Welcome back after what feels like 20 years of video gaming and being too lazy to post anything, I have FINALLY gotten around to posting something. My latest addiction is Star Wars Galaxies (to be specific SWGEmu). Here’s the sad story of the original amazing game:
Back in 2002 or 2001 (or something like that) the game was released. New, unfinished and buggy, the game first sounded like it was not a worthy game to compete in the competitive world of MMORPGs. However, the developers put countless hours into it, refining it into a work of art. Even then, the game had problems from the beginning. bugginess, login problems, etc. But this didn’t slow the game down. Even in its unfinished state (not even a space expansion until a few months later) the game was so complex, so huge, put so much on social interaction, it really did give you the feeling of living in the Star Wars Galaxy. 10 planets, 16 by 16 km in size: the size was unprecedented.
And it wasn’t just generated either. It was actually a evolving world. There was something around every corner. Entertainers danced, Medics and Doctors healed, and Bounty Hunters hunted bounties. the skill system was flexible, meaning you could be a part-time bounty hunter and bio-engineer. You could be a Scout, exploring the dunes of Tatooine and still be able to play the Bandfill. You could be a Master Smuggler at one point in time, and then months later be a professional Tailor. The possibilities were limitless. And you weren’t bound to what you “HAD” to do at any point in time.
You could be exploring the old ruins of Yavin IV, surviving on the harsh planet of Dathomir, and then chill in a cantina somewhere on Lok. The social aspect encouraged playing in a group with friends or just ‘acquaintances.’ In fact, these ‘acquaintances’ were present in nearly EVERY aspect of you Galaxies life (you WILL have one if you play. No kidding. It’s really worth it.) because almost every thing in the game was made or provided by players. A player Weaponsmith somewhere crafted your blaster, a Tailor made your clothes, a Medic buffed you in the Medical Center, and a Droid Engineer somewhere made your little friend.
The world really felt alive. That’s something that hasn’t been seen in video games for a while, not since the old retro days. It was a game, one that actually had it. The essence of what makes a good video game. The fact that people actually believed in it, put actual effort into making it, hand-crafted each thing piece by piece. (unless the game had terrain generation :P) It was one of the very last games of what I call the “Original Era.” Before corporations simply pumped out games and consoles, putting no effort into making them and simply filling them with GRAPHIX and EYE-CANDY to try to make the ‘new generation’ (a.k.a. people who have never played a DECENT video game and are dazzled by these First-Person Shooters packed with graphics but lacking ANY gameplay) happy. Nowadays, people judge a game by how it looks, rather than how it plays. Isn’t that why you play a game in the first place?
You might ask why I’m talking about this now. Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. If you are still reading, I am honored. Please hold on for a little longer. I am talking about this fact because that is what happened to SWG.
The fun and joy of playing with your friends. The adrenaline of taking down a Krayt Dragon, a day you only dreamed of before. This is one of the things that made SWG Star Wars Galaxies. The world was complex. Not like complicated or confusing, just deep like the world today. You don’t have to know exactly how everything works in the game. You didn’t have to like Star Wars to love the game. Unfortunately, Sony Online Entertainment killed this.
No matter what game, you will have those people. The people who don’t care about learning and don’t want to accept help. The people who want to be OP no matter what. The people who don’t want to take the time to explore the game. These are the people at risk of not playing. Not the countless others who actually want to. Just those few who, well, are idiots. And those are unfortunately the people you see reviewing and commenting and hating and all the other stuff, making everything else look bad.
As a result, SOE (the company behind SWG, not the team who developed it) decided to dumb down the complex, interconnected world and society of SWG. They took WoW, another huge MMORPG you might hear about today, and copied its class system. In SWG, you could hybrid between 32 different professions, stack up specials, etc. In the new overhaul/revamp SOE called the NGE, you were basically stuck to 9 different professions, and could not change very easily. It was, through and through, a WoW clone.
But the people who paid for SWG didn’t want a WoW clone. They wanted SWG. As a result, of course, you had a major exodus. Soon after, SWG reached such a bad state, it finally shut down. Absolute. Complete. Dead.
There was no replacement for SWG. Absolutely no other game had the complexity and vastness. No other game could give you the feeling of living in the Star Wars universe, let alone the real world. And so, the project began.
Nearly a decade later, no a complete decade later, the project calling itself SWGEmu is nearly complete. It has even accomplished the feat of putting in the entire jedi system (surprise) with their latest update, Publish 9. recreating a game without pay or time is a daunting task, yet slowly and steadily, SWG players have found home.
FYI: I play on the Basilisk server. My character’s name is Elmo’s Minion.