Half year of SWTOR, a timeline of major events
Hey everyone, June 20 is upon us and it marks SWTOR’s half birthday! To celebrate this day and to welcome back returning players, I have created a little timeline of major events in the past 6 months. This hopefully will help you catch up on the changes you might have missed. For those who never left SWTOR, this may server as a refresher of your past 6 months!
Key mega patch dates
|Jan. 18||Patch 1.1||29 days since 1.0!|
|April 12||Patch 1.2||85 days since 1.1!|
Key PvP changes
|Jan. 18||Ilum objectives changed to collect armaments/defeat enemies|
|Jan. 18||Level 50 PvP Bracket introduced.|
|Jan. 19||Imperial players camping Republic players on Ilum, causing a hotfix|
|March 6||Ilum daily/weekly can now be completed by doing warzones|
|March 6||Battlemaster and Champion Commendations are now available on the PvP Vendor for Warzone and Mercenary Commendations.|
|April 11||Ranked Warzones pulled off Patch 1.2 the day before deployment|
|April 12||Ilum daily/weekly removed from the game|
|April 12||Champion/Centurion PvP gear replaced by Recruit gear, Battlemaster can now be purchased directly with Warzone Commendations, new War Hero Gear introduced|
|June 6||Ranked Warzone is back on the PTS and included as part of 1.3.|
Key Subscriber Numbers
|Dec 23||1 million registered players in the first week of launch|
|Jan. 3||215 operation servers, 350k concurrent players estimated.|
|Feb. 1||1.7 million active subscribers, including both paying and those in first 30 days|
|March 8||Holding steady at 1.7 million active subscribers, with most having past the initial 30 days.|
|April 22||Free 30 days begin|
|April 24||D. Erickson reports that sub numbers have not dropped, but # of concurrent players has.|
|May 7||Subscriber number dropped to 1.3 million|
|Dec.13||Early access begins|
|Dec 18||No server specific forums, Bioware explains the reason for it in this interview:
“Generally speaking, server forums for many MMOs tend to be largely un-moderated and can become unpleasant to visit. We do feel there is value in them for the community, in the form of player-run events, guild recruitment, and other ways to meet players who enjoy the same aspects of the game you do, so we’ve attempted to provide that in the official forums through our expanded Guild Hall and Community sections”.
|Dec 19||Massive sever queues (~2 hrs) experienced, Bioware addressing the issue by introducing new servers.|
|Dec. 20||Official game launch|
|Dec. 20||Stephen Reid advise players to avoid creating characters on the following population heavy servers: The Harbinger, Swiftsure, Fatman, Bloodworthy, Frostclaw, Legions of Lettow, Red Eclipse, Tomb of Freedom Nadd, Darth Revan’s Mask, Darth Traya, Jar’Kai Sword, Hrakert Rift|
|Dec. 23||Press Release: SWTOR has more than a million players registered since launching on Dec.20. Players registered 28 million in-game hours (averaged well over 5 hrs /day playing). 3.8 milliion characters created.|
|Dec. 28||Stephen Reid comes on /r/SWTOR of Reddit to do an AMA.|
|Jan 2||Bioware looking at a Mac version:
"We’ve done a lot of Mac ports before of our games. We haven’t announced any details yet for The Old Republic, but we know that’s an important and large audience… We want to get this launch under our belt and everything stabilized and happy, and then we’ll look at other platforms, and that’s obviously one of the first ones."
|Jan 2||Gold farmers banned, accounts exploiting loot containers on Ilum temporarily suspended/warned.|
|Jan. 3||A total of 215 operation SWTOR servers (124 in US and 91 in Europe). Analysts estimate 350k concurrent players.|
|Jan. 4||New Year’s PvP Update – addressing bracket warzones, open world PvP on Ilum, and combat optimizations. Ranked warzones and PvP Stat Tracking announced.|
|Jan. 5||Patch 1.0.2 arrived, fixed /getdown exploit.|
|Jan. 6||Patch 1.1 arrives on the PTS|
|Jan, 7||Georg Zoeller drops a hint and the Magenta crystal was discovered!|
|Jan. 10||James Ohlen told press that: Most players are not having performance issues, around 5% are having issues related to plummeting SWROR frame rates, with main cause being low-end PCs.|
|Jan. 11||Stephen Reid responds to concerns about lack of High Res Textures – lengthy read.|
|Jan.17||Patch 1.1’s scheduled launch date delayed.|
|Jan. 18||Bioware surprise us with patch 1.1 deployment. Rise of the Rakghouls
– Expansion of already existing Karagga’s Palace Operation.
– New Flashpoint: Kaon Under Siege
– New Anti-Aliasing option available under preferences.
– Fixed some issues with HM FPs, including HM Foundry last boss doing 70k damage
– Battlemaster Gear tokens converted to BM Commendations
– New level 50 PvP Bracket
– Ilum PvP daily/weekly now requires players to defeat enemy players and/or collecting armaments
|Jan 19||Post 1.1 Ilum PvP issues discovered, Imperial players camping Republic players at their home base on llum, farming valor points. Patch introduced to quickly fix this exploit but no valor rollback.
“We have made the decision not to enact a mass ‘rollback’ of Valor points for all players in the game, or even on Ilum. This would unfairly penalize some players who may not have been present during this event. Rest assured though, anyone and everyone who is found to have exploited the situation to an unreasonable degree will be investigated and actions taken as needed. Our in-game metrics are able to give us precise details on where players were, what they were doing and what rewards they gained.”
|Jan 20||Georg Zoeller acknowledges the ability delay issue that many players were facing.
“Thanks to constructive feedback from the community, including some great videos, we were able to identify an issue that could cause abilities on global cooldown to appear available to the player, resulting in unresponsive/ignored player input. A fix for the issue is currently scheduled to go to the public test server with our next update.”
|Jan 27||Activists targets SWTOR’s possible Same-sex Relationships in a podcast titled Rebel Fleet Surrenders to Gay Empire
”In a new Star Wars game, the biggest threat to the empire may be homosexual activists! Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. In a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side. The new video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has added a special feature: gay relationships. Bioware, the company that developed the game, said it’s launching a same-sex romance component to satisfy some complaints. That surprised a lot of gamers, since Bioware had made it clear in 2009 that "gay" and "lesbian" don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren’t. On the game’s website, there are more than 300 pages of comments–a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It’s time to show companies who the Force is really with!”
|Jan 28||Catch lead players on a wild goose chase over the white crystal. There was a massive collaborative effort on Reddit and on the official forums. Turns out the crystal was not obtainable yet.|
|Jan 31||Patch 1.1 landed, fixing ability delay and allowing top tier space missions to reward Daily Commendation.|
|Feb 1||1.7 million active subscribers (both paying and those on trial/first 30 days) and 2 million units sold. EA stock gone up by 6.1%.
“The company launched “Star Wars” in late December, and reported it has sold through more than 2 million units of the game and now has about 1.7 million active subscribers playing the online multiplayer title, which Brown said represents a mix of users who already have signed up for a paid subscription and users who have given their credit cards over, but have not yet had their paid plans kick in.”
|Feb. 7||Patch 1.1.2 arrived with nerfs for Rakata reuseable stims and upgrades for Rakata weapons to the correct stats.|
|Feb 11||First Community Q&A launched.|
|Feb 14||Surge rating – “re-balanced” (aka nerfed) with patch 1.1.3. Pure Shockfrozen Water PvP exploit fixed.
”Surge rating has been re-balanced. It now reaches diminishing returns the same way as other damage ratings, and its per point damage contribution has been reduced by approximately 10%.”
|Feb 21||SWTOR celebrates a successful launch with a new video looking at the launch process.|
|Feb 22||Patch 1.1.4 arrived with cooldown timers!|
|March 1||SWTOR launched in Asia Pacific territories and three 3 official Asia Pacific servers opened. No transfer yet to these new servers.|
|March 5||SWTOR Guild Summit launched – you can see a transcript of the coverage here. Mostly a lot of info on patch 1.2 stuff and later patches.|
|March 6||Patch 1.1.5 landed, significant patch that brought a crystal vendor to the fleet that sold various color crystals (including previously unobtainable white) and hashed prices on the Korealis line of speeders. Color crystals also had their dark/light side restriction removed. Other key features includes
– New /random or /roll commando
– Ilum daily and weekly can now be completed via doing Warzones.
– Battlemaster and Champion Commendations are now available on the PvP Vendor for Warzone and Mercenary Commendations.
|March 8||Patch 1.2 trailer released|
|March 8||GDC interview reveals that SWTOR team has 30 producers, 40 platform engineers, 80 programmers, 75 designers, 140 artists, and 280 quality assurance positions|
|March 8||EA press release reveals 1.7 million active subscribers with a vast majority of those “trigged through (the initial 30 days) and they’re recurring subscribers”.|
|March 16||Patch 1.2 dropped on the PTS on a friday.|
|March 20||Georg Zoeller talks about crew skills in 1.2 via a dev blog post.
While some of the features were not delivered, the big changes are the augments.
– Armormech/armstech/synthweaving professions able to learn augment schematics
– Binding restrictions removed from cybertech crafted vehicles
– Artifiers to get a large number of end-game color crystal schematics
– Slicing to play a crucial role in augment making process – both in providing schematics and in providing sliced tech parts used in augment creation.
|March 23||Georg Zoeller explains the reasons behind some of the unfavorable healer nerfs in 1.2.
”The hard but simple truth is that Sorcerers and Sages had better Force management than we intended (e.g. a well-played Sage was almost incapable of running out of Force) and Mercenaries and Commandos were significantly over target in their healing performance…After considerable testing, we’re more confident than ever that all healing roles are both closer to target performance and closer to one another than ever before, leading to a much tighter balance on end game content”
|March 29||William Wallace talks to players about the legacy system in 1.2 via a dev blog.|
|March 30||New Dev blog on the PvP features in 1.2. A portion of the article was on ranked warzones, which did’t make it to 1.2.|
|April 1||SWTOR announced their new mini-game – Ship Droid! (haha)|
|April 4||Bioware showed off the new UI customization feature coming up in 1.2 via a video|
|April 7||Three days of PaxEast Q&A sessions: Transcripts for all 3 days can be found here, here, and here.|
|April 11||Ranked Warzone pulled off Patch 1.2 a day prior to Patch 1.2’s deployment on live servers.|
|April 12||New trailer featuring the new operaton: Explosive Conflict released.|
|April 12||Patch 1.2 arrived on the live servers. Here are the patch notes.
– New legacy system
– New Flashpoint – Lost Island
– New Operation – Explosive Conflict
– New Warzone – Novare Coast
– New daily area on Corellia – Black Hole
– New PvP gear tier (War Hero) and New PvE gear tier (Black Hole and Campaign)
– Guild Bank
– UI Customizations, including target of target.
– Nightmare Pilgrim, new world boss
– Lots of class changes.
– “Semi” High res textures introduced.
– Sprint available at level 1.
– Private combat logs released and can be parsed by 3rd party tools.
– Champion/Centurion PvP gear removed, Recruit PvP gear added, Battlemaster now purchased directly via Warzone Commendations.
– Ilum daily and weekly completed removed from the game.
|April 13||A minor patch overnight had some disastrous consequences, forcing SWTOR servers to be offline for most of the day and Bioware compensate everyone with one day of free game time.|
|April 15||Bioware released one of the dynamic events they have being keeping a secret – Rakghoul Plague Outbreak. If you have missed this event and interested in seeing the rewards etc, check out my writeup here. Event was highly praised by the community and caused a lot of open world PvP.|
|April 17||swtor.com got a new look – more flashy, modern!|
|April 18||Oceanic players can now transfer to the official oceanic servers, causing a population dip on some unofficial oceanic servers like Harbinger, JKK and Swiftsure.|
|April 19||Players now receive rewards for warzones if they have earned at least one medal – Patch 1.20c|
|April 22||Free 30 days of gameplay time for those with a level 50 character or legacy level 6.|
|April 24||Daniel Erickson reports that sub numbers have not dropped, but # of concurrent users at peak times have declined in response to analysts claiming that SWTOR subscribers would drop to 1.25 million by March of 2013.|
|April 24||Snipers and Gunslingers received a damage increase (5% increase in various abilities) in patch 1.2.1|
|May 1||No more exit area during combat with patch 1.2.2|
|May 4||Dulfy.net got an official recognition from Bioware in the form of a fansite interview!|
|May 7||SWTOR active subscriber count dropped to 1.3 million. The reason for the 400k subscriber drop is “a result of casual players deciding not to renew after a billing cycle.”|
|May 8||SWTOR official podcast episode I, dropping some hints on patch 1.3’s contents.|
|May 8||Rumors that a significant portion of the Bioware team responsible for Dragon Age III got relocated to SWTOR, causing a delay in the release of Dragon Age III.|
|May 8||With patch 1.2.3, PvP daily no longer requires winning – 6 warzone completions (win give 2 completions)|
|May 15||James Ohlen shares some of the reasoning and formula behind the expertise stats and PvP changes in 1.2.|
|May 22||New video trailer for 1.3 released.|
|May 22||SWTOR faced a restructuring, with some well known staff like Stephen Reid and David Bass leaving SWTOR. David Bass is now working for Wildstar as its senior community manager.|
|May 23||In an interview with PC Gamer, Daniel Erickson mentioned “we are coming up on a huge move to servers with massively higher population caps than we have today.” This sparked the whole mega servers discussion.|
|May 28||SWTOR presentation at London MCM Expo bringing out some details about Patch 1.3 with the announcement of free server xfers. You can see a transcript of the presentation here.|
|May 30||Patch 1.2.5 brought another change to the PvP daily/weekly – this time grant 100 Warzone Commendations for daily missions and 300 Warzone Commendations for weekly missions.|
|June 4||E3 2012 SWTOR announcement: New level cap, new planet, new operation, new warzone, new race, new companion HK-51 coming this year.|
|June 6||Patch 1.3 arrived on the PTS. Here are the PTS patch notes, here are a couple posts examining some of the 1.3 features in detail
– Group finder
– Augment kits/slots for every armor piece
– New character specific legacy perks
– Ranked Warzones
|June 6||New Dev blog released on class changes you can expect in patch 1.3 (a lot of tank love)|
|June 6||New Dev blog on the upcoming server transfers
”we made the decision to strictly limit the initial phase of the Character Transfer Service to only allow transfers from selected groups of origin servers (where you’re moving a character from) to selected individual destination servers (where you choose to move a character to) based on the player populations of the origin and destination servers”
|June 12||SWTOR transfer begins in waves, moving population from numerous low pop servers to several more populated servers – Fatman, Prophecy of the Five, Corellian Run, Canderous Ordo, The Shadowlands, Jedi Covenant, Ebon Hawk, The Bastion, Harbinger, Drogga etc were some of the destination servers.|
|June 15||Rumors started to spread of the possibility of SWTOR going FTP (Free to Play). The rumors started with an interview from GamesTM (article was pulled later) in which Emmanuel Lusinchi reportedly said “We are looking at free-to-play but I can’t tell you much in detail.” Later on an EA spokeman said the following, giving some credibility to the rumor: ”we’re going to embrace free access, free trial, ultimately some day we can move in and embrace that model”|
|June 20||Today marks half year of SWTOR. Yay!|
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