Star Wars Galaxies - City Building Guide
MMORPG.com Star Wars Galaxies Correspondent Jef Reahard writes this new guide giving players some insight into creating player cities in SOE's Star Wars Galaxies.
So you're new to Star Wars Galaxies, or you're a veteran looking to see what all the fuss is about regarding the building and management of a player city. Well, you've come to the right place. Your humble correspondent has designed and run two such projects on the Starsider server, dating back to 2004, and if there's a nagging question regarding Galaxies' city system lurking in the back of your mind, chances are this article will provide the answer.
First off, what's the big deal about player cities? Well, aside from the fact they're one of many deep non-combat systems that set Galaxies apart from other MMORPGs, they also serve to benefit players by allowing like-minded folks to put down roots together in the game world and take advantage of bonuses to various gameplay systems. Whether you've got a guild looking for a place to call home, a group of merchants interested in showcasing their wares, or a role-play organization needing a space to stage events, player cities offer something for everyone.
To start, you'll need to pick your location, and while the game world is fairly open in terms of buildable zones, there are some notable restrictions. For one, you can't build on Dathomir, Yavin, Kashyyyk, or Mustafar, but all of the other planets are fair game. There is also a city cap on each planet (50 on Dantooine, Lok, Talus, and Rori, and 20 on Naboo, Tatooine, and Corellia). On the more populated servers, you may have trouble starting a new city, as literally hundreds of towns dot the landscape, and some of them persist despite being abandoned by their founders (via the large sums of maintenance money deposited prior to an owner's account cancellation). If you can't start a new city of your own, it is possible to run for Mayor and thereby take over an existing township, though it essentially requires the permission of the current Mayor, since you cannot run for office without first being a citizen of said town.
If you manage to place a new city, you'll be the proud owner of a new Outpost, the first in a series of city rankings that dictate what kind of structures you can place as well as your city specialization option. Outposts require five citizens and a city hall (obtainable through player Structures traders); to start your city, find a spot at least one thousand meters removed from existing player cities (and free of the standard Galaxies build zone restrictions) and place your city hall deed. You will be the defacto Mayor, and you have twenty- four hours to arrange for four additional citizens to place houses and declare residence in your Outpost.
Acquiring ten citizens bumps your city to the rank of Village, which allows for banks, garages, medium gardens, and player cantinas to be placed. Mayors are also granted the ability to tax citizens at rank two. Available taxes include property, income, sales, travel fees (shuttleport usage costs) and garage fees (usage costs for vehicle repair facilities).
Fifteen citizens grant you the rank of Township and permissions to place a cloning facility, player hospitals, and large garden structures. The Township rank also enables City Specializations, essentially buffs that apply to combat, crafting, and entertainment professions. There are eight specializations to choose from, each costing between eight and fifteen thousand credits per week (deducted automatically from the city treasury during weekly updates).
The first specialization is Clone Lab, and reduces the cost of clone insurance by 20%. It is also worthless since insurance and item decay were removed with the NGE update in 2005. The second specialization is Entertainment District and provides a 10% inspiration bonus in terms of how quickly the buff may be applied. The third specialization is Improved Job Market, which grants a 20% increase to mission terminal payouts. The fourth specialization is Manufacturing Center, which grants a 10% bonus to trader assembly. The fifth specialization is Medical Center, which grants a 10% effectiveness bonus to doctor buffs. Unfortunately, as with Clone Lab, said buffs are no longer in the game post-NGE, so the specialization is currently not useable. The sixth specialization is Research Center, which grants a 15% bonus to the final result roll during trader experimentation. The seventh specialization is Sample Rich, which provides 20% more resources as well as a 10% higher probability of finding resources within the city limits. The final specialization is Stronghold, and as with Clone Lab and Medical Center, currently serves no purpose due to NGE skill removal. Militia members prior to the NGE were granted a +50 bonus to defense rolls in PVP that occurred inside city limits.
Thirty citizens give the rank of City and enables the placing of shuttleport travel structures and player theaters. The fifth and final rank, Metropolis, requires forty citizens and grants no special build permissions at this time. If at any time your citizenship falls below one of the previous thresholds, your city will lose the corresponding rank and any rank-enabled civic structures will be destroyed.
City updates happen weekly, at a time that is visible on the City Maintenance Terminal inside your city hall. City maintenance fees (determined by the number and type of civic structures placed) as well as taxes are computed, and citizenship numbers are validated in order to maintain, lose, or gain city rankings. The mayor is notified of all of these functions via the in-game mail mechanic.
As mayor, you also have the option of designating residents as members of the city militia. Militia members are able to grant zoning rights to other players (which allow for the placement or transfer of structures inside city limits for twenty-four hours). Militiamen can also ban (and un-ban/pardon) players from using civic structures such as the shuttleport, garage, bank, city hall, and cloning facility.
Mayoral elections happen every three weeks, beginning with the creation date of the city. Registered citizens may vote inside city hall and can change their vote during the three-week period or refrain from voting altogether. Any registered citizen can register to run for mayor.
As you can see, running a player city in Star Wars Galaxies takes a bit of planning, as well as appropriate resources and patience. It also requires quite a bit of teamwork, unless you're fortunate enough to own three or more accounts, in which case it is entirely possible to build and maintain a city with nothing but your alternate characters. While the system is in desperate need of a post-NGE update to eliminate a few antiquated features, it remains a deep gameplay alternative for those looking for something to do besides combat.