Star Wars: Galaxies - The Total Experience
For MANY A dedicated Rebel soldier or Imperial Stormtrooper, the 'total' Star Wars Galaxies experience went something like this... Game bought in a flurry of sweaty anticipation the day after release. Game installed an hour later once heart rate had calmed to a level suitable for conscious thought. Game subscription paid for once credit card not maxed out on pizza deliveries located.
Game started three hours later once first of many patches downloaded. Two-hour break to recover from fainting when Star Wars logo and fanfare blare out from monitor. Wookiee character rolled up. Twenty minutes of messing around with the random name generator before finally settling on original choice of Flewbacca. Tutorial played. Another fainting break once Mos Eisley loads up. Several months of dedicated skill grinding coupled with a growing sense that this isn't actually the all-encompassing Star Wars online experience dreamt about. (For a start there's no space travel. Or lightsabers.) Continual depression at the lack of Star IVors-ness and the everdeepening grind. Unremitting joy half a year later at the release of the Jump To Lightspeed add-on, finally bringing space travel and combat to the universe.
Unremitting exasperation as JTL turns out to be an unfocused experience. A few more months of grinding and debate about subscription cancellation. A sense of relief when the Combat Upgrade is announced with its stated goal of bringing the game's action closer to the 'true' experience of Star Wars rather than the current experience of being Everquest in Star Wars clothing. Blind rage when the Combat Upgrade is finally released ahead of the rushed Rage Of The Wookiees Episode III tie-in and turns the game even further into EverQuest in Star Wars clothing and is a buggy mess with little thought for the needs of the players Final cancellation of subscription and eventual realisation that you could have been playing proper games all along.
Throughout its existence we maintained that the only thing really wrong with Star Wars Galaxies was its association with Star Wars. Had this been a generic, non-franchised sci-fi MMO title, SOE would have had a very decent little game on its hands But Star Wars fans being what they are (dedicated), there was no way SLVG could ever be the ultimate experience they were looking for. For a start, the Star Wars 'galaxy' was one of thrilling stories, conflict and resolution, character growth and development, good versus evil. A beginning, a middle and an end. It was not watching progress bars slowly grow following repetitive actions and abstracted combat. People had spoken for years about the tantalising concept of an online Star Wars game, but what no one had realised was that they'd meant playing X-Wing vs TIE Fighter with a group of mates, not playing EverQuest in Naboo.
For most, the Combat Upgrade was the final straw. Badly handled on SOE's part, the like it or lump it' mentality drove away a fair proportion of the already dwindling audience, disillusioned with the lack of direction in the game. Many saw their characters made worthless. Jedi particularly suffered after already having jumped through many tiresome and ill-defined hoops to unlock their Force powers. The bitterest pill of all was when the Combat Upgrade redefined the requirements needed to be a Jedi and many existing Padawan were dumped back to the ranks of mere mortals.
Star Wars Today
All of which paints rather a negative picture of what could have been a half decent MMO. But where is SWG today? Actually, things aren't so bad any more. The great cancellation rush of early 2005 has thinned the herd of whining obsessives and left the game feeling somewhat more relaxed, filled with players who are there for the sheer love of the game and don't mind the loose interpretation of the Star Wars canon. Many of the Combat Upgrade's bugs have been ironed out and the resulting system isn't quite as bad as people have made out. Sure, it's no Dark Forces II in terms of edge of your seat action, but as MMOs go, it's competent enough and still has one of the better skill systems out there.
Perhaps the best way to experience the universe is as a newbie, in which case The Total Experience package is your only choice. Not only does it reduce the horrendous amount of patching you'd have to sit through, but you get a bonus Episode III speeder bike. Ultimately, SWG is a flawed attempt to create the game of many a fanboy's dreams. However, overlook the franchise implementation and you might just enjoy yourself. After all, you I can't ruin things any more than George Lucas already has.
Download Star Wars: Galaxies - The Total Experience
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP