Honestly – about that Star Wars MMO…

My old smuggler with her speeder.

My old smuggler with her speeder.

No, not Star Wars: The Old Republic. Too many question marks up in the air about that game and I’m not ready to herald it as the second coming of MMOs or the “World of Warcraft-killer” that some people will happily call it long before we even have a closed beta to poke around in. I’m talking about that other Star Wars MMO, the one that people seem to love to hate.

Yes, Star Wars: Galaxies. I’m going there. I might live to regret it.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but this post was ultimately spawned by Dub’s comment on Werit’s post about Death Troopers (be sure to check out the trailer, it’s awesome). Dub states that he looks “forward to SWG finally dieing [sic] out once ToR releases”. I’ve heard it said before, the hate against SW:G never seems to die out – the pure hatred that some people feel towards SOE’s controversial NGE-initiative is as alive and kicking today as it was when it rolled out in 2005.

But let’s be honest here. Is Star Wars: Galaxies such a bad game? This month the NGE happened four years ago, the game has had all that time to improve, there’s been a ton of updates and despite the server-merger there will still be a ton of servers to play on. Obviously the game is still alive, be that from subscriptions or Station Access.

I’ve played the game twice, never going past trial – not so much because I didn’t like it as I had tons of other games to play. I never tried it before the NGE, so I don’t have that to base my experience on. To me, SW:G felt like a solid MMO with lots of mission and sandbox options, with advanced player owned housing and cities and with a really good Star Wars-feel to it.

Isn’t it time to forget and forgive, perhaps take a look at it with a fresh pair of eyes? My current trial is running out, but I’m considering turning it into a full account and give it a proper go. If I can find the time between EVE, Fallen Earth, Ryzom and Dragon Age…

(I realise that this post might get no comments at all, or spawn a whole lot of flames. Please, keep it civil and don’t drag up old grudges. Try to stay as nice as possible.)

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  1. Scopique says:

    This kind of behavior is just chest-thumping. It’s a way for gamers to establish their credentials amongst one another by referring to their entry point into a certain game, genre, or gaming as a whole.

    People who beat on SWG by complaining about the NGE are only trying to establish themselves as having BEEN a supporter of the game early, when it wasn’t as established. It’s like the way that fans of a indie band snub newer fans who like the band once they go mainstream.

    Really, if SWG had ALWAYS sported the NGE-style from day one, would these people complain? They’d probably say that yes, the DESIGN decisions behind the NGE mechanics themselves were bad, but they speak from hindsight whether they admit it or not. Of course, they can’t back-peddle on their bashing, or else they’ll lose face in the community.

    The fact that people rarely give these games a fair second shot — instead using them to establish their position in the “I was here before you” pecking order — is quite sad. Even worse are those who bash games that they’ve never played; the ones who do it because they heard from someone who knows someone who made an off-handed comment one time, or because of what he read on an obscure forum somewhere.

  2. Longasc says:

    I have issues with Sony and Sony Online Entertainment. And with their support, too.
    So I can only bash SWG as part of an unholy family that never failed to disappoint or annoy the hell out of me…

    You are quite right, the game had a lot of time to recover and develop further. But if I would, just like you, tell my buddies Steve and Andre “hey my silly, still WoW-playing fellas – I am going to play SWG!” they would call me crazy.

    It is not on anyone’s radar anymore. It is connected with the mother of evil, Sony Online Entertainment. It is known to have failed hard. We know it sucks – even if some who know it did not even play it even once before the NGE.

    I also wonder – what do you expect to find there? I wonder if SW:TOR can live up to the hype, and you crawl back to SWG to give it a try?

    I can only hope that NCsoft’s support will soon sort out your access issues so that you can delve into Eye of the North.

    I do not know if you are total newbie to GW, or already have some experience. I think the new player experience changed a lot, not necessarily in favor of new players. They usually become addicted to Heroes and downloading builds from PvXWiki.

    If you play SWG -> screenshots, at least 100, or it did not happen. :)

  3. Ysharros says:

    SWG is not a bad game at all. I’m not sure I’m keen on how they’ve moved it towards a more standard “level, gear up, raid, gear up more” design, but that’s because I’m pure crafting and I find that whole “end game is for raiding, yah!” thing to be really uninteresting.

    That said, in my last stint there (2007-2008), I ended up disappointed. The crafting has become in many ways much less important — you can loot better stuff, quest rewards give better stuff, and *nothing* ever decays anymore so you can buy one set of armour (at 20, of 90 levels) and just pass it around all your characters, unless they’ve introduced item binding since then.

    It’s hard to describe in a nutshell, but while the crafting is still a fun process, *being* a crafter seems to have become rather trivialised.

    Even so, pick a busy server and go experience it. It’s a great game, despite its many flaws, and it has some very entertaining and inventive communities.

  4. Petter says:

    @Scopique – Aye, that can very well be one of the reasons. It does seem like some people are quite pissed at SOE because of how the implemented the NGE, though (not telling anyone about the changes coming etc). But that still happened four years ago, isn’t it time to get over it? Look at the hate in this post for an example of someone not being able to let bygones be bygones.

    @Longasc – What I hope to find? A good game. I won’t sit around waiting for ToR, I expect the two games to be so different from each other despite sharing (to a degree) the same setting. And how do we know that it sucks? It’s six years old, of course it’s not on anyone’s radar anymore.

    Also, a lot of people seem perfectly OK with SOE. I have yet to have any great problems with them, the only issue I’ve had (in Vanguard) was quickly resolved by a friendly GM. And we both know people who are happily playing EQ2.

    @Ysharros – I was afraid of that. How come crafting always seem to get the short end of the stick these days? Except in Ryzom, I keep seeing the same problem in most games. Did your disappointment go further than the crafting system, though?

  5. Ysharros says:

    The crafting system itself is very good, and hugely addictive. It’s grindy, but what isn’t these days, and with the “practice mode” you at least won’t be making eleventy-zillion items you can’t use or sell.

    My problem is with how crafters fit into the wider game economy. Back in the early days, player-made stuff was pretty much the ONLY way you could get anything, from housing to bangles to weapons, and there was also a decay system (though it wasn’t perfect) which meant stuff would eventually have to be replaced (thinking mainly armour and weapons here).

    Over the years, however, the focus has shifted onto a more typical loot-based approach so while there are still some things only crafters can make, a lot of the adventuring items can now be looted or quested for, and NOTHING decays.

    Another thing that bothers me is that you can now switch from one crafting prof to another and not lose your levels, so most people level up as architect (which requires a lot of resources but is substantially faster than any other prof) and then just switch to whatever they wanted to be when they hit 90. This has cheapened the achievement somewhat. It also works for adventuring profs, and while I see the benefit of having that kind of flexibility, I wasn’t blind to its drawbacks.

    Nonetheless, SWG is a fun game to experience. With the right people it can be a great game. (Though I will add that the UI is unmitigated poo, but I’m very pernickety about UIs — and it wasn’t bad enough to stop me playing.)

  6. Pete S says:

    I’ve never had any kind of bad experience with SOE. In fact they’re my ’2nd favorite MMO company’ (behind Turbine).

  7. xXJayeDuBXx says:

    Wow, somebody listened to something I said! I apologize if I offended you with my statement, it was poor judgement on my part to post something like that.

    If you couldn’t tell I am one of the old vets who played SWG pre-cu days. I started playing the game about two weeks after it was released. But Scopique is right, if all I had played was the NGE, then things would be different.

    SWG is a lot better now than it was when the NGE was first implemented, but I have had a hard time looking past that and letting go of what the game was like. I have played SWG off and on for many years, most recently in February when I transfered my characters off of Wanderhome. Ysh is right too, with the right people the game can be fun.

    It is time for me to let of the past, that I agree with. When your trial runs out and you do decide to stay with the game, I wish you the best of luck. Who knows, maybe someday you might see me running around the swamps of Naboo hunting down rebels!

  8. Petter says:

    Nice of you to join in, Dub. :)

    No, you didn’t offend me, even though Werit’s follow up question to your comment was fair. Nice to see you have a change of heart, I wish more of the vets would be as humble. As I’ve hardly played SW:G, the question if it’s actually a good game or not remains, but I believe that all of the commenters above (including you) have made clear that it can be, at least in the right company.

    Good luck with the rebel hunting, if you decide to return one day! We’ll see if I’m there or not, either helping you or firing on you. :D

  9. [...] been like is in order. After all, I feel that I can now, at least partially, answer the question I asked a month ago – is Star Wars Galaxies really such a bad game as its reputation would have us [...]

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