The Old Republic subscriptions stable; logins in decline

Lighter server populations--especially during peak hours--have led some to believe that Star Wars: The Old Republic is shedding subscribers only four months after launch. Not so, says developer BioWare. Subscription numbers are steady, it claims, but the developer does concede that the game has seen a dip in logins. To that end, the BioWare is up for trying "anything and everything" to increase user engagement.

BioWare's Daniel Erickson recently told PC Gamer that steps are being taken--including slight alterations to the development plan--that are meant to keep players visiting that galaxy far, far away. He said that concurrent user slippage accounts for the increase in servers with "light" populations during peak hours. That aside, "Nothing is off the table when it comes to making sure our communities are strong and active on each server," he said. Things like a robust "group finder" and other "quality of life" features are in the works.

Though content is forecast well in advance--due in no small part to the fully-voiced dialog--Erikson says that the SWTOR development team is getting better at adjusting plans on the fly to accommodate other things that will help keep folks playing in-between major updates. "We're getting spryer all the time," he said. "Usually it's a question of priority and since we have separate teams working on different initiatives we can usually change priorities for a particular game update fairly easily."

With the Rakghoul plague update drawing to a close yesterday, BioWare realizes that Star Wars: The Old Republic needs new content to entice players to revisit the game regularly. A number of incentives like free weekends and friend invites are well and good, but don't really address the issue of new things to do. To that end, "Interesting replayable content is the top of the list of design prototypes going on over here," Erikson said.