Thursday, December 8, 2011

How I understand the SWTOR launch

The blogosphere is buzzing with the news about changes in plans to the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic. So I'll post my understanding of the current situation now, as I probably won't have time to post anything tomorrow due to RL stuff. This is what I think the situation is now:
  • You can already pre-download Star Wars: The Old Republic if you pre-ordered it.
  • Even better, you might not even have to pre-download it if you played in the nearly-open beta weekend end November, you can just patch that beta-client.
  • The early access period has been moved forward 2 days, starting December 13th.
  • That does NOT mean everybody will be able to play SWTOR on December 13th if they pre-ordered, this is an "up to" 7 days early access deal.
  • EA Bioware will start sending out mails on December 13th giving people access based on who pre-ordered first.
  • People who pre-ordered will get between 1 and 7 days of early access.
  • So while technically you can still pre-order, that isn't likely to result in many days of early access.
  • On the 20th of December and after, only people with a valid code from the game they bought will be able to play, EA cancelled the "grace period".
  • Thus if you bought a digital version from Origin, you are most probably golden, you'll get that valid code by mail on the 16th of December, way in time to register and keep playing.
  • If you ordered a physical copy of SWTOR by mail order, you should start praying. While those physical copies "are supposed to" arrive in time if all goes well, the rest of the world is celebrating a little-known event called "Christmas". Little-known to postal services that is, because they manage the get surprised by people wanting to send parcels at this time of the year EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
  • There will undoubtedly be people who will receive their physical copy AFTER Christmas, and they won't be happy.
  • There is some concern that this "receiving the game a week late" might be even more likely if you ordered a collector's edition. As this collector's edition is rather expensive, this would be somewhat ironic, because it would mean that the people who paid three times the price to play the game would end up getting the worst service.
  • The day where MMORPGs aren't shipped in physical boxes at all any more (or only months after release, like WoT) is approaching. EA Bioware easily makes $20 more on each digital sale compared to a physical sale. And if buying the physical box means you get to be late to the party, a lot of customers are going to switch to digital next time around.
  • Thus whether any delays in physical distribution are "working as intended" makes for interesting conspiracy theory.

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