Revisiting a Galaxy far, far away

My Wookie Marksman

A few friends and I have been playing Star Wars Galaxies on a classic server that is all pre-CU/NGE.  I was skeptical at first about whether or not it would be the same (feel the same, provide that experience I remember soooo fondly, or even be populated with people).  It was a total shocker to see a community playing that reflects exactly what I remember from years ago.  There are people everywhere — feels like almost as many as when it first launched — and they’re friendly and going out of their way to help.   The same feeling and spirit of the game have been captured and I’ve really been having fun running missions and working on my crafting.

SWG skills system is the best of any MMO

Playing SWG again and having a positive experience is both a blessing and a curse.  There are three things this game captures that make it unique: Its Crafting, Skill Progression, and Sandbox Community atmosphere.  The crafting is fantastic.  I have a crafting character and starting him out felt like this enormous mountain that I had to clime.  I took my time though and went out surveying for minerals and making weapons and clothes.  Slowly but surely I’ve worked up to placing harvesters out on various planets collecting resources that I need to continue developing him into a Tailor that makes clothing.  Then there’s the crafting system itself with resource quality, resource scarcity, as well as the depth of the crafting system that makes it so customizable and involved to the point that one could be only be a crafter and be satisfied.  Playing a game with these qualities is a blessing, but realizing they exist in a game made back in 2003 (and since changed) is frustrating.

The skill progression is something that I’ve spoken about before.  As I’ve said, this is the system that I would use for my MMO if I ever make one.  Each character starts out with 250/250 total skill points that can be allocated into branches of skill trees.  Taking a basic profession like “Novice Marksman” will take 15 points; then moving up various trees such as Rifles or Pistols costs 2, 3, 4, then 5 for the top tier.  In order to spend those points in the tiers you

Cantina packed with people

need to actually be gaining experience in what it is you’re using — like going out and shooting something with a rifle will give rifle experience that you can use in order to allocate those skill points.  If you don’t like what you spent your skills on then unlearn them and all you lost is the time spent gaining the experience since you’re refunded your skill points.  It’s simply fantastic to mix and match classes/professions and make your character how you want.

The magical touch that brings everything in SWG together is the sandbox community atmosphere.  The world is entirely player driven.  There are Cantinas but they’re empty shells without players in them to dance and play instruments.  There’s a market but it’s empty without people selling.  Items in the world do not exist without players making them.  All around there are people taking up roles within the community that each connect to one another and create a harmonious environment.   This rewards people for wanting to just play music in the Cantina all day because there are people who just want to go out and hunt.  The hunters need to come back and watch/listen to entertainers for their stats to recuperate or to receive a special entertainer buff.  Hunters need to sell their resources like Hides to make a profit and crafters need those goods to make the armor and weapons the hunters need.   The community brings the world alive.

This particular server is still undergoing development in what appears to be a “beta”, much of which I’m still trying to figure out.  Housing isn’t in yet and there are still a few bugs to be worked out but overall it’s nearly perfect.  If only SoE would make an official server pre-nge/cu… they would get my $15/month instantly.

  • Thats kinda funny. I d/l’d and created a trial account late last night for SWG out of boredom and curiosity. This is the second time I’ve done this in the last couple years. Like you said, its pretty empty even on the ‘Medium’ population server but I keep going back either out of nostalgia or for an immersive Star Wars fix. Now you’re saying there is a pre-NGE server and my interest level just skyrockets.

    However, I had gone through all the motions of becoming a Jedi pre-NGE and that was a real GRIND. Jedi is what I’d want to be again and I just dont know if I can put myself through that grind again. I do have plenty of time until SWTOR comes out to give it a go though.

    So, are you going to share with us how to get onto this magical pre-NGE server?? Please?? I promise I wont AFK grind on Kashyyk (sp) or Commando grenade grind on crap which planet was that?

  • I loved the origanal SWG, i have very fond memories of everything from pvp’ing over player owned base complexes to dancing and playing in cantinas and setting up malls. the game was near perfect, if only it was made/taken over by someone other than sony.
    I dont exspect i will play an emulated server, as continued development is proberly going to be non existant, but i hold out hope that some dev somewhere will make a game in simular style

  • @TxDragoon: My understanding is that the Jedi system in place here is the one where you do profession mastering, visit PoI’s, do Rumor’s, barely, faint, surge, etc … essentially the grind. 😉 (I hate Jedi)

    @Evalissa: Essentially there doesn’t need to be continued development if they release right at the point where the game was perfect pre-cu. They’ve managed to work on it for many years so far so one would hope they continue to support it after it launches.

  • @Keen

    Which server are you guys on? I’ve never played SWG but have always wanted to check it out.

  • Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking and I would hate SW:G again if I played it but I’d definitely subscribe toa legit pre-NGE server if it was available. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to set one up?

  • No jump to lightspeed. The force system changed so many times back then that I lost track of which was the original.

  • the few i found havent moved sense 2008. but didnt find anything up to date 🙁

  • Which server are you on, Keen? I didn’t know any of the project teams had made it as far as launching a server yet.

  • I would love a Pre-NGE server, but player housing and Jump to Lightspeed were such huge parts of my experience that I doubt I could play without them.

  • I’m playing on SWGEmu.

    @Hobonicus: Player housing is coming soon. I don’t know about Jump to Lightspeed though.

  • I’m surprised that some of the old SWG vents haven’t heard of SWGEmu.

    I would love to get my self into some old-school SWG, but it is very overwhelming as a new player. Starting out with no knowledge of the game and having no friends around kind of sucks… Perhaps some one could ‘mentor’ me and show me the ropes of the game? =D

  • One of my blogger friends just made the move over here as well and seems to love it. I’ve been looking over their site for a couple days just trying to figure out how to log in. Nice to hear so many are really enjoying it and that they’ve been able to get things working so far.

  • I only played after the NGE and it was not very fun. The tutorial had this annoying green line that you could follow to your objective. Being able to play a wookie was pretty cool.

  • Gosh that does look tempting.

    Do Jedis have permadeath in this emulation? And appear on BH terminals when witnessed using Force powers?

  • I played Swg sense day one up to NGE and a bit after… about a month sense my guild left and i got everything they didnt want. allot of houses, guild halls and so forth and i tried to make it work. Failing miserable I just completely forgot everything that had to do with Galaxies. let alone a emulator that might or might not ever be finished.

    Seems they have made allot of progress so now im interested 😛 I just hope jump to light speed works. I really liked flying in space and the ship housing, was the best part in my opnion

  • I love SWGEmu and have been following the project for 3+ years now, but recently there hasn’t been much progress on it at all. The version of the engine they are running now is essentially the exact same one from 18 months ago, and they have stopped giving updates as to the progress of the project as of January.

    I have begun to give up hope on it, which is sad as they seemed so close to getting everything operational. I guess time will tell if it ever gets done, but their forums are now just people arguing over the lack of progress and/or updates.

    I’ve played around in there a lot, but playing in a half-working version of Pre-CU SWG just makes me even more sad to know that I could have had it all 7 years ago.

  • Looking through the forums it seems like this project is in almost dead state. Few die hard developers trying to keep going with little progress. Common situation with open source that is not supported by business oriented developers. I would bet $1k that it will never get released

  • Yeah, Im with a lot of the comments already said. I can imagine its no easy task to create this emulator, but its 4+ years now, and that plus the lack of updates recently, and all the past drama and forum naziing, Ive kinda lost interest. SWG was my favorite game ever, Id love to see a completed stable version of the original game, but I have to say I dont think its going to happen anytime soon.

  • I’m curious about one aspect of crafting. Experimenting with different materials sounds great, I love the idea, but is it possible to just look up a table of material effects on some min/max online guide? Or am I totally misunderstanding the way it works?

    I just worry that easily accessible info on the net is always the enemy of in-game experimentation.

  • Nice write up. I think you capture so well what was different and great about the game. This is the first time an EMU has ever sounded workable. Would want housing and Jump to Light Speed though. January right before CU was perfect. Give me that SWG 🙂

  • @buddydude Crafting in SWG really has to be experianced to understand it. There is no min/max list for anything really. Its all about the resources and your experimentation rolls, plus for some items there can be added bonus components to enhance the final product. Also you have multiple qualities to experiment on with an item, say you are making a pistol, you can experiment on max damage, min damage, speed, special action cost, maybe more, I forget, its been a long time.

    Resources are constantly in flux, they spawn for a few days to a week or so. So today there may be a certain type of steel in spawn, next week it will be gone, and a new steel of the same type may spawn, but with a differant name and stats.

  • From what I’ve seen in SWGEmu it’s a very active community coupled with a decent number of updates. If you register an account you get access to a lot more forums. They’ve even hosted a PvP event and made an effort to be active.

    I’ve only played about a week and a half and I’ve seen enough to keep playing. Admittedly I do not have a history with this server so I don’t know how things once were.

  • Well, I too was very hopeful once, and the players certainly enjoy whats there. But there haven’t been developer updates in months, and they have been working on an “Object Restructure” since last June with no end in sight or finish date even speculated on.

    They also don’t update what is working, their list of features and state of completion is over 17 months old. Glad you have just discovered this cool project, but for those of us who have been following it for the past few years, the rate of progress now feels like a lost cause. This is essentially the same features they had on the server a year ago.

    I hope I’m wrong and this thing gets completed one day, but by then this game will be over 10 years old.

  • My understanding was that once they are finished with what they are doing now, the server will bw wiped again. I guess it all depends on how long that is but that has been what has kept me from really playing it.

  • What exact server are you on? b/c this definitely got my attention, i looked into this over a year ago and saw how far they were from actually launching it so i lost interest, even if it is just a Testcenter server i’d have fun messing around. My understanding is theres just a “TC Nova” server up currently and theres another one called Test: Anh, which are you guys on?

  • I haven’t played on SWG Emu servers for a while, but they weren’t worth it then. Its good to know that there are at least some that feel the old way.

    That said I think I’ve changed just as much as SWG has, and probably won’t want to devote the time and effort that the original game called for on a server with even less chance to exist for any period of time than a professional game company’s server.

  • Ohhh the days of pre NGE. I had 4 characters at max credits. I think I was the most popular crafter on my server (my second full time job!!!!). I did nothing but craft in SWG and I was a legend :). I hope one day a sandbox mmo will come out that’s just like SWG but with updated graphics/controls/combat.

    I’ll subscribe 🙂

  • This looks fun but sadly I don’t have my copy of the game anymore since I moved. It looks like I’m out of luck being they will ban you if you DL and use the trial client.

  • SWG was indeed one of the coolest games for making a name for yourself. Master crafters were so revered, and their names appeared on each item they made forever, so you could actually establish a brand.

    No one will ever know that I cleared the Canyons Of Kragnor or whatever in WOW for the 5000th time. But to be a master bio engineer who is one of the few who can make a giant dinosaur pet, very cool.

    I actually went down the Image Designer profession line on my main character, because it allowed you to remodel characters with options not even available at creation(like new hairstyles). After hours of grinding hairstyle changes in cantinas, I reached Master Image Designer and was one of only 2 on my server, because it was such a boring and weird profession. But because it was so rare I had people seeking me out from all over the galaxy for character changes, and I made a virtual fortune.

    Only in a sandbox game like SWG with so many cool unique professions…

  • Ive been playing, this Pre-cu game is very hard to get into. The Combat is difficult and getting started in any profession can be a little overwhelming. The class seletion is the best “RPG” element that any mmo has. Keen whats you characters name on the server?