Saturday, March 03, 2007

Return to Star Wars Galaxies

About a week ago I got an email from my good friends at Sony Online. It seems they want me back in the online game Star Wars Galaxies.

I quit the game about a year ago, but in truth I hadn't played for a good six months or more before that. I really loved that game when I first started. I've always sucked at video games, but this was the perfect game for me. It was structured in such a way that you didn't need to be "twitchy" to enjoy it. It wasn't all about having a fast trigger finger and looting corpses. There was many a night in which I never fired a weapon. Instead I often spent hours surveying the land for raw materials, setting up harvesters, crafting clothes, food and medicines and selling my wares in the public bazaar. I really enjoyed that.

Sometimes I just liked to go sightseeing. You got badges for visiting famous sites, so I visited Ben Kenobi's house, the Lars homestead, the escape pod of R2 and 3PO, etc.

And when I did feel like fighting, that was fun too. One of my favorite spots was a place nicknamed Creature Village, located on a Corellian moon. I would go out there either solo or with a few buds and we'd take up sniper positions and tag the giant sludge panthers that roamed the abandoned city's streets. On a good night you could quickly level up in marksmanship, medical and brawling skills.

Ah, the good old days.

Then they fucked it up.

They decided to change the combat system. Why? I don't know. Suddenly, creatures I could kill solo a week before -- like a bantha -- were kicking my ass. My armor no longer offered the same protection. I was forced to drop some skills. And so on. People started grumbling, then people started leaving. My friends dropped off one by one.Sony tried to appease people by making it easier to be a Jedi, but that unbalanced the game. Not to mention that in a game set in the Imperial era, it made to freaking sense to have Jedi and padawans openly chilling in cantinas or chopping people down in the street.

I eventually quit, really for economic reasons, both in the game and out. $16 a month wasn't really a lot, but it certainly could be used elsewhere, especially since months would go by without me logging on. In the game, the economy was haywire. I couldn't make a living selling clothes, weapons and armor anymore through the bazaar and finding a place to set up a store was tough. Withing the first two months of the game coming online, the main cities were ringed with a perimeter of fancy player-built malls. Since I was primarily a street vendor, I was shut out. I thought about cutting a deal with some guys to put up a vending machine in their mall, but I couldn't deal with the politics of joining a guild. Let me tell you, I learned more about economics through SWG than I ever did in any class.

So, now Sony wants me back. When I quit they said that my characters would be deleted after 90 days, but they lied. The characters are still there. They're offering me 21 days free. What the hell -- I'll do it. I always regretted not taking more screen captures of the nice scenery, so at the very least, I'll do that.

I wonder if my house on Dantooine is still there or if it fell into disrepair and was condemned?

We'll see.

BTW, I hate to admit it, but I'm psyched about the Lord of The Rings Online game debuting in April. Yes, I'm sure I'll regret that one too.

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