Electronic Arts and BioWare have been preparing for tomorrow's launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic for years, but that preparation hasn't been enough to produce a completely smooth debut for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
Preorder customers in the game's early access program have been reporting long waits to get into servers since last week. There are hundreds of pages on The Old Republic message boards regarding the server queues, as users chimed in on the problem until the original thread reached the forum's length limit and had to be restarted. GameSpot editors experienced waits of up to an hour to play, although users in the forum complained of waiting multiple hours to get into a server.
The game's executive producer of live services Jeff Hickman released a statement regarding the issue but stopped short of detailing actions to improve the problem.
"In order to ensure that the service would be smooth and stable, we staged how we brought people into the Early Game Access program, adding people in waves. As you know, there are a lot of folks who want to play the game right now and we want to make sure they have lots of people to play with. Balancing this with figuring out when to bring new servers online to help alleviate the size of the queues is part art and part science. On one hand, you do not want people to wait too long; on the other hand, you want to make sure that people have a dynamic, engaging community to play with for long after launch. Either way, we have one clear objective--to make sure folks have fun.
"While we can't promise that there won't ever be queues, we can promise you that we are taking this matter seriously and constantly reviewing them to make sure that they are manageable and reasonable."
The demand to get into the game was not unexpected for the publisher. In August, Electronic Arts said it would be limiting the number of Star Wars: The Old Republic copies available at launch through both retail and digital channels to ensure server stability. At the time, the company said that if that sales figure is reached, it would cease digital sales through its Origin downloadable storefront while it expands server capacity.
For more on how the game works after players make it through the queue, check out GameSpot's live play sessions of Star Wars: The Old Republic.