Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Choose Your Side: Smuggler vs. Sith Warrior

Right now I'm on vacation (on my parents' not-that-fast computer), yesterday I was travelling, Monday my Internet was down and the days before that I was lost in a galaxy far, far away. So I'm a little late reporting last Friday's update.

Though at this point I think most people are more interested in playing the game than in reading about it. Either way.

Anyway, just as I predicted, last Friday BioWare gave us the final "Choose Your Side" video, facing off the Smuggler against the Sith Warrior. Here is the official news:

From the moment we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which classes they feel will have the upper hand.

In the fourth and final installment of “Choose Your Side,” writers and developers discuss the ins and outs of the Smuggler and Sith Warrior classes, highlighting some of the skills and abilities that separate these classes from the rest. This time around, Senior Writer Hall Hood and Senior Game Designer William Wallace stand behind the Smuggler, while Writer Ian Ryan and PvP Designer Ben Pielstick speak for the Sith Warrior.

Personally my money is on the Sith Warrior for this. Lightsabers, use of the Force and an utter ruthlessness are probably going to be better than blasters and wisecracks. Don't get me wrong, I think Smugglers are more fun, but Han Solo did end up in that carbonite.

After the break a note regarding server queues, numerous articles and developer quotes.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

“Your Saga Begins” Launch Documentary

No, I haven't posted last Friday's update yet. I'm working on that post, but had Internet trouble yesterday and for the rest I've been kinda busy (in a galaxy far, far away). And I've got to leave to catch my plane in five minutes, so this'll have to do.

With it being launch day today I did want to post this though. In celebration of launch day BioWare released a new documentary video titled "Your Saga Begins". here is the official news:

The day has arrived! We are excited to announce that Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is on store shelves. This is an exciting day for all of us at BioWare and LucasArts, and to celebrate the launch of the game we want to show you all a short video. This documentary chronicles the development of the game, with members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic development team talking about the experience creating epic stories that allow players to live out their very own Star Wars™ fantasies in a galaxy populated with thousands of other players.

Be sure to watch “Your Saga Begins” now, and then pick up your copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic to explore iconic worlds and take on epic adventures with your friends.

Dammit BioWare now I don't want to go on vacation. (Ok, not entirely true, I'm much looking forward to seeing my family again, but even so I also want to play).

After the break another short BioWare post and a link to the official press release.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Grace Period

Originally The Old Republic's Early Game Access would end on the 19th and if you hadn't redeemed your product key (as opposed to your pre-order key) by then you wouldn't be able to play on the 20th (at least until you redeemed your product key). This was unusual because most MMOs with an early access program give players a few days into launch where they can play even without their product key registered (known as a "grace period"). This is to give stores a chance to ship the product to players. So people were understandably somewhat upset when The Old Republic decided not to have one.

Luckily though they've changed their minds and The Old Republic now offers two days of grace. Here is the official news:

Hello everyone,

While we've worked closely with our retailers in the launch territories to ensure copies of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ are available from our launch date of December 20th, we understand that for those who’ve pre-ordered there is a concern about getting your copy on time. We’ve heard you want a 'grace period' where you can continue to play without having to enter a final product registration code (AKA 'game code').

We've been listening, and after doing another deep review of our platform infrastructure we're taking action. Today, we're announcing a two day grace period for Star Wars: The Old Republic customers.

This means that everyone who pre-ordered and is in the Early Game Access program has two days beyond December 20th in which to enter their product registration code, which will be found inside the physical Standard and Collector's Editions of the game; for digital editions of the game from, the registration code will have been emailed to you after December 16th. After December 22nd 12:01AM EST, you will be required to have a valid payment method and a product registration code registered to your account to continue to play. We strongly recommend that you register your product code as soon as you are able to do so (rather than waiting until the last minute) to ensure a seamless entry into the game, a smooth experience on the account website and to collect any special gifts and items you may be entitled to based on the version of the game you purchased.

We understand that for some, your copy of the game may still arrive after December 21st. Unfortunately we cannot extend the grace period any further. We suggest you contact your retailer to discuss shipping options, if this is a concern.

You may be wondering if your 30 days of game time will be affected by the grace period. The answer is no. If you redeem your product registration code during the grace period, and add a valid payment method to your account, you will begin your billing cycle from then, and you will be entitled to 30 days of game time. If you redeem your product registration code before December 20th, your billing cycle will begin on December 20th at 12:01AM EST (the official launch date and time of the game).

We know this has been an issue for some of you, and we apologize for the concerns. We're looking forward to welcoming all of you to the official launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic!

It's good news for those who want to play on the 20th and fear that their code might arrive a day or two late. For me it's not much of a concern either way since I'm leaving on vacation starting the 20th anyway and won't be registering my product code until I get back home a few weeks later.

While I'm at it, let me also post a press release, the official Early Access start news and news on maintenance windows during launch after the break.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bonus Music Tracks

BioWare announced on Facebook that in addition to the daily tracks they're giving us eight bonus tracks today:

Every day we have brought you a new musical score from STAR WARS: The Old Republic. Today we have reached an incredible milestone, we have reached 500,000 ‘likes’ right here on Facebook! As an extra reward for reaching half a million ‘likes’, we are releasing 8 additional bonus tracks of music for your listening enjoyment! Thank you again for your continued support and may the Force be with you.

You can find them and all the other tracks released so far in my original music post.

Welcome and What's Next

With Early Game Access started, in a very real way pretty much the launch of the game, BioWare just posted two posts on the website. One to bid players welcome and the other to give an idea of what they're working on next.

Here is the welcome post:

This is a big day for us; we are launching Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, BioWare’s largest and most ambitious project to date, and we’re very proud that you’ve been able to join us. It’s an honor to be able to share this game with you.

A huge team of talented, passionate people at BioWare, Electronic Arts, Lucas Arts as well as many other partners all over the world poured their hearts and souls into this game. We want to thank every single one of them for being part of the team that developed this game; it’s a monumental accomplishment.

Another group of people that we depended upon was you, the players. We had hundreds of thousands of players spend millions upon millions of hours beta testing this game. Without you we never would have been able to build it; thank you for your contribution. This game is yours just as much as it is ours.

And finally we want to emphasize that this is just the beginning of a very long journey together. The game is launched, but it’s not done; it will probably never be done as we’re committed to working on Star Wars: The Old Republic in order to keep improving it and delivering exemplary service to you, the customer. It’s going to be a great ride.

Finally, we can only think of one appropriate way to sign off on this auspicious occasion:

May the Force be With You!


Ray Muzyka & Greg Zeschuk
Co-Founders, BioWare

Personally I was thinking of "here goes nothing", but I guess "may the Force be with you" works as well.

Read on after the break for the future plans.

Early Game Access Begins

The call has gone out, Early Game Access has begun. The first wave of emails has been sent and people have started playing.

I got an email as well, so I'll be playing as soon as I get home from work. Unfortunately with some chaos regarding the EU RP megaserver (a number of large guilds decided to split themselves off and go to another server instead) I'm undecided what server I'll play on. Bah.

Anyway, if you're in today then congratulations and have fun. And if not then hang on tight, you'll get in soon enough.

P.s. For those who don't know or don't remember; that image was originally used to tease the announcement of The Old Republic over three years ago. Seems fitting to use again now (nicked from MMORPG).

Monday, 12 December 2011

Guild Deployment Details

Early Game Access is almost upon us and BioWare has started sending out email to guilds with their guild deployment details. BioWare also posted a short FAQ explaining how everything (related to Guild Deployment) works. Here's an excerpt:

Now that your guilds are in the game, ready to go, here’s everything you need to know about how Guild Deployment works.

How can I tell if/where my guild has been deployed?

Everyone will receive an email before Early Access with details about the status of their guild.

  • If your guild was successfully deployed to a server, you’ll receive a link to the website that you can follow to find out what server your guild has been placed on.
  • If your guild was not deployed to a server because it did not meet the qualifications for import, you will be able to create your guild manually in the game.

Server assignments through the Guild HQ system are final and cannot be changed, but you and your guild are not in any way required to play on the server where you were placed. We have pre-created assigned guilds on specific servers as a convenience to you, and these assignments may be ignored at your discretion.

Not really mentioned in the FAQ, but you can also search for guilds and on the guild page find out what server they're deployed on (which doesn't mean that they'll actually play on that server).

After the break a few more details (such as server lists collected in various places), but first I want to give a shout out to the community who have been in the progress of selecting a "megaserver" (well, two, one for EU and one for NA but I've only been keeping track of the EU one). They've decided that the "The Progenitor" EU RP-PvE (English) will be European roleplaying megaserver and invite all roleplayers to join them there to make as strong a roleplaying community as possible. I'll be looking to play on that server as well.

Read on after the break for a few more links.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sith Inquisitor Character Progression

Just a few more days and many, if not most, of us will be playing The Old Republic for realz.

But first we've got another Friday Update. On this day of Christmas my SWOTOR gave to me, the last of the class progression videos showing the Sith Inquisitor... uh... see? Yes, that'll do. As per BioWare's official news:

As you progress in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, your character will acquire new skills and abilities that complement their more powerful weapons and armor.

Feared across the galaxy for both their mastery of the Dark Side of the Force™ and their ability to manipulate those around them, even those within the Empire know to watch themselves when in the presence of a Sith Inquisitor. Some acolytes who complete the trials use their newfound powers to channel the Force into devastating mental and lightning attacks. Others command the Force to deceive their enemies both in conversation and on the battlefield.

Hurray for more silly hats. Seriously though, the Sith Inquisitor (at least the Assassin) is a fun class to play with some great Darkside options. They just don't have much fashion sense. Either that or I don't. Then again, if you're in command of the Dark Side of the Force then you probably don't need much fashion sense as you can just electrocute anyone who even thinks of making fun of your outfit.

Oh, and my prediction for next week: Smuggler versus Sith Warrior "Choose Your Side" video. I'm calling it.

Read on after the break for the introduction of the SWTOR Community Blog, launch events, lots of links to articles across the net, and the developer quotes. Oh, and one funny Gamebreaker video which, if you haven't seen it already, you don't want to miss. And don't forget that I've been keeping my Music of The Old Republic post updated with the daily tracks BioWare has been posting up on Facebook.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pre-load started

Pre-loading for Star Wars: The Old Republic has been started. If you pre-ordered the game (and registered your pre-order) then you can download the game client from your account at and start downloading the 20GB or so of data needed for the game. Here's the news from BioWare:

Early Game Access* for Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ is only a few days away! Starting December 13, 2011, The Old Republic will begin emailing invitations to start your Early Game Access. Invitations will be sent throughout the Early Game Access period offering rolling access to the game in the order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code, so be sure to check your email inbox!

To ensure that players can get into the game as quickly as possible when their Early Game Access begins, we are now allowing everyone who has redeemed a Pre-Order Code at our Code Redemption Center to pre-load the game to their computer.

In order to download the game client before Early Game Access begins, you need have already logged into your account and redeemed your Pre-Order Code. Once you have done this, you can download the game client by clicking on “My Account” in the upper-right of the window and then click “Pre-Order.” On your Pre-Order page, click the large button that says “Download Game Client” to begin download of the game!

If you participated in our recent Beta Testing Weekend between November 25th and 28th and still have the game client installed, you will be able to patch this client instead of re-installing by simply launching your client, logging in and allowing the download to complete. If you did not participate in the November 25th – 28th Beta Weekend, first uninstall the Game Testing Client and then re-install to ensure your game client will function correctly during Early Game Access.

Learn more about how to get ready for Early Game Access!

If you haven’t pre-ordered Star Wars: The Old Republic yet, you still have time. Visit our Pre-Order Page, secure your copy of the game and redeem your Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center to pre-load the client and qualify for Early Game Access.

If you have any issues installing or patching the game client for The Old Republic, check visit the Customer Service Support section for information and assistance.

*Customers who redeem their Pre-Order Code at the Code Redemption Center prior to launch will be able to pre-load the Star Wars: The Old Republic Game Client before the official Game launch. Pre-loading the Game does not grant you access to the Game. Pre-Ordering the Game only allows you access to the Early Game Access period and your Color Crystal. Early Game Access may be up to 7 days. The length of your Early Game Access depends on the date and order in which you redeemed your Pre-Order Code. In order to continue playing the Game after the Early Game Access period, you must redeem your official Game Product Registration Code at the Code Redemption Center.

If you can spare the bandwith then I'd uninstall any old beta clients even if you've played the weekend of the 25th, just to clean out any mess the beta might've left.

And yes, this means that BioWare extended the Early Access period by two days, starting on the 13th now instead of the 15th. Though it seems that we'll have to wait until next week to know how many of those days each of us can use. And there not being a grace period after Early Access is likely going to rub a few people the wrong way too (not me, since I'm leaving on vacation on launch day).

Anyway, this should give everyone a week at least to download all the data, which should be more than plenty of time.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

SWTOR Beta Preview

By this time it feels like pretty much everyone who wanted to has played The Old Republic. Even so, having playing played in beta, and trying to play as little as possible so as to avoid spoiling the story (and not being very successful at it), I thought it might be nice to share my thoughts on the game.

In the end I made a deal with myself: I allowed myself to play the origin planets (except Hutta) and not any of the other planets (except Dromund Kaas). I didn't want to play Hutta because Imperial Agent will be (one of) my (two) main characters (the other one being Jedi Consular) and I didn't want to spoil the story (any more than I already did at the London Fan Day months ago). And since all the other planets are shared I didn't want to play those either... though I allowed myself Dromund Kaas so that I could see how things were after the starter planets and get to my ship (and thus experience some space combat). Since by the time I decided on this self-imposed rule I'd already played a Consular to level 10 playing Tython again wouldn't be an issue.

As such I played every Republic class up to level 10 (and the Consular three times), both Sith classes to level 16 and a Bounty Hunter to level 20. The Bounty Hunter was a special case where I avoided all side quests (though I did do all side quests on Dromund Kaas again just to bridge the level gap some) and managed to finish the class story on two planets after Dromund Kaas. I tried to do similar with the Sith Inquisitor after Dromund Kaas, but half-way through Balmorra ran into a level 20 elite (while I was still level 16) that I couldn't defeat.

Read on after the break for my experiences in the game.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Choose Your Side: Agent vs. Consular

First off; woot:

That means I can (finally) use the keyboard to make dialog choices without being surprised by BioWare's different interpretations. And yes, tha's optional (in fact it defaults to off right now).

Anyway, on to the Friday updates. This Friday BioWare released another "Choose Your Side" video, this time pitting my two main classes against each other: Jedi Consular versus Imperial Agent. Here's the official news:

From the moment we announced the eight classes in Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, fans have been pitting them against each other, arguing who would have the advantage in a one-on-one fight. The hallways of BioWare echo this debate, with the writers, combat designers and other developers all chiming in on which class they feel reigns supreme.

In the latest entry of our series “Choose Your Side,” members of the Star Wars: The Old Republic team plead their cases for two iconic Star Wars™ classes, highlighting the many skills and abilities that set each class apart. This time around, Senior Writer Alexander Freed and Designer Ken Dilks argue in favor of the stealthy Imperial Agent, while Writer Jo Berry and Designer Jason Attard speak on behalf of the Force-wielding Jedi Consular.

I'm going to be a cop-out and say it's a draw. The Agent (particularly the sniper) seems to me to be a very preparation-based class getting the upper hand when they get to decide when-and-where, but the Consular (particularly the Sage) seems a heavily reaction-based class, healing back whatever damage the Agent might do. So it becomes a question of whether the Agent can do damage quickly enough for the Consular to react to or not.

It also seems to me that the video focuses heavily on the Sniper and Sage advanced classes, pretty much ignoring both the Shadow and Operative advanced classes (not once did it mention stealth that I recall). Then again it's probably not very interesting making a video of two invisible classes.

Read on after the break for The Old Republic peripherals, the end of the pre-launch guild program, lots of links again, and the developer quotes.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Listen to the Music of The Old Republic

BioWare announced that every day from now until launch they'll release a music track of The Old Republic. Here's the official news with the first track (The Mandalorian Blockade):

The Collector’s Edition of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ includes seventeen original tracks, but this is just a small sampling of the breadth of music that was composed specifically for the game. As we count down the days until our December 20th launch, we want you to experience the entire original score! That’s why, starting today and continuing every day until launch, we are releasing one new musical track available for download each day on both Facebook and YouTube!

You can head over to our Facebook page right now to listen to and discuss “The Mandalorian Blockade”, the first track that we’ve released. This track is also available to download below, and all of the released tracks will be available for download from this page on December 20th. Make sure that you check back to Facebook each day to listen to the latest musical score from the game, and while you’re there remember to ‘Like’ us so that you don’t miss a single track.

Download Now:


[EDIT] Link to the file removed; find it together with the others in the list below (after the break).

The music is quite nice and suitably epic. But most importantly it sounds very Star Wars despite being clearly new music (near as I can tell at least).

I'm not going to make a post every day with new music, but I think I might collect them every Friday when posting the Friday news. Which reminds me that I should probably prepare my mp3-player for a bunch of Star Wars music to listen to over the Holidays (to stay in the mood).

Only two more weeks...

[EDIT] Contrary to what I said above I decided to just update this post instead with the new tracks. Read the lastest list after the break.