There was one fear that every BioWare and Star Wars: The Old Republic fan had about the upcoming MMO. We knew that the game would have story. We knew that it would have quality. From all the footage we’ve seen, we knew that the game would have everything a modern MMORPG had to have. We knew BioWare made good games and we were optimistic that they would deliver with SWTOR. What we didn’t know is whether BioWare’s inexperience in making Massively Multiplayer Online games would show when millions of users started playing the game. Will their server technology fail?
The short answer is – BioWare Won!
They handed out hundreds of thousands of beta keys. They invited everyone that applied within the last three years to test their game. My best guesstimate is that they had around one million beta testers hitting their servers at some point. Things were not 100 percent smooth, but they were 90 percent good. I tested how the whole beta went myself by going to a European server right from the start. These were hit very hard because there weren’t enough of them early on. I logged on the very minute the servers went live. It took about 10 minutes to get through the whole login procedure, but I got in and started playing. Things in game might not have been as smooth as they were when the regular game testing happened, but they were very playable. There were a lot of issues the first few hours and BioWare addressed as many as possible right away, trying to get every single player into the game. That is what beta testing is all about — discovering problems you weren’t aware of before. We had a patch of the launcher on Saturday and several more fixes in the meantime. In the end, BioWare passed the test of technology with flying colors. Now they have a good game and have the technology that will support all of its players.
Before closing this article I wanted to address one more issue. There must have been thousands, if not tens of thousands, of players that had problems during this weekend’s beta test. Based on my experience during all three days, nothing happened that was out of the ordinary. There were server disconnects and queues and login problems. All of this falls within the scope of a beta stress test. The beta was not staged so that people could fully enjoy SWTOR as a finished product. This was meant to uncover bugs that may pop up so that people may enjoy SW:TOR in December. As such, this test was a great success. Also, if they had 50,000 “unsatisfied” customers, that may seem like a huge number. In fact, that is only 5 percent out of the guesstimated 1 million testers. This is an OK number to me.
All I have to say in the end is Congratulations, BioWare. Our faith in you through all these years turned out to be justified. We are sorry we doubted you… at times ;).
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