Back in July, when Bioware announced the various editions of Star Wars: The Old Republic that would be coming out, they also dropped another bit of information on an unsuspecting public. If you took the time to pre-order SWTOR, you would also be given a code to enter on SWTOR.com, which would grant you early access to the game. So if you Pre-Ordered the game, you would be able to play it before the official launch.
What Bioware didn’t clarify was exactly how early that access would be, until just recently that is. Bioware’s most recent announcement, that Early Game Access can last up to five days depending on when you entered your Pre-Order code, now provides us with the maximum length of time that people will be allowed to play the game before the December 20th release.
Most people seem to be happy about getting to play sooner, however there have been some problems, though they appear to be more because of retailers than Bioware.
They way early access is supposed to work is fairly simple. Once you pre-order the game, be it a standard edition or a collector’s edition, you are supposed to be given a code by the retailer. After you receive your code, you must then log into your account on SWTOR.com and enter it into a special section, set up specifically for early access. The sooner you have entered your code, the earlier you are “in line” to get access. Access is on a first-come, first-served basis, and there in lies the problem.
Not all retailers have been issuing the codes to customers, who pre-ordered, in a timely manner. In fact, many complaints have been raised over the fact that Game.co.uk, a major retailer in England, told customers it would be a week, before they were emailed early access codes. So even if you had reserved your copy on day one, you might now end up getting into the game behind people who reserved much later, simply because of the retailer you selected.
I discovered another problem all on my own before finding it was a common issue on the official forums.
Recently, when I tried to reserve a copy of the game for my younger brother, I was told by a Gamestop employee that they could reserve the game, but that they didn’t have any more early access codes. The fact that Gamestop is not giving out codes for early access, and apparently hasn’t been giving out the right codes from day one, is a scary thought to anyone who was looking forward to playing the game before launch.
Luckily, Amazon.com is not having this issue at all, and I was able to pre-order the game through them. Hopefully, anyone else having this issue now has a possible solution.
As pre-order numbers continue to climb each week, it would seem like these issue are going to continue to effect more and more people. And with no solution coming from the retailers, it falls to the consumers, us, to ensure that we are granted early access.
Simply put, shop smart and make sure you get your code.
If you have to, do not hesitate to take your business to another merchant. Make sure that you can obtain what you want elsewhere before canceling you original reservation though. Remember, the sooner you get that code locked in, the sooner you’ll be swinging that lightsaber.