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Reader Comments (54)

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:10AM missingpiece said

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One shard ! One game universe !

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:26AM nimzy said

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Region locking is a reality that most people can't deal with. Games have to deal with latency. Allowing the customer to increase that latency by a significant (~300-500ms) amount by crossing an ocean is simply not feasible. If you have a problem with it, write up a RFP for a new set of underwater fiber-optic cables made specifically for gaming.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 12:35PM pancho72 said

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@nimzy

Europeans connecting to the US will see a modest 100ms increase in latency, which in the case of MMOs is quite bearable. So it's not as simple as that.

In practice region locking is probably in part a habit originating from DVDs and single player games. A way to control pricing without interference from parallel imports.
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Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:30AM Koros said

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The author wrote: "And upcoming MMOs, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, seem to be reversing this trend, forsaking region-locking altogether and letting folks play together and deal with the lag in their own way."

Sorry, but ToR seems to be the worst offender of the past decade on this front. They've blocked the sale of the game and are not launching the game outside of the USA/Canada/Select Western European counties.

Normal MMO markets such as Australia, New Zealand, South America, Mexico, The Balkans, won't be getting ToR.

"This game is not available in your region".

Funny how Rift, WoW, etc all launched in countries such as Australia, but ToR is giving them the cold shoulder. :(

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:41AM DarkWalker said

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@Koros

In my case, this is most likely a lost sale of the Digital Deluxe edition.

I "lucked" out by visiting the SW:TOR page less than an hour after pre-orders went live, got my credit card, made an Origin Store account, and was going to purchase the Digital Deluxe edition it when I got the message that the digital versions were not available to my country.

I looked at Amazon, and getting a CE to where I live would cost $400. The standard edition would be $183.

Up to then I was purely on hype. I was going to get it just because it's a new Old Republic game from Bioware. Also, I was trying to get as many friends as possible to care about the game.

After the Origin store rejected me, I started to read about the game. From what I've read from all available sources, both official and unofficial, seems to me like TOR copied too much of WoW - among them plenty of the little WoW details I actually dislike, and that contributed to the fact I don't play WoW anymore. Now, not only I'm not going to get TOR at launch (even launch in my own country), I'm effectively trying to get friends away from TOR and into GW2 (and I believe I have a few conversions already).
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Posted: Oct 6th 2011 11:08AM LaughingTarget said

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@DarkWalker

I can tell you're lying since I can't think of a country with selling the game to has such a huge imbalance in currency exchange rates. Australians can actually buy the game cheaper from US Amazon than they can buy domestic games because the AU Dollar and US Dollar are almost at parity. I just helped a number of them on the TOR boards by explaining how they can hedge the rates by buying an Amazon gift card then applying it to the game pre-order.

Only Origin won't sell and that's mainly because the domestic market you're in hasn't rated the game, blocking sale. Bioware restricted sale to no one.
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Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:40AM Daelda said

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@Ren54

Ah Ren...where would we be without our resident swtor hater? Actually, Massively has it correct, as far as Region Locking is concerned. SW:TOR will not block *anyone* from playing the game, from *anywhere*, as long as they can get a hold of a copy of the game.

Now, you are correct in that they are limiting *initial* sales to certain countries - and that does not include Australia. They are also limiting the number of copies they will sell (including digital copies), so that there will not be long wait queues and unstable Servers due to overpopulation.

You can still play swtor from Australia, or Russia, or Japan, or China...you just have to get your hands on a copy of the game from one of the initial launch regions. There is NO "Region Locking" that will prevent you from connecting and playing.

What are BioWare's plans for opening the game up to those other areas, like Australia? How long will it take? We have no clue. I think BioWare wants to first make sure that the initial launch goes well, and go from there. Remember, WoW was launched in the North America 6 months prior to becoming available in Europe.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 10:45AM DarkWalker said

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I already dislike segregated servers. I dislike region locking even more.

For me, the best model up to now is the Guild War's model, where there are servers around the world and each player is assigned a close server, but changing servers is just a couple clicks and seconds away; anyone can play together, guilds from different regions can face each other, etc.

One of the changes in GW2 I really dislike is that ANet is moving to the usual segregated servers model, although it seems changing servers, at least, will be fast and free.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 11:20AM HackJack said

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No to region locks, yes to server geotags.

There should be at least a server with good ping for everyone.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 11:30AM Koros said

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@Daelda

Guess where else WoW launched in 2004 (at the same time as North America)? You got it, Australia and New Zealand.

That's why it's really puzzling that Bioware is ignoring the Oceanic region for ToR's launch.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 11:37AM DevilSei said

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I haaaaaaate region locks. I game with both consoles and PCs, and while I can perfectly understand some region-locking on MMOs, its inexcusable on consoles. An MMO does need something I guess to ensure a way of providing a minimum FPS during gameplay, and trying to connect from one end of the world straight to the other on an MMO is really going to impact your game.

But for consoles, specially for single-player games, there is no concern like that. Look at the Wii and Operation Rainfall. The major issue is that the only way to play the games is either
a) Pirate and download them illegally (questionable though) and play through an emulator on the PC
or
b) Mod your Wii (Nintendo hates this) to remove the region-blocking and import the game (expensive as sin).

Region-lock is as simple as removing a program, there is no fancy chip, no hidden black box, nothing that excuses it. If they were smart enough to realize it, they could make a lot more money JUST by removing the region locks so we don't have to deal with it.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 11:59AM Utakata said

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One would think the more customers that have access to your game, the more money it would generate. Regional blocking seems to be counterintuitive to this.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 12:07PM kgptzac said

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There are both political and commercial reasons to block regions... which are mostly against consumer interests. Suppose Nexon NA did not forsake Mabinogi and Vindictus' European fans, will Nexon EU be making much money when the EU branch publish their own version of those games?

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 1:32PM (Unverified) said

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@kgptzac
the political reasons are probably the strongest reasons FOR region locking that exist. Brianna's example of the US ex-pat in Korea is the worst possible condition. Korea has specific laws on the books that govern how an MMO has to be designed (primary hurdle is there has to be a server-side limit on max continuous play-time). China and a few other Asian nations also have similar laws on the books after a "rash" of people playing themselves to death.

a large scale MMO(TOR, WOW, and the like) has the resources to re-write the game code to conform to those laws, but smaller scale ones might be both financially and technologically better served by just blocking the country.

as someone who got into MMOs through FFXI, I've seen first-hand the strongest benefits of an open region policy, particularly when coupled with multiple strong marketing campaigns: always active servers, and the new and interesting strategies and tactics a different culture can introduce. Japanese and Americans(the two largest bases for FFXI) didn't cooperate a great deal in game, but in the metagame, once the americans overcame their delayed release, data sharing was routine to the point of minor celebrity status for those key translators on both sides.

I've also seen the pitfalls you can run into, a big one is updates, completely open games also means there is no natural time when server load drops, so there's no chance that an update won't stomp all over someones prime-time(US-morning is JP-prime, US-afternoon is EU-prime, and US-prime is US-prime)

all told i'm against region locking, 6 years in an open game has conditioned me to expect both the good and bad of an open game. I expect to log in while unable to sleep and see a full server. I expect anything I list to sell to be gone when i awaken for work. I accept that there will be groups that deny me based on language issues. I accept that my market may not be the largest and updates will fall in my prime-time
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Posted: Oct 6th 2011 1:32PM drunkingamebar said

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Region locking games is the worst thing since the understanding of cancer!

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 1:49PM dudes said

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Fairly useless since there are so many ways around it. Still, that's authoritarianism for you, can't have people from different parts of the world swapping ideas, we'll have arab springs next. Oops...

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 1:50PM nhat said

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Yes since if you're working as a team against a boss and can't coordinate with the people because of lag and the language BARRIER, it sucks because you're not being healed, people aren't moving right, everyone dies.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 2:43PM Irem said

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@nhat
That has nothing to do with region locking and everything to do with you making sure you've gathered a group of players to do content that can actually understand each other. That having been said, I played with Japanese players in FFXI for years, and despite most of us being crappy at each other's languages all around, we managed okay.
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Posted: Oct 6th 2011 2:18PM Daelda said

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@Koros TOR chose Europe over Australia and New Zealand I guess. It's too bad for those living in that part of the world, but *somebody* had to be left out. BioWare doesn't have unlimited funds (despite what some may think). Now, I *do* hope that BioWare can get those, and any other countries which have game-supported localizations, put into the game within a month or two (less time is better). And I hope that they can support additional localizations quickly (but maintaining quality). I *fully* support TOR localizations in all major languages and all major areas of the world. But I can also see why they are choosing to do it this way. It sucks for those in the "Red Zone". But I'd rather have stable servers with little to no wait queue and a Red Zone - than no Red Zone and servers failing every 15 minutes due to overcrowding and 4+ hour queues.

Posted: Oct 6th 2011 2:19PM Space Cobra said

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No!

Make that an emphatic, "No!" with double underlining and more exclamation points and one's than at your standard beauty pageant contest.

No real good reason for it, especially socially. The internet connects us to other places in this world and back again (for travellers). It breaks down barriers and let us learn about other people and develops friendships we would normally not have with such diverse people. In gaming, it enriches us.

I understand, like many, why some games are region-locked, due to having rights in only certain countries and other things, but this is a hindrance. And really, the best servers are active 24/7. I would say, a game benefits more from leaving it's doors open than gating them in this regard.

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