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Post-Anniversary, Star Wars Galaxies Analyzed 58

Posted by simoniker
from the meesa-intrigued dept.
Darniaq writes "Sony Online's PC MMO Star Wars Galaxies has been out a year, as of late last month, when the official anniversary celebration occurred. But what's new? What's different? Grimwell Online has a in-depth analysis charting what's changed, what's good, and what's not, in SWG. They argue that, for folks who played it early on and left in despair or disgust, a lot has changed. However, it's still very much a game for roleplayers and those with dreams of moisture farming." Interestingly, the author explicitly suggests: "If [you] previously got burned out or annoyed enough to quit, now's a good time to re-subscribe."
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Post-Anniversary, Star Wars Galaxies Analyzed

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  • Ugh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Idealius (688975) * on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:31AM (#9693954) Journal
    The point is that it's been more than a year since I was "screwed" initally.

    I'm sorry but to be a year behind all of the die-hards (combined with my initial distaste of being out of ~50$ for a game that promised more than it gave) is more than enough for me to pass on re-subscribing.
  • Return? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CaseM (746707) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:41AM (#9694008)
    Is the game worth playing? As usual in MMOGs, it depends.

    Now there's a strong statement if I've ever heard one.

    In all seriousness, I actually RTFA and have to admit, I'm even more depressed about the possibility of returning than I was before I read it (which is to say it hadn't even crossed my mind):

    "Combat still broken"

    "Macroing is alive and well"

    "Role-playing is still...rare."

    And SOE, the king of "fuck you" at the helm? Let me be the first to say, no fucking thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:54AM (#9694063)
    this excerpt from the article contradicts the slashdot post: Role-playing is still just as rare. Not that I expected anything else. At least folks talking politics or sports isn't so far out of character here as it would be in EQ. Small consolation.
    the slashdot post:"However, it's still very much a game for roleplayers and those with dreams of moisture farming."
    • Back when I played, I honestly tried to role-play. It netted me a lot of confused reactions. The first time I encountered someone with a pet was while waiting at a shuttleport. I told the guy, "I don't think they allow pets on the shuttle," and he thought I was confused about the game mechanics.

      I guess my point is that getting any role-playing done is a chicken-and-egg problem, because I can't explain that I'm role-playing without breaking character.

    • I see roleplayed acting and roleplaying differently. Roleplayed acting would involve not insta-learning all of the languages, picking a character personality and staying within it at all times. Of course, this is something I'm decidedly not. Roleplaying is about picking a role in the virtual world and performing the functions involved. And it becomes even more roleplaying when that role isn't just a shade of outputting damage. There are Image Designers, Musicians, Politicans and Dancers at all, and enjoy
  • by kherr (602366) <kevin AT puppethead DOT com> on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @12:58AM (#9694075) Homepage
    I recently made master droid engineer. By choosing not to grind, but to progress "naturally" through doing business, I had a more enjoyable experience and a process that lasted a few months. It gave me a reason to play the game instead of racing through the content as quickly as possible.

    The recently-added droid stuff really improved things. Droids are more complex and there is a greater variety. I was concerned that when I mastered the DE profession I'd lose interest, but I find myself making more droids than ever. Sales are good, people seem to find the droids useful finally.

    As the analysis pointed out, most droid changes are for utility functions. This has been great, players find more use for droids than just fighting. There is a sizable population of players who aren't interested in running combat missions, and they are the ones who seem to add the most depth to the game (not to knock the fighters).

    The analysis did get wrong, however, the point that droids can't be healed by players. Droid engineers can make repair kits that anyone can use, and droids can be equipped with an auto-repair module that actually repairs all droids (including itself) within a radius. This greatly improves the survivability of droids in combat. And with the changes to droid combat, more types of droids can fight, with different models doing different types of damage.

    The Jedi effect isn't really noticeable if you don't engage in PvP. It will be interesting to see how things change after the Jedi update is finished. Apparently the next update will create a two-tier Jedi system, with a limited number of Jedi players being able to engage in PvP and the other Jedi players only going after mobs. And after that comes a reworking of the Galactic Civil War, which should help the Star Wars-iness.

    Finally, the space expansion sounds like it will essentially be a second game on the server, which could be cool. The current combat system is turn-based but the space expansion is supposed to be FPS-style combat, which will appeal to many. And it is very cool that the players are the ones who will make and sell the spaceships.
    • "The current combat system is turn-based but the space expansion is supposed to be FPS-style combat"
      What was said is that it will be more FPS like.
      The way it works is similar to the current combat system, however instead of turning and firing at something behind you, you can only fire when the target is in front of you. This does force a more FPS type system since you need to continually manuver, however it is still turned based and the skills of your character determine hit/miss.

      If is cool that player
      • It's amazing that someone can get modded to +3 and still be completely wrong. The expansion is 100% twitch, there are no turn-based mechanics at all. The only thing seperating a newbie pilot from a master is the available ships, and the ability to tweak certain ship systems more effectively.
        • The only time you see the game will be totally twitch based is from stuff back in 2001, and people who keep repeating that.
          If you read the current stuff, unless they did a massive turn around since April/May 2004, they say things like "Twitch reflexes will play a part in combat" "uses the same 'Point and Click interface' that the rest of SWG uses", input commands into the attack queue, it is a role-playing game not a fps, etc.
          And while not turn based in the sense of chess people still call it turn based b
    • The current combat system is turn-based but the space expansion is supposed to be FPS-style combat, which will appeal to many.

      No it wont, they are dropping the ball on this one too. I thought that the space expansion would steal away many FPS players when it was first announced. Then they mentioned that space combat will only be "consent" drivent PvP. In another words, it's a FPS where you can't kill someone without their permission. What FPS player is going to want to deal with this:

      Hand Solo:
      • People who don't like that need to check out EVE Online [eve-online.com]. There's plenty of non-consensual PvP. Too much for my taste, way too many people will shoot first in a territorial dispute. Or because they're bored. Or 14...

        So I'm not playing EVE anymore. But I still recommend the game to anyone who likes: lots of PvP, a rich economy, large programs written in Python, flying around in spaceships, or strikingly beautiful spacescapes. Go check out some screenshots, EVE is a gorgeous game. And they are doing content u
    • The combat droids are a total waste in melee AKA tanks as they don't last anytime against creature. Once you gotten at least basic melee skills you can tank better. Doesn't make them useless, with basic melee it can take a long time and the robots do do damage and don't take xp but I found even when playing and not grinding it doesn't take long to go from 4-th brawler to master melee. For marksman they are slightly more usefull because while they aren't good tanks they are at least better then a novice mark
    • Ah, thanks for correcting the droids part. Proves that even the best intents can still provide faulting research :) My beef with Jedi isn't so much with PvP as they're so prevalent at all. When I see Jedi light sabers in the Coronet Starport, I expect 100s of Stormtroopers to show up. But they never do.
    • I thank you for progressing "naturally" through your profession. I'm on my way to Medic, and I'm trying the same thing. I despise tumbling for Med XP and the other lame things that go on. Medical centers are full of AFK characters all healing one guy who's constantly hurting himself for money. People with real wounds walk in, see 20 people standing around, and still don't get healed.

      I'm attempting to do my medic skills in a more natural fashion. If I'm out with my PA hunting, and someone gets hurt, I'll he
  • Free Trial (Score:4, Informative)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:00AM (#9694292) Journal
    Fileplanet offeres a free 14 day trial of the game
    http://www.fileplanet.com/files/140000/14093 8.shtm l
  • by servognome (738846) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @02:24AM (#9694371)
    I quit about 4 months into the game out of boredom. I put up with server crashes (Eclipse was notoriously down), broken recipes, broken quests, broken everything, then just got bored. The little Star Wars Galaxies is still on my desktop, and I still pay the monthly fee. Every month or so I log back in, say hi to my fellow guild mates (probably the main reason I even try playing). I enjoy the game for a few hours, checking "all the new content" finish the content in a few days, and run into the same boredom that made me leave before.
    It's really difficult to admit, because I wanted to love this game so much, but the whole structure just feels so flawed. All the fixes really haven't enhanced my gameplay experience. It wasn't the bugs that brought the game down, lots of people put up with them, it was the whole design of the game that makes it boring.
    SWG really had a chance to be huge, they haven't had new high profile competition. That is coming in WoW and EQ2. If the Lightspeed expansion doesn't work out, then I doubt it will ever become anything other than a mediocre also-ran MMORPG.
  • When aare MMORPG makers going to start offering single-player offline portions to some of these games? Never? Looks like I still don't care, then.

    Lest it sound like I'm whining, let me point out that A) Should the company in charge of Game X decide to stop supporting X, I can't play it anymore. Ever. And even if I could kludge together a pseudo-server, they created the game with the thought of thousands of people interacting, not dozens or just one. With just one person, many MMORPGs wouldn't just be
    • Re:That's Great... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Offering anything other than brief offline "tutorials" just isn't really going to work for MMORPGs. A modern MMORPG is geared pretty much entirely towards making players inter-act with each other. This affects every area of the game world; combat, questing, crafting, the broader economy, character design etc. Developers would need to pretty much design a completely different game and bundle it with the MMORPG for this to work. And, of course, when they were forced to up the price, customers would complain.
      • Actually... I would have to say that Neverwinter Nights is probably as close as you can get to a Single Player game with MMORPG options... some people have set up Persistant Worlds that you can log into, play your character, and play online with buckets of people... or you can just go and download a module and play single player or with friends.

        Nephilium
        Man is certainly stark mad: he cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen. -- Michel de Montaigne
      • The point about MMORPGs folding is kind-of valid. It does happen and it's always going to be a risk with the smaller MMORPGs (I guess anything under 100k users has a potential risk, anything under 50k has a serious risk).

        and

        Don't leap into a MMORPG in the first few weeks;

        Okay, so we're supposed to all wait for someone else to jump on the bandwagon before we do. If everybody does that, the bandwagon stays empty. The more people exercise your rules, the worse the situation becomes.

        My solution for a s
    • Sadly, offline portions to online games that are really connected are almost always cheatfests. See Diablo for more.

      City Of Heroes, however, can have some rewarding non-team aspects to it. I spent half of last night waving off team and sidekick requests because I just wanted to level up on my own for a while. Plus, it has the neat side effect that you can party up without even really doing so. Several brawls I got into had impromtu assists by wandering heroes.

      For an offline/online experience - I think
  • Roleplaying? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roshin (637756) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:38AM (#9694631)
    "However, it's still very much a game for roleplayers and those with dreams of moisture farming."

    I'm sorry, but I never saw anyone who even attempted to roleplay during my stint in SWG. I eventually quit out of mindcrushing boredom, nothing else.
    • right on. Same reason here. I came back to SWG recently because I saw that they implemented player cities. I thought these would be great, full or RPers. I was bloodly wrong.

      If I heard of a good RP guild which is low level (very important, because I do *not* want, I repeat: I do *not* want to level grind in a MMOG again. I mean, not a single minute of grind. Isn't that a great gaming philosophy? Always perform actions in a game because you actually want to? I was a musician in SWG and when I was *very* luc
    • Re:Roleplaying? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EddieBurkett (614927)

      He's not saying that people roleplay moisture farmers in the game. He's saying that the game is well-designed to give you that opportunity. The game is surprisingly successful at allowing you the opportunity of being one of the people in the background of the Star Wars movies, especially since its easy to find a niche in the economy for yourself. The problem is that too many people (kids?) are able to powergame and (especially now) play all day, and that winds up dominating the landscape. There are pock

  • When I heard what they were going to try to do with Jump to Lightspeed, and after seeing it in action, I reactivated my account. I also heard that some of the guys involved with coding the last few wing commanders are working on coding this beast, and wing commander was definatly one of the best damn piloting series that I've ever played.
  • "buff" (used every other sentence in the article) is defined in the dictionary of MMPORG terms [ign.com] as

    buff : (noun) Something that temporarily improves a skill or an attribute.
    • Thank you. It helps those of us who don't have much to do with these MMORPGs understand what these people are talking about.

      When I listen to people talking about Everquest or somesuch, it sounds almost like some kind of foreign language. I have no idea what they're talking about. It's amazing how much lingo has arisen around MMORPGs.
  • I think the game has a lot to offer. I think the amount of stuff you can do in it is actually what throws people off. I played for a while, quit, and then came back when I learned a group of old friends were playing. The second time around I got more involved with the community, groups, clans, etc. It is awesome how you can go up in rank and actually be part or a universe, than just being a character who levels. One guy had so many Imp points that storm troopers would bow to him. He was able to place
  • by Zhirem (771259) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @10:52AM (#9696805)
    Take this post with a grain of salt, as Funcom and SOE have made me a bitter gamer...

    I am intrigued here by the paralells shown between the history of Anarchy Online and Star Wars Galaxies.

    When AO launched, it was the biggest debacle in an MMORPG to date. Almost a complete flop... Including submitted credit card info over an unsecured server among a great many other problems.

    When SWG launched, the first day was a complete meltdown, and only those who downloaded/used Mozilla could actually succeed with getting through the game registration. From day 2 on, things improved. People were actually able to get into the game. Things were buggy as all get out, but at least you could be in the game.

    In the early AO, one would run into tons of bugs and other broken parts of the system. One would submit a trouble ticket. Said ticket would go into a black hole, and you would never hear from a company representative.

    In the early days of SWG, one would submit a trouble ticket, and have it filed into a similarly-constructed-yet-Star Wars-themed black hole...

    In the early days of AO, they had public access to their forums. Then, as one could expect with the debacle of the launch that occurred, the tone of the forums went decidedly ape-$hit. In response, AO took their forums private. Access only to paying customers. The effect on the community at large: "Gee, I wonder what Funcom has to hide?". As a player at that time, they had a LOT to hide.

    In the early days of SWG they had public access to their forums. Then, as one could expect with a more-decent launch than AO, but with a product that significantly fell short on the promises made on the packaging of the game, as people starte to realize that the game really was not that much actual FUN, the tone of the boards turned decidedly ugly. SOE responded by making the forums private. Only paying customers. The effect on the community at large: "Gee, I wonder what SOE has to hide?". As a player at that time, they also had a LOT to hide.

    AO has sinced released a couple of expansions, fixed a lot of their problems, and seen meagre retention of their player base. Others who waded through the early problems have resolved to never play AO again. (count me among them, or ever play ANY Funcom product again). Now, AO has to give away a free time period to tempt people into even TRYING the game. I think however, that they did not attempt this tactic until well after a year's worth of the game being live.

    SWG has since released a couple of updates that make good on the claims and promises they made back when the game was still in beta (vehicles, player cities, mounts, etc.). They have fixed a lot of problems, encountered many more, and seen a somewhat better than meagre retention of their player base. (however, I would love to hear some real figures from SOE about subscription levels. We have not in a loooong time, and this leads me to believe that they do NOT in fact, have very impressive numbers. Furthermore, they leapt to the free-trial quite early (out of necessity, I believe, to stop the hemhoraging playerbase).

    The paralells are telling for me. Both games might very well be worth the effort of a player who is not familiar to take them up. It is my hunch however, that buyer's remorse will settle in not long after the initial coolness factor has worn off.

    Every single one of my friends, (realword and virtual) have left these games never to return. We have simply been so burned by them and their companies that we will not even look at another product from the companies that offered us the gold-plated turds we received.

    As for myself and many, many other MMORPG gamers, SOE will not likely see another dime from us, nor Funcom. Nor I would argue should they. The marketing departments forced games to go live that were not ready, and then did not allow for the technical staff to complete what they had rushed to release, or to stabilize incredibly shaky results.

    I for one s
    • Don't forget, after all the troubling times, AO gave us a present. I was an advernturer, so I got...a backpack. Now, SWG is giving away presents for those who have had accounts for over 6 months.
      • Oh yeah. A pixel-present. Whoop-dee-friggin'-doo... I left AO before they could 'reward' me with pixel presents.

        Lemme fill you in on how SOE is rewarding their veterans:

        You get a DEED for A SHIP. Not the ship itself, but a deed to one. This ship will not be craftable by anyone, and cannot be traded. Furthermore, it will not be all that useful as it is a 'luxury yacht'. With a single gun mount I believe... (my understanding of the ship details might not be spot-on).

        But, HERE is the kicker (and man
    • [i]'I would love to hear some real figures from SOE about subscription levels. We have not in a loooong time, and this leads me to believe that they do NOT in fact, have very impressive numbers.'[/i]

      I agree. If SOE had impressive subscription rates, they would be shouting about it from the rooftops.
  • But... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ath (643782) on Wednesday July 14, 2004 @03:49PM (#9700125)
    When I first started playing SWG about 1 month into the game, it was my first real attempt at a MMORPG. Yes, I was warned that they are time sinks and life stealers. But I had the time during that period and decided to give it a try. Maybe, with a Star Wars environment, it could be pretty fun.

    I do not want to suggest that my experience is the same as others. Many people love SWG and MMORPGs in general. They like the time commitment, the "grinding", the combat systems, crafting, etc. In the end, I had to face the same question that I read in a review. Is it fun?

    I realized that I was not actually having fun. Instead, I was trying to achieve something in an artificial world that gave me no satisfaction back. In single player games, I compare it to a fiction book. I follow the story, actively participate to a large extent, but I know there is an end to the whole experience. With a MMORPG, there is no end, there is rarely any aspect of a story, and my active participation is almost entirely meaningless.

    God knows I spend a lot of time playing computer games. I am not suggesting I consider them all wastes of time. However, when I finished Splinter Cell or Operation Flashpoint, I felt like I had been part of something more real. In a MMORPG, most of the environment depends entirely on others.

    Yes, I had a lot of fun the first time I was in a group and we killed a Rancor. Yes, I had a lot of fun the first time I killed a Rancor myself. But when I could walk around killing any group of Rancors I found, the fun just ended. And it was at that very moment that I realized I could have more fun doing something else.

    Does everyone have to feel the same way? Absolutely not. If that is your thing, enjoy it. For me, the answer to the question was finally clear. No, it was not fun.

  • Unfortunately [fortunately?] for us Mac-users, we (will) never had/have the chance to enjoy the vast fortunes prominent in the moisture farming industry.

    So, SOE can piss off.
    • My lunatic, idiot-savant friend. I, a die-hard Mac-o-phile, switched to the PC 3 computers ago at home. Why?

      Both did Word

      Both did Excel

      Both did Surfing with all the browsers I might conceivably use

      Both did C and C++ programming

      Hmmmm...what might make the difference? Oh yeah, games, which I play all the damned time. I was tired of waiting 1 year or more for the Mac port of some PC game (which inevitably was almost as if it ran in an emulator rather than a true translation (like the very first D&
    • My lunatic, idiot-savant friend. I, a die-hard PC-o-phile of 14 years, switched to the Mac 3 years ago at home and work. Why?

      I can count on it to not crash, halt, & freeze; or be deleted, hijacked, trojaned, wormed, or otherwise infected, rendered useless, or comporomized. My operating system won't destroy the USB port on my scanner, or do any number of other things Windows does to make your day absolutely miserable.

      I don't have the time nor inclination to figure out why in God's name my SoundBlas

  • Hi all,
    Thought I'd chime in since SWG stole my life about 3 months ago. It's really fun for me - there's 10 or 15 planets to explore, and really only one or two are sucky. Everything else is interesting. The graphics are good, and the music is excellent. There are interesting loot drops, and many NPC quests you can do (some better than others).

    You can join the Empire or the Rebellion - you can wear stormtrooper armor, or you can kill storm troopers. There's lots of dungeons, and a new one that is hard
  • Long section from the article:

    Jedi no longer become more powerful just by using their force abilities. Now their progress is based on other players. Light Jedi need to gather the necessary votes to progress from their peers. Dark Jedi need to fight their way up. A compelling system, and I'm sure it'll work flawlessly by the time I get to a level where I need to worry about it...

    ...Going forward, Jedi will still be a balance nightmare for SOE. One thing I personally hope they integrate are Ysalamiri. Sur
  • The entire concept that there must be some other class that can fight a Jedi to a standstill, and win (and I know a non bounty hunter who did solo a Jedi recently) is rediculous, unless the hunter is skilled and the Jedi an incompetent 12 year old.

    It reminds me of Horizons, which promised that an adult dragon could take on any 2 maxxed out of the other classes, only fighting physically and not having to use any spells. Yet it was hard to get there.

    The only interesting thing about that game besides the Je

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