What happened to Sci-Fi? That seems to be something a lot of sci-fi fans are wondering in the MMO world. I myself am asking this same question right now. After reading through some stuff on the forums I felt I had to write this and discuss our strife with fellow MMORPG.com gamers. So, what of the sci-fi industry? Pain...suffering...death, I sense. Seriously, I am pretty sure it died with SWG.
Why did it die with SWG? This is just my silly opinion, but think about it. I used to play it and that game was booming before the CU. I mean, for any of us who played, SWG provided many different choices to players to truely create "their own destiny". I remember being able to play as an entertainer, make money, then go out and buy a friggin pistol and kill Worts with it. Every different thing seemed to have a role and no level mattered. Skill mattered, fun mattered, and the player environment mattered. It allowed for fun solo fun and team fun as well. If you wanted to party up for a big hunt, you could. And then the loot you got off Banthas, you could sell to a doctor. If you wanted to solo, you could head out and do it- if you were good enough. I could go on and on with this, but the point I'm making is that out of some stupid, crazy reason, I think SOE killed the game with their Combat Upgrade.
So... what did this have to do with the rest of Sci-Fi gaming? Well, after that, lots of my fellow SWG players, guild mates, and friends left the game. We went on searching for new options. I tried out Anarchy Online, but quit after a few months of subscription. Just not what I was looking for. Out of date graphics, goofy gameplay, childish people always dueling you... just wasn't what I was looking for as a PVE type person. Tried RF online.. did not like this much at all. After playing the pre-CU SWG, there just wasn't much to suit my tastes. I've looked around at several f2p sci-fi games and upcoming games, and the only ones that look promising is the KOTOR online game. I have no idea about the Star Trek game, never was a Trek fan. But as far as the entire genre goes, it has been on hold for a couple of years after the downfall of SWG.
So... what burried sci-fi? Fantasy-based MMO's. The fantasy genre has dominated the freaking community. I myself fell victim to its power and enjoy the power very much. They hit the ground running and never stopped. All the games I've played have good, constant updates. The updates actually are fun and improve gameplay unlike the CU in SWG. There is a large player-base in almost all fantasy games as well. The movie industries have been producing more fantasy movies, console games such as Oblivion have been long time hits, and other outside influences that I haven't discovered yet have been pushing these games. Look at World of Warcraft.. it is probably the most well-known MMO ever, and it is fantasy. I know that may not have much to do with it, but hey.. it's not Sci-Fi. And in order for Sci-Fi to be a front runner, it has to produce something that grabs peoples attention- and frankly, it has never done that.
Star Wars Galaxies may have been this universe's only hope at obtaining global focus on MMO sci-fi- but SOE decided that would make to much sense and stepped on it. They too, have been a fantasy loving industry... Everquest. I too, share your suffering sci-fi community. To those of you who do not agree that the CU killed SWG, then you never knew the game (nor were you probably any good at it). If you think there is some amazing sci-fi game out there, then I would have to disagree. Until it grabs hold of the MMO gaming industry by the throat, then it just isn't good enough.
Till then... I will be playing with elves, orcs, and dwarves in some middle aged, fantasy kingdom...