So while I’ve gotten involved in an MMO or two, usually it’s after it has already launched. Star Wars The Old Republic is the first I’ve pre-ordered and actually gotten to Beta before it was released. You can read my initial thoughts on the Beta for it here. Now I know there are things you do after the game is launched to get the most out of it, but I’ve been planning a bit before launch to be able to jump in and just have those things ready to go. Some of this might seem like no-brainers to some players, but you’d be surprised how often some of this has come up just talking with people on and off the game.
First things first, I did have a subscription to another MMO. I’ve cancelled it. Now that’s not to say I hate the other MMO, far from it. It was free to play and I’ve got most of the content unlocked and have enough points to unlock the things I need in game, plus with my schedule I’m not playing much anyway. So in January I’ll be moving over to their Premium service. I probably won’t be play there much after the The Old Republic is released, but having the option to go back when friends or family want me to play is always nice.
Next up on my list was finding a guild to play in. This is much harder to do when the game isn’t active. You’re not sure how they play in-game and you really have no idea if they’re play style meshes with yours. Granted you could skip not finding a guild until launch day, and then find one to play in, or if you hate the whole idea of guilds, skip it entirely. Me, I find having a guild makes things go faster. They can help find information or know which quests or skills are borked, and they always offer up a group of people willing to help you finish up a quest you’re having problems with and nine times out of ten you can get a reliable raid group together to blow that boss monster or raid quest away without too many problems.
What I ended up doing was lurking on forums, checking who they were letting into their guilds, what they were looking for in a player, and when it came time to apply, making sure they knew I was what they were looking for and I would be involved. After that, just stay involved on their forums, and in the case of The Old Republic, I got to run with some of them during the last Beta weekend and talk on Team Speak, my preferred method of outside game communication. We’re a good fit so far, and I’m glad I put the time in to figure out where I wanted to be. That’s not saying I might not switch later if things aren’t working out, but I’m with a good solid group of players and like-minded people which already helps my chances of staying involved.
If you’ve pre-ordered, sometimes you get early access. With early access you can usually get the client downloaded early and updated and ready to go a few days before you get access. That way you can just jump in and go when the servers come up. I know a bunch of people that had beta access that waited until the servers went live and couldn’t play for 3 days because they couldn’t download fast enough which if you’re only getting 5 days early access, you just kissed those 3 days goodbye. So if they send you an e-mail with a download link right before launch, go to that link and download it right then. Don’t wait. That game is going to take time to download and you’re wasting that bonus access you got for pre-ordering.