I haven’t been making any secret of how much fun I’m having in the Star Wars Galaxies Legends emulator (and thanks so much to the readers who urged me to try it!). What I haven’t tried just yet is TCGEmu, which is trying to revive the Star Wars Trading Card Game that existed chiefly inside SWG itself.
Late-game SWG players will recall that the TCG was ahead of its time on so many fronts: It was actually one of the first fully online card games out there, but back then it had no chance of reaching the heights of mainstream adoption that we’re used to seeing now with games like Hearthstone, especially since few people outside of SWG knew it existed. It was gorgeous as heck, too, with stunning artwork that exists nowhere else.
Of course, the TCG also has the dubious honor of being one of the first openly and egregiously lockbox-esque pay-to-win systems in a major MMORPG, as players spent gobs of money angling for loot cards, which they could then use (or sell) inside Star Wars Galaxies itself. While I personally bought and traded my (free monthly) loot cards and loved some of the clothing and homes added to the game, I was also among those who argued that all of those items should have been added to the sandbox through crafters rather than through gamblers and junkies spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on what were basically lockboxes in the form of card packs.
As this is a standalone game, that shouldn’t be a problem. Lead dev Iosnowore says he is recreating the system “without any reverse engineering or packet information” and planning to fix bugs that SOE never did – potentially even expanding the game further. The TCGEmu team went into closed alpha a few weeks ago, reaching milestone six in its eight-part plan. (Milestone eight is a playable open beta.)
“We are excited to announce that we are looking for testers to join us in the closed Alpha Testing phase. Starting on July 31st, we will be picking applicants to assist us in finding crashes, bugs, or any broken content that has been created so far. This way, when we begin working on combat, we will not run into issues. During this testing phase, only bug fixes and code optimizations will be made, no development on content. This phase is expected to last anywhere from two weeks to one month depending on how fast everything gets tested and fixed.”
Star Wars Galaxies sunsetted at the end of 2011 but remains a much-loved MMORPG among sandbox veterans; a couple dozen emulators currently exist for the game, with the apparent tacit blessing of some former SOE developers. Most recently, we streamed the original SWGemu, which recreates the pre-CU environment.