User Darhan posts in the official forums:
It seems that not only are they preparing for stable servers by keeping pre-order numbers limited, but even for those of us who have pre-ordered: our access to the game may not be granted as fast as we had hoped. In the article, they discuss slowly granting access to the game over an undisclosed period of time to the point that some folks may barely recieve any early access to the game, if any at all. Of course, this is all for the sake of a high quality launch and attempting to keep that HUGE problem every online game has at launch at bay. We’ll have to see how that works out, and hope that it doesn’t prevent those that are invested in their game already from playing for too long.
He is referencing an article by Shacknews.com that suggests that staggered releases may mean certain players won’t get to start on the real start day. Their article references BioWare’s Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk and their talk with Gamesindustry.biz that we brought you news of yesterday:
“It comes from a desire to have a high quality service for our fans, really stable and scalable and accessible and really fun, and make sure it’s performing well,” Muzyka told GamesIndustry.biz. “”You have to build the infrastructure to support a certain size launch and we’re also thinking really long term at Bioware EA for this, there’s going to many many consumers coming to the game over time and we’re going to be expanding it out. We want to make sure that the service is really high quality, that’s the commitment we have to the launch of The Old Republic.”
This has people interpreting it as Bioware will limit the number of people allowed to play and access the game at launch in order to ensure a successful launch experience. Let panic ensue as gamers worry that they might be part of the ones not allowed to play!
“Shacknews apparently got confused, and they’re confusing you, so allow me to clarify. Nothing has actually changed since we announced pre-order access in July.”
He says on the official forums. He then continues to explain:
“Everyone who pre-orders Star Wars: The Old Republic and redeems their pre-order code will get Early Game Access. Those who do this will be able to download the game client and play the game ahead of the release date.
While we aren’t ready to talk about the exact timing of when Early Game Access starts (that depends on a number of factors including Game Testing and pre-order numbers), we’ll announce that before the start date. Our planning accounts for allowing people to download the client before the Early Game Access start date, too.
However, when you actually gain admittance to Early Game Access will be determined in a first-come, first-served manner dependent on when you redeemed your pre-order code.”