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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Insert Star Wars Pun Here

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Massive changes in SWG:

The official statement.

The official faq.

The Aggro Forums thread where I read this first (thanks Flashman).

The F13
thread and front page update.

Basically, there will be an emphasis on more twitch-based combat.

Okay, I've messed around with SWG very briefly a long time ago. So I am by no means qualified to comment on the state of the game. This is a story that's sure to get some comments from plenty of people who are more informed than me.

But I do have a few questions and comments:

* How much drastic change can you force on a game's players?

* Was the whole Combat Upgrade drama really at all necessary if this was the direction SWG was going?

* Was it fair to sell an expansion that cost $29.99 so soon before breaking this news? As far as I know, it just went live two days ago.

* Is it fair to sell a retail box that advertises one type of gameplay and then completely shift that gameplay? Sure, MMO's change all the time, but to sell a turn-based game and then make it a first person shooter? What if you bought Civ IV and then were forced to download a patch that made it a real time strategy game?

* Will SOE be able to graft on twitch based play to an existing game and make it work?

* According to the FAQ, Jedi is now a starting class. How will that go over and will we see an overabundance of Jedi players?

* How will this decision affect customer's opinions of other current or upcoming SOE games? (i.e. If they can do this in SWG what's to say they won't completely change x game?)

* Will SOE be able to effectively convert existing items and the effort put into existing characters to the new system?

* Is this decision by SOE incredibly courageous? Incredibly foolish? Either way, you have to admit they are not afraid to make changes.

* Would SWG have died a slow death without this change? Was it actually losing money? I remember reading somewhere that the server requirements for SWG are massive compared to other MMO's due to the size of the database needed.

* The market could use a few twitch-based MMO's. However, Planetside does still exist, in case anyone forgot. And it's apparently a really fun game from what I hear.

* Three of the most special things about SWG, the ability to change professions, the incredible crafting system and the diversity of the professions would appear to be gone or highly truncated.

* The SWG official forums are really hard to read due to the color scheme and the fact that massive colored fonts are apparently allowed.

Well, I'll leave the conclusions to those who have more experience with the game. I'm sure some players will leave and others (perhaps myself) will be curious enough to give it a try.

I'm still undecided on what to think about the whole thing. As a non-player it piqued my curiosity and made me think about giving it a chance. But if I try to put myself in the mindset of a veteran player who has already weathered the combat changes and does not care for twitch-based play, well, I would be pretty upset.

Will this be another blow to SOE's image amongst the gaming community? A decision that turns a troubled game into a triumphant success? As often happens, it will probably be something in the middle.

Edit: If you're coming directly to this post from a link you may also want to check out the parody I did recently.


Blogger Dean Michaud said...

All I have to say about this is: Wow... that's takes balls!


Having said that; man, it just might work. I'll be watching this one closely, if they have a free trial period, this will definitely be one I take a whack at - if not to be a new subscriber, just to see how well such an overhaul can be done by SOE.

Side thought; I cannot imagine the fallout on the forums from this - their forums are already hard enough to follow as-is... this news ought to make them unbearable.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's pissing me off is that EQ2 is a good game, but I can't even get my most of my friends to try the free demo, because of the various "vision" issues from EQ1 and the incredibly hostile changes they've made in SWG. No one (here) feels like they can trust SOE any more. :(

9:44 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

woohoo I love when SOE starts to soap opera stuff. looks like a stunt to get SOE in the light again.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Zygwen said...

I wonder, how much of this is SoE's doing and how much is Lucas Arts.

If you look at Julio Torres Producer Letter he states, "My name is Julio Torres and I am the Producer on Star Wars Galaxies for LucasArts." And not for SoE.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

No matter who is doing it, I don't think it is right.
Not saying that I'm not interested in teh changes, because I will probably play again (at least to check it out) when this all goes live, but the fact that the changes are practically an entire new game is what gets me. Also the fact that the devs never said a word about it until a few days before it was on the test server. And then throw in that they -just- released the expansion, all the recent overhaul of combat and the jedi stuff (isn't the new expansion basically a new jedi system? I don't know for sure, but it seems that way, and even if it isn't..), when this was obviously in the works (you can't just do this overnight). Doesn't that make all the things they did null and void?

And it appears they are taking out what made SWG different from other MMORPGs.. the template system where you could mix professions or change on a whim, which is a big lure to the game.

So I think whoever this is, SOE or LucasArts, while it may be fun, is it really ethical to turn a MMO into a completely different MMO?

I'm sure I'll whine more in the forums :P

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they may be making the correct decision here. Now, I'm a big Star Wars fan -- have been ever since the original movie. Yes, I've gone to see them on the first day, too. I was interested in SWG before it came out, and I was seriously considering it. A friend of mine was in the beta, and signed up, so I got to see how the game looked and played.

It looks like Star Wars. It feels like something else. So, I never bought it. I can't believe I'm the only SW fan who didn't get it or quit because the game play didn't fit the Star Wars universe.

Will I pick it up now? I dunno... I'm planning on reactivating my WoW account. SOE may have missed their window of opportunity with this game. I wish them success though... and if they get it right, who knows? I might play it in the future....

Never go on an adventure without a hat!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With changes this HUGE, why in the world wouldn't they just release a new game? Star Wars Galaxy 2.

If they EVER do something like this to EQ2, I *might* keep playing. But I guarantee you many people wouldn't.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indy, if it did not 'feel' like Star Wars to you then it still will not.
I first got the game because it was Star Wars and the simpleness (1 character type) of othe MMOs just bored me. SWG gave me the opportunity to do several things at once and as I am not a big combat person, it allowed me ot play yet not be bored by it. This change essentially makes SWG into one of the MMOs I avoided in the first place.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To little, to late. SWG has been dieing for years now. Bugs, expansion that do not give the players what they want. They should have named it Star Wars Grind not galaxies.

Just another excuse to ignore the space part of the game, which is what a lot of players joined the game for.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Star Wars Galaxies WAS my game at one point. I LOVED IT! It was my first MMO too. Changed professions a bunch, tried it all, loved it all. Even with the bugs (I almost threw my computer out a window once when a factory was mysterously deleted.) I made a run for Jedi, but...I eventually quit, shortly after JTL, due to the bore that reverendjohn refered to as Star Wars Grind.

After Rage of the Wookie and the Combat Upgrade came out I signed up for a bit to give it a try. My experience made me feel like SOE was trying to turn SWG into EQ2. At that point I was hooked on EQ2 and said 'if I wanted to play EQ2 I'll play EQ2... not the SWG version.'

Now I can't wait to try the new system. I'm not a big fan of first person shooters, but I'm willing to try it out. The combat upgrade didn't really make a distinction between the professions (like you see in EQ2)like I thought it would. In fact everyone in my old guild was either a Rifleman or a Pikeman (or a Jedi), because everything else was Nerfed so badly. So putting them all in one bag is a much better idea. If I can be a smuggler, BH, or commando and use any of the ranged combat weapons (pistols, carbs, or rifles) or skills and any of the melee weapons (fists, pikes, or swords)then that's just all the better!

In my mind, this is what that game needed. The Jedi's aren't going to be happy about it. In fact I'm sure that many of the players may not be happy. But I'm sure there are more people that have quit that will come back to try it that will be happier. And the steady regulars will get over it. If they didn't quit with the CU they're not gonna quit now.

In fact many of those regulars will have 2 or 3 characters to respec. Most of my friends still playing have multiple accounts (the only way to have an alt on the same server).

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem hasn't be bugs or not giving people what they want. The problem has been *giving* people what they want. They released a game with an amazingly well setup comerce system, and an incomplete battle system. then rather than finish the battle system they sent their dev team to other projects. The live team picked it up and tried to fix it based on user feedback not on what worked... Big no-no for a game. The users want to be god but that's only fun for 5 minutes.

So the original devs came back, did the combat revamp and it was good. I couldn't see a thing wrong with the game(major). So this. Yeah I won't be renewing my subscription. I was there with an entire metropolis that was a crafting based society. We all just lost our jobs. <sarcasm>Smart Move SOE</sarcasm>

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I play SWG and my husband is a dev on another game, he was at austin the last 2 weeks and the talk in the dev circles is that this new game had been in secret production for the last year and a half.
It was ment to be SWG2.
The fact that Lucus arts wouldn't sign off on 2 titles and that soe has the ps3 coming out at christmas is why this happened.
This new game will be playable on a console (the reason they dumbed it down so much) and it's going to be bundled with the ps3 for santa to deliver.
The knew they would lose about half the player base, but they are gambling on making up for it with the new console players.
The other thing is the current dev team had no clue another game was being developed, they got called into a big meeting right before it hit the public. Needless to say they arn't thrilled about this and alot are concerned about job security at this point.

11:18 AM  
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