Crowfall’s Walton says we should blame him for Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE

    
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Way to go, Jedi grinders

Hey, NGE fans! Crowfall’s Gordon Walton says that the day that will live in Star Wars: Galaxies infamy was his idea.

Now, that’s probably oversimplifying things just a tad, but in any case Walton let fly with an interesting post on the Crowfall forums yesterday that gives a bit more insight into SOE’s decision to blow up its Star Wars sandbox in late 2005 and replace it with an alternate version that ran for another six years.

Among the many insights are Walton’s player population numbers (SWG briefly topped 400,000 players before settling down to between 200,000 to 250,000). Walton also lauds the SWG development team for managing to bring a feature-rich sandbox to market in a very short time. “And this was all done for under $18 million in under three years (2 years and 9 months),” Walton says. “This was and remains an unprecedented achievement in building a AAA MMO.”

Oh, and Walton confirms what some fans have suspected for years, which was that player Jedi were a huge problem and ultimately detrimental to SWG’s health. “The holocron addition and hints on how to get a Jedi ended up slowing net growth of the game and undermined the in-game community as people tried to macro their way to Jedi,” he writes.

[Source: Forum post; thanks Dystopiq!]

 

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Ordegar
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Ordegar

It’s not really “still unprecedented”.  Cryptic was forced by the IP owners to make STO in less than a year because the previous company on the project took too long to do nothing.  Of course STO is no sandbox, but still… one fracking year!!

Morreion
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Morreion

jefreahard Devil Olive 
“A feature-rich virtual world like SWG took less than three years and $18
million to make. A WoW reskin with cutscenes and voiceacting took from
2006 to 2011 and, what was it, $100 to $200 million? That’s the
post-2004 MMO genre in a nutshell right there: devs doing less with more
time/money and mislabeling it progress.”

Absolutely true.

It shows you how far MMOs have gone towards single-player games…when virtual worlds and player interaction are their strong suits (which have been largely abandoned).

Barachiel
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Barachiel

jefreahard Barachiel Oh, I’m being unfair, but every time a SWG article goes up, all the people come out, crying and weeping about what an AMAZING game, the Pre-CU or Pre-NGE Galaxies was, and I just bite my virtual tongue to keep from asking “if it was so great, how come it was doing so badly that the devs (on a pitiful budget) felt that completely gutting the game and revamping it with no advance warning was the only way to keep it alive?”  

And they aren’t COMPLETELY wrong.  The initial NGE launch and what followed immediately after was a TRAVESTY.  I understand every drop of rage and hatred heaped on SOE and was with them myself at the time.  

But about a year or so later, (i forget now what new game system brought me  back for another taste) the game was… amazing.  It was a blend of theme park questing, and sandbox lifestyle (crafting, merchants, entertainers) that was head and shoulders over any previous incarnation of the game.  They’d even added in the “chronicler” tools that let players make their own content.  (I’d have been much more forgiving of the initial launch if a system like that had been in place from the get-go.  Roper went on and on, defending his game, saying it was there for players to make their own adventures. … If I wanted to just “imagine” myself having a star wars themed adventure, I’d go play the tabletop RPG.  I’m not paying $50 box price plus $15 a month to “make my own fun.” )

jefreahard
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jefreahard

Barachiel Agreed for the most part. The NGE made it a better game, with the rather large caveat of removing rangers, CHs, and completely borking the player-driven economy for a couple of years. If I could bring back SWG I would bring it back as it was in 2011, much to the dismay of all the pre-NGE fans clamoring for 2004, lol.

I wouldn’t go so far as to label their preferences “rose colored glasses,” though. Some people just like what they like, it doesn’t matter how long ago they liked it. Pre-NGE can be played right now, and the people doing so are doing it because they like it as opposed to misremembering how much they liked it.

Barachiel
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Barachiel

*sighs* It’s easy to crank out an MMO when all its content revolves around mission terminals, randomly spawning mob grinding, and two theme parks.  I’m not denying its systems were complex, rich, and in some ways, ahead of it’s time.  But as a “game” it was extremely lacking, which is why its numbers fell like a stone after launch.

And in case people think I’m lying, go dig up any gaming web-comic from around the time of it’s launch, like PvP, Penny Arcade, or Real Life Comics. (I’d provide links but those sites are blocked at this location).   They all lamented what a soul-crushing disappointment it was.  

The NGE was badly done (initially), it’s launch was terrible, and the community relations around it was horrid.  But at the end of the day, I played the post-NGE SWG *far* more regularly than the Pre-CU SWG the “rose colored glasses” crowd hail as some unsung hero of the MMO world.

jefreahard
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jefreahard

seventhbeacon Subjectively, sure. I, on the other hand, had no problem staying interested because I was building businesses, leading a guild, roleplaying, etc. And then when I needed a break from that there was combat to fall back on. 

But yeah, if your idea of MMO gameplay begins and ends with developer quests and developer story, early SWG probably wasn’t your thing.

jefreahard
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jefreahard

wjowski jefreahard And you can conflate your preferences with “people” all you want. It doesn’t change the reality that some gamers did in fact want to be dancers and animal breeders.

wjowski
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wjowski

jefreahard wjowski 
Also if you want to get into gameplay AC shits all over Ultima Online In Space.

wjowski
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wjowski

jefreahard wjowski 
You can babble all day about your ‘virtual worlds’ and ‘respecting the lore’ but at the end of it people pick up a Star Wars game because they want to be a jedi or a bounty hunter, not because they want to be a cantina dancer or animal breeder.

JakeDunnegan
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JakeDunnegan

StClair breetoplay LOL – I saw what you did there. Probably my favorite quote from the first movie. (In my world, it’s the first!!) ;)