Star Wars Galaxies: You can go home again
So, I haven’t made it a secret that I pay to play Star Wars Galaxies. I’ve been doing so since its release back in 2003 and I’ve not had cause to regret it.
Galaxies is a very unique game that I keep going back to over and over again (hence why I haven’t stopped paying for it). The attributes that keep bringing me back are part of the reason I’m doing this little project here. I find it funny that a lot of people just hate the game because of all the changes that have been foisted upon it. A long time ago (in my house, not in a galaxy far, far away) I told my Mom (after I’d tried Everquest at a friend’s house) that the only online game I’d pay to play would be Star Wars. It IS the only game I pay to play (my DDO account isn’t technically paid by me, so it still holds true). Even through the adjustments the gameplay has received over its long run, the game still keeps my interest and whereas I appreciate all the perspectives of those who’ve complained about said changes, they weren’t enough to shake me from continuing to enjoy the game. Sorry guys, but in my book, you’re pansies for quitting. Deal with it. (Disclaimer: for those of you who just got bored with the game, that’s a perfectly valid reason for leaving and I appreciate the time you spent enjoying it. To everyone who’s left the game, I hope you remember it fondly because some of you are still talked about even today as legendary characters.)
In no other online game have I been able to have a house that’s part of a town where I can store my stuff that accumulates over the years. No, I’m not talking like Second Life or anything like that. I’m talking quest rewards and veteran rewards and crafted items. Every item in my house (the Mustafarian Bunker, actually) has a story behind it. What’s up with that suit of Katarn Armor? How about those animal heads mounted on the wall? Where’d you get this cool painting? Hell, even the house has a story (I got it as part of a preorder for Rage of the Wookiees).
Further, in no other game have I witnessed a mayoral race or even bonuses for having your house within a town’s boundaries (my home city provides a bonus to crafting while you’re in it).
Something else that keeps me coming back is the crafting system. It’s almost absurdly complex. First, you need to see what ingredients/materials you need to build what you’re building. Then, with “shopping list” in hand, you need to hunt down those ingredients either by surveying/sampling/harvesting or by purchasing from other players or (in some circumstances) building/buying components for the object you’re trying to build. While you do this, you need to ensure the quality of the ingredients as they relate to your finished product (resources all have statistics of their own with varying caps on those resources depending on what type of resource they are). Don’t forget to get some crafting buffs from an Entertainer and to eat/drink some food buffs! THEN you get to put the resources and components together in a very nice interface (either click and drag or double-click). Next there’s the experimentation/prototype/schematic stage… this is where you can tinker with the object in production to make it better, turn it into a production schematic for a factory, or just build the damn thing. Lastly, some objects can have custom paint jobs and name changes. After all that, you can sell your products to other players on the in game bazaar terminal or through your own vendor or use the items yourself.
I love this crafting system. I’ve been using it for about a year now (out of my nearly 7 years playing the game) and I LOVE building weapons for people (especially ranged weapons). I’ve been called the “best weaponsmith in the guild” before, which I’m sure isn’t really the case. I like to credit my work ethic and my turnaround time. I ONLY take custom weapon orders and I’ll only build level 90 weapons (with very very few exceptions). I ask a lot of questions to ensure that the weapon I’m building them will actually be used and appreciated and that the customer will be pleased with the product. Depending on how much work I need to do, it takes me anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour to start and finish building a weapon. Part of my process is going through my stockpiled resources (metals, gasses, crystals, organic materials, etc.) and determining which ones I’m going to use via a mathematical formula that looks difficult but is actually rather easy to use. Hell, I made a forum post somewhere explaining the process to my guild members! I may repost it here in the future if only for my own posterity.
I take crafting for my customers very seriously. I appreciate the money they give me (I have a chronic under-charging issue, so I’m working on remedying that) and I appreciate the desire to have something hand made. I actually found I have to limit the orders I take to just a few in a single day because of how stressful it can be (I put myself under a lot of pressure to finish as quickly and efficiently as possible). I write down my shopping list and keep track of the resources I pull out of storage or the ground in order to keep everything straight. Honestly, this keeps me more interested and excited than combat most of the time.
One more thing that keeps me coming back? Space flight. I’m an X-Wing fighter pilot and I LOVE to fly in Star Wars. Recently they adjusted the space slayer collection system so that instead of hunting through every sector to find the kills I need to get the collection complete, I can just run a mission and they’ll come to waypoints that I get in my datapad. Then all I do is go to those designated waypoints and BAM! time to fight! I’m proud of my X-Wing, even though I know it’s not the BEST ship out there. Hey, it’s my baby and I’ve spent a lot of credits and time working on her. Even got her a custom paint job of red and gold. Whenever SOE adds something to the Space portion of the game, is precipitates a return from whatever hiatus I’ve been in. The last couple of days have been a balancing act between DDO, Galaxies, and Lunar thanks to the latest update.
I may go away from Galaxies for a couple of months at a time, but then I get this urge to play again. I say hi to my old friends (who are some of the best damn people in the world) and we get cracking. I churn out a couple of weapons, I fly a few missions, hell, I even run a few quests with the guild… and then another game or something from life steals my attention away and I disappear for a few weeks. I’ll always come back to Galaxies… it’s my home and I’ll keep paying to play until they turn the lights out (like at the end of Babylon 5, where Zack Allen says “I figured I’d be here ’til they turn the lights out.”).
I’m looking forward to Star Wars: The Old Republic (a hell of a lot, I’m excited!), but Galaxies is always going to be special to me and will always be worth an evening of play. I want to thank the Remnants of Mandalore (formerly of Corbantis, now on Chilastra) for being an amazing guild and for always welcoming me with obvious joy every time I return from one of my random vacations from the game. I’ll always return home, don’t you worry.
Until next time, may the Force be with you!