[SWTOR] Are we there yet?

Bioware have taken the fairly brave step of allowing new players into their shiny new servers/ game in waves, depending on when they entered their pre-order codes into their accounts.

Naturally this has spawned some classic board-rage on the official boards from people who don’t think they got their money’s worth. I don’t normally have a lot of time for board rage but in this case I think they have a point. Retailers/ Bioware were charging extra for those pre-order bonuses, and I think people are entitled to know exactly what they get for their money. Stepped pre-entry might have been fairer if the pre-order had not cost extra over the box version.

Arb and I cheesed the whole thing by getting given pre-order codes for free at Comic Con back in July, so we got in early and made our characters last night. I have a pretty blue bounty hunter and a pretty red sith and a pretty green smuggler. Who knew my life was so devoid of characters with primary-coloured skin? (I know people have criticised SWTOR for the fact so many of the races are recoloured humans, but I actually kind of like the way they look. I also like that you can make dark skinned humans, and that so many of the NPCs also have dark skin. That’s been missing from far too many games, given how easy it should be to do.)

So far the early start seems to have been going very smoothly. That’s not a small thing at all, so props to Bioware and hope they can keep it up. The pre-loaded guild setup means that if you had joined a guild and noted it on the Bioware site before launch, when you log into the server to which that guild was assigned, one of your characters (you can choose which) gets an automatic invite. This has also been working neatly, and saves a lot of hassle around “omg, is anyone around who can invite me???!!” (especially if one’s guildmaster did not get into early start until near the end.)

I will write some more specific posts on particular mechanics or storytelling tricks that I think either work or don’t in this case. But I am continually blown away by how clever the camera work is in the cut scenes, showing different characters’ reactions to conversation, and giving extra information about my character from her posture and movement. I see her leaning casually against a wall, pacing up and down like a caged animal, and all in the background of whoever is actually speaking. It very effectively gives the impression of the sith warrior as a lioness, ferocious, arrogant, contained. How can you not love that?

I am trying to decide whether to give amusing updates on how my budding sith warrior is faring. I don’t want to give spoilers, but … if they’re funny…? Maybe I will mark any such with spoiler tags.

Favourite moment so far: My warrior messing around and telling her master, “If you see the emperor, say hello from me.” His response, “I’m sure he’ll be thrilled,” which sounds like nothing unless you actually heard how dripping with sarcasm the voice work was. I wonder if I’ll have that level of sark when I’m a big strapping warriorette; one can but aspire to greatness. Have also decided that my warrior will suck up to the empire military because they have nice uniforms. Other than that, it’s light side for me.

Also teamed up with a friendly inquisitor (shurely shome mistake?) to complete a couple of group quests. We died a couple of times, but never both at the same time, so were able to press on and complete them both. Naturally I have forgotten her name and didn’t friend her at the time.

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30 thoughts on “[SWTOR] Are we there yet?

  1. Charging extra for pre-order bonuses? I do not recall seeing that here in the US, though I must admit to not having made a comprehensive study. Amazon had it at the SRP of $59.99 for the standard version, pre-order bonus included.

    • Effectively that was a pre-order charge, just unless you really looked around it wasn’t possible to buy a copy without a pre-order slapped on. we did really look around though, because it seemed silly to pay again for something we’d just been given for free. (Now we’ll just have to see if they come through and actually send a copy in good time.)

  2. Early access doesn’t technically start until tomorrow, so people really don’t have cause for complaint until EOD tomorrow. ;) People getting in now is just gravy.

    People have even less reason to complain because 1. once they’re in, all complaints will cease; 2. nobody will remember not getting into early access by the end of December; 3. it’s a video game and there are a great many good ones out right now, so enjoy the lack of overlap.

    That all said, glad you (and everybody) seems to be enjoying it. Can’t wait to get in.

  3. I gotta say, the preorder depost is pretty standard in the U.S. I say deposit, because it goes towrds the final cost of the game at time the time of purchase. For example, I preordered Cataclysm and paid $10, which went toward the $80 pruchase price for the CE. If I had walked in the day of launch with no preorder, and they had CEs available, it would have been $80. It’s not an extra fee in the end, unless you cancel the pre-order, in which case you lose the deposit.

  4. Sorry – you’ve lost me. When did the pre-order cost more than the standard version? Are you talking about the Origin-only edition with not-quite-as-much-stuff as the CE or the standard version only edition? Pre-ordering the standard edition from Amazon UK, GAME UK, Zaavi or shop.to didn’t have any pre-order charges and didn’t require a deposit at all (unless you pre-ordered in store).

    What am I missing?

  5. The level of idiocy and sense of entitlement regarding pre-ordering this time around staggers me. It shows that no matter what you do, a game company in the MMO business cannot win, under any circumstances.

    The advertising says “up to five days” early access.

    Bioware started letting in their most ardent supporters (the people who plunked down their money first) into the game world two days earlier than they’d promised.
    Based on that evidence, my presumption is that their internal goal is to have the vast majority of their preordering customers into Early Access…five days ahead of launch. i.e. to exceed the expectation set by “up to five days” by making it *actually* five days, even if you preordered last Friday.

    Nonetheless, someone on G+ who preordered the CE the second week of August actually *called* Bioware yesterday to try to get an update on just when he’d be getting in – where he was in the Grand Queue of Life – since he DID preorder the CE (The most he’s ever spent on a video game, kthx) in AUGUST. Then proceeded to b*tch about how terrible Bioware’s customer service was, because the minimum wage phone operators weren’t privy to the inner workings of the Launch Pacing Engineers. He was Kind Of A Jerk.
    But he’s got nothing on the person who was complaining about how he ‘wasted a day off…for nothing’…when Bioware clearly states right on the label “up to 5 days early access” Hmm. 20 minus 5… *ponders*

    I’m quite happy to have been a late preorder, because I can just sit back and be slightly :smug: while I keep on [strike]playing[/strike] losing myself in Skyrim.

  6. It cost me a $5 deposit to preorder and I entered my code on 9/22 and am currently not invited. (12/14/2011 11.15 pm EST) Does this bother me? Not in the slightest. I am definatly excited and can’t wait to play but it is what it is. I would be willing to bet that most of those people complaining about not getting in would still pay that $5 even if BIO had said they would only get 1 day. I love playing MMO’s and I truly can’t wait to play SWTOR, but I feel nothing but pity for someone so caught up in a game as to be mad that they were not admitted before the other guy. Its just sad. Go outside and throw a rock at a tree, at least you will be outdoors and seeing something other than a computer world.

  7. Yeah, I’m disgusted with the board-whining, too. I realise the mild irony of getting incensed about petty rage, but it’s a microcosm of most of what’s wrong with humanity. Can’t bear to look at those threads anymore – wouldn’t do to start my Jedi career in mid-seethe.

  8. Well, I didn’t know I’d paid more for the pre-order until I read it here…best way to avoid MMO-rage, I find, is to avoid the forums for at least 3 months after launch, when the worst of the DOOOOOOOM mongers will have self-fulfilled their prophecy.

    I might be more annoyed if I’d managed to download the game, ofc. My MMORAGE is directed at the launcher currently :).

    If my mate next door was in I might be upset, too. Particularly if I was a teenager.

    And…I have to work anyways…

  9. @Sullas – well, since I’m going Sith reading the board whining is getting me in just the right state of seethe ready to Force Lightning some of these idiots in real life, if only I could… although if I could, I’d be using it on a whole bunch of management consultants and offshore developers first :p

    My personal favourite was the guy who complained that if anyone only got one day of free early access it would be a kick in the teeth to them. I felt compelled to offer him an actual kick in the teeth so he could have a point of reference.

    Personally, I pre-ordered at the end of November after playing in the stress test weekend. I’d like to start playing now, but I can wait. Any head start at all is a bonus and a freebie.

    • Kick in the teeth is good, but I always prefer slap in the face. That phrase gets used *everywhere*. Everything is a slap in the face. Everything is a personal insult to *you* because we hate your momma.

      I bet in an alternate universe, everyone is complaining that the fact that Bioware’s servers are all down due to the flood of people that they totally should have been prepared for is a slap in the face of all their customers.

  10. While the pre-order thing is one of the biggest examples of money scumming I’ve seen in a while. Whichy is apparently part of EA’s continuing effort to regain their crown as worst video game company ever.

    People who bought early acess have every right to complain. But I live in a country that isn’t even allowed to actually buy the game, under the pretense there’ll be oceanic servers maybe.

    There won’t be oceanic servers.

    So those people can go to hell.

  11. But I didn’t pay more to preorder? The price I paid was the same had I walked into a shop and bought on on Dec 20th. So can someone please clarify where this ‘$5 charge’ claim has come from?

    • People confusing the concepts of “charge” and “deposit”.. I pre-ordered the game for $60, paid a five dollar deposit, and tomorrow(ish) they’ll bill me the other $55. Final price, $60, same as if I walked into a store next week and bought a box off the shelf. If people had to pay $5 to place a pre-order then got charged the $60 on release, that would be a charge.

      And the people who are going ballistic over this have presumably never pre-ordered a game on Steam (or most other digital sellers) – they charge the full final price up front, not just a token deposit…

    • Sure, my basis is that I was able to find a shop that charged me £5 less for my copy /because/ there was no preorder bonus even though it was a preorder (I assume they’d only been provided with a limited supply of preorder codes.)

      So from my perspective, everyone else was charged for their preorder code. I wasn’t because I got it from another source.

      • That’s not a £5 charge for everyone else, it’s a £5 discount for you. Presumably offered because they realised everyone knew there were pre-order items available and the copies they were selling didn’t have them, so they needed to offer an incentive or have no sales (except for non-clued in parents/relatives/non-gamers buying presents).

      • Some (smaller, independent?) suppliers weren’t given pre-order codes but major retailers (as listed on the SWTOR website) were. The prices on those official sites ranged from £33 (Zavvi) to £40+ (GAME). Buying the game through Origin cost you full whack – £50 or something. Origin charged what they called a pre-order fee (actually a deposit if you read the support pages closely – don’t know why people didn’t) as did ordering in a physical GAME store. Ordering online with GAME or Zavvi didn’t require a deposit.

        Honestly – the whole thing about paying more for early access is a myth.

        Also, the pre-order codes aren’t tied to an order so if you pre-ordered, got the code and then cancelled the order, you could still redeem the code.

      • So if EA had followed the increasingly-standard (especially in digital distribution) model of charging the full price up-front for pre-orders, you wouldn’t have gotten the incomplete/open box/floor model 5 dollar discount.

        EA, in other words, are evil horrible and bad for being less evil, horrible, and bad than the industry standard.

      • I didn’t say they were horrible, evil and bad. I do think that pre-order deals/ offers/ discounts are getting increasingly confusing though.

        SWTOR is also an example of a PC game that’s costing more than the usual AAA PC game price (the usual sort of price for an amazon AAA PC game preorder has been around £25 for awhile now, games like SWTOR and Diablo 3 have been over £30). The pre-order model used to be that you ordered early to get a discount. The current model is that you order early to get some cosmetic bonus and a chance to play in beta/ early start. So while some retailers do still offer pre-order discounts in an attempt to compete, that model is dying.

        But it shouldn’t really surprise anyone, given the old model, that someone might hunt around for a shop which did offer a pre-order discount instead of the frills. I still maintain everyone else was pushed into paying over the odds for the early start/ yellow crystal :p

  12. personally, I pre-ordered because I wanted to make sure that my copy arrives on launch day without me having to go to the physical store. on amazon, as I usually do. I was charged identical price to what i would have payed had I gone into a physical shop, or ordered after launch. I did however get faster shipping at lower price then normal, becasue amazon charges less for release day delivery vs their prime shipping. no idea why. I wasn’t charged for my copy a single penny, until it was actually shipped. and considering that pretty much every single AAA title in the last couple of years (not counting expansions) cost those same 60 bucks?

    I didn’t get in on a first day. I was actually surprised when I got my access on Thursday rather then Friday. and I think complaining is utterly ridiculous.

    unless they were complaining about horrific issues with origin codes and pre-orders. several people I know were having issues with registering their codes. EA really need to stabilize that damn thing before making it their exclusive method of digital distribution

    • I pre-ordered through Origin – no problems for me, at least. Got my code as soon as I pre-ordered and entered it. I’m really not seeing any great issue, apart from the fact that Bioware didn’t let everyone in at once and some very vocal people don’t like having to wait in line. And just be clear – I’m fully behind Bioware in how they’ve handled this because from a capacity management perspective letting this many people in wolud have been a nightmare. No other game has had anything remotely like SWTOR’s numbers to cope with at launch (not even WoW, and WoW had a lot of load problems at launch).

  13. On the upside, I preordered just a couple of weeks ago and got in on wednesday.

    On the downside, I’m already regretting I bought the game at all. I don’t see myself continuing to play even for the free month. It just isn’t keeping my interest.

    Oh well. Since this seems to have killed Rift (a game that depends on there being a critical mass for world events), I’ll probably be drifting back to WoW at some point.

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