It won’t be long before Bioware’s first MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic, hits store shelves. It’s set to release on December 20th, just in time to make the holidays look a bit unimportant.
You may be worried if your computer is ready for it. Thankfully, the system specifications are mild, so you may not need to upgrade your PC – but there are other steps you may need to take to prepare your PC.
Clean Up Your Hard Drive – Or Buy A Solid State Drive
MMOs typically are not hard on your processor or video card, and will run on most hardware made within the last five years. Storage capacity can sometimes be a problem however, because of the massive size of these games. World of Warcraft now weighs in at over 20GB, so it would not be unusual if Star Wars: The Old Republic was of a similar size.
Upgrading your hard drive is one possibility, but as we recently reported, hard drive prices have risen significantly because of flooding in Thailand. This means your best bet is to clean up your current drive. Obviously, you can do that by deleting old files that you don’t need. You can also usually save several gigabytes by turning off hibernate, emptying your recycle bin, and deleting temporary files.
Another, much more expensive choice is to buy a solid state drive, as production of the memory chips they use is not impacted by the flooding. A 64GB Crucial M4 can now be had for about $110, and will nicely fit both your operating system and SW: TOR. Besides the space for the game, you will also receive a nice decrease in load times.
Buy A Second Monitor
Playing an MMO is about knowledge as much as it is skill. If you don’t know the best skills, the best character builds, and the best items, even an excellent player will be behind the curve.
Finding this information in the game usually isn’t possible, however. It wouldn’t be very sporting for the game to tell you the best way to play it. There are many websites that solve this, but alt-tabbing out of the game is an annoyance. Hence, the second monitor.
It’s possible to buy a 20 inch monitor for under $100, which isn’t bad. But if you’re really on a budget, you can pick up a monitor at a second-hand shop for about $20 or $30.
Beef Up Your Network Connection
Network connectivity is another important part of playing a MMO. A moment of lag at the wrong time, or a disconnection, can seriously disrupt the gaming experience of both you and your group.
Purchasing a faster connection from your ISP will obviously help, but you may still run into problems if you connect over wireless, particularly the older 802.11g standard. Upgrading to 802.11n will be reduce or eliminate signal issues and periods of lag because of the standard’s higher bandwidth and better range. However, both your computer and your router need to support 802.11 in order to use it.
Another alternative is powerline networking. This technology makes it possible to connect your PC directly to your router via Ethernet by piggy-backing on your existing electrical wires in your apartment or home. It provides high bandwidth and, more importantly, an extremely reliable connection that won’t suffer from the lag peaks and occasional disconnects that can make wireless a poor choice for gamers.
Hyped up for SW:TOR? Feel free to share your own tips on how to prepare for the game in the comments. It won’t be long until the release, so now is the time to get ready, or put a few gaming-related items on your wishlist. Who knows – Santa might just be a Star Wars fan as well.
Image Credit: Andreas.com