Review by Captain Keyes
"The State of SWG: A Final Review by a Veteran Player"
I have always been a fan of Star Wars, since I picked up the first EU novel after seeing the movies I have also been a fan of the many media forms Star Wars has to offer. Thusly, when Star Wars Galaxies was announced I became very excited at the prospect of such a game. Preordering my copy, I waited patiently for the day it would come. When it finally arrived I was hooked into the world of SWG for over a year. In that time I had a lot of good and bad experiences, but I was there for it all none the less. It was recently however that I decided to retire my subscription and leave SWG. It is now in good faith that I write this review in hope that prospect players may have a solid understanding of what they may or may not decide to purchase.
[What is Star Wars Galaxies?:]
Star Wars Galaxies, or SWG, is a MMORPG based around the universe of Star Wars during the middle of the original trilogy. It allows you to take up one of several species, join the Rebellion or the Empire, and take off upon the galaxy. SWG consists of several planets which you can travel to, each being very sizable, and it has a number of profession paths you can take, including combat, crafting, and entertaining professions. It requires a monthly fee of roughly fifteen dollars.
[Give me a break down rating on the game's aspects:]
1. Graphics and Performance: 8
SWG has a nice graphical feel, with a very realistic look that I enjoyed. The planets are fairly diverse, and everything is clean and detailed. The character models are also impressive, and offer a great level of customization allowing you to create a fully unique character. I was impressed many a time by walking into new cities, full of life, tremendous architecture, and graphical substance. These moments however are offset by a repetitivity of dungeons and landscapes in many areas.
SWG looks decent on medium settings and fairly good on high. I suggest having a gigabyte of RAM in addition to other quality system specs if you want to get your full experience out of the graphical aspect of the game, otherwise you'll be faced with a large amount of lag in many areas.
2. Sound: 6
The soundtrack will be appealing for the first few weeks, but once you continually hear the same track over and over it will get rather old. SWG for the most part doesn't feature audio when you're in most locations, you just get a little tune to play every once and a while while your standing around or when you enter a new area. The battle music is the most in need of work, it would be nice if they would add in some dynamic tracks for it.
3. Interface and Control: 7
The best aspect of the interface in SWG is the spatial chat system. It is a very clear box in the lower center of your screen which captures text from other players and has a number of channels for chat within groups or guilds. Otherwise control and interface is the basic of what you find from SoE, regular tab actions and movement all work together to get the job done. Sometimes it can get a little awkward, but in most cases you can work things out fine. You also have the option to map the keyboard would you desire. SWG also uses the HAM (Health Action Mind) system in which you have three bars from where you can be hit or use to perform specials.
4. Content/PvP: 3
Content, specifically for veteran players, is an issue in all MMORPGs, and SWG is no substitute. In all honesty, the center of content in this game is grinding when it comes down to it. Depending on your play style, in a matter of months you will have completed all of the worthy NPC/quest/world content this game has to offer. Even what is worthy isn't very exciting. What you have left after that is PvP combat, an important thing for many players.
PvP in SWG was not done well (coming from SoE who would be surprised). You choose a faction (Imperial/Rebel), go become overt, then run around waiting to find another player to battle. There are several problems in PvP:
- Unbalanced combat professions - riflemen and combat medics rule the battle field, and a non-healable mind section of your HAM which at this time everyone runs around attacking.
- You put more in than you get out - to PvP successfully you need to by a set of status enhancing buffs which cost 10-14k credits (roughly 2-3 missions as an elite combat profession), and you need a set of "composite" armor which will set you back from 250-350k. When you kill someone in PvP you get a slight increase in your combat rating and tiny increase in your faction points which isn't even monitored or posted, so there is no point in increasing it, and when you are killed you a decent amount of faction points (more than you make by killing people), and have to be sent to the cloner, losing all your buffs and suffering wounds and decay you have to go and take fifteen minutes to be healed if you don't pay 1k credits to clone at the city you're at before hand. In short - one huge timesink.
- Gank squads and Jedi - When you go overt in SWG alone be prepared to eventually run into one of two horrible fates. A ganksquad of players who will destroy you then stomp on your body, or a Jedi player who will destroy you and then run off so no one can touch him. Gank squads cannot be helped, but Jedi is a very large issue which I will discuss later.
This is but a summary of the problems in SWG PvP. The last thing you have left in the way of content is becoming a Jedi, that leads us to our next section.
5. The Jedi Poison: 0
Since SoE couldn't make a large enough timesink or pull in enough players with the huge license they had they decided to implement Jedi into the mess. Jedi are a god-class/timesink extrordinare that is a bane upon the game. Firstly in PvP combat all but n00b Jedi are nearly undefeatable by but the most experienced melee master with 50k worth of skill enhancing food. This unbalances PvP combat even more, and makes us normal players not want to even participate. Jedi are simply a measure by SoE to attract players to the game (note their recent online preview). To just become a Jedi takes an insane amount of time and mindless grinding, yet another timesink.
Jedi recently recieved over three months worth of dev work and patches, which has greatly angered many players, including myself. Jedi cause naught but griefing to those of us who dont have 8 hours a day to put into a single video game. One should never put god-like classes into MMORPGs, that simple.
I had an addiction to this game for a year, and I had a lot of good times with it. When it comes to the bottom line, this game is a disappointment once you are done with the bells and whistles thrown at you. Perhaps the devs could improve this game, but going by their development schedule it would be about 3 years before it was improved, 5 if they decide to make half the publishes devoted to Jedi. Even the anticipated JtL cannot save the game. Sure, it will pull in new people, the license alone assures that. The rest of us can only hope the world of MMORPGs will not fall to the corporate influence like all of SoE's games have done. It is with a new generation of online gamers that we have a chance to dig ourselves from the hole of Everquest and it's overused formula, and create some real MMORPGs. I left SWG because of Jedi, lack of content/PvP, and the experience that these devs were going nowhere.
Should you buy SWG? I would say that if you like the Star Wars universe, then give it a shot. For the least you will have fun for a few months. Things I warn about however are becoming lost in the timesink and starting to not like the game. I suggest you leave before any of that happens, for example, since I came to dislike SWG my like for all things Star Wars has also been tainted by that influence. I myself will never by another game from SoE for their horrible customer relations and horrible developers.
//end of file
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 09/21/04
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