The big news for gamers this week was the launch of early game access for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Between the early access and the official release date being just days away (Dec. 20), we have a lot to get to this weekend. As always though, let's start with SWTOR.com.
The official SWTOR site has posted their last addition to the "Choose Your Side" video series and this time a Smuggler is taking on a Sith Warrior.
BioWare's Dr. Greg Zeschuk took to the SWTOR.com forums on Thursday to explain the game's two day grace period...
"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 of you who’ve pre-ordered, there may be 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 forty-eight hours from launch 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 Origin.com, the registration code will have been emailed to you after December 16th and will arrive before December 19th at 11:59PM EST. 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 on or after December 22nd. 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 (included with your purchase of the game) 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!"
Are you aware of EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key App? Here's the description from iTunes:
"Keep your STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™ account protected with the official STAR WARS: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key app for your iPhone and iPod Touch! The STAR WARS: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key app is an optional program that will allow you to apply an additional layer of protection to your STAR WARS: The Old Republic account by generating a unique, one-time passcode that you can use in addition to your regular password. By using the STAR WARS: The Old Republic Mobile Security Key app, you can rest assured that your account is secured from hackers, Trojans and other unauthorized users."
Head over to iTunes for more screenshots, directions on how to use the app, and for more general information.
Gamespot.com presents a Brentaal Star gameplay video as well as a gameplay look at Talon Fighters. More GameSpot preview video links can be found here.
We continue with a variety of miscellaneous TOR-related links...
IGN helps you choose your TOR path with their Star Wars: The Old Republic Skill Builder.
Similarly, G4TV.com presents their own Star Wars: The Old Republic Beginner Guide.
And Massively has a nice in-depth SWTOR Launch Guide as well.
GameSpy.com has a launch-day Q&A with Lead Designer James Ohlen.
Jumping back to G4TV.com, they've added a Bounty Hunter Guide to their growing list of character class guides. We'll post a full character guide reminder once G4TV concludes their series with the addition of the Imperial Agent.
Kotaku.com lists post-launch features that are scheduled to be added to The Old Republic.
Omar Gallaga, at Austin360.com, previews the upcoming MMO and its potential through a variety of interview snippets from the developers to media outlets. (Big thanks to Omar for reaching out to us on this one!)
Let's continue our weekly trend by finishing with some early reviews and excerpts...
IGN provides a "Review in PRogress" as they to forge ahead through the early stages of the game:
"At this still relatively early stage, I've experienced very few noticeable bugs. The most heinous is the magical vanishing guild roster, which seems to vanish randomly. I've seen a robot walk through a wall, and there's the occasional twitchy animation during cinematics, but that's about it. That's really impressive, given the volume of bugs we observed during the various betas, and given the state that most games launch in.
The caveat here is, I'm still playing through the most trafficked portions of the game. If there are bugs and broken quests, they're likely to spring up in the upper levels and on obscure side-quests. But from what I've personally observed, The Old Republic has had a thick coat of polish poured on between beta and release. Good stuff."
"So to sum up: Star Wars : The Old Republic is a damned solid addition to the MMO genre and should definitely not be passed over, by anyone. Solid gameplay, good graphics and great sound make this an artfully stunning piece of work that’s also a lot of fun to play. Lots of exploration and crafting options means the game has a lot of replayability and I don’t see anyone not making an alt or 9 for just those purposes.
There are a couple of small snags in the fabric, which keep this title from earning the top score but, as they say, nothing is perfect."
Geek.com offers up their first impressions and a few screenshots:
"Other miscellaneous touches that I noticed were things like the use of your character name during the legendary “flying text” opening as the game is loading and the amount of voice acting that went into the development of the title. It’s really nice to have NPC’s give you quests through spoken words rather than just a list of things to accomplish. It adds to the ability to roleplay (so long as no one is around) and immerse yourself in the culture of the game."
"All in all, I expect good things from The Old Republic, but I am a bit concerned about the long-term side of the game. If you approach the game from a solo standpoint – which the gameplay almost encourages – then you’re not going to make a lot of friends that might be necessary for the end-game of most games. Of course, I don’t know what the end-game of The Old Republic looks like or what it’s intended to be. From playing the early levels, however, this feels more like a solo game that players might expect to “beat,” as opposed to the open-ended worlds of World of Warcraft or EverQuest.
Any negativity aside, remember the mechanics and setting were enough to push me all-in for a pre-order. I look forward to seeing where the future lies for this game as it makes its way through some growing pains and what the final product winds up looking like in comparison to what I saw during beta (for example: experience gains, graphic quality, and other easily tweakable elements that may not have been properly represented in beta)."