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SWTOR Early Access emailTwitter lit up like a Christmas tree yesterday as folks started receiving the above email prompting them to download the Star Wars: the Old Republic client to be ready for early access. Unfortunately a lot of folks were confused about the email’s content, interpreting the announcement that early access now starts on December 13 as meaning they were now confirmed for December 13 early access.

But close reading of this email, and follow-up comments online from SWTOR staff notes that you will be receiving an email invitation on the day that early access is available to you. The email we all received yesterday is just to prompt you to be ready “to play when your Early Game Access invitation arrives.”

Before you start shaking your pitchforks in Bioware’s general direction, stop and give this some consideration: much like with the BETA stress test, they are looking to have smooth onboarding experiences for all the pre-ordered players. By adjusting the flow of early access invitations on a daily basis, they can moderate the flow of new players into the game, and hopefully minimize queues and server downtime. Yes, we’re all salivating and ready for this game to come out already, but can you imagine how upset everyone would be if we all got early game access on the 13th and had day long login queues, servers with unplayable lag, and crashed the forums?

For more details around Early Game Access, check out www.swtor.com/early-access

As folks were digesting Early Game Access starting two days earlier than expected, we were also hit with a number of updates around the transition from Early Game Access to launch:

  • No grace period. Once the early access closes 10 p.m. ET on 12/19, you may not play the game again until you have your game code in hand and enter it into your profile on swtor.com.
  • Earlier European release. EU folks can pick up SWTOR in their local retailers starting on 12/15. Quite a change from them initially getting SWTOR a few days post North American launch!
  • Origin orders also earlier than expected. Digital orders for #SWTOR from http://Origin.com will be emailed Game Codes starting December 16, 2011.

Personally, I ordered the regular old SWTOR pre-order, with game day delivery from Amazon. I hope that unlike my Wrath of the Lich King pre-order, the SWTOR box will arrive before 8 p.m. on launch day. *crosses fingers* If I’d known that Origin orders would be able to validate their accounts early, I would have definitely gone that route. I’ll definitely keep that in mind for future game expansions, should I again decide to not pony up the cash for the CE.

TL&DR: In less than a week, you and/or your friends are going to start playing Star Wars the Old Republic!