For those who haven't heard, the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies is finally shutting down later this year. The main reason isn't hard to speculate about - The Old Republic is coming soon and likely to draw a significant percentage of whatever fanbase remains at SWG. I don't personally know of anyone still playing.
Originally called "A Galaxy Divided," it quickly became something more like "a fanbase divided," and eventually, "a fanbase splintered." SWG's missteps are well known, as are their attempts to right the ship. Or the Star Destroyer. Every change brought discontent. The bigger the change, the more of a beating the game took online and in the official forums, and that was BEFORE they changed then entire rules set. Rather than pile on (well, much further, anyway), I thought I'd hit the highlights...and lowlights of my SWG experience.
I didn't get in at launch, as my system wasn't up to the task. A number of my friends did, but unfortunately, by the time I was in, they had almost given up. My wife and I doggedly held on, but eventually jumped ship. In that time, I did beta test the Jump to Lightspeed expansion....and concluded it wasn't interesting enough to purchase, or extend my subscription. This was part of the difficulty of the entire game. It had about a month's worth of fun, and then went from grinding to terribly repetitive. The last straw for me was a Wookiee Lifeday Event that turned out to be a credit-pit, forcing me to spend many credits to go to a planet that was too dangerous for my level, then listen to some Wookiees talk about life day, and gave me...a picture for my house, assuming I remember it correctly. I'm probably repressing the details.
So, highlights. I did have some fun in the game.:
- Getting a speeder. Once I had a landspeeder, I took a grand tour of the famous sights of Tatooine. I even documented it and had it up on my old website for a time. If I find the disk with the images, I'll post a few. You could take the speeder down some crazy inclines, and I remember jumping it off a cliff near Fort Tusken, just because I could.
- Starting a one-man firefight in the middle of a town on Naboo. I was a covert Rebel Master Marksman, bored, and decided that it was about time I could handle an isolated Stormtrooper. I was wrong, and made a hasty escape on my speederbike. After healing up a bit outside of town, I decided to try to finish the actual mission I was supposed to be doing, and headed to the town center. As I tried to meet my contact, a nearby stormtrooper yelled at me and opened fire....as did several others. I jumped back on the bike and zipped out of there between the crossfire. I was also exposed, labeled "overt Rebel" on an Imperial world. This was the only time I actually felt like a Rebel doing Rebel stuff, despite the actual Rebel missions available in game.
- Graphics - the game always looked great.
- Music - liked the Star Wars music, and always had it enabled.
- Forum watching. Ok, by the end of my run in the game, it became something of a sport to see what in-game change would set off the next round of forum whining, and to what extreme. Not that it wasn't often deserved, just not always deserved, and never to the lowest levels I observed. It is just a game, after all.
- Endless grinding for level, supplies, credits or whatever.
- Unable to battle low level Stormtroopers even as a so-called Master Marksman.
- Too many missions of "go kill x things and destroy their camp. I mean their flag." Yeah, you defeat the bad guys and shoot the FLAG in their camp, instead of, say, a really cool building, or even the actual campsite.
- Difficult to actually participate meaningfully in the Galactic Civil War.
- Jedi, Jedi, Jedi.
- And so on...
So, while I have high hopes for The Old Republic, we must be cautious. We had high hopes for Galaxies as well. Still, I plan to do a few things differently - get in at launch, with a group (the Order of 66), then just see how things pan out from there. Hopefully, things will be better this go around - they've obviously learned from Galaxies' mistakes, right? Well, we'll see.