My first week in Star Wars: Galaxies is coming to an end. I ditched my bounty hunter after, again, realising that I am much more of a melee character kind of guy than a ranged one – I guess all those years playing as a rogue really got to me, after all. I tried the smuggler class during my first trial period and didn’t feel like going back to that, so I ended up picking a Jedi.
I know, I know. It’s bound to be the most popular class, and it’s not a very creative pick. Yet, I’m glad that I did – melee combat in SWG feels a lot better than ranged. I don’t know why, but it always seems like developers have a problem when it comes to ranged combat in MMOs. Tabula Rasa did pretty well, but in both SWG and Fallen Earth ranged feels clumsy. Most of the time it looks incredibly awkward, just two (or more) avatars standing around, shooting at each other, hoping to score the killing shot.
And as iconic as the laser sounds from Star Wars are, they still get old really fast. Replacing my blaster rifle with a two-handed lance was probably the best choice I could have made.
This means I’ve gone through the tutorial part of SWG three times now – as a smuggler, a bounty hunter and a Jedi. All classes and races start in the same area and do their first couple of missions on the Tansarii space station. Usually that kind of design bugs me, but Tansarii is an exception. The missions and storyline there are different depending on what class you choose – the smuggler gets quests from Han Solo, the bounty hunter from Bobba Fett and there’s some random Jedi master (in full Jedi robes, someone note the proper Empire authorities, please) to give out Force-related quests to the fledgling Padawan.
Compared to, for example, Aion (and Warhammer Online these days) where all classes do the same quests in the same starting area, Tansarii is a lot closer to Tortage in Age of Conan than anything else. The main difference is that the part on the space station is short. I dread going back to Age of Conan (which I will, at some point), thanks to having to slug my way through the first 20 gorram levels again. In SWG, you can be on solid, planetary ground in just a few levels, while still having enough new content during the tutorial to keep up your interest for every class you try out.
It’s a completely different deal when you end up on Tatooine. The Legacy quest line, which starts on Tansarii and follows you for the next 40 levels or so (it’s long, trust me), can luckily be skipped though. There should be enough missions from various NPCs and mission terminals to keep you busy – I’ve gone through the Legacy past the initial White Thantra-infiltration on all my three characters (the Jedi is the only one I kept playing beyond that), and I don’t plan to ever do it again. Ever. It’s well-written and pretty exciting, so if it’s your first time in SWG, I do recommend following it.
Also, you get to work for the great Jabba. You get Jabba-rep. Screw you, Argent Dawn, Jabba is the guy you want reputation with.
At the end of my first week in SWG, I’m at level 22. 4 more levels until I get my lightsaber, after which I plan to experiment with one of the non-combat classes. Am I having fun? Oh yes. Do I regret starting out on the project? Absolutely not. I’ll get back to impressions of actual game mechanics and my first steps into the sandbox-part of the game over the next couple of days. If you feel like contacting me in-game, look up Ri’Kali on FarStar-Europe – the bounty hunter is going the way of the deletion button any minute now.