Hat tip to Redditor dejoblue, who’s reminded everyone about the fateful day back in 2005 when SOE, struggling in the wake of World of Warcraft’s 2004 launch, gutted Star Wars Galaxies with “new game enhancements” and pissed off a couple hundred thousand Star Wars fans. Wrote no less than The New York Times, 10 years ago today,
[SOE and Lucasarts] radically revamped the game in an attempt to appeal to a younger, more trigger-happy audience.
Previously, the game was unabashedly complicated, appealing to mature, reflex-challenged gamers with its strategic combat style and deep skill system, which allowed players to carve out profitable, powerful niches as entertainers, architects and politicians. Now the game has become self-consciously simple, with a basic point-and-click combat system that is meant to evoke the frenetic firefights of the “Star Wars” films.
To Sony and LucasArts, the changes are a necessary step to help the game appeal to a broader audience. (The companies do not release subscriber figures, but many gaming experts believe that before the changes, Star Wars Galaxies had about 200,000 subscribers, each paying about $15 a month.) But to thousands of players, the shifts have meant the destruction of online communities that they might have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours constructing. Now many Galaxies players are canceling their accounts and migrating to other online games.
Enjoy the depressing trip down memory lane. Or don’t, since that would require reading, and gamers don’t like reading, as Lucasarts’ Nancy MacIntyre reminded the NYT: “There was lots of reading, much too much, in the game.”