The TRIUMPHANT RETURN! etc.
I played plenty of Star Wars: The Old Republic during the beta, with entry points at various versions, enough to say that it was entirely possible that they had done something cool. This is why I rarely play betas anymore: this “possibly cool” scenario. It’s the rule. Every earthly force conspires to devolve the “possibly cool” into the “Man, woudn’t that have been something.”
Let’s speak to the strip, though: the third panel in particular. There might have been a time where going Free To Play would be considered a dark portent, like merging servers. Independent of the purely inauspicious, there might have been a time where the model itself was a rough-hewn indicator of quality. Right? It says “we have made a game that no right thinking person would purchase.” Doesn’t it? Except, in practice, that’s not what happens.
This is a very old story, much older than the consumer Internet. It’s all very well to have a revolution in the distribution of information, but if all the old pylons and megaliths are in place, if all the ancient obeisances must be made to the nine Dark Princes, and if every waystone requires a discrete offering you haven’t accomplished much. You’ve ported scarcity. Something weird happens when you let people have things, when you allow those conduits to move. This site is a good example.
When they’re running queues for a community whose size is already gated by purchase plus subscription, it’s not the right time. There’s a point in this arc, though, where those starter zones are gutted Wild West facades and mature guilds are tooling around in their custom Mon Cal frigates, gazing out the window with their chins on their palms. That is when the booster phase of this game will fall away, burning in the atmosphere, mistaken for a star.