Nov 14, 2011

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 47 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: Should TOR Have A Grace Period At Launch And For How Long?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal. Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

One of the biggest incentives for pre-ordering TOR is Early Game Access. Everyone who pre-orders will get Early Game Access, though the length of it will be determined by the date you entered your pre-order code. As we already know, it will last up to 5 days.

While we’re all extremely excited to play TOR on launch day, December 20th, chances are that if you pre-ordered a physical copy, it may not be there in time for you to continue playing; you will need to enter the license key into your account. Even if you ordered for same day delivery, it won’t be delivered until business hours (or later) on that day, and most likely the servers will have been open since midnight.

As such, the community is asking BioWare if we will have a grace period after the expiration of Early Game Access to allow for all the deliveries to be, well… delivered! There is an ongoing thread on the official community forums that raises a similar question and Stephen Reid was swift to reply to that thread:

We’ll have more information on our launch plans soon. There are multiple moving parts, so I’d ask you to be patient while we get details finalized. 

We hope this is a sign that a grace period is indeed in the cards. The next reasonable question, of course, is how long should it last? Another five days? A week? Until January? Due to the holidays and whatever shipping method was chosen, there’s a real chance that some will have their delivery delayed until after Christmas and maybe well into New Year.

So what do you think? How long of a grace period after Early Game Access ends should there be, if any?

Should there be a grace period at launch, and for how long?

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  1. My thoughts on this: There has to be a grace period due to the nature of physical shipping and the desire for players to log in “right at midnight” or whatever.

    However, BioWare should’t have to shoulder the burden for people who decided to save money by slower shipping or delays in the shipping due to weather, etc.

    I think a 3-day grace period is fair, but your free 30 days should start ticking off right on the 20th (since you will be playing it due to the grace period). The 30 days should not start whenever you enter your game code.

    • Old Bill Kenobi says:

      /agree Physical mail limitations almost garentee a grace period. besides my little giant malgus statue makes the box huge and the mailman might sprain something.

    • I don’t really understand todays question about grace period. Doesn’t EVERYONE have a 30 day grace period? Your “free” 30 days start on dec. 20th and last…30 days.

      Isn’t the grace period already built in? I don’t get it.

      • No that is the paid game time built into the purchase of the software. After the 30 days that is when they start to charge your credit card. The grace time they are asking for is from when the headstart ends to when they would need to register the account with an access code from the purchase of the game.

        • Thats my point. In order to get into early access you MUST have purchased the game. They have already paid for it, so the grace period should just be the thirty days included with what you already paid for.

          The only reason I can think of for a grace period is that “shaddy” people may pay for the game, play early access and the thirty days and THEN return the game without ever opening the package and get a full refund. Is this why they need a grace period other than the 30 “free” days?

          • Actually, that’s not how it works. I don’t believe they can charge people for early access before release, especially people who pre-ordered at a physical location. I mean, they can’t be charged until they pick up a game. So anyone who pre-ordered basically gets early access on faith from Bioware.

            The grace period would be for when that early access ends, and the retail launch truly begins. So game comes out the 20th, but a 3-day grace period means people can keep playing until the 23rd without registering a key from the game. This is mostly for folks who ordered online and are waiting for delivery.

          • Are you sure? they will have to charge people before pick up due to the fact that most are having the game delivered. I think the amount of people who are shady is probably small, but I suspect that is the reason for a grace period different from the “free” month that is included with the purchase. Otherwise I see no reason for a grace period besides the first month. In order to get into Early Access you have to have purchased the game, it may not be fully charged to your account yet, but it has been approved and is pending. When Bioware actually charges you is another thing.

            Why can’t Bioware charge you before you get the game? Many many players like myself are doing digital download. I should be charged when early access starts, i am not waiting for any physical copy…they should treat all orders in a similar way.

          • Anyone who pre-ordered the game for physical pick-up at a retail location can’t be charged before they pick up the game. Stores don’t have their accounts on file to charge them automatically. They’ll be charged when they show up to buy the game.

            Folks having it delivered and those who ordered DDE shouldn’t be treated any differently. I ordered through Amazon, so i expect to be charged on the 20th when the game is officially released. My gf ordered DDE and so she should also be charged on the 20th when it is released.

            The head start was a bonus for pre-ordering, not for buying the game. People can potentially play the head start and then cancel their order on the 19th or never pick up a physical copy. They would then lose access to the game after any potential grace period.

            It’s worth it for Bioware/EA to risk people playing for free for a week, rather than making potential customers mad. It’s an MMO, they have to look at long-term numbers and get customers into the game for the long haul.

          • I disagree with regards to Biowares intentions. i do not think they approach it as a free to look at the game. I think that is what the “Open” beta weekend is for. I think preorder is prepurchase, as in reserved copy with 100% intent to buy.

            I too don’t think that they will treat digital versus hardcopy differently either, but they could and it should cause no problems at all.

            I do suspect though you are right, the difference is due to shady people and their actions.

          • I don’t think it has anything to do with shady people, i think it’s just a matter of practicality.

            Bioware is using it as a way to control how people get into the game. It’s a slow release over 5 days, rather than everyone in at once. The potential downside to that, is that it is open to abuse. I doubt too many people will use it as such, and the investment is well worth it for Bioware, IMO.

          • Thats my point. Bioware and other companies use preorders to determine how many games are sold. Not for free sneak peaks, it is to help determine and in this case control how many people will be playing at launch. My point is they should just use the 30 days included with the purchase price as the grace period, I see no need for something different.

            Preorders are people commiting to buying the game, they will be charged(likely) on the 20th. Makes no sense (other than shady behavior…playing early access and canceling preorders) to have a grace period when it is already built in to the purchase price…30days.

          • But let’s say i’ve pre-ordered from an online retailer. I get in on the 15th and start playing. The 20th comes along and the game ships, but i don’t get it until the 23rd. That means that for 3 days I cannot play the game. That’s the purpose of the grace period. To let me keep playing while I wait to get it in the mail, then enter my retail key and my 30 days starts.

            You can’t start my 30 days on the 20th, because i don’t have the game and haven’t entered my retail key yet. There’s no way for Bioware to know who has pre-ordered online or from other outlets. They can only know about the folks who ordered through Origin.

            The 30 days is not a grace period, it’s play time provided for the initial purchase of the game. Whether it’s free or part of the money spent is up to the consumer to determine. But it’s not part of a grace period or anything else.

          • No your not understanding me. You preordered it…preorder is your commitment to BUY it..not preview the game. Therefore Bioware should give you the FULL 30 days to actually recieve the game and input the code. I am saying that giving your credit card number(in the case of origin) and COMMITTING to buying the game gets you an automatic 30 day grace period…no need for another seperate period of time.

            In your example the “grace” period is 30 days so you would not have theproblem you are describing.

            Yes Bioware does know that you have preordered from other retailers…that is exactly how you get into early access.

          • So you’re saying a 30 day grace period, and then 30 days of game time due to purchase of the game? Because the grace period and 30 days game time are not the same thing.

            I’m not looking to argue, i’m just trying to be precise here.

          • On another computer. I appreciate your effort. What I am saying is that the grace period and the “free” thirty days are the same thing.

            In order to get into early access you have to pre order…committ to buying the game. It is not a free sneak peak, trial period, it is you using your credit card to prepurchase the game. You have to enter a code, proving you are buying the game, that then gives you access to the early access. This code should suffice until the retail code arrives and you have the 30 days “free” game time in order to enter the retail code.

            I don’t see why the “free” time is not just the grace period. you have the full thirty days to enter the retail code and the 30 days starts on dec 20th when it officially goes live.


          • But pre-ordering is not inherently that kind of commitment. People can cancel a pre-order. Even between the 15th and the 20th. So pre-ordering is not enough to indicate that the 30 days should start on the 20th.

            Again, they can’t do the 30 days on the 20th for every account that pre-ordered for a variety of reasons. People waiting on delivery, people getting the gift on Xmas, etc.

            The 30 days cannot start until you enter your retail code. If you got the DDE then that is definitely available on the 20th, but not everyone is in that boat. The pre-order codes meant nothing but that someone pre-ordered. It doesn’t even mean that a financial investment was made (remember when it was first announced at a convention, everyone in the room received a code).

            So people DO need to enter a retail key before an assumption can be made that the game has been purchased and the 30 days should start.

          • But Bioware can change all that.
            Preorder is a comitment to buy it..but like I said in the first post shady people will be shady.

            There is no reason why preorders cant start on the 20th. Preordering should be a comitment to the game..simple as that. If Bioware allows you to do otherwise, they messed up and its on them.

          • Well, you may see it as a commitment to buy, but that’s not how it works in the industry. As far as retailers are concerned, it’s free money without having to give you anything in return (i’m sure they invest it like a bank). For producers, it’s an indication of what to expect at launch.

            I’m sure the massive success of pre-orders is partially behind the massive upcoming beta weekend. I mean, everyone who registered before Friday is in, plus hundreds of thousands of invites going out through other sites. That’s gonna be one serious stress test. But since they could realistically have 2 million+ pre-orders at launch, i don’t blame ’em.

            Either way, the industry makes pre-orders something of a joke. Not that it should be that way, but it’s definitely not a commitment.

          • Oh, no you are 100% wrong about the preorders. preorders ARE a committment to buy. It is people with shady behaviours that buy preorders and cancel them after getting an early access code. Preorders are there for many many reasons…early access NOT being one of them..that is simply the incentive or bonus…NOT the reason. With this you are 100% wrong.

            Bioware may have screwed up by allowing people to return preorders AND keep the early access code…that is a mistake on their part..and should NOT be acceptable behavior, they should have had built in precautions for this.

            And yes, with other game releases preorders ARE a comittment to buy as in you get NOTHING for preordering except for a reserved copy.

            Sorry, it is only people with shady behaviors that preorder games with the intent to return them and keep and bonus or incentive that came with preorder(other than reserved copy).

          • you may aso want to read the new post on the front page. Bioware clearly is using preorders differently than “sneak peak” at the game. It is very clearly being used as units sold…comittment to buy.

          • I never said “sneak peek.” I said Bioware can use these pre-orders as a way to know what to expect on the 15th and 20th in terms of server load.

            Anyways, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I’m not sure we’re getting anywhere with this conversation. :)

          • Yes, and the only way Bioware can have an idea of how many players will play on the 2oth is due to preorders and as I stated preorders are comittment to buy the game. Otherwise they would not be able to use preorder numbers.

            As I said in my 2nd post, Bioware should be able to use the 30 days “free” as the grace period, there is no need for a different grace period UNLESS they are combating shady poeple who are buying the preorder with the intent of returning it after using the preorder code.

      • Considering that my preorder page indicates that I own a CE, I have to assume that the free 30 days will start regardless of whether I have the physical copy…

        If someone who received a free preorder at a convention could confirm what their preorder page says I think we’d all appreciate that :)

        • That was from their initial idea to have CE and SE owners have access to different amounts of early release. They nixed that idea before ever going with it, so the version your pre-order says does not matter. You don’t get the CE goods based on what your pre-order says — it’s only about the key that you enter from your retail copy.

          • Huh? your saying if you preorder a CE it doesn’t matter? I would sure hope it does. I would hope Bioware is not allowing preorders for CEs that they cannot provide…that is the point of a preorder after all.

          • No, i’m saying that the current status doesn’t matter. Some people with CEs got codes for the regular edition, and vice versa. It doesn’t matter what code someone received, as long as their receipt says they pre-ordered a CE. All pre-orders were treated the same in terms of early access and the color stone.

            The bonuses for getting a CE or DDE will only come into effect once someone enters their release key after buying the game.

  2. Phoenix8387 says:

    There absolutely MUST be a grace period (Stephen Reid already confirmed there would be via Twitter) because of shipping. I feel three days would be fair, but four actually makes sense to me for the event where someone doesn’t get their package till Saturday (the 24th) due to various reasons (Snow, shipping delay, etc).

    Anybody wanting a larger grace period, tough. You’ve already been allowed to play the game for three-four days on the merit of a pre-order code (which costs you nothing if you cancel).

  3. They already stated that there would be a Grace period months ago. The only reason this even came up at all is due to some inane thread on reddit, afaik.

    I have yet to see them say anything contrary to thier previous statement.

  4. I hope there will be at lest a week because
    Amazon will delivered mine box copy from 22-29 December
    so i Hope they will give a week of Grace period so i don have to worry

    • If you’re in the US (maybe elsewhere, not sure) you can get same day delivery for a buck. Just go to your order and change delivery options.

      • I already have order express option
        but i live in Eastern Europe in Serbia
        so fastest is from 2 to 7 days but realistically
        is more 7 then 2 days
        only good thing is that our Christmas is on 8 January so at lest i will not have mess in post office

  5. yes there should be a grace period.

    yes it should be longer than a week – reason being im not sure about in the US but in the UK the mail system at christmas is shocking. if the stores post them out prior to the release date to try and get the parcels to us on the 20th that is good, if they send them out on the 19th or on the 20th they will more than likely not get to people before christmas.

    i agree if your 30 days should start to count down from the 20th not from when you input your code.
    not to mention GAME still have the RD as the 23rd /facepalm

  6. I voted 1 week. Realistically it will probably be more like 3-4 days. I just worry about the holiday shipping issues. Bioware made the decision to release the game 5 days before Christmas. Doing so means that shipping hassles may arise for a lot of people. It could go smoothly, but the holidays and shipping are a pretty big question mark in a lot of ways. So i do think the burden is on them to ensure the majority of players get a smooth experience.

    How awful would it be to get in on the 15th and have a grace period ’til the 23rd, but not get your actual game til the 30th? No SWTOR for Christmas, plus after playing for a week, you’d have to go a week without. Not the end of the world, but it would certainly suck.

    I still feel Bioware should’ve released on the 13th. I think the 17th will be the busiest shopping day of the yeah, because a lot of people won’t want to go out shopping on Christmas eve. But, they made their call.

  7. ScytheNoire says:

    No grace period for you!
    Stand out in cold, buy copy, be man.

  8. ShellsGhost says:

    I may have mistaken previous comments from the developers but if you pre-ordered aren’t you allowed to download and install everything prior to access so that you can jump in the game immediately on launch? And if so doesn’t that negate the need for a physical copy to start playing? And lastly, start the 30 day trial whenever the person logs into their account? I’m pretty sure I’m still mistaken on this issue. If I’m completely mistook tell me this is not the thread I was looking for and I’ll merrily saunter off to my local cantina.

    • You can start playing early if you pre-ordered, based on when you registered your pre-order. This is the early release and your characters are not wiped. Either on the 20th, or after a grace period if they give us one, then you will need to enter your retail key to keep playing. It’s not a 30 day trial, it’s 30 days of free play time. If you do not enter a retail key, then you won’t be able to access the servers on the 20th or at the end of a grace period.

  9. I’m kind of shocked to see just how many cold hearted people there are in this community, voting for no grace period at all? Shipping in itself can be fickle, but in the week before Christmas it’s doubly so as mail and delivery services get bogged down with packages going to and fro.

    I would dearly hope there is a grace period of about a week so that even with the worst of circumstances the games would arrive at least during the two days after Christmas.

    And even if you’re buying straight from a store you can’t always be lucky as suppliers run late or due to some logistics error higher up the chain some stores end up getting no copies at all and have to wait until the next shipment. It would be all kinds of harsh to deny all these people access to the game even though they already paid for it.

  10. If its less then one week I’m going to be put out, so will a lot of other people who aren’t in the green zone. Amazon estimates the delivery between the 23-29th (and thats with the best shipping available). But Christmas, that could easily turn into a couple weeks shipping.

    I’m fine with my 30 days counting down. But if its less than a week Bioware should allow me to prove my purchase and extend the timer. Else I”ll have to ship the disc to a mate in America and fore-go ever having the discs.

  11. It’s great to see all the americans voting for no grace period or a three day grace period based on the usual assumption that the only people who matter are within the continental US.

    Thanks guys! Go team!

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, where we already have to deal with an uhh, unenthusiastic recognition of oceanias existence by Bioware, we’re going to get screwed.

    Over christmas, even a week is unlikely to see stuff from the states turning up. I work in the industry. We’ll maybe get the box before new years. Maybe. Depending on whether any of the postal operators in between screw the pooch this year.

    • realistically, at that time of year it is unlikely that many people in the US will receive their copies before Christmas. It took 7 day after ordering for me to receive my preorder code.

      I’m sure they are just joking around because no one knows how Bioware is going to handle it… I’m a little surprised I didn’t read a 6 month grace period :)

      and who said that all the negative posters are Americans?!?! that is a discriminatory remark :-p

    • Your name and comments towards me as an American make me want to change my answer from 1 week to no grace period. Happy Holidays.

  12. If one has ordered and paid for the game, they should be able to play for as long as they like. Why do they need the physical copy to resume playing? The grace period should be unlimited.

    • Because the physical copy contains your actual Game Code/CD Key. I don’t know why they just don’t reconcile every account with pre-order code to 30 days of free time starting on December 20th. That’s more than enough time for shipping errors.

      But maybe there’s a reason. We’ll have to wait and see what BioWare says.

      • Well, the problem with that is people who get the game but are going out of town for Xmas. If someone is traveling from Dec. 23rd through the New Year (far from unlikely), it’s unfair to start their 30 days when they’re not even in the game yet.

        Not to mention, the 30 days is part of the retail purchase. It’s “free” in that it’s included in the purchase of the game. What about folks getting the game for Xmas? Start their 30 days on the 20th and they’re going to miss at least 5 of those waiting for the big day.

        Lots of issues with this idea.

  13. The ppl that ordered a physical copy, should just learn that it is trash that collects dust in a corner, and you have had plenty of time to consider these things through.
    Buy are digital copy next time.

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