This Week: The Changing of the Guard for Star Wars MMOs

Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 13th, starts early access to Star Wars: The Old Republic.  The “soft launch” begins, the game is officially live, letting in paying customers.

And two days further, on Thursday, December 15th, Star Wars Galaxies will shut down at midnight Eastern Standard Time.

I wish I could say that there was a dramatic difference between the two games, the way SWTOR plays as it is starting off and the way SWG is plays in its dying days.  But for me, the two games seem remarkably similar.

It sure feels that old...

There are, of course, a wide range of solid reasons (if you’re a fan of either game) or lame excuses (if you are not) as to why the two games seem so similar.

SWG didn’t start that way, but got forced into that mold with the NGE, while BioWare’s claim to fame in SWTOR has been “story,” which entails hour and hours of watching quest text acted out on screen.  A winning feature for some, a waste for others.

But beyond story, SWTOR fits the mold of your standard issue, Diku inspired, WoW fearing MMORPG.

And so BioWare is probably even now sending out notifications to let people know who is getting into the first day of early access.

What, you thought they would let in just anybody?

So the MMO blogesphere will be full of first day stories.

I won’t be joining in on that.  I cancelled my SWTOR pre-order after playing in the beta.  Somebody is going to have to tell me how big that launch day patch ends up being.

I will, however, try to be logged in for the final minutes of SWG.

I have meant to log in and explore the game a little more before it goes.  But I really haven’t done much beyond the one weekend’s worth of exploration, which confirmed my “sameness” theory.

So on Thursday night I’ll be standing on Tatooine waiting for the end to come.

Maybe I’ll watch a few of the classic SWG trailers and think about what might have been.

14 thoughts on “This Week: The Changing of the Guard for Star Wars MMOs

  1. cody

    “wish I could say that there was a dramatic difference between the two games, the way SWTOR plays as it is starting off and the way SWG is plays in its dying days. But for me, the two games seem remarkably similar.”

    i stopped reading here … since its obvious you have not played both games or for some wierd reaosn you felt like not being forthright with us … I played SWG for years and have beta tested SWTOR for months and months … ummm they are polar opposites of games couldnt get any further apart … not sure what the hidden meaning in your post was but the way you set it up with how alike the two games were made me laugh :P

    SWTOR will be a great game and appeal to many many different kinds of gamers from casual to hardcore its going to be pretty huge imho … with that said i will not start my subscriptionfor at least 3 months maybe 6 so it can get up and going and any kinks worked out… but i will be there tomorrow for pre lanch to save my names and get my month free before i unsub for a few months :) gotta save the names heh !!

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Cody – Yes, of course, you caught me. I am obviously lying for no good reason. It couldn’t be somebody might hold a different opinion from yours! Oh noes!

    From the amount I played of both games, which I did during beta, during which I swapped between the two, they seemed much more alike than different.

    I am, of course, talking about how they played at that moment, not about some glorious pre-NGE past for SWG.

    And why do people think, “I stopped reading at x…” is an effective rhetorical device? It is like, “I couldn’t be bothered to see if you could support your argument or were trying to make some other point.”

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  3. HarbingerZero

    I had meant to tell you earlier, when you did the weekend bit, I totally didn’t catch that you had actually played the beta. So you were too sneaky for me, lol.

    I’m not sure there is going to be a huge patch. There have been small patches all week, in the 10-20mb variety, but unless a big one hits today, the last build is what they are mostly going with.

    Which is a bit ominous to me, considering how many issues were still at large in it.

    lol @ Gaff

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @G – I stopped reading at the first letter of your supposed name.

    “G” also starts the name “Goon,” so you are obviously one of their running dog lackeys here to spread your propaganda! I will hear none of it!

    @HZ – Yes, my plan was to re-run that post while simply changing the screen shots and a couple of very minor items. The smugglers seemed very similar indeed.

    Essentially, for me, it is one MMO I could never get into for a specific set of reasons, and the MMO replacing it, which fails to entice me for almost the exact same reasons. If the things you dislike are similar, and immersion killers at that, it becomes tough to give points for changes outside those variations that seem trivial in comparison.

    But that is, as I have said before, just me. I cannot imagine SWTOR failing to make a big splash unless they have really screwed something up.

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  5. NoAstronomer

    Having played single player and strategy games before that, Post-NGE SWG was my first MMO. It was certainly quirky in some respects, but I look back fondly on some of the experiences.

    I almost re-subscribed in September just so I could be there at the close. Almost. I will miss it.

    I tried the SWTOR beta but it ran so badly on my PC that subscribing would be pointless. Even so I would say that the similarities to SWG outweigh the differences.

    Mike.

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  6. Stabs

    I hope one days Galaxies is revived. It was an amazing experience and one I’m sure I’d love to relive when I’m in my declining years.

    Revisiting it 2 years ago didn’t feel exciting because of the mudflation. That early feel, when we were all poor together and I was running after people spraying stims at them before anyone had master doctor buffs were fabulous.

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  7. Stabs

    Oh as for “I stopped reading” comments I tend to skip them as soon as I see that phrase. If you didn’t read the post you’re not likely to say anything interesting about it.

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  8. Yeebo

    I don’t know, I’d argue that SWTOR is a lot more like WOW or LoTRO than SWG. SWG still has a lot the old sandbox bits in it (“place it anywhere” housing, beast breeding, robot building, a much deeper crafting system than most MMOs, ect.). It really is still a sandbox to all intents, save that there is a single really poorly done quest chain you can follow if you care to (the intro bits on the space station excepted of course, which are quite WoWish).

    The thing that illustrates this best was only very recently put into the game: planetary flight. Flying around the planets you see that they are absolutely enormous zones with very little in the way of directed content, mainly they are designed for grinding. If you get bored with that, you can get into your space ship, fly up to the edge of the atmosphere, and zone in to space. That sense of freedom couldn’t be any more different than the basic feel of SWTOR, which more than any MMO I’ve played feels very much on rails.

    Not that I’ll mourn SWG, it generally bores the crap out of me. But I don’t think it’s really all that similar to SWTOR apart from setting.

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  9. p0tsh0t

    I stopped reading at “ect” but thats just how I roll.

    Is that the blogosphere equivalent of “now I don’t have any facts to back this up but…”

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  10. Aufero

    @P0tsh0t – I think that’s the MMO message board equivalent. I’m not sure what the point of saying “I stopped reading at X” would be on a blog. Isn’t reading someone else’s point of view the whole point of visiting blogs?

    I never played post-NGE Galaxies, personally – I ragequit/got bored after the CU and never went back, so I can’t speak to its similarity to SW:TOR.

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  11. Yeebo

    @Potshot: Huh? I guess i could have also listed out the ability to play as non-combat professions such as entertainer and engineer. Or the whole mission crafting system. Or the space game. Or the factional conquest system. But I thought the more succinct examples I listed were sufficient to make my point…

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  12. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I think the rule from back in high school English was that you could go to “etc” (not sure what “ect” is, and perhaps that is Potshot’s point, since it certainly isn’t the contraction for “et cetera“) if you made three solid points and you could make three more if required. Or something like that.

    Yes, my view of SWG is pretty simple. Basic things, like the toe to toe blaster fights, bore me in both games, though I have to give SWG credit, at least you have to aim. And getting past that was a mental chore not worth the effort for me, mostly because I have other games I would rather be playing.

    I did play SWG a bit more seriously a couple of years back. I even got into space flight and have to give it credit, even if the control system did seem a bit convoluted, though that seemed to be mostly because they were trying to really model moving in 3 dimensions without the aid of a flight stick.

    I think I would rather watch Star Wars movies, play with Star Wars LEGO sets and games, than play a Star Wars MMO. For whatever reason, I have a tough time getting there.

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  13. Yeebo

    Obviously “ect” is a typo, I was going for “etc.” The way I use it is pretty similar to your rule of thumb, though I was not aware of the 3+3 rule (which oddly enough, I think I have been following subconsciously).

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