| Very expansive game environment
Caters to multiple gamer styles
Fun end game raids
| No real epic Galactic Civil War action
The game can still be very buggy for a 6 year game
The game's history
Too much grinding for essential gear
In the past two years they have added five Heroic Encounters and they are: The Tusken King, Axava Min, IG-88, The Imperial Star Destroyer, Exar Kun, and the Battle for Hoth They are all equally fun and have to be done as a part of a group.
While the game is based in the period of time between "A new Hope" and "Empire Strikes Back," players can go into the Battle of Hoth. As an Imperial, I was able to man an AT-ST and blast rebel scum. As a rebel you could fly a Snowspeeder and take out an AT-AT. It is a very hard and challenging mission to complete successfully for both sides.
All of the heroic encounters drop some good gear, decorative loot for your home, and collection items.
When collections went live, I was all excited but now I want to smack my head into my keyboard. Right now there are over 300 active collections in the game. The SWG Team also started using collections as a way to deliver gear and combat bonuses to players. This forces players to have to loot camp certain mobs to get items to progress in the game. Collections to me should be like achievements and not a means to deliver new gear to players.
There are some nice items that are available for all classes. Storage Structure increases for houses, an Instant Travel Vehicle, and all sorts of items. The new Jedi robe, which is supposed to be just about equal to the elder robe is obtained through the collections system.
Guilds, Player Cities, & Housing
This system has stood its ground through every update and remains almost untouched. Some new features have been added to make it easier for guilds and mayors to manage daily operations but players can still build full cities in this game. What makes this system unique is that you build it in the game area and when used with crafters, your city and guild can become pretty important to a server.
Housing has also been beefed up with new houses with working windows as well as new structures. Some of these new structures are obtained though the trading card game as loot and not built by crafters. Also furniture can be customized with an array of colors so a whole new level of decorating houses has been achieved. Plus many new collection items serve as decorative pieces on their own. The SWG team has been on a tear putting cute items in for houses such as a Hoth Snow Machine, a baby Sarlacc Trash can, and all sorts of other campy Star War items for you to have fun with.
Crafting and Entertainers
The past few months have been good to traders with new structures, weapon smith updates, and required crafting subcomponents being mixed across all of the traders. However, the system cannot hold a candle to what it was and it is still, in my humble opinion, not worth the effort. Traders are not effective in combat and if you create a crafter you will not be able to join in any raids or fun stuff so it becomes a character which is pretty much used just for crafting. The best thing to do at this point is to break up crafter and allow all classes to take one of the traders as a sub-profession.
Entertainer received a new buff system for the combat classes, which is pretty helpful. So the days of people in the cantina dancing and providing a valuable skill to the community are back. There is also an expertise you can take in Entertainer which allows you to be pretty effective in a fight as well.
A new system called Storyteller was put in about two years ago which allows people to create their own encounters. For the Roleplay community, this was everything they could have hoped for. The organizer of a private encounter can go set up a mission for another player. This allows for guilds of roleplayers to set up and run their own content for other guildies. So if you are into Roleplaying and running encounters for people hit the community forums and find a good Roleplay guild.
With the success of Legends of Norrath in the EverQuest arena, SOE brings forth SWG Champions of the force. It is like any other card game and it has tutorials and teaches you how to play the game. You can also pair up with other players and play against them or just play the computer while waiting for your raid group to form.
In addition to the regular cards SWG has loot cards which players can redeem for in-game loot. You can get a Sith house, a Jedi house, a pod- racer vehicle and even a Diner. There are more items you can get but they all come from booster packs. All active subscriptions get two or three booster packs a month for free but if you really want these items you will have to buy some cards.
I returned to this game to write this review after taking a year off. I have to say in that year not very much has changed. People were still mostly standing around taking smack and it was overall very boring. It took me quite a bit to get a group to take me to Hoth. While there is new stuff coming out most of it is not dynamic content and becomes yesterday's news pretty fast. The Battlegrounds have some hope of providing dynamic repeatable game play to people but it was taking to long between battlegrounds so I got frustrated and logged out.
I am also very cynical because I spent so much time playing this game during the updates that angered the players that I am no longer a glass half full kind of guy. I see the failures and bugs at every turn and the lost friends. So I tend to reflect on the past and the way things were. However after talking with some newer players I can see many who have never tried this game not only playing it but enjoying it.
The star ports no longer have the people talking about the glory days and how the NGE destroyed the game. While this game will never beat its own high water mark and with Bioware doing a new Star Wars game I think it is only a matter of time for SWG. SOE is focusing on the current players and their needs and wants so SWG is still getting quite a bit of attention but the game now cannot hold a candle to what it once was.
If you are bored with all the other MMOs and are in the mood for something different give the trial a whirl and give this game a try. It can't hurt and if you have never played SWG it is worth checking out for a free 14 day trial.