Early last week, Bioware invited thirteen fansites to take part in the second Star Wars: The Old Republic Fansite Summit. Dubbed SWTOUR by the community team, this particular summit was going to focus on not only the game, but also the post launch community, that has been growing around SWTOR.
Representatives from the fansites descended upon Bioware’s studio in Austin, Texas this past Sunday, and Force Junkies was proud to be one of the fansites in attendance. Now as a writer for Force Junkies, an officer in Mos Eisley Radio’s guild (MER was also attending) and as a resident of the awesome city that is Austin; I was lucky to have the opportunity to hang out with all the fansites Monday night. It was without a doubt an amazing experience.
You see, one might think that there would be tension among the fansites. After all, it isn’t a far fetched idea to see each other as competition. However, this is not the case. In fact, it seemed as if people actually liked each other! Shocking isn’t it?
Unlike the communities in other games, were people are down right hostile to each other, the community around SWTOR has been a very positive one, for the most part. The fansites at the summit were more like a family; you’ve got the dad, mom, brothers, sisters, and even that crazy uncle, who likes to crush the dreams of six year olds. Coughdavidbasscough. These people all genuinely care about not only the game, but the community as well, and it is very evident.
Whether it’s Kathy from Corellian Run Radio, Lord Hammer from TORSyndicate, or even our very own Jason and Ryan, each one of the people in attendance wants to foster a community based on respect and love, for Star Wars and each other. In their own ways, each fansite is attempting to help the community of SWTOR grow in a positive direction. But they are also helping each other. You can see this in the various live streams, round table discussions, and guest appearances that hosts make on other podcasts. People want the game to thrive, and it shows in all the steps that fans are taking to ensure the success of The Old Republic.
While getting to know all the different people attending the summit, it was just so very clear that we all have a unique opportunity to establish something amazing with SWTOR. It is almost like having a perfect storm for the creation of something awe-inspiring.
On one hand, we have the Star Wars intellectual property. The Star Wars IP has had an amazing impact on our culture, and has a fan base so vast that it has spanned 34 years. We also have Bioware, a company with a proven track record for making AAA+ games. Bioware is keenly aware of how significant SWTOR is, and wishes to make sure they are taking the right steps to please the fans, both before and after the game releases. It is no wonder that SWTOR has pre-order numbers exceeding 800k.
And we, as fans, all have the chance to make something, which is already stunning, even more enjoyable. This is clearly understood by the fansites who attended the summit. Why see things as a competition, when everyone is simply trying to make the community better? Instead of tearing each other down, the fansites understand that together our successes will be even greater, and they lead by example.
But we can all do our part to ensure the success of SWTOR and its community. Whether it’s by helping out someone in general chat instead of trolling, or contributing to the various fansites across the world. Each of us has the capability to do more and we should.
After all, aren’t we all really just one giant family of fans anyway?