Take it away, Tatsu.

Sorry for the ass level quality of the video, but it does its job.

For those who are out of the loop, the devs at BioWare pulled off a rather impressive ninja update earlier this morning. The result: SWTOR‘s Pre-Launch Guild Program officially hit Phase 2, which the devs are calling “Phase 2: Alignment.”

Those who have followed the game for awhile will remember the day, way back, when BioWare initiated their Pre-Launch Guild Program.

Phase 1 began with thousands of people registering their guilds on the official site, after which GM registrants were given an area on the official site to register other guild members, as well as built-in forums to use on the official site. Further, all players, whether in a guild or not, were given access to a fairly comprehensive search engine, which they could use to find a guild that suited their interests (PvP, PvE, RPPvE, RPPvP, etc.). The program was met with a very large amount of fanfare and positive reception, as I recall – though that positive reception quickly gave way to impatience for the next step of the program.

Fast forward, and we have finally arrived at that next step.

Phase 2 was described in better detail by BioWare dev Courtney Woods:

Back in March we initiated our Pre-Launch Guild Program, where members of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ community could search for already established guilds or register one of their very own through the Guild Headquarters page. We are thrilled to announce that we have begun the second phase of our Pre-Launch Guild Program! 

With Phase 2: Alignment, we are introducing new features which allow guilds to set their allegiance with other guilds in The Old Republic. Now a guild leader, along with members who have the proper permissions, can select up to three guilds as either Allies or Adversaries, depending on their faction affiliation. Qualifying guilds that are marked as Allies and Adversaries of other guilds will have the highest chance of being placed in the game together, allowing these guilds to coexist on the same server.

Another feature being implemented with Phase 2 is the ability for guild leaders and members with the proper permissions to invite friends to join their guild via email. You can start recruiting new members today!

To learn more about guilds in The Old Republic, check out the Guilds Game System page for details, and to search for or join a guild, visit the Guild HQ now! Also be sure to visit the Guilds FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions.

To me, an announcement like this goes a long way toward easing my concerns that SWTOR could possibly be pushed back into the new year.

In many ways, I am a business-minded person I understand caution, and not revealing your cards too soon.

That said, I am also a gamer who has waited 3+ years for this game to release.

So comments like those made by Eric Brown at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, where he covered EA’s bases, once again, by suggesting that a push into 2012 was “a slight possibility”, wore on my already sagging heart.

Don’t take that as me indicting EA for their handling of the matter. EA are playing this very smart. As a business-minded person, I have to admire their fortitude in sticking with their guns in the face of such rabid demand. They definitely have some brass balls.

Still, updates like the start of Phase 2 of the Pre-Launch Guild Program, gives me real hope that this game won’t fall back into 2012. Add in Damion Schubert’s comments in his interview with TORWars (where he revealed that BioWare are now at the point where they are implementing features directly from their famous “Wall of Crazy”, which, to me, sounds like they are nearing the end of the development cycle), and it sounds even less likely that SWTOR will fail to meet their window.

This is probably the best news I’ve heard about SWTOR in recent months.

By my reasoning, if the devs are already preparing for server placement, they must be fairly confident that they are well on their way to hitting their Holiday 2011 window dead center.

Granted, testing is still very much underway – which is why EA/BioWare cannot give an exact launch date -, but everything in my bones tells me that, barring any major unforeseen issues in testing, SWTOR will be in our hands in a few months time.

I’m still hoping that I’ll have to be shooed off to Thanksgiving Dinner in the middle of slaughtering sand people on Tatooine. 🙂

In celebration of what I consider to be the first sign that SWTOR‘s release is coming sooner, rather than later, here are some screens that I have not seen posted anywhere else, and also some nostalgiac Star Wars-themed videos to brighten your day.

(Just a disclaimer: I don’t support the “gold key” movement, but I still found the video funny and entertaining.)

Get that #@!$ out of my face...

 

Hi, buddy!

 

"Satele, I have bad news: you won't look anything like you do now in ten years time."

 

"Where do you think YOU'RE going!"

 

"You cut my face?! I already had a skin condition, asshole!"

 

"I win."

 

"I object."

 

"NUBCAKE!"

 

Fatality - Malgus Wins

 

"I hate to say it, but you just got owned, son."

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2 thoughts on “Take it away, Tatsu.

  1. I’m starting to feel bad for the folks at BioWare. Crunch time is no doubt upon them, they’ve been saying for so long the game will be out in 2011 and the clock’s now ticking away.

    Now I just hope they won’t rush the job. Of course, if they weren’t ready, I’d be okay with waiting a little while longer, but I don’t think everyone can say the same. That said, I’m pretty sure the game will not be pushed to the new year either, because if that happened they’ll probably get a riot on their hands.

  2. I think that’s why they have to throw in the “slight possibility” of a push back – so nobody can claim they weren’t warned.

    Personally, I don’t see BioWare falling back into 2012, barring any catastrophically huge debacles in testing. This most recent build of the game has been called the most important build update in their development cycle. Also, I don’t imagine Damion Schubert would ever start talking about dessert features (dressing room, for one) before the main course is done; the fact that he said they are going to their Wall of Crazy says to me the core content for launch is done, and now what remains is to test it all out. Once they have the results from testing they want (server stability would be chief among them, I imagine), release will be nigh.

    I do share your sympathy for the folks at BioWare.

    Just looking at the sales numbers, the hype level, and the media coverage, I don’t think SWTOR is going to have just a huge launch – I think they may actually have the largest launch in the history of MMO’s. Bold words, yes, but I can’t see it any other way when I look at the hard facts (nearly 500k confirmed retail pre-orders – which don’t begin to scratch the surface of SWTOR’s total sales numbers when you consider digital pre-orders and foreign pre-orders are not included in the VGChartz sales charts).

    SWTOR’s launch could be a monster; BioWare, when they do release it, will have a hell of a job on their hands no matter what they do.

    That’s why making the difficult decision to stagger the launch looks like it could be one of the smartest choices they could have possibly made.

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