I Just Wanted to Play a Game with my Friends

As someone with a full-time job and trying to work on a business on the side, I find that I don’t play as many games as a game developer probably should. Most of the games I have access to are many, many years old, so I’m a bit out of touch with the latest offerings from major publishers.

Most of the time, though, I don’t seem to miss it. There are plenty of indie and major publisher games that are available that I still haven’t played, so I’ve got quite the backlog to tide me over.

But some friends of mine were playing online regularly, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some quality time with them and also join my first MMO since playing Runescape about a decade or so ago.

Unfortunately, Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t available for Linux-based systems, and WINE support sounded like I could expect to install the game but not really find it playable.

What follows is basically me whining, so feel free to find a better use of your time.

I booted up Windows for the first time in over a year on my desktop system, and I start downloading the installer, which required setting up an account.

It turns out that it installs a launcher, which then patches itself by downloading for a bit. Soon, I’m able to…

…start retrieving the minimum download.

There is text that pops up to inform me that until the full game is downloaded, I can only play on the starter worlds. Ok, fine by me. I’m new to the game anyway.

Except, how do I start the game? The Play button is grayed out.

Then my system blue screens. I haven’t seen that color in a long time.

After rebooting, I find that the minimum download in progress is at negative 100%. After waiting and hoping it would resume from before, and after searching online for help, I found that rerunning the installer helped. I think it was downloading, but the progress percentage was displaying wrong, and reinstalling the launcher made it display correctly.

Then, I waited almost an hour before it finished downloading the basic client. Hey, the Play button is accessible now!

I texted a friend to ask what server they were playing on, but since they are probably having fun, I didn’t get a response right away, so I chose one that seemed probable, and I started creating a character.

Once the character was created, I had to “activate” the character, then I could play.

I saw a loading screen with some text about the smuggler’s activities when suddenly I was looking at my desktop.

Huh.

So I started the game again, and when I finally got back to that loading screen, it crashed to the desktop without so much as an error message again.

And then again.

So, a couple of hours later, and I still haven’t started the game, let alone been able to join in the fun with my friends.

And the best part?

My friend finally got back to me to say that he doesn’t remember selecting a server. He said they are part of Starfleet, and you can choose between Starfleet, Klingon, or Romulan.

Wait, what? I just spent the entire evening struggling to install and play the wrong game?!

At this point, I’m simultaneously happy that I don’t have to fight with Star Wars: The Old Republic anymore and frustrated that I now get to start the entire download-for-hours-without-playing experience again with Star Trek Online.

I understand that these are huge, expansive games with a lot of content, so I probably should have prepared my computer before the scheduled gaming session, but from what I read online, I’m not alone in needing to find time to play games only to discover that the time is spent downloading updates or patches or otherwise preventing game time from including game play.

For now, I’m going to bed.

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