Jul 4, 2011

Posted by in News | 5 Comments

Yellow Posts: Of Release Date (Speculation) and Pre-Orders

Does anyone remember the movie “The American President” from the mid-nineties? It was the precursor to “The West Wing” television show and it written by Aaron Sorkin who most recently won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on “The Social Network“. What does that have to do with The Old Republic you ask? Well, I feel that a quote from this movie pretty much sums up the feelings that many fans of SW:TOR have right now:

People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand. – Lewis Rothschild

Fans are crazy about this game; the BioWare hype-machine has done it’s job admirably. Fans have watched the game being played, they have seen the story choices, and (some of them) have even had a chance to play the game. Nearly all of those people love what they see and interest in SW:TOR has peaked. Personally, I’ve had zero gameplay time with it and I’m already addicted (I’m writing for Ask a Jedi aren’t I!?). If you asked these fans the top five things that they want to know about the game, nine out of ten would put “release date!!” at number one and somewhere in the top five would be pre-order information (pricing, collector’s edition details, retail purchase locations, etc…) BioWare’s official position is that the release date is sometime in the second half of 2011 (i.e. between now and December). From a business perspective it makes perfect sense to be vague: they want to give their competitors as little time as possible to come out with something that could interfere with SW:TOR’s release. But more importantly, the game isn’t finished yet and is being tweaking and polished daily (as Gabe from Penny Arcade pointed out).

So, again, what does my borrowed metaphor above have to do with SW:TOR? People are so desperate for information about the release date/pre-order information of SW:TOR that they’ll listen to anyone who offers to talk. On the official forums, a thread was posted by Jeikki titled “You can now pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic“. The thread offered a link to a website (since removed) that promised to sell pre-order copies of the game. The thread was eventually closed because, under the SW:TOR forum’s Rules of Conduct, it was an advertisement, which isn’t allowed. Good thing too, because despite the original poster’s assurances to the contrary, the site didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in it’s legitimacy. Before closing the thread, Stephen Reid, Senior Online Community Manager, commented on it:

What a murky world we all live in.

First – this is an attempt to advertise, and under our Rules of Conduct that’s not something we allow. Therefore after this post, we’ll be closing the thread.

While I appreciate the desire to spread the word about potential places to order The Old Republic, we draw the line at outright advertising, which the wording of this original post definitely is.

Second – the only official digital download provider for Star Wars: The Old Republic will be EA’s Origin service, located at Origin.com.

Despite what some retailers may try to have you believe, EA is not partnering with anyone to offer digital downloads. That may not sit well with you, but it’s a fact. The reason you should understand this is illustrated by the post itself:

Quote: Originally Posted by Jeikki

But If you Pre-order it there you just have the game serial photo into your email, so you don’t get the game covers

Mmm. You get the ‘game serial photo’. In other words, at a guess, what this site is planning to do is buy copies of The Old Republic, open them, take photos of game serial keys and then sell them to you.

Sounds great, right? And maybe this site is entirely trustworthy. However, from my experience in working with Customer Service teams on multiple other MMOs, the reality is that often these sites will have no official partnership with the MMO publisher in question, and that the keys are often passed around to multiple customers, sometimes after they’ve been activated.

What happens then? You complain to the publisher, customer service deals with it, and either you get a refund from your credit card or you lose your account and/or your money.

TL;DR version: when pre-order and launch are announced, it will be very clear which retailers you should pre-order and purchase Star Wars: The Old Republic from.

Until then – all pre-order ‘offers’ are unofficial, and all release dates are pure speculation on the part of the retailer.

Be careful out there. If in doubt, contact the Customer Service team.

Desperation is a strong motivator and it can cause people to listen even when there is overwhelming evidence to contradict what they are hearing. There are only two bits of information we know for sure on this topic: First, the only location to purchase the game digitally, is on EA’s new Origin service and second, the official release date is (currently) “the second half of 2011”. Anything in addition to those two pieces of information is purely speculation. This website (and by extension this thread) purported to know much more about pre-ordering and the release date than has been officially announced. This does nothing but cause even more trouble when fans hopes are dashed by the SW:TOR community team because they have to close down threads like this and look like the bad guy.

If you want to speculate on the release date, a good discussion can be found in the “Release date speculation thread” on the official forums. Just remember that BioWare takes very seriously anyone who reports false information as fact. Anything posted in that thread is and should be speculation only.

All of us are sad that we don’t have the game now. But cheer up! BioWare wants to release the game in six months or less and it will be in the best condition that BioWare make it. Exciting times await us in our galaxy far far away and if we’ve been patient for 3 years of development, we can be patient for a little longer. Trust me, when the release date is announced, you will see the train a comin’.

P.S. Be kind to poor Stephen Reid and the community team. I’m sure they would love to give out more information about the release, but at the end of the day, they have to make decisions that benefit BioWare as a whole and announcing a release date right now may not be the correct thing to do. Their job, after all, is to work with the community, pass on information to and from the developers, and to help make the SW:TOR community the best it can be.

A happy Stephen Reid.

  1. noneyabiz says:

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  2. Darth Peanut says:

    it seems that ToR is barreling headlong into a release showdown with blizzards Diablo 3 wich is rumoured to be being up for grabs late november/december….although completely different games i know many gamers are eagerly awaiting both titles…now the question is(maybe worthy of a poll) do Bioware have the guts to release there title at the same time…personally i think not(i hope i’m wrong)

  3. Great article – always a service to point out this sort of behaviour and educate the community! Thanks for repeating it.

    Like many, I’d love to know the release date. But you know, I respect their approach in a way. Like many players, I’ve been on the receiving end of bugged-filled MMO releases. And you know what, I’ve not enjoyed that experience. At some point I will know the release date. At that point I can comfortably expect that that date will be solid. And at that point, I can expect as clean a MMO release as I have ever experienced.

  4. Disgusted says:

    I understand the direction this article is taking, and I approve. However, Using quotes from one of the most evil, vile creatures in humanity (Rothchild), not to mention a quote that embodies their (the power elite) methodology in how they control the masses disgusts me on many different levels and I would prefer that this website wouldn’t associate this kind of blasphamy against humanity on your website.

  5. DozingDawg says:

    If I was a “competitor” *cough*WOW*cough*. Why would I need a date? I would just make what ever I thought would be best to upset TOR and sit back. When there was a date for TOR with in days start my own train. These “competitors” don’t need any more time then TOR. Do get me wrong I don’t want the game out until BW is done. Please see KotOR II. It’s that what ever the others are going to do, there going to do anyway. I for one can live with ‘We don’t know and wont know until test is done’ from BW. I waited 25+ years to find out what the Clone Wars was. What’s a few months +/-?

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