ControversyNot all events are planned in the world of Star Wars: Galaxies. On August 19th, 2004, a large group of gamers gathered on Intrepid to protest against Sony Online Entertainment. Just recently, a new credits duping bug was being exploited and these cheaters were running around the planet, tipping people with money. SOE fixed the bug, but announced to ban everyone involved. That mass ban did not only include the cheaters, but also many high-profile players who had accidentally received 'dirty' money while lending services.
That day, supporters of some innocent victims came together to protest against the measures taken and they demanded justice. Sony interfered in-game, as it was apparently disrupting the gameplay, and they threatened to shut down the server if the demonstrations would continue. The players did not give in and in the end they all got booted into space, to random planets. Afterwards, the message boards were flooded with complaints about this subtle example of customer service.
CraftingStar Wars: Galaxies - An Empire Divided featured a very complex crafting system based on a replication of real-world mechanics. Each crafting profession specialized in a specific area (clothing, cooking, weapons, armor, etc) and learned new schematics as they progressed through that character's skill trees. Anything in the game could be crafted, including weapons, clothes, tools, traps, medicines, temporary buff foods, houses, furniture, vehicles, pets, even dice for games. Even a simple item like tea needed leaves to brew, water to boil, and a glass made from ground gemstones to put the tea in.
Players first needed resources. A resource table for each planet was updated weekly, essentially mapping out where the highest concentration of specific, randomized resources would appear at what locations "underneath" a planet. A surveyor could use a portable tool to see the percentage concentration of a resource in a specific area. Automated harvesters could be planted at open locations in the game world to generate that resource as long as they were supplied with maintenance money and a power resource (or until the next resource shift). Resources could then be used by the crafter, or split and sold on the market.
Organic resources came from creatures spawned around the game worlds, who could either be killed and harvested (for hide, meat, or bone) or milked (for milk or eggs). These were considered scouting abilities, so players with those skills could sell the items to edibles crafters.
Weekly resources had randomly-generated stats in areas such as conductivity, malleability, and flavor (for organic items). Different schematics relied on different stats, causing resources to be excellent for building one item, but useless for another. A high quality in the stat specified by the schematic improved the quality of the final item. Some of the highest quality resource spawns could be mined, and the output then stored for years to come, giving value to weapons with server-capped stats made from such rare ores.
At the last crafting stage, crafters could add experimentation points to various weapons stats, allowing them to customize a weapon to client specifications (such as a weapon that hits harder, at the cost of firing slower). Craftable "crafting stations" and "crafting suits" with special skill attachments could boost the character's experimentation points, allowing veteran, established crafters to create better items than their counterparts with the same basic skills.
Advanced schematics also required components (such as pistol barrels or injector mechanisms); crafted using the same techniques and resources as entire basic items. The quality of these components affected the quality of the final product, and a crafter could easily make some money simply selling excellent-quality components to other crafters, who would then make the actual items. Some customization could also occur at this stage, such as armor "layers" that specialized the resistance stats of the final armor piece.
Crafters could purchase automated factory structures that lived in the gameworld, just like player housing. The crafter would create a blueprint using the above methods, then fill the factory with enough of the specific resources and let it mass produce the items for sale. Crafters could then sell these items on the planetary bazaar (a typical MMO "auction house"), or through the use of their own customized NPC vendors inside player housing decorated and advertised on the world map as a store.
JediOn November 08, 2003, Monika T'Sarn of the PA Combine on the Intrepid Server was the first to unlock her Force Sensitive slot, which made her the first confirmed Jedi Initiate in all of Star Wars Galaxies. There were more than 300.000 accounts at that time. Jedi Initiate is a rare class that only very few will experience.
Hours after the first Jedi appeared in the game, bounties were placed on her head. This is dangerous, because if a Jedi character is killed three times, their account is erased forever.
Jedi: MechanicsThe original grind to Jedi was fairly extreme in scope, and meant to limit the number of players who would achieve the coveted class:
Originally, every new character had three professions tagged at random upon creation. The player had to completely master all three professions to unlock their Force Sensitive character. Players were initially given no clues. Later, "holocrons" could be looted that told the player the first and second needed profession, but not the third! Players would have to spend time equivalent to grinding multiple characters (losing the previous mastered profession to reclaim those skill points!) until they stumbled across the third profession.
Later, Force Sensitivity was unlocked through completing specific quests (like the Hero of Tatooine) and visiting specific locations (like Ben Kenobi's hut on Tatooine). Players that met these invisible requirements were visited by an NPC named the "Old Man," who would direct them to village of Aurillia on Dathomir (a 10-15 minute real-time drive each way, past some of the most dangerous creatures in the game).
At Aurillia, the player had to take a series of repeatable quests to receive Force Sensitive training. However, the player could only take a quest once every three weeks (!). Meanwhile, the player had to attain XP points through the regular game content, and trade this XP in to an Aurillian NPC for "Force Sensitive XP" at a significantly reduced exchange rate of 3 or 4:1 (!!). Only Force Sensitive XP could be spent on Force skill trees.
This continued as the player progressed up to Padawan and Jedi Knight. All the while, other players who had taken the Bounty Hunter profession acquired bounties placed on new Force Sensitives by the system. Using a series of tracking droids that could pinpoint a Jedi player's location on any planet, Bounty Hunters attacked without warning (Bounty Hunters always had the first shot) and engaged the budding Jedi in a forced PvP duel. If the Jedi was killed, the Hunter got his pay and the Jedi lost a percentage of their gained Force Sensitive XP, setting them back for days (!!!).
This led to many players looking for ways to game the system ("hologrinding" with macros, hiding on the Rryatt Trail where Bounty Hunters' droids wouldn't work, etc), and more than a few broken Padawan hearts.
NovelsA Star Wars: Galaxies series of novels has been released.
ReferencesVarious things from the Star Wars movies can be found in the game such as R2-D2 and C3PO's Escape Pod, the charred remains of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru's home on Tatooine, the Massassi Temple and Pieces of the Death Star on Yavin IV and the Theed Palace and the Gungan Sacred Place on Naboo among others. Also, there are places like Lok, Rori and Dathomir and characters like Grand Admiral Thrawn and The Spacetroopers that come from "Expanded Universe" the Star Wars saga outside the films.
ShutdownIn October 2005, distributor Electronic Arts Japan announced it is seizing support for the game. Japanese gamers need to transfer their account to European and North American servers if they want to continue playing. On December 15, 2011 (shortly before the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic) the game was shut down for good.
SmugglersThough not explicitly a crafting class, Smugglers had some underworld abilities that could help out others... for a price. Specifically, Smugglers could "slice" weapons and armor to boost various stats - making sliced weapons quite valuable for an extra edge in PvP.
The downside was that sliced items were illegal. Players were randomly subjected to searches by factional NPCs guarding cities. If contraband was discovered, or the player tried to flee, they would temporarily be marked as an enemy and bring down the wrath of that faction.
Smugglers could also craft "spice" such as Booster Blue, Neutron Pixie, and good ol' Muon Gold. These offered big boosts to stats as an initial rush, followed later by a crashing debuff. These illegal drugs of the Star Wars universe were removed by the time of the New Game Enhancement gameplay revisions (Nov 15th, 2005), perhaps because being offered fantasy stimulants like "Thruster Head" and "Pyrepenol" wasn't "family friendly."
TimelineThe timeline of the game takes place somewhere between Star Wars and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.
Veteran reward programIn February 2005, a veteran reward program was launched. Players are rewarded on their three month, six month and twelve month anniversaries with a choice of rare in-game items or collectibles.
- Computer Gaming World
- March 2004 (Issue #236) – Coaster of the Year
- 2003 – The Jury's Still Out Award (PC)
- 2005 – Green Banana Award (PC)