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Yesterday (Monday the 28th of September) a new thread arrived in Star Wars: The Old Republic’s official forums that implicated a link that appeared on an RSS feed on some members computers: a beta testing event. I have been reading up on this, and this morning the thread was over 270 pages long, with no sign of a developer making an announcement whether this information was correct or a hoax.

Today, it was confirmed when an official page arrived on Bio Ware’s website! Unfortunately for some, there are requirements for people to be able to become a beta tester with SW: TOR.

Okay, tell me more!
Well, firstly you have to have an active account on the website, this account cannot be one that is banned and all participants of the event have to be over the age of 18. Everyone who participates will have to uphold the “Game Testing Agreement” that is included in the sign up process to the TOR community.

A game testing agreement is a variation of an Non-Disclosure Agreement, this means that if you become a part of the testing group you are strictly forbidden from giving any information out to the general public, if you are found to do so you can be banned entirely from the community and they may even have the grounds to sue you.

Dreams of thousands of TOR "fan boys", realised.

Dreams of thousands of TOR "fan boys", realised.

Settle down, tiger.
This does not mean the game will be out any time this year. I have done some research and found out that Bio Ware is looking to release TOR some time after Mass Effect 2 has been released. The testing process for an MMO is vast however; it would take many months just to process those thousands who wish to become a part of the testing team.

This means there is an abundance of time available to Bio Ware to still release all of the integral information about the game before the testing process even begins. Commonly, a closed beta is followed after by an open beta, this is usually just a marketing ploy in modern MMOs such as Aion’s open beta which was designed just to get players to pre-order the game.

Its a trap!
Finally, I wanted to remind people to stay out of the sticky trap that scammers will weave once news comes out about large game releases: to become a beta tester over at TOR you have to sign up at This is not done on any other website, nor do you have to give your details out to anyone. They also stated they are taking a small group of people for initial testing, later they will be expanding the size of these test groups.

I personally believe that if you have a very high powered computer or equally an underpowered one, you are more likely to make the cut for the initial testing; although that depends on whether this initial testing is just for server stress!

  1. Thank you very much for the news!
    Can’t wait for SW:TOR so you have made my day =)

    • avatar Kristina

      Oh do I feel silly. I did not know there was any other control optoin than tilt until I read the post by Graham! I didn’t occur to me, because the button in optoins menu had a big red cross over it, so I just thought it was some disabled feature in the beta. A buyer of the final version will probably not think that, but still, the optoins could be a bit more clear For example, what is the difference between the small and larger thumb?So disregard most of my previous redundant comments I think the tilt controls actually works quite good, while still having the issues that will always be there. For the other control methods, there is potential but room for improvement.Touch works okay, but it feels sort of imprecise your ship doesn’t always go where you expect to, and it somewhat feels slower than the other control methods and somewhat jittery .For examples of shooters with a pretty good touch based control I would look at Sky Thunder and Sky Force Reloaded. Both have free lite versions.The d-pad could work okay I think, but as of now it just weird and unstable. I can sort of see the idea in having the freedom to place everywhere you want, but it doesn’t work too well. If I try to place at the buttom corner, play a little, then the pad can completely dissapear on me. I want the pad to just be in one place, visible at all times and preferrably placed of the actual game screen.Still, I haven’t seen any touch based shooter that has that sort of control scheme well done, and most just stick to touch and tilt.All the above goes for iPad, whereas on iPhone an autofire feature is really really neccessary! It is impossible to have both a finger on the fire button and move your ship around. An autofire will also help on the iPad, but it is doable as it is now.

    • avatar Kaddy

      Sorry I’m posting this weird, but didn’t want to end up with stohmeing like two words per line. The question of making it appealing to more modern audiences is a good one. It’s hard for us old school players to relate because I think we love the old pixel graphics as much as the new 3D stuff (at least I know I do). Still, I think a lot of newer gamers will see the appeal as well. It’s not like we’re talking Atari 2600 or anything like that, and given that the Amiga was way ahead of its time visually, the graphics hold up pretty well.This may be one of those wait and see things. Maybe if there seems to be a lot of grumbling about the visuals you could eventually offer an IAP that overhauls the graphics with a more modern look.Now this is assuming you’re just referring to graphics. If you’re questioning the game as a whole, I don’t think there’s a need to worry. The nice thing about the scrolling shooter genre is that it realistically hasn’t changed all that much since it was invented. Sure the level designs might be a bit more flashy and there are a few extra power ups or such, but the core concepts still remain the same. I think that’s part of the reason I love the genre so much.

  2. I can tell you from personal experience that beta testing MMORPGs can be extremely frustrating. I had the oppurtunity to participate in the World of Warcraft close beta, and it was a very interesting experience. The most annoying thing is that all the work you’ll put into your character will be immediately erased when the game finally launches. Besides that, there are typically lots of bugs that no one has found yet, and the game can literally change on a week to week basis, as the developer implements comstant updates. I stay away from MMO betas if I can now.

  3. If I am lucky enough to be invited to the beta I will be very happy indeed.

    This would be my first experience testing out a game properly and I have read up a lot about the frustrations behind it all. I am going to try and go into it with the mind frame that it is subject to change also, that I am only a testing it, not playing it.

    I think I will take notes, or screen shots (never release them of course) as TOR is my first MMO that I have followed since day it was announced (October 2008).

    I am sure however, I won’t be able to fully escape the frustrations you outlined :)

  4. avatar Wings

    Great read, if you don’t get in I don’t know who should :)

  5. avatar Dedek

    Controls and First ImpressionsWhen I first started the game I tried all of the cotonrl combinations. First impressions were that I didn’t enjoy any of them, I was not successful in cotonrlling the ship or remaining alive for long.ControlsTilt- Died instantly- Difficult to cotonrl accurately, navigate between bullets etc.- I would like to be able to stand still’ more easily, but found this difficult. This is important for when shooting the power-up ship which takes many hits.- Overall, not enjoyable.D-Pad- Felt slightly better than tilt, more cotonrl, but far from enjoyable. Felt clunky.Touch cotonrl- Good for fine cotonrl, not good for larger movements.- When I make contact with the screen with my left thumb, I would like it so that when I move right, the ship keeps moving right. The current implementation only moves my ship right a bit then stops, requiring me to move my thumb even further right, or moving my thumb back and moving right again (like a rubbing’ action).My cotonrl preference ranking1. Touch cotonrls2. D-pad3. Tilt What I’d like to try- I’d like to cotonrl with my thumb, but don’t want to keep rubbing’ the screen. I’d like to move the ship with the same cotonrls as the left stick of a twin-stick shooter.My most successful strategyAfter trying all cotonrls again, I discovered that using my index finger to cotonrl the ship with touch cotonrls was very successful.- iPad in vertical orientation- use index finger to cotonrl the ship using tilt cotonrls.This is the only combo which felt immersive, like I was in cotonrl and reminded me of the Amiga version.Thoughts- Portrait mode is much better. In landscape mode it’s possible for the player’s thumb to land on the black border, even if the player moves their thumb onto the play area afterwards, this does not cotonrl the ship. Frustrating. – Is autofire a bit slow, or default weapons a bit weak?- I can understand your desire to keep ’100% true’ to the Amiga original, but the iPad cotonrls are different than the original physical joystick and the game design should reflect the platform capabilities.

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