The stroke of Midnight (EST), on Tuesday, 12.20.2011, is the moment online gamers have been anticipating for six years. The official launch of Star Wars; The Old Republic (SW;TOR) is just hours away and the people who created the game at Bioware are hoping that millions of players are sitting at their keyboards just waiting for the hours to pass. Bioware and their parent company, Electronic Arts have spent over $125 Million to create what they believe will be the ultimate Star Wars MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online Game). The development team was comprised of literally hundreds of the top talents in the game design industry.
The game went on sale back in July of 2011 and almost a million players in the United States alone pre-ordered the game. Worldwide sales figures have yet to be released but they are expected to top two million copies pre-ordered at prices between $59.99 for the regular version of the game, $79.99 for the digital special edition or $149.99 for the boxed collector’s edition. Electronic Arts is looking forward to what they have said will be the most successful launch in the history of the company. Along with the cost of the actual game, players will pay a monthly subscription fee of $14.99 starting 30 days after they first log in to the game. All the signs are pointing to a quick break even and a big financial success for the latest addition to the Star Wars Universe.
Those players who were able to pre-order were rewarded with up to a week of Early Access to the actual game. This allowed players to have a better chance of getting their favorite names for their game characters or “Toons” as gamers like to call their alter egos. Better yet, Early Access gave players the opportunity to get a major head start on the legions of players who will be first joining the game tonight at midnight. The servers are already populated with many players who have reached the game’s level cap of 50 and thousands of others are closing in fast on the maximum level.
Gamers have taken several different approaches to Early Access. Some players played virtually non-stop and only slept when they passed out at the keyboard as they pushed like mad to reach level 50. Other players took advantage of Early Access to work on their crafting and gathering skills. This will enable them to make a wide range of useful items that can be created by players in SW;TOR. Player vs. Player (PVP) combat is also a big part of the game and a good number of Early Access players put the majority of their time into it. PVP in SW;TOR allows players to earn some of the very best gear the game has to offer and it will be a high priority as the game progresses.
The servers are holding up well to the stress of Early Access and players are reporting a very positive experience. As with any MMO, every player seems to have some special feature that they would like to have seen in the game that isn’t there but there has been a minimum of complaining. SW;TOR is replete with a plethora of features and offers all the goodies one would expect from a high caliber online game that has the Star Wars name attached to it.
There is one nasty bug in the game that players are hoping Bioware will correct during the five hours downtime before launch. The planet Taris has a serious memory leak that is locking some players in place and eventually crashing their game. This bug has the potential to prevent a player from being able to complete their class quest line that is an integral part of the leveling process. Bioware has indicated that they are aware of the issue and are doing everything they can to correct it.
The game servers are now down and the people at Bioware are working furiously to get everything ready for the big moment at midnight. All early indications are that Star Wars; The Old Republic has what is takes to be a terrific MMO. Six years of incredible effort went into making this game and everyone involved, both the creators and the players, are wishing Star Wars; The Old Republic the best for a long and successful future. Hopefully, Bioware will continue to add new content on a regular basis and keep the SW;TOR experience fun for many years to come.
Will you be there at midnight tonight to join the never ending struggle between the Light Side and the Dark Side in Star Wars; The Old Republic? If you plan to play, will you be joining the Republic or the Sith Empire?