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Reloading... No Soup for You

Updated Fri, Jul 29, 2011 by Boomjack

Welcome to the 47th Edition of Reloading...

“Gaming in general is a male thing.  It isn’t that gaming is designed to exclude women.  Everybody who’s tried to design a game to interest a large female audience has failed.  And I think that has to do with the different thinking processes of men and women.” – Gary Gygax
--
Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day.   Let’s go with this…


--
Thanks to the guy who sent me the ROMG worst column ever email yesterday.   I tried to reply to you on my iPhone, but it apparently took offense to your mail and sent it into the Interether never to be found again.   I’ll do my best to make today’s column the worst.  Most people try to keep setting the bar higher and higher, but frankly, that’s a tough gig, so setting the bar lower and lower it is… this one’s for you!

A couple of my Aussie friends (readers, viewers of this column) emailed me to let me know that Star Wars: The Old Republic was not being given a release date in Australia.   I was perplexed, but that feeling often bounces around in my head, so although I took notice I didn’t bump the issue to the top of my “must write” list. 

Here is the deal: SW:TOR (hereafter referred to as sweater because it will be a cold day in Hell before some of you see it) will not be available at launch to anyone outside of North American and Europe. 

I’m looking at you Iceland, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and more…  Yes, some of you are part of the European Union, but that and two euros will get you a cup of coffee.   It won’t get you SW:TOR.

Wipe that smile off your face North America.  The game is being released in limited numbers, so waiting until the last minute to buy this title might leave you as left out as the guy from Lithuania. 

BioWare and LucasArts wiped the SW:Galaxies wake cake off their chins and posted this:

“To all of our fans outside of North America and Europe:

Today we've announced the pre-order details for the initial launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and as you may now know, we've taken the difficult but necessary decision to limit our initial launch supply for the game.

BioWare and LucasArts are completely focused on building an exceptional game and an exceptional game service to go with it. We decided to constrain our launch capacity to ensure we deliver a great experience to every player. Part of the reason this decision was made was because of the overwhelming demand for The Old Republic, and we're humbled by that level of excitement and anticipation. We fully intend to deliver to you an amazing game when we expand our service post-launch, but right now we cannot commit to any timeframe for when that may happen.

As soon as we have more information about additional launches in more territories, we'll let you know. We are committed to delivering Star Wars: The Old Republic to BioWare and Star Wars fans around the world, and to growing a truly global community.”


This makes sense on many fronts.   Rolling out a game in one region is hard.  Rolling it out in multiple regions can be a nightmare. 

Even if you were only to roll out one portion of the entire picture, let’s say customer support, it becomes a logistics nightmare.   Rolling out customer support to North America is a mammoth undertaking.   Rolling it out in Europe where it requires multiple languages is much tougher.  Now imagine rolling it out across the globe.   It makes me shudder just to think about it.    (This doesn’t explain Australia however, who could use NA customer support.)

I understand why Bioware would take this stance, especially given the enormous number of people who want to play their game.   I also understand why a person in Kazakhstan would be upset that they can’t play SW:TOR when it launches.   Star Wars is a global franchise, with fans everywhere. 

Are you affected by this decision? 

What are your thoughts on the issue?

--
As always, you can contact me a number of ways:
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Website
  • Telepathy (Just make sure it’s during business hours.  I hate to be woken by this stuff)
Until we meet again,
John “Boomjack” Hoskin


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The customer support argument does not fly. I'm from Romania and all the dealings I've had with Blizzard have been in English. Same goes for all the excluded countries. So no, that's not a valid argument. Blizzard doesn't have Romanian CS, or Lithuanian CS or any of the other languages.

From a business standpoint it also doesn't make sense. Romania has around 200-250k WoW accounts, of which 30-50% would likely at least try SWTOR. Other countries on the excluded list have more. So you're looking at around 1mil players excluded in Europe alone, not to mention the rest of the countries. Does EA not want to sell its game?

Purchasing "when it will be available" is also not a good option. First there is no timeframe. Second by the time it is available most of the game would be completely revealed. It's not fun playing when there are spoilers everywhere you look on the Net. You won't get the same feeling as someone who started on day 1 with no information and figured and discovered things for him/herself. Storyline progression will be mapped out, everyone will know the "efficient" way to do things - which is inevitable as this is a theme park mmo and not a sandbox.

Basically playing several months later than the "privileged" people will spoil some of the experience. And no, not looking up information on the game you have been waiting for 3 years is not an option, else we wouldn't watch previews and read all the news.

Finally why did they spring this on the fanbase now? Less than 5 months before release they announce this crap, while many of the "unwanted" fans have been loyally following the game since inception. Oh and funny thing - I received a preorder newsletter from SWTOR, inviting me to preorder, only to be greeted by the "this item is not available in your region". Talk about a slap in the face.

P.S.

I have preordered from Amazon, entered my early access key, so I'm set. But having to pay 40% extra for delivery is not right. This whole situation has soured the game for me. While before I would've cut BW some slack if the game was lacking in some areas, now I expect it to be fucking perfect. And even then I'll jump ship the moment I'm bored. GW2 is coming out.

someone is butt hurt ^

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