankly the idea that your priority list is the only valid one (ie, you don't want it so they can't ask for it) is much more selfish than the guys who are complaining because they've stuck with the game from day one and are getting passed over for compensation simply because even though they invested the same amount of money they didn't invest enough time in a single character to reach 50.
      I've been paying without playing for months purely to support the game in it's infancy, so the free month really doesn't mean anything to me (although I do have a level 50 so I assume I got it). I just feel it's wrong to lash out at people who are only asking for the same treatment as the rest.

      [On a side note every single player actually does DESERVE some compensation. The launch has gone no worse than the average MMORPG launch but it's still been sketchy enough that they weren't properly delivering what customers were paying for. You can argue that WoW, Rift, etc had as bad/worse launches, but that simply means they should have given something back to the players too (and in a lot of cases they did).]

        This is one hell of a misconception. BioWare never said "you're loyal, here's your time" in the email to subscribers, he's what was stated, word for word:

        "You are one of our most active and valued high level players"

        This is NOT saying that I'm loyal or not, just that I'm a level 50 whose time was valued enough that they'd give me a few extra days. I'm not saying that it's the best way they could have have doled out the freebies, but they didn't mislead anyone by even attempting to equate 'loyalty' with being 50.

      I'm sick of people complaining about anyone who complains as being entitled.

        Sorry, but this is a textbook example of entitlement. These people feel they deserve extra time for no legitimate reason. This wasn't part of the deal, they aren't having days taken away from them, someone else who did something they haven't was given extra days. Why does this affect them at ALL? But no, they're whining about not getting something they were never promised in the first place. Yes, the term 'entitlement' has been used quite liberally recently, but if there's a case for it, this is it.

      Really? I qualify for the reward, and I still think it's a really stupid idea.
      A real PR nightmare, that could have been avoided easily. They even admitted it was stupid, and changed it, so all the self righteous BS you self righteous "entitlement" buzzword slingers who fail to think, before you congratulate yourself on maturity you don't have, can shut up.

      According to the initial logic, a person who played one month and reached 50, then quit until last week, is more valued than someone who has paid for 3 months, and didn't. That's stupid. Sorry fanboys and forum contrarian gamers, who don't care about the issue, so it's easy to take a phony moral stance, but it is.

      ...but it's easier to feign maturity, and slap out a few "entitled gamers" and "kids these days" and call it a day.

    Lol yes yes yes!!!! ... Burn EA...See you in hell MotherF&@ker!

      That kind of atatude is what needs to go to hell you wanker

        I did say i'd see EA there ;)

          In the words of Reverend Lovejoy: "See you in Hell!"

          "from heaven!"

    Sweet a free month, my sub expires in 4 days from now, and granted while I have another 60 day time card on hand a free month is nice, just moved house so I was going to let my sub expire till I can play again.

    And a tauntaun pet, while I didn't need one it's a nice thought lol, just wonder if I can use as a sleeping bag :P

    a level 43 and a level 47? i love making alts in wow but even i would get my 1st to level cap before leveling my 2nd that high

    Once again Bioware has fucked up something without using any logic. to most people a loyal person would one who has stayed subcribed since the game was offically released back in december reguarless of whether they hit max level or not.

    Hell i remember back in WoW, i never got to lvl 60m until september 05, yet started playing the day it was released in 04 all due to the fact that my mates were server hopping and faction swapping every 5 minutes followed by the fact that we had alot of exercises happen during that period (army excerises)

      So you're saying that no one who wanted to wait for the official Australian release of SWTOR can be a loyal person? It was only released here in March, from memory.

      I do not deny that Bioware's logic was terrible, but yours is hardly better, if at all.

      Please people, stop propagating this myth that BioWare just said "everyone who's 50 is a loyal player" and gave them free time. They never used anything like this in their announcement, here is what they said "You are one of our most active and valued high level players", they spell it out in the first paragraph that this is for endgame players.

    what a load of shit firts u guys mess up ME3 for me now this i have a lvl 43 and havent had time to cap coz of work and family.

    WTF cheers wankers. keep screwing us ur shit bioware.

      ahh another butthurt retard who doesn't realise that he has lost nothing because of this. Get over it. You missed out. Big deal. BW don't give two shits about someone like you. Nor should they.

        I agree, fuck the fans. It's not like Bioware need them to open their wallets whenever their pushing new DLC.

        Oh and i'd say he's lost about $15

          Yea! F&@k them fans!

          How did he 'lose' anything? He wouldn't have been rewarded with this game time if BioWare hadn't gone on a goodwill tour. This is like people getting pissed they weren't invited to the party, but the way I see it, it's not something you were entitled to in the first place, so the maths still wind up in your favour.

          Whiny children need to harden up.

    Yeah I'm a bit pissed at this too, considering the lack of server transfers to the new Aussie servers, and the death of the old unofficial Aussie servers (jekk

      Jekk tar) I had to start from scratch. I got to 49 the night before patch....... Spewing (stupid iPhone keypad)

    Well poop i miss 1 month free game time how shall i ever go on with out that 15$ worth of Game time -_-.

    i have had an Active account since December 14th or so 2011 im in australia so i had to import it as well but i dont yet have a lvl 50 because i dont always have the time to sink 5 hours a day into the game.
    I maybe play 1-2 hours every day or two because of work and other things but i would say im pretty Loyal you knoe ive had my account since 2009 made it shortly after the game was first teased i'd say thats loyal.
    But honestly i dont give a shit about 1 mointh free game time if your so tight on cash that you are getting Butt hurt over 15$ maybe you shouldnt be Spending all your money on an MMO in the first place.

      Well if you dont care about Money thats your business, look here comes EA best get on your knees and start sucking

        Every post under this name is some juvenile post about how cartoonishly evil EA is. Are you 12?

      '1-2 hours every day or two'
      'i have had an Active account since December 14th'

      And you don't have a 50? HOW? The game literally throws XP your way, you can't even hold it off by PvPing like you used to in WoW.

    Someone else got $15 worth of stuff that I didn't - waaah waaaah etc

    "Perhaps they should have started with a smaller game and learned the ropes instead of consistently screwing up one of the biggest MMO releases of the past decade."

    Sounds like Mike is one of the people who missed out on the free game time.

      My thoughts exactly, and if you read his TERA article, seems that his only friend is his cat. Mike's having a rough day.

    They really screwed up with the level 50 free month, really bad PR move. Would have been better to give say a week for every month they have been subscribed(cap at 31 days) , everyone gets a fair reward for how long they have been active.

    Anyone not level 50 has a very solid game to play. No need to appease them with game time .

    Seems that the whole situation could have been avoided by using the word "dedicated" instead of "loyal".

    That or giving a free month to anyone who's had an active sub since the game launched in their region

      “You are one of our most active and valued high level players”

      There was no mention of either dedicated or loyal, just 'active' and I'd say it's a fair assessment that anyone who got to 50 is in some way, active. I'm not sure where this word came into the discussion but I'm suspecting Fahey just made it up, which is causing a whole lot of pointless rage.

    Meh, they should have just called it a lottery and let randoms win the free game time. Maybe less whining then....maybe.

    These people whinging about not having enough time. I work full time, I'm not home 2 nights of the week.

    I have Merc, Sorc, Juggernaut level 50's, and Operative, Sage, Marauder all 30+. It takes less than 60 hours to level to 50 if you're even half competent. 3 hours, 3 nights a week, thats 6-7 weeks. If you can't play that much, I don't see why you'd pay for a MMO in the first place.

    So, you either imported it and you've had tons longer than that to level to 50, or you bought it when it was released here and didn't research it enough.

      Do you happen to have a wife and kids by any chance? Maybe a little time to exercise and stay healthy? you know all that important stuff some people have to do.

        Haha my thoughts exactly, I'm guessing no, and if yes... Thats a happy family right there

    So what all you "50's" are saying is that someone that bought the game a few weeks ago and had enough time to level a character from 1-50 in that time, they are more loyal than someone that has been subbing since release?

    What some of you seem to miss is that one key word "loyal" - I'm willing to bet more people are pissed because of about that, than because they might have missed out on the free 30 days, I know I am.

      “You are one of our most active and valued high level players”, again, don't get pissed off, because it was never used. Fahey used it to colour the article but that's the exact phrasing BioWare used in their email.
        This is from the SWTOR website, read it, it most certainly says valued and loyal.

        As a thanks for being one of our most valued players, every active account with a Level 50 character as of April 12th, 2012 at 12:00PM CDT / 5:00PM GMT, will receive thirty (30) days of game time** in appreciation for your support and loyalty."

        What you are quoting from is an email that those pissed off people never got.....

    Yay, another poorly handled situation by EA and another chance for them and their buddies in the gaming media to call their customer base a bunch of entitled homophobe assholes.

    Got a problem with getting nickled and dimed? You're entitled.

    I for one welcome our new EA overlords

      How did anyone get nickled and dimed by this? I mean, for freaks sake, they're giving away free time.

        I'm talking in general. These days if you have a problem with anything you'll get yelled at for being entitled.

        Nobody is allowed to have a problem with anything, no differing opinions, just shut your mouth and open your wallet.

    Gamers fucking disgust me. They whine like pathetic brats. If Bioware hadn't included the word 'loyal' and just said 'hey, we're rewarding people who are level 50 with a month of free time' I guarantee there'd still be white hot rage coming from people.

    It's hard to think of more deplorable behavior than having a tantrum when someone else gets a gift.

    Grow the fuck up kids, you shame us all.

    lol I played SWTOR got to lvl 21 i think, I stopped playing and cancelled my account. But wait, this morning I got an email saying i have 7 days free play due to some Legacy update and if i join back i get a FREE Tauntaun Pet aswell. Hmmm I'm not a 'loyal' customer so maybe everyone should cancel their accounts to get FREE stuff from them :)

    I think Bioware know you can't keep everyone on the internets happy. EVER.
    So what do they do but aim this offer at their more "hardcore" audience (and I use the term loosely) in an effort to maintain their subs and get them to experience the new high level content.

    Do you think large companies like Bioware and EA haven't run the numbers and put their metrics up on pretty little pie charts in marketing meetings and come to the conclusion that a move like this will make more people happy than piss of the whiney vocal forum warriors?

    Frankly I have no problems with any moves from companies that crush the ever-growing sense of entitlement that self-involved gamers have these days .

    They don't OWE you squat.

    Get over it .

    This is unbelievable. BioWare gives certain players some free play time and now the people who didn't get it, who wouldn't have gotten it either way are not annoyed THEY got left out. Holy shit. Grow up.

    It's the endgame players not the levelers that have really been waiting for 1.2. It is a compensation to those who were lacking content. If you have not hit 50 there is still plenty to do!

    Well whether or not Bioware did or didn't do the right thing, the end result seems to be bad press. They seem to be making a few bad decisions lately with the way their games are handled.

    Lots of people very much missing the point here, Bioware have just created the label of “most loyal players” and told a whole bunch of the loyal players out here that you are not what we consider the “most loyal players” because you do not have a lvl 50 toon. That's the part that is uncool.

    Bioware didn't say “most loyal players”, therefore quoting as such is misleading and biased, Fahey.

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