Give Me Variation Or Give Me Death

Terminal mission

Die, stupid flag!

Since I resubscribed to Star Wars Galaxies I’ve only managed to ding 8 levels. What burned me out last time was this obsession about getting to level cap, and I got stuck on doing terminal missions until my brain bled. They are not very fun, trust me. So this time I gave up on that, even though I do look forward to reaching level 90, and I’ve been doing whatever I’ve felt like at any given moment. Such as…

  • Hunting on Kashyyyk. The design of the Wookie planet is a lot different from the other planets I’ve visited so far, and the long quest chains serve to slowly unlock different areas. I’ve so far gathered three different hunting trophies that are now hanging on the walls of my house. I’ve also ordered myself a new mount from a beast master in my guild, since my regular means of transportation are not available in the forest and I have to rely on my really slow (and ugly) cliff-jumper. A crafter in the guild is also buying any hides I might gather, which is a small cash bonus.
  • Decorating my house. Moving stuff around, hanging new paintings and putting some things on display on top of my aquarium. Hanging a huge bantha hunting trophy next to my bed. Dear me, that will give me nightmares.
  • Flying around in space. I’ve been moving up through the space tiers, currently working for Jabba the Hutt. Space is awesome, and I do hope that Bioware will include something similar in The Old Republic. I doubt they will though, unless it’s planned for an expansion in the same way Jump To Lightspeed was for Star Wars Galaxies.
  • Finding random quests. If you don’t count the Legacy Quest-chain, there are no big arrows pointing out where you should go in SWG. You can run into a quest more or less anywhere. If it sounds interesting, and I believe I can pull it off, I’ll accept it and see where it takes me. I got my fancy clone trooper armor that way. I’ve also started to make my way through the Meatlump theme park, investigating the largest criminal gang on Corellia.
  • Taking part in PvP invasions. Sure, I’m only level 55 right now, so I don’t go full PvP and fight other players. But I’ve joined forces together with a couple of guildies and attacked Bestine a couple of times. Epic and a lot of fun, with walkers and stormtroopers everywhere. I haven’t turned off my flag since last time, so I constantly get to fight stormtrooper NPCs while in Mos Eisley.
  • Doing smuggler missions. I respeced from Jedi to smuggler and I don’t regret it at all. Doing smuggler missions for the Underworld faction might not be the most exciting activity in the world, but it’s a nice distraction and adds flavor.

I’m also considering taking my trader out of early retirement, perhaps respecing him to a chef or giving him an instrument and turn him into an entertainer, playing music and buffing others for tips at the Mos Eisley cantina. We’ll have to see about that, so far I haven’t had any money problems. Sooner or later I will, though.

Pew pew in space

Twitch-based pew pew in space. Eat your heart out, landlubber.

What Star Wars Galaxies has taught me this time is how shallow games like World of Warcraft is. I need at least some sandbox elements to stay happy. I haven’t logged into Lord of the Rings Online in the last couple of days and I don’t really feel like doing so either. I have to log into Age of Conan, since I’m reviewing Rise of the Godslayer, but I seriously doubt it would be able to keep me occupied over a long period of time.

Cataclysm, despite all the cool screenshots, has never looked as uninteresting as right now. I know I will never get my friends to play Star Wars Galaxies with me, since they only tend to go back to what they know or only see flaws where I see merits. That’s fair enough. But more than ever I’m quite sure that I want more sandboxes, more immersion. I want Vanguard more than I want Warcraft, I want Galaxies more than I want The Old Republic (of course I’ll play it when it comes out, it does look awesome).

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14 comments

  1. pasmith says:

    It sounds to me like Galaxies is offering the best of both worlds: the sandbox experience for when you feel like just doing what feels fun at the time, and enough quest chaining for when you’re more in the mood to be led around a bit.

    I’ve gone back to SWG a few times in the past years and have found it a bit daunting, but that’s always the case when you go back to an old MMO, eh? Between modern MMO’s getting simpler/easier to play (and getting us used to that style of game) and older games getting more complex & changing as expansions come out, it can be a real challenge to go back to the classics. I salute you for doing it!

    • Petter says:

      I actually think that of the old MMOs, SWG is probably one of the easier ones to get into right now – reading about Tipa’s adventures in the original EQ makes me want to salute her! That’s impressive! :D

  2. Scopique says:

    SWG was one of those games I always liked, even after the repition frustrated the heck out of me. We stopped playing before the NGE, and the unstoppable tutorial zone thereafter annoyed me, so I never considered returning.

    I’m a fan of the sand boxing myself, but an uttere lack of direction — leaving it to self sufficiency — is too far. Saying that the terminals are available to alleviate this is like saying the only food you can have at the festival is chicken liver: there’s a real opportunity for more variety without losing the sand boxing.

    • Petter says:

      SWG has changed a lot since those days, though. It does include some pointers – the Legacy quest goes from level 1 up until level 55+, and includes both land and space missions – but you’re also free to go out and do your own things. Mission terminals are not the end-all of SWG, as I’ve luckily discovered! They are great for topping off a level, or just giving you something to do when you feel like doing them for some quick XP, but they are not good to base your gameplay on. I burned out quickly on them, as noted above.

      In short, there is a lot of things to do in SWG. I’m not sure how things were before the NGE, since I wasn’t around back then. :) But I’ve slowly come to understood that it was far from the dance on roses that some of the bitter old fans would love to make it out to be.

      But yeah, agreed on the sandbox thing – I wrote something similar last year, when I returned to Ryzom.

  3. Rochefort says:

    ello Pierre, I am from France!

    I always hoped you would get to appreciate the early designs of Raph Koster (UO, SWG). Though they already got diluted over time, they are the path to a brighter future!

    The holy trinity propagated by the heretical scions of the DIKU MUD simply must die. Then our virtual world will become all fun and sunshine sooner or later.

    • Petter says:

      Ello Pierre! You look (and sound) familiar! ;)

      I do believe that the DIKU-games have their place, and I know that I’ll be playing Cataclysm and keep playing LotRO. Hopefully we will see them mixed up with some of old games, though, and not only streamline themselves to oblivion. Then again, I’m not sure that they are – except for WoW, LotRO and AoC at least include elements that point to the developers not taking the easy way out. And EQ/EQ2/Vanguard/SWG are still alive over at SOE (although one wonders how long Vanguard will stay afloat).

  4. Ysharros says:

    Ironically enough, the spousal unit and I have also dived back into sandbox(ish) due to Massively’s offer of Fallen Earth keys. I haven’t logged into EQ2 in about 10 days and I’m kind of glad of it. I like EQ2 still, but omg a change of pace is a nice thing! (Change of genre too, for that matter. A steady diet of fantasy gets pretty tedious…)

    • Petter says:

      EQ2 does have the wonderful player owned housing, though. :) But yeah, taking a break from fantasy from time to time is always nice. And you could have picked a much worse game than FE. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. Damn… now you’ve made me want to play SW:G :)

    I enjoyed it a lot when it first came out and played for about 3 or 4 months but eventually the lack of content caused me to return to Everquest.

    You mention it’s sandbox nature a lot – is it still “sandboxy” even after the NGE? I loved the original skill and HAM system but never fancied their attempt at a themepark MMO with levels.

    Finally, definitely looking forward to your RotG review! I’m finding my return to AoC very… interesting ;)

    • Petter says:

      There is a lot more content now, that’s for sure. And yeah, I’d say it’s sandboxy, especially compared to most other games. Sure, they went for the level system, but it still retains a lot of that sandbox feel to it. I’d say give it a try, especially if you haven’t played it since before the NGE. There’s a free trial and all that… ;)

      I missed that you had blogged about your character in AoC! I’ll make sure to add you to my friends list next time I log in. Feel free to add “Ri’kali” to yours. Would be fun to do some questing together, and to watch each other’s backs…it’s a dangerous world out there.

  6. Mike from Canmore says:

    I followed this from Massively.com’s posting of your screen shot. I just tried SWG for the first time earlier this year thanks to a sale on Steam. My first impressions of the game was a combination of cheesy and crap. From the jump animation to the odd lack of gravity everything about it seemed cheaply done. I understood it was an older game but I initially I wondered what I got myself into. But by the end of the month I was really sad not to renew it. My little smuggler had hit level 28, in that time went on some wacky adventures. Between the housing, the expansive crafting system, buffing in the Catina’s, space combat and some of the really odd humour there is a certain immersion to the game I don’t feel in World of Warcraft. Additionally the community was one of the friendliest I had ever met. Random players would come along and help me when I was struggling and quite often give any item that they thought might help me. I can’t say I’ve seen that in any other MMO.

    Your post has given me that itch to renew the account. I think once June has rolled around and my STO account dies I might just have to do that. I’m glad though to see someone actually posting about SWG and its not someone who’s been level cap for five years. I’ll have to check back later to see what progress you’ve made.

    • Petter says:

      I know exactly what you mean, and it mirrors my experience pretty well – I was sceptical at first, but the more I played the more I realized that it would be hard to leave. I did burn out, as I mentioned, but yeah…the immersion in SWG is absolutely there and hard to disregard.

      It’s always scary when you get linked somewhere and talk about SWG – you never know when the rabid haters will start to turn up and go nuts because you happen to like the game.

      Nice of you to drop by, you’re more than welcome to check back in, and perhaps I’ll see you in game sometime! Thanks for the comment! :)

  7. Yeebo says:

    SWG is an interesting game. There is obviously an immersive and engaging experience buried in there somewhere. I caught glimpses of it, like dark shapes looming in the fog, when I recently did the trial. However, in the end the overall clunkyness of the game did in my interest. I wasn’t willing to buy the client and sub up based on the hunch that I might start enjoying it if I gave it more time.

    • Petter says:

      No, and that’s perfectly fair – the game is old, and it can be quite clunky (I love that word). I understand why a lot of people would pass over it, absolutely. :)

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