A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

Star Wars Galaxies – Final Days

As some of you may know, the game Star Wars Galaxies is being shut down at midnight eastern time on December 15th. I intend to be in the game when it shuts off. Here are some observations and criticisms I’ve made of the game in the last few days of playing.

I prefer it when I go to an area in a game that I get more than one quest at a time for said area. Put another way, when I get quests for a zone, please give me more than one at a time! I don’t appreciate going back and forth between the quest giver and the quest zone multiple times because sometimes the quest zone is a long way away and aren’t there short and long range communication devices in Star Wars? Galaxies did not start with quests built in. Well, it did, but they were these little quests that didn’t necessarily work all that well and there wasn’t a quest tracker. So, aside from those little quests, the game was devoid of story content until… oh, around the time the Rage of the Wookiees expansion hit. Probably a little before. Anyway, when they did the legacy quest series (a long connected series of quests that eventually take you from Tatooine to Naboo to Corellia, Talus, and Rori) they kind of just did a single series of quests and on planets like Corellia and Talus you can occasionally grab a side quest or two for the dungeon or building you’re about to raid, but for the most part you’re only there for one quest and the chances are pretty high that if there’s a follow up quest for that location, you’re going to have to travel the tens of meters to tens of kilometers back to your quest giver to move the series along and then head all the way back to continue. It just doesn’t feel all that efficient to me.

Also, I feel they got kind of sloppy at the end of the legacy quest series by making it connect almost directly into the Meatlump Themepark. Themeparks are the term that refers to a particular series having a theme and starting out of the same general area. For example, there’s the Jabba Themepark that runs out of Jabba’s palace, the Rebel Themepark that runs out of the Rebel base on Corellia, the Imperial Themepark that runs out of the Emperor’s Retreat on Naboo, and Nym’s Themepark that runs out of Nym’s palace on Lok. Later on in the game, they added the Meatlump Themepark which is essentially a series of repeatable quests in and around the city of Coronet on Corellia (I think… it’s been a while since I’ve done it). Personally, I never found much point in doing this particular themepark. I’ve never been a huge fan of repeatable quests because I’d much rather push on and keep on going than hang around an area for days.

Space needed some love. I understand, when you develop a space combat system and it’s wildly successful, how do you upgrade it? They added more ships, they took the tier system and made it linear, they added a couple of more zones (after Rage of the Wookiees added Kashyyyk space, they added some Ord Mantell space for master pilots). They redid the duty missions so they gave commendation tokens as well… and that’s about it. They never redid or added to the skills each piloting profession gave (Rebels, Imperials, and Neutral pilots each had their own skills). They never overhauled the zones we flew in. After you get master pilot and you tackle the few quests that actually take you into space, aside from Ord Mantell, Kessel, and one other place, there wasn’t much to do in space and my ships became glorified shuttles. Space combat could have been so much more. The players had dreams of guild capital ships where we could launch our own fighter squadrons in guild wars. It would’ve been amazing… but it never happened. When we were told they were developing an Imperial Star Destroyer for the game, we thought it was a guild ship or something… and then they gave us the Imperial Star Destroyer instance for ground combat. It’s not bad, it’s just a little disappointing when they could’ve done so much more.

A little bit separate from the “no love” bit above this, but space combat could be some of the most frustrating in the game. You could be fighting a significantly lower tier ship than yours and still have trouble hitting it because it maneuvers like a drunk bee. However, if YOU maneuver like a drunk bee, the computer controlled enemies can definitely peg you. Further, when you start to lose, you can finish losing really quickly. There’s an eject function in your ship when things go downhill really badly, but your ship has to SIT STILL until you eject. Seriously? That’s absurd. I get it for jumping into hyperspace, but come on, haven’t you seen Top Gun? I’ve been blown up in the process of ejecting before. It’s very lame.

Last night I started doing the Kashyyyk ground quests again. You can’t get into the Etyyy Hunting Grounds without doing some space quests (and some of them are downright hard – you need to be prepared and maybe bring a friend) but that’s not what I want to talk about right now. No, for some reason I was under the impression that there needs to be a feeder quest (a quest that feeds you into the next zone or area from the last one) for new areas and Kashyyyk doesn’t have one. Neither does Mustafar really. I remember when they went live and you just kind of went, “Hey, I guess I’ll go try out that new place,” and you start talking to every NPC that has an icon over their head in an effort to pick up as many quests as possible. Essentially Kashyyyk and Mustafar are overgrown Themeparks with mini-themeparks all over. Just… last night when I set foot on Kashyyyk I felt LOST. I didn’t know who to talk to first or where to even really start. Luckily my friend didn’t have such compunctions so he went ahead and started talking to NPCs and so forth. I don’t know why, but for the first time ever I felt like Kashyyyk was poorly built and arranged. It’s kind of sad but that’s how I felt.

So, I’m still playing Galaxies, at least for now. For the next few days I’m going to be playing every evening and then on the 15th I’m intending on being on it all day. Currently my external hard drive’s power cable is damaged (yay wear and tear?) and so I may or may not be able to record the final days of the game. I guess we’ll see. My hope is that I’ll be able to make a video of each of my old characters before they go away. First my Jedi and Commando on the Flurry server, then I want to build something with my crafter and show off my Mustafarian bunker… and last, I want to hop in my X-Wing on my favorite character just one last time and I want to go to Kashyyyk space and fly around. When the lights go out, I want to be among the stars. My final memory of the game being in an X-Wing I busted my ass to get, to equip, to set up just right for me… the X-Wing that took me nearly a year to get (I screwed up my pilot profession once upon a time in February of 2005) on the one character that I’ve mastered being a Rebel pilot.

Whatever my criticisms, whatever makes me cranky in this game… this was still my first subscription MMO and I will always remember it quite fondly. I said a long time ago, I’d be there till they turned the lights off (ala Zack Allan in Babylon 5) and it looks like I definitely will.

Until next time.

– Elorfin

P.S. “Experience the greatest saga ever told…..yours.” – Star Wars Galaxies tagline

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