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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

Star Wars Galaxies

First off, I know this game is gone, dead, buried, no longer available...

...unless you know where to look that is.

This weekend, after a long twitter discussion with some friends, old and new, I was reminded of this MMO - a sandbox in the truest sense of the word. The players built the worlds, owned towns, ran shops, hunted one another, mined, manufactured goods, and all within the Star Wars Universe.

The game itself, when it released, and I had the collectors edition box with the art work etc shipped to me from the USA (clearly I had more money when I was younger (and didn't have kids)), was unforgiving. You could expect to die on a regular basis, the mechanics were (at first and for a while after) opaque to say the least. However, given time, patience, and the fact that there just weren't that many MMOs available (I've played many, many MMOs), and the world opened up to you.

There are a lot of people out there who can tell you stories of their adventures in SWG.

Anyway, this weekend I decided to look out the old game and have a play. I plumped for, after the twitter discussion, two variations - SWGEmu and Legends. Of the two, Legends has more people online (around 1, 000) and SWGEmu seems have fewer (around 600). The differences don't end with those numbers - and it seems a bit strange.

Legends appears (on my brief sojourn) to be post CU (Combat Upgrade) and NGE (New Game Experience). Now, back in the day (a long time ago), both of these "upgrades" were derided and blamed for killing off the game. Indeed Sony cancelled SWG after the NGE - a year or two later, I think. Someone will correct me, I am sure.

Post NGE screenshot from the tutorial as a Smuggler.

SWGEmu is pre-CU and, therefore, Pre-NGE, it is as the game (mostly) first game out.

NGE, to me worse than CU, made the whole game a lot more accessible (that is, you could pick up and play in a minute) and robbed the universe of its life, its sandbox appeal. Everything, post NGE, was guided - you were taken from one person to the next, here's what you do next, but it did add some good voice acting.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that Pre-NGE is one SWG game, Post-NGE is a totally different SWG game - and both have pro's and con's.

After a quick run around the tutorial and getting down to Tatooine and another run around, shooting things on Legends, I switched to SWGEmu - and this is the game I remember most. I can now kneel, go prone, my weapon choice is a little more important, and I have only the vaguest recollections of what to do.

Pick up a mission from the terminal - go and destroy a warren of something or other. Run for a long time (or take a speeder), set up for the attack, kill all the little beasts around the warren, and then shoot the warren. Go me... erm... where did these hundreds of little beasts suddenly come from... Dead.

SWGEmu - Pre-NGE - taking down a warren.

I forgot. You shoot it for a while. More spawn and you take those out before you destroy the warren. On my second attempt, I succeeded and make 2k of credits and have my rifle skill ready to train. I've gone with rifle and pistol to start. From here it is a run back to town, past player houses and shops.

Me, pondering a house, on my way back to town.

Upon reaching Mos Espa, the town in which I began my epic adventure (of killing beasts in their home), I decided to go and pick up a few more skills. I trained Rifle I to get head shot, and picked up Novice Scout and Medic - figuring I better be able to heal myself and find my way around.

Me, pensive, confused, ready to shoot someone.

Of the two, I prefer (atm) the pre-NGE game even with its lower population figures. It just feels more (not natural because the control system is anything but when compared to modern games) like home, more organic, more open than the post NGE version. Alongside, Guild Wars 2, I'll keep playing for a while and see how it goes. Any memories of your own time in SWG is gratefully received!

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