Tobold's Blog
Saturday, September 24, 2011
All I want for Christmas is a lightsaber

EA Bioware just announced the release date of Star Wars: The Old Republic. The game will launch in North America on December 20th, and two days later on December 22nd in Europe. A 1-month subscription will cost $14.99 or €12.99. While a release this close to Christmas risks losing some holiday sales, I guess it was a compromise between readiness and getting the game out of the door still this year.
I like it. They got my buy now. Swtor was my thrid choice of the big three, but since it is the only one available they win. What could stop my buy? If GW2 or diablo set a release in early Jan and had a open play over the holidays.

E.g. if either a "demo" or open beta that would alllow you to make a toon and that toon progress and name would be saved and available when the game went live. But there is no need. The best thing for the industry would be to let me buy swtor and about 3 months later try to grab me away. The games are different enough, it is really only a matter of money and time. If all the games can become profittable on intial sales there is no reason to try to all release at once.
Going to be a quiet Christmas in the MMOs I'll be playing. I look forward to a flurry of gifts from those companies hoping to keep my custom, although they needn't bother.

I expect I'll get round to trying SW:ToR eventually, but it took me five years to get around to playing WoW so there's no rush.

Now if GW2 would like to give us a firm date I could book some holiday time.
Now let's start taking bets about how soon it will become F2P.
SWTOR had me at hello... but they've bungled our relationship. I'm far less interested now. I expect I'll eventually take a look but they've missed my pre order and probably 6 months of subs (after they invited me but wont take orders from Australia via Origin [it's in my SWTOR profile registration that I'm from AU]). I'm sure this suits their early launch plans to keep server pops. under control. I think the launch date works well from a Christmas gift perspective. For me I expect I'll still be loving Skyrim and am looking forward to GW2 and maybe some Kingdoms of Amalur. Diablo 3 is on the list too but not a day 1 purchase, maybe after 6-9 months or when they drop the box price.
Ideal to play during my christmas holidays.
And now lets bet about December 2011/January 2012 Diablo III release to take away some of the wind from Bioware.
Game Ready

Game Servers and associated infrastructure (authetication servers, help desk, network, security[ahem], storage, etc) not ready

Yes the "launch" date is curious but somewhat predictable. SWTOR will be no more ready with it's back end systems in late Dec than late Jan... so why not gamble on the holiday season sales?

Bets on when it's free to play?

I'll take never. Bioware just got themselves a new sugar daddy to pay for the tens of millions of dollars in IT infrastructure to make SWTOR shine it's brightest.

You don't plunk down this kind of money to have "free" enter into the equation.
I thought I was lucky getting in the beta. My wife and I already canceled my pre-orders, as I have already played this game way too much already. Except it was called World of Warcraft. There's nothing to see that you haven't already done before, and voice acting won't make killing 10 space rats or collecting 5 of their space bones any better.

Even games that copy the WOW model at least try to throw something in different. Public quests, phasing, appearance items, housing, achievements, etc. I know it will sell a lot of copies - but those who are looking for something even slightly different are going to be very disappointed. I cannot believe the amount of money that has been spent on this, only to fall so short in just having basic gameplay be enjoyable.
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