July 2003. I remember buying Star Wars Galaxies and loading the many CDs onto my computer, listening to the exciting music and watching the screenshots and text flash as the client installed. This was my first MMO and my first computer (or video game for that matter) since the original Nintendo NES.
I was excited. I was thrilled. I had no idea what to expect from a multiplayer game, all i knew that it was Star Wars. i'm a Gen-X'r and that's all i needed to know.
After a week of gameplay I was hooked. I remember making a twi'lek and running around confused through the woods on Corellia, not knowing the difference between an NPC or Player.
This game brought a feeling of vastness and excitement and nostalgia and confusion (good confusion) and imagination all rolled into one.
It's now nearly five years later and nothing i have come across has matched it. not WoW. not City of Heroes. not Age of Conan. not Sims. not NGE. not Second Life. Project Entropia came sort of close initially--in a super-frustrating aggravating way--but alas NOTHING is out there that compares to preNGE Star Wars Galaxies.
I'm going to share what i liked about it-you never know, perhaps some foreword-looking MMO company exec is out there and can get the sense from my post that I am very sincere, if hung up on the past.
-Seamlessness of the planets! I loved just walking / burstrunning around, coming along random spawns, getting in pick up groups, killing things for xp.
-Lack of Quests! some people like run of the mill kill/delivery/collect quests. I do not. I think quests and linear-levelling MMOs are silly. I'd rather get a group of friends together and go hunt / camp / buff / mingle / laugh through our xp grind. Some of my best times in Galaxies were killing lairs with groups, camping on Dathomir, Endor, Lok, wherever, getting trained by friends instead of NPCs and just having fun
-diversity/hybrid/mixing professions. so what if they are unbalanced or difficult to balance! who cares! we all had a blast. the unfairness of life is what makes it interesting. if players can't handle that type of play, they should play a game like WoW
-Economy and Crafting. Hundreds of Recipes. Unique way of collecting resources (mining/sampling) OWNING Your own piece of the land with your harvesters and houses. Making the quality of goods directly related to the amount of work your are willing to put into gathering the resources and your business skills. I liked the fact that you had to get an uber gun from an uber weaponsmith or great buff meds or poisons from docs and CMs who knew what they were doing and were creative and informed enough to get the best resources to make stuff. So many different unique crafting professions PLUS the opportunity to make a name for yourself if you wanted to be a pure crafter
-One character per server! this was key. this helped you truly define who you are. your avatar was you. not like in WoW where every lvl 70 hunter is pretty much a dime a dozen and you can hop from your priest to your hunter to your warrior. Your toon could be your priest/hunter/warrior all rolled into one!
-The layers of the game. I don't think SOE realized how their game was sort of like high school in that it was a unique experience, depending upon the player. You had people who just loved to hang out and chat while dancing or hunting or crafting or pvping or whatever. You had hardcore players who sought out the best of everything and you had casual players who hopped on maybe an hour a night to go hunt with friends or hang around in Ranger camps. You had people who were just happy to own their own spaceship and blow stuff up. The game was different from the perspective of everyone. They never saw this at SOE.
-What i call the "spy vs spy" or bugs bunny factor of pvp. if i got my rear handed to me by some melee stacker, i'd take a breather, figure out what i was doing wrong, go earn some cash, interact with a crafter , get the right gear/food/armor/skill tapes, etc and retaliate. you always knew that your community would be there when you logged back in and the game was so complex and at times random that it might take you a week to plot your pvp revenge and get equipped but with determination and hard work it could be yours. you just dont see this type of economy-driven resourcefulness in games
there's more i loved about it but i'll get to that in the next post. this post was intended for those who also think something like preNGE SWG should be made available to gamers. for any flamers, its your American right to flame away, but hey, i'd much rather focus on the positive