Revisiting a Galaxy far, far away
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.
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
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.