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Forums : Behind the Scenes > interviews Starsider players
Guppy (SuperAdmin) 6/24/2010 1:45 PM EST : interviews Starsider players
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This week seven years ago, Star Wars Galaxies launched onto the screens of thousands of computers, then crashed a couple hours later. Hey, what can they say? Sony Online Entertainment nor any other MMORPG developer had attempted to touch this beloved intellectual property before. It was an exciting adventure into the unknown -- a step into the greatest Star Wars story of all time: yours!

As an avid SWG player myself, I have survived the Combat Upgrade, the New Game Enhancements, and even server merges. When I started, there was not a single Jedi in the game. Now they run rampant, yet I still play. For some reason, despite its age and flaws, this launch into the galaxy far, far away keeps calling me. Why is that? To find my answers, I thought it best to sit and discuss this with other SWG enthusiasts. Maybe they will understand why even after seven years this game is like a tractor beam to wayward players, and what the future may hold for this world that LucasArts and SOE made. I explored everywhere from cantinas to starports to find heroes of "a long time ago" who were willing to speak to me. Luckily, I found seven such space explorers. Follow me after the break to see what these stalwart fans had to say about their favorite game.

What was your first day on SWG like? What was your impression of the game?

Sorceress: I wanted it to be "more". But there was a lack of quests and other things. The missions were terminal missions and you had to sometimes compete with others for your mission. There was immersion, but only if I was willing to overlook the game's faults.

Jason: The first day I remember logging in to SWG, I remember feeling myself being... completely and utterly immersed, because to me, THIS was Star Wars. This was the experience that I wanted to live out. I mean, the true feeling for me is hard to describe. I think I remember loading in to Theed right at the start and my computer wasn't up to par on running SWG.

Kamis: At first the game was pretty confusing for me. I came from WoW and it was completely different, but my brother got me hooked to the game and I've been playing and loving it ever since. I just liked the entire feel of the game myself. On WoW it was only combat, but on here you could be many different roles. And I think that's what hooked me.

Melkin: I was really excited. Coming in, I was with a guild that had been planning on playing about six months before launch. When we got into game, it was almost like euphoria. No other game allowed you to switch your skills and had no levels. It was very exciting to be able to start in one direction and as roleplay progressed, your character was able to go into another direction and have skills to match.

Evolet: When I first started playing, my cousin had already played and he immediately got me into it. This was my first MMORPG.

Milyna: It was another typical MMO to me, having never really played an online games when I first started on Bria. Full of people, [the game was] more like a first person shooter to me. RP back then seemed non-existent entirely save for a very few small groups. What I did enjoy was the multitude of combinations you could do, almost like making a custom character with all the skills.

Idylia: The only MMO I played before this was Vanguard: The Saga of Heroes. I enjoyed it, but I had wanted to get more of the RP experience that I had heard Melkin and others talk about, so I came here.

How would you compare that to now? Have things changed for you?

Sorceress: Today? Today's game bears no resemblance to the game that was released seven years ago except in graphics and in textures. It's why I still play this game. The early game was about creating a sandbox and letting the kids play in it. Today's has storylines, immersion, wars, etc. This game, in my opinion, is the best game it has ever been. If anything, the only thing this game is lacking is more of the higher end content.

Jason : To be honest? As I've played SWG, yes. I mean, it eventually did stop trying really hard to immerse you in this entire galaxy of lore, and shifted more towards content that's Star Wars, or things like that. But it only really became apparent at the NGE. It's never fully suspended the immersion though. Like, it's still really easy for me to go in to iconic places from the movies and get goosebumps. The Massassi Temple on Yavin is one of them. Theed palace, the inside hangar of the Theed Starport sometimes, Ben Kenobi's home -- though I'm still not allowed to go in -- the Krayt Skeleton. Jabba's palace, which was really a big thing for me since that underworld has always been really interesting, I suppose is the word. But back when I first started playing, Mos Eisley Cantina, and that feeling has been lessened since it's been made this central hub for buffing and new players. And its just always packed with people who don't care as much about immersion.

Kamis: Yes, I still love the game, but the changes like the NGE has its good points and its bad points -- a few more bad points than good points to me it seems.

Evolet: Exceedingly so. Ever since the Combat Upgrade and the NGE it has been very different. Lots of people left, and the game seems to have more of a younger player base now.

Melkin: To a point yes. The biggest difference, aside from the Combat upgrade and the NGE, is the population. We took a big hit when the changes came down. I find that for myself, I do enjoy the combat system and some of the GCW events, but the overall luster is gone aside from roleplaying.

Milyna: Yup! The changes have made the game far less complex, yet at the same time it has taken away the ability to really create any sort of character you want with the lack of the "skills" system. So in a sense, some of the RP aspect is completely gone and people struggle now between "canon", what they want to RP, and the limitations within their class/profession.

What is your favorite memory of SWG?

Sorceress: My favorite moment? Hmmm. That's a hard one. I love space. I guess. When I launched in space the first time, that was my favorite moment. I have had a lot of favorite moments though. When I first launched into space, I realized then that this was not a regular game. Space is one of the things that really makes SWG unique, because no other game has anything like it. The ability to customize your ships, as well as the new space enhancements I think brought a lot to space.

Jason: Man, and I thought the questions would get easier! Lets see. My favorite memory of SWG is all roleplay-related, and while there are a couple that come close, the favorite memory would be sitting on Endor with another player known as Xija. It was basically a weekend retreat of sorts. We had both gone out there ICly, turned off our comms, and spent the entirety of the trip camping and hunting wildlife. There were even a few hours where we scoured the forest for the Gorax . And it all culminated in sitting by the campfire under Endor's starry night.

Melkin: My favorite experience would have to be a period of RP time we called "The Spice Wars". We had multiple guilds in a guild war with established rules to keep a small bit of order and add tension to the gameplay at seeing everyone attackable. Multiple guilds were producing spice and selling it on the market, trying to see who could grab and hold the most territory while making a profit. Lots of different fights happened with it across multiple cities including Melkin, making arrangements for the Empire to crack down on his biggest rival.

Kamis: My favorite so far is the Liberation of Mandalore plotline, although nothing is going on with it.

Milyna: Five or six years ago, Darth Vader was giving a speech, back in a time where there seemed to be much more GM interaction. After the speech, I approached him with an idea, shyly, of course, and RPing the fact he is known for a temper. I suggested creating a new order in the Empire: Fashion Police because Black was so 5 minutes ago. Perhaps out of character, Vader laughed and entertained the conversation a few minutes. In the end my character made the comment "You need a good woman by your side to succeed," and I woke up at a Med Center. I still laugh about it.

What do see for SWG's future?

Sorceress: Hmmmm. I try not to be a prognosticator, but I think the developers need to focus on this game's strengths. Enough with the bug squashing. Time to put that aside and focus on new content that will bring new and old people back to the game. That is what we really need.

Jason: With the Dev team we have now? I see nothing but good things for SWG's future. While I can't say for certain how long it's going to last with two other Star Wars MMOs on the horizon. The experience you get from SWG I don't think can really be rivaled or recreated on any other platform or game. It's really one of the last true sandbox games, and I see at least a few more years in its lifespan.

Kamis: For me, when TOR comes out, it seems like it will die. Most of the players will be going to TOR if SOE doesn't bring out some major updates or expansions and not just releasing TCG loot.

Melkin: I think it'll take another population hit when TOR comes out. Depending on what TOR provides for the roleplay community will really determine in my mind whether SWG is able to sustain itself or not. I don't want to say that SWG is doomed, but unless they're releasing some bigger content or expansions, I can see it going by the wayside in the next two years.

Milyna: I see it ending eventually, as the game does have some limitations: a stale timeline, graphics. The general aspect of quests is interesting, but it's also boring after a while. The dynamics are truly great with SWG, but only for its time. Eventually, like many games, it becomes harder to even find the game to buy. People see new games on the shelves. People leave SWG save for the few die-hards, or those who find some aspect so appealing they won't leave because no other game has that aspect. But SOE also has to turn a profit, and eventually there just won't be enough player interest to keep it profitable. It's just how the gaming market is. So without some advances like graphics, timeline advancement for the RPers...eventually like all games it will go away and be a fond memory. SOE / SWG has truly done something very amazing though; not many MMOs survive this long. They are obviously doing something right.

Idylia: I can see SWG still having a thriving RP community, but probably only if TOR doesn't provide much for their roleplayers. I think a lot of the reason that SWG is still around is that it's the only Star Wars MMO out. But another one competing with it will definitely put up a challenge for SWG.

Thank you to Sorceress, Milyna, Melkin, Kamis, Jason, Idylia, and Evolet. You have given me wonderful insight into why this game is still going strong. Perhaps, the readers of this article should do as Massively's Justin Olivetti did and give SWG another try. Until then: May the Force be with you!

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