Posted 22 May 2013 - 13:15
I have no experience with STO.
However, I've been a SWTOR sub since launch. I think the game is in a fairly good place. Populations on all the servers are high, flashpoint and PvP queues pop frequently.
Since launch, the game has gained a lot of QoL features like group finder, legacy perks, customizable UI, scalable debuffs, and more. The game just recently also added a "barber shop" to that list, but it's all microtransactions.
There is still a good amount of "end-game" content - the game has 3 operations at level 50, and 2 at level 55, along with an instanced "world" boss at level 55, along with all the other world bosses that were pre-existing. They recycled 4 of the leveling flashpoints and re-tuned them for level 55, so it's sorta new doing your daily hard mode.
I've never thought the cartel market has been a bad influence on the game since it launched. The only real "problem" I had with it was that most of the cooler looking armors (in my opinion) came from the market rather than in-game. However, that being said, just about everything that is purchased on the cartel market is not bound permanently (items bind for 36 hours before they "unbind" and can be traded/sold) so you'll often be able to find those things on the in-game auction house or trade chat for sale for in-game credits (including things like unlocks and weekly passes, not just items). I have fun with the "gamble" bag packs that they sell, giving you a random chance at rare items and armor sets.
The new dye system they just implemented is where they finally overstepped, in my opinion. The implementation, while not great, is functional. Gear that can be dyed only has one dye slot. Dye modules are available only in certain combinations, and cannot be combined. You can find primary color only, secondary color only, and primary and secondary color modules. Of course, the "cool" colors (like white/white, white/black, and black/black) are only available from the cartel market. I don't think anyone thought that wouldn't happen, so it's no surprise.
The problem is that the way they sell the dyes on the market is via more gamble bags. So not only are you spending real money on a dye, you're doing it to gamble that you'll get lucky and get the color you want.
Oh, and did I mention that the dyes are consumables? That's right! Once you slot it in a piece of armor, you can never remove it or it will be destroyed.
That's the point I think they overstepped. I'd have no problem with gamble bags if the dyes were removable so they could be slotted in other armor sets. I'd have no problem with dyes being consumable if I could buy the color combination I wanted directly from the market. But both together? No thanks.
Overall though, I still like the game and still have fun playing it. For the most part, you can safely ignore the cartel market. There's nothing on there that's truly necessary to experience the leveling game or story (unless you want to experience end-game content).