Happy Two Year Anniversary from the Community Team
Today marks the two year anniversary of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™. It’s been a wild ride from launch to Free-to-Play to Rise of the Hutt Cartel and now Galactic Starfighter. Through this ride, you, the community, have shared your memories and experiences from The Old Republic on the forums, reddit, Facebook, Twitter, or even on your own personal blogs and websites.
Since it is the anniversary, we thought it would be appropriate for the Community Team to also share some of our favorite memories of the past two years. Strangely enough, the three of us were all hired around the same time (August 2011) so we will try to keep these memories short because it goes without saying that there have been a lot of them!
The three things come to mind when I think back two years ago to the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Blood, sweat, and tears. Okay, maybe more like coffee, that tingly feeling behind the eyeballs, and adrenaline. But it is safe to say that I will never forget December 20th, 2011.
I don’t actually remember sleeping that week – I know I did, but even in my sleep I was dreaming of putting news articles up on the website or the forums or actually playing my Imperial Agent on a live server. It was my first “launch day” in the industry. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the excitement of that day. I was in the office at a crazy hour, in my pajamas and my Imperial shirt, working on publishing our launch news article, promos, and videos. Needless to say it was a busy day! I remember running from our office pit to the web team’s office pit to sync up on the publish and Skyping our European team for last minute translations. But the calm in the middle of the storm was when the whole team gathered around in the Live Pit to watch our population graphs as the servers opened and players logged in. It was one of the most thrilling moments of my career, knowing that people were finally going to play the game that our team had worked so hard on.
My second memory is just a silly one, but it is more reflective of my daily life here at BioWare. The fan sites were in town for the Guild Summit and were touring the office. As they were entering our pit, I suddenly remembered that I kept a dry erase calendar of future content for the game and the site next to my desk… So I did what any sane human being would do – launch my body full speed at the wall and erase everything with my bare hands screaming, “Nooooooooooooooo!”
Our future content schedule was safe… but also gone. So I had to redo my entire calendar. I now use a fancy excel file for these things. It’s much easier (and cleaner) to close a window on your screen than frantically erase an entire white board like a mad woman.
I will now shut up and let Amber and Musco have a turn!
“Has it really been two years already?!” followed by “Holy crap! Look how far we’ve come!” are the two things that keep spinning through my head as I sort through memories of last two years working on Star Wars: The Old Republic, and coming up with a “favorite” memory is very difficult.
That being said, it’s appropriate that one of my favorite memories is actually a favorite bug, but not only because of the epicness of the bug itself, but because it led to the greater good of funny patch notes. This past summer, the entire Weequay species decided that the back of their eyeballs were way too warm, and they collectively decided that the solution was “Off with our heads!” For a while they were happy about it, but the breeze finally got to them, and we restored their heads. Joking aside for a second: this bug was super visible and highly reported, at the same time totally harmless and did not affect gameplay in any way. Nonetheless, those aspects when combined with the fact that it was a hilarious issue, provided an opportunity to inject some humor when it was time to write the Game Update 2.3 Patch Notes. And I guess the biggest reason this is one of my favorite memories is that it was that note that sparked a new personal policy to try to make each update’s notes have at least one note that might make people giggle randomly.
The last two years have been a blast, and I want to take this opportunity to announce that I will no longer be working on the game as part of the Community Team. As Live Services Specialist, most of what I did was related to bugs in some way. While that isn’t fun for most (sane) folks, I absolutely loved it because it allowed me to learn a lot about the crazy cool technical stuff that goes into not just making an MMO but also maintaining the service around the clock for folks all over the world. That’s why I’ve recently accepted an opportunity to become a Live Producer here at BioWare Austin, where I can continue to use my strengths (even hopefully that humor that I grew so fond of injecting) for the greater good of the game. I’m going to miss Cantina Tours, writing stuff to make you laugh, and even the Bug Report Forum (my baby), but I’m not going away. I’ll just be working behind the scenes.
I’ve spent over two years posting “Thank You” hundreds of times all over the place: for patience, reports, information, and communication. Every time, I meant it, and please know that same gratitude is magnified exponentially here: Thank you all for the time of my life! Have fun out there.
I can’t help but ask the same question that everyone around me has asked “Is it really two years already?” It is funny how those two years have simultaneously gone by extremely quickly and have felt like 10 years have gone by.
For me, two years at BioWare Austin have been an amazing adventure. One that I honestly never thought I would be able to take. I started following SWTOR quite literally the day it was announced. I joined up with a friend of mine to start what would be this games “original” fan site and podcast. Over the course of almost 3 years I got to meet so many great people at BioWare and I knew working with them is where I wanted to be.
I was hired pre-launch to help grow and maintain all of our social media. I will spare the boring details, but over the past two years I have tripped and stumbled my way into Community Manager. A position I can say with no hesitation is my dream job. Having a job where I came from being a hardcore fan, to representing them is just the coolest thing.
I have so many amazing memories that stand out that it is really hard to pick only one. I very vividly remember what Courtney talked about, sitting in the Live Services area watching the servers going live. That will live with me forever as a day I am very proud to be a part of. However, I don’t want to copy Courtney so I will pick something else…
One of the coolest parts of my day to day work is getting to help playtest content while it is still in development, in some cases long before folks even know we are working on it. The one that stands out the most to me, Arenas. It was many months ago now that I first got my hands on it but I will never forget that first play session. As soon as it was done everyone would meet up around our Combat team to offer feedback and suggestions. All I could do was smile, it was the most fun I had ever had playing SWTOR, and it was a feature still in such early development. As a player myself, it is arguably my favorite thing to do in SWTOR to this day!
I am proud to be a part of this team and I am glad that all of you are here celebrating SWTOR’s two year anniversary with us! As Amber mentioned, she will be moving on to new opportunities. With that, we will soon have a new, 3rd member to of the Community Team. You will find out more about them next year after the holidays. I would like to thank all of you for continued support. Here’s looking forward to a third, fourth, and even tenth anniversary!
Happy 2nd Anniversary!
Eric, Courtney, and Amber