Star Wars: The Old Republic - Development

Development

The Old Republic is BioWare's first entry into the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) market, and is the second Star Wars MMORPG after Star Wars Galaxies, which was shut down in December 2011. BioWare had long been interested in working on a MMORPG, but waited until they had "the right partners, the right team, and the right I.P." A major focus in the game is on developing characters' individual stories and, in October 2008, BioWare considered this game to have more story content than all of their other games combined. The writing team worked on the project longer than any of the game's other development teams. An October 2008 preview noted some of the 12 full-time writers had been working on The Old Republic for more than two years at that point.

The game's first cinematic trailer, "Deceived", was shown at the Electronic Arts 2009 E3 Press Conference on June 1, 2009. A public live demo was shown for the first time at the Gamescom. On September 29, 2009, BioWare announced that they would be accepting applications for testers from the game community. Within minutes, the official website was down due to traffic, and BioWare announced shortly after that the site was being changed in order to accommodate the increase in visitors. A second cinematic trailer, "Hope", was released on June 14, 2010, that depicts another battle that happened before the game, the Battle of Alderaan. On June 6, a new trailer "Return" was released at E3 2011 depicting the initial Sith invasion force as it retakes its home world of Korriban. Game testing was officially announced to be underway on July 9, 2010, for testers from North American territories.

Although released in most regions of the world, EA have said Australasia will be getting the game at a later date. The reason behind this is to hold back digital and boxed copies for a smooth launch so to avoid any problems encountered during launch. However, BioWare have revealed that the game won't be region or IP blocked, allowing players to purchase the game from other regions. Additionally, BioWare have allowed Australian and New Zealand players to take part in the beta stages of the game. BioWare community manager Allison Berryman said "Data from this test will be used to inform decisions about the launch of the game in Oceanic regions", however, she was unable to provide any information in regards to the game's launch in those regions.

On October 11, 2011, BioWare announced that Star Wars: The Old Republic would be released globally on December 20, 2011. However this 'global' launch would only include North America and part of Europe, as the launch date had still been staggered for the Asia and Oceanic regions. However, on December 21, 2011, BioWare announced that an Australian and New Zealand release date had been set for March 1, 2012. BioWare's Stephen Reid announced on the official Star Wars: The Old Republic forums: "We can confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be launching in Australia and New Zealand in the spring of 2012". BioWare has stated that they intend to find a solution to allow Australian and New Zealand players who have already imported the game to play on local servers upon the game's release in the first two quarters of 2012. On January 18, 2012, the first content patch (1.1) was released, adding a new Flashpoint and adding four bosses to an existing Operation.

Patch (1.2) was released on April 12, 2012. The game update included the new Legacy system, a new Flashpoint, Operation, a PVP Warzone, as well as improved character textures and advanced options such as UI customization. Guild banks and player character pets are also introduced. A Weekend Pass Free Trial was made available for new players but has since closed. Patch 1.3 was released in June 2012. The game update featured a New Group Finder, the ability to augment every item, and adaptable social gear. In addition, players will be able to request that their characters are able to transfer to other servers.

In January 2012, Star Wars: The Old Republic was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the "Largest Entertainment Voice Over Project Ever", with over 200,000 lines of recorded dialogue. This feat is recorded in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition book. On April 26, 2012, BioWare announced that the game was available in the Middle East and remaining European countries who were excluded from the original launch.

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