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Sweet Release?

September 26, 2011

Sometimes, I think it’s really interesting just to watch the ripple of reactions go through a series of often predictable changes or stages after a big announcement. Especially when the big news is something that’s been anticipated for a while, and finally comes out of nowhere to surprise us all out of the blue.

At long last, BioWare announced this past weekend that Star Wars: The Old Republic is set to be released December 20, 2011. It was the last thing I expected to see when I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, bleary-eyed and struggling with getting a skittish and carsick dog (who was freaking out enough for the both of us) into the backseat so we could get to the vet on time. The mind can only process so much, you know, so here I am on Monday during my lunch break finally being able to ramble about my thoughts and musings about the release date.

In a word, I am thrilled! And I think a lot of other SWTOR fans are too. But isn’t it funny, though, how in mere hours the speculation had already moved on to other big questions, like “When’s early access?” or “When’s the NDA gonna drop?” Not that I would deny being curious about the second question myself, being there are a ton of misconceptions I would love to clear up about the game and the fact I already have a bunch of topics I’d love to talk about. Sometimes I think it is the nature of the gaming community to seek the next big shiny and salivate over the next big piece of news.

But of course, another huge question that I’m sure a lot of people are asking now — “Where am I going to find the time to play SWTOR?” I’ve already seen a lot of hilarious jokes (at least, I hope they’re jokes) on various forums about ditching family to play SWTOR and getting divorce papers served in their Christmas stocking this year. I personally don’t even know what my holiday plans are yet this Christmas, but I can tell you, December just got a whole lot busier.

I’ve also seen comments from people who are genuinely soured or upset. But why? I’m not saying December 20th isn’t an extremely awkward date, but where my feelings are concerned, BioWare has done right by me. They said 2011 and they delivered, even if it’s with 11 days to spare. They said “Holiday” and they delivered, even if that was quite literal. There has been a ton of speculation on the reasons, from factoring in Diablo III to timing the release purposely to stagger population loads, all of which are plausible of course, but whatever. As we’ve learned, game releases can happen at any time, and regardless, life happens — whether it be the holidays, exams, deployment, a new baby, vacation, or any of a whole slew of possible commitments. Just gotta roll with the punches.

Personally, I’m not worried. Christmas comes but once a year, yet SWTOR will be around for a long time. Besides, getting your fill before holiday crunch time and the family arrives is what the preorder early access is for, my lovelies!

For what it’s worth, I am content. We have a release date. For me and many others who have been following this game for years, the waiting is almost at an end!

40 comments

  1. Yeah the reactions are always fun to read. On my end, on twitter, a lot of people are jaded or don’t feel as excited about SWTOR.


    • Well now, I think I may just have to be more active with my SWTOR tweets to pump some of that SWTOR love your way ;)


  2. I’m happy with it as well. I’m willing to wait for awesome. My birthday D&D game might become a birthday SWTOR game though. :P


    • Ah nice, it’s always cool when a big release falls close to a bday!


  3. This week, millions of vacation requests get sent into bosses around the world for the week of 12-20-11 :p


    • On my current schedule I am off Tues/Wed. *checks calendar* Huh, imagine that, 12/20 is a Tues. \o/


      • Good you have Wednesday off as well, in my experience with the craziness of launch day, you get the most play out of a game the day *after* it is released, heh heh ^_^


    • If they preordered, I hope they waited for news of early access! Hmm, maybe that’s why everyone’s clamoring to know the dates…


  4. I actually feel pretty sorry for the employees who will not be allowed to take time off during the holidays coming up. I know most places become ghost towns the end of November and the end of December. I can imagine that anyone involved in this launch has had time off requests denied.
    I just don’t see how they could have possibly squeezed the game out any sooner. There really isn’t a lot of time left to wrap up all the moving parts.
    I think what we’re seeing on the forums and fan sites is just part and parcel of our increasingly NOW society. We get so much instant communication that we’ve forgotten how to pace ourselves. People want to download it, consume it, and move on to the next thing.


    • Not that unusual in the retail world, if not the gamine dev world. My DW(!) is a retail manager, and their vacation is blacked out from the day after Thanksgiving (US) through New Years every year.


      • True, happens all the time, not only in the retail world as well. Many of my friends from industries such as finance to tourism have had to forgo days off during the holidays. It sucks for the BioWare support team that will have to work through the Christmas holidays but hopefully it’s not something they have to do every year, unlike some workplaces. And hopefully they’ll be well compensated for their hard work and troubles :D


    • Yeah, given how close we are getting now to the end of the year, I was not really anticipating this game earlier than December. Works for me, my November game schedule is already taken up by Skyrim :P


  5. GAH! You’re like to my co-worker who announces every 30 minutes what time it is, and makes the day go by at a snails pace! What’s next? Is your blog going to start sending out countdown notifications?

    J/k Good editorial


    • Hey, if I was motivated enough I’d TOTALLY make a countdown clock.


  6. Do you think the announcement on the heels of Diablo 3 getting delayed to 2012 was a coincidence? I think not, but the opinion seems highly polarized.


    • Since I don’t think BioWare could have gotten this game out that much sooner and because December 20 is barely making it by 2011 as it is, I personally don’t think Diablo III has much to do with it. That’s just my opinion, but hey, anything’s possible I guess!


  7. The 20th is my daughter’s birthday.

    It’s OK. She’ll have more, and I’ll only be in the basement. With the door locked. And barricaded. And the headphones on.

    (But I pre-ordered, so I’ll have the headstart MAYBE before the 20th).


  8. Here’s my personal opinion about the release date. I’m happy it’s out there, and i have a specific idea of how long i have to upgrade my computer to be prepared for the game. Knowing i can save for black friday, get a few items, like a better graphic’s card and processor and so forth.

    However, i’d be lying if i sat here and said i didn’t think they could put this game out sooner.I’ve been reading every little bit i could, seen every video, i’ve waited to hear more specifics about this game, just the same as you’ve been waiting to clear up the misconceptions.

    I think that’s REALLY all that bothers me, is that this game has been shrouded in so much secrecy, that for a legit follower of this game, it’s almost punishment. I want to see this game, i want to play this game, i want to be in the beta, i WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME. If i can’t play it, at least let me hear the legitimates.

    That being said, the ONLY thing i have to go on is the facts of life with the game. It has 8 classes i want to play for the sheer bulk of different stories, different companions, pvp perspective, party options, and sheer DIFFERENT GAMEPLAY. I haven’t played WoW since the Colosseum came out, in anticipation of this game.

    With that said, it’d be nice if they disclosed some talent trees in the very least. I know the game is gonna be good, and i’m not one of those guys who sits around complaining about things like, “Omfg, if alllll of the things i just said don’t come true, this game is gonna blow, it’s gonna be full of bugs, an they’re hiding a shitty game underneath it all! screw bioware!” BUT…….that IS how they make me feel not giving me anymore juicy morsels to tide me over until the game comes out……..


    • The secrecy has been a sore point for many, and to an extent it bugs me too, but I like to flip it around and see it as a good problem (and it’s the only way to stay sane sometimes! :P ). SWTOR is the perfect example of being a victim of its own success. Because so many people are so invested in this game, especially emotionally, I can see why they’d be so careful with the release of information.

      If every fan was like you, they’d have very little problems :D But you know how the online community, especially the game forums, can get. Some days, it seems it’s like damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Sometimes, I just can’t blame them at all for playing it safe and just keeping quiet.


  9. I completely understand these concerns people have. I’ve always been pressed for time amongst work, blogging, reviewing/previewing games, family, etc. to where time spent actually playing games for fun seems to run slim. Sometimes I have games I don’t get to playing for many months after release, and I’ve got games from ca. 2004 still in the shrink-wrap!

    SWTOR is going to be a fun game, but it’s certainly going to require being able to set aside time to really enjoy it. That’s how I am with MMORPGs – I need to be able to have sufficient time to immerse into the game world, it’s lore, and the social structure, or else I may as well not play it.


    • Haha, I’m like that with some of my games too *eyes my own copies of games still in its original shrink wrap* and I’ll agree there’s definitely something about MMOs that require more time invested than your usual video game.

      That’s why I think even with all these MMOs going F2P, I’ve yet to really dive into any of them, even though many of them are games I really want to play. For example, AoC comes to mind. I loved that game and couldn’t wait to get back into it once the F2P announcement came…but I still haven’t. I just don’t feel I have enough time these days, and a game like that requires a lot of time to immerse myself and get into its game world. I think it deserves my full attention, which I just can’t give right now.


  10. If this was one of my first MMOs, I would be stressed beyond belief about this date. At this point though, I have been through enough launches to know better. Day one is always a mess, and does not count. If the server even comes up, its a miracle. Te whole first week is a slew of outages, emergency updates and crippling lag. Not to mention that hundreds of thousands of players will all be packed into the same starter planets at once, which does a real number on immersion.

    If I was not running a guild, I would probably give it two week, then start up in the new year. Let the chaos settle a little. As is I will probably use my head start time to get the guild launched and set up, then step back for a while while the masses come rushing in.


    • Indeed, this does make me think how little interesting it is that after so many MMO launches, we still get a lot of rage over the first day not being perfect…like it ever is? When I want to play a game on day one, I expect the outages, the server queues, the updates and lag. It sort of comes with the territory, and there’s no use getting all upset at something I knew was coming a mile away. On the other hand, if it’s something I don’t feel like I need to get in on right away, yeah I’d be waiting a couple weeks for the chaos to die down as well.


  11. Hrm, now I’m wondering if some of those misconceptions you want to address are mine. >.>

    As for my reaction it went something like this. I read the title of the EMail, “The announcement you’ve been waiting for” and thought, “Woo-hoo, Beta invite!” Then I opened the email and saw 12-20-2011 and thought, “Awwww, dang it, just the release date.”

    That’s it. No wondering about early access nor the NDA dropping nor wondering where I’ll find the time. It’ll come when it does and all that matters right now is that it wasn’t a beta invite.


    • Haha, no it wasn’t you, I was actually thinking more of a couple of twitter conversations I’ve seen over the last few months.


  12. Releasing on the 20th puts this right in place for Christmas vacations. That’s not much help for anyone out of school, but it’s perfect the younger crowd. Of course, I have a feeling that the launch crowd will primarily be the young at heart, so that may not be a factor at all.


    • I know a good number of people who will be taking days off from work for SWTOR’s release. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I guess you’d have to be young at heart to do that as well :D Me, sometimes I feel like I’m no fun at all. I’ve never and will never take days off from work just for a game. I’d rather save them for real vacations where I get to lie on a sunny beach somewhere and relax.


  13. Honestly, I was one of those untouched by the exact timing of the release date (at least in the sense that I neither panicked, nor cheered). That we got a release date at all was exhilarating – the exact date didn’t really phase me all that much.

    My Christmas plans are far from set, but I don’t tend to do much traveling around the Christmas holiday. I am usually the host for Christmas get-togethers, so most of my kin stop by my place.

    I am going to be camped out very happily this year.

    Really, I feel for the people who see this coming at an inconvenient time – but I also realize that no time is ever perfect.

    Nothing ever works in perfect timing where life is concerned.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in your post; gamers, especially these days, are always ready to move onto the next question without really taking the time to appreciate the significance of the present moment.

    We have a release date; A game that many of us have been waiting for day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after-year, finally, FINALLY, has a fucking release date… I can’t – not hyperbole, it is literally impossible – overlook that fact in favor of just moving onto the next question. To do so, would be to minimize the true magnitude of what this release date represents.

    For me, it means that a game I have been waiting for, breathlessly, for over three years, is finally on the horizon. I never would have imagined I would have the patience to wait this long, going back to the SWTOR site nearly every day, checking in on fan sites, following every con, dissecting every little tidbit I could get my hands on about this game, and not have gone completely off my damn rocker. But here I am, sane as can be, still chugging along.

    I made it; WE fucking made it.

    It’s sad that people, in their mad dash to move past the present to speculate on the future, don’t realize how awesome that really is to say.


    • Like I said, I don’t even know what my plans for the Christmas holiday are yet, but if it involves family then it’s going to take precedence over any game. After my father-in-law passed away, family gatherings for my husband’s side will be more important than ever. And for me, if my parents visit this year, it would be a treat because they live overseas and I only see them on average of once a year. SWTOR can wait, and I’ll get to sort of experience all the joys of launch date during early access anyway. And honestly, who really “enjoys” launch dates or launch weeks anyway, they’re always a mess! :P

      Anyway, this is also why I’m glad I play with like minded people who are grounded, casual, and have life obligations like work and family. It would be pointless for me to get a lot of time in during the holidays to play anyway, since most of my friends and guildies will be busy just like me. I don’t like getting too far ahead of everyone else I play with, gets lonely when I’ve out leveled everyone and am looking for groups with my buddies.


  14. As an ordained and fully confirmed member of the “I’m not impressed with anything I’ve heard about SWTOR” club, I’d personally really dig it if you did a post addressing what you feel were the common misperceptions once the NDA drops. I’ll be curious to see if I fell into any of them.


    • Et tu, eh? :D


      • Perhaps better for me to say I can see, without a doubt, that the stories will be interesting, and I’d pay the box price for that, but a subscription on top of a box price is a bit absurd. So while I can’t really say that nothing about the game seems entertaining, I can say nothing about the game seems to justify the regular expense I’m expected to pony up for the right to play.

        Between LotRO, League of Legends, Global Agenda, and City of Heroes, I have more online games than I have time for and have gotten used to a lot more bang for my 15 bucks.


      • “I have more online games than I have time for and have gotten used to a lot more bang for my 15 bucks.”

        And with a mighty clang, the death knell of contractual subscriptions did ring out low and true. Though the mournful bellows were unmistakable to those on the ground floor, the sorrowful reverberations of the metal oracle failed to reach stock holders and business men resting blissfully unaware in their swanky lofts high above. Should these aging money makers be too slow to act, too rooted in past profits and conquests to change with the coming tide, methinks the bell tolls for there future as well.

        Back when ToR was in dev, monthly fees were king merely because other subscription plans have been going on for so long it wasn’t a question of “will there be one?” but “how much will it be?” Some of the smaller companies even used this to their advantage, charging less than the big box companies to possibly squeeze in a few more copies sold. It was nearly part of the gaming culture.

        But now the market is changing. Having survived one hell of an ironically titled expansion, WoW is self-sustaining. As hip it is to mindlessly bash the game, 4.3 *will* be bringing back sub. numbers in a very big way. It is the biggest game to still use this dated model and should be kept on watch to see how the rest of the market is doing. Once WoW decided to go full on free to play with an item shop, expect all other past and future clones to do the same.

        As for SW, I hope the game does well. I like what they are doing, but my personal tastes in gaming completely dropped all interest in it when I found out more about Guild Wars 2 and it’s actiony and more twitch based combat.

        …Though to play Devil’s Advocate: You mentioned LoTRO, Global Agenda, and City of Heroes. How many failed MMOs does it take to change the entire market to go full on f2p?


      • I know I may fall outside the norm on this one, but I’ve mentioned before on this blog that sometimes I prefer pay-to-play over free-to-play, if it means I will actually get off my ass to play it :P

        Of all the f2p games I’ve played, they never lasted very long. The MMOs I’m playing now both have subs and in some ways it’s the only thing that’s keeping me playing and enjoying myself. That’s the crux of it, I don’t mind shelling out 15 bucks a month if I get to experience all that the game is offering and if I’m having fun. All these f2p games on the market now, as great as I’m sure they are, as much as I’d like to get in on them, I just can’t…due to time restraints, if something’s free it’s hard for me to find the motivation to invest my time, not when I know there are other MMOs I already have to play, which will give me the full experience.


      • @Encrazed Crafts

        While I somewhat agree with you that Global Agenda skirted failure I don’t think you can lump CoH and LotRO in that pile. CoH just went F2P this month. It was released April of 2004. It had 2 expansions (CoV & GR). So it was a P2P title for 7 years, 5 months w/2 xpacs and that is considered a failure?

        LotRO was P2P Nov. 2008 to Sept. 2010 and had 2 xpacs in that time (MoM, SoM). While much shorter than CoH they swapped models not because of customer numbers but because of the phenomenal success they got from DDO going F2P.

        Compare that to true failures. APB, closed in just a few months. Tabula Rasa, closed in under a year.


      • My bad, Grey. Got a cold in the meantime, but I’z betta!

        Hmm, perchance my wording would have been better if I instead asked “How many failed *pay per month* games does it take…?” as they clearly are making more money by dropping their old ways. Again, not saying they shouldn’t make gobs of cash, or that I wish them ill or anything, but I find it unlikely things were going perfectly well beforehand or they would have merely stuck to what was already in place.

        After all, if they are more successful with this change, and I hope everyone involved with it is, what does that make the old model? If the new *is* successful… the old model is not. Not was not, because it was successful back then, but it is not *now.* (Almost turned into a “Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns” speech there hee hee) The old model was not a failure then, but certainly is now. Paying per month for those games is a failed concept at this point in time.

        Ironically APB did it right. Buy the whole month for a flat rate or pay for a set amount of time that never expires until you use it. Heck, you could even trade in-game cash and items for in-game real life currency which in-turn was used to get more hours or months. Was a lovely idea until the company itself failed the game not the other way around. Which is probably why the game out-lasted the company that spawned it haha I’m just glad to get to play it again ^_^

        As for citing games length of time and popularity, Diablo 2 came out long before any of those, still has a strong online following, and has never charged per month since it’s release back in ’96. It also had an expansion and the sequel is just around the corner. It was also the biggest reason I claimed not to even get started in monthly fees as to this day they still cannot honestly be explained.

        From a company standpoint I can see why, as that’s easy money. From the consumer’s view, they are not such an easy sell. I got the box with Diablo 2 and that was it until the expansion came out. From that point on I’ve never paid a dime and the servers still are running miraculously. My characters are saved, as well as my items, quest progress and experience. The only ‘real’ reason any company can cite is server cost due to maintenance. Anyone else find it ironic that maintenance is the only time we can’t actually play the game? Charged extra just for downtime, boggles the mind.


      • Oop, the original Diablo was 1996 and D2 was actually 2000 even, muh bad.


    • Will do. A couple things come to mind already which I’ll definitely talk about at some point, though I don’t know what particular subjects you had in mind. We’ll see!


  15. [...] So Bioware-Mythic (the Sarbanes-Oxley of Game Design) gave me a birthday present. They announced that the day of my birth will be commemorated by launching Star Wars: The Old Republic. [...]



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