With the recent request for Game Tester Applications, BioWare has unleashed the full fury of the hype machine they have been cultivating over the past year. The result has been an incredible load on their servers; dramatic enough to bring the entire Star Wars: The Old Republic website to a screeching halt. With issues continuing throughout the evening, this could end up being a wonderful learning experience for BioWare as it approaches it's first MMO.
During the early morning hours of September 29th, the official site for The Old Republic closed for maintenance. Speculation, from the previous days glitch, caused the entire TOR community to to wait with bated breath for the system to come back online. Sometime around mid-morning, www.swtor.com popped back to life like a droid powering on. However this particular morning, the droid had a new program. To the joy of everyone lucky enough to see it, a new game tester application link was added to the front page, proving all the previous days rumors to be correct.
In true Internet fashion, users from across the globe descended upon the site to make their own bid for the few coveted tester positions. Many aspiring testers had been following TOR for a long time, but recent exposure caused The Old Republic's fan base to swell to amazing proportions. With wonderful showings at conventions like PAX and Gamescom making this announcement all the more potent.
The website held strong for as long as it could, but the weight of the gaming community caused it buckle shortly after relaunching. This certainly is not uncommon for any gaming site when fresh information is added, doubly so for MMOs. However, this is little solace for the gamers that were unable to break through during the initial rush, who instead were greeted by a new message.
No numbers have been released regarding how many users were able to successfully apply during the first rush, but anecdotal evidence points towards only a small fraction of the TOR hordes making it through. The remaining users have continued to assault the website ever since, hoping to catch it in a more stable state.
Throughout the day, gaming sites from every corner of the web picked up on the game testing news and passed it along to their readers, increasing the traffic far beyond what the hardcore community could produce. Even with this rush, a few users have been able to slip through during the occasional times the main site has been up. These times have been few and far between, but are becoming more frequent as the evening progresses.
This could end up being a wonderful learning experience for BioWare, as even they might not understand exactly how anticipated TOR is to the gaming public at large. With all of their fans coming out of the woodwork, BioWare can finally get the first real idea about the surge of bodies that they should be expecting come launch.