This week Sony Online Entertainment shut down Star Wars Galaxies after eight and a half years. Star Wars Galaxies changed my life. You hear people say that a lot about games, and it’s usually a pretty shallow statement surrounding a guild or something else in-game. But SWG literally changed my life in the real world. Eight and a half years ago prior to the game launching, I moved four hundred miles from Northern California to Southern California to work for SOE.
At that time, Star Wars Galaxies really had everything going for it; if only because of a strict beta NDA that didn’t allow word of how hopelessly broken the game was slip out until right before they launched it. Yes, the game was completely broken back then and major systems such as land vehicles, mounts, and player cities weren’t implemented while useless classes such as Swordsman were being “polished” in beta. But it was Star Wars and it was a MMO where you could stake your claim in the Star Wars universe like never before.
For a Star Wars fan, just running across the surface of Tatooine as the binary suns rose and sat while running into Tusken Raiders, shooting Womp Rats, and seeing places like the Lars Homestead, Jabba’s Palace, and the Sarlaac was a dream come true. The game was what you made of it, and for real hard core Star Wars fans; it really let them “live” in the Star Wars universe. They could buy a hope and set up a business, be a neutral Smuggler or Bounty Hunter, or enlist in the Alliance or Empire to take part in the Galactic Civil War.
The latter half of SWG’s life wasn’t its best times. But the game it was before those cataclysmic changes took place remains to be a flawed MMO that had many features that were simply too far ahead of their time. Here are the ten things, both good and bad, that Star Wars Galaxies will be remembered for.
The Player-Run Economy
When SWG launched, everything was crafted by players. Blasters, armor, clothes, houses, furniture, crafting stations, harvesters; everything. It wasn’t really possible to play the game without relying on another player for something essential to your profession. This allowed people to set up virtual businesses in the world, and the best crafters on their server became well known as the person to go to for whatever their specialty was. Later in the life of the game, SOE did put in content that produced items for players (mostly due to demand), but the game’s economy was something no other game has replicated.