Bioware Talks Star Wars: The Old Republic, Delays And Those Local Servers

It's been a long time coming, but we've finally got an official release date for Star Wars: The Old Republic in Australia. But why did it take so long, and what's happening with those local servers? We caught up with Grant McDaniel, Senior Development Director of Live Services to try and get some answers.

First question: what took so long? And why was Australia in particular shoved to the back of the queue?

"Many factors go into the decisions of where and when to launch," said Grant. "The number one priority for BioWare has always been and will continue to be providing the highest quality service to our players. That drives all of our decisions. We know there’s a lot of demand for the game in the region, and we’re excited to be bringing the game there locally soon."

The lack of an official release in Australia drove many gamers to import Star Wars: The Old Republic from overseas — an in many way, Bioware was happy to facilitate those gamers and cater to them as a group.

"Sometimes that means we have to support situations that arise outside of our control, claimed Grant. "What we try to do in those situations is operate in the best interests of our player community and work to make it better.

"Our primary goal is to ensure that our launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore is as high quality as our launches in North America and Europe. At the end of the day we want to give our players the best game experience possible no matter when it launches."

And what about those local servers?

"We are locating servers in Australia to allow Australian, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore customers to take advantage of decreased network latency and improved performance," said Grant. "EA has local teams to provide support. And BioWare is 100% dedicated to ensuring that our service maintains a high level of quality."


Comments

    "EA has local teams to provide support"

    If the sterling job they're doing with the local servers for the PS3 version of Battlefield 3 is anything to go by, The Old Republic's local launch is going to be catastrophically bad.

      Good thing most of us are already playing on reliable servers :)

    The big question I want answered is what is happening with server maintenance.

    Currently on the live servers its at prime time for anyone on the east cost of Australia.

    Will they run the maintenance at off hours for our servers?
    And will people from other regions be able to play on the Australian servers like we can play on US/Euro currently?

    And if they can and the maintenance is at off hours for us, what will the do about the flood of people from other regions trying to log in to the few Aussie servers and end up bring the whole thing to a grinding halt.

    And also, how many characters will we be able to transfer for free?

      I don't think there's any word on server maintenance times but it would be absolutely catastrophic if they didn't schedule that for off-peak times locally, either between 4-6 in the morning or in the middle of the day when msot people are at school or work. If they do it between 7-11pm on local servers, people will go mental.

      I too want to know about maintenance times. I'm sick of getting home from work to discover that servers are down for maintenace. If they're hosted here, they should be taken down in our off times. If they run it at say 5am in the morning then I'll definitely buy the game. Otherwise, not a chance

      From what I've heard there are currently no plans to have a seperate maintenance cycle. I honestly wouldn't care provided Bioware could keep downtime to once a week, but so far they have had a string of unplanned downtimes, usually on thursday nights but also on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights... hopefully that will gradually lessen with time but seriously Bioware, 1 time you took them down 3 nights in a row!

        That interview was almost a copy paste of the one at games.on.net, except that interview had him say "Maintenences will be conducted simultaneously."

          It's a pretty safe bet that we'll continue having downtime at the same time as the US. If they don't do that then our servers are just going to be brought down during those times by the massive influx of American players looking for something to do while their servers are down.

            Yeah, they have stated that maintenance will occur at the usual time - which really frustrates me.

            Would it really be so hard to stagger the rollouts? And with maintenance often occuring twice a week at the moment, that's going to be rather annoying.

            They talk about how they want a high quality experience for us, but at the same time lazily land our maintenance slap-bang in the middle of prime time.

            I've no quarrels with the delay in this game arriving in Australia, it's very hard to predict demand with new MMOs - but this is something entirely within their control.

            As much as I want to check this game out, I don't think I'll be purchasing until maintenance moves forward a few hours.

              It would actually be easier to have the maintenance occur at different times but there are reasons they have to go out of their way and do it like this.

              Once the game becomes stable it'll be fine. Right after a new 1.X version is released we'll see a few nights where we get unstable playtime, but aside from that it'll just be the same night every week which you get used to really fast. It's not ideal but unless you can think of a way to patch/fix/maintain the servers with just a reboot (that won't double subscription fees) it's not going to change anytime soon.

              As much as the issue frustrates me it just seems bratty to start kicking up a stink about it before the power switch on the local servers has been turned on (which every other mainstream MMO has proven they can get away without providing). I mean for once EA is actually going out of their way to do the right thing for it's customers. Take a second to think about how mindblowing that is.

      i believe previously the master authentication servers were hosted over in Europe and so they did maintenance all at once resulting in prime time for us.

        On the other hand, having a set of local servers kind of locks us out from playing with any of our overseas friends that we may have made in other MMO's, and puts us in a shallower pool of players. I mean if we can play on a US server with all of our mates and its stable with little lag why the hell would we sign up to a local server where we have to start again? Its for this same reason that I never played WoW on an Oceania server.

    Don't the EU servers go down at the same time as the US? I've read that the maintenance time is the maintenance time and won't change.

      And that is kinda the problem, on Tuesday night the servers were down at 7pm til around 11pm (i was asleep by then, damn work)

      That is the exact time that a lot of Australian players will be trying to play.

      At the moment its happening every week too.

    Its good to see the servers are going to be actually in AUS this time...

    Lets hope its a smooth and easy process to switch over :)

    Our primary goal is to ensure that our launch in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore is as high quality as our launches in North America and Europe.

    By not offering the Collector's Edition that those regions got?

      The Oceanic WAR servers were initially located in Australia too. EA are not bad at doing the right thing by players for MMOs...at least historically.
      It's just a shame SWTOR looks so wholly uninteresting beyond the cutscenes.

    Mark, I don't know if you can send him another email... or if it's even his bailiwick, but why launch so close to Mass Effect? and was that even taken into account?

      Actually, now that I think about it... it may have been deliberate.
      With everyone in Mass Effect it may slow the server migration demands... mmm.

    There is a problem with having different Maint times you get a massive influx into a few server.

    The Aus servers are probably not going to be locked to AUS only and US people so when the US maint happens you will see the US flood our few servers with alts giving us lag and a que

    "We are locating servers in Australia to allow Australian, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore...."

    FFS tell me they are not dumping AU NZ with HK and Singapore on the same servers.
    English speaking players will want to play with english speaking players.

    When will America learn that Asia picific doesn't mean AU and NZ should be dumped into an asian server.

      I played with heaps of SG players on Frostmourne back in my WOW days.
      They all spoke much better English than I spoke Malay or Mandarin.
      Just sayin.

        And about half the people from english speaking nations are borderline incomprehensible anyway even when they're not talking in MMO shorthand

    Almost every comment here reeks of spoilt MMO player logic - I'd sure love having a load of random americans coming in during their maintenance time to play on australian servers, rather than taking 4 hours (seriously guys?) on a tuesday of all days off. And can you think of the logistical nightmare of rolling out patches at varying times on servers?

    And FYI, most SG (not sure about HK) players are much, much better, and much more fluent in english than the regular MMO fare.

    So much derp it's incomprehensible.

    The reason they cannot have an offset main schedule for any region is because there is no region locking to servers. All clients have to be on the same version all the time since anyone can connect to any region.

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