We could pretend that the important story of last week was something other than the launch of pre-orders for Star Wars: The Old Republic, but that would be a lie. I know I went straight down to pre-order my copy as soon as I was done with some work in the morning. As usual, it wasn't without controversy -- issues over staggered pre-order releases, limited quantities, and my personal favorite, the fear that it might include some sort of microtransactions in its business model. You know, like every other major subscription game on the market.

Before you ask, I got the regular edition. I'm not paying three times the price for a statue.

Anyway, this week's Ask Massively is pretty heavily tied into the pre-order talk, what with questions about release dates and the state of no-trial launches. As always, you can feel free to ask a question for a future installment of the column via mail to ask@massively.com, or you can just toss your question in the happy comment field below.

An awful lot of people said: A retailer revealed the release date of Star Wars: The Old Republic!
No, a retailer has an inventory system that requires a specific date of release to be placed within the system when pre-orders open. These dates do not agree with one another, nor are the based on much of anything beyond being a date far enough in the future to likely be right. (Amazon, for instance, listed the release date as December 31st, the absolute last day to be launched this year.) According to recent statements, we'll probably know a date in September, and anything until then is speculation.

And remember this life lesson -- you always remember the speculations that turn out right and forget the ones that were wrong. It's probably not as accurate as you imagine.
Ryn asked: When will one of these AAA studios have the fortitude to do a trial at launch?
Right about the same time that there's any obvious benefit to the game's population.

As it currently stands, online subscription games follow a fairly steady pattern. Subscriptions spike at launch and hit a large dropoff at three months. (Lest you think this is a phenomenon in the post-World of Warcraft era, it's not -- this was true for MUDs/MUSHes before the advent of graphical MMOs.) It's after that three-month mark that the game's population of "lifers" has settled in and isn't likely to go anywhere for a while, and that's when it becomes far more productive to start dragging new players back into the game.

In short, if you're the sort of person that plays a trial, you're more likely to be the sort of person who won't buy the game at launch to begin with. This is not a poor decision; it's entirely reasonable to wait until you have more information about the game in practice before buying. But that also means that the game isn't going to go out of its way to court you for the first few months anyhow.
Utakata asked: So my question to Massively is what's up with [reminders about the Code of Conduct]?
Think of it as an endzone dance after a few particularly prolific rule-skirting members of the community were reminded of their non-immunity to the rules. The rules haven't changed in quite some time and are unlikely to change in the near future. If you aren't making personal attacks against our readers or authors, you've nothing to worry about.
Looking for some advice on which class is best for soloing in Aion? Not sure who this Raph Koster fellow is? Curious about the release date of NCsoft's newest MMO? You've come to the right place! No one knows MMOs like we do. If there's anything you'd like to know about the MMO genre or the site itself, Ask Massively is here to help every Thursday afternoon. Just ask!

This article was originally published on Massively.
MapleStory chills out with Ice Knight Battle mode