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LucasArts / SOE Austin
MMORPG | Genre:Sci-Fi | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 06/23/03)  | Pub:Sony Online Entertainment
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Download,Retail | Retail Price:$19.95 | Pay Type:Subscription
System Req: PC | ESRB:TOut of date info? Let us know!

Star Wars Galaxies Review: Star Wars Galaxies: New Game Experience Review - Edit

Due to the massive changes recently implemented within the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) Mmorpg, we felt it was necessary to update our review to reflect the changes brought out by the New Game Experience (NGE). We do hope that this review will provide you with the information needed. Also, I will refer to the combat upgrade (CU) along with the NGE. In the last 6 months, SWG has done multiple changes to the game and we'll try to be as clear as we can.

Before we press on, I feel that I should give a brief explanation of the NGE. The NGE has taken all professions and merged them into 9 iconic professions: The Bounty Hunter, Entertainer, Medic, Smuggler, Commando, Jedi, Officer, Trader and Spy. Some professions were abolished entirely (such as the Creature Handler and the Chef). Without further ado...

Story

Star Wars Galaxies still provides us with the same good graphics they have always provided us since release. With the game being two years old, the graphics have surprisingly maintained its original luster; it does not really feel like an old outdated game.

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With the NGE, several places have been added to the game. Most notably, the tutorial section where you are shuttled off to after being rescued by Han Solo and Chewbacca is a nice touch to the Star Wars genre. Nothing new in terms of graphics was offered to us, rather existing items and characters were "borrowed" in certain sections of the tutorial (such as Boba Fett, Jabba's Swoop gang, the various droids, etc) and given to us in the beginning of the game rather than finding them throughout your progression in the galaxy. In a way, it felt like a sensory overload with seeing many major Star War icons in the first hour of gameplay (including Darth Vader speaking to the Millennium Falcon to bring back your character)

We did experience some minor bugs with the character creation, but nothing really major. The occasional "character twitch" seemed to be visible quite often whenever we were at the character creation section or the character selection.

Sound

Again, the sound remains unchanged since the release of SWG. It uses the Academy Award winning music provided to us by John Williams from the original trilogy. This is never a bad thing. The developers have always done an excellent job of placing the music in the game to immerse us in the Star Wars Galaxy. In fact, there has been many occasions while watching the original trilogy (and prequels) where I would have SWG flashbacks as the same exact music was used.

However, if you are a crafter, be prepared for silence. It seems that the music is only present during the open sequences of the game, when you enter a major city, when you fight, when the sun sets or rises or when it rains.

If you're home crafting the only sounds you're going to hear is the occasional nuna barking off in the background and whenever the sun goes down (which will be a lot of times if you are a crafter). Nothing has really changed with the sound with the NGE. It has remained untouched.

Role-Playing

Role-playing has always suffered in SWG. Starsider is SWG unofficial server for role-playing and there is plenty of it there. The cantinas were hit hard after the Combat Upgrade (CU) but they slowly filled back up (at least in some cities). Cantinas are always the place to go for role playing. I've had a many good hours role-playing the Imperial Scoundrel in the Mos Eisley Cantina in several servers.

However, since the introduction of the NGE, many of the role-playing aspects have practically fallen off the face of the earth. The cantinas are really empty this time and it's hard to find a good entertainer these days as the entertainer no longer serves any real purpose since every profession is self-sufficient in its own right.

Also, it seems anyone who is CL 80 and above is on Mustafar xp grinding to CL90 and everyone else is CL 1-20 trying the NGE. The role-playing aspect of this game is now a novelty. You may run into a few people role-playing but it is no longer what it used to be. However, if you still want a good role-playing server then I would still suggest Starsider. There are still some out there who is willing to role-play.

Value

The NGE was developed to make a reasonable attempt to bring value back to SWG. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and LucasArts (LA) along with a secret focus group of veteran players felt it was necessary to bring out changes to the game due to numbers dropping and profits falling.

However, the NGE hasn't quite delivered on the value aspect of the game. At CL 1-30 the game tries to add value with different quests and involving storylines to help your character progress throughout the universe. However, after CL30 the quests stop and the CU style of grinding resurfaces; although I am sure this is because the developers wanted to push the NGE out as soon as possible and then they'll work on the later quests as the updates continue.

The Developers did add a value to the NGE that many cannot deny. They made the Jump to Lightspeed expansion free for anyone who has SWG. For those who never bought the expansion they will now have the invaluable expansion for no added costs. However, many people voiced their opinions this wasn't a fair idea (especially those who already purchased the expansion).

Fun

As the term goes for beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder. It seems, in this case, the same rule applies. After the NGE, I logged on with my CL 80 Bounty Hunter and found it to be no fun whatsoever. However, when I created a brand new character, I found myself playing the game for two straight hours. The tutorial and beginning quests were very fun.

Conversely, the new changes of combat feels more like a hand eye mobility examination than a fun combat experience. If aren't good at keeping your little aimer icon over a lag-riddled crazy running MOB, then you are out of luck.

In order to fight you either have to have excellent hand-eye coordination or a really good macro to keep your character following the MOB at all times. When you fire that first shot they don't drop to the ground and fire back. They run like mad and they'll run anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes they'll run themselves to the point where they reset themselves and any damage you gave them will reset back to full health and you have to repeat the process again. With some of the packet loss issues as well as lag, there are some MOBs that are invulnerable to any forms of attack. For the first week of the NGE, Tusken Warrior was impervious to any attack and it was more or less luck if you managed to kill one. If you have a melee character (such as a Jedi) then combat is more challenging.

Jedi. Everyone has mixed feelings about this. EVERYONE. In my opinion, if you develop a game that takes place a few weeks or months after the destruction of the first death star then you have to conform to some type of Canon. Whatever happen to Order 66 given to all Imperial Forces by the Emperor himself? Jedi are suppose to be somewhat rare....not a starting profession. If you love Jedi and you love playing Jedi, this game will be awesome for you. If you are a canon nut, then you'll pull your hair out as it has nothing to do with the Star Wars timeline. Many people compare it to Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) with a Star Wars: New Hope skin.

Despite the Jedi changes, I feel bad for the existing Jedi before the NGE. The Jedi who spent months, if not, years to unlock their Jedi powers are the biggest victims of the NGE. Spending months and years to make a Jedi seemed to have been a waist of time and it seems the developers paid no regard to the veteran Jedi. Sure they get to have a title of Elder Jedi and the ability to glow in the dark, but that doesn't seem to justify the monies, time, and effort that went into the Jedi development. For these people, fun is the last thing on their minds.

Community

The community seems to be shrinking. The servers sometime say medium and heavy but I cannot seem to locate these people. Maybe they're on Mustafar? If you're new to the game or wish to resubscribe then I would suggest hanging near the city of Mos Eisley. It seems the population has shifted from Dantoinne to Tatoinne. Theed has some people too but many of those people are actually protesting the game so I would not suggest going there if you want to connect with other players (at least this has been my experiences on Ahazi, Starsider, Bria, and Chilastra server).

Also, with the major changes of the NGE and the alteration of the character classes it is very hard to find Armorsmiths and weaponsmiths (as they merged the two professions together now). Right now, SWG is sort of at a stand still when it comes to crafting. Give it a few weeks, hopefully things will pick up again.

Performance/Lag

If you have 512 megs of RAM, then the cities will still lag a lot for you. It seems that one gig of RAM fixes this issue. However, with the NGE, there are many problems right now with lag and server instability issues. It is not uncommon to get only 4 frames per second right now in the middle of nowhere.

Be ready for some major lag issues since the release of the NGE. The good news is the game should be fine after a few hot fixes and if you have a decent computer.

Customer Service

SOE has always struggled in this area. It is sort of an anomaly. On one hand, it is one of the most profitable online companies in the world and on the other hand they have one of the worse customer services in the mmorpg world. Despite pleas from the player base and years of service the customer service remains the same. All of your customer service tickets still get answered by an automatic response letter with the only difference being the CSR name.

However, I will give them this: they have improved their response time greatly. But unfortunately all the responses, again, are pre-generated letters.

If you want a real customer service experience, then I would recommend calling SOE rather than trying to solve the problem ingame. Any other way will only cause unneeded stress.

Summary

The NGE will come to be one of the most controversial topics in the history of mainline MMOs. The main and central question for any developer of an existing mmorpg will no longer be "should we improve the graphics or give free trials to bring in more people to an older mmorpg." Rather, it may become "should we radically change the entire infrastructure of the existing game to bring new players to the market in spite of the existing and previous work of the existing players?"

Should the developers have changed this game the way they did or should they have let the game be? Everyone has their own opinions about this question. Some will say the NGE was needed and others will say the NGE was the worse thing since the invention of the nuclear bomb. Others say they can no longer trust the developers of SWG because you never know when they will go and do another major change and others will praise the hard gut decision as being a courageous attempt to improve the game.

Whatever the case, the following is probably true: Whether you hate the NGE or love it, it will do either one of two things:

It will grow SWG back to its formal glory or it will destroy the game.

Only time will tell.

Pros
Cons
A refreshing new quest system for CL1-30
Poor combat system
Character customization
Lack of content after CL30
Free Jump to LightSpeed Expansion pack
Community seems small despite server status
Jedi as a starter profession
Too simplified (feels like a console SP game now)

Jedi as a starter profession

Final Score

6.3

Graphics
8
Role-Playing
5
Fun
5
Performance
6
Sound
8
Value
5
Community
7
Service
6

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