A long time to come in a MMO far, far away

Lately there have been a lot of rumors, hearsay, “I heard from a guy ordering coffee next to me at Starbucks” type of thing about Star Wars: The Old Republic being delayed until the fall (September or October, depending on who you’re listening to).  While the sources for this are flimsy at best, it does feel about right.  When you’ve seen enough big-name MMOs build up to launch, you get a sense of the pattern and steps that have to be taken to get there.  We simply haven’t seen a ramp up into any sort of beta (other than quiet, behind-the-scenes testing), no pre-orders, no CE info, and plenty of major features have yet to be explained.  Spring 2011 is nice to think of, but unless BioWare’s holding back for a massive sprint across the finish line, it’s probably not going to happen.

So what if it is this fall?  What then?  Well, for starters, it’s going to bring out the DOOM! crowd.  As you well know, one of my big pet peeves is people who denounce a game they’ve never played for any great length of time that has yet to hit launch.  We may like to speculate, but there’s a very silly line that gets crossed when people start asserting their opinions as God-given facts handed to them from the future that the rest of us are unable to see.

So yeah, expect lots of that.

For the rest of us who were anticipating the game, this would represent a big reshuffling of the year.  I still have high hopes for MMOs in 2011 as a whole, but gamers should probably realize that they’re in for more of a wait than they’d hoped after the long drought of 2010.  GW2 may or may not even appear this year (I’m betting… not), The Secret World is definitely far off, and if TOR is moved to the fall, then that leaves spring wide open for RIFT and a couple of smaller titles.  Great for RIFT, but not so great if you wanted a whole slew of new MMO choices right off the bat.

And while I am certainly looking forward to TOR, I’m very much okay with the move to the fall for three reasons:

  1. I want a lot of time to explore RIFT and enjoy some of the single-player games coming out this spring (like Dragon Age 2).  TOR releasing this spring would be like an overload.
  2. It shows that EA BioWare is really trying to get it right and is unwilling to push it out the door just to make the financial report (or, on the flip side of the cynical coin, the company could be realizing that TOR is in no shape to be released now and needs a LOT more work).  People are already looking at TOR as the litmus test for big-budget MMOs — whether it succeeds or fails financially will have a huge impact on the genre for a long while to come.
  3. If we’ve waited this long already, a half-year or so is nothing.

If this is the case, then I hope they let the cat out of the bag soon so that gamer anticipation can be moved to the backburner for a while.  I’m already starting to see a lot of anticipation fatigue on this (not to mention other titles as well) because it’s been such a long, such a very slow build up to launch.  There’s only so much you can sustain that excitement before needing to step away for a while.  Break the news to us, give us the summer to cool down and BioWare to work hard, and then let’s start up this hype train in the fall.  I’d be okay with that.

10 thoughts on “A long time to come in a MMO far, far away

  1. Buhallin January 27, 2011 / 11:08 am

    Wait… People actually believed it would be this spring?

  2. Pitrelli January 27, 2011 / 12:15 pm

    nice post syp. And yeah whilst im not exactly delighted about the prospect of another 6 month delay I’d rather they had the delay and get it right.

    One of the things Ive noticed is swtor seems to have a lot of ‘haters’ already. Ranging from this game is going to be heavily instanced (only personal quest lines and ‘dungeons’ as far as ive seen or read ) or even mocking the full voice over work and connection to Rpg games. Perhaps the mmo community isnt as open about someone trying something new as I thought.

  3. Docholiday January 27, 2011 / 1:10 pm

    I didn’t expect it to hit this spring either (although I would love it to) but I am just concerned about it. Mainly because I really want it to do well and be a good game! But maybe if I treat it as a diversion and not my main game I might find more enjoyment in it when it does launch.

  4. Genda January 27, 2011 / 1:19 pm

    I’m with the others who thought that spring was pushing it. I’d like to play it so I’m hoping they will indeed ship it when it’s ready to play.

  5. Lukane January 27, 2011 / 1:26 pm

    Guess I’m going to have to restructure my plan for this year. Rift please be good to me.

    Oh and I’ve never played it, but I can tell you that because of this delay, TOR WILL FAIL!!! ALL MMO’S WILL FAIL!!! I’M DIVIDING BY ZERO!!!

  6. B.J. Keeton January 28, 2011 / 1:09 am

    I really hope that the game is delayed for multiple reasons. One, I want some time over the summer to be able to see some of WoW’s raid content, which will never happen if TOR sees the light of day. It would also be a good thing to burn my friends out on WoW so they’ll more readily come over to TOR for the long-haul, unlike WAR which almost got them and then WLK had to come out. And two, I want to be able to devote myself to my writing again, get my novels finished/revised (or close to it), and start working social media like a Russian immigrant. Again, which won’t happen if TOR sees the light of day (as evidenced by my lack of writing during December when Cataclysm was released).

    Other than that, I’m stoked about TOR.

  7. ZombiePirate January 28, 2011 / 4:38 am

    I have a baby due this spring so not having TOR around can only be a good thing. A 6 month wait is ideal for me as it fits in with an evolving family situation. I’d hate to have it and leave it sitting on a shelf for ages before I have the time to enjoy it.

  8. Syp January 28, 2011 / 6:50 am

    Congrats Zombie!

  9. Naithin January 29, 2011 / 6:59 pm

    First; Congrats!

    [i]I’d hate to have it and leave it sitting on a shelf for ages before I have the time to enjoy it.[/i]

    The baby or TOR? 😉

  10. Naithin January 29, 2011 / 6:59 pm

    Curse you forum-posts inducing square bracket habits! *shakesfist*

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