The world finally got to play Star Wars: The Old Republic. How do I know this? Because of the long list of servers I saw last night, a portion of which were literally opened up hours before, with the majority of them saying “Full” with queue times, and the ones that weren’t listed as “very heavy”. Either the server capacity is tiny, or there’s a bunch of people playing.
In some ways, this worries me. Queues are an indicator that yes, you have a hit on your hands…at the moment. They’re also something that tends to make someone starting out look and say “I’m paying to sit in a queue? Really?” And the most worrying part? What happens after the initial crush is over? There could be a lot of empty servers because people have moved on to the Next Big Thing.
Or that might not happen. After all, certain large hit games with initials containing “W” and “O” seem to be doing all right, even with recent losses in sub numbers. But then, they’re the biggest hit around. But TOR might be able to match it. But, but, but. If I could see the future, I’d be playing the lottery. Regularly.
In any event, my time has been spent between two characters. My first and main is on Rubat Crystal, Alcarin, the Imperial Agent. He’s already up to level 17, thanks to the virtue of being done with my Christmas shopping earlier than expected. He’s recently left the planet Dromund Kaas and is heading to his next assignment on his brand spanking new starship. The secondary character is on Canderous Ordo, and is using a much more familiar name and face: Coreth. I wasn’t gonna do it, but I figured, hell with it-I might as well have a recognizable character to my MMO friends. He’s around level 12-ish, and has just arrived on Coruscant looking for trouble as a Smuggler.
I’m honestly having a good time. Soon, I’ll be well past the areas I’d tested in beta (as I tended to spread out among several characters in testing; others were doing enough high-level tests that I didn’t feel compelled to join them), and into completely new territory-in fact, already in that spot with my Agent. I never got to the ship for a Smuggler, so that’ll be something I look forward to seeing as well.
In other news: various MMOs seem to be terrified about the power of the Dark Side. City of Heroes recently promoted their new Loyalty Program for the coming year, offering shinies of costume parts, titles, auras, badges. This is the kind of thing they’ve done before, such as when Champions Online was released, or DC Universe Online. And now it’s in place for players who keep a sub going from December 1 to March 31. You know, the early period of the Old Republic as it claws its way into the MMO arena.
But as amusing as that one is, it pales in comparison with Champions Online’s latest.
Yes, they’re releasing in their C-store a new archetype. Called “The Unleashed”, the page describes the AT as “You are in tune with the universe in ways few can understand. This understanding has enhanced your formidable swordsmanship with powers beyond, enabling you to knock and control your foes from a distance, allowing you to close the gap and finish them.” Gee, sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? The concepts for such a character are also pretty familiar: Cosmic Knight, Militant Monk, Dark Inquisitor, Eldritch Warrior, Mysterious Visitor. I suppose trademark reasons keep them from blatantly saying “Jedi” and “Sith”….
The part that makes me laugh the most is that these two games are superhero games-they’re not in the same genre, really. While there’s certainly cross-pollination, there’s enough comic fans who could care less about Star Wars, and certainly heaps of Star Wars fans who would laugh at the idea of playing in a comic-boom game. I’m not sure either game is going to take as much of a hit as they seem to think from TOR-particularly given since both CoH and CO are freemium games these days. But then, TOR has been the heavyweight contender in training, seen as perhaps the only serious potential contender to take on World of Warcraft. Maybe they’re right to be worried.