This past weekend, Tarkheena and I started playing Star Wars Galaxies again. Yes, you read that right. Before you get too mad at me, I know that in the past I’ve pointed at SWG as an example of everything that is wrong at SOE. I’m not taking that back. SOE most assuredly DID screw up with SWG. The NGE (New Game Experience) was a horrible miscalculation, and their timing (2 days after an expansion) couldn’t have possibly been worse. I won’t go into all the reasons why it was a bad idea here, as it’s all been hashed and rehashed before.
The thing is, now I’m having fun.
Since I now am the (slightly ashamed) owner of a Station Pass, I resolved to try it out. Tark and I ended up getting our old accounts out and giving all our houses and stuff to the new guys. So they are slightly advantaged (we had resources, but not a ton of cash, er, credits) vs. someone starting fresh. Let’s be honest; no one is really starting fresh. I haven’t seen the game in a box on a shelf anywhere, so unless you happen to be using the Station Launcher and see it, you really can’t buy it.
The game IS simplified in a lot of ways. It’s much more quest-driven with crafted content now than it was at launch. Back in the day, it was mission-driven and dynamically created (cough, cookie-cutter, cough) content. So from that perspective the game is better than it was at launch. The NGE actually improved the game in more ways than it hurt it. It’s a shame that this isn’t the game that shipped at launch (with a few changes for the old guard; I’d still like to see resting and cantinas a more integrated part of the game play as they were then, for example.) Crafting is really similar to what it was then.
A big plus? You can now have 2 characters per server instead of 1. This is huge. The skill tree is gone, in favor of a level-based progression system. The myriad classes are replaced with 9 “iconic” archetypes. They have a system that is very wow-like for choosing abilities, although they call them something different. There are less annoyances in the game. Travel is a little easier, as everyone gets a speeder (if they do the easy quest for it) when they get to Mos Eisley.
I’ve actually got some of the guys at work geeked up about trying it again, and they are getting some of their “MMO-head” friends involved. I’m going to try to get a little group going and see how that progresses. For now, other than betas, this is what I’m playing.
If any of you are interested in joining us on Chilastra, please let me know and I’ll let you know how to find me. Tarkheen and I are having a lot of fun. Of course, this is kinda like the honeymoon period but I’d recommend that you at least give it a look, especially if you are a Station Pass loser, er , owner, like me.
John Smedley has stated publicly that they know they made a mistake with the NGE. I honestly hope that this is true. And John, I am counting on you to leave SWG alone, and let us play. You are welcome to start updating the game any time you like, but please, please, don’t change the whole paradigm again.
And yes, I know I’m fickle.