Unless you have seriously been living in a hole, under a rock, and beneath the very foundation of your parent’s basement, you know Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG claimed the game time of millions of gamers over the past two weeks. Early access customers were granted access December 13th and the rest of the world December 20th. If you actually have been living under said rock and don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, you can find details about the new MMORPG at this link.
No one can predict the success of a MMORPG in the first weeks of its release, especially as SWTOR gamers are still using their free online access the first thirty days. How many months gamers will actually pay the $15 is yet to be seen. Other MMO’s that saw a spike in subscribers during the first months eventually faded to the background (ex. Age of Conan). Will Star Wars: The Old Republic be the first MMO to truly give WoW some serious competition?
The press release from December 27th had some interesting numbers on SWTOR – over 60 million in-games hours (approximately like watching all six Star Wars movies over 4 million times), over 850,000 Sith Warriors and over 810,000 Jedi Knights created, over 260 million quests completed, over 44 million PvP battles, over 9 million space combat missions completed, and over 3 billion NPCs killed. Dang…how long is each gamer putting in daily? About five hours so far. Not bad considering the typical WoW player spends between 22 and 23 hours per week playing WoW (according to statistics from back in 2005).
SWTOR has broken records. It is deemed “the fastest growing subscription based MMO in history,” having already sold over one million copies. In fact, EA is working to minimize the number of copies available by “gradually doling out more to retailers” (“LUKE, WE’RE GONNA HAVE COMPANY!”). This gradual release is to diminish the number of technical problems and delays that have occurred over the past weeks. (That truly is the worst part about MMORPG’s…frustration over wait times and technical problems when the server is overloaded.)
Overall, gamers and game critics are impressed with SWTOR. It scored an 89 out of 100 on Metacritic.com. Though game critics generally agree that The Old Republic isn’t “the most innovative” or entirely perfect, it is a “must have” for Star Wars fans, particularly if you’re looking to expand your horizon beyond WoW’s Azeroth. The graphics and story are of note in this MMO. Gameblog.fr says there are “Eight stories, one for each class, supported by other narrative elements for every quest. It makes for a massive content to discover, enough to remain occupied until BioWare fixes the little balancing issues, refines the interface, fixes some bugs and the like.” Gamers have mixed reactions to SWTOR, giving it a 6.1 out of 10 on Metcritic.com. Many gamers wished for more innovation rather than another copycat of WoW, though others are generally happy with SWTOR (especially since you can use slaves/companions for professions rather than doing everything yourself!).
KitGuru says: It certainly depends on the gamer, but so far people are enjoying SWTOR in droves, making it a game to keep your eye on in the coming months. We look forward to seeing what new developments transpire and how it impacts WoW in 2012. Hopefully SWTOR gets a handle on technical issues in order to retain its current market share and draw in more gamers. As General Tagge said, “Until this battle station is fully operational, we are vulnerable.”