Since I’m all swept up in today’s Star Wars: The Old Republic pre-order madness, might as well indulge myself — and you — in taking a closer look at all of the pre-order goodies to see what’s worth it and what’s just a useless bullet point.
Comes with everything:
- The Game Itself: Probably pretty necessary to play.
- 30 Days of Gametime: Comes standard with most MMO purchases, but it’s nice to pre-pay for the first month without having to worry about billing until the second.
Comes with pre-orders:
- Early Access: Also known as a head start, this’ll allow us to get a jump on everyone else in the first week of play. We don’t know how many extra days this constitutes (I’ve seen head starts be as short as a day or as long as two weeks, but the average is around three days), but it’s a good feeling to have this tucked under your belt. Get in, get your name, get out of the opening areas before the rest of the crowd arrives.
- Color Stone: Changes the color of your lightsaber/blaster bolts. Purely cosmetic, of course, and there’s no indication if this is just one standard color or your choice or what. Or even if there may be other ways to change colors in game as well, making this a “special” color or just an early way to do so.
Comes with digital deluxe and collector’s editions:
- Flare Gun: Most likely just a fluff item that lets you do a flare emote, probably to capitalize off of the “Hope” cinematic. I always like shooting off fireworks in other MMOs, so I’ll probably get a kick out of using this when I’m really bored.
- Training Droid: The description says this hovers at your side for “combat assistance,” so my assumption is that this is going to be a weak combat pet for the early levels, perhaps to fill a companion slot until you get the real deal. Another possibility is that this is a limited-time summons that you can pull out on occasion. Either way, anything that gives my lowbie toon the feeling of increased protection and power is a heady thing, even though I tend to level through that era quickly.
- HoloDancer: Project your own holodancer to thrill and most likely annoy others. One of the things I like about TOR is its scifi/high tech trappings which can allow it to do things that aren’t standard in fantasy titles, and throwing out a holographic projection is a nice way to show it. Another fun toy for down time.
- HoloCam: “Keep visual records of your in-game adventures as you travel the Star Wars galaxy.” Seriously, what is that? I have no idea what that is. I’m assuming we can take screenshots without this thing, so what does it do that we already can’t? Automatically take pics when you level? Broadcast pictures to your facebook/twitter/etc accounts?
- STAP: This is one of the in-game scooters that will putt-putt your butt all over the planet. Now, generally I’m all for free mounts as digital bonuses, because it saves you a bit of cash at the beginning and you have one less thing to worry about getting for your character. That said, I’m just not a fan of the Phantom Menace-style scooter transports they have in the game, and I hope BioWare makes good on its word to have other types of mounts than these.
Comes with the collector’s edition only:
- Mouse droid pet: YES, please! Me gusta la petsa! He’s small, he’s sassy, he’s cute. What more could you want? Oh wait, I just asked the internet that question… there’s always more the internet wants.
- Exclusive CE in-game store: Again, we have no idea what’s going to be sold in this store, how useful it’ll be, or how many items will be there, so it’s almost pointless to speculate. In LOTRO, there’s a couple vendors early on who will trade founder’s trinkets for a few goodies of your own choice, and I always liked that, so here’s hoping it’ll be similar!
- Gentle Giant Darth Magus statue: Gentle Giant is a fairly reputable company that makes and sells big detailed busts and statues of famous movie and TV characters, and if their website is any indication, this is where a good chunk of the CE cost is going. I’m already planning to put this on my Star Wars shelf in my office, so I’ll consider this a “win” in the goodies department.
- Game discs collectable metal case: Um. It’s a case. It’s barely worth a bullet point, metal or not.
- 111-page Journal: Bathroom reading, I’ll assume here. It’ll be nice to have for more backstory and whatnot, but I’m guessing that when I get the game I’m going to actually want to play it instead of reading a book about it.
- Galaxy Map: This doesn’t look anything special or particularly useful, and I doubt I’ll be putting it on my wall. Pass.
- Authenticator key: I’ve seen people say that this was actually a strong selling point for the CE, even though it’s safe to assume BioWare’s going to sell keys separately (and probably have mobile authenticators as well). I’ll definitely use an authenticator with the game, because you just know TOR is already in the sights of gold spammers and keyloggers everywhere already — I just don’t know if I want to use the physical fob or my phone.
- Soundtrack CD: Heck yes. I love me some good video game music, and I’m expecting great things from a BioWare/Star Wars collaboration.
- High-quality CE box: Again, it’s a box. CE boxes are really big and impressive for like two minutes, but I’m not going to be boasting about it to my friends or anything. Except you guys. Y’all are my friends, yes?
For me, I feel comfortable with the CE purchase, because when I think about *not* having chosen it, I easily get a bit anxious about missing out on a few of the items (the in-game store, soundtrack and statue, mostly). I won’t debate that it’s a silly high price for a CE and a wiser gamer would’ve gone for one of the less-costly options, but it’s feeding my excitement and that’s almost worth the price of admission right there.