Hyperspace Beacon: Which Star Wars Galaxies emulator should I try first?

    
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As a longtime Star Wars fan and former Star Wars Galaxies player, I’ve known there were plenty of emulators out there ripe for playing on. The code for the game is open source. In fact, there was a brief time where I was looking to set up my own server for the game, but I just don’t have time to do that anymore.

But recently, I was surprised to find out how many SWG emu servers there are – so many different servers that I’m not exactly sure which one to get into. That’s where you guys come in.

Over the next few weeks, I will be jumping into Star Wars Galaxies again here for Hyperspace Beacon, but I want you to tell how to do it in the vein of our Choose My Adventure column. Of course, I would like you to choose the server for me first, and then we will talk about the different classes or profession trees that I can travel up. And being the alt-o-holic that I am, I will likely make more than one character on a server. Fortunately, I am very familiar with SWG itself and should be able to get going in the game pretty easily (although I’m admittedly rusty).

But first the most important thing: Which server do I choose? I have picked five that look interesting to me, but there are many, many more. (I’m sorry that I couldn’t include them all!) Below I have outlined the choices, then after that, I have placed a poll. Let me know which one you believe I should join.

SWG Emu

This is the original SWG Emu aka Basilisk, and for the longest time, it was the only one that everyone knew about. In fact, until a few years ago, I think it was the only one. When this private server for the game was launched, I opposed it because at the time, it was using an IP that was currently in use by Sony Online Entertainment (now Daybreak) as SWG itself was still online.

If you’re doing the math, that means that this server has been around for just as many years or longer than the original game ever was, and it’s still going pretty strong. The server supports about 3,000 concurrent players and has seen as many as 1032 simultaneously since the last server reboot. As I write this, 858 players are currently online playing the game, though the latest annual report put the record at 1567 players (back in 2017).

The original Emu project intended to recreate the game as it was before the implementation of the Combat Upgrade and well before the New Game Enhancements. So progression in this version is non-linear and boasts the original 32 classes and Jedi progression.

SWG Legends

Not everyone believes that pre-CU was the best option for SWG. In fact, I have stated multiple times that as soon as SOE got its act together with the NGE that the game was better than it had ever been pre-CU. Now, I wasn’t saying that the NGE wasn’t crap, but I am saying that maybe the system wasn’t bad and the implementation was.

Legends’ community is highly active and very focused on events and communication. The team boasts regular live events, an active Discord, and a Galactic Senate program. I was an original SWG Senator at one point, so that part interests me from a player perspective. The stats don’t tell me how many players the servers can support, but it has supported a peak of 1596 concurrent since its last reboot, and currently, 744 are in-game (MOP’s Bree tells me that number routinely goes over 1000 in prime time).

The biggest draw to the Legends project appears to be the expansion content from Jump to Light Speed. Although it’s not the only server with JTL’s space flight, it focuses on it heavily in its advertising. Legends also makes its own content now. Besides the instances found in the original game (which might be the reason for the NGE combat system), the team has created its own bosses and questlines.

Sentinels Republic

I had never heard of this Sentinels Republic until I started doing research into revisiting SWG. I’m kind of a fan of its vision. Its basic stated vision is kind of generic: “Our main goal is balanced engaging gameplay, unique content, and quality of life improvements that allow our players to enjoy Star Wars Galaxies in new refreshing ways.” But the implementation of that vision is what attracted my attention and why I put it on this list.

Sentinels focuses on events and new content. Many of the experience points are increased five-fold, and regular event phases like the Aurilia Village occur on at a faster rate. The development team has also created nine planets and locations not available in the original game. Besides the 10 classic species, players can also choose to play as a Chiss, Bith, Nautolan, and many others — 25 in all.

This server doesn’t seem to report on the size of the population on the live servers, but the community itself sits at about 2,500 people and comes from dozens of different countries.

SWG Remastered

Remastered captured my attention because of its strong vision: “We each agreed to create an environment that remained somewhat close to the default vanilla Emu experience, yet offered a level of customization that would enhance the overall experience for our playing community.” The team also communicates well with its players. I have found no ambiguity in its phrasing.

The team created a whole post on its dealing with Jedi that was interesting, straightforward, and at the same time, offered a challenge to those who did not what to traverse the Jedi path. “Our intention is to enable ALL classes, the ability to compete on or around the same level as Jedi (Alpha). We intend to accomplish this by offering very high-end weapons, components, armor, etc… in current and new end game content.”

Like Sentinels, Remastered doesn’t list much in the way of server population or activity, but I wanted to put this on the list as an alternative to the Emu because maybe you are interested in reading about what happens on a smaller server.

February 2020: We’ve since learned that Remastered is a bit of a persona non grata in the pre-CU emu community, following accusations of lifting content from the rest of the community without credit. As such, we do not recommend it. If you are interested in it, a lot of its recent content appears to have been yoinked from a different emu called Tarkin’s Revenge, so maybe give that a try instead.

SWG Restoration

Lastly, I wanted to include a CU server, but there just aren’t many. Restoration appears to be the only one with any kind of population or activity.

The CU was actually my favorite version of the original SWG, but I think the potential was lost because of the poor handling of the game by SOE and LucasArts. I believe that the game could have been something interesting and unique if they had stuck with the CU plan. Unfortunately, we will never know about the original game, but maybe we can find out with the Restoration server.

Like some of the other servers, I don’t have information about how many people actually play on here, but I am definitely interested in trying it out.

Vote

It’s your turn, I’ve given you the breakdown of my server choices. Like I said, there are many other emu servers, but these are the ones that caught my attention for this first round. Which one would you like me to play on? The poll below ends Friday night at midnight EDT. After that, I’ll go ahead and make a character to mess around in the game, then next week, we will talk about professions, species, and other starter subjects. This is going to be exciting!

Which SWG EMU server should I join?

  • SWG EMU (14%, 79 Votes)
  • SWG Legends (75%, 419 Votes)
  • Sentinels Republic (5%, 28 Votes)
  • SWG Remastered (2%, 11 Votes)
  • SWG Restoration (3%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 555

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Every other week, Larry Everett jumps into his T-16 back home, rides through the hypergates of Star Wars online games, and posts his adventures in theĀ Hyperspace Beacon. Drop him a holocom on Twitter @Shaddoe or send him a transmission at larry@massivelyop.com. Now strap yourself in, kid — we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!
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