Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

SWTOR Collector’s Edition (Updated)

It is time for another round of „should I buy the Collector’s Edition?“ This time, we get the leaked (but hopefully accurate) details on the special box set for The Old Republic.  I’m a sucker for CEs, even of games I’m not really planning to play for long, and I’m already sure I’ll buy SWTOR in one form or another. So is this box worth buying at a rumored price upwards of €100?

[Update: The CE details have been confirmed on the official pre-order page with some pictures of the in-game bonuses. Also, the price seems to be set at €150 / $150. (Fair? I think not!)]

  • We start off with a Darth Malgus statue by Gentle Giant, which doesn’t intrigue me a lot. Sure, Gentle Giant are known for Quality products, but this Malgus guy doesn’t really look like someone I’d enjoy looking at, even ignoring the giant geek factor of having a Star Wars figure on your desk. I’d much rather have a space ship model or something else more pleasant to look it. Verdict: Eh, it’ll simply collect dust on some shelf.
  • Then we’ll get the four (!) game discs in a metal case. I like me a nice metal case, so that’s good. Four discs is rather insane though. Assuming those are DVDs (and why wouldn’t they be) we’re talking about up to 36GB of compressed data. I like to run often-played games off my SSD, but if this Installation is going to be as big as it looks, that might not be possible. Verdict: Fine.
  • The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural annotated by Satele Shan is up next but I have no idea what that is supposed to be. It looks like a nice little book that you’ll look at once and then forget forever, much like those art books you tend to get with other CEs.
  • Don’t you just miss the days of the cloth map? This CE includes a map as well, but judging from the low-quality image this one is just laminated paper. If it looks good, it might still be worth putting up on a wall somewhere, but it might just be total junk as well. We’ll see. Verdict: Probably not very useful.
  • I’ve complained more than once about companies not including authenticators in their collector’s editions (or their standard boxes, for that matter.) Bioware rectifies that with a nice keychain gadget. Two-factor authentication is a good thing, though I’m not sure if hardware authenticators are the best way to go. (How many of these things am I supposed to keep anyway?) Cell-phone based authentication or something along the lines of RIFT’s coin lock system seems better. Still, if you do offer hardware authenticators they simply have to be in your CE. Verdict: Good.
  • Game soundtracks are another mainstay of collector’s editions, and Bioware makes no exception. I like soundtracks, and Star Wars soundtracks have traditionally been quite nice. Verdict: Good.
  • The final physical item is the “High quality Collector’s Edition box” itself, possibly the main reason for me to buy the whole thing. Most CE items will simply collect dust somewhere, but the box can look good on your shelf forever. Verdict: Yay.

In addition to the physical pieces, there is a whole slew of digital items you’ll get access to if you buy the CE. It is hard to judge their quality without knowing much about the game but I think it is safe to say that most of these will be rather cosmetical. The Flare gun and Holo Dancer surely are. Then there’s the obligatory mount (a STAP, whatever that is) and a mini pet (a mouse droid). More interesting might be the HoloCam which “keeps visual records of in-game adventures.” I have no idea what that means. I can’t imagine it being like the YouTube functionality in RIFT, since that would be an odd thing to only give to CE owners. Maybe you can record small clips that can actually be viewed in-game by others? That could be rather useful. Maybe it’ll just be an in-game screenshot system though, which seems less interesting unless you can pin them to walls on your spaceship or something.

The training droid sounds as if it would be an actual advantage in the game, but it’ll probably take the spot of a companion character and therefore be essentially cosmetic as well.  The additional vendor you get access to is a complete unknown. I think it is unlikely that she will sell you further unique items (as those would be listed as a CE feature for sure) but it might give you more convenient access to certain items or simply offer a discount on a random set.

Overall, I’m not deeply impressed but also not completely put-off by this Collector’s Edition offering. At €100 I might just buy it, €150 not so much. Reasonably I shouldn’t buy it at all since there is no item (except for the game itself and maybe, just maybe the soundtrack) in the box that I would actually spend money on individually. Who’s to say that I’ll have to be reasonable though?

What about you? Would you buy this CE and at what price? Do you ever buy CEs and why not?

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