As soon as LucasArts and SOE announced that they were shutting down Star Wars Galaxies, I started hunting down a copy. I’ve always wanted to be there at the end of a MMO, but I’ve never actually managed to get in on it, and was determined to do so with this one. I’ve decided to keep a record of my trip through Star Wars Galaxies here, day by day, mostly to try and keep myself playing it, but hey, you might enjoy my ramblings too!
A bit of background first though. This is the first time that I have ever played Star Wars Galaxies, so keep in mind that you will not be getting any sort of nostalgia for or comparisons to the old version from me. These are simply my impressions as I make my way through the game as it is right now, not as it was five or six years ago. This is not to say I have never played a MMO before, as I have played way too much of the genre, and you’ll probably see a ton of comparisons to other MMOs.
The first thing I had to do was pick a server. This choice was made extremely easy, as all of the servers had a population of ‘very light’ or ‘light’ except for one called Starstrider, which had a population of ‘medium’. Then I had to create my character. Of course, I began to make my character look as silly as possible. I picked the Sullustan race (Lando’s co-pilot from Return is one, for the uninitiated), tweaked the sliders to their absolute extremes, and went to the next step, picking a class. Originally, I wanted to be an entertainer so that I could have the “true” Star Wars Galaxies experience, but then decided that if I wanted to even have a remote interest in the game, I needed to pick a combat class. After watching the class videos (which are terrible representations of what gameplay is actually like), I settled on rolling a bounty hunter.
After the standard opening Star Wars crawl I got dumped into an Imperial space station, where I was apparently in the process of being rescued by Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, and C3PO. There were explosions all over the place, the screen shook, and while you could tell that it was designed to be awesome, it just felt boring. It’s almost like the designers of the opening sequence got together in a room and threw together all the “It would be so awesome if...” scenarios that Star Wars fans have come up with over the years into a single scene. After I fought some super-evil explosive crates and a few stormtroopers, I hopped on the Millennium Falcon and the game transitioned to an on-rails shooter, which was really jarring, but also sort of fun. Too bad it didn’t last for more than a few minutes, and I was thrown into the starting zone.
While the game up until this point certainly hadn’t been the most exciting thing I had ever played it had been, at the least, playable. The starting zone went a long way towards convincing me otherwise. When I first arrived at the station, I was very quickly ushered over to my class trainer, which, since I rolled bounty hunter, was Boba Fett. At first, it felt like I was going to do quests that were actually appropriate for my class, running around the station and killing targets that were assigned to me, you know, bounty hunting. Then, Fett decided he was done with me, and I was handed over to a receptionist with a few dozen homogeneous quests to choose from. None of the quests I did on the station were interesting enough to mention here, standard kill X of this creature and gather Y of this item type stuff, but I did discover a few things while doing them. The first thing I noticed was that the combat is laughably easy. I just click on any enemy a few times, maybe press a button for one of my abilities and they’re dead. Even quests several levels above me were extremely easy. While the majority of the quests were tedious, there were a handful of quests that kept me slightly more entertained, quests in spaaaaaaaaaaace.
The space quests are probably the most fun I’ve had with the game so far, as the game in space plays very similar to old space sims such as X-Wing or Freelancer. There are no weird RPG-like elements here, just a straight space sim. Is it as good as X-Wing or Freelancer? Absolutely not, but it’s infinitely better than the rest of the game, or at the very least what I have experienced of it so far. You can use mouse and keyboard, which works surprisingly well, but you can also use a 360 gamepad or a joystick setup, which delighted me and my way-too-expensive joystick to no end.
After doing enough quests to get me to the requisite ‘get me the fuck out of the starting zone’ level, I talked to Boba Fett and he took me to Tatooine, where I actually got to see real players for the first time, and something a little bit more on the crazy side. Apparently a recent patch has allowed pilots to fly their starships in the atmosphere, which of course means that as soon as I arrived in Mos Eisley I became witness to ships dogfighting in the skies, or more commonly, plunging into the ground. While I was taking this new development in, all of a sudden Han Solo pops up again and guides me through getting my mount, a speeder that I can color myself…Yay? I decided that this was as good of a time as any to log off, and did so.