BioWare announced an important update coming soon to the SWTOR Game Launcher in an attempt to smooth downloading and patching the game for non-Steam players!
Since SWTOR released on Steam, I have been sharing my gameplay time between the Steam version and the non-Steam Launcher. I can’t say why exactly, maybe out of nostalgy. Or perhaps because I play from different PCs and can easily have it installed twice for testing purposes.
In my experience, the Steam client has been more stable, faster and responsive. Especially when it comes to patching a new game update.
It’s true though that SWTOR patches are not gigantic or at leas not very often, so whatever slow-downs you may experience, they are probably not noticeable.
The true issues we notice are when the Launcher bugs or crashes or when it starts downloading something and gets stuck. I never had that on Steam so far.
What is this Game Launcher update about
BioWare has just made an important announcement on the SWTOR Forums regarding an upcoming update to the game’s launcher. This update is only concerning the non-Steam Launchers. If you play SWTOR through Steam, you are not going to be affected.
Starting next week (Monday 19th September 2022) the studio will release an update to the game launcher for a small pre-selected number of players for testing. If tests go well, everyone else will get their non-Steam launchers updated to allow them to start benefiting from the new tech.
“In short, for non-Steam players, we’re updating the game launcher with a much more efficient patching system that is closer to the performance already enjoyed by players on Steam, allowing faster delivery that ultimately translates to shorter download times for our players.” – community manager Jackie Ko said.
This update will be in the launcher itself, not the game client. The launcher update happens before the login screen of the game. You will still have to log in again as normal when playing the game.
Who will have to update what and when
If you use the Steam version, you should not get anything new or different. Your client is already working as well and as fast as possible.
If you use the non-Steam Game Launcher and are selected to participate in this limited test, you will get a notification in your Game Launcher. You will see a red banner at the top.
If you have your game and launcher patched to Update 7.1a at least, you will not have to download the whole game client. You may see a “client download” progress bar, but it will only scan the files to confirm everything is up-to-date.
“The “download” in this case refers not to re-downloading the game client but downloading small pieces of information for validating the game data already on disk. So to reiterate once more, players will not be experiencing a full download.” – Jackie explained.
If you have an older version of the game (anything before 7.1a), you will have to download stuff. Jackie did not confirm what and how much you will have to download.
If you are not selected for the initial tests, you will get the new Game Launcher when it releases live later next week. More on the schedules you can read below.
When will the new Game Launcher be available for everyone
If the initial testing goes well, everyone will receive this new Game Launcher update. BioWare plans to begin testing at the start of next week (on or after September 19th) and if there are no issues, the live version will be made available to all players on September 22nd.
At the time of this publication, we have no other information yet. The forum thread has been locked until the tests begin.
Jackie did not confirm if players will be able to refuse this test or if whoever gets selected by BioWare, will be forced into this update. I have reached out to her for more details.
The ultimate goal that BioWare is setting for this Game Launcher update, is not to break your game, but improve it. As I stated in the beginning, I have been having much more stable and enjoyable experience launching and updating my game through Steam. Out of nostalgy (and for testing purposes) I also have the game on a separate location where I only use the non-Steam Launcher.
From how Jackie worded the effect of this upcoming Launcher update for non-Steam Launcher players, it sounds as if players who prefer to play the game without Steam will continue to lack behind in terms of speed and efficiency.
The new updated non-Steam Launcher will have a “much more efficient patching system that is closer to the performance already enjoyed by players on Steam”. Closer, but not “as good”?
Note: The images I used are showing the current and older versions of the Game Launcher only. We have no visual confirmation if, what and how BioWare may change in the new Launcher.
It’s most likely that the “Modern Launcher” will remain the same, but the tech under the hood will be the only thing that gets updated.