Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Trial

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jul 11, 2012

Filed under: Rants 184 comments


Okay, so apparently SWTOR is now free to play up to level 15. Now, I’ve tried to play this game before, an ordeal that wasted a lot of my time and did not result in me playing the game, mostly due to the complete ineptitude of the policy makers.

But I’m willing to give it another go. I already have an account created. I already have the client downloaded. It should be fairly painless this time around.

I fire up the client and it has to update itself. Well, the launcher updates itself, then it updates the game. This takes almost an hour of downloading. No big deal. That’s how it is with MMO’s.

Then I get to the login screen, I log in, and…


Hm. I have to activate an existing account to use the free trial? Why? Why not just let me in? Fine, whatever. Let’s go to my account page…


I don’t see anything here about a free trial. I click the links, read the pages. How does this work? There’s nothing in the top menu. Or the side menu. Or on this page. Fine, let’s ask Google. Google takes me here…


Looks pretty straightforward. I click the big obvious button and…

It begins downloading the client. The client I already have installed and is currently sitting at the login screen, waiting for permission to login. Gah!

Note the first paragraph, where it seems to say that all I need to log in is a client. As an added bonus, that qualifying asterisk for the Free* Trial isn’t actually qualified anywhere on this page.

Hm. Let’s try the “My SWTOR” at the top of the page. I’d expect that to go back to the useless account page, but let’s see…


Ah! Join Now! Let’s do it!

Nope. It takes me back to the previous page in a circle of idiocy. So these two pages both promise to start the trial, but they just uselessly link to each other without any sort of trial-starting.

But on the previous page I see a link to the FAQ. Let’s give it a look.


I think we’re done here. Thanks for playing Bioware. You’ve been a total waste of time.


From The Archives:

184 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Trial

  1. Chuck Henebry says:

    The banner ad above your article reads

    Age of Conan is Now Free
    Master Tradeskills. Build Cities. Epic Warfare. Free to Play MMORPG!

    That’s a pretty smart ad-matching bot! Seek out angry rants about the competition’s mmorpgs.

    1. SleepingDragon says:

      Mine is for anti-wrinkle cream…

    2. Vitez Kolya says:

      Mine is for Battlestar Galactica Online.

      1. RandyG says:

        Wait, there’s a Battlestar Galactica Online?!?

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      Any mine is for the new Alienware computers.
      Apparently we’re a bunch of wrinkly fiction nerds with sucky computers. Who would have guessed?

    4. Ian says:

      Amusingly mine is for the mobile phone network I’m already on and the phone I already have.

      1. Thomas says:

        I’ve got that one, but I’ve been shopping for a new phone so I assumed it was more sinister :D

    5. Alan says:

      Mine is for business cards.

    6. CTrees! says:

      I’ve just got a hardware vendor I use for work (obviously giving higher priority to cookies).

      1. Definitely– mine was for Dramafever regarding a Korean show I love but haven’t finished watching.

    7. Zagzag says:

      I’m getting a “WoW is now free to play” ad!

    8. Rax says:

      yay banner-exchange, I have “CHAOS port 1111”.. I don’t even know..

    9. 4th Dimension says:

      Simple ad for a Wireless hardware distributor. Probably because I’ve been goggling wireless problems lately.

    10. Simply Simon says:

      Mine is for free samples of medication for bad breath…

    11. DrKultra says:

      Mine refuses to load…

      1. Jace911 says:

        I GOT A 4

    12. Simon Buchan says:

      Combat Lightsabers! That’s actually pretty good….

    13. Henson says:

      When Shamus first posted about these SWTOR free weekend problems, mine was an ad for SWTOR.

    14. Bubble181 says:

      Mine’s for “Publish your Poetry now!”.

      Too bad I don’t write poetry, than.

  2. Robyrt says:

    Tee hee! These narrative gripes are clear, easy to understand for non-UI geeks, and quite funny.

  3. Cody211282 says:

    It’s not just their trial subscription that’s broken, it’s basically every part of that website. I tried to resub recently to see if anything had changed since launch. I tired both my credit cards, my debit card, and pay pal with no luck and they kept refusing the payment. After talking to their customer support they said they couldn’t help and to call their billing help line. The help line guy said to just buy a time card which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place (I would rather not have to wait 2 days for a shipment from amazon just to pay a damn game).

    It should not be that hard for me to give someone money.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I imagine that all those cards wouldn’t work if they were “tired”. You would be better of just wheeling them to bed. They probably lack the drive to work with Bioware’s and EA’s shitty MMO.

      I could not possibly resist. I’m so sorry.

      1. Cody211282 says:

        After rereading my post I’m surprised you can figure out what I’m trying to say.

        This is just proof that I shouldn’t be leaving comments right after waking up, it just doesn’t turn out well.

  4. X2Eliah says:

    Hm. Looking at this:
    , it says

    The Star Wars: The Old Republic Free Trial allows individuals, without a previously active Star Wars: The Old Republic game account, to see a portion of what the game has to offer with no payment method required.

    So, er, once again I guess you are screwed because you had the audacity to want to play their game some time before this..

    That said, does logging into your account through this help?

    1. Kevin says:

      I’ve heard that they are not counting the free weekend pass trails as active accounts, so if you participated in a free weekend before you should still be able to participate under this program.

      1. Pattom says:

        That may just make the game worth poking with a very long stick again. My roommate plays it almost non-stop, so I signed up for the first free weekend. I then “participated” in the sense that, having made my account and downloaded the client, some family came into town and I didn’t look at my laptop again for the duration. When the next free weekend came around, it felt like a swift kick to see that I couldn’t play because I already had an account for the previous event, even though I hadn’t played a second of it. Is that kind of absurd hoop-jumping normal for MMOs? Seems kinda bass-ackwards.

        EDIT: Just read Shamus’s account of his own “free weekend” experience, and apparently it’s normal for this MMO. And here I was thinking that BioWare loved money!

    2. Adam says:

      Clearly the portion of the game they are referring to in the advertisement is the registration process. Shamus has gotten a VERY detailed look at how that part of the game works. (or doesn’t)

    3. LintMan says:

      Theye seem to have a separate ofer going for people with inactive accounts, which might work for you, Shamus. (Found this over at Rock Paper Shotgun):

      “Come Back and Play at No Charge* for Up to 7 Days!”

      “Former players can now log into the game beginning July 10 to check out Game Update 1.3: Allies at no charge* through Tuesday, July 17, 2012, 2:00AM CDT / July 17, 2012, 7:00AM GMT.”


      1. Pattom says:

        Dunno if that would work, though. Near the top it says you need to “have completed at least one billing cycle” to be eligible. I’m guessing that means if you never paid for a subscription, you won’t be able to get in this way.

    4. Scot Schulz says:

      It appears that lapsed subscribers can play up to level 15 as well. I got bored with D3 yesterday, and logged into SWTOR. After two hours of repair and patch, I was playing an old level 8 character with no additional problems. I then verified at their website that my subscription is, indeed, inactive.

      How exactly Shamus’ account is borked is not clear at all, but it’s not because free play up to level 15 is limited to people who have not previously subscribed.

      1. Scott Schulz says:

        I’m wrong: it has apparently auto-signed me up for the 7-day thing since I can play my post 15-level characters as well.

  5. Cognimancer says:

    It’s a shame that their pre-game UI is so unintuitive. The game does some really stellar things for the MMO genre, if you ever got through the hassle of getting it to run.

    1. Kdansky says:

      You should really label that as sarcasm, else people might think you’re serious.

      1. Thomas says:

        I heard that an MMO with Terra combat, Guild 2 mechanics and ToR story missions would have been a pretty much dream MMO?

        1. Stratigo says:

          No, PA can just be a bit pretentious at times.

          And as MMOs go, ToR is not bad. But there is really no reason to persist after 50

          1. MelTorefas says:

            50, huh? By 27 I actively hated the game, and have never had even an inkling of desire to re-sub. Maybe for me it had to do with the fact I didn’t want to play in the first place, but a good friend bought me the game.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          No, no Terra combat. It seems like they accidentally put action in their RPG.

          1. DrKultra says:

            Tera combat is pretty damn good, sadly it needs to be a ton more snappy for it to feel right.

            1. Muspel says:

              I would love an MMORPG with Arkham City’s combat system.

      2. Michael says:

        I missed that, I thought it was a pun, “does some stellar things for MMOs”?

      3. Cognimancer says:

        Dead serious. SWTOR’s managed to do something that no MMO has ever done for me – actually convinced me to roleplay in this RPG. I actually care about the story and what happens to my character, who has distinct values and ethics, rather than just being a vessel of xp and karma points. Even BioWare’s other games haven’t convinced me to impart my character with a strong personality; most of the time their moral choices boil down to “Am I making a good character or a bad character?” Not so with SWTOR. The well-written quests and the fact that the choices (at least seem to) make a difference in the world means that I look forward to every conversation. It’s a far cry from running around grabbing quests without reading them from questgivers whose names mean nothing to me.

  6. Phantos says:

    I think we're done here. Thanks for playing Bioware. You've been a total waste of time.

    That’ll make a good epitaph when this blasted company finally goes under.

    Serves ’em right for letting only the dumbest, most reckless, least talented individuals take command over our entertainment. As if we don’t get enough of that from the movie and television industries.

    1. AJ_Wings says:

      I don’t like their recent games but I don’t want to see them shut down. We’ve already had more than a hundred dev houses shutting down in this generation alone. *Throws flowers at Ensemble Studios’ grave* :/

      1. GTRichey says:

        Bioware shutting down would be the best thing that could happen to them at this point. As a studio it still has a lot of goodwill with a lot of people, but most consider them to have gone sharply downhill since being acquired by EA. Normally I’d not want to see any game developer shut down because it’d mean lost jobs and especially for studios like Bioware a lot of talent with nowhere to work. I think what we’ll see before long (i.e. when Bioware starts losing money for EA because we get tired of buying games that fall short of what they should be), EA will shut Bioware down and the talent there will move elsewhere. I firmly believe there is still a lot of talent at Bioware and would love to see what those people could do when they’re not stuck with a big publisher making decisions that kill the creativity their games still have by turning them into clones of whatever is currently popular (looking at you ME2:GoW).

        1. Stratigo says:

          Gameplay from bioware has always been pretty much adequate. What they do well is story (and characters). And they still do it well. Most of the time. Sometimes they screw up.

          1. GTRichey says:

            Yes, my theory is that if they could focus more on the things they’re good at (character… I’m not even sure I’d say story) we’d be much better off. Instead we get things that are streamlined like ME2 and DA2, but still have vestiges of what made people like Bioware to begin with (and yes while it was incredibly flawed and the end was horrid I think DA2 still had interesting characters and they even attempted something interesting with the story until the final act). I get that making the gameplay more similar to other games that have proven to have a wider appeal may make sense to a publisher (though I don’t think actual figures back it up), Bioware is just the wrong studio. I’d gladly take clunkier gameplay if it meant more focus on character and story.

            1. MatthewH says:

              You’re being generous to DA2. Varric was an interesting character. The rest were various flavors of blow-up doll.

              1. X2Eliah says:

                You’re being very generous with regard to Varric. He was such a shallow one-dimensional (at best) writer-emplacement cliche..

              2. GTRichey says:

                Perhaps it’s not so much that they accomplished anything interesting in DA2, but that it seemed like they were really trying to do something different. If it had been given more development time and a final act that didn’t retroactively make people hate the rest of the game DA2 wouldn’t be seen as such a disaster. It’s also possible that I really am the only one that liked feeling that the player character wasn’t the driving force of the plot but was in an unfamiliar place and dealing with things in a more reactive manner.

                1. MatthewH says:

                  Around the end of Act I, I thought to myself “OK, they’re trying to do something interesting. The main character is actually Kirkwall, and I’m getting to learn something about the city and the world. After all, Dragon Age isn’t about the Gray Wardens, it’s about Thedas.”

                  By the end of Act II, I thought to myself “either they have nothing interesting to say about Thedas, or they have seriously cocked this game up.”

                  At the climax of Act III, I threw down my controller, there on the ground in front of the TV and said “Screw you all, I’m going to go play a game that makes no sense!”

        2. decius says:

          Bioware might now be owned by EA, but I would be shocked and angered if there was an enforceable non-compete clause on the people who actually do the work.

          1. GTRichey says:

            Possibly for some, but definitely not all. The Banner Saga is being developed by a group of people that were part of SWTOR’s development for example. All current IPs would likely stay at EA, but as far as people not necessarily. Also that would generally stop them from accepting a job offer from another development company while employed by EA or quitting to seek work with another development company. The studio being shut down would probably free anyone from any contracts.

  7. Gary says:

    Yeah, like another commentor said, free trials rarely work with existing accounts. This is something that I’ve come to grips with many moons ago. If there is a free trial to something, I ALWAYS create a new account with a different email address before I start. :)

    1. acronix says:

      That sounds so odd to me. When Champions Online did their ‘try the game for free because it’s our anniversary!’, it was easy to set the account as a 7 day trial later on, even if all your characters surpassed the trial’s level limit.

  8. Raygereio says:

    Buying BioWare DLCs was also an exercise in frustration. Short version: You could only buy DLC with dumb goobledogock points. In order to have goobledogock points attached to your profile you had to navigate to a Dragon Age: Origin page (when buying DLC for ME2). At this point you will spend ages looking around for an option to purchase the ammount of goobledogock points you need, only to discover that while you need X number of points for that DLC, you can’t actually buy number X, only (X+Y) number points. Ensuring that a 10,- DLC actually costs you 15,-.

    So yeah, BioWare was never good at having a logical layout and sensible infrastructure on their websites.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      Oh, yeah, Bioware Points. Thaat system really is stupid. Not to mention that – as usual – some DLCs required something like 560 points, and you could only buy 400/800/1600 point packages, not a specific amount.

      1. TSi says:

        That’s what we call Marketing.
        This system is used by nearly every company running online games or cash shops.
        So basically, it forces you to pay slightly more than what you need to make you feel inclined to pay more in order to get rid of your remaining credits.
        It’s a good tactic to make stupid people pay more than what they wanted initially.

        The bad thing is that many companies do it wrong, for example, Nexon has this system but also combines it to ‘item expiration time’ in some games (not to mention that their prices are also huge).
        This means that items can be purchased for either a week or permanently. The latter costing more than twice as much …

        And yes, there are still a lot of people to buy this pile of shit …

        (hopefully, it’s optional, just like DLC’s rght ? .. Right ???)

        1. Mephane says:

          Enter Steam where all DLC is bought directly for exactly the listed price, and can go on discounts from time to time just like anything else. Which basically means all those intermediate “point” currency systems are not necessary, but intentional, as are the mismatches between the prices and the number of points you can buy.

          1. TheHidden says:

            And amazingly, without such petty marketing tricks, Valve actually makes money and seems to hold their customers via the Steam client.

            What is this? Witchcraft?

            How is that even remotely possible? Binding their customers with relatively fair prices great sales and no extra money making schemes? Basically the only restriction being that you can’t resell or lend that software? Keeping the customers by making them feel more like good buisiness partners than easily scammed money-possessing sheep? That is impossible!


    2. Taellosse says:

      I will freely concede that the Bioware points system is retarded (in precisely the same fashion as the system it imitates, Microsoft points on XBL) and pointless, but it is SUPPOSED to let you buy only the amount you need for the thing you want to get. The standardized packages of points are available to get whenever, but the store is supposed to let you get a special package that lines up with the cost of the item you’re trying to buy, even if different from one of the packages.

      Your troubles may arise because of stupidity on their part integrating the ME store into the pre-existing one for Dragon Age. I’ve never bought ME DLC from Bioware’s store, since I play that franchise on console, but for DA, I’ve always been able to get only the amount of points I needed for the DLC I wanted to get.

      1. Yeah, me too, and I’m a compulsive Dragon Age DLC buyer. :P

        That being said, DA is the only Bioware franchise I’m interested in any more. ME2 wasn’t interesting to me. I tried SW:TOR during beta, got to level 15, no desire to play it again. I find the “story missions” and voiceover have absolutely no draw for me in an MMO, and they actually interfere with what I want to be doing, which is shooting things and looting them.

        That and I really, really, fundamentally detest the WoW-style combat.

        1. MelTorefas says:

          I completely agree about the story stuff! That sort of thing felt indescribably out of place shackled to a WoW-style MMO (kill and loot machine). I don’t know if there is a style of MMO that would work for those kind of story things, but I haven’t played it yet.

          1. Irridium says:

            It was the opposite for me. I felt so detached from everything while playing WoW I stopped playing at level 20. And I only got that far because I was playing with a friend.

            TOR’s whole story thing is pretty much the only thing that kept me going.

            1. Scerro says:

              Yeah, I just got a few levels in, maybe to 8 or 9. By that time, I was tired of the boring as any other MMO combat system, and really didn’t care much for anything happening. The only thing I really liked was the character that I created. Making him one of those guys without eyes was great, it completely covered the hardest parts to make look good in a game – the eyes. With those never being a distraction in conversations it allowed me to focus on how crappy and contrived everything else is.

              But yes, it’s pretty much a game that’s possibly interesting as a single player story based game that gets chained to the horrible dull combat that pervades a large portion of MMOs.

              I almost enjoyed the story seeing my character get his lightsaber.

              I still think Riot Games with League of Legends is going to only get more and more on the scope of the largest MMO, and largest free to play extremely successful one at that. Then there will be copies. So many copies.

        2. Daimbert says:

          The combat kinda annoys me, as do most of the WoW elements, but I love the story parts. The highest level I’ve ever gotten in any MMO was mid 20s in CoH, and in this one I have a Sith Warrior at level 17 already in something like two weeks, and I still want to play it to see how the story works out (and also because I really, really like Vette). Of course, I only do combat and the like as much as I need to to get to the next story part, and so don’t build my time around killing and looting, which is why I don’t mind the annoying combat, as it’s just a means to my end of getting to talk to Vette and seeing the story advance.

          I also like my Agent and liked my Jedi Knight although I didn’t do enough quests to get to the level I need to for the next story element, so they’re on hold.

          I even kinda like the space combat, although I don’t expect to spend a lot of time doing it.

          The biggest problem for me, as an alt-o-holic, is that the starting areas aren’t diverse enough. Imperial Agents and Bounty Hunters, for example, start in the same place, with only the different story missions being different. Then all Imperials, I think, move to Drummond Kaas, and again only the story quests are different. That means that after taking my Warrior through Drummond Kaas I’d be repeating it with my Agent, and even I’d like a little more time between doing the exact same things over and over. In CoH, the initial places were the same but the missions were generally based on your origin until level 5, and then you could guide the rest through different contacts, which I liked much more.

  9. Rick Tacular says:

    EA, not BioWare is the problem. ‘Nuff said.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      Looking back at how Bioware forums are run.. Yeah, no, it could well be BioWare problem too, they have done a lot of idiotic web stuff on their own over the years.

    2. Raygereio says:

      No. EA isn’t the alpha nd omega of BioWare’s problems.
      After all, for every Patrick Weekes (give praise and thank to he who gave us Mordin Solus) we have a Mac Walter, David Gaider and a Jennifer Hepler.
      And for every guy who worked his butt off on sweet looking vistas. We have fellow who spend manhours working on the cameltoe in Miranda & EDI’s character models.

      Sure, sme issues can be traced back to EA, but not all of them.

      1. Thomas says:

        By decent vista you mean grey? Easily the worst part of ME3 for me :(

        On a more general note, I’d finally come to terms with Mass Effect and begun to enjoy the games and now reading this I feel like I’m going to relapse again :D

      2. zev says:

        I’m a bit disappointed that you’re taking this opportunity to harp on Jennifer Hepler again. Of all the gaming-related places I visit this is the one I would least expect to see this sort of nonsense. Unless you know for a fact that it was specifically her that was responsible for any of the recent gaping plot holes in Bioware’s works. In which case, carry on.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          Perhaps I’m misinformed, but I thought she was only responsible for the romances and how they developed.

          That would mean her writing is both good and bad.

          1. zev says:

            Criticizing her for her writing is fine.

            Attacking her for suggesting that combat is not the most appealing part (or even an appealing part to begin with) of a game for everyone, as people seem to do, is not ok. It’s ok to want to skip combat, even if you work in the games industry. Even if you’re the one designing combat. Some games have crappy combat or combat that isn’t to your taste but still have other qualities you value.

            1. Raygereio says:

              Unless you know for a fact that it was specifically her that was responsible for any of the recent gaping plot holes in Bioware's works.
              I know for a fact this miss “virginal-girl-next-door” Hepler is responsible for godawful writing.

              As for her dumb opinions regarding game design. Let’s get a couple of things straight. You brought that up here. I did not. In fact, I didn’t even allude to it. Of all the gaming-related places I visit this is the one I would least expect lame passive-aggressive strawman-attacks.

              As for her dumb opinions regarding gamedesign: I couldn’t care less about that. It’s a horse-shaped debate that we’ve already had on this site and has thoroughly been beated to death.
              In the end she’s just a low-level crappy writer and not in any way involved with the actual design of videogames, so it’s not like anyone should care about what she says about game design.
              But what people should care about is how awful of a human being she turned out to be during that particular debacle. Let’s not forget then when faced with a contrary opinion and minor, non-gender related ridicule, she was the one who began twating some nonsense about how people hated her vagina. Something which then devolved into EA/BioWare’s PR and the gaming press labelling everyone with criticism about BioWare as misogynists, because responding to criticism with indignation and defamation has become the former’s modus operandi and posting cheap, inflammatory articles the latter’s.

              So yeah. By all means: carry on.

    3. Cody211282 says:

      Their inability to make a decent story (what they used to be known for) is their main problem.

      They went from OK gameplay with good plots and great characters to alright gameplay with dumb plots and rehashed/boring/unlikable characters.

      1. Um, Bioware’s never been great at creating a story per se. Everything they’ve done that’s been good has either been completely derivative or largely character-based. It works the best when they create a really good, interesting villain, like Jon Irenicus or Sun Li, The Glorious Strategist, and base pretty much the entire rest of the game on that.

        1. decius says:

          Yeah, I can’t describe NWN chapter 1 as a good arc of a story- it’s four thinly veiled murder missions tied into an overall quest that does exactly nothing.

          1. Michael says:

            Ironically, NWN is a really good primer for everything that’s wrong with Bioware’s writing as a whole. All the standard issue Bioware character types are on display, the first three chapters are eerily similar to miniaturized versions of every subsequent Bioware game with the possible exception of DA2.

            While they got better at masking it, the original game really stands on its own as an example of what’s wrong with their “storytelling.”

        2. Cody211282 says:

          I’m going to show how little I know about forming a story here. But I consider characters as a large part of a story, if you have a super generic plot with likable/complex characters I usually say the story was good like in DA:O and KOTOR.

          1. Soylent Dave says:

            You’re not wrong – because we’re talking about computer games.

            If Bioware were writing novels, they’d stand out (or fail to stand out) as meandering dross, and the occasional enjoyable character wouldn’t be able to lift the story out of its mediocrity.

            But any videogame having a few involved and interesting characters is lightyears ahead of most of the competition, even if your storyline is as bog standard as the rest (some companies do it vice versa, with similar success).

            Really, it’s a mark of how starved we are for decent writing in our games that we so readily champion any writer who makes a modicum of effort, whether it’s well-executed or not. This is why so many people forgive Obsidian for their bugs, celebrate Bethesda’s inconsistent world-building and latch onto Bioware’s stereotyped, clichéd characterisation.

            It’s the best we can do.

            1. Michael says:

              Not the best we can do, but the best we’re getting.

              On the other hand, when we actually do get games that rise above that, more often than not the fanboys leap from the shadows to tear it apart.

              Case in point, DA2 is probably the best written Bioware game in a long time. There is more depth squirreled away in the characters, and it’s the only Bioware game where the main character has any personality of their own. The party banter alludes to ongoing relationships between the party members. While handled poorly overall, the Mage/Templar conflict goes a long way towards providing two factions that are morally ambiguous, rather than Bioware’s Exalted Order of Gullibility vs the Order of Baby Eating Monsters morality scheme they favor.

              And yet, the fans hit the roof and attacked it mercilessly.

              1. X2Eliah says:

                If DA2 is the best writing Bioware can do, then – taking into account the entire idiotic farce that is the third act and the way things end – things are even worse than I imagined.

                And even if the writing itself were good (which I strongly dispute, when compared to literature), the game DID have a LOT of serious issues BESIDES the writing that deserved to be pointed out and called what they are. A crap game with mediocre writing is nothing more than a crap game with mediocre writing, and a whole work should NOT get a free pass because of one single aspect.

                To be honest, you know the whole ending furore of ME3? In DA2, Bioware really did almost the same thing, it didn’t get such a fuss because there were a lot of other bad things and frankly people just didn’t care about the story all that much. Which also goes to show how “good” the writing really was.

                1. Michael says:

                  No, I’d never accidentally say DA2’s writing was actually good, just that it was better than anything else Bioware has managed to turn out. Though, ME3 started trending in that direction in odd moments.

                  EDIT: No, the thing about DA2 that baffles me are the people who will leap to the defense of ME2’s giant space terminator baby and then completely ironically rip DA2 a new one.

                2. Dasick says:

                  Define “good writing”.

              2. Cody211282 says:

                Looking back on it I can say that it has a lot of potential if they had spent a few more months on hammering out the story it would have been a lot better then what we got. But what we have is rough poorly done main story, characters that grow in some areas but never really do to much (and in one case makes you utterly hate everything about them), and a protagonist that does nothing but show up after some else has happened.

                It could have been amazing, but what it feels like is FedEx the game.

                But just so it doesn’t sound like im beaing to hard on poor little DA2, I honestly think if the lead had been a bit smarter with what time he had or had been given 6 or so more months to finish everything it would have been great. Hell I plan on playing it again, which is more then I can say for Mass Effect, the ending broke the game so hard I uninstalled all 3 of them after the EC came out.

                1. Michael says:

                  Supposedly the game that went gold was an alpha build. Though I’d have to do some digging to source and verify this.

                  1. Cody211282 says:

                    I would be willing to believe that if the response from Bioware wasn’t the same one we got for the ME3 ending.

                    Though I do remember that rumor being around for a while, though I think lack of anything really changing all that much after patching sorta disproves it.

                    1. Michael says:

                      Honestly, given that the dev team would have been axed after launch, and most of the team was pointed at DLCs once it did go gold? Yeah, I wouldn’t expect too much on that front.

                      I still, and this isn’t a complete non-sequitor, remember one of Cryptic’s biggest gripes when working on Champions and Star Trek, was that Atari cut a huge amount of their team immediately after Champions went gold, and then did the same with Star Trek, leaving them scrabbling to try to turn out new content while the people they needed to do that were being shown the door by corporate.

                      Point is, once a product has shipped, there isn’t a lot of incentive for EA to work on it further, so those programers will be, at best, retasked, and at worst, terminated.

              3. Daimbert says:

                “and it's the only Bioware game where the main character has any personality of their own.”

                Well, I don’t WANT the MC to have a personality of their own in games like Bioware does. I want the MC to have the personality _I_ give it. This was what was so great about the KotOR series as well as TOR: I can generally act the way I want to and give the MC the personality I want. Sure, I CAN enjoy the “MC who is not me” type of games, but being able to be the MC I want to be is the ideal for me.

    4. Lalaland says:

      Too easy to blame EA, Bioware took the cash and their marching orders so they’re as responsible as EA.

      Bioware have slit their own throats on this and on every game they’ve let out the door without that old time polish (I’m thinking ME & DA here rather than SWOTOR as I’ve not bothered personally).

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage did a piece on how EA, even if didn’t intend to, radically changed Bioware.

        In the end you are right, Bioware’s decision to be purchased by EA is it’s own fault. They are ultimately more responsible for that than EA because they could have declined and they were doing just fine without them (at least as far as I know, I could be wrong).

        1. Cody211282 says:

          If I remember correctly the big reason they let EA buy them was so that they could receive funding for TOR.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Well then that turned out well, didn’t it. They built TOR and had a pretty shitty run, but lost their skill and reputation as a result. Good bargain, Bioware. *sigh*

            1. Cody211282 says:

              Well on the plus side we got DA:O out of it. But ya overall it seems to be a gamble that ended up completely backfiring.

              1. Lalaland says:

                IIRC wasn’t DA:O already in development by the time of the EA deal? I could have sworn I saw a lot of post mortems on that game complaining that it was pushed out the door early by EA as it had become mired in BW development hell.

                Just picked it up recently and I’m enjoying it but the combat system is a mess.

                1. Cody211282 says:

                  DA:O was finished before EA bought them out. They couldn’t find anyone to publish the game though.

                2. Michael says:

                  DAO had been in development at least since 2003 or 2004, forget which. I remember seeing them talking about it on their old site way back when. A lot of the combat began with the idea of “like NWN but better”, or “how we would do D&D”, so, while it’s kinda a step forward, it isn’t a huge one…

                  DA2 is the one EA supposedly shoved out the door as soon as it was playable.

  10. acronix says:

    I wonder if they are following WoW’s ‘free to play up to level X’ trial or if their numbers are just dwindling.

    1. Lame Duck says:

      I don’t remember where I heard it, so maybe I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that The Old Republic’s subscription numbers had fallen a lot since launch.

      1. SleepingDragon says:

        I know for a fact a number of people in the club around here played it for a while, enjoyed some of the plots a lot and then steadily lost interest to the point where two or three weeks ago someone asked if “anybody is still playing TOR” and pretty much everybody said they stopped a while ago. That’s not to say this is a global trend but I have seen a lot of mentions to that effect on the net.

      2. Taellosse says:

        You are not wrong. Last I checked, they’d lost something on the order of 400,000 subscriptions. I think they still have something like 1.5 million, but still, losing something on the order of a quarter of their initial install base has hurt their bottom line a lot. And while I believe the flight has moderated, it hasn’t turned around – they’re still losing more people than they’re gaining, last I heard.

        1. Rosseloh says:

          I don’t know any exact numbers, but a ton of folks left after the “free” month was up.

          I stuck around until mid-March but ended up leaving after that. Good characters, decent stories, mediocre gameplay. So basically, Bioware’s MO.

          And when I say mediocre gameplay, I’m not kidding. People tend to joke (sometimes) about the newest MMO being a “WoW clone”, since WoW is obviously the most well known one, but TOR is the closest I’ve ever seen one actually BE a WoW clone. Seriously, the main vibe I got was “WoW with a Star Wars skin” the entire time I played it.

          1. MelTorefas says:

            Basically this. Except, ‘WoW 5 years ago’ rather than even being ‘WoW today’.

    2. MatthewH says:

      I remember reading something -maybe in GameInformer, but it might have been Wired -around the time ToR came out. It said that ToR may be the last subscription based MMO, simply because the model was becoming unworkable. Free-to-Play systems with microtransactions were the wave of the future.

      Regardless, this doesn’t strike me as a good omen.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        When you think about it, the notion makes sense to people outside the industry. Star Wars and Bioware are known hits among gamers. If they can’t make an MMO work via subscription, then no one but Blizzard can.

        They don’t realize that part of the problem is Bioware actively discouraging people from playing through shitty UIs like what Shamus went through and nonsensical policies.

        1. Michael says:

          I’ve always picked up a heavy tone of arrogance from TOR. And I don’t know if that’s valid or not. The lack of an LTS being offered before launch, the plausibility of those claims of bans over things said in PMs and farming high level zones, the lack of UI customization (in game), the lack of character visual choices, the lack of dual specing, the (apparently) rote recreation of WoW’s systems and mechanics, the swarm of servers on launch, Customer Service going on vacation after launch because of the holidays, and not returning until after the New year, and a dozen other things I’m not even thinking of right now…

          It all painted a picture for me of “you will play our game, you don’t have a choice in the matter, so we can do whatever we feel like.”

          I kinda wonder if this was anyone else’s perspective.

          1. Bubble181 says:

            So you mean it’s Diablo III?

            1. Michael says:

              I’m not sure. A lot of the same stuff was there with Diablo 3, but with D3 I always got the impression it was more about “gettin’ them darn pirates”, sort like the Ubisoft always on DRM schemes, more than pure arrogance. But I didn’t actually play D3 outside of about two hours in the beta… so I could have missed something on that front.

  11. Old_Geek says:

    Perhaps some things just aren’t meant to be.

  12. rayen says:

    you know it’s starting to get entertaining. when EA fails they fail in a big way. The bankrupted rhode island with 38 studios, and here they gave bioware money to make a good MMO and won’t let anyone play. I’m starting to wonder if they’re trying to destroy the video games industry.

    1. X2Eliah says:

      That would be an interesting line of thought, if Bioware had actually made a great MMO instead of a brushed up wow-clone that focuses on single-player content, becuase that’s what MMOs need right?

      1. Mari says:

        I’m not usually one to jump to Bioware’s defense but I have to address this one. I know a LOT of people that exclusively solo MMOs and would love more offerings in the market that focus on singler-player experience. No, I don’t get it either, but it’s a real thing.

        1. MatthewH says:

          Allow me to give a partial explanation. I’m not a big fan of MMOs generally, but in college I got together with some friends to play Dark Age of Camelot. I did the raids and exploration with my friends, but I really enjoyed questing. If a friend could come along and join the fun, that was even better.

          Imagine if you will a non-MMO game. Say a flight simulator where you are part of a B-17’s flight crew. And you can play it solo as any role. But it’s even more fun to get 8 friends together and have one pilot, another bomb, and everyone else on a turret.

          Those types of games are more common now, but still MMOs are more common places to get something approximating that experience.

        2. Daimbert says:

          Well, as one of them, let me highlight some of the reasons.

          1) Since MMOs can appeal to a broad base, you can get games in it that you can’t get single player. So, a Star Wars game with real multiple worlds, or a superhero game, or whatever. So, I’d like to play the game but am not really attached to the MMO part, but it’s my only option.

          2) Sometimes it’s fun to play with others. Friends, for example. Or certain big things that need a group, like Task Forces in CoH or maybe Flashpoints in TOR. Just because most of the time I’d rather play alone it doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes want to join guilds and play with others as well.

        3. Dasick says:

          Is the solo-MMORPers a big enough market to justify making a $200-million game?

          I doubt it.

          1. Daimbert says:

            If you make a good Star Wars MMO that can appeal to both, in theory you’d clean up. Did they succeed at doing that? I can’t really say.

            That being said, appealing to solo gaming was, if I recall correctly, one of the things that made Guild Wars successful.

            1. Dasick says:

              Yes, but Guild Wars solo-content is different from SWTOR solo-content.

              I understand the appeal of doing your own thing in a world full of people doing their own thing and being able to switch from party to solo mode. But TOR’s most appealing content is the “cinematic storytelling” BioWare prides themselves on. Which is an expensive thing to make and keep making after launch to maintain their subscriber’s base.

              There is a different approach to single player games and MMOs that lend to solo-ing really well.

      2. krellen says:

        I believe the problem lays more in the “WoW clone” part than the single player part. WoW doesn’t lend itself well to solo play – I know the reason I gave up on it was frustration with how much I couldn’t do solo.

        1. Soylent Dave says:

          But wouldn’t you just prefer a single player game? If what you want out of an MMO is the ability to ‘do it solo’, then aren’t you really asking for a single player RPG?

          (of the pseudo-old-school grindy kind, presumably)

          1. MelTorefas says:

            The ability to switch between ‘playing alone’ and ‘hanging out with random strangers to group/show off your cool stuff’ can be a compelling one for some types of folks. (Like myself.)

            1. Trix2000 says:

              So much this. I have a hard time logging into WoW anymore these days mostly because the people I used to play with aren’t around much anymore.

              Not so say I didn’t have some fun with pugs here and there, but it got old after a while with no one to really mess around with.

          2. KMJX says:

            what people who play solo in an MMO are after, is still the social interaction.
            Often you start with/because of some friends, but the more you play, the more your schedules don’t line up.

            Someone asks in guild chat “Anyone up for [insert activity here]?”and 9 out of 10 people go “I just did that” or “Don’t have the time for that right now”, or “Let me just finish [insert other activity here]”.
            Then the guy goes and does it alone.
            Two minutes later in gc “OK I’m done, wanna go now?” or someone just got on and goes “Hey, anyone wanna do [insert activity 1]?” and the answer will inevitably be “I just went alone because nobody wanted to”

            But still, chatting while doing your boring repetitive stuff beats doing boring repetitive stuff with no chatting.
            In a good guild you will usually be with people you enjoy to chat with, so you’ll stick to the game and to those damn jerks.

            On the other hand, it’s a proven fact that trying to interact with a total stranger in an MMO will usually get you to think about quitting more often than not.

            In MMOS you feel like you will progress more alone, but you are still there to do stuff with other people. Lots of SP content is good.

            1. MatthewH says:

              Standing around bases saying “Looking for Group” was what put me off MMOs generally. I keep trying to convince some friends (we live 600 miles apart) to get on an MMO server and we can hang for a couple of hours a week, but schedules never line up. Maybe when their kids are old enough to invite to the party…

          3. krellen says:

            I like Help channels – answering questions, giving advice, and sometimes general silliness. Tweeting while I play Civ V is okay, but the random chat is often quite enjoyable itself.

            When I played City of Heroes, back before they decided they were tired of being solo-friendly (talking about the endgame, I’m very bitter over the Incarnate system), I would sometimes spend hours not “playing”, but just chatting.

            1. Michael says:

              Honestly that was a pretty good description of my last couple months with Star Trek Online.

          4. Zukhramm says:

            I want to solo with people.

          5. Soylent Dave says:

            To all –

            Wow, I didn’t expect to see quite so many reasons there!

            (all very informative, too – especially to someone like me who has never really ‘got’ MMOs. Much appreciated.)

          6. Kel'Thuzad says:

            This is correct in that a single player RPG would have been a better choice for the company. If you’re going to make a story focused game, why pay for the server upkeep?

            The one thing beneficial about SWTOR being an MMO was that you could be an outright member of an evil faction which is a perspective not often seen in Bioware RPGs.

          7. Blackbird71 says:

            Show me a single player RPG that has the scope of an MMO, and sure, I’ll gladly play that instead, especially if it has the option for limited multiplayer (I have no problems playing with a handlful of friends, it’s hanging out with complete strangers who more often than not turn out to be either idiots or jerks that puts me off).

            The Elder Scrolls games are the only ones I’ve found that come close, and I already play those exhaustively. So until more single player RPGs come out that can capture my attention for as long as an MMO, I’ll keep playing MMOs primarily as a single player.

    2. Infinitron says:

      EA is not really in any way directly responsible for the demise of 38 Studios.

      1. Shep says:

        Shush, don’t contradict the internet hivemind. EA are clearly responsible for everything wrong with the gaming industry, I hear they cause cancer too.

        On a more serious note, EA are not in any way responsible for the mess at 38 studios, and it seems pretty unlikely that they are maliciously trying to destroy the gaming industry, given that they don’t exactly have many other revenue streams. EA are hardly the good guys, but it seems a stretch to accuse them of deliberately and self-destructively trying to damage their own brands and the industry they make their money from. If there is one thing EA likes, it is their money.

        1. Adam Fuller says:

          I like the reverse idea. The gaming industry (Bioware specifically) is trying to destroy EA by taking it down from within in a self-sacrificing explosion, and the end of ME3 is an allegorical metaphor of this. I don’t believe it, but I like it.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          Agreed. It’s a combination of Schilling’s ineptitude and Rhode Island acting like morons. EA was actually behaving quite civilly and responsibly for once.

  13. Lame Duck says:

    As soon as I saw the word “Trial” in title of this post, I was wondering whether it would be an account of your experiences in the free trial or an account of how much of trial it was to try to get the bloody thing to work.

  14. Amarsir says:

    Yep, I’ve said so every time it comes up: the swtor website is a complete mess and has been since the very early days. There are some things we can at least pretend to excuse by remembering Bioware has no MMO experience, but that’s a level of screwup so basic it’s pretty impossible to justify.

    1. Mephane says:

      And then they went and updated the site to an entirely new design and structure, and it was even worse than before. For example, to read patch notes now you have to go to a “my account” link, ignore the “error, you are not logged in – log in now” page and instead use the patch notes link that only appears there. Oh and of course in a forum overview you absolutely need threads occupy two lines instead of one, because obviously a thread list is much easier to scan when there are mostly blank between entries and you have to scroll twice as much.

      1. Michael says:

        For a moment I hoped you were joking… but I know better… *facepalms*

  15. Aelyn says:

    It should be fairly painless this time around.

    This is a famous literary device, much like the presence of rain presages change in a story. When I read this, I knew that much pain was to ensue.

    You’re telegraphing your punches, Shamus.

    1. Thomas says:

      But when you let this become meta with this, you can have a lot of fun with it. You can either subvert it and have it actually be painless or the minute you let the audience become aware that you know the expectations, then they begin to think, does this mean that it actually is going to be painless to surprise us?

      Nope. But it can’t get worse than this right, I’m not going to do it again am I?

      Yes I am. But this time I mean it right?

      Nope. Still it can’t get worse than this.


      It becomes like that TV Tropes think where the funny goes down and then rises again with repetition. It gets to a point where it would never be funnier not to disappoint audience expectations

      (I really wanted to make this post meta, but the whole thing doesn’t work if you want it to be positive :( It’s not narrative if things turn out better than you expect)

      1. Syal says:

        I personally find both of those options to be cliche. I prefer the Left Field approach.

        “This is going to be painless.”

        Click For Full Article

        “But before I could get started, the wife called me into the kitchen,” and then you have a whole blog post about home life.

        Just to keep everyone on their toes.

  16. Well, you really aren’t missing much by not playing SW:TOR, except maybe for this:

    Talking Smack

    And this horror show.

    Happily, some of us from Bioware have gone on to better things.

    1. Phill says:

      Yeah – I noticed that girl NPC who was IIRC meant to be rather young, and basically had a standard human woman model scaled down by 50%. It was rather weird.

      And put me down as one of those who started playing SW:TOR at launch, loved it, and yet somehow hasn’t got around to logging on in the last few months, and all my friends who were playing have more or les stopped.

      Of course, in the case of me and my wife, our playing was somewhat curtailed by the arrival of a new baby in April, and although she was happily tanking Molten Core whilst breastfeeding back in our WoW days with our previous kid, we don’t have so much energy these days :)

      1. krellen says:

        What does it say about me that I just took her for a little girl and didn’t notice she had a grown-up model at all?

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          It says that you weren’t thinking about how attractive a little girl is.
          Not a bad thing to say.

      2. Daimbert says:

        I did the same, for different reasons: I played it in January for a while, liked it, but never got back to it until recently. That being said, being busy at work and having a long, long list of games I was trying to finish didn’t help [grin].

    2. Mephane says:

      Yeah, this one got me right into the uncanny valley (I found the face far more disturbing than the scaled-down body, however).

    3. Vekni says:

      I…..I never noticed the children. Ohdear.

      In other news, great website, can’t believe I never stumbled upon it. So, wanna elope? Please?

    4. Sumanai says:

      I agree with your points about SWTOR on your site. And the gripes Shamus keeps mentioning in the Twitter. And a bunch of other stuff I know are there, but I can’t remember because it was months since I played.

      Oh, and a poisoned cookie for the person who tells me it has “totally changed and is way better now”. No it isn’t, as wasn’t WoW, LotRO or Champions Online. Wait. Wasn’t I the one who said it about Champions Online? Crap. Point still stands.

      Well, okay, some of LotRO is better, like the fact you can actually ignore some quests* and still level up decently while soloing, but the writing still dips itself into the hilawful territory constantly.

      * As in, the occasional quest that is BS. Like the spider cave in Archet or the group quests. Though there are still some that spring the grouping on you after you’ve travelled over halfway through Bree-land.

  17. Jeff #3 says:

    This is so much like what happened to me that I had to laugh. I went through almost the exact same steps that you did (including broken help page) but this was maybe 2 months ago… so it looks like they haven’t fixed that even.

    The best part is that the client you download when you go through the ‘start trial now’ link is only the installer… and you can’t download the full client unless you have an active account. What MMO operates like that even?

    It’s probably best that you didn’t go all the way through. I played up to the level cap for the trial (15 IIRC) and then got the full version. When I tried to upgrade my account with the included CD key, either scriptblocker or adblocker prevented the second page from loading, so the key got flagged as used in their database, but did not get added to my account. Attempts to re-add it failed and I had to cal support, which resulted in a 2 hour call to their 800 number (most of which was spent on hold).

    I quit shortly afterward when I found that in their zeal to copy old-school WoW they went down to the level of 10% gameplay, 90% travel time.

    1. MelTorefas says:

      Ye gods, the insane travel times. I feel frustrated just remembering them.

      1. MatthewH says:

        I enjoyed Star Wars: Galaxies’ travel system. Racing a speederbike across Tatooine, seeing the scenery fly by, exploring strange new vistas, challenging other players to get to Mos Espa fastest.

        Running into objects that rendered 2 seconds later.

        I gather WoW and ToR don’t use that system? Shame.

        1. Jeff #3 says:

          WoW does a lot of the “Running into objects that rendered 2 seconds later.” but in reverse when you run into one of the areas that they went overboard with phasing in.

    2. Michael says:

      It probably wasn’t script or adblocker. This is a bug that’s been kicking around since launch. Of course, at launch it was being answered by chatbots because the CS team went on vacation over the holidays, and the chatbot would gleefully inform you that you’d input the wrong key, and that you needed to use the physical retail key, when you told it that your retail key was flagged as already in use.

      1. Sumanai says:

        That’s a pretty good chatbot. I can’t tell the difference between that and a real customer service rep.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Well if you are looking for a game to kill a few hours with,try out spec ops:the line.A game with a surprisingly good story and a bit of a cliche gameplay.It also offers a great discussion towards the mass effect 3 endings.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Yeah, I too heard good things about it.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Huh,even yahtzee recommended it.Thats rare.

  19. guy says:

    Why are massive computer industry companies so incompetent at basic web design? I mean, it’s not quite as bad as top-tier computer science school web design, but still.

  20. Sagretti says:

    With EA execs predicting that the future is everything Free to Play with lots of micro-transactions, I’m sure you’ll have the chance to try and play SWTOR when it drops the subscription fee soon.

    At which point the Bioware website will inform you that you’re still not allowed to play their newly free to play game. I think they’re just scared of what you’ll say about it at this point.

  21. hborrgg says:

    Oh wow! It actually does say “Free* Trial.” I laughed out loud.

    Did the aterisk say anything at the bottom of the page?

    1. WJS says:

      No, Shamus notes that they never got around to explaining exactly what they meant by “Free”, just that they pointed out that they didn’t mean what most people would expect the word to mean.

  22. Daktylo says:

    Remember when companies actually cared about the image they portrayed to their customers (both existing and possible)? I was intrigued at trying this product as well, but not if I’m going to be hassled.

  23. RTBones says:

    Just out of curiosity – have you tried creating a second account, just for grins – or has your level of interest just waned? Yes, I realize the utter stupidity of that idea, but it might let you play for a bit. I do understand completely that the entire combobulation is simply insane.

    After seeing some of the horror stories on t’internet, I passed on SWTOR even though I would have liked to try it. I have enough nerdrage at Bioware/EA over ME3 – most of which is not even about the endings.

    1. Scerro says:

      I’m pretty sure that this post was his final attempt to try out the game when they said it was free to play. However, due to the final time of it supposedly being free to play, they still didn’t let him play, not without a ton more BS, so he decided it’s not worth if they want to say he can play it, but not let him play it.

      He isn’t missing anything anyways.

  24. Chad Mercer says:

    I had the same problem when I tried to re-activate the account I’d used for beta.

    I have zero interest in paying a subscription for an MMO. I’ve already got LotRO & GW2 (soon), but this free trial would have been a nice stop-gap until GW2 actually releases.

    Too bad they can’t figure out how to make subscriptions work.

    (I’ve had this problem with EA/Bioware since the Dragon Age DLC…Huge pain in the butt.)

    Prediction? SWTOR will go free-to-play within a year, and it’ll be too late to matter.

  25. Noah Gibbs says:

    (This was a reply to something above. WordPerfect didn’t like what I wrote and moved it to the bottom. And now I can’t delete it from here)

    Woo-hoo! Shamus gets to waste more time and we get another angry rant when he can’t play!

    I’m all for it. Sounds win-win.

    1. SteveDJ says:

      Waste more time? Bah — we got an excellent, and humorous, blog post out of the deal.

  26. Aldowyn says:

    I have to admit that I had similar problems getting my free trial to work when I did that. Annnd I don’t remember how I eventually got it to work. You might need to make another account, as stupid as that is. I KNOW WoW wasn’t that hard to do when it started doing the free trial thing.

    As for the game itself.. I don’t hate the WoW gameplay, but to be perfectly honest it wasn’t that deep. Lots of mashing the same buttons. Although I did have quite a bit of fun doing a 2 man dungeon… several elites that we BARELY beat and pulled through in the end… and the classes are definitely diverse. Although apparently the republic/empire counterpart classes have pretty much identical movesets for … some… reason…

    *edit* The index pages on the side seem just a tiny bit intrusive, but most of the main content is there and EASILY accessible. Except the programming icon basically just refreshes, at least for me, and the book scroll jerks up and down a bit whenever I scroll.

  27. Irridium says:

    Heh, the first thing I thought of when I heard TOR would be free-to-play up to level 15 was “huh, I guess Shamus will finally get to try it.”

    Well at least we got a blog post out of it. Shame you still can’t try the game, though.

  28. gothictwist says:

    Given it a try myself.
    seems as a brand new player it asks me to go through all the same steps as shamus.
    but after filling in and saving all the steps up to the product registration. it allows me to log into the launcher and start to DL the game proper.
    once its done ill let you know id thats enough to let me log into the game itself or not

  29. Mumbles says:

    It’s totally a BioWare problem. I don’t know who designs their websites, but it’s a maze of tiny little clickable text that usually brings you nowhere.

    In other news I heard TOR was down to 77k subscribers and they’re nuking a bunch of servers. Can anyone confirm this?

    1. X2Eliah says:

      Whooah.. 77k players? Um. Did you mean 770k or are they really in such seriously deep mess? (I really don’t know, maybe they truly have less than a hundred k actives atm)

    2. Cognimancer says:

      I highly doubt they’re in that much trouble with subscription numbers, but they are definitely killing off servers left and right. They had dozens to start with (way too many to sustain), but as of last month they’re moving everyone to a handful of chosen servers to condense the player population. It’s actually working really well to get active players together; the only complaint is that it should have started months ago.

      1. Jeff #3 says:

        A friend who stil plays sent me a heads up on this, IIRC it looks like they’re going down from 200-something worldwide to 20-something worldwide. So a roughly 90% reduction in number of active servers.

        Which was needed, since the side effect of over-building for a smooth launch is extremely empty servers once numbers settle down from the initial rush.

        770k is a lot more believable then 77k. If it was down to 77k from it’s multi-million initial, the news sites wouldn’t shut up about it.

        1. Sumanai says:

          They did not, under any reasonable interpretation, have a smooth launch. Also they could’ve rented the hardware and as soon as the first wave got by they could’ve then moved players into permanent servers.

          The fact that it has taken them this long to do that means they expected to have those servers for a longer time, which means they weren’t for the launch, but for all the fictional players their game was supposed to attract and keep.

    3. Irridium says:

      Half-Right. They don’t have 77K subscribers, but they have done server transfers recently and will soon automatically transfer any remaining characters and then nuke the empty ones.

      This is a good thing, since TOR has way too many servers.

      1. Falling says:

        Yeah, the server combine was well overdue. My brother was on a server that at peak time had maybe 100 people in the entire galaxy, so at best you might have 16 people on a popular planet. Basically one giant, empty server.

  30. Vagrant says:

    In other News Rift just gave me 3 days free for updating my password.

    btw, your websites looking snazzy. like from this decade even.

  31. Lord_Bryon says:

    Wow, I feel as if I’m the only one here who likes SWTOR. In any case I had issues trying re-activating my account after suffering from a bad case of the Skyrims. Ended up calling their 1-800 number and they were able to resolve it for me quiet quickly. This would be my suggestion. Be it to enjoy the game or roast it in another Shamus Plays I hope you can eventually get in.

    1. Ian Miller says:

      Nah, I like it too. I didn’t have too much trouble – but I have heard there are many problems if you don’t do things to the precise specifications. One of the reasons I’m relying on prepaid game cards, less efficient though they are, so I don’t start having automatic withdrawals.

      The one time I called customer service, they were pretty helpful about it. And it was pretty much exactly what I wanted, namely KotOR with friends.

    2. Daimbert says:

      I got it soon after launch and am on a subscription, and haven’t had too many problems, and I like the game now that I’m playing it again. Unless some new shiny comes along to distract me or it gets too hard, it looks like I’ll hit my highest level ever in an MMO with it.

  32. acronix says:

    I tried to register for their trial recently. It spit me in the face with a ‘Password is required!’ message, no matter how long, short, or unfathomable I made it.

    So yeah.

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