For us Aussies the Star Wars: The Old Republic launch has been a messy one indeed. Bioware’s decision to delay the Australian launch of the game until months after it launched in the US and Europe was met not with patience, but rather a mad scramble to buy the game from overseas, be it nabbing a box from somewhere like Amazon or a CD-Key from a hopefully legitimate website.
It even sparked boughts of grey importing from the major retail chains, who saw demand driving profits to overseas stores, while EA kept quiet on just when it would launch the game in Australia. Curiously the March 1st release date for Australia was actually mentioned first by Bioware and then by EA’s COO Peter Moore in an earnings call well before any news was given by the local branch of EA.
There are pockets of Aussie players all over the US servers, especially on a handful of ‘unofficial’ servers like The Swiftsure, Jekk’Jekk Tarr and Harbinger. But these are still located in the US, and suffer from the problems inherent in all those internet packets having to make it across the pacific and back.
This situation is changing tonight however, as SWTOR officially launches in Australia. While we have known some of the details for a few weeks, Bioware has finally announced more specific plans via the SWTOR forums. There will be three servers at launch (no PVP-RP though, which will make a certain Atomic Editor a little sad), with hardware in place for more to go online as needed.
Here's our official launch timing. All servers will be online simultaneously at approx 5:01AM CST (Austin time), but with timezones straddling a date:
New Zealand: 12:01am NZDT (March 1st)
Australia: 10:01pm EDT (February 29th)
Singapore: 7:01pm SGT (February 29th)
Hong Kong: 7:01pm HKT (February 29th)
We'll be launching with three initial servers dedicated to these territories. As previously mentioned, these servers are physically located in Australia:
Master Dar'Nala (PvP)
Gav Daragon (RP PvE)
If demand requires we open additional servers, we have the hardware ready to go. Our Live Production team will be carefully monitoring server population and potential queues to ensure the best possible experience for players.
We expect to see these servers flooded initially, as those currently on US servers scramble to ensure that their character names are given to level one toons in order to ‘reserve’ them for official transfers. As for players in that boat, Bioware has stated that the current plan is for emails to go out about these transfers later this week. These will go to those who initially registered their accounts with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore or Hong Kong as their location.
For those patiently waiting for the game to launch in Australian stores, you can check out our review here.