Since its release in late December, Star Wars: the Old Republic has sold over 2 million copies and boasts 1.7 million active users. This is being touted as the fastest growing massively-multiplayer online game of all time, dwarfing any other launch in sheer adoption by the player community. The game is a brilliant and astounding work costing the company more than $200 million to develop and describes an immersive narrative taken from the Star Wars universe through a partnership between BioWare and LucasArts.
Now that the game has been running for over a month, the developers are not resting on the laurels of their advancing player-base but they recently released new content with The Rise of the Rakghouls, along with adjustments with the slightly controversial patch 1.1, which affected player-versus-player gameplay (see a video discussing the subject.)
A new update is already planned for Spring 2012 that will introduce additional guild features, and new game systems—and perhaps flesh out the much vaunted “Legacy System” where multiple characters under the control of a single player can access a single “family name” and a single set of boons and talents.
“We’re truly honored and humbled by the incredibly strong support from our players who are enjoying Star Wars: The Old Republic,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “Our entire team worked very hard over the holidays to deliver a smooth experience at launch, and the resulting response to the game from our fans and critics has been exceptionally gratifying.”
The 1.7 million active users in under two months feels like a brilliant accomplishment for SWtOR but they still must content with heavyweights like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, a virtual world that still boasts over 10.3 million active users. Although they have already exceeded the 1 million active users of Trion World’s Rift: The Planes of Telara—the erstwhile hopeful Warcraft-killer MMO that launched in 2011.
The jawas are in the details—er statistics—but these may not be the droids we’re looking for
According to the statistics, altogether players have killed over 20 billion NPCs in their quest to save the galaxy from the Sith Empire or as Sith to rid it of the Republic and their Jedi allies. Players have also cumulatively played over 239 million in-game hours—or over 332,000 months and over 27,000 years of in-game time. As for the economy in the game, player have traded or spent over 148 billion credits—we’ve seen in the past how important virtual world economies are for games.
Winner of a multitude of accolades, Star Wars: The Old Republic takes away many of the engaging UI designs and gameplay elements pioneered and innovated by World of Warcraft but added numerous cinematic elements and hundreds of hours of voice acting. To date, SWtOR is the game with the most cinematic and voiced content ever to hit retail shelves or the Internet.
With free-to-play MMO game spending up 24 percent in the US, subscription games like SWtOR, Warcraft, and Rift are becoming strange breeds in the online gaming ecology. However, it seems that EA may be well on their way to making their money back with their initial influx of users.
For an explanation of how the most recent patch 1.1, and Rise of the Rakghouls, affected gameplay here’s a video talking about the effect on player-vs-player content: