Let’s say that, like me, you occasionally are interested in either playing SWTOR or at least checking it out. So, you run the launcher, which like many MMO launchers also doubles as the game patcher/updater too.

This is a reasonable thing to do.

Periodically, updates to the game are released that, for some reason, require what is essentially a massive defrag of the game’s 30-odd gigabytes of files. During this time the patcher helpfully informs you that it is ‘reorganising files’.

Here’s the catch: if you interrupt the process, the entire 30GB game has to be downloaded and installed afresh. If you don’t, your PC is locked up for an hour with 100% disk usage.

You can’t play SWTOR (which, remember, is what we started out to do – clearly our first mistake).

You can’t play any other remotely modern game, owing to the launcher hogging all available disk read/write time and thus massively slowing down the system.

Anything else you try to use the computer for, such as writing an irritated blog post, will be rendered slow and painful by the constant maxed-out disk usage causing regular, uncontrollable freezes and pauses.

Now, like me, you may not have even wanted to play the game. You may have simply wanted to check out what was happening with it. And suddenly, boom.

It’s just such a silly, silly, user-hating design choice. Fair enough, restructure the files. Make it mandatory to play. But warn me what you’re going to do and what it requires before locking me into it. Then at least I can schedule it at a time that suits me (and my computer).

Some people, who aren’t me, have SSDs and super-fast broadband. Even then, a 30GB file restructuring or 30GB download-followed-by-install-time is not going to be buttery-smooth and lightning fast. Why this whole procedure still exists in this way, more than a year after I and presumably everyone else who ever wanted to play SWTOR, first discovered how awful it is, baffles and saddens me.

!! Super fun bonus round !! – after Reorganising, the patcher starts Verifying, which is just as bad. Then it starts Installing.

Words fail here.

It’s a pity, because despite this panoply of fail at the first hurdle – which shouldn’t even be a hurdle – SWTOR itself is not itself a bad game.

Update: This all took place several weeks before actually posting the above rant. Today I made the mistake of firing up the launcher again, figuring it wouldn’t have to reorganise again. Well, I was wrong. Spent 10 minutes giving it the benefit of the doubt then uninstalled the stupid thing.

The kicker is, 30 seconds’ googling reveals this problem is as old as SWTOR itself, and nobody’s done anything to fix it. Setting CPU affinity to only 2 cores helps some people, but the best solution is to just disable the streaming launcher altogether – which results in the entire game being re-downloaded, but at least you won’t have to deal with this nonsense anymore.

Alternatively, rage-quit the launcher, delete the game in a huff and move on with your life, because seriously.

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