First impressions count - Things that annoyed me during Star Wars: The Old Republic installation and signup
ever since the XP-38 came out, they just aren't in demand!
My SW:TOR game client is download the latest client updates from the server, so I have around 30 minutes to wait before I can start playing. Plenty of time to jot down all the things that I found less-than-optimal while installing and signing up for an account.
The list ranges from minor annoyances, to things that just weren't explained properly or mentioned in the FAQ, to things that were just problems with my own PC hardware.
Linking to an existing Origin account
I already own an EA Games/Origin account, from my previous purchases of Mass Effect and Dragon Age. When I first go to the SW:TOR website to sign up for an account, the page tells me that it will create a new EA Games account when I sign up for SW:TOR.
Ideally, I don't want a new account, I want to use my existing Origin accunt that already has all my other games on it. I tried logging in with my existing Origin account and it didn't work.
I had to search around online for a bit before I found a helpful forum post where a user mentioned that the trick is to create your new SW:TOR account with the same email address as your existing Origin account, and the two accounts will get linked together behind the scenes... at some point in the future (the exact process isn't clear, and I am unsure if this advice is actually correct or not).
You can't redeem the game code using the Origin client
I already had the Origin game client installed on my computer, because I played the Mass Effect 3 demo last week. I figured it would be easier to redeem the SW:TOR product code using this client, which was already running, rather than manage another open browser window.
I went through the appropriate menus, entered in my code, and received an error that the specified product code could not be activated this way.
Fair enough, there is probably some back-end processing on the SW:TOR website that needs to happen when you redeem the game code, and that might not be technically possible via the Origin client, it was just an annoying waste of a few minutes because the Origin redemption UI is really slow to load (for some reason?).
I guess this one was my fault for ignoring the instructions on the game card to redeem via the SW:TOR website.
Your screen name is invalid or unavailable - but which one is it?
As you begin the sign-up process on the website, you have to select a "screen name" that will be used to identify your account in the website's online forums, etc. The screen names are unique and therefore have to be validated to ensure that your selected name is not already taken (with a very common first name and surname, this is usually the case for the first 3 or 4 names that I try on any site). The screen name also has a variety of character restrictions.
If your screen name fails either of these validations, the field gets an error along the lines of "name is invalid or unavailable", but it doesn't tell you which! I first tried with my twitter handle "jaysee00", but I wasn't sure if it failed validation because it was already taken, or because I couldn't use digits in the name. I fiddled around with it a bit before I decided I didn't actually care what the name was because I doubted I would ever use the forums and just settled for something random.
Please login, validate your email address, then change your password, then login...
Before you can complete the registration process, you need to validate the email account you have entered (a fair call!). The email you receive contains a link back in to the SW:TOR website to validate the address. I clicked it.
On the validation page, I was prompted to "Enter New Password:" and "Confirm New Password:". OK, that's a bit weird... I already had to enter a new password before I validated my email address. I try typing the original password in again, but it fails the complexity requirements. The new password has different complexity requirements to my previous password, what?! OK, I pick a new password and click Next.
OK, now the website asks me to login again. Come on! I just entered my password twice! Now I have to type it in again? Alright.
Pre-ordering the game gives you two redemption codes
If you purchased a pre-order of the game (I didn't, I just walked in to a retailer and purchased the game on launch day, but the girl behind the counter gave me a pre-order card anyway... whatever!), you'll end up with two redemption codes - one for the game proper, and another for the "pre-order bonuses" - some in-game items or some such.
The pre-order game code tells me to go to a "/redeem/preorder" URL to claim it, and the game code itself tells me to go to a "/redeem/game" URL to claim it. Cool. Which one should I do first? Uh-oh, does it matter?
What if I claim the game code first, then try to claim the pre-order code and it fails because it thinks I already own the game? What if I claim the pre-order code first, and it fails because I don't own a copy of the game yet? I wasn't sure where to start.
I ended up redeeming the pre-order code first. In hindsight, I guess it didn't matter.. it looks like the account page is designed to handle either scenario, but I was struck by a minute or so of indecision and confusion as I worked out what to do.
Make your account more secure by giving us moar informations!
After signing up and redeeming my game codes, I need to complete some registration steps before I can start playing. No problem! I like these kinds of pages because I always know all the answers to the questions and it makes me feel super pro. (eg. "What is your address?", "What is your last name?").
After filling out basic details, I need to provide some security questions/answers for my account. Man, I have to provide at least three different security questions and answers in order for my account registration to be valid and allow me to play. There's plenty of literature floating around about why security questions suck, so I won't re-hash it, but it definitely sucks when you force me to enter more than one security question, and the question can only be one of the pre-defined questions you have decided have secure (obscure?) answers.
I complete the security questions as best I can (trying to pick ones that have only one clear answer I will be able to remember and are unknown to others) and save the page. The registration page now tells me I should endeavour to make my account "more secure" by filling in the maximum possible five security questions. Ugh.
If you are paranoid, hang up. We know who you are, where you live and will answer your question in-person
The final step in the registration process is to select a payment method for the game; either by signing up to an ongoing subscription method, or redeeming a pre-purchased game time card. Fair enough. Common approach for things like this.
I click through the options and select a one month recurring subscription. I go through to the purchase screen and, my credit card details are already pre-filled on the screen, ready to make the purchase. Uh... WHERE did you get my credit card information from? Did you retrieve it from my pre-existing Origin account? How come you didn't tell me the accounts had been linked successfully, or at least tell me that you were going to get my credit card details from that account? Slightly creeped out, I proceed with signing up to the subscription.
Error reading Drive D. Please insert a disc into Drive D.
I purchased a retail copy of the game because I hoped having the installation media would save me a few GB's worth of download bandwidth setting up the game client.
This was a good plan, except for the fact that my PC's optical drive started having fits and refusing to read the installation discs (there were 3 of them). OK, this is clearly no-one's fault for my own for purchasing no-name-brand optical drives, but GRAAAAARGH I JUST WANT TO PLAY FUN GAME NOW. Now that I think about it, I can't actually remember the last time I used the optical drive on my home PC. I wonder how long it's been busted for?
After ejecting/re-inserting the discs multiple times the installation process eventually reaches 99% completion. It asks for disc 1 to be re-inserted (ah, that brings back memories). This time the drive just gives up completely. It just refuses to read the first disc, or any other disk for that matter.
The installer has a dialog prompt open asking Please insert Disc 1: Retry | Cancel. Clicking retry makes the drive spin around for a bit, then ejects the tray and the same dialog comes back up again. Clicking cancel does nothing - the same dialog just comes up again instantly.
At this point, there is no way to exit or abort the installation. I had to manually kill the setup process via task manager.
Wait, who are you again?
Thankfully, the 99% completion of the installation process was complete enough to be able to launch the game Launcher executable. I hoped that whatever I was missing I would just be able to download when my local files were verified/synced.
I type my username and password into the launcher and click login. I receive an error: You are logged in from a region that we do not allow someone to play from.. Uh, what the heck?!
I googled around a bit. I found a forum post from a support representative telling me to re-download the launcher client and that would fix it. It didn't. I found another forum post from a random user saying that the solution is to logout of the SW:TOR website and login again.
OK, that doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'll give it a go. I log out of the website and login again. Oh, hello! What's this? "You are logging in from a new/unknown region for the first time - please answer this security question:"
When I first registered my account, I must have done it from outer space, or from my private island mansion in the Caribbean. Ironically, the website only asks me to answer one security question to verify my identity, even though I had to enter a minimum of three, and it recommends I enter five!
GUYS, you know it makes my account less secure if you ask me to provide additional information that can be used to verify my identity, but then only ever challenge for one of those pieces of information, right?
Anyway, it looks like the login is working now, yay! The launcher has loaded and is now downloading ~300MB of updated client assets from the servers. ETA - 30mins. Alright, that's a bit frustrating but I understand it's a hard problem to solve. You probably fixed lots of bugs and made a whole bunch of improvements since the 1000's of copies of installation media were shipped to retailers weeks ago, but it's not a fun first-time experience to just download random crap before I can play.
At the very least, the thirty-minute wait gave me some time to commit my ordeal to text. :-)
One I was logged in (I got booted from the login queue a few times and had to wait a total of about ~15mins after starting the game before I could actually play), I stayed awake playing until 1:00am, so at least the game is super fun!