Tobold's Blog
Thursday, December 08, 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.

Rockjaw (Community Manager) did say they are working with retailers to get the game shipped early.!/Rockjaw/status/144641099733016576

Otherwise, what you have sounds about right.
They're working on getting the game into the stores earlier as well. Should be available in retail from 15th in EU.
But I wants mah CE statue, art book, and soundtrack!

In all seriousness, I imagine that Collector's Edition goodies will start being shipped separately and will be an addendum to a digital download from here on out. It makes sense really; get your code now, and have your goodies shipped to you at a point in the future as a sort of 'SWTOR Gift Package.'
I ordered a physical copy of the CE, but am supposed to pick it up at the actual store. I've had much better luck with this than asking for it to arrive via a post service.

I think getting rid of the grace period wasn't terribly bright though. As I get older I value customer service more and more.
Before anyone starts playing the "I pre-order on this day so should or won't get this mech EA time".

The eariler your pre-ordered the eariler you get early access, that is the only stated fact.

BW never said anything about days. Could be the first wave goes in on the 13th and everyone is in by the 15th. Point is if the servers can handle it they will try to get everyone in game as soon as possible. If BW thinks the servers can handle it on the 15 there is no reason to hold wave up until there 18th. What date reange does for BW is by not giving out clear dates if something goes wrong they can wait in activating the later waves.

Just tired of seeing "LoL why preorder now, you'll get maybe 1 day if that." If 2million people played beta over 4 days, I think they can handle 1million preoders over 8.
I ordered a physical copy through Origin and they gave me my redemption code with the receipt so I can download the client.
I was tardy in getting my code entered. I'll know within 12 days what my EA time will be and I have to keep telling myself that missing a few days of an MMO won't be the worse thing that happens to me in my life.

My idle speculation is that Bio handled a couple of million players for the big Beta weekend, and the preorders can't be more than that so perhaps they can accommodate people sooner. (And if preorders are larger than two million, well that is not the worst problem for a publisher to have.

In the US, Amazon has a feature where big game preorders arrive instead of ship on launch day. They obviously use a private shipper and I should get an email with the tracking number when it ships and a txt when it is delivered.
"Thus whether any delays in physical distribution are "working as intended" makes for interesting conspiracy theory."

No conspiracy but mediocre lack of planning. The launch date was "supposed to be late November but this was moved back due to server/datacenter provisioning issues (those pesky computer real life issues always trip up these virtual worlds)

But on the plus side they are comping some extra early game access to make this all work well.

I was wondering how all the digital vs physical would go with SWTOR. After Cataclysm I felt physical media was going the way of the dodo bird. This in a backhanded way shows you just how BIG the non-wow audience is that wants to play this game.

The new players of SWTOR don't "know" about the difficulty of physical boxes showing up on time... because they have never been in a MMO launch before.

And frankly I will just LOVE playing a game that is not wall to wall jaded EQ gamers.
My first response to the news was to cover myself in Woad and scream with rage, "BRING ME THE HEAD OF STEPHEN REID!"
"But Cam, it's not his fau--"

Those of us who were red-zoned by the ridiculous and arbitrary discrimination decision were forced to rely on physical boxed copies if we wanted to play the game. We are now getting bent over AGAIN because someone at EA heard about this 'grace period' thing and decided that it was a great way to boost flagging Origin use - artificially making it a better option by intentionally breaking what was a perfectly-working system. Since shipping to Australia takes a few weeks, I'll be playing happily on my preorder head-start, then sidelined for a couple weeks before being able to continue because someone wanted to keep Origin on life-support.

Bring me the head of THAT asshole.
Pretty sure that some people are already receiving their Collector's Editions but no idea if they're US or EU based.
Swedish customers who orderd from the swedish webshop Webhallen has already started reciving their physical copies through the mail.
I will only buy the digital distribution when it is actually cheaper than the physical one...

I think it is kind of funny how origin and steam can be more expensive than buying a physical media. Like you point out, they earn more on a digital sale because their expenses are limited, but why not lower the price then?

I always buys my games from they have free delivery, and you always have the games on release date, in WoTLK a lot of customers actually got the game one day early so they could join the servers at 0.00 when it was available to digital purchase.

Buying the game from will cost me 379 dkr. and buying it from origin will cost me 449 dkr. thats more than 10$ more expensive than the digital version.

So as long as the physical media is cheaper than the digital one, the physical one will not die :)
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