Grab that lightsaber or blaster and get to making war on your fellow player, because Star Wars: The Old Republic
is about to finish off its current season of ranked PvP. The season will conclude on July 31st, at which time a rich bounty of rewards
will be poured out on the heads of the best-of-the-best.
What rewards will be causing these cranial concussions, you ask? BioWare posted a list of the Season 9 Ranked PvP rewards, separated into different tiers based on a player’s final rating.
There are a lot of interesting but somewhat expected goodies here, such as battle flags, portrait flair, titles, frame decorations, and — most importantly — tokens. These tokens can be spent on desired rewards, so if you want your holo-rancor mount or stronghold trophies, you know where to go.
Most MMO dungeons are normal songs. You start out and you have a pretty clear picture of the beginning, middle, and end; they don’t really change up much. But the endless dungeon is like improvisational jazz. Sure, there’s a beginning and often a fairly reliable end, but the space in the middle can be filled with all sorts of things. You don’t even know what’s going to be there until you’re already in the thick of it. It could be filled with creme! (Probably not, but hey, life is weird sometimes.)
Our reader Arsin asked us a while back about MMOs with endless dungeon modes of some sort, and well, we do our best to find these things out. The goal here is to have an online-only game with randomly generated content between the start and end. Arguably some of these might not fit your personal criteria, but that’s all right; there’s plenty of variety here!
Some industry news this morning: James Ohlen announced that he’s retiring from BioWare after more than two decades at the company. MMORPG fans will recall he was at one time the creative director and lead designer for Star Wars The Old Republic, but of course he played a lead role in many other acclaimed BioWare franchises and was also attached to Anthem. He’s told fans he’s taking a break from the industry to work on RPG sourcebooks. SWTOR players are expressing their gratitude for his contributions over on Reddit.
Unless you’re willing to venture out onto the wild space of emulated servers, you won’t be getting Star Wars Galaxies back. That doesn’t mean that you can’t reminisce about this MMO from a galaxy far, far away, thanks to the release of an unofficial fan history book called Galaxies: An Empire Remembered.
The 172-page book recalls the history of Star Wars Galaxies from launch through its 2011 sunset and takes readers through the game’s planets, events, and ongoing legacy. More than 700 full-color images, including concept art, are included in this title. “This comprehensive guide gives those who played the game — and those who never got the chance — an opportunity to relive the nostalgia and excitement of this landmark entry into the MMORPG genre,” the description reads.
SWG creator Raph Koster gave the book his endorsement on Twitter by saying, “The passion fans can have for something they loved never ceases to amaze and humble me.”
And while you’re looking back at Star Wars Galaxies, why not read our own Larry’s favorite memory from that game?
OK, I’ll come right out and say it: I love the Rishi stronghold. The Star Wars: The Old Republic
developers have outdone themselves. I will unlock that whole stronghold as soon as it’s available on the live servers. It will be expensive, even for me. But I will do it, and I will not regret it.
Star Wars: The Old Republic, an MMORPG that has taken some hits for not doing things right for its community, might be turning some things around with its latest patch 5.9.2. Of course, this latest update puts a lot of focus on PvP, but for an MMO that places the story as a major pillar of its design, we know that PvP will never be its only focus on any patch.
Even though I admit that I love the new patch and stronghold, I am not blind to its flaws, so let’s take a tour of the new stronghold to examine the good and the bad.
Continuing from my previous column, I’m going to be running through the second decade of graphical MMORPG launches and picking the best title to debut in any given year. From doing the first decade, I know that this thought exercise isn’t always fair; some years have several great contenders, while others see one mediocre one rise due to a lack of competition.
Still, it’s kind of fun to look back at MMO history and to see which game was really the best of that year. And if you ever felt sore that a particular title got overlooked, well, consider this a retroactive awards ceremony of some sort.
Let’s dive right in where we left off with 2007!
Once Massively OP’s Larry and MJ the final scene, Chapter VIII of SWTOR’s Knights of the Eternal Throne
will be wrapped up, letting the duo move on to Chapter IX, The Eternal Throne. Will MJ’s Chiss Agent seize it as her destiny, as Darth Jar-Jar — er, Valkorian — keeps telling her to? Of course, that is completely up to the audience as it decides all the major alignment choices. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to decide the fate of the Eternal Empire.
What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
Enjoy the show!
Is there a new hope for entertainment in a galaxy far, far away? At the end of this month on July 31st, Star Wars: The Old Republic
is going to push back against the sinister threat of summer boredom with its Galactic Legend update.
You won’t have to wait until then to check out the patch, however. Game Update 5.9.2 is up on the public test server right now for any who would like to put it through its paces.
The patch is primarily focused on PvP, with a new 4v4 arena map that uses Mandalore’s Battle Ring, Season 9 rewards, better PvP matchmaking, and multiple warzone improvements. Housing addicts can move into the Rishi Hideout stronghold, which is a tropical bungalow that offers players the opportunity to host their own PvP battles in that instance.
This is the 10th update to follow the Eternal Throne and Fallen Empire expansions.
Over the weekend, my husband and I were chatting about playing on a Star Wars Galaxies emulator again, probably the Legends one that people keep recommending to me. And yes, it’s an NGE server. I was basically weighing all the content that was ultimately added during the six years of the NGE against the skill-on-use-based classic game. I loved the ol’ skill tree system to bits, so don’t get me wrong, but I was able to do most of the same things, eventually, in the NGE using classes and specs and secondary trees like beastmaster, and I floated the idea – horrors, I know – that maybe the skill system wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Fighting words, right? So that led us to discussing whether the original skill tree offered merely the illusion of choice. We were thinking about MMOs like Ultima Online and Guild Wars 1; only a very small percentage of skill builds in those games are actually viable, after all. The same is true even of level-based games with talent trees. Most builds are terrible, a waste of time, a way to present the feeling of lots of choices, but in the end only a few combinations are worth pursuing – so why did anyone bother designing and implementing them? And interestingly, we both came to the conclusion that classic Star Wars Galaxies somehow escaped that trap. Even weird builds were viable because the rest of the game made space for them rather than tried to trick you into bad choices.
What’s your favorite MMORPG with a skill-based progression system, and if it avoids the “illusion of choice” in character development, how does it do so?
In the comments of my last Daily Grind about Star Wars Galaxies, there erupted a lively debate about the game’s user interface in the particular. I was surprised to find that some folks are convinced the game’s interface was lacking, given that it’s basically the same minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface that every other MMORPG since has cribbed, just a bit more Star Warsy, glowy and minimalistic.
Then again, if you hate the stock minimap-plus-hotbars-plus-unit-frames-plus-chat interface setup that most MMORPGs boast, then yeah, hating SWG’s too makes sense.
Which MMORPG has the best user interface? And how does it deviate from the (at this point) completely standard World of Warcraft template?
(Note: The screenshot above isn’t actually SWG’s; it’s Otherland’s. You should check out The Repopulation’s too.)
The release of Raph Koster’s monster book of game essays, Postmortems, was of high interest to Bree and me for different reasons. For her, it was because Koster was a creative driving force behind two of her favorite games, Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies. For me, it’d because Koster shares my passion for MMO history and has some unique stories touching on topics that no one has heard before.
So I combed through his collection of essays to see what I could find out on two topics of interest to me: MUDs and the elusive Privateer Online. Chances are that many of you reading have never touched a text-based multi-user dungeon, and none of us save Koster and his coworkers, ever got to even peek at Privateer Online.
Here’s a few quotes that popped out at me, and if you’re interested and have $35 to drop on a Kindle version, you can read Koster’s full collection of essays in Postmortems.
Star Wars Galaxies is 15 years old now, and it was just about seven years ago that SOE announced it was slated for execution. Naturally, it’s been a big topic for us this week; several of our staff even joined together on the largest emulator to stream it on Tuesday. Smed even dropped by to show his support for the game and the emu.
At the end of our stream, MJ and I were chatting about why we don’t really play the emulator more. For MJ, it was the lack of a strong social environment, and if you saw how many people were botting in the cantina, you’d understand why the emu is superficially lacking in that area. For me, it’s the lack of permanence for that server, as well as the lack of features and the lack of what I’d consider a functional economy in its current state.
And yet, if a company legally released Star Wars Galaxies again right now, with all the features it had at its sunset and a clean economy and enough players to make the server ecosystem work properly, I would pretty much head right on over and get busy living, and there’d be a big fight on Massively OP over who got to helm the weekly column on the game. To this day, it’s still the MMORPG experience I am searching for, and I am clearly not alone.
Would you play Star Wars Galaxies if it relaunched today?
Do you like fighting games? I don’t. Let’s talk about fighting games. But bear with me because you’ll get where this is going.
While I might not personally care much about fighting games, I still wind up spending a lot of time reading about them because that’s just the sort of thing I read for fun. And balancing a fighting game is honestly pretty difficult, thus it’s something that gets talked about a lot. It’s difficult enough that there are, in fact, two different ways to do it.
This does have a lot of bearing on MMOs, though, where balance doesn’t get talked about nearly as much and tends to get talked about in rather dim tones when it is discussed. But in order to understand that you need to understand the difference in balance methods, why World of Warcraft players miss Mark of the Wild, and why balance matters in the first place.