The Old Republic Beta Attracts Two Million Testers

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The Old Republic Beta Attracts Two Million Testers

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Electronic Arts says The Old Republic drew more than two million beta testers and saw a quarter-million concurrent users over the Thanksgiving weekend.

It's no guarantee of success but Electronic Arts seems encouraged nonetheless by the big number of users who turned up for a chance to take BioWare's upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO out for a spin. "The game itself has a huge pre-existing fan base," Eric Brown, EA's chief financial officer, said earlier this week at the Global Media and Communications Conference. "We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free."

Over 725,000 unique users connected to the game over the Thanksgiving weekend, with each player connecting for an average of 12 hours over the three-day holiday. Peak concurrent user numbers topped an impressive 250,000.

EA said back in February that The Old Republic would be profitable with as few as 500,000 subscribers, so two million testers has to be seen as a good sign. But as Brown said, the fan base is "pre-existing," and there's a big difference between drawing hordes of Star Wars nerds who want a free sneak-peak at what's being done to their favorite franchise and turning those same nerds into paying customers over the long term.

Star Wars: The Old Republic opens to the public on December 20.

Source: Gamasutra

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As soon as my finals are done I am in Early Access. I cannot wait!

The beta was fine, I only experienced moments of lag in certain high-traffic areas, so Bioware is sitting pretty good with their hardware. The game is enjoyable, especially for people like me who generally don't like grouping in MMOs and has Bioware's usual standard of writing and acting.

Two more weeks until I get my CE! I am definitely going to be one of their subscribers.

I mean they are throwing the keys away like its going out of style. I mean it; my bioware account not used since i played WaR got one. Not only that but the dummy account i made to play it for free got one. I would not doubt they have almost two million testers if not from the already registered then from the beta key throwing machine.

I think any active accounts are getting keys. Well inactive get them to i guess since that's how one defines an account not used in almost 2 years.

No look at how many people apply for the average MMOs beta and how many play. Remember how many actually test and how many just play. These modify the numbers and while you have two million willing to play for free how many will pay monthly?

I wouldn't say the test numbers are very indicative. I've spoken to and heard from lots of people who were greatly put off by the beta test and have since cancelled their preorders (where possible). All this proves is there are many people who would gladly play The Old Republic for free.

...and that EA was again completely unprepared for Star Wars' popularity, in spite of their own website showing them.

I don't think that's all that good, if the game attracted all players it could before launch, which they seemed to try for the purposes of marketing numbers, the game has no room to grow after launch. Some players are going to leave after the initial month or two, and it's not going to be easily offset by a steady influx of new players, creating a cascading effect of players leaving because players are leaving. We've seen it with Age of Conan, Aion, and even Warhammer Online whose developers work with Bioware now, puzzlingly. I was in a beta and thought it was very boring, so i won't be playing it, but i'm interested in keeping an eye on how it turns out.

Andy Chalk:
"We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free.

Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

(Rage, i'm watching you)

The game comes out in 19 days, and I haven't seen any sort of marketing hype from them apart from a few internet ads.

They should probably get on that.

Unless I'm completely missing them, somehow.

*inb4 guild wars 2 elitism/rage

OT: Yeah i'm pretty sure everyone and their grandma's got invitations to it, so not that big of a deal honestly...

but good to see they are doing as much as they can to make sure the launch is successful, i have a soon to be girlfriend so MMO' are a big no no for me timewise, i may pick up the game eventually but for now, because i did enjoy the earlier beta i was in, but for now no deal.

Is the beta still open and if so where can I go to get a key?

I played the beta weekend with my other half, and we won't be signing up for ToR.

Partly because we have kids and are, consequently, uber casual players. Therefore, we can't justify the subscription (which is fairly significant-ish for two accounts), but also because it's just like any other MMO out there. Don't get me wrong, the story is great, but the mechanics are nothing new and we were both hoping for more.

I dunno, maybe a better pricing structure would induce us to play for a while but I've a feeling we'd still get bored before long.

-Gift.

JesterRaiin:

Andy Chalk:
"We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free.

Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

(Rage, i'm watching you)

Because there usually isn't? This is Star Wars. it and a few other franchises in this world use different rules than the rest of the world when it comes to popularity. And Bioware has put the testers to good use apparently, as the beta was almost flawless from my perspective.

mikey7339:
Is the beta still open and if so where can I go to get a key?

closed 2 days ago :)

mikey7339:
Is the beta still open and if so where can I go to get a key?

Nope. The beta closed on Sunday.

Great game. Much better than what I expected from it.

Is it just me, or does that trooper fellow in the pic look like he's wielding a giant dildo-cannon?

Also, I'm still really pissed off at Bioware about The Old Republic: Revan. Prolly going to avoid TOR simply because I don't want to see two of my favourite Star Wars characters reduced to mid-game NPCs/bosses.

DAMN YOU DREW KARPSHYN!!!! DAAAAAMNN YOOUUUUUUU!!!!!

I hope they do well, but beta numbers do not equal customers. Any number of those people could have just hopped on the "woo open beta!" train and just fuck off when launch comes 'round.

Now back to the all important question... Will my laptop run it?

Everyone knows that the MMOs that last the tests of time are the ones that have high quality end game content. The journey to that point might dazzle and wow you but that only takes 2 - 4 weeks depending on your learning curve, the amount of time you play, and the how difficult it is to get that far. If Bioware cant churn out good end game the game is doomed. And quite frankly a lot of me wants to see it fail. I have grown very bitter towards Bioware lately.

Giftmacher:
I played the beta weekend with my other half, and we won't be signing up for ToR.

Partly because we have kids and are, consequently, uber casual players. Therefore, we can't justify the subscription (which is fairly significant-ish for two accounts), but also because it's just like any other MMO out there. Don't get me wrong, the story is great, but the mechanics are nothing new and we were both hoping for more.

I dunno, maybe a better pricing structure would induce us to play for a while but I've a feeling we'd still get bored before long.

-Gift.

me and my lady loved the game, being able to do those conversations together was really fun and even gave us some real life debate :D

the money thing is a bit silly isnt it, if you go on 1 proper date youll be spending way over 25-30 euors/pounds/usd/etc

They sure picked a wonderful time to release it didn't they. Maybe they'll wait till the Diablo 3 release to do a full release.

JesterRaiin:
Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

Well, 'beta testing invite' is often read by MMO players as 'free trial' so there may not be much actual testing going on. In this case EA/Bioware distributed tens of thousands of beta access keys via MMO sites like Massively, because they wanted as many players as possible to stress test their servers, not to actually bug hunt. Besides there's no time left to make major changes. What we've seen is what will go live, with minimal changes.

(e.g. City of Heroes' PVP changes were pretty much universally reviled by the entire PVP community, and wen the devs asked for feedback after it went live and more or less destroyed the game's PVP what they got was "we told you all this in beta over and over again...")

I supposed closed betas may be more effective - I've never been in one so couldn't say - though MMO forums are often filled with horror stories of bugs being reported in beta and ignored, or features receiving universally negative feedback and being implemented anyway. Of course there are also the beta testers (often 'vets' of alpha) who act like they are part of the design team and try to demand things they were never asked about in the first place.

(e.g. Fallen Earth decided not to go with global pvp in alpha. Two and a half years later there are still 'testers' from that period ranting about this decision.)

So sheer numbers don't really mean very much.

OT: they'll launch at or near 2 million, and then we'll see a rapid fall off. I give it 6 months before they're under a million, and two years tops before they go F2P. If the first content updates are underwhelming in the eyes of the playerbase then half those timescales. That's my prediction anyway.

2xDouble:
I wouldn't say the test numbers are very indicative. I've spoken to and heard from lots of people who were greatly put off by the beta test and have since cancelled their preorders (where possible). All this proves is there are many people who would gladly play The Old Republic for free.

...and that EA was again completely unprepared for Star Wars' popularity, in spite of their own website showing them.

No joke, all the people in my WoW guild seriously stoked for this game(srsly, the TOR thread got more traffic than anything else on the forums for a while) for the last few months all ended up dropping their pre-orders because it did not live up to expectations for a "new MMO". :s

Twixley:

JesterRaiin:

Andy Chalk:
"We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free.

Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

(Rage, i'm watching you)

Because there usually isn't? This is Star Wars. it and a few other franchises in this world use different rules than the rest of the world when it comes to popularity. And Bioware has put the testers to good use apparently, as the beta was almost flawless from my perspective.

Star Wars or not, testing is a vital part of any sane undertaking. And I'm not sure what have you in mind talking about Bethesda, since beside Skyrim i don't remember any PC "big hit" either created or published by them that didn't required patching immediately after release.

Sixcess:
(snip)
So sheer numbers don't really mean very much.

Sure, not everybody has skills and patience to become a pro tester, but c'mon. 2.4 million people ? That's whole army. That's potential. That's clay ready to be molded into something useful. :)

People must REALLY want this game to be good.

I hope their staggered launch idea works, or they quickly add more servers, because the idea of waiting in a queue for over 6 hours, like I did in one beta weekend, was not a fun experience. Certainly I will not be a happy camper if the money I spent to be in the game for 30 days is wasted primarily on waiting times.

Not that I want to hop on any bandwagons, but I know only one person who took part in the beta test, and he uninstalled it after one day. Which is of course the other risk with something like this: two million people telling you that your game sucks bantha nuts.

Sixcess:

JesterRaiin:
Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

Well, 'beta testing invite' is often read by MMO players as 'free trial' so there may not be much actual testing going on. In this case EA/Bioware distributed tens of thousands of beta access keys via MMO sites like Massively, because they wanted as many players as possible to stress test their servers, not to actually bug hunt. Besides there's no time left to make major changes. What we've seen is what will go live, with minimal changes.

(e.g. City of Heroes' PVP changes were pretty much universally reviled by the entire PVP community, and wen the devs asked for feedback after it went live and more or less destroyed the game's PVP what they got was "we told you all this in beta over and over again...")

I supposed closed betas may be more effective - I've never been in one so couldn't say - though MMO forums are often filled with horror stories of bugs being reported in beta and ignored, or features receiving universally negative feedback and being implemented anyway. Of course there are also the beta testers (often 'vets' of alpha) who act like they are part of the design team and try to demand things they were never asked about in the first place.

(e.g. Fallen Earth decided not to go with global pvp in alpha. Two and a half years later there are still 'testers' from that period ranting about this decision.)

So sheer numbers don't really mean very much.

OT: they'll launch at or near 2 million, and then we'll see a rapid fall off. I give it 6 months before they're under a million, and two years tops before they go F2P. If the first content updates are underwhelming in the eyes of the playerbase then half those timescales. That's my prediction anyway.

i like the game and even i think those numbers are a bit high, 3/4th of that max i'd think.

good post though

thing that worries me most about this game atm is the fact that voice acting every bit of dialogue is going to add alot of development time to future content

JesterRaiin:

Andy Chalk:
"We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free.

Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

(Rage, i'm watching you)

Single-player games usually don't have betas because of obvious reasons. Giving potential customers 80% of your content for free in a bug-ridden state will likely cripple your sales.

Large multiplayer games usually do have open betas, but only the ones who are predicted to be large enough that people will still buy them on launch day.

Breaking News: Free stuff is popular!

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is it just me, or does that trooper fellow in the pic look like he's wielding a giant dildo-cannon?

Also, I'm still really pissed off at Bioware about The Old Republic: Revan. Prolly going to avoid TOR simply because I don't want to see two of my favourite Star Wars characters reduced to mid-game NPCs/bosses.

DAMN YOU DREW KARPSHYN!!!! DAAAAAMNN YOOUUUUUUU!!!!!

A lot of people in WoW are saying that this MMO will be better in every aspect. I hope it is - WoW's patch 4.3 was disappointing in terms of production value, and while I can't fault them for failing due to over-ambition, if it's what we're to expect from future patches, I don't have a lot of faith.

My point is, I hope SWTOR, combined with Guild Wars 2, causes a mass exodus from WoW and Blizzard learns to up their game.

I participated in the beta test and thoruoughly enjoyed it. It was pretty much what I expected when I pre-ordered the game.

Most reactions I heard were decidedly positive. There are however some people who went in with complete misconceptions about the game. And unfortunately a lot of people who don't realise it's not supposed to be a singleplayer game.

EmperorSubcutaneous:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is it just me, or does that trooper fellow in the pic look like he's wielding a giant dildo-cannon?

Also, I'm still really pissed off at Bioware about The Old Republic: Revan. Prolly going to avoid TOR simply because I don't want to see two of my favourite Star Wars characters reduced to mid-game NPCs/bosses.

DAMN YOU DREW KARPSHYN!!!! DAAAAAMNN YOOUUUUUUU!!!!!

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

EmperorSubcutaneous:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is it just me, or does that trooper fellow in the pic look like he's wielding a giant dildo-cannon?

Also, I'm still really pissed off at Bioware about The Old Republic: Revan. Prolly going to avoid TOR simply because I don't want to see two of my favourite Star Wars characters reduced to mid-game NPCs/bosses.

DAMN YOU DREW KARPSHYN!!!! DAAAAAMNN YOOUUUUUUU!!!!!

That's more of a problem with George Lucas. KOTOR II was declared to not be canon (actually just about everything in Star Wars is not canon, but KOTOR II is less canon than most things...It's stupid and complicated) because of those interesting things that were unusual in the setting.

George wants the story to be simple and childlike, and any attempts to change it are shut down or bumped down the canon ladder.

Which is why I kind of hate Star Wars as a whole at this point, honestly. The first movies were great, the Old Republic games are neat, and that's about it.

poiumty:

JesterRaiin:

Andy Chalk:
"We had about 2.4 million people register for the Star Wars fan site, over two million of which volunteered to do [beta] testing for free.

Out of curiosity : how's that even remotely possible that industry releases games so bugged that they are practically unplayable WHEN there are so many testers ready to invest their time and do beta-testing for free ?

(Rage, i'm watching you)

Single-player games usually don't have betas because of obvious reasons. Giving potential customers 80% of your content for free in a bug-ridden state will likely cripple your sales.

Large multiplayer games usually do have open betas, but only the ones who are predicted to be large enough that people will still buy them on launch day.

Well, call me "naive Greta", but i see possibilities instead of hardships. People've built the Pyramids, reached the skies and went to the bottom of oceans, so no. I can't be talked into believing that there's no way to use such potential for the good. :)

Hint : i never said "give them DVDs with copies of full, installable game and let them off the leash" ;)

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

EmperorSubcutaneous:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Is it just me, or does that trooper fellow in the pic look like he's wielding a giant dildo-cannon?

Also, I'm still really pissed off at Bioware about The Old Republic: Revan. Prolly going to avoid TOR simply because I don't want to see two of my favourite Star Wars characters reduced to mid-game NPCs/bosses.

DAMN YOU DREW KARPSHYN!!!! DAAAAAMNN YOOUUUUUUU!!!!!

(Beta tester here) While there are numerous references to the Revan in TOR, (without spoiling, some of which are very interesting) I've yet to see any evidence that Revan herself will make an appearance. HK-47 has been confirmed for a major instance and some of the other characters are referenced throughout the game, but the 400 year gap between KotOR and TOR pretty much took care of any meatbags from the previous games.

EverythingIncredible:

mikey7339:
Is the beta still open and if so where can I go to get a key?

Nope. The beta closed on Sunday.

Great game. Much better than what I expected from it.

Pretty much my own words right here.

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