Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
 
Missing the first week - curse or boon?

If this blog had sound, you'd now be hearing Chris Rea singing "Driving home for Christmas". Because that is what I'll be doing a few days before Christmas, driving to my parents place to spend the holidays with my family. Which means that on release day of Star Wars: The Old Republic I won't be home. I could take a laptop with me, but then I'll be hit with a triple whammy of lack of time, lack of computing power, and lack of a decent internet connection. The safest assumption is that I won't have time for SWTOR before New Year. And I wonder if that is such a bad thing.

I've been present at many MMORPG launches over the years. And the overwhelming majority went badly: In some cases you couldn't even reach the website to open your account. Game servers were generally overloaded. And in the newbie zones a dozen level 1 characters were camping a single mob spawn point.

Now things have generally gotten better over the years. But in the case of SWTOR I'm not terribly confident that they will have a smooth launch. They will have to deal with the onslaught onto Origin, with hundreds of thousands of people trying simultaneously to download a multi-gigabyte client. And while EA Bioware has people from Mythic on board, SWTOR is technically their first MMORPG ever, so there is still a chance of them getting surprised by stuff SOE or Blizzard would just yawn about.

Starting a week or two later would give me both a better chance of a stable service, and less overcrowded newbie zones. And as I do not consider MMORPGs to be a race to the level cap, I don't see what I'm losing out on. So what do you think: Is it better to start SWTOR on day one, or rather a week or two later? What are your plans for the launch?

Comments:
Your reasoning is sound and launch day for such a huge title will likely be fraught with epic failure of biblical proportions. But regardless of the soundness of your reasoning, it just sounds to me like you have your priorities straight.

Even if BioWare (somehow!) had the perfect launch, I wouldn't miss a family holiday (or devote time to the MMO during it.)

Merry Christmas (waaaaaaay) in advance!
 
First week? At the very least I think not worrying about your progress in the first few weeks is a healthy attitude. Plan for delays, outages, and reboots - and accept that you might be better relaxing with another game rather than doing the first launch.
Even if it is perfect the population will make the areas intense. Perhaps plan a visit but don't plan to get anything done.
 
Best launch i witnessed so far was Rift. Even though i do not play the game anymore, they delivered a very polished and bugfree (for a launch) game, which sure had its "blackouts" during the first days, but they were fast to restart the servers, if they had to solve a small problem.
 
To add to this, i doubt EA will be able to get such a smooth start, as i suppose the numbers will be x-times higher and as such the problems will arise. A lot will depend on the time they will give people to download the client before the game is released.

But same as you i will be busy with celebrating christmas with my family and not be infuriated if i happen to be unable to play the game.
 
current MMO's suck according to launch. if you miss the first ride, you are way behind levelwise and have to solo a lot to catch up, which is a problem which only gets bigger.
 
I'm in no rush to get a release copy of SWTOR and I'll happily wait a few weeks for login bugs to be ironed out and the various zerglings to move on to later zones.

Why? I'm in no rush. I'm intending to play through the story game a few times as I level up a selection of chars, but I have little interest in endgame. It's just a point on my MMO journey, not a destination.
 
WoWs last expansion had a smooth launch date. Still, logging in to find every mob camped isn't much fun.
I just waited until 8 am next morning at which point it was very playable.

Playing at midnight of the launch is something that I can miss.
 
I like early access to reserve my character names. I may be naive but I believe this is going tobe a smooth phased launch. So who knows I may even level a bit to soak up the buzz!!
 
If you miss it you miss it, but I find MMO launch days one of the few exhilarating moments in video gaming.
 
When an MMO launches, I usually skip the first month, or even more. Then the reviews come in (the legitimate ones, covering endgame, pvp etc)and people have formed an opinion about the game.

Plus I get to skip all the initial rush through the zones and then have the luxury of questing in a busy but not overloaded zone.
 
I played Rift at launch. It was the best experience I had with the game and I pity everyone who starts now at a pretty empty zone.

But a huge part of the reason was its event driven low level content, I think that doesn't really apply to SWOTR.

Rift launch was increadibly flawless with the server stability and the lack of bugs. I saw many other MMO launches as a complete desaster (like WoW). Just like you can't say how Bioware will handle the launch, you can't say how enjoyable it is.

But I guess in a story driven Single Player "MMO" like SWOTR it doesn't really matter when you start anyway
 
Sounds to me that you are just trying to rationalize the fact that you can't be there for day 0. However, logic doesn't apply to these type of events.

A die-hard gamer wants to be there at the start with all of the problems so that they can retell the stories over and over again about how horrible it was but that it was still cool to be there at the start.

The longer one has waited for the game, the more important this day 0 is; and SWTOR has been a long wait.

I say: go ahead and jump in. You will have some great stories to tell.
 
The release is going to be phased already and you can phase into and out of phases.

Early Access limited to pre-orders

Pre X-mas - limited to people that aren't unwrapping and bought around Dec 20+early access

X-mas - people the unwrap at x-mas and aren't busy plus above

After X-mas - above people that are home for holidays.

After new years - everyone.

Compared to most games it seems it will be a drawn out release.
 
If it's anything like Cata release the servers will be jammed, so probably best to wait a little while for things to settle down
 
I'm not sure a week is going to make that much difference. I will be doing the same thing, I think a lot of people will be spending time with family that first week rather than playing right at launch.

On top of that, you'll have people who will decide they want to play a different character after a week. How confident are you really on your own class selection, that you won't change your mind based on the first week of playing?

Also, a week isn't really enough time for Bioware to fix any unexpected problems. Any technical issues are still going to be there.
 
I will probably be starting a 3 week vacation so I will miss launch. Which is quite disappointing. Yet my rationalization skills are high and I am not that bothered. Avoiding high traffic, low response, buggy times will be good. And I am trying to delude myself that TOR will be "enjoy & listen to the leveling story" and not "kill 85*2000 pigs so you can finally play the game"
 
Well. Let's see. My account is already set up and Origin is not required to play. We will be given notice ahead of the early access to download the client. The Origin worlds will be instanced like Champions Online to prevent the camping problem.

It could still be rough, but I would say that BioWare has at least got a plan in place for each issue you bring up.
 
I thought about asking my wife to get it for me as an early Christmas present but I had the same thoughts as you. I will get it on the 25th and probably start the download but I won't play until the next day at the earliest.

Maybe they planned it that way to even out the rush?
 
well this Christmas i am not going for holidays i can enjoy it when they launch this game but i feeling that i can play it latter but i am missing a chance to spend time with my family . its boon for you .
rift lover
 
Keep in mind that all of the pre-orders will be playing prior to launch. We don't know details, but we do know there is a limited number of them. Perhaps the pre-order start date will be under control and also alleviate some of the starter zone pressure.
 
seems like a case of cognitive dissonance. i don't think anyone would blame you for trying not to be disappointed. i love launches. even if they don't go smoothly, it is a memorable experience.

there are some who say that seeing movies in a crowded theater is the only way to experience a film. the energy of the crowd adds to the film. i think the same can be said for launches.

if you don't count beta, launch is the only time the whole player base is on level footing, everyone is a noob.

you surely have something more important to do than play a videogame, but i would never not attend a launch just because of problems that may or may not occur.
 
My plans are to read the interwebs for amusement and assess how the MMOs I'm playing have been affected. Very happy not to be on the SW:ToR train.
 
The holidays is a time for family for me. So I will wait until the new year as well. I might wait for up to a month for the newness to wear off and escape the crowds in the newb areas. Since I expect this to be wow with light sabers, I am not expecting to play past the first month anyway.
 
For some reason SWTOR just hasn't grabbed me... I mean I think I was more vested in Rift than I am in SWTOR. Other than the IP I haven't seen anything from SWTOR I haven't seen before, granted I'm not following SWTOR's site but I read MMO sites.

Unless a decent amount of my friends play at launch I'll do what I did with Rift, I'll just wait a month and see.
 
I'm a huge advocate of getting in there at the start when a new MMO launches: if it sucks, it sucks, but if it's great and you miss the experience of being new when everyone is new, you can never get that back.

Having said that, I doubt there's much difference between being there on day one and being there a week later. I just wouldn't want to hang off until a month or more after launch, if I was keen on a game (which, in the case of SW:TOR, I'm not, not at all).
 
Rift's launch was pretty amazing - better than any other MMO launch I've been in, and I've been in a few (WoW, EQ2, Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault, City of Heroes, Champions Online, Star Trek Online. Admittedly some of those were pretty good too, like STO but still more balancing/hotfixing occurring early on). The only complaint I ever heard was that people couldn't log in to play because the servers were full. ...And when this whining got too loud, they opened more servers, which is one of those 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' actions. Because eventually you need to close/merge them.

If your only complaint with a launch is that you can't get to play because every man and his dog is too, then I consider that a successful launch.

Considering that one of the strengths of TOR is that it will be playable with only 1-4 player parties, and is supposed to be soloable/duoable til level cap (focus on story, yay), I don't think you'll miss anything by not being there on launch day.

The only people who DO miss out by not being in for the first three weeks of ANY launch are the psychotic e-peen-waving no-life geeks who invest their self-esteem in being more anal-retentive in their pursuit of min-maxing/achievements in an online video game, and they're inevitably beaten out by some guy in Korea or Finland or something who didn't sleep for the entire week or played in sleeping shifts with a family member or friend.
 
For TOR specifically, I'd also not be terribly surprised if they have a very smooth launch. I'm pretty confident that it's their in-house mantra. Check the number of SR tweets with those words. They've made a couple very critically-panned judgement calls about launch slots and dates (including the infamous red-zoning of the world outside the US and specific Euro countries), and a couple very reliable secret sources for the last year have had the launch date pinned at November 22nd. When the Euro beta was postponed, I was not at all surprised to see launch set exactly four weeks later than expected.
 
Don't worry about not being able to play. This game gets old really fast. Been in beta for a while and I do not even log in to test it any longer. Think KOTOR III with a crappy interface,crappy chat, and standard MMORPG gameplay. Tout the voice over all they want. After 2 days of playtime it all runs together and blends into the same repetitive boring mmo fare.You find yourself spacebaring every time a cutscene comes up, cause they get old fast. Game will release hot and heavy , then die within a couple years, ala warhammer.
 
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