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Adventure Log: In a galaxy far, far away

Returning to SWG

I think my character’s face says it all.

I delayed last week’s adventure log a few days because I decided to do it on my mini-adventure back into the galaxy of Star Wars.  No, not the Old Republic.  I’m talking about An Empire Divided.   Some of you are still probably going “wtf is he talking about?” — SWG!  Star Wars Galaxies.

The urge to go back and play was overwhelming when I heard the news that SWGEmu is almost getting to the point where the long beta is over.  SWGEmu is a SWG emulator  recreating the game at the point it was at before the infamous combat update.   Since the real SWG was shut down, just about everyone who still wants to play the game is playing on SWGEmu — about 3,000 people online at any given time.

Entering such a vast galaxy as a completely new player is overwhelming.  A few of my friends were totally lost as to how to actually play the game.  SWG was never very good at taking the new player and getting them started down a path.  It’s really up to the individual to figure things out, or have another player guide them.  Sometimes the most confusing part of SWG is the best part: Crafting.

Crafting comprises the vast majority of SWG.  The entire game revolves around the player-driven economy.  Players craft literally everything, and everything has a use.  It’s such a complex system that I can’t do it justice here.

The key to understanding SWG, and understanding how to play, is knowing that combat is not the emphasis.  Did that blow your mind?  An MMORPG where you can literally never, ever, engage in combat and still have one of the most enriching, immersing experiences possible in a MMO actually exists.  The trick is understanding that you’re not progressing towards beating something.  The goal is to live and survive in the galaxy while hopefully creating a more comfortable existence for yourself while building relationships and enjoying the community.

Okay, so less about SWG and more about me.  Read on.

I made my character a human and chose to take up Artisan right off the bat.  My goal is to relearn the intricacies of the crafting system, understand this particular server’s economy (wants/needs), and then create a business where I can create and market my goods.  The end goal for me is to amass wealth and notoriety.

So far I have Survey 4, and I spend a lot of my time sampling resources for the long road to Master Tailor.  Oh yeah, I decided to make clothes.  A huge part of SWG is looking cool.  Sometimes that’s more important than what you can actually do.  I’ll make metal bikinis for the dancers wanting to look like Leia, and dusters with bandoliers for people wanting to look like outlaws from the wild west.  I’d go the route of setting up a store and personalizing the shopping experience — very hands on with my customers instead of a mass-producer or a completely custom order only seller.  Just the fact that I can make those distinctions is amazing.

Some friends of mine (the usual suspects) are playing.  I think some of them are still figuring out how the game is played, but I think I’ve convinced them to set up houses close to each other and begin the foundation for our own player city.  We’ll elect a mayor, set up a shopping area, and carve out our own niche on some world.  Dreaming big has always been something I do when playing SWG.  Thankfully the game fully supports everything I want, and it’s just a matter of getting there.

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anonemous - October 2, 2012

A MMO that doesn’t focus on combat – how did that work out for them?

Keen
Keen - October 2, 2012

Exceptionally well! The game was extremely fun with an incredible sense of long-lasting appeal. The basis for the idea wasn’t unique to SWG, though. UO was the first MMORPG I played to not have combat be the central focus, and SWG simply expanded on the idea.

Keep in mind that the combat update, when they focused on combat, was when the game collapsed.

Gankatron - October 2, 2012

This game has always fascinated me. Was the inclusion of the combat focused update intrinsically a problem or was the problem that it was implemented poorly?

Darkstryke - October 2, 2012

CU ruined the game and chased most of the player base away, that’s why it died a slow, painful death.

UO had the same philosophy, you could never lift a finger in combat and play perfectly fine. I have a friend that I met in EQ that did nothing but run a tailor shop in UO. It was her thing, it worked, and she only left because the playerbase kind of fell off sharply when EQ launched.

I never got heavily into SWG as I stuck with EQ raiding, but it was a beloved game that didn’t need to be a million player MMO to succeed. Lucas & Smed decided that’s what it had to be though, and well, the rest is history. I find it quite fitting that TOR has turned out to be a colossal 300million dollar flop, karma is a b.

Keen
Keen - October 2, 2012

@Gankatron: Combat was always a little wonky, but it suited SWG. Something about it was charming, in an old and unpolished way. Changing it ruined the game, so take that as a sign I suppose.

@Darkstryke: You nailed it.

ferovar - October 2, 2012

Released 9 years ago and there has yet to be a game to match their housing system. Good job, development companies.

Keen
Keen - October 2, 2012

@Ferovar: Add crafting to that list.

Zederok - October 2, 2012

” An MMORPG where you can literally never, ever, engage in combat and still have one of the most enriching, immersing experiences possible in a MMO actually exists”

Now I remember why I never even looked at SWG let alone attempt to play. Not my cup of tea, I need combat and need it to be centric and play the dominat role in an MMO for me to be interested but I dont begrudge those who oppose my viewpoints.

Whorhay - October 2, 2012

I actually didn’t like the actual way crafting worked. I very much liked the outcome of crafting. And crafting was significant because vendors only sold the most horrendously awful junk starter weapons. Stuff wore out and had to be repaired and replaced.

Combat wasn’t really all that bad. The difficulty with the combat systems was in balancing the skill trees in such a way that 90% of the combat players weren’t all the same build. Once I understood the systems I also really liked the idea of how encumbrance worked with armor, weapons and actions. It all just made a lot of sense, it just needed better balancing, and possibly fewer damage types.

ferovar - October 2, 2012

@ Zederok

To me combat was a very huge part of it, it’s just that not everyone engaged in it. People used to work on crafting and set up a shop in their house, but others would be engaged in PvP 24/7. My guild built our own city in the middle of nowhere with its own shuttleport (think flight path in wow terms). We then frequently had groups raid our small town and we’d have to defend it. Combat very much so becomes a big part of the game if you PvP a lot.

Now if you want PvE combat, there wasn’t much substance there, at least when I played (I quit right before the combat upgrade). Most planets had large areas of empty areas, because it was meant for the players to fill up and that they did.

Darkstryke - October 2, 2012

There’s nothing to hate about people that like combat, there were always other MMO’s for that. The only problem SWG had is it was being run by two very ego-centric executives whom felt slighted that the Starwars IP wasn’t the 800lb gorilla of the industry. For SWG to play second fiddle in sub numbers to the other MMO’s out there is / was a huge hit to that gigantic Lucas ego, and SoE turned into the original money chasers shorty after they absorbed Verant.

That’s the tragedy of it. Had they not tried to chase the WoW player demographic with the CU update, I would argue that SWG would still be successfully humming along today. It would most likely not have 300,000 players like it did at release, but for any other companies involved it would have been more then enough to live with.

The parallels exist as well to other niche players in the industry, like EVE, but 10 years later it’s still going, and slowly growing. The old player base that still runs in EVE is fiercely loyal, and judging from the people who let it be known that they absolutely adored SWG as their hobby, I would say SWG’rs from 2003 would still be playing it today had the train not derailed and fallen off a cliff.

That’s the whole problem with this genre. It’s turned from a labor of love to the sole goal of a highest return possible for shareholders. The industry has been hijacked by bean counters and the CEO’s that listen to them. This is why you have had huge flops the last 5 years, why things are design stagnant, and how a major studio or one backed by a large publisher will never redefine the genre going forward. To do so would fly in the face of everything they currently stand for;

Cashing out.

Keen
Keen - October 2, 2012

I was one of the people building cities (mayor of one) and creating shops (sold food/drink) and organizing social events like concerts.

There was a time for combat. My other account was my combat character. I would attack Empire cities/bases and have lots of fun.

I think it was the idea that combat was definitely not the focus, whereas a game like WoW can’t exist without it.

Rieth Mhide - October 3, 2012

hi
this topic absolutely fascinates me, can you give a link to download this emulator fom pleeeeeeeeeeease
thanks 🙂

G - October 3, 2012

SWG had the very best crafting system. Hopefully a developer will implement that crafting system into some of their future games.

wufiavelli - October 3, 2012

need to find a person selling swg now. always wanted to try that but never could get it working

Damage Inc - October 3, 2012

You can find it cheap in EBay. Here is a link to a sealed collector’s editin for under $20 current bid.

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=320994333455&index=3&nav=SEARCH&nid=53325136985

Damage Inc - October 3, 2012

Also playing SWG with Keen and the gang in the EMU server as well as dabbling in P99 the EQ EMU as well.

I never played SWG, was playing DAoC and Shadowbane at the time but I am definitely enjoying SWG. Rolled two characters, both Wookie. I have a Wookie crafter and a Wookie future smuggler. Right now I’m working on my crafter and will take up Weaponsmithing as soonas I make Master Artisan.

ferovar - October 3, 2012

I was an overweight Mon Cal who was a Commando/Create Handler.

Probably one of the best features of this game, which is rarely duplicated, is the fact that there are no levels. That’s how I wish all MMOs were.

Evalissa - October 3, 2012

I do miss SWG.
I had 3 accounts, one for combat, she always changed proffessions but was normaly a combination of Creature Handler, Doctor and rifles
My second was an entertainer, normaly muscian and maxed out in image design. Thats something that would not work in games any more, a ‘class’ whos sole use was to change the looks of other people!
My 3rd was an artisan, Merchants and tailoring, untill JTL where she swapped to reverse engineering
All of them were ace pilots too, loved the JTL expansion, but then i love space games more than anything.
it was a really good game, but it was good because of the people who played, the game simply allowed some things that other games did not.
I dunno that I would go back tho, its a game that Id prefer to have a lot of free time to play, and a game id rather keep as a good memory

Steeldragoon - October 3, 2012

SWG – everything free to play or is there some kind of purchase involved?

Keen
Keen - October 3, 2012

@Steeldragoon: If you own the software already like I do (2-3 copies), it’s 100% free. You can find SWG on Amazon (granted you’ll pay out the nose for a new one but you’ll get a used one cheaper.)

I think you’ll find them on eBay as well.

Bottom line, somehow get the software — the original software — and it is 100% free.

bartillo - October 3, 2012

Its called the Internet, their are ways to get lots of stuff for free. *cough* starts with a T *cough*

Spidubic - October 3, 2012

@bartillo
Not sure if a BT copy of the game will do. Their site specifically says a genuine copy is required, no hacks or pirated versions.

Steeldragoon - October 3, 2012

@spidubic – Wondering if it is just for legal reasons as many servers like this have been accused of being created strictly to run pirated copies.

Unless they have an accurate list of purchased keys, which I doubt they do, I don’t see how they could police this unless they are able to watch for duplicated keys connecting to their server. Given the game is at least 9 years old, I’m not sure of what the likelihood is of that either.

If they have actually taken the time to implement any of the above, I applaud them. That being said, I have a feeling it’s just words.

Damage Inc - October 3, 2012

The internet is an amazing world of free things.

I’m having really fun time playing SWG and I’m sad I did not play this game back in 2003 when it was released.

HINT HINT!

Darkstryke - October 3, 2012

Legal reasons, the installers are not special snowflakes.

Steeldragoon - October 3, 2012

Darkstryke – Obviously the installers are not snowflakes, but some combat piracy via monitoring via duplicate CD Keys, which is what I stated above.

Keen
Keen - October 3, 2012

CD Keys are not used.

The Merovingian - October 6, 2012

Kinda amusing to say SWG worked out “exceptionally well”, when is one of the few AAA MMOs which tanked…

Keen
Keen - October 6, 2012

…. SWG didn’t tank. Where are you getting that info?

SWG had more subs than most “AAA” MMO’s with huge budgets manage today.

wufiavelli - October 9, 2012

120k subs precu is what i have heard. Then it tanked.

Joshua C. - October 9, 2012

Is it weird that one of my favorite features from SW:G was also the laziest? I’m talking about macros, people! You know, automated surveying while your afk doing something else. Lol. Good times hiding in the bushes picking off nests of scampering little beasts with my trust pistol.

Yeah, I really miss that game, too. I’ll have to look back into this emulator now. Thanks for the nostalgia!

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