Game talkSWG is shutting down

 Posted by (Visited 48170 times)  Game talk  Tagged with:
Jun 242011
 

Star Wars Galaxies, a game I was the creative director on, is shutting down. It’s happening in mid-December. You can read an interview with John Smedley about it  on Massively. The short form, though, is that the contract with LucasArts is up.

I am sure there are plenty of people who are prepared to mourn; I went through my own emotional arc of moving on years and years ago at this point, so I am not going to dwell on it.

Instead, I’ll note that sandbox, worldy MMOs do not seem to have gone away despite the economic currents that run against them. It’s too big a dream, I suspect, and games like Arche Age, which isn’t out yet, Wurm which is, and of course EVE, show that there is a passionate audience for the sort of experience that lets you step into a more fully realized world and live there.

Some will say that SWG was a failure. They’ll cite the NGE, of course, and they’ll point out that it fared poorly against the juggernaut of WoW, despite the power of the license. My postmortem would be much like Smedley’s:

Here’s what I would have done differently. I would have made sure the ground and space games were launched all at once. I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit. I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there. I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the NGE.

In the end, the game was quite profitable, it ran for eight years, and it entertained a few million people. I’ve been told it had a qualitatively different and more powerful community than other games, by objective metrics. It was built with some rickety tech — and some that won awards and led to patents (1, 2, 3). It was more casual and more broad appeal than what the license could even handle, in some ways, and many individual features that SWG had today power entire blockbuster giant companies in the social game space (hey look, farming where you come back the next day… where have I seen that before…?). And it gave us features that continue to amaze people who don’t realize what can be done: real economies complete with supply chains and wholesalers and shopkeepers, that amazing pet system, the moods and chat bubbles (anyone remember what chat in 3d MMOs looked like before SWG?), player cities, vehicles, spaceflight…

And dancing. Which everyone made fun of. But as far as I am concerned, it may have been the biggest and best contribution, the one that spawned a jillion YouTube videos and may well be the lasting influence the game leaves behind, an imprint on all the games since: a brief moment where you can stop saving the world or killing rats and realize the real scope and potential of the medium.

In the end, SWG may have been more potential and promise than fulfilled expectation. But I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity. There’s a reason people are passionate about it all these years later. I’m proud to have worked on it.

  103 Responses to “SWG is shutting down”

  1. [...] Raph Koster, who was on the team that created SWG, has his own thoughts on the end of SWG. [...]

  2. SWG wasn’t a failure.

    SOE did mishandle it, as did Lucas.

    The fact is that I’ve gone back and played that game several times, where there isn’t another game (save WoW) that has kept me subscribed for as long. And for very different reasons.

    Thanks for all the work you did on that game. It wasn’t perfect but it was a lot of fun and it was different.

    Now off to thank Salim for his work on it as well.

    You all did great work on that game. Makes me sad to see it go.

  3. I jumped into SWG on launch and right from the start, I loved it. Sure, it had a lot of things they needed to fix and catch up on but it was quite unique. I stuck with the game for years (as Utsuku Bakemono, on the Chilastra server)and built a large Tailoring empire, which eventually funded a large portion of our player city’s (Mirage) space effort. I also met my fiance in game during the first year. We’re still together.

    Star Wars Galaxies will always have a special place for me. It was different than any other MMO. The real stories that grew out of that large sandbox were fun times. I still have screen shot galleries that double as photo albums of all the things we did and saw there.

    My character was also one of the first Master Dancer professions on the server. You’re right, it was the butt of so many jokes but when people saw how valuable it was in the earlier years (before all the challenge was removed) to have me on an exploration trip with them, the jokes mainly settled on those who did it strictly for the laughs.

    In the end, it’s a shame that it never grew to what that early potential held. It could have worked out much better. It should have. All the parts were there. But instead of building on them, the years just was the unique facets pared down.

    That said, it sure did have a successful run. I didn’t see the second half of it but I’m sure it provided enjoyment for some.

    Thanks for helping bring us a little game that was also something rather special.

  4. John told me the actual story of how the NGE came about. The actual story almost exactly matches what I thought happened.

  5. You talked me into checking SWG out. I was on Quarter-to-Three complaining about what terrible platforms MMOs were for roleplaying: mainly do to the lack of immersive/realistic gameplay. And you said pointed out that SWG had some different design goals and pointed me at the prelaunch community.

    And I’ve been pretty rough on SWG over the years, boy howdy. It’s true. It was a terrible representation of Star Wars. That hurt the RP community probably more than anything else. The PvP spam, and attitude, everywhere set a pretty anarchic and miserable tone in the background too. LoTRO’s management of PvP (over there, out of sight, thanks) much better preserved sanity and the quality of the IP.

    But, I tell you Raph, SWG remains the most important roleplaying MMO ever in the form of Starsider. That RP community voted it in, bumrushed the place, and to this very day it’s still the unofficial RP server. RPers brought in more RPers until, today, it’s the most populated remaining server in SWG. RPers brought in a more mature crowd, this crowd included old school RPer/flight simmers that started the first organized events, and Player Associations, for Jump to Lightspeed. Starsider then became the JtL server too.

    But on a personal level, the experience of colonizing an alien world and the mechanics of economy, the AI of the critters, the customization and emotes available to the characters…I felt like I really lived there. Old Vagabond’s Rest. It’s still a legend on Starsider though it’s long gone. The crown jewel of the first wave of RP player cities. It pulled hundreds of roleplayers together (until they found reasons to fight amongst each other – PvP attitudes also exacerbated the bad kind of drama) for several years.

    And your experiments, which sometimes frustrated me in the execution (“Couldn’t X have been done but done in a more Starwarsy way?”), were key to so much of that unique flavor. It wasn’t the license alone, no sir. In fact I’d decribe SWG’s approach to the license as cavalier at best. But those experiments…worked.

    Entertainers, in the long run, did end up being the cornerstones of the social scene. Long after the first wave left Starsider we saw groups like Holowood Galactic Studios migrate from another server. They not only put on shows and events of their own but helped others organize and publicize them! For a long while HGS was the neutral hub of Starsider’s RP scene.

    One character per player. Not a popular decision but a brilliant one. This made each player focus more on an individual persona. We really got to know each other as our characters, would see each other around, reputations were made and Starsider felt like a real community populated by real folks. Not just some random collection of characters you’ll never see again.

    The economy undergirded the RP scene and the fact people had to travel to a vendor to pick up goods created all kinds of connections and new friendships naturally, on the grid, between folks as they happened across each other.

    I really wish NPC cities hadn’t been in or at least so important. Instead of player cities truly becoming hubs they tended to feel isolated and superfluous. So many merchants instead built shanty towns around NPC cities as only NPC cities had starports. But the RP cities soldiered on even as other cities turned into ghost towns: they had communities that engaged each other on more levels than just commerce or warfare.

    And my personal love…player on board ships. My god, how cool is that? How can a thinking person give a crap about a flying mount if they can have the Millenium Falcon? Again, though, they had no real function in the game. With instant travel between worlds and items not having mass or weight there wasn’t anything for a merchant or smuggler to really do.

    And yet, to this day, people decorate their ships. Post interiors and compare with others. They’ve served as anchors for more than one RP group including mine. Old Captain Mandash Grim and his Ikopi Stag/Holowood Star YT are institutions. That’s a character it’s going to be hard to retire…even if I hardly visit anymore.

    Oh, the stories I could tell. Vagabond’s Rest, Soul’s Peace, Holowood Galactic Studios. And everyone else. You know who you are! God, never been a game like it before. Probably won’t see one again until World of Darkness Online.

    If they don’t screw it up.

  6. SWG was an unfinished masterpiece. SOE’s utter inability to listen to the players; their sheer arrogance and unchecked greed led them to make all the wrong decisions which culminated in the abhorrent NGE.

    Its a shame their actions have caused such an impact on the MMO industry whereby we had to endure all these years of shallow themepark games because no one wanted to risk anything more elaborate.

    Even after almost 10 years, SWG PRE-CU’s rich amount of features and design would humble any MMO in the market.

  7. I’m reading this post with SWG running in the background (taking advantage of free reactivation), and the “its raining now” music starts to play.

    Damn.

  8. I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there.

    I think Smed has it right. Being an architect, making my own house, being part of building a freaking town were peak gaming experiences for me. Raph, you , the whole team and SOE should be proud of SWG.

  9. (sigh) Will definitely be missed. In a way it’d been a downhill ride from beta as people left and I would visit less and less but I still visited and thoroughly enjoyed being an architect. It’s one of the main reasons I kept coming back…the crafting -> business experience. Nowadays, crafting seems either absent or an excuse to consume materials more than anything else. Now, the items that are worth creating are the ones that require you to roll with a guild because you can rarely collect enough in a short enough time to be worthwhile. I loved setting up my harvesters, managing my stock, and making money. I didn’t care for the inventory management that went with it (all those parts, so little stacking).

    Still, it was a good run (excellent considering how many fail). I almost wish it were possible to get the source and set up a server just to keep my homes dedicated to long lost pets and my little materials farm in the midst of huge structure factories. A John Williams’ theme starts up just as the sun sets and the sky darkens. A transport ship hurtles by overhead, heading for Coronet–probably carrying smuggled goods.

    I guess it’s fraps time…time to collect enough memories to look back on years later and contemplate wistfully as I lament the grinder MMOs that have taken SWG’s place.

    Mr. Koster, you did well enough given the tools you had available (and some you didn’t). Here’s hoping you can bring some of that SWG to your future endeavors. If you do, let me know…be happy to help out any way I can. :)

  10. Wow. this is sad news. Even though SWG is a game I’ve barely played since 2005 and I recently came back when sony offered free time, it’s by far one of those that left the strongest memories for me (And I’ve played around 20 MMO’s since EQ came out).

    I have to wonder if we will ever see support for the kind of non combat and social aspect SWG had in any mainstream MMO ever again.

    I placed back my large house and smaller one this week and was showing my wife around. How my entertainer outfits were actually arranged in a room for me to pick and choose (I obviously had too much free time a few years ago :) ). How I had been able to decorate it all to my taste and put together a performance stage in it. I told her how it was part of a player run city where we could party or or other players would know to stop for a buff.

    And those outfits. Serving no other purpose than making you look good on a performance / crawl. And then there were all the performance special effects and the emotes, which are still way beyond what you find in most games I play nowadays. I spent an hour this week just playing around with the emotes and the text parser.

    Even with what the NGE tried to undo some years in, you could tell that this was a MMO which had been built with the social aspect designed in from the very start. It was an integral part of the game. And we social players served a purpose if we wanted to as well.

    Who nowadays is going to try and design a WoW or even SW:TOR competitor and think they can put in as much money and effort into social aspects when they have to get full voice overs, modern graphics, thousands of quests to compete with the current behemoths, …

    I’d like to see a game do it. But I think we might have had the pleasure of playing through a one off event.

    We can, to a degree, get the same functionality in virtual worlds like second life. Buy outfits, buy poses, buy dances, run a club and entertain. You can also spend money on a plot of land and have your own house. Even have live musicians perform. But that’s a virtual world, not a game. It’s a very different experience from SWG.

    In any case, I’ve been gaming since the 80ies and SWG has really caught my imagination with what it allowed. So that’s something. I was also fortunate to be part of some of the cantina crawls that became quite famous. And I put together my first ever in game video in 2005 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3T_oR2pbg4 ) to show what fun SWG was as a social experience.

    The whole team involved in designing the game, and you Raph, should be proud of what you accomplished. Long after the NGE is forgotten, I’m sure lots of us will remember those player cities and the fun times in game.

  11. Thank you for the greatest game I ever played.

  12. Like so many others, I’ll miss the memory of SWG a lot. It still has things no other MMO has touched. Some of its firsts are still firsts (the POI system and openly configurable player cities come immediately to mind).

    People (including myself) argue this wasn’t the Star Wars the market wanted. But it was the spiritual sequel to Ultima Online I wanted. And got, in spades. Very great times being an energy dealer and then cartel, home decorator for hire years before HGTV brought it to the masses, and master entertainer/musician for city events.

    Other experiences did fewer things to greater depth. But I didn’t want the whole sandbox of Second Life or the whole socioeconomic/diplomacy of Eve or the whole quest combat system of City of Heroes (this being over a year before EQ2/WoW). I wanted enough pieces of each to feel like I was making a difference in a world.

    SWG gave me that. It also really helped my career. So much “gamification” comes from experiments like this title provided. And heck, everything I ever learned about finances came from my energy business in Excel :)

    Thank you Raph, to you and the team.

  13. [...] Koster offers up a bit of commentary on SWG's demise via his personal website, and despite the brevity, he manages to touch on exactly [...]

  14. [...] Koster offers up a bit of commentary on SWG's demise via his personal website, and despite the brevity, he manages to touch on exactly [...]

  15. Thank you, Raph. My whole life changed on July 9th, 2003. It seems silly to say, but it is the unabashed truth. What more can I say than that?

  16. This makes me sad, even though i haven’t played the game since a few years. We can be glad to have played it pre CU and pre NGE. I remember switching over to it from EQ back in the day and being overwhelmed by the complexity and sheer possibilities.

    In no other game have I been in Cantinas or on camp sites out in the middle of nowhere and just enjoyed the atmosphere. In no other game did i feel so immersed. I would run around all day, not making one single exp, not progressing at all and still enjoy it. Just exploring and socializing.

    It’s a shame that it had to end this way. It really is.

    Thanks Raph and the original SWG team for showing us what IS possible in the MMO market. Too bad something like this won’t ever be made again. They just don’t build ‘em like this anymore…

  17. I remember when I met my partner in the summer of 2005. MMOs were my thing (well, they still are) and I would go on and on about the adventures I was having in SWG. It was a shame to have that all come crashing down towards the end of that year, but those memories stick with me.

    I can’t help but remind myself every day I grow a little more bored with my current themepark, or every time I try in vain to find something a little more like SWG, that none of these other games would allow me to tell the kinds of stories I used to tell about my time on Starsider. In SWG the interactions mattered, with the players and the world. We didn’t just spend our days going through the same motions of the same dungeons looking for the next shiny purple.

    While I never liked how things turned out after the NGE, I’m sad to see the game go. Thank you Raph, without SWG I would never have realized what kind of potential the MMO genre really has.

  18. I am very sad to hear that SWG is closing down. I have played it since day one off and on. I have played many other MMOs in the meantime but always returned to SWG. It was unique in so many ways, and offered so many innovative features.
    It is the only MMO to offer a purely social character class, before or since, that I have ever heard of. I will miss entertaining on my musician (Vico Modro of Corbantis, later Starsider) immensely. He was my first character in the game. I will miss the crafting system – the best in any MMO I have ever seen.
    Its a shame that so many developers of games these days do not see the powerful appeal of the Sandbox approach, over the railroaded quest approach that seems to be so dominant.

  19. Sad thing is all the work everyone put into this game and not offering to transfer the items stock everything everyone put into this game over the years is in poor taste. Lucas should at least have some respect for the people who paid him so well for so many years by doing something for the loyal followers other than just doors close don’t let it hit your @$$ on the way out. Oh and by the way come on and by my new game and work your butts off so we can shut it down as well.

    Very poor management all the way around Sony and Lucas. If it was anyone one of us pulling this stunt we would loose our jobs and income.

  20. Instead I wish you wouldn’t mourn but went back doing something… relevant.

    With someone to counterbalance and keep practical some of your nutty derails. :)

  21. [...] thoughts of the man primarily responsible for designing the original game. Raph Koster offers up a bit of commentary on SWG’s demise via his personal website, and despite the brevity, he manages to touch on exactly [...]

  22. [...] SWG is shutting down [Raph Koster's Blog] Tagged:lucasartsmmommorpgpcr.i.p.raph kostersoesony online entertainmentstar wars galaxies [...]

  23. Smedley gave an interview with Massively in which he was served some very slow lobs indeed.

    One of the statements which the interviewer did not pick up on was: no, we’re not going to run one classic server or allow any crew of independents to run the code.

    There’s no reason why he can’t or won’t allow this to happen – when there’s patently a niche desire to do this. Can someone explain his reasoning?

  24. @ Morgan Ramsay

    “John told me the actual story of how the NGE came about. The actual story almost exactly matches what I thought happened.”

    Well, don’t be a tease. What was his story? And, more to the point, how did Smedley discguise that this was a colossal brand and financial error to LA and Sony for at least three years?

  25. [...] Raph Koster’s thoughts are worth reading. Tags: Game Design, Gaming News, Lucasarts, MMORPG, Sandbox, SOE, [...]

  26. @Alex Clarke

    Maybe because Lucasarts owns the property, not SOE. Maybe because Lucasarts won’t want uncontrolled Star Wars servers of any kind out there that they are not getting money from?

    Once the contract expires, SOE cannot legally put out anything to do with Star Wars or face IP infringement lawsuits from LA. You can practically guarantee that any EMU servers that exist now, or will try in the future will get letters from the lawyers ordering them to cease and desist.

    You seem pretty quick to jump all over SOE when it was Lucasarts calling the shots. Yes, SOE implemented them, and took the lumps when they didn’t work out. That’s called not biting the hand that feeds them with regard to the property.

  27. The game wasn’t a failure as it was launched. With a little more time in development, it would have been perfect from the get-go. A few design decisions were questionable though…

    The game first became a victim of its own ambition and human nature. If you offer something better than everything else, it’s a no-brainer that most players will want it eventually. And they’ll sure as hell figure out how to get it. Playable Jedi destroyed game balance and skewed player efforts into unlocking an alpha class. Everyone else too lazy to grind for a Jedi played Teras Kasi, Rifleman, or whatever other flavor of the month profession combination. This in turn caused others to clamor for a “Combat Upgrade” (myself included) which only ended up further destroying the core elements of the game. Who knew? Us vocal minorities simply wanted a fighting chance. Instead, we helped deliver the deathblow.

    Then Galaxies was a victim of a bad management decision. Hindsight being 20/20, we all know now that trying to compete with WoW was futile, even with the Star Wars license. At the time of its arrival I can see the (business) logic behind the NGE, but by late 2006 or 2007 it should have been apparent to SOE or Lucasarts that the new SWG was doomed. Next the stubborn management resistance to the idea of returning to the pre-NGE SWG to try and lure back disaffected veterans really put the nail in the coffin. I don’t think anyone truly bought the developer argument that they simply didn’t have the old code anymore, or that it was technically impossible to roll it back. Was it simply the reluctance to admit defeat? Pride that kept LA/SOE from realizing that they couldn’t stand toe-to-toe with Warcraft? Why not try to save the game by bringing back the niche players? EVE still does well for itself, despite the limited audience. In fact, it’s slowly growing.

    I’ll never forget my first few weeks on Tatooine, living in a player city as roommate with 4 other guys. Squill runs in Anchorhead. My first speeder. Finally mastering Smuggler. Trying to push spice on dancing partygoers in Theed Cantina. Trying to start my own city (and failing gloriously). Earning enough money to buy and outfit my own YT-1300. Getting my buddies to hop in and enjoy the ride with me. Bounty hunting player Jedi as a Commando/BH. (Actually got 13 kills, mostly based on sneak attacks. Still, everyone told me I would never get a single one.)

    All good things come to an end. Now that the death-knell has been sounded, I regret lobbying for the combat upgrade. If I had known it would lead to the NGE, I would have shut my big mouth. But who knows, maybe the NGE would have happened, CU or not. Otherwise, I regret nothing.

    I didn’t seriously play any MMO after SWG. A little Guild Wars and few doomed projects (Auto Assault, Fallen Earth) but never for a long period of time.

    Thanks for all the memories, Raph. The experience was short but oh-so sweet.

  28. SWG is like an old friend you used to be close to but haven’t seen in many years. In the back of your mind you think your friend will always be there, of course that isn’t true.

    I suspect many will come by to say goodbye to their old friend on it’s deathbed and take one last spin on the old speeder to revisit some sights never to be seen again.

  29. Would you consider releasing a server kit for dedicated players who wish to continue?

  30. Who, me? I don’t work for Sony or LucasArts, nor have I for years and years, nor do I have any such code to release.

  31. You know, the sad honest fact is that the game had the potential to last a life time and the failure fucks at SOE had to ruin it. This game was literally years of my life invested into it, and the NGE took everything away in less than a day.

    I hope all of you at SOE realize the money making potential you threw away the second you made us all Jedi.

    It’s been a pleasure.

  32. [...] Wars Galaxies designer Raph Koster, also notable for being lead designer on Ultima Online, offers his take on the gaming experience scheduled to “sunset” later this year, a eulogy of sorts, with [...]

  33. I am sad and I am happy.

    Sad because I have the fondest memory of my time in SWG. RPing my Imperial Officer, organizing events, BHing jedi pre an post NGE, getting the 10K kill mark with my Spy, finding friends that are still friends despite having quit the game years ago and just having a truckload of fun.

    I am happy because I had the feeling the last few years with all good new things introduced through the f****** trading card game, stagnant development, bugs persisting for years and silly updates like love ewoks, choclate fountains etc. were like parading around a half-dead body dressed up as a cheap whore of a MMO.

    Still…so much wasted potential makes me sad again.

  34. I enjoyed it from start to finish, thank you. I’m sad but realistic and don’t see anything replacing the experiences this game has given me.

  35. [...] Koster offers up a bit of commentary on SWG’s demise via his personal website, and despite the brevity, he manages to touch on [...]

  36. Fabulous game, still the yardstick by which I measure other games. Many thanks to you and your successors for all the wonderful times I had there.

  37. So this is it then. This brings a tear to my eye.

    And SOE never manaaged to fix Sullustan eye lashes transparency until the end!

  38. [...] המקורי, שעבד גם על Ultima Online, ראף קוסטר, כתב בבלוג שלו פרידה מהמשחק עליו עבד בשמונה השנים האחרונות, שעומד לסגור את שעריו [...]

  39. [...] Smedley through the link, and if you like, the game’s former creative director, Raph Koster, has posted his thoughts on the matter as [...]

  40. With SWG you guys broke the mold. Be proud of it Raph!

    Of all games I ever played this will always be closest to heart, so many great friends found and lost through this game, so many great memories. It really touched me in a way I didn’t think was possible by a computer game, but then again it was so much more than “only a game”. Thank you for a great experience Raph, it sure was a ride to remember.

  41. This gave me chills, literally. I so totally agree with you. This game was unique, and so much of what made it great was the sandbox and things like dancing. I loved that there was more to do in this game than kill and loot and, in fact, when the game began loot wasn’t really a big deal and it was ok. The housing, the crafting, the resources, the large open world… such an amazing experience.
    I’m sad it’s coming to an end. I left the game right before the NGE to play another SOE title and have only just returned maybe a month ago because I was told the game was worth playing again. And it is. I’ve had so much fun and I’m glad I came back to my first “second home,” that I was able to let go of my resentment of the NGE and love this game a second time. I’m sad it’s coming to and end, but I understand the business end of it. I really feel for those who have stuck with it, who will really feel its loss when the lights go out.
    SWG, it was a good time. Thanks for the memories :)

  42. Raph: I had the pleasure to meet you in San Diego at SOE HQ when we visited from Vanderbilt. You are amazing, and there has been no other team who has even come close to what your vision delivered in SWG. That game provided the essential in-game germination for many of my IRL friendships that still carry forward since 2004! You brought together a group of the most diverse people through our shared passion in your game, and we all stay in contact today — because of a city we built together on Rori!
    Thanks again mate.

  43. [...] can foster virtual communities and Star Wars Galaxies was designed from the ground up by folks like Raph Koster to be a huge community building tool. Heck, in the beginning you could actually train other [...]

  44. Raph: I expect that you would probably want to be remembered for what your most recent achievements are, rather than from things buried deep in the past, but SWG is (and soon was) something very special and more unique than I realized at the time. We all have our favorite memories from the game (I still fondly remember making that 0.0 speed FWG5, and that unbelievable spawn of polysteel copper) and that’s maybe the point – so many people have so many good memories. It was a more fully realized world than you perhaps think – I wish I had appreciated it more when I played it (CU and NGE were, of course, disasters). Thanks for creating something really memorable.

  45. Man, Raph, the original vision you had was the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced in gaming. SWG was my first MMO and to this date the only one that I have really enjoined or played for any length of time. The communities that were built up around that game still persist to this day. Heck, our SWG guild still persists and still has a core group of people that are and probably will be for ever friends.

    Many in our guild came from the FPS world. SWG was the first MMO that provided an open world PvP system and global war system that went as deep as you were willing to take it. Sure it had its problems but I’d take every single one of them over some of the watered down game-play on rails that has become the MMO status-quo of today.

    I’m so glad that you pushed this idea though and made it happen in the first place. The MMO industry has been forever changed because of it and I hope that somewhere down the line another game is developed that can bring the experience that SWG gave. There are too many good things to mention about SWG, the depth of crafting, PvP, cities, player economy… everything. No game to date has even entered the same universe that SWG wholeheartedly dove into.

    Pre-NGE SWG was easily the best game I’ve ever played (and that’s coming from a 10+ year Counter Strike vet). I can only hope that the sandbox MMO isn’t dead and that people will once again want to be challenged instead of force-fed.

  46. There are so many little details that made SWG more than a game. Show me one other mainstream mmorpg where people actually use spatial chat. Chat in SWG was by itself such an experience. Things like socials and animations that triggered based on what you said, and those animations were lovely motion captured ones.

    For me, the saddest part about this is that I don’t believe we will see another mmorpg sandbox that even comes close to SWG in our lifetime, at least not in the US. LucasArts doesn’t even care to understand what they are killing.

  47. I could write volumes about why I loved SWG, about the amazing experiences I had in that game form 2003-2005, about the friendships I made, about what made SWG a truly special sandbox game, about how it had so much unrealized potential if only it could have shipped fully polished a year later alongside the JTL content… I will just say this:

    Thank you Raph, thank you for the best gaming memories I’ve had until then, and since.

  48. RIP SWG.

    Having said that I’m not sad that the game will shut down – the SWG I loved where slaughtered with NGE.

    Good thing SWG Emu is hard at work creating the game we all love – SWG without NGE. I LOVE that SWG. Really miss being a CH.. And those nights hunting hard, killing stuff, then heading back to civilization, enjoying a dance or a glass of milk in a cantina.

    Good times.

    Great job on the game Raph. Too bad it went pear-shaped with the NGE.

    /bow

  49. [...] his thoughts on the game’s impending closure at his blog, which makes for a short bit of interesting reading [...]

  50. To this day I foam at the mouth when I think of the resource and crafting systems…the mad scramble to survey and find the best of the spawn, making my own harvesters. Then there were the cantinas–really let people be socially creative. I’ve tried Eve and enjoy it, but it’s a bit cold, and WoW is just cartoonish and predictable. Hoping I see something like SWG again, whatever genre.

    Thank you

  51. Playing Pre-CU SWG was an amazing experience. Though I stopped playing a day after the NGE hit, there are still countless memories I can vividly remember from the 2 years I played the game. Calling SWG “immersive” is almost an understatement, because the endless possibilities of that sandbox truly made it seem like a whole other world that I could log into and temporarily forget about any real-life troubles.

    The craziest thing is that I never needed to look back in hindsight to see how special the game was. While I was still playing, in 2004 and 2005, I already knew deep down that I was taking part in a game that nothing else could ever come close to matching. Despite the bugs, glitches, and lack of polish that hurt the game from the get-go, it was still an experience I will never forget. I’m even thankful for the those 10 minute spaceport waits back in the pre-JTL days and waiting in line for 15-20 minutes at crowded buffshacks and cantinas, because those kind of in-game experiences led me to meet some really cool people that I still keep in touch with today.

    I’m not normally someone who plays an online game to admire the scenery… but even I couldn’t help being engrossed in the amazing environments and visuals the game had to offer. That, along with the character customization, the social aspects, the open world PvP, the crafting system and the player-based economy made Galaxies something that I will always look back on with fond memories. I wish I had more time with that world than the 2 years I spent with SWG, but the memories and friendships I made along the way will always stay with me.

    Thanks, Raph. Your vision helped make for a pretty spectacular gaming experience.

  52. [...] Smedley through the link, and if you like, the game’s former creative director, Raph Koster, has posted his thoughts on the matter as [...]

  53. Thank you for letting me experiance the universe of Star Wars to its full potencial. It has been a game that helped bring my family closer in gaming and may have been what resparked the spirit of a gamer in my Dad. For a good 3 or so years, my family (consiting of my Dad, Mom, and two younger brothers, as well as myself) has played the game, eventually all finding ourselves moving to the same server over on Kettemoor and then later to Starsider.

    The memories of me doing space escort missions with my Dad, or helping do a mission with one of my brothers, or of me sitting on my parant’s bed watching over my Dad’s shoulder as he has his short, pot bellied Bothann sing Irish drinking songs will always bring a smile to my face.

    Thanks to JTL, I will never look at space MMOs the same way. Being able to own a hanger and live on a island, or living up in the Talus mountains on the edge of a mountain. Helping my family start up the beginnings of a township that later became a succesful metropolis that still stands even to this day even though they themselves dont play no more. Knowing the city hall is excatly how they decorated it on the first day. Those experiances are only what a few games this day can offer.

    Thank you

  54. [...] Koster offers up a bit of commentary on SWG’s demise via his personal website, and despite the brevity, he manages to touch on [...]

  55. I think it will be a long time before we see another game like Star Wars Galaxies. It has caught a lot of stick over the years for various reasons, but there really is no competition when it comes to a community-driven social gaming experience. It has been said before but Galaxies really broke the mold all those years ago and it speaks wonders that I can log in any day of the week (for the moment) and create something to be proud of with the tools provided.

    You guys did a great job. The game service may be ending but the stories, friends and the fantastic memories will stay with me for years to come. Despite criticisms and the rocky road that the game has been on since launch, for eight years I have been enjoying my own slice of the REAL Star Wars saga and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

    Another little piece of the Original Trilogy, and the charm and wonder that it provoked in me as a child, will die on December 15th.

    Thank you Ralph. And don’t ever stop being proud of Star Wars Galaxies.

  56. For a while anyway, I think this is the end of sandbox games. Countless future publishers/investors will look back at titles like SWG and note that they “were failures”.

    Lies I say. Blasphemers.

    I’ve been with this game since launch, and will be here until they turn off the lights. You gave us something that could truly show us what it was to live in a virtual world. I still consider it the best crafting system I’ve ever used. I still consider it one of the best skill/class systems (YOUR design, not that NGE stuff) I’ve ever used.

    I still have the collector’s edition manual with your embossed autograph on it.

    You introduced me to the terms “emergent” and what it meant.

    Although so much of the game has changed over the years, your parts of the design I will miss most.

    The SWG is dead. Long live the sandbox. Long live the dream.

  57. “I’ll note that sandbox, worldy MMOs do not seem to have gone away despite the economic currents that run against them”

    Football vs Knitting or Kyaking vs Patience. There’s fun activities and there are pastimes. Games have been focusing solely on the fun route and ignoring the pastime aspect. SWG allowed a bit of both. On the weekend when you had more time you could go on a big raid (fun). During the week you could relax and potter around with your little scout for a couple of hours making stuff out of hunted dinosaurs (pastime).

    I think this relates to the earlier piece about virtual worlds, identity and kids. I think it may be true as far as it goes but if a game has enough of the pastime element then adults will carry on playing but in a different way. Initially it might be 90% fun and 10% pastime and as they burn out on the self discovery aspect it could switch to 10% fun and 90% pastime – if the second option is there. You see this a bit in WoW in pretty much the only part of WoW that isn’t a treadmill – guilds. Adults play guild-wow as a pastime.

    It does appear as if the two are diverging into separate genres with kid’s fun games and adult pastime games which is a shame i think. However i wonder if the most likely way out might be a Morrowind Modder type MMO where there is underlying code and people make zones, quests, monsters etc which can then be plugged together in various ways and hosted on world servers?

    Morrowind modding was awesome. I’d love an MMO like that where

  58. I played from Beta for a couple of years and had a very full and rich sandbox experience as a Tailor/Image Designer. I have so many fond memories of the game’s unique qualities – home decorating, dancing, instruments, makeovers, plastic surgery, my Kweestyle* Tailoring business…. It led me to some of the most fun I’ve had writing – my Gamer Girl column and newsing for Warcry, upkeeping my ID guide… My favorite experience was being asked to give input in the development of the ID enhancements back when I was a correspondent :). Several of us correspondents from the olden days are still in contact. My hubby works for SOE now and I love seeing all the Star Wars paraphernalia around the office :). Over the years I’ve periodically logged back in for a trip down memory lane – danced a bit, played some music, ID’d myself, ran around a bit… I know there will be a lot of that in the coming months :). Thank you for your part in creating a most unique and immersive experience.

  59. i wonder if the most likely way out might be a Morrowind Modder type MMO where there is underlying code and people make zones, quests, monsters etc which can then be plugged together in various ways and hosted on world servers?

    We kinda partially went there with Metaplace, but didn’t have enough underlying game to make it work for that audience.

  60. This is beautifully said, and very much quote-worthy, Raph:

    In the end, SWG may have been more potential and promise than fulfilled expectation. But I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity.

  61. [...] Wars Galaxies schließt die Pforten. Mitte Dezember diesen Jahres wird es soweit sein. Hinter diesem Link findet Ihr eine interessante Abschiedsrede von einem der “Kreativen” hinter dem Titel. [...]

  62. I think it’s a good opportunity to congratulate you Raph on your past works. I have been an avid UO and SWG player and have found difficulty to appreciate any other MMO since then. It’s interesting to see that both UO and SWG were the only MMOs to stick with me, even though I only discovered you were the missing link between those two games a few years after I last logged in SWG.

    Eve has filled this gap for a little while since then, but there’s still something lacking there that UO and SWG were built to express (and that’s mostly roleplaying and ways of conveying emotions, I reckon)
    I believe few in the industry share your vision and it’s a great shame.

    I have this feeling that SWG was both blessed and cursed by its IP. In one way, it has provided big financial backing which allowed great ambitions but in another, it wasn’t probably the best match for an elaborate, freeform and deep kind of gameplay. In fact, I remember discarding SWG as I was expecting yet-another-everquest in space… And was amazed when first reading about its scope and ambition in the first dev blogs. Then a little later I could feel, following this same blog, that some of the ultimate vision would be lost in translation as time was running out and some external elements were pushing in directions that were not originally intended (ie. trying to get things more theme-park like… More standard. More expected). And yet… Pre CU SWG has been a truly unique and awesome experience.

    So, thanks for SWG. Thanks for being an inspiration for the years I spent in the games industry (although I didn’t quite know it was you who did :))

  63. I’m truly sorry to see SWG finally shut down, though I agree that eight years is a remarkable run. Raph, you should be proud of the creative vision that you brought to help shape SWG into more of a world than a game! Indeed, even the pre-release forums became a remarkable community of their own (I still remember your “longest post ever” following the announcement of single character servers). Best of luck in your current and future endeavors!

  64. Raph,

    Thank you for your creative work on SWG. It truly was a large experiment and seemed to be enjoyed by what could be millions, over the years.

    Now, how about another sandbox?

  65. I posted something bitter and angry on the Massively board. I am bitter and angry. We knew in Beta that SWG was something revolutionary, and like all good revolutions, it needed time to develop at its own pace. Unfortunately, it never quite got that chance.

    I guess I shouldn’t be upset at the cancellation of a game that I don’t play anymore, but… damn, it could have changed the direction of the entire market. It SHOULD have. But it never got a fair shot.

    Rest in peace, SWG. The Force will be with you always.

  66. It’s the mediocrity quote that rings true with me. No matter what it might have done wrong, SWG aimed for the stars. As someone who makes games for a living I long for working on titles that aim for somewhere special (and at best may count 1 that I thought was genuinely interesting in my career so far). Sadly as most on here are aware, the ability to make money from a product outweighs, more often than not, creating a vision, something ground-breaking, something that might make people (and companies) re-evaluate what can be achieved.

    I’ll miss SWG not just for what it was, but for what it suggested could be done.

  67. [...] the definitive word on the end of SWGs eight year run look no further than the blog of Raph Koster, Creative Director on Star Wars Galaxies. Star Wars Galaxies [...]

  68. It was Tatooine, and I was on a hill top as the sun was setting. I had walked an walked, (it was beta – no vehicles). I was about as far away as you could be from anything. The ground was brown and yellow, as I sat in my chair at my I could feel the sand beneath my feet, the wind in my face.

    I’d put up a tent, built a fire, a tent and a fire I had placed – stunned that I could put this down in a game. Right then and there, I was in Star Wars, not on earth but on Tatooine.

    I never played live (mix of knowing the game wasn’t ready and rl financial issues), but during beta I had the single most immersive experience I’ve ever had in a video game, and all it was, was being able to sit at a fire and take in the view. Perhaps more games need to give you ways to just take in the world they have made.

    Classes were the worst thing to happen to rpgs.

  69. @Dan

    Amen to that. I find myself in the same situation and can, at a push, claim one “boundary changing” game, one I could be proud of. SWG ( and UO ) would be one of them if I had that chance to be involved in them.

  70. You mention the NGE, and I’d agree that’s when I (and quite a few others) left and never looked back, but that was just a symptom. The cause was SOE’s blatant middle finger to all of their loyal customers, 99% of whom were loudly proclaiming that it was a terrible idea. We talked, you ignored us, we left. Maybe *that* is the lesson you should learn.

  71. You should be proud of the pre cu game Raph. There was no game like it and probably never will be since everyone is chasing wow’s sub base with crappy wow clone after wow clone.. when will these companies get it through their head it wasn’t wow the game that made it popular, it was a faithful blizzard following made up of diablo, starcraft and warcraft fans..

    Even today there is a huge following for the upcoming bioware game swtor which has severely ripped off wow in every way it could and slapped the star wars universe right over top of decade old mechanics and most notably a piss poor combat system that is enough to put most people right to sleep since its so slow and boring.

    Greed is fueling swtor, when the NGE failed lucas arts knew it needed a new company and new launch of the star wars IP-mmo so it could have a chance at succeeding. I personally am never going to support lucas arts/biowares new mmo game simply because they don’t care about me or my fellow gamers.. They don’t care about making a quality, fun and innovative game.. All they care about is 10 million subscribers like blizzard claims to have.. The entire industry right now is a fkn joke that makes me want to puke.

    I say to anyone reading this who loved the original incarnation of swg, I say boycott the new swtor and show these pricks that another wow clone is not what we want to play. Im still bitter over the NGE and the simple fact the lucas contracted bioware to make the NGE 2.0, I will never give these people my money ever again.

  72. [...] ja voittajanovellit, joista jaksan edelleen haaveilla. Mutta uskallan väittää, että ilman Raph Kosterin hiekkalaatikkoa minulla ei olisi ollut näin hauskaa ja olisin useamman tärkeän muiston verran [...]

  73. please go here and sign the ipetition help save the mmo swg please we need everyones help post this link and massage anywhere you can please help please
    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveswg/

  74. Very good read. Getting into the old SWG beta was a great feeling. I know it was only a video game, but through the friends I made, the guild I ran, and the city I built, it felt like I really accomplished something. It wasn’t just click x number of times fast enough; there wasn’t a walkthrough to creating fun. You had to immerse yourself into the virtual world and put your finger on it’s pulse to really “get it”. As the years went by, the pulse slowed. Now, it’s final beat is written on a calendar.

  75. What I don’t understand is how John Smedley managed to push through a game change that reduced the subscriber base from around 250,000 to under 30,000; immediately precluded any further revenue from expansion sales; led to the forced issuing of refuned for an expansion that had just been issued; and that generated massive negative publicity in both industry and non-industry media channels…

    …And yet neither Sony nor Lucas Arts asked him to step down from his job.

    Didn’t anyone notice that his decisions had screwed up the online presence of one of the world’s greatest IPs? Seriously? Why haven’t Sony’s shareholders sued for his dismissal?

  76. Pre-CU has its issues; however, the social dynamics and interaction of the sandbox model made the game addictive despite the issues. The game created a place where I could have very meaningful social interactions with people from around the world–all with the backdrop of a rich Star Wars IP. My character was a fluid avatar and I made it what it was–a reflection of my RL self. This game was one of kind–it won’t easily be mimic’ed or replaced.

  77. I have played SWG the entire 8 years. I weathered the ups and downs. Made friends and crossed enemies. After hearing all the PVP drama of UO, swore off any MMO. Then I read in PCGamer, SOE had a MMO in developement …and it was STAR WARS. Ever since I was in grade school kid, seeing Star Wars for my first time in 1977, I wanted to live with those Rebels and have adventures flying my own starship. Here now at 43, I thank you Raph for helping me get to live a little of that dream. Thank you for making it special in giving me a World Simulator and my choice of species to be. I fought, I learned, I taught, I ran, I helped, I built, I danced (even sang) and I flew to the ever dramatic music of John Williams thanks to you and the team. It wasn’t perfect … or was it? So many memories…So little time.

    Thank you, Raph

  78. SWG is what got me into my current job because I believed I could do better than Raph Koster. That’s not a slight by any means; I just viewed it as a challenge.

    I disagree, almost fundamentally, on most of Raph’s ideas. After meeting him at GDC 2007, I disagreed more. However, without Raph and SWG I wouldn’t be where I am career-wise. We share ideas in art, writing, science … and that’s not a shameless plug.

    Without the beauty of Raph’s design in SWG, I’d still be doing something mediocre in software design.

    Complete side note: When I interviewed with Bruce and Carla from SOE Denver back in 2008, they asked me point blank “Whose fault was it?” — for the record, 1/3 of the blame was on Raph.

  79. Well…this is too bad.

    SWG was an amazing experience.
    I started when we didn’t even have mounts…walking for ages on Tatooine.
    It had been a much better experience for me than WoW which I play as well since the European launch, but SWG was unique in crafting and obviously the Star Wars Universe is close to my heart being 37 years old now.

    Again, I left with the NGE as this really was a bad idea.
    If we would have kept becoming a Jedi as rewarding and unique as in the early days and simply tweaked game play here and there, I would have stayed online for sure.

    I was sad to leave back then and I am sad to hear now that the game dies.
    Good times they were…

    Rek over and out

  80. Lesson: when you take the pain to have a very closed beta with experienced gamers, listen to what they say. It is often tempting to take the short view of the “must have a relase date soon” path, but in the end everybody loses.

    If you don’t remember me (no special reason you should, Imust admit), I was one of your first 100 testers, and played SWG for one year after release, which amounts to a total of two years I believe.

    Launching space at release was not very feasible back then, NGE was a big mistake, but the foremost one that stalled all growth was the forswearing of the “blue glowy” jedi stance and going crazy on allowing everybody to be one.
    I didn’t wuit because of tehc issues, I quit the day a Jedi asked me plain in the middle of Coronet to slice his lightsaber for him. Immersion shattered.

  81. Dancing was the best contribution! I had a friend nagging me to play the game with him for months. Then one day in October 2003 he told me I could be a dancer. I decided I’d give it a try and sold my Macbook and bought a desktop PC. I spent an hour creating my character, totally amazed at how unique I could be with all the customizations. I was hooked. And now, all this time later, I will be saying goodbye to my six Entertainers.
    I’d love to see you create another alternate universe for us to live in once again. The resources with stats, the complex crafting, the interdependency, the skill system that allowed us to be anything we wanted, the millions of character combinations that made us all unique, etc. Those are the things that made SWG a wonderful game that no one else has been able to come close to. They are the features that have made other MMOs pale in comparison. Thank you and the other developers that created such a wonderful “game.”

  82. if you want to save the game here are the petition to save this huge mmo the decicion is in your hands http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveswg/ we have 2100 of signatures and still keep growing.

  83. I would only echo what Dan said. SWG and Horizons are the two deeply innovating games I had the privelege of enjoying.

    You need to find a way to go have coffee with all the folks over there now. Just to reminisce and help see it off. :)

  84. Swg suffered from the “vietnam” effect where u had all the devs aka soldiers fighting the fight then u had smedly and julio torres who dont even play the game much doing what “they” wanted for $$$ well smed/julio torres how did that work out for you? I remember smedly saying oh were going to have 9 million new players with the nge lmao and who can forget mr torres with his “star warsy” comment. I will never play an soe product ever again and i hope that julio torres has nothing to do swtor or ay game on the market. I find it funny how smedly has been discussing the shutdown for months and in the meantime theyre overselling that god aweful trading card game knowing there going to shut down swg all along. Just goes to show u the greed of soe. I also like stay tuned for more sandbox mmos lol. swg should have been a cash cow for any company and yet they shot themselves in the foot. Hey raph how your working on swtor. Swg was good before the trade federation took over with the nge sigh,

  85. Raph,
    Unless the NDA prevents you from saying, What was to be the final build of your SWG? Would there be additional worlds such as Tanaab? Would there have been more dynamic content or themed missions that fit in the structure of the sandbox?
    Am I asking secrets that you hope to use in a future job and can’t say?

    A SWG player that knows you had a different vision,

  86. My first game was Daoc but as soon SWG was out i switched to it and as much as i liked Daoc the world of SWG was uncountable levels above Daoc in its original appearance and the potential it brought with.

    Yeah, it had many flaws and weak sides.
    I was Master Droid Engeneer and for me Star Wars is about Humans and Droids and a very few Force Freaks that save the world in a SF (Science Fiction – what braindead Crackhead has made “Syfy” out of it?) setting.
    So i was very disapointed that Droids had no functinality, Combat Droids were weak as furry teddy bears, had a ridiculous shortcoming powersource instead of the harvester power solution and the only droids i sold for function were bounty hunter droids as bulkware.
    Besdie this there was only a market for droidframes with a hoovering advertising text above the frame.
    Instead SWG had become Deer Hunter 3000 with an insane CH design.
    Instead of vehicles we became riding mounts???
    Then vehicles that were like instand coffee in a 5 star hotel coffee bar.
    And i still want to kill the person who made them sound that loud and annoying!!!
    And then this damned jedicrap happened – i was never after it but it was the first big destroying step, suddenly it was not about adventuring and having a good time together but “I must grind more – i want become a Jedi”.

    But i loved the prospecting and harvesting game, the hunting parties with my master ranger and the luxury tents sitting at the campfires having a good time.
    Loved the dancing in the cantinas, when ever do you get in a situation that some of the most beautyfull females around nearly scratch the eyes out of each other to be the one dancing for you ? ;)
    The hospital was ok, the space ports, the not to big waiting time, it was reasonable.
    Yeah the destroyed landscapes with houses like birdshit on a monument but with the cities it was solved to the better (one of the very rare ocassions SOE ever got something better).

    It was a great time full of hope that it would get better some day as there must be some sanity in SOE that enables them to fix the incomplete and non functional stuff but well…

    SWG for all its faults is only No.2 after Daoc but easy it could have been number one and a thriving game today.

    One thing for sure had done wonders to SWG – more time with much more polish.
    I disagree that the Spacepart was a big deal, a honest “We can not do both and every space odyssee starts on a planet” would have been enough and it could have been the second launch of that game.
    Non of our guild played the game bcs of the space part, a few ever dived into it – lets say 5 out of 50 or 60 (though everyone was curious and took a look but it had no staying power).

    I dont know how muhc LA is involved but since Monkey Island 1 there have not been many good things LA has done and the new movies…well…they can entertain but they be nowhere near the fascination the old movies have – its mcdonald child birthday stuff.

    I wonder, i really wonder, may be i am not fair, but how the hell did Smedley not only survive all the missteps of SOE in SWG and practically every other game they made including EQ2?
    If the fish stinks it starts at the head, so even he may be the nicest and most human person on earth this is not the key competence to be CEO or whatever in a leading and decisionmaking position in a big company of worldwide relevance (well SOE is way down nowadays but once it was).
    He is good in PR speach obvioulsy but the downfall of SOE is under his leadership and i simply wonder when will SOE or the Shareholders of SOE take consequences and change the leadership?
    See, i dont hate the person, i hate his decisions!
    Why is there no obvious consequence of the downfall of SOE???

    But to end nice…

    Thanks for one of the potentially very best mmorpgs that were ever released and the many good things i experienced in it!

  87. People keep talking about Dancing, but I thought the campsite thing was pretty interesting too. I don’t really remember the specifics too well, since I didn’t play the game all that long, but I always felt that there should have been more of a social sort of benefit rather than buffs for Dancing. But that’s a really small issue even for me. At any rate, Dancing was “mission accomplished” in SWG. I mean, those places just felt right when you went there.

    My hopes for the future is that these sorts of things make it into a new wave of Sandbox games. Real Sandbox games, not Themeparks with Sandbox elements. Where the gameplay is Sandbox as well as the world. This is where SWG fell short for me. It had a little too much “level grind” to allow it to truly be a Sandbox world(s).

  88. I’m starting to think that the best and brightest hope for “sandbox”, worldy virtual worlds is underground; in the hands of hobbyists and garage studios who can give them the time they need to mature without the unrelenting demands for short-term profitability.

    Basically, the industry needs a robust R&D division that the bean-counters can’t axe because it’s outside their jurisdiction.

    The blue glowy afterlife for SWG shouldn’t look anything like Star Wars. It should be better. But it’s going to take patience and discipline to get there. Welcome to Dagobah.

  89. Thank you for SWG!

    I loved the crafting, the economy, and the inter-dependencies. I was so entertained by playing crafters/traders that I never got around to do the combat characters.

  90. I posted this on the darthhater forums, 15 mins after I got the email about SWG shutting down.

    While this is not SWTOR related, it affects many of us. From reading here and listening to the podcast, many of us came from SWG. I just got the email that SWG will be shut down Dec. 15, 2011. While not surprising and somewhat deserving, I can’t help but to be sad. I feel like that girlfriend I dated in highschool just died and I just found out. SWG did not deserve to be treated the way SOE treated them. It wasn’t what was bad. Fantastic idea, poorly implemented.

    SWG was a big part of my life. While I have played WOW longer I just don’t care about it. I really cared about SWG. The community was far more a community and people actually cared about the game, not some purple item that dropped. When I would spend countless hours decorated my house. Yes my house or houses even. If you told me years before playing that game that I would be doing that and paying $15 a month (in actuality paid a lot more than that with alts) to decorate a freakin house I would have told you, you were nuts. In the end I did and I enjoyed it.

    Before Cata came out I resubbed and played for a while and enjoyed myself. If nothing else to hear the buzz at the starport, with those droid noise or to walk into the cantina and hear those same goddamn songs that drove me nuts. lol. It was home. I never had that in WOW. Hopefully SWTOR will give me and a lot of ex SWG players this back.

    You were the best Star Wars in the galaxy and a cunning warrior….and a good friend.

  91. To further add Raph. I have followed you on and off over the years and I am not sure what happened in your seperation from this project but thank you for your part in this game. Here I am 8 years after release and 6 years after I stopped playing (the NGE) it is still near and dear to me. I do not live in a rose colored world and think CU and Pre-CU were perfect, far from. Many time I logged out in frustration, but still this is the one that I am holding near and dear to me. For me, it was more than just a game.

  92. It’s over! A part of me feels at rest that this abomination (face it, it was just spiraling out of control from the gedo we have to worry about our children stumbling upon our terrible secrets of our younger age, much like an adult film you starred in ‘for tuition’. Now the healing can begin from the festering wound this has left on our precious universe of Star Wars.

    Long live Tor, you’re our only hope.

  93. Thank you Raph.
    For the “sandbox” you created that let me immerse myself into pixels as I did.
    For the social gameplay that turned me from a arcadey gamer into a gamer who found enjoyment in wounding down in the lush confines of social players and their dance and music.
    For allowing me to experience a AI(yet flawed) that made the world around me seem somewhat alive instead of the static that I was used to and face wherever I go in gaming today.

    Tho, I give no thanks for putting fishing in the game, as I spent way to many hours checking out every water I could find on any planet… and found it enjoyable.

    But my greatest thanks, is that you created a world where I found my Stormtrooper brethren of the Stormtrooper Detachment Epsilon, where I could actually “live” out my dream of being a stormtrooper in a Star Wars world. STE is long dead now, but the memories that you helped create will put a smile on my face forever.

  94. I agree exactly with the Smedley postmortem with which you agree. (HA!)

    Although Star Wars was the hook that got me into the game, the sandbox nature (and dancing) are what bring me back.

    I also agree that certain aspects of the game could easily be smaller social games, and maybe Lucas Arts should consider that. (Dancing on FB? Awesome.)

  95. So you’d rather over promise and deliver crap than be realistic , that’s seems to be many dev’s problems these days.

  96. If it had been UO2 and had attracted the same number of people, it would have been a huge success proving that sandboxes were more popular than dikus.

    I’m sorry about doing this, but while it wasn’t a class, we had a thriving club scene in Anarchy Online before SWG ever released.

  97. I remember the club stuff in AO. There were club and music scenes in many virtual worlds prior to SWG. I am not claiming that we invented it.

  98. I feel privileged to have played the game during its peak (a few months after launch and long before the NGE). It was my first MMO and my first inspiration to enter the realms of music and interactive electronic media development. It also served as my first online community portal, and the many friends made there I still have on Steam.

    Looking back from where I am now, I find it powerful that the game has impacted my life in such a positive way. Although, it was more positive when I decided to stop playing it… actually were it not for the lack of content and later NGE to pry me away from the game, I may still be blissfully perfecting my Weaponsmith’s craft on Rori rather than making a life for myself in this reality.

    I do have some ideas that stem from this realization, too, which I hope I will be able to bring to fruition in the future. If I can recreate for others what this game has done for me, I’ll consider the time spent with it validated.

    Whether or not that happens, Star Wars Galaxies was and still is a great inspiration to me, and I’ll treasure the experience forever.

    Thanks for making these memories possible, Raph.

  99. I’m surprised to see that there aren’t many players who played after the combat upgrade who talked well about it.

    I tried the game not long before the trials expansion and I honestly loved it. I think I’d have played the game only for being able to be a pilot and do missions under the comand of the empire! It was just awesome.

    But I don’t think I’ll forgive them for not having the lambda shuttle as a player obtainable ship.

    Just thinking about all the work that was put into forging the world of star wars into such a complete game makes me really sad. What would it cost them to at least keep one server online?

    Come on… Is the game data just going to be stored somewhere to be forgotten? At least make it available for players so that private servers could be hosted. That is like the least they can do.

    Anyway, thanks to everyone who made that game, everyone who played that game and everyone who made it possible. I know that’s pretty cliche but thanks again George Lucas because it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

    I think I’ll start a petition or just constantly harass Lucasart or whoever holds the license until something comes out of it. If I have to, I thin k I’ll even come from Canada to their office XD

  100. When it launched it could have been the greatest MMO of all time. Even with the lag in high population areas, the combat imbalances, jedi unlock farce and lack of quest content – it’s rich crafting, pets, exploration and customization was leagues ahead even today. As somebody else mentioned: greed and arrogance was the main cause of it’s demise. Let it be said, Raph: often the players are smarter than the developers and one should leverage the million brains out there. Even a little bit of humility and diplomacy could have helped. I hope these lessons are learned by all current and future developers.

  101. [...] Old news … Star Wars Galaxies is closing on December 15th. [...]

  102. [...] Wars Galaxies (qui sera malheureusement arrêté en décembre prochain – voir à ce sujet le mot de son designer, Raph Koster) en propose une version totalement futuriste. L’établissement d’un campement en pleine nature [...]

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