BioWare: SWTOR Queues Are Here To Stay

This is me. Come say hi!

We at RPS know what it’s like to be too popular. Unable to walk from our Limousines to the exclusive clubs and restaurants we frequent without being assaulted by mobs of screaming, frantic fans, we completely understand the challenge it offers. And BioWare/EA are discovering the same with Star Wars: The Old Republic. The queues: they are long.

Which is a bit of a shame in your first week. With queues for servers sometimes stretching to over two hours, it is a bit offputting. And BioWare are warning it’s not going to get better soon.

BioWare are treating this as something to be expected, and essentially telling people to lump it. As reported by Eurogamer, a post from community manager Stephen Reid explains that it’s just the way it is.

“This is to be expected during launch, as a high number of people want to play the game, and for long stretches at a time.”

The queues were already forming during the head-start week, which really didn’t bode well. I picked a server that was one of the most under-populated, created my character there, and within two days found myself with a half hour wait to play. And of course, well, at that point you’re stuck. Without the option to transfer characters between servers (because of that good reason, I’m sure – they say it’s being worked on…), you either lose all your progress, or you sit and wait an hour or so to play.

Of course, from BioWare’s perspective, they’re thinking long-term balance. They know that player numbers, playing frequency, and length of playing sessions, will drop off after the initial burst, so they don’t want to establish enough servers to manage the load, only to have their populations quickly dwindle, until everything starts to feel a bit lonely. It’s a mistake lots of MMOs have made, and they’re obviously trying to avoid it. And part of this involves balancing player numbers by not increasing the caps on busy servers.

“We’re monitoring all of our servers around the clock, and we’re raising server population caps where required. However, to ensure our long-term goals of server stability and healthy populations, we do not want to raise population caps too rapidly. We want incoming players to populate lower population servers. At the same time, higher population servers will not be ‘locked’ because we want to allow people to join a server to play with their friends if they wish to.

“With this in mind, we wanted to notify everyone of some consistently high population servers. These servers are closing in on their absolute population cap (the maximum amount of players who can be on the server at any given time) and will likely have a queue to enter even at off-peak play times.

“We strongly advise you to not create new characters on these servers, unless you are prepared to queue to play.”

But again, this doesn’t really help folk as handsome as me, who sensibly picked the lowest population server they could find, only to discover so did everyone else. Obviously I don’t want to ditch my character and start all over again, so queue I must.

The servers to avoid, according to Reid, are:

The Harbinger – US West Coast – PvE
The Swiftsure – US West Coast – PvP
The Fatman – US East Coast – PvP
Bloodworthy – EU English – PvP
Frostclaw – EU English – PvE
Legions of Lettow – EU English – PvP
The Red Eclipse – EU English – PvE
Tomb of Freedom Nadd – EU English – PvP
Darth Revan’s Mask – EU German – PvP
Darth Traya – EU German – PvP
Jar’Kai Sword – EU German – PvP
Hrakert Rift – EU French – PvP

I’m pleased, and concerned, that mine’s not on that list. It really does mean the issue extends a lot further.


  1. HisMastersVoice says:

    “They know that player numbers, playing frequency, and length of playing sessions, will drop off after the initial burst, so they don’t want to establish enough servers to manage the load, only to have their populations quickly dwindle, until everything starts to feel a bit lonely.”

    So they know it and are, somewhat intentionally, speeding the process up?

    I’m not sure if it’s better than getting a few more servers running, though of course I don’t know what kind of deficit in terms of server slots they’re facing now.

  2. Flukie says:

    Erm.. Thats not exactly a positive response.

    People expect good service from P2P MMOs they pay for server investment, I know its not expected for them to buy servers they won’t use in a months time but I wouldn’t simply say.

    “Well.. its not gonna get any better guys, suck it up deal with it.”

    • weego says:

      The server has to be in their farm, there are too many inter and intra server processes to get any kind of performance cloud hosting. They will be using blade servers with each realm being a different blade and usually the blade enclosure will be expandable so you can plug in a new blade, install the server software, register it as a realm and away you go.

    • Quine says:

      Unless the code is doing something unusual at the hardware level for stuff like physics simulation it’s certainly possible to design and run MMOs in a virtualised environments. In theory it should be a win-win for the publisher- traditionally when a big launch was coming up they’d make an educated guess as to how much hardware to buy in and provision, and if the game was a success they’d be underprepared and if it was a flop they’d have tons of kit sitting around bleeding cash. If it’s virtualised then you can scale the farm up or down in a matter of minutes or hours, and putting extra capacity in a specific global region is much easier to do on demand.

      As weego says there are a lot of cross-server bandwidth issues you need to be aware of, and database performance is critical to these games, so you need to design the entire server architecture for a cloud environment from the start.

      A lot of the big names in cloud computing at the moment aren’t really offering the sort of business to business level of service a moderately large game launch would want to risk, but there are some companies offering a semi-bespoke service where you can specify things like physical database hardware alongside scalable server resource with a tailored SLA which I expect the industry to make more use of over time.

      I think the whole problem of server population caps is a product of legacy attitudes to game design, however. It would be great to see a shift towards single world setups like Eve, which has an interesting approach to running a single universe and a really neat approach to the database side, although it’s still using instances for solar systems.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      So what’s stopping them renting the hardware and physically plugging it in, then returning it when things settle down and they have their arses in gear? Also, isn’t character migration sort of basic and fundamental to MMOs?

    • bglamb says:

      It’s not about the hardware.

      If they double the amount of servers then in a couple of months time, they will all be underpopulated.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Surely they could merge underpopulated servers at that time? I am sure I have seen similar things happen before….

    • Quine says:

      There may well be an opportunity for an enterprising group to pursue a games industry cloud setup and try and get the big names to use their pool of resources. It would be tricky to get them to commit to a third-party to keep their games running properly and most places would play it safe and run it in-house, though.

      Also at the accounting level hardware gets written off after a mere three years and the kit is then junked or has little resale value, so the risks of gearing up and finding your clients games aren’t doing that well would be pretty high. Also some of the larger studios seem a bit reticent about pushing themselves into using virtualisation as it would mean a lot of reengineering what they’re used to, which is a shame.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      The problem with merging servers is that it’s always viewed as a negative thing and that the game is dying from a dwindling population. Obviously that affects the general perception of the game making people less likely to hop aboard. Plus, there are technical issues involved with merging… duplicate character and guild names? What do you do with that? Sure, you could have a prompt for a name change on login but that’s not really fair at all to the players.

      WoW had a big problem with making a ton of servers for the Burning Crusade expansion. After the initial boom and novelty of making a fresh start, people abandoned them to go back to their regular server where they already had invested a lot of time in their characters. There were a lot of ghost towns and not even offers of free transfers from high pop to low pop fixed that. If you’re playing a mmo, why would you want to play in a vacuum?

      I’m not sure how bad the issue is now, it might not be as bad as it initially was after BC with increasing amounts of players joining the game afterwards.

      I think EA and Bioware are making the right call. Honestly, I’d rather endure some long queue times in the first month than have a vacant server when people leave after their free month and go back to whatever it was they were playing beforehand. When I played the beta of Rift, they had a ton of servers and I immediately saw that as a big mistake (from what I understand those were the same amount of servers available on launch day). And of course they began discussions of server merges (whether that happened yet or not I don’t know).

      But in a nutshell: server mergers are never a good thing and something that should always be avoided if at all possible.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Also, I’m pretty sure not even WoW merged any servers despite having a lot of empty ones after BC. Merging servers is admitting you failed to a certain degree.

      I could be entirely wrong though, maybe they did, but I don’t recall hearing about that.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I think if they’re willing to give an explanation about the delayed roll-out, this queue decision, etc and expect us the take it… then they could as easily tell us that they’re dynamically adding/merging servers to match the “new release” population.

      I suspect they didn’t manage to get server-transfer/merging planned yet, which is why they’re stuck with this version of events.

  3. caddyB says:

    Add Basilisk Droid PVP EU as well to that list, it’s 10am in a tuesday morning and there’s a 400 people queue. And to think it was “light” when I rolled here, leaving my level 25 character behind because of queues.

    Woe is me.

  4. somberlain says:

    That’s a shame because I was really hesitating to grab and try this game – was affraid to start another “WoW”, and every MMO’s I’ve played since the last few years bored to me to death after a few hours.

    From the things I’ve heard and mt friends, it seems that the game is fun and I was ready to try it. But with the loging queus and all, I’ll pass as I dont want to bother waiting hours to play. I wonder how many people they can loose and drive away from the game because of this.

    I guess it’s worth loosing some unhappy / not willing to wait customers rather than having o invest massive money in shit-load of servers that will be empty in a few months.

    • NIB says:

      There are empty servers too

      link to

      The thing is that most of the servers are full and even the new ones got full fast. But it isnt as if there arent any servers available to play.

  5. Lakshmi says:

    So because I preordered (when there were only about 4 servers to choose from) I’m now penalised by long queues? They think a 40 min queue at 9am on a Wednesday morning is acceptable?

    Sod long term balance, how about short term player retention. So many friends of mine who were on the fence that I managed to convince to try the bloody game are now veering towards quitting because of these queues.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      yeah same here.
      ive been playing for a week now, and yesterday(im on frostclaw) i waited 2 hrs.
      i understand why they are doing what they are doing, coz we would have more ppl moaning if they put caps in place but it feels like im being punished for pre-ordering.

      a simple solution would be to put pop caps on the full servers but only allow invites from guilds/freinds maybe??

  6. Milky1985 says:

    I seem to remember them saying that this would not happen and that this was why they were doing the prelaunch stuff.

    It actually looks likes its BETTER to start with your mates on launch day (if you could buy digital it would be nice, they are still out of stock apparently) since they put up new servers so you can join them rather than the full ones where mates have already started

    {EDIT} Also as they knew it was going to happen so why the hell is the character transfer not at least got a ETA

  7. Norro says:

    I don’t need to pick a facebook instance and risk long queues just to be able to talk to my friends. There is no reason that this should be any different, yet anytime I am on there I am getting instantaneous response and the hundreds of servers behind the scenes are transparent to me.

    What this highlights is that they have followed an outdated model of implementing this type of game, one that any newly released mmo should have moved on from. They should have dealt with this rather than telling players to suck it up, because this could really be the breaking of the game before it has even got on it’s feet.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      You no like queues? too bad!

      End of line

    • Xercies says:

      I think there is a bit of a difference between the non graphically intensive and not much in it to put servers in meltdown of Facebook and the massively multiplayer online game with many different characters, environments, quests and all that other stuff of SWTOR

    • Lugg says:

      You mean, like e.g. EVE?

      Anyway, I wonder why they don’t just add servers now to manage the load, and later merge server populations of underpopulated shards onto a single shard to reduce the roneryness factor. At least that’s the solution my internal Cpt. Obvious department had to offer.

    • battles_atlas says:

      There may be some difference of scale but nothing more. The graphics are irrelevant – the server isnt rendering the image, your gfx card is. And facebook has to update potentially thousands of contacts with your latest ball-scratching status update, if not in real time then in practice within seconds. SWTOR isnt twitch gaming. As someone that has almost no idea what theyre talking about this looks like bad design to me.

    • Aemony says:

      Xercies… What do you think the servers does, render the game? It’s all about data, my friend, pure and statistical data, numbers and databases. The graphics of the game has nothing to do with it, as everything strictly graphical is handled by the clients.

      The only thing the servers delve on is:
      – Tracking real time player changes (position, alignment, current equipped gear, quest progression, skilled used, etc)
      – Companions (pathfinding, position, alignment, the “like” meter)
      – NPCs (position, scripted path, current action done)
      – Mobs (position, scripted path, current action done)

      There’s a lot of other stuff as well, of course, but the graphics ain’t one of those. BioWare is fully capable of developing an ASCII game engine for clients without ever touching the servers, and even that will have queues as well when logging in to the servers.

    • Xercies says:


      You mean like the MMO that has trouble when thousands of people are in the same area?


      Thats a lot of data to handle while also being enough so people don’t get lag and the like.

    • Wulf says:

      So what about those MMORPGs that have never had queues? They must be using magic space dust on their servers then, right? Or… someone here is right and they used an outdated method of implementation, which doesn’t surprise me because everything about SW:TOR is outdated.

      This comes back to Bioware’s statement of: If you don’t follow every little damn thing WoW is doing, and copy it down to the last detail, the very last detail, then… then you’re a stupid poopy head! ALL games should be WoW!

      It shows, it really shows.

    • Max.I.Candy says:


      i must have somehow missed all the immersive storyline questing in WoW then.
      I wish someone had told me, coz its pretty damn awesome in TOR.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:


      You appear to claim that WOW never had server isseus at launch. I doubt it.

    • Grygus says:

      @Wulf If they were following Blizzard’s script then they’d be adding servers like mad; that’s what WoW did when they launched and had problems with populations. So… I guess you’re wrong this time.

    • Psychochild says:

      @Joshua Oh, yeah, WoW had massive queues as well. Here’s a little reminder for the internet’s short memory: link to

  8. omgitsgene says:

    This is why characters stuck on one server is a stupid, antiquated idea. Communities are fostered through guilds, not by having characters shackled to specific servers. Small MMOs do it all the time, and it improves access to the game. Spiral Knights has dealt well with the temporary influx from the Steam promotion on their game, but EA can’t do it with their flagship offering? Shame.

    • omgitsgene says:

      This type of server setup has existed since UO, people. Ultima Online. Remember when that was relevant? If you want to out-WoW WoW then you have to innovate, and this ain’t it. People want to play with their friends, without queues, and not have to make 100 alts. People hate downtime, and that ain’t just corpse-runs. I would argue that corpse-runs are PREFERABLE to this. The whole queue system should be a minigame where you are engaged in a long corpse run until there’s room for you on the server, then maybe developers would see what an awful idea this is because they could equate it to a terrible in-game concept.

    • Wulf says:

      Completely agreed.

      Champions Online has no queues and allows you to switch between player instances at any point. Guild Wars has no queues and allows you to switch between player servers at any point. It’s kind of silly to get something as wrong as this. The best way to make an MMORPG is to have a dropdown somewhere in the UI that allows you to shunt a character from server A to server B, C, D, E, F, … or Z at any time.

      But noap. Bioware wants to follow the Blizzard method, which means that there will soon be costs for transferring a character. Pay £30 to have your character transferred from realm C to realm G! Something that you could do in other games by accessing a server/shard/instance dropdown list.

  9. thegooseking says:

    No wonder EA bought PopCap.

    Wait, you mean Peggle isn’t a population capacity control solution?

    Yeah… I’ll get my coat.

  10. jon_hill987 says:

    Isn’t the normal way to do this to have more servers at launch and merge some of them as demand reduces?

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      It is. But it costs money and EA would rather have it’s customers lose time. And, as we know, time is money.

      How much is that subscription again?

    • Contextual Entity says:

      It is but then server merges often mean lost characters on accounts and a bunch of news sites/blogs reporting that the game is failing because they are merging servers.

  11. Bob_Bobson says:

    If only one could rent server resources for arbitrary lengths of time to get over peak concurrent user activity. Oh wait, you can, cloud computing is established enough that a big budget subscription game that expects a peak at launch can and should have extra computing power when needed. If not server power then what exactly are those subscriptions paying for?

    • caddyB says:

      a massive yacht!

    • PopeJamal says:

      Hats. Big hats. Made out of cold, hard, cash.

    • Burning Man says:

      And tears. Don’t forget the tears.

    • Wulf says:

      “If not server power then what exactly are those subscriptions paying for?”

      A couple of MMORPG developers have actually come out and said that server costs are so incredibly minimal these days, along with bandwidth costs, that box sales will often cover a player a year’s worth of play on their service.

      I mean, really… does anyone not know that subscriptions are a big con by now?

      Subscriptions are the frosting on top for publishers, that’s all. It’s a bit of extra money to line their pockets with. Sure, only about 1% of it might go back into the game to pay the horribly low wags of GMs (and they are low, just ask around), but generally 99% of it is just going to go into the pockets of managers, shareholders, and the like.

      It’s all about the old idea of what people will pay for.

      Is your audience dumb enough to pay a subscription for a game that by right doesn’t need a subscription? Then you charge a subscription. This is why I can’t play SW:TOR. I feel like it’s insulting my intelligence. But contrary to that, any MMORPG developer that comes out and admits this is fine with me.

      See… if I could trust a developer to put at least half the money I’m giving them back into the game, then they could probably charge me a £2 subscription and I’d be okay with that. Or if they had a constant stream of low-cost DLC to support themselves, then that’s fine too because at least I choose what I pay for and I’m getting something for the money I’m giving them.

      But these subscriptions are, what… at least £10 per month? And for what? It’s just a big con.

      And if you really think that subscriptions that expensive are doing anything more than lining someone’s pocket, then you need to speak with people who’ve actually done GM work. From what I hear, it’s a damned thankless and poorly paid job. This is the side of it that people often don’t realise. They say that the subscription is for paying for GMs, when really it’s not.

      I mean, let’s say that your game has three million players, that’s three million x £10 a month. Do the math. GMs could be well paid, but they never are.

      Subscriptions ARE a con. The biggest con that the the gaming history has ever seen.

      (Zynga comes second to the subscription racket.)

    • Bhazor says:

      I think you’re thinking about free to play “click harvest-spam friends” games. There the only cost is maybe a <500kb .txt file. The costs of running a true MMORPG are still incredibly high.

      link to

      WoW for example cost ~$200,000,000 in its first four years.

      Thats some serious beans.

    • Arnisarus says:


      Not really when you consider that the money they make in 2 months covers the cost of 4 years.

      In 2008 when that article was written wow had according to blizzard 10 million subscribers lets knock a million off for the sake of duff accounts etc.

      So 9 million subscribers at $15 ($ since your 200 mill is in dollars) is $135 million a month. so seriously 200 million is pennies to them.

      They could easily charge alot less as one of the above said and still make a rediculous profit

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I believe there’s a screenshot from a forum about Guild Wars which basically said that yes, paid-clients can basically cover everything it’d need to in terms of cost now.

    • D3xter says:

      The server-cost involved from someone playing an MMO are indeed rather minimal, likely far below 1$/person/month. Subscriptions are better described as “so-you-want-to-play-my-game?” fees.

      As has now been proven countless times, F2P models can more than support even big MMOs and usually only a small percentage pays for stuff there, the boxed price of some games can often also not only cover development cost themselves, but even the server costs for several years.

  12. Tyashki says:

    An interesting point to make is that the top two servers to avoid are the unofficial Oceanic servers, a region that has not seen an official release yet.

  13. Untruth says:

    So, the rest of the internet world has introduced scaling (often automatic) to websites and applications, these. People have spent so long fiddling with scaling that it even has a stupid mass-consumer name for it in the form of the much-a-bullshit-about-nothing CLOUD.

    Meanwhile, this lot of MMO makers are still stuck in the dark ages with intentionally finite server clusters.

    It is baffling that in 2011, an MMO requires a) server selection, rather than virtual-instances within a world, b) characters locked to a server, rather than portable profiles c) queueing. yes. queueing.


    • HisMastersVoice says:


      Wait, that sounds strange…

    • PopeJamal says:

      Because having thousands of people playing simultaneously is as easy to manage as falling off of a log, or complaining on a web forum, AMIRITE?

      Am I doing it correctly?

    • omgitsgene says:

      Yeah, I rant on this same point above. If Gaia’s zOMG can do this. If Spiral Knights can do this. If City of Heroes can do this, why can’t BiowareEA’s flagship game do this?

    • TheApologist says:

      Without wishing to say it would be easy, nevertheless, this seems a pretty fair point to me.

    • omgitsgene says:

      There’s no doubt in my mind that this would be difficult, but you have to ask yourself whether it would enhance the experience for the average player. Whether it’s worth it to do this to stand out from the crowd of other MMOs. Whether this is going to help you retain a long-term player base, or whether you’re going to be the next “WoW-killer” a term that’s been laughably thrown about around a number of games that most of us forgot came out.

    • Treffster says:

      The purpose of creating specific “servers” rather than a single “world” (like Eve) is to artificially wall off populations into limited-size communities. The economy of a limited-population world behaves very differently to a massive-population world. Compare the auction houses of Eve to Wow: one has economic charts, trending tools, and corporations – the other has sniping.

      Not just the economy is affected by population size: certain social dynamics work best within a smaller pond. Large populations and markets encourage large corporations – but party-based raiding works best in small elite guilds. It’s a lot easier to be the best of a thousand, rather than a million, and who doesn’t want to be the best?

      There is no technical limitation influencing this decision whatsover. Performance and technical architecture aren’t relevant here – they are solved problems. Bioware and EA can scale each “server” across as many virtual and physical CPU’s as they like.

    • nil says:

      The problem with games is that they are interactive. Latency requirements for real-time play make horizontal scaling substantially more difficult than in other domains.
      (last-mile bandwidth and client hardware constraints used to be a problem too; the former is probably better these days; the latter, perhaps not)

    • omgitsgene says:

      @Treffster: While I can appreciate your arguments for smaller servers, none of them ring as positives though. I fail to see how sniping is a positive over a larger, more predictable market. The elite on a server never compare themselves to the server they’re on anyway, they compare themselves to the rest of the playerbase as a whole. Besides, most games do not cater to the elite anymore. The 99% (see what I did thar?) have no interest in who is the best on a server or even becoming the best on a server. Guess who pays more of the bills?

      If there is no technical limitation to providing an infinitely sized server even if some of the zones are instanced across hundreds of players then why on earth not provide a clearly better play experience for the grand majority of the players who just want to play this neat game with their friends?

    • Untruth says:


      The issues are certainly still technical from BioWares side in some areas, and they have created the problem. If there’s no problem with creating these instances, why aren’t there enough servers to go around, or at the very least, a promise of there being more switched on ASAP rather than “just calm down, it’s only popular for a bit anyway” as an attitude?

      From an experience point of view, it sucks. How is choosing NAMESPACE EU as a server ‘immersive’? Surely the selection of a node/server/instance/world should be part of the game experience, a conscious choice as part of being within an overall ‘universe’, rather than some naff server browser.

      Though it is true size affects social behaviours on a server (just look at behaviour change in small games such as CS with 5v5 vs 16v16), considerate design can alleviate it – Eve is actually incredibly good at welcoming ‘n00b’ lone-rangers under the umbrella of a corp, considering it is largely a very insular community. Whilst an entire economy may not be transportable between servers, the idea of totally restricting you to one instance just to even turn up seems baffling.

      Part of modern MMO design, surely, surely should be forwarding and advancing how Eve-type scale can mix with guild-type thinking rather than going for limiting but tried and ‘tested’ (where ‘tested’ apparently means noone can play) traditional methods.

      I’m just a guy on the internet of course, but to me this stinks of poor, outdated design rather than poor tech.

    • Treffster says:

      @omgitsgene @Untruth:
      I completely accept your point of view that the design issues of single-sharded worlds can be overcome. This would allow certain immersion breaking elements to be minimised or avoided entirely. I also agree with the unspoken sentiment that with this much investor and publisher money on the line, there was no way Bioware was going to stray from familiar ground, which could be considered a disappointment.

      However, the issue you fail to consider is one that comes from basic human tribal behaviour: familiarity leads to community. The advantage of playing on a small server is that people you see regularly become friends you help, who you quest with, who you eventually guild with. Usually one encounter isn’t enough to cause bonding – it takes a number of accidental or forced social interactions. Only by limiting your population to a fixed set, do you guarantee repeated social interaction with the same people.

      When you have a single population that is locally instanced, its very hard to always meet the same people, but being on a fixed server makes it easy. Also, the “fixed server” concept makes it easy to group with friends: a server name is a very easy identifier for “limited community I belong to”. When our real-life friends join our small server, we are very likely to meet them often, since we won’t be instanced away from each other. (Friends lists only work for those we already have friended)

      Finally: The queues are a completely artificial construct introduced by Bioware. They exist for the sole purpose to create an artificial scarcity in limited communities. Nothing is accidental about this. I would even suggest that Bioware may have deliberately not released the “switch character to server” feature to ensure the artificial scarcity they are managing behaves predictably. (that last part is a bit tin-foil-hat though).

      P.S. History indicates that the queues don’t negatively affect perceptions in the wider audience long-term. Demand triggers interest, and Bioware expect people to be signing up for years.

    • omgitsgene says:

      What I’m talking about is multiple instances of the same zone. If repeated random with interaction with similar folk actually helps the game then make it likely, but not fixed, that someone spawns in a fixed instance, but don’t force it. Gameplay continues, repeat encounters continue, queues disappear.

      Secondly, fixed servers make it harder to group with friends. I knew any number of WoW players in my day, but many of them were already established on different servers and would have to leave their progress behind to group with me. Besides, what RL friends with RL contacts are you going to not have added to your friends list? Are these RL friends you don’t have access to via e-mail, phone, or some other social network?

  14. ran93r says:

    I do my Warcrafting on a fairly populated server and we get queue’s when an xpac is released (or major content patch) but they only last a week or two.

    The Georgecraft server some guild mates have rolled on is on that list and they are having a lot of queue trouble, I hope it settles down before Santa’s Birthday as that’s when I’m getting my copy.

  15. TheApologist says:

    Long queues seem like a good way to ensure that an anticipated player population drop-off is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • sangkancil99 says:

      On the contrary it’s one way to sustain interest. There’s nothing that stoke up demand than signalling that the product is limited and in demand.

      Low pop easy to get to servers on the other hand shows zzzzz…..

    • Stupoider says:

      I’m not sure that’s the way demand works. If anything, seeing the people who have already bought the game being forced to wait unnecessarily will turn away anyone competent with their money. You’re confusing server demand with actual product demand, and the former is upsetting the latter.

  16. Stevostin says:

    What ?

    ““We strongly advise you to not create new characters on these servers, unless you are prepared to queue to play.”

    But what if I picked it when it was empty and had no possible way of making an informed decision at that time ? Am I just screwed ?

    I understand there are pros and cons to any option but a game with a long term queue will ne ver be an option here, even if it was F2P. I did quit WoW because of having to wait for BGs.

    • skalpadda says:

      “But what if I picked it when it was empty and had no possible way of making an informed decision at that time ? Am I just screwed ?”

      Worse, it seems as though those who joined a pre-made guild before the game launched simply got placed on a random server. In my old WoW guild there’s a bunch of people trying SW:TOR out and it seems like they ended up on Frostclaw with many spending a lot of time levelling characters during the early access phase. I don’t know how many members they have but the WoW guild has around 100 and when you get communities of dozens or even over a hundred members it’s hard to just tell everyone to abandon ship and set up shop on a new server.

  17. Althilor says:

    Whilst i’d love them to open up a bunch more servers, I guess I can see the reluctance. If for no other reason it looks bad if a few months post-release you’re having to merge servers, and we all know that people on the internet jump to conclusions readily. Sensible people would see it as it is, (simply scaling back after a launch rush, not necessarily a sign of impending doom) but baring in mind many on the net are the type of people who leave Metacritic reviews at 0/10 simply because they don’t like a developer or publisher…then yeah, can’t rely on them to make rational judgements about anything.

  18. PearlChoco says:

    As much as I hate the corporate evil that EA is, in their quest for creating the universe’s ultimate money producing cash cow I’m sure they want TOR to provide the best user experience technically possible so I’m confident they’re creating a launch and server infrastructure suited for the best long-term results possible, taking into account that lots of people will skip the game due to long queue times.

    Still, I wonder why modern MMO still need different servers with different game worlds. Is it really that hard to create one persistent world (like EVE) for millions of players, run on one server cluster?

    • GIGAR says:

      Yes, yes it is.
      EVE is made up of A LOT of solar systems, and they need some serious server power to keep it going.
      EVE also uses a rather large amount of resources fighting lag – A minor bottleneck can suddenly become a huge problem when affecting a large amount of users.

      Furthermore, things like market prices would just be silly – Imagine having 100,000+ people competing on the same auction house – Total cluster. (it works in EVE, because you have to actually move the goods you want, to the place you want it)

      In addition, the multiple server solution is relatively well known (and have been used by WoW for several years), and thus serve as a pretty solid base. Creating a new server structure takes a lot of time any money.

      Oh, and let’s not forget – CCP (makers of EVE) is using server hardware not even released to the market yet during the biggest space battles. All in all, I think it’s fair to say that single game-world servers are extremely hard to make.

    • kemryl says:

      Yes, but how on earth could that be within CCP’s reach, but not EA’s? Last I checked, which was just now, CCP has published three games. EA has published at least a grillion and a half games, and owned the rights to american foot-to-ball. How could they ever NOT afford the server setup CCP has?

    • skalpadda says:

      Consider they are very different games and they’re aiming for a much larger player base with SW:TOR.

    • Mynameisaw says:

      People are honestly surprised about Queue’s?

      I can’t think of a single ‘big name’ MMO that released in the past 6 or 7 years that hasn’t had server queue’s upon release.

      More to the point, queue’s are a good thing (well long term at least).

      Warhammer made the big mistake of releasing with too many servers, and coupled with a bad launch anyway they then had to later merge servers.

      Server merges have such a bad stigma attached to them that they in themselves can cause a playerbase to drop further because people naturally assume it’s a precursor to the games death.

      Yeah it’s not brilliant having to queue but, considering TOR is probably the biggest MMO launch within the past 10 years it’s definitely to be expected.

    • skalpadda says:

      “considering TOR is probably the biggest MMO launch within the past 10 years”

      Bigger than WoW? I doubt it.

  19. Museli says:

    If you are enjoying the game as much as I am, queues really aren’t a problem. “Oh dear, my pre-release server with my three characters has a half-hour wait. Guess I’ll just make a fourth character on this new server. Ooh! Jennifer Hale voices the female Trooper. Guess that’s my new character for today”.

    Rolling alts in WoW became dull for me as each character would more or less play the same. The story structure in SWTOR means it’s going to take a lot longer for repeated trips to the same planets to lose their shine, and by the the queues will be either much lower or non-existent, as the early surge of players settles down to steady numbers.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      its like starting a new single player game everytime you re roll.

    • Belsameth says:

      Jennifer Hale does the female trooper?
      Guess I got my new alt! I wonder if Femshep is a name that’s already taken…:p

  20. Shandrakor says:

    Intrigued by this, I have been. Sadly, my interest peaked years ago, and much of the more recent stuff was rather ‘myeh’. I was eagerly anticipating the beta, but 16G is a bit much…and while I was down the shop yesterday to pick up a copy, a well-timed phone call from a mate complaining of this whole ‘NO PLAI 4 JOO’ was pretty much the nail in the coffin. I rather imagine I’m not the only chap who was waffling. I bought Rift on release, now it’s a fraction of the price. I bought DCUO on release, now it’s F2P. And now you’re telling me that I can’t PLAY the game I just bought because you’re waiting for the servers to die down a bit? Okay, I’ll see ya in a few months. Maybe. Good luck with that, game-I’m-not-convinced-is-KOTOR3.

    • Burning Man says:

      I think you need to lighten up a bit. In general.

      How about a nice cup of coffee?

  21. csuzw says:

    What is particularly galling about this whole “ordeal” is that the people most affected by this are the people who are most interested in playing, and probably the most likely to stay. These people set up pre-launch guilds, pre-ordered the game and got assigned our servers automatically. My particular guild got assigned to Frostclaw. I believe there were queues from day 2 of early access which is entirely unacceptable given they knew almost exactly how many people were going to be on different servers at that point. What they should have done for the pre-launch guild servers that got too full is to stop character creation entirely for those that didn’t have a character there already or who weren’t assigned there automatically by there guild choice. As it is my guild is starting to break up as some people don’t want to put up with queues and others don’t want to lose their progress. I’m torn between the 2 but thankfully I’m going to be offline for a fortnight so I can see how things fall out in the new year.

    • Timmytoby says:

      The most affected people by this are not something EA would be concerned about: Hardcore-Star Wars Fans. They don’t really need to do anything about the queues.

      The fans would eat the feces of George Lucas’ dog as long as the Star Wars brand is printed somewhere on it. (See Episode 1-3, the yearly “new and improved” releases of the old movies, etc)
      They probably could ask for extra money to decorate the queues with pretty pictures of Leia in a thong and the raving fans would happily pay.

      “Normal” customers on the other hand will neither have preordered nor be interested in sitting around in a queue. But since they already have paid by the time they discover the waiting times, they are no longer interesting for EA (at least till the inevitable expansion).

      In short: Fans will pay anyway and everyone else will have forgotten by the time EA wants them to buy the expansion.

  22. Lambchops says:

    This is a complete and utter sidenote but try and go to the RPS forums if you have a minute.

    The error page is quite possibly one of the best error pages ever.

    • Fede says:

      Thank you, it’s awesome! (The following is the beginning, it is interactive, of course!)

      503 – Service Unavailable
      An Interactive Fiction by Horace The Endless Server Technician
      Release 1 / Serial number 110707 / Inform 7 build 6E72 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/12N)

      HTTP Error
      You are standing at the entrance to Castle Shotgun. The gates are securely locked, with an unappealing sign on the front. The sign reads “Whoops! RPS is having a bit of a wobbly. Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon!”

      To the left of the gates is a large opening in the wall, which Jim is leaning into. John is perched on a small rock nearby, while Alec and Tim are standing on the other side of the gates. A pile of magazines is scattered in a corner.

      You can see Jim, John, Tim, Alec and a Refresh Button here.

    • Lambchops says:

      You can even get KG to appear. Oh and like any good interactive adventure, it isn’t impressed by swearing!

  23. Quine says:

    The funny thing is that most people on this sort of game don’t really care which server they’re playing on unless they’re part of a guild or have a particular set of friends they want to play with. SWTOR seems to be an extreme case of this as many people are playing it like a single player game with a noisy chat channel.

    So if they’d designed it slightly differently they could have let people join the next available instance, join the server their faction is currently on, or play with a particular friend with some sort of character data replication procedure. I suppose there would be issues to balance around the economy and faction balance, but are probably easier to fix if you can allocate connections to servers dynamically.

    One day we’ll get away from these rubbish outdated models for MMOs. I hope.

  24. Carra says:

    Started playing Saturday and picked the one low population server that was available thinking it’s the sensible thing to do. And no queue problems so far although I’m afraid with the full launch I’ll be having issues too.

    When logged in some people were talking in general. Seemed that they created an alt on our server because their main servers have 2 a 4 hour queues. I want to log in this evening at 8 pm and play for an hour or two. With a queue like that it’s unplayable.

  25. aircool says:

    It’s generally the PvP servers that have the long queues, and there’s much talk of bots (I hate that phrase) being used to keep players logged in.

    It’s not exactly unexpected as there’s always queues at the start of a new mmo. In fact, from previous experience, if your server doesn’t have queues, then be prepared for an empty server in the near future, followed by server transfer after server transfer.

    My Guild and I are on The Progenitor (PvE-RP) and there’s been a fair bit of queuing going on there. I had to wait twenty minutes last night, but it didn’t bother me, although I can see anything longer than half an hour being a pain in the botty.

  26. BobsLawnService says:

    As somebody who needs to deal with load balancing and network scaling for a living I’d like to point out that in the case of an MMO like this being hammered like it is a huge challenge and extremely expensive to deal with what EA are probably dealing with.

    Having said that EA should be in a position to do it. When you are accepting money for a service you had better be able to deliver that service.

    Could you imagine the outcry if Google’s corporate Gmail offering had hour long queues to log in? The planet would go bonkers. Us gamers get the short end of the stick too often.

    Having said that – How many of you are going to cancel your subscription because of this. Gamers are dumber than rats. At least when the food stops coming rats stop frantically pawing at the food dispensing lever.

  27. aircool says:

    Roffles… Just logged on – 380+ in queue (and it’s not even lunchtime yet, are the kiddiwinks off school?). May as well read some more RPS articles ¬_¬

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      380?……. BAH! your lucky

      i’m 990+
      yesterday i was 1100+

  28. Ovno says:

    Surely the solution to this is what games like dnd online did, not many servers but many many instances of each area within the server, this means you can fit your launch population and then when numbers start to drop, start deactivating instances…

    And of course it means you just swap instance to meet up with your mates.

  29. Mehbah says:

    Anyone who bought this game and actually expected Bioware to treat their fans and/or customers with dignity really brought it upon themselves. Bioware have consistently been complete dicks to anyone that doesn’t praise them blindly for years. They won’t accept any criticism, snidely remark at those who do try to give them criticism (constructive or otherwise), and then turn around and blame the fans for not providing proper criticism. Oh, and then they’ll pad their own metacritic scores with highly biased reviews and blame all the negative reviews on imageboard raids.

    Bioware is dead, just like Capcom, Ubisoft, EA, Activision and so on. Anyone who gives them money has no right to complain about the state of the games industry.

    • DogKiller says:

      I agree with your words. Bioware seem to have become so up their own backsides that they have nothing but contempt for the customers who buy their games. I look forward to the day when they are forced to learn a little more humility, because they seem to be getting rather complacent about their success.

  30. Bungle says:

    Pay full price for the game, pay a monthly fee, and still have to wait two hours to play? No thanks! I don’t see why they couldn’t add extra servers to handle the initial rush of players but divide them into different virtual groups. Make it so that only one unique player name is allowed per GROUP of servers instead of one server so there is no drama when the inevitable merge happens. Boom, problem solved.

  31. MrMud says:

    Personally I start SWTOR and then alt tab out of it and play WoW while I wait for the queue.

  32. cliffski says:

    Amazing gamers tolerate this. If I launched a game I’d bought and paid for, and it told me to wait in a queue, I’d uninstall that game, and probably avoid all games by that publisher in future.
    There again, I never play MMOs.

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      i suppose i tolerate it because i love the game.
      2 hrs yesterday and over an hour again today is extreme but i new it was going to happen.
      once i get in i just leave my character logged in all day anyway.

    • aircool says:

      It’s true. I guess if you’re up for an MMO session, you’ve usually put aside quite a bit of time. If you’re socially inclined and use teamspeak or whatever, then you can just shoot the breeze with your friends, which is kinda what I spend a lot of time doing when playing online anyway ¬_¬

  33. Unaco says:

    Patience is a virtue. And gaming is a luxury. Some perspective is called for, I suspect.

    • jonfitt says:

      Stop being reasonable. This is the Internet.

    • Stupoider says:

      Bloody customers, expecting to get what they paid for in a reasonable and timely fashion!

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      That is certainly true. It’s also true that people have paid money to play the game and since it’s subscription-based, it seems strange they’re not even looking at alleviating the queues. To say the least.

  34. KoenigNord says:

    Well, that’s why customers should’nt buy products on release date or even earlier. They don’t know if the producer just hyped the hell out of the product.
    Since games from big producers tend to do so, i stopped getting the most early access possibly and wait a few weeks to buy a game.
    Thats because of many reasons:
    -prices always drop (I bet swtor is below the 30 £ mark until next year.)
    -many games need patches to make it playable (e.g. Skyrim)
    -servers exploding (seen here and with wow and with most other MMOs)
    -promises are often broken by the producers (thats the worst about it, some test-versions for the big magazines get special copies with shinier graphics etc.)

    I bought BF3 with pre-order, but thats because EA made a very good pre-order deal and the prize in UK was unbeatable (even with shipping to the continent). The other exclusion to my manners was Minecraft alpha (when survival mode appeared), thats also a different story. ;)
    I will buy SWTOR after christmas, maybe later. I hope the sort all the server-problems till next year.
    Also the pre-order bonus was really bad imo. A yellow crystal and additional 6 days to play (now you will get all that achieved time payed back in queues) for that price… no.

    I advice all of you to give a shit on all the advertisement from the producers and be patient. It’s not EA’s fault, that you got hyped. They just hope you do to make many $$$.

  35. Wulf says:

    That’s an entertaining attitude to have.

    “Well, we’re probably going to go free to play or shut up shop in a year. Let’s be realistic here, MMORPGs are only popular for a little bit after launch, so why should we invest in servers? It’s financially unwise. What’s that? Oh, good service be damned. We’re in this to make money, and look at what we did with the preorder stuff, it’s a brilliant racketeering scheme, you have to admit.

    “So, all we do is weather the storm until we think we’ve made enough profits from this, then we’ll just roll out the free-to-play-and-pay-to-win model we’ve already developed and let that soak up whatever profits remain. This stopped being about making a good game a long time ago. It’ll only be popular for a bit, we know that. We’ve planned for that. So suck it up. The queues will die off eventually, as assuredly as our own game will.”

    Yep. That’s… a rather hilarious PR line.

    • D3xter says:

      That might be true for games like DCUO or Star Trek: Online, but SWTOR won’t be going “Free2Play” any time soon.

      Also I didn’t have any problems with any of this really, smoothest launch I’ve been in certainly. I think I only had a Queue of 120 for a few minutes once, but then I didn’t exactly pick the servers that said “FULL” or displayed queue times already to make my characters on, so go me.

  36. Belsameth says:

    Better this then constant mergers, transfers and loosing of your names…
    The last one being the most annoying. I stopped playing Ager of Conan over it.

    And hey, grab a book or play another game while you wait. Personally I’ll just irritate my cat untilol I hear I’m in the character select screen. (He enjoys it now, but wait till it’s vacation time and the queues get longer :p)

  37. afarrell says:

    Come back in a month, it’ll be fine.

  38. Gary W says:

    Maybe they decided to host it on the Death Star ™, and it blew up.

  39. Jimbo says:

    Then I guess I won’t be buying this game for a while.

  40. jonfitt says:

    Why exactly does anyone need to have a character bound to any particular server?
    Can’t the player status be saved on a centralised database letting the player choose where to play at any time?
    TF2 would suck if you had to start from scratch on every server.
    It just seems like old world thinking.

  41. reggiep says:

    This all just sounds like bad design if you ask me. Having to choose a server is an area that BioWare missed an opportunity to innovate. All of those details should have been abstracted away with all the character transfers and load balancing occurring behind the scenes. This way, they could add capacity and then remove it later without affecting character stores. And for that, I will probably skip this game just like I skipped WoW.

    • srodney says:

      But then Bioware could not squeeze more money out of customers by charging for character transfers!

  42. derbefrier says:

    I know for those on heavily populated servers but I find myself on biowares side here. All recent mmos I have been around for during launch suffer a population drop after the first month always leading to empty servers which then results in forums flooded with requests for server transfers or server merging. And all of these mmos have frantically brought up new servers to handle the load only to find that in a month or two it leaves the population too spread out. It’s damned if you do, damned of you don’t situation. It’s a quick fix now but will result in more problems later on. Its a descion that could come back to bite bioware in the ass either way but I think they Made the right one here despite the huge inconvenience to players now, in a couple months you be glad your max level character is not on a dead server with no one to play with.

    • Bagpuss says:

      “on Bioware’s side…”

      You’re an idiot, idiot.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      They’ve shown multiple time that they’ve anticipated the population.

      From “limited” digitial copies, to their gradual roll-out on pre-order early access.

      The one thing they don’t seem to have done is actually work out a tech solution that isn’t basically “well, deal with it”.

      So what if they have to absorb extra players into paid-out additional servers? They just need to figure a way to shrink down the number of servers “after” the drop in playerbase. Forcing queues on paying customers (both paid client, and subscription) at launch is throwing a bad play experience right in their faces, and then being stubborn about it (it’s probably too later to play it any other way) is basically asking for the population to drop as fast as possible.

      I could understand if this was F2P… though most F2Ps I’ve played either don’t have queues, or they’re very short queues (5 ~15 minutes tops).

      Stuff like server-transfers, and mergers, are standard practise in MMOs… they’re going to have to deal with it eventually, so why not get it in early when it’s a possible solution to “over-population” problems.

    • derbefrier says:

      I do get what your saying hoaxfish I am one of those paying customers and ques suck balls,I dont like them either, but I think at this point it would be better to wait a couple weeks and let the population level out. I wasn’t trying to imply bioware didn’t screw up, but the damge is done and I think its better at this point for the long term to take priority over the short term problems that probally won’t exist in couple weeks anyway. It’s just a desxion all mmos have to face what’s more detrimental to the player base. A short period of long ques, or a long period of empty servers. I would say the latter and why I chose the position I did.

  43. mmalove says:

    This is why I’ve not joined an MMO launch since Aion. TBH I should have learned my lesson with WOW, but sometimes you have to stub your toe twice. Yes EA: I get you’re between a rock and a hard place knowing much of the launch rush will decline. But with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, you’d think you’d have the damage mitigation in place other premium MMOs scrambled to put together: server transfers, town instancing, etc. Easiest way to handle it in my opinion: if you have server transfers and make them free/cheap for the first couple months while the dust settles, you can do server merges/splits without upsetting your player base, and get that optimal population MMOers so desperately seek.

  44. Hoaxfish says:

    I still wonder why more MMO don’t adopt distributed-server systems.

    I’m probably wrong about this, but Guild Wars essentially had multiple servers, but each instance/channel in the towns (which you could freely switch between) distributed the players across them (within the world-region), and Eve does a similar thing (since everyone plays on the same “world”).

    Even a basic server merge (after buying to handle capacity, then slashing once the populations go down) should be easily handled if you ensure nobody has the same name beforehand (e.g. use a shared login-server to prevent character-creation with a pre-existing name from any of the servers).

  45. Bagpuss says:

    Bioware have been getting shitier for years now.. the quality of their games is in the toilet.. and NO.. Dragon Age and ME aren’t very good.. the writing is trite, fulll of Deus ex machina and piss poor plotting, in comparison to previous games, these are the worst pieces of unintelligable crap they’ve ever produced.

    Their whole ethos has changed from providing quality gaming for people able to appreciate it.. to providing shallow experiences and second rate gameplay for dumbasses who don’t know any better….they only go for the cheapest, lowest denominator buck now.

    Bioware as a trusted company died 5 years ago, on it’s ass.. EA aren’t the bad boys here.. Bioware has been heading in an EA direction since the begining of the DA production cycle…

    AND now they tell all you people who have no self control that your purchases will be fullfilled when they want to fulfil it?

    Any company who says to it’s customer “you can’t use your product unless we tell you and that’s not going to change”…. SUCKS ARSE and any brain dead idiot who actually gives Bioware money, deserve everything they get.

    Self control people… informed decisions… If you accept this situation then you deserve all the crap they can dump on you.

    • mmalove says:

      Emotion saturated wording aside: I agree everyone casting dollars into this had ample opportunity to educate themselves both on EA/Bioware’s history of accepting poor customer experience, and the general MMO cycle typically involving a buggy, laggy, unbalanced and queue filled launch. For what it’s worth, many of those I know that did join this launch, haven’t really complained about it. I guess some (maybe lots) of customers enjoy the new car feel of the MMO enough that it outweighs the pain points outlined above.

      In the end: it’s your money. If you want to spend it perpetuating this behavior and experience, and find it satisfying, I’ll just smile and continue to appreciate and confirm my choice to go my own way.

    • djim says:

      Stating that Dragon Age and Mass Effect were not good does not make it true. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are both fantastic games. The Witcher 2 is also a fantastic game. Skyrim is another fantastic game. You have decided that Bioware sucks? It is your right to do so. I personally have not bought it yet but i will as soon as my holidays start and i intent to enjoy it, while you can rant away freely. This is a free world after all.

  46. Dobleclick says:

    Not that I care much about MMO’s in the first place, but:

    If I had bought this game, I wouldn’t mind about technicalities such as server mergers, databases, virtual vs nonvirtual, instancing etc.

    But I would very strongly disapprove of excessive queues AND emtpy servers.

    I don’t care what the technical problems are, but I firmly believe an MMO being released in 2012 should easily be able to tackle login peaks as well as severe reduction in server population. If developers aren’t able to figure that out by now, screw them and their game!!!

  47. namad says:

    amount of hardware is totally irrelevant, they are trying to force players to spread out, regardless of how much hardware they throw at a particular server it still only has so many zones and so many cities, and if the player population is too high the gameplay experience won’t be as good. they’re trying to manage not only server loads, but population balances, which is smart, and basically no one bothered to do a good job of this ever before. keep in mind things were as bad or worse during WoW launch. I don’t know why people get surprised by history constantly repeating itself, people couldn’t play EQ1 like AT ALL for nearly a month, and everyone was given weeks of free time as a result, during EQ1 launch way back when.

  48. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I guess what one option might be for MMOs is to actually limit the servers population when they first go up and only gradually increase the load. From medium server load (whatever that may be) up. And make that (really really) clear from the get-go.

    Perhaps one could allow people to reserve a single character spot per server once it’s at the limit so players can roll on a low population server to play a bit and later roll a character on the server they want to be on. This could have some restrictions like if your slot is opened you might have a limited time to roll a character before the non-reservants may have a go.

    Of course that’s still hardly ideal.

  49. WesWilson says:

    The most offensive thing is that we signed up with the Guild system to avoid this crap… we SKIPPED manually joining servers where our friends would be playing so that this very thing wouldn’t happen… and they put us on Harbinger.

  50. MythArcana says:

    Perhaps EA should “use the Force” on their purse strings and buy more servers and bandwidth.