Why The Old Republic doesn't have a release date

BioWare's James Ohlen suggests that the lack of a release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic is to assure a smooth launch. By being cautious to set a date once it's fully ready, they hope to stave off launch bugs and server crashes.

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EA and BioWare have opened up pre-orders for Star Wars: The Old Republic, without a release date in sight. But that hasn't stopped fans from breaking EA pre-order records. Game director James Ohlen says the lack of a release date is a conscious move on BioWare's part, to make sure that they don't set it in stone and find their servers or game code unprepared for an influx of users. "We don't want to give a specific release date until we're absolutely certain that when we launch the game it'll be a smooth launch and a bug-free experience," Ohlen told Newsarama. "It would be terrible if we released and the servers fell down or there was a bug that detracted from the overall experience. It'd be terrible for the Star Wars fans... and it'd be disappointing for the team members. People like myself, I've been on this project for six years. I want it to live up to the expectations." This isn't the first time we've seen BioWare trying to stave off launch hitches. When EA and BioWare announced the game's special editions, Dr. Ray Muzyka mentioned limiting supply to assure that the servers would be able to handle the demand. Although server stress seems like a pretty legitimate concern, the possibility of limiting digital supply may not please potential customers come launch day.

The $150 Collector's Edition is the #2 seller on Amazon right now.

Ohlen also explained some of the reasoning behind the customizable companion characters, saying, "It would be a little immersion breaking when a Sith Warrior sees another Sith Warrior with his same companion character." So instead, players can alter the look significantly. Ohlen says there will "still be a little [immersion breaking], and some people will still be bothered by it, but we've been getting very positive feedback on companion characters." Finally, Ohlen said that the team has actually tweaked the leveling speed to keep the pace flowing evenly. "We had the game, at one point in testing, well beyond our targets, but there were a few points in the game that were way too boring, way too much of doing the same thing," he said. "So we went through and upped the speed at which a player leveled up in those bits. We don't want to artificially inflate the game's length by adding a ton of enemies the player has to kill with no story context." "We were talking about how we want to reinvent the MMO with story," he added, "and it would be misleading if we suddenly had that grind."
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 3, 2011 10:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Why The Old Republic doesn't have a release date.

    BioWare's James Ohlen suggests that the lack of a release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic is to assure a smooth launch. By being cautious to set a date once it's fully ready, they hope to stave off launch bugs and server crashes.

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      August 3, 2011 10:54 AM

      The second screenshot is from Space Marine, not TOR.

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        August 3, 2011 11:02 AM

        This is amusingly true.

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        August 3, 2011 11:03 AM

        Close enough

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        August 3, 2011 11:04 AM

        Yeah, lol, I did a double take: "Woah, SW:TOR is looking good!! ... and is copying Space Marine?? "

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        August 3, 2011 11:19 AM

        That ASM is holding a lightsaberpower sword, too. Did he complete a mission in Kill Team?

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      August 3, 2011 10:57 AM

      Legitimately, BioWare has been doing a good job with their message on SWTOR over the last three months or so. Before that, their message was unclear and the game did not look good in trailers.

      Now they've been covering the instances (flash points), classes and talents well. The end game is still a major concern. Following the Blizzard example,you should be talking about your plans for that a year out, since you need time to roll out the content, and it should be in testing before release. (They discussed their PvP/Raid end game in 2003, and introduced Onyxia and MC into the beta testing November 7th, 2004, a few weeks before launch. It was pushed into the retail client once the raids were well tested and tuned).

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        August 3, 2011 11:02 AM

        Yes, they have definitely stepped it up - which was needed because I agree, their prior marketing for the title was horrendous. I'm not even talking about quantity here - the game was still far out so there wasn't a whole lot to say - but the quality of the previous materials really suffered.

        Personally, I'm not terribly worried if there isn't a plethora of end-game content available until a month or two after launch - because of the individual class stories, there's a lot of immediate replay value in simply re-rolling once you hit max level.

        Slight sidejack - but some of my favorite time spent in WoW was pushing through MC early as a guild and running through LBRS/UBRS when they were all still extremely tough.

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          August 3, 2011 2:42 PM

          Agreed, back then things just seemed so much bigger.

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        August 3, 2011 11:30 AM

        I agree. I seriously could not have cared less about this game until a week ago... but with the Comic Con panel discussion and then Friday's new flashpoint dev walkthrough video, I'm just about peeing my pants in anticipation. I even lowered myself to preordering because of their talk of staggering the launch (and guaranteed beta weekends next month don't hurt either).

        I haven't been this excited about a game in a VERY long time.

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      August 3, 2011 10:59 AM

      I wonder how many posts it will be before the shackpile starts. I'm going to go with 4.

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      August 3, 2011 11:02 AM

      shackpile online

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      August 3, 2011 11:06 AM

      They said a Firm Date would be announced in Sep, so just have to wait another month.

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      August 3, 2011 11:08 AM

      My girlfriend is really pumped for this.

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        August 3, 2011 11:26 AM

        How did you manage that? Or was she a SW fan to start with?

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          August 3, 2011 11:37 AM

          She's a huge Bioware fan. Played through DA:O and has been talking to me about TOR for a while.

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        August 3, 2011 11:43 AM

        I would like to pump your girlfriend for this.

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          August 3, 2011 12:08 PM

          Really, we have no halfway decent comment so your going with this?

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            August 3, 2011 12:09 PM

            It sounds creepy...

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            August 3, 2011 12:13 PM

            Is it wrong that the only thing I got from your post is that you used "your" instead of "you're"?

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              August 3, 2011 12:49 PM

              You mean you're shocked he managed to be grammatically correct in his unimaginative innuendo?

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                August 3, 2011 3:26 PM

                No I'm disappointed in myself for correcting his grammar instead of taking his advice on my lewd behavior.

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        August 3, 2011 8:47 PM

        Is your girlfriend a blow up Sith doll?

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      August 3, 2011 12:33 PM

      11/25/10 was the supposed leak date based on some promotional stuff for one of the -Cons that's coming up.

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      August 3, 2011 3:10 PM

      Still worries me.

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      August 3, 2011 7:21 PM

      Let me just translate this for you....

      We don't want to give a specific release date until we're absolutely certain that when we launch the game it'll be a smooth launch and a bug-free experience

      "In other words, we want to make sure Blizzard has as little notice as possible so they don't play and try to steal our thunder."

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      August 4, 2011 10:26 AM

      It seems like every MMO developer says the same thing before launch, and when it launches there are always first day/week issues.

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      August 5, 2011 5:28 PM

      it just better be damn good when it comes out

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      August 8, 2011 4:10 PM

      You're darn right I pre-ordered it. The $89 EAOrigin download, so on release day it comes right to me. Maxed out my credit card doing it too. They can take as much time as they like, IMHO. After that disastrous cut-and-rush that ruined what was Knights of the Old Republic 2, which was an awesome game until you came to the crunch time hacks, I want them to take their time to make Old Republic as flawless as possible, especially since this is my first foray into paid MMORPGs (that's right I defied the WoW crackpipe and am ready to smoke this one ;p)

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