Star Wars Galaxies Had an Amazing Idea For Jedi That Never Happened

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Star Wars Galaxies Had an Amazing Idea For Jedi That Never Happened

star wars galaxies

The scrapped original Jedi system for Star Wars Galaxies had you playing an intentionally weak "hardcore" perma-death character.

Long before The Old Republic was a thing, Star Wars Galaxies was how hardcore Star Wars fans got their MMO on. There was just one problem: no Jedi. Unlike The Old Republic which was set in the days when the Jedi and Sith roamed free throughout the countryside, Galaxies took place during the original trilogy movies, where Vader had personally hunted down and killed every last force-wielding fighter. Before we got to the comparably lame Jedi system that made it into the game, creative director Raph Koster had an idea that was apparently just too awesome to exist.

"I had a brainfart that never made it past those early days, there in that house. The idea took inspiration from Hardcore mode in the Diablo games. We would offer a Jedi system that effectively gave a different way to play the game. A method that kept Jedi rare, powerful, and yet allowed everyone a shot.

Every player would have a special character slot available to them, distinct and parallel from their regular character. This character would be locked into one profession, one class: Jedi. They'd start out weak as a kitten though, untrained in combat or anything, and with barely any Force abilities at all. Luke without womprat-shooting experience maybe.

Although the design wasn't done yet, we knew that the game would be classless. So this pathetic Force Sensitive character would be able to gain better Force powers by earning Force XP by using the Force. They could also go off and learn other skills. But either way: if they died, that was it. They were dead. Reroll. Start over. It was that dreaded word: permadeath.

In the corner of the screen, there would be a timer running logging how long you had managed to survive. It was your score, for this weird little minigame. The name of the game was survival, but it was rigged.

You see, the moment you used Force powers within view of anything or anyone Imperial, or indeed any player, they could report you to the Empire. To Darth Vader's Death Squadron in fact. And that generated someone to come after you. After first, just lowly Stormtroopers. Eventually, cooler characters, such as some of the bounty hunters like IG-88. Eventually, really cool ones like Boba Fett or fan favorite Mara Jade.

These would be brutal fights. Odds are you'd just die. So hiding and training very carefully would be essential. But it wouldn't matter, of course. As you advanced, your powers would get "noisier" and cooler. You wouldn't be able to resist using Force Lightning in a crowd, or equipping your lightsaber in view of some Imperials. And eventually, after Boba Fett and Mara Jade and everyone else had failed, well, that would be when Darth Vader himself bestirred himself to take care of the little problem.

And you would die. It would be rigged.

Your time would go up on a leaderboard, and everyone would be able to ooh and aah over the hardcore permadeath player who managed to get all the way to seeing Darth Vader and getting her ass kicked. As a reward, if you managed to make it to Jedi Master, your very last skill would be "Blue Glowy." You'd unlock a special emote for your main character slot that allowed them to summon up the ghosts of every Jedi who had made it that far. So all the bragging rights would carry over to your other character. Heck, I had a picture in my mind of the most amazing player summoning up not one, but a whole set of them - the most badass player would have a coterie of Jedi advisors, hovering around their campfire, as they showed up.

The response to this idea was pretty much "Permadeath?!?" And so Hardcore mode never happened."

image

If you're interested in this kind of thing, be sure to check out Koster's full Gamasutra interview, where he goes even more in-depth on his idea, and how the game ended up with the Jedi system that we all know and... well, lets just leave it at that.

I have just one question for Koster: where can I throw money to make your idea an actual game that I can play?

Source: Gamasutra

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That would have been amazing. I don't know why people are so terrified of permadeath, it makes a game interesting.

Hmm, not a bad idea. Much better than the village grind. The visibility thing would still be a problem. That was the biggest pain with the pre-NGE system. Everytime I logged on, all my guild members that were working on a Jedi were dead tired from farming xp in some remote cave on Yavin or Endor at 3 A.M. so no one will see them using their lightsaber. It would be even worse with Permadeath on the line.

*Edit* Just read the whole article and it was amazing and insightful. I always hated the jedi in that game. I refused to play one. Be honest with you, I was a very successful Armorsmith. Even wrote and maintained a lot of the FAQ's on the forum and was a forum player rep for a little bit. THAT was a powerful profession. I had stupid amounts of money, a decent amount of notoriety in the forums and on my server, a fun and complex resource game (ruined by resource kits), and tons of people wearing my truly unique and often customized for the player stuff! Ralph had a great original vision. I wish they gave him the time and support to make it happen that way.

I probably would never really try it, but it sounds awesome XD

A shame Sony had to go and 'Sony' it. It was a fun game.

A Jedi system that doesn't break the game mechanics AND it's lore-friendly? I'd be on board for that. I wonder if it's possible to implement something like that in SWGEmu...

Honestly though, I don't know why everyone wants to be a Jedi in every Star Wars game they play. Bunch of glowstick raver hippies in smelly robes, they make me sick. They should grow up and get a REAL job.

I like the idea, kind of a meta game, it would also be cool for the regular players who team up with them.

it would be great but id change the end game a bit by letting the player have a chance of fighting vader off in order to keep their jedi alive longer. Not kill him of course but maybe last long enough for him to withdraw and come back stronger in a few days. permadeath is a rather nice mechanic but only if the player can determine how long that character can live, otherwise what would be the point after 50 people manage to see vader.

Permadeath systems are really not a good idea. You hear people say "Oh, that sounds so interesting", but in reality systems like that don't make things interesting, they just make people act in the cheesiest manner. All this would have lead to is a bunch of cheeseballs figuring out how to assembly line jedi masters with the help of their guild, and then throw them around for shits and giggles, while everyone who actually liked the idea of going through the game slowly and carefully would have had no fun with it at all.

The problems with permadeath systems are always exactly the same:

1. Your death isn't going to be heroic or meaningful, it's most likely going to be caused by lag or knocking over your drink, or getting zerged or some dumb thing like that. The overwhelming majority of all deaths you will suffer in MMOs are for stupid reasons, not because any kind of interesting story happened. The likelyhood of your death being satisfying and making a story worth telling is damn near zero in an MMO.

2. It's never real permadeath. The account is still there, you can make a new character, you can level the character back up, so as a result the system really doesn't reward the people who are most careful, but only the people who are most willing to grind. Ultimately any system like that only ever works to the benefit of people who work out how to grind mortal characters or expensive consumables the most efficiently, and don't care about doing so. Look at stuff like H1Z1, sure, it's technically permadeath, but in reality nobody gives a shit, they just come right back, their guildmates give them some gear and they keep right on trucking. The people who really enjoy the game are all the people who view death as a setback, not as the end.

3. Most MMOs don't allow you to change the world, they only allow you to change yourself. There is really no MMO in existence where the thing that progresses and changes and takes shape as you play is the world, and not your character. Because of that there is simply no reason to "give your life" for a cause. The whole idea of characters with limited existence in a world you can't leave a mark on is silly. (And no, leaderboards don't count, role-playing games are about stories, not high scores)

4. It's just bad business. Same as every damn MMO that tries to spin full loot into it's driving motivation and fails miserably this simply does not produce good player numbers. Bottom line is, the people who play games with ultra harsh death penalties long term are people who view starting over as an acceptable setback, not people who are amazingly good at keeping a single character alive. Since that basically restricts your target audience to only people with an absurdly high grind tolerance there is really no good business sense in making games like that. Unless you can develop it on a shoestring budget and have a niche game it's just a terrible idea.

I really hate it when people act like permadeath is the most "hardcore", because it really isn't. A game is hardcore when it requires dedication, but grind is the lowest form of dedication there is, and that's all a game produces by periodically erasing characters through death. There are better forms of dedication, like knowledge and practice and those aren't served by making games more grindy.

I woulda played the crap out of that!

Aetrion:
2. It's never real permadeath. The account is still there, you can make a new character, you can level the character back up, so as a result the system really doesn't reward the people who are most careful, but only the people who are most willing to grind. Ultimately any system like that only ever works to the benefit of people who work out how to grind mortal characters or expensive consumables the most efficiently, and don't care about doing so. Look at stuff like H1Z1, sure, it's technically permadeath, but in reality nobody gives a shit, they just come right back, their guildmates give them some gear and they keep right on trucking. The people who really enjoy the game are all the people who view death as a setback, not as the end.

I went and re-read this and was a lot sadder than I originally had been. I thought his system was one Jedi per account, for LIFE. As in, once your Jedi dies, the account slot locks and is completely locked forever. One go, dead, poof.

I still like the system but I actually prefer the other system he spoke of in the article, which was where Jedi's were made by fulfilling a very, very random large list of completely invisible objectives (with no list, pop up, etc) like "Climb to the highest point in [PLANET]" or "Spend half an hour at a bar on [BLANK]". The players had NO idea that this system was in the game, and even some Dev's didn't know. What this meant is that the Jedi that did appear were some of the most dedicated players and just seemed to "become" Jedi.

They said that as soon as they revealed a bread crumb trail (due to pressure by their marketing) everyone abandoned their previous jobs to try everything to become Jedi (doctors became fighters, entertainers became merchants) all trying to find their secret way to become a Jedi.

I dunno. I'm just so sad I missed out on Galaxy's, and I really, really wish a new MMO will come along to fufill that hole. I thought ArcheAge was going to be that MMO, but it just sort of turned out like a regular MMO due to the lack of player impact. I'm not lying when I say a modern day Galaxy's without the problems and with the full systems would probably be my favourite game of all time, hands down, beaten only by the next update of said game.

There's just something awesome about a figher visiting their friend, the doctor, after a hard fight for some healing, before heading to argue with that asshole of a merchant who has a monopoly on this town about how much his hard fought for loot is worth, and finally chilling out with the entertainers who put on a show (and more importantly, give buffs!) That is exactly what an MMO should be, something that players run.

The closest that sort of came to that (apart from ArcheAge, which is actually pretty standard MMO style) was Planet Calypso, but that was plagued with many, many issues. Still, some good times came from that game.

It's times like these I wish I was some kind of game designing genius that could make all of this work, but that's why I'm studying and practising and learning. One day, I will be... the Atari Kid.

(yay for references).

infohippie:
That would have been amazing. I don't know why people are so terrified of permadeath, it makes a game interesting.

Because most people hate wasting their time and seeing all their hard work go down the drain. Especially so in videogames which are meant to entertain them and thus they aren't particularly interested in being screwed over. A few seem to find it fun though, but they are in the end a small niche and will always be a small niche(especially in mmo's). At least that is what the general view on it seems to be based on what I've read and observed over the years.

OT: Getting bounty hunters and Vader after you? I like that idea, but the permadeath? Not my cup of tea. At that point I'd just go play something else instead. Too stressful and not worth it.

Permadeath only works with a low iteration time or high disposability of the killed character.
It's okay if it takes about 2h to beat the entire game, or you have multiple characters that are expected to die at some point.

Certainly no place for it in an MMO, although Path of Exile solved it neatly with 'hardcore' characters, which simply go to regular servers after death.

they could have solved the "permadeath" problem by simply having your character locked out for a day or week

That would've been awesome, but permadeath in an MMO probably would have killed the interest of the person playing it if you invested too much time into that character, so I certainly understand why it didn't make it in. Also, the Darth Vader fight would've been bullshit, to be quite honest.

Lil_Rimmy:

I went and re-read this and was a lot sadder than I originally had been. I thought his system was one Jedi per account, for LIFE. As in, once your Jedi dies, the account slot locks and is completely locked forever. One go, dead, poof.

Yea, but just imagine the number of people who are utterly pissed demanding their money back because their Jedi died after getting stuck in a tree or something. For that matter, it still wouldn't fix the issue, it'd still put the most risk on anyone who actually just wants to play the game as a Jedi. The only people who would actually likely get their Jedis trained up would be the ones who join guilds that take turns with their regular characters protecting a few members grinding out their Jedi levels.

I dunno. I'm just so sad I missed out on Galaxy's, and I really, really wish a new MMO will come along to fufill that hole. I thought ArcheAge was going to be that MMO, but it just sort of turned out like a regular MMO due to the lack of player impact. I'm not lying when I say a modern day Galaxy's without the problems and with the full systems would probably be my favourite game of all time, hands down, beaten only by the next update of said game.

There's just something awesome about a figher visiting their friend, the doctor, after a hard fight for some healing, before heading to argue with that asshole of a merchant who has a monopoly on this town about how much his hard fought for loot is worth, and finally chilling out with the entertainers who put on a show (and more importantly, give buffs!) That is exactly what an MMO should be, something that players run.

SWG had a lot of ideas, but people look at it through rose colored glasses a lot. People will always tell you that what killed SWG was NGE, but in reality what killed SWG was that the game was "Hardcore" and by hardcore I mean grindy as all hell. There were a ton of systems in that game that were meant well, and were built to get people to "live a Starwars life" but instead were just abused and twisted, because the game was so grindy that ultimately its primary audience ended up being powergamers, not roleplayers.

SWGs crafting system self destructed and drove tons of people out of the game because of how it was built. Every item was built from a plethora of materials that had multiple characteristics, and the strength of items would vary hugely with what materials you built your items from. Nearly all materials in the game were sampled from the ground and bulk harvested by placing down drills. Where those materials were would shift every month or so. That sounds like a good system at first, because a crafter who found very good materials would be producing items that were superior and thereby could actually distinguish themselves from other crafters, but in practice this was a terribly broken system. People stayed up till 4am on patch day to be the first to survey the new resources and put harvesters down, so anyone who didn't do that had no chance of ever getting the top end resources in the first place. The bigger issue however was that any item not built from top end resources was considered trash only fit for newbies. Some few resources came from harvesting creatures, and there the best ones came from harvesting bosses, so if you weren't in a huge guild that could farm those bosses all day you never got those either. (Especially since there would always be a huge guild already farming the spawn)
Basically what you ended up with was a system were 99 out of 100 crafters simply could never produce anything anyone wanted to buy, and the vast majority of all items ever crafted in the game was considered to be trash and only existed because someone was grinding on their skill. So just on crafting the items the game really shot itself in the foot, because hundreds if not thousands of people who wanted to play as a crafter because they weren't ultra-competitive types found themselves utterly unable to craft anything but trash.

The item system itself however was another problem. Since every item could come in thousands of varieties due to how they were crafted the game suffered tremendous lag, especially when you opened up the auction house. The amount of space that insane system must have taken up in their database probably would still today make MMO engineers shudder. The bigger issue however was one of affordability. Every item in the game would eventually break down, so if a particularly good run of items was ever created there was a lot of incentive for super rich players to buy up as many of them as possible. This of course drove the price up even further, and put those players head and shoulders above anyone who simply didn't have the money to do the same. So not only did the item system leave thousands of crafters out in the rain unable to do anything useful, it also screwed just about everyone who wanted to adventure or PvP but wasn't a total powergamer who would grind for hours every day. You had classes like the Combat Medic who could unleash poison canisters on people, and every single one of those canisters was a crafted item. There were of course people who had the millions of credits and the time to make poison canisters from high grade materials, and they could literally wipe out an entire army with a single drop of these things. Sure, the players who benefitted from these systems will still tell you how awesome SWG was, but the majority of people just got shit on by stuff like that.

You mentioned doctors and dancers, and that's another system that just got perverted by how players abused the hell out of it. Doctor buffs raised your stats by up to 400%, so there was basically no way to do anything in the game except for the most basic newbie content without doctor buffs. That meant every single time you wanted to do anything in the game you had to pay about 10000 credits to buy a suit of buffs, which would last 2-3 hours, and in that time you had to make that money back and then pull a profit. Another system right there that made the game basically unplayable for more casual players, because every second you weren't grinding full speed ahead you were losing money once the buff was on. Same was true for the entertainers in the cantina. Where it gets even more disappointing though was that people who actually wanted to play a doctor or entertainer really didn't get to. For one, nobody would even come to your doctor unless you were the doctor with, you guessed it, 990+ quality buffs, and secondly, nobody wanted to actually RP with you in any way, they just wanted their buffs as quickly as possible and be on their way. Very soon someone had figured out how to make a buff bot that could apply the doctor buff and cantina buff to anyone who wired 10000 credits to that character automatically, and the whole profession of doctor had become nothing but a source of income for a dozen people per server with a second account.

Another system that sounds really cool in theory, but fell flat on its face was the city building and politician system. The game had the ability to create a politician character, and your politician level would be determined by how many people lived in your city and how many of those people voted for you if your city was a democracy. What buildings the city could have was determined by the size of the city as well. This sounds pretty cool, but it just absolutely did not work. The Democracy thing was a total crock of shit, because if you allowed people to settle in your town and then vote on who the leader was you could very easily end up with a guild of 100 people simply deciding to move into your town, voting you out of office, then dismantling the democracy, and evict all previous inhabitants. So, since democracy was basically just an invitation for any organized group that wanted to to take your town away that wasn't an option. People still needed hundreds of inhabitants to a town in order for it to be allowed to construct essential buildings, like a clone bay or a spaceport, and that meant that people once again started to cheese the system. Nobody actually built a town and had elections and welcomed settlers or anything like that, instead people would find guilds on other servers that also needed more people in their town, and then you'd make a character on their server, they would furnish you with a small house, and then you'd never log into that character again, they in turn would do the same for you. That basically meant that most of the houses in any city were empty, most of the characters who supposedly lived there were basically ghosts, and someone on your side was footing the bill for dozens of houses that nobody lived in, which again, meant town building was basically impossible unless you were so active in the game that you could pull in enough money to upkeep dozens of buildings.

I think people who remember SWG fondly fall into two categories, there are the idealists that just really believe in what SWG tried to do, and still love the potential it had, and there are the powergamers that still pine for another game where they can utterly dominate everyone to the point of pushing them out of the game. The actuality of SWG is that the game didn't fail because Sony simply decided to destroy a working game and go to NGE, the game was already failing hard because when WoW came out the vast majority of players realized that MMOs don't need to be insanely unfair to people who don't have all day and then some to grind for cash or wait all night for resource shifts or buy second accounts to bot someone elses character into obsolescence.

SWG had a lot of good ideas, but it wasn't well built for the reality of gaming. Every single system that allowed extreme achievement with extreme effort simply ended up being the norm, and any lesser degree of effort wasn't worth anything at all. For the vast majority of players who simply don't have that kind of time, or wanted an actual roleplay experience instead of just killing Rancors as quickly as possible that simply wasn't fun in any way.

Ultimately the lesson to learn from SWG is this: You can't make anything in an MMO rare by making it hard to get, because everyone who can't get it will quit your game, and then what few players your game has left all have the thing you wanted to be rare. The most powerful thing always ends up being the norm, the level of difficulty you set for getting that thing doesn't determine the number of people who have it, but the number of people who play at all.

Aetrion:

-snip-

This is the most insightful thing I think I've ever read on this site.

.

Riotguards:
they could have solved the "permadeath" problem by simply having your character locked out for a day or week

The permadeath is what made it good for me.
There is no sense of achievement in doing what even the lowest skilled player could do given enough time. Doing it when its bullshit tier hard and you only have one shot? That's satisfying. If you are familiar with Runescape, that's why firecapes are so cool.
The vader being rigged bits kinda annoying to me though. You should be able to escape him.

Jamcie Kerbizz:

SWG was a fascinating social and economical model experience. It definetly was not for children or child-like adults it were marketed to.

Yes yes, here come the unfair game apologists who are just going to insult everyone who wants games to be fun. The funny thing is, the cutthroat economics of real life that you love so much nixed the game out of existence because they just aren't popular as entertainment.

Aetrion:
Snip

I was going to go through and break down how completely subjective your posts were, but then I decided it'd just be easier to point out "You just really didn't like Galaxies, did you? Seems like no matter what system they implemented you were going to complain about it." :P

This is an incredible idea for a game, period. A Star Wars rouge like?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME THAT SOUNDS SO BOSS

RJ 17:

Aetrion:
Snip

I was going to go through and break down how completely subjective your posts were, but then I decided it'd just be easier to point out "You just really didn't like Galaxies, did you? Seems like no matter what system they implemented you were going to complain about it." :P

The market didn't like SWG and for good reason. The game was monstrously unfair to most of its players with absurd amounts of grind.

Speaking as someone who always liked the rarity of Force users in the original trilogy, who thought (and thinks) that what made the Jedi cool was that they were a dying order in a universe that had moved on - I would have played the shit out of that.

leviticusd:
Hmm, not a bad idea. Much better than the village grind. The visibility thing would still be a problem. That was the biggest pain with the pre-NGE system. Everytime I logged on, all my guild members that were working on a Jedi were dead tired from farming xp in some remote cave on Yavin or Endor at 3 A.M. so no one will see them using their lightsaber. It would be even worse with Permadeath on the line.

*Edit* Just read the whole article and it was amazing and insightful. I always hated the jedi in that game. I refused to play one. Be honest with you, I was a very successful Armorsmith. Even wrote and maintained a lot of the FAQ's on the forum and was a forum player rep for a little bit. THAT was a powerful profession. I had stupid amounts of money, a decent amount of notoriety in the forums and on my server, a fun and complex resource game (ruined by resource kits), and tons of people wearing my truly unique and often customized for the player stuff! Ralph had a great original vision. I wish they gave him the time and support to make it happen that way.

Oh, Goody. You're "That Guy", aren't you?

Aetrion:
SWG had a lot of ideas, but people look at it through rose colored glasses a lot. People will always tell you that what killed SWG was NGE, but in reality what killed SWG was that the game was "Hardcore" and by hardcore I mean grindy as all hell. There were a ton of systems in that game that were meant well, and were built to get people to "live a Starwars life" but instead were just abused and twisted, because the game was so grindy that ultimately its primary audience ended up being powergamers, not roleplayers.

You have a massive amount of anti-rose color going on.

SWGs crafting system self destructed and drove tons of people out of the game because of how it was built. Every item was built from a plethora of materials that had multiple characteristics, and the strength of items would vary hugely with what materials you built your items from. Nearly all materials in the game were sampled from the ground and bulk harvested by placing down drills. Where those materials were would shift every month or so. That sounds like a good system at first, because a crafter who found very good materials would be producing items that were superior and thereby could actually distinguish themselves from other crafters, but in practice this was a terribly broken system. People stayed up till 4am on patch day to be the first to survey the new resources and put harvesters down, so anyone who didn't do that had no chance of ever getting the top end resources in the first place. The bigger issue however was that any item not built from top end resources was considered trash only fit for newbies. Some few resources came from harvesting creatures, and there the best ones came from harvesting bosses, so if you weren't in a huge guild that could farm those bosses all day you never got those either. (Especially since there would always be a huge guild already farming the spawn)
Basically what you ended up with was a system were 99 out of 100 crafters simply could never produce anything anyone wanted to buy, and the vast majority of all items ever crafted in the game was considered to be trash and only existed because someone was grinding on their skill. So just on crafting the items the game really shot itself in the foot, because hundreds if not thousands of people who wanted to play as a crafter because they weren't ultra-competitive types found themselves utterly unable to craft anything but trash.

I still hold SWG as one of the best crafting systems implemented in an MMO. It was just so damned robust for the reasons you already stated--material quality, differences in final output, and such. Just because you missed the shift didn't mean you couldn't get the best resources. Maybe you didn't get on that 90% supernode, but mounts and vehicles were plenty and cheap as soon as they were implemented so it just meant a little extra travel time to get to a 60-70% node that was less congested with harvesters. The real limiting factor was being willing to travel to other planets every other day or so to check what resources had spawned, take a few small surveys to check qualities, and know what schematics required which qualities to properly assess the material's value.

Also, you're just wrong on creature materials. Most of the basic materials were constant across the entire planet--herbivore bones of a gnort were the same herbivore bones you'd get from a fambaa, just not as in as great quantities. With doctor buffs and even mediocre gear, a single player could farm fambaas on their own as well if they were in an advanced fighting profession. The only "boss" materials were incredible rare drops, and even rarer were they worth using (like fambaa hides). Most of those were also soloable with a little preparation. The only truly non-solo creatures were supers like Peko Peko Albatrosses, but even those only took a handful of advanced-proffed folks. The real trick to creature harvesting was to be a ranger. I made some mint killing middling creatures for good bones, hide, and meat and getting a few thousand units per hour compared to the basic scouts that got a few dozen and gave up.

The item system itself however was another problem. Since every item could come in thousands of varieties due to how they were crafted the game suffered tremendous lag, especially when you opened up the auction house. The amount of space that insane system must have taken up in their database probably would still today make MMO engineers shudder. The bigger issue however was one of affordability. Every item in the game would eventually break down, so if a particularly good run of items was ever created there was a lot of incentive for super rich players to buy up as many of them as possible. This of course drove the price up even further, and put those players head and shoulders above anyone who simply didn't have the money to do the same. So not only did the item system leave thousands of crafters out in the rain unable to do anything useful, it also screwed just about everyone who wanted to adventure or PvP but wasn't a total powergamer who would grind for hours every day. You had classes like the Combat Medic who could unleash poison canisters on people, and every single one of those canisters was a crafted item. There were of course people who had the millions of credits and the time to make poison canisters from high grade materials, and they could literally wipe out an entire army with a single drop of these things. Sure, the players who benefitted from these systems will still tell you how awesome SWG was, but the majority of people just got shit on by stuff like that.

This is a fair enough point. The range of qualities was perhaps a bit too high, and then there's the turnaround of slicing being able to turn a possible one-in-a-million item in to junk by getting the wrong or poor rolls.

Combat medics were just bullshit all around.

You mentioned doctors and dancers, and that's another system that just got perverted by how players abused the hell out of it. Doctor buffs raised your stats by up to 400%, so there was basically no way to do anything in the game except for the most basic newbie content without doctor buffs. That meant every single time you wanted to do anything in the game you had to pay about 10000 credits to buy a suit of buffs, which would last 2-3 hours, and in that time you had to make that money back and then pull a profit. Another system right there that made the game basically unplayable for more casual players, because every second you weren't grinding full speed ahead you were losing money once the buff was on. Same was true for the entertainers in the cantina. Where it gets even more disappointing though was that people who actually wanted to play a doctor or entertainer really didn't get to. For one, nobody would even come to your doctor unless you were the doctor with, you guessed it, 990+ quality buffs, and secondly, nobody wanted to actually RP with you in any way, they just wanted their buffs as quickly as possible and be on their way. Very soon someone had figured out how to make a buff bot that could apply the doctor buff and cantina buff to anyone who wired 10000 credits to that character automatically, and the whole profession of doctor had become nothing but a source of income for a dozen people per server with a second account.

This was almost purely a post-holocron problem, though. Buffs were also rarely (if at all) used before holocrons went in, too, outside of the cantina ones.

Another system that sounds really cool in theory, but fell flat on its face was the city building and politician system. The game had the ability to create a politician character, and your politician level would be determined by how many people lived in your city and how many of those people voted for you if your city was a democracy. What buildings the city could have was determined by the size of the city as well. This sounds pretty cool, but it just absolutely did not work. The Democracy thing was a total crock of shit, because if you allowed people to settle in your town and then vote on who the leader was you could very easily end up with a guild of 100 people simply deciding to move into your town, voting you out of office, then dismantling the democracy, and evict all previous inhabitants. So, since democracy was basically just an invitation for any organized group that wanted to to take your town away that wasn't an option. People still needed hundreds of inhabitants to a town in order for it to be allowed to construct essential buildings, like a clone bay or a spaceport, and that meant that people once again started to cheese the system. Nobody actually built a town and had elections and welcomed settlers or anything like that, instead people would find guilds on other servers that also needed more people in their town, and then you'd make a character on their server, they would furnish you with a small house, and then you'd never log into that character again, they in turn would do the same for you. That basically meant that most of the houses in any city were empty, most of the characters who supposedly lived there were basically ghosts, and someone on your side was footing the bill for dozens of houses that nobody lived in, which again, meant town building was basically impossible unless you were so active in the game that you could pull in enough money to upkeep dozens of buildings.

Sounds more like you just have a problem with democracy. Regardless, it was simple to make sure you couldn't have a guild take your town and kick you out. First off, to get a town hall pretty much required a guild. Due to the limits on city numbers, at least on Bloodfin all the spots were filled entirely by guilds anyway. That was kind of the point: running player cities was for guilds, not one individual guy. And once a city was down, zoning rights was one of the first things you unlocked.

I guess there was the slight possibility of an organized guild building on the edge of a town that was about to increase in size, thereby grandfathering themselves in as citizens when it did and taking over the town. I never heard of it actually happening though.

I think people who remember SWG fondly fall into two categories, there are the idealists that just really believe in what SWG tried to do, and still love the potential it had, and there are the powergamers that still pine for another game where they can utterly dominate everyone to the point of pushing them out of the game. The actuality of SWG is that the game didn't fail because Sony simply decided to destroy a working game and go to NGE, the game was already failing hard because when WoW came out the vast majority of players realized that MMOs don't need to be insanely unfair to people who don't have all day and then some to grind for cash or wait all night for resource shifts or buy second accounts to bot someone elses character into obsolescence.

Part of the issue there was SWG was designed and released in the Everquest era. MMOs were "supposed" to be hard and punishing and be unfair in favor of the no-lifers. WoW rightly killed that notion, though in some areas may have veered a bit too far from it.

SWG had a lot of good ideas, but it wasn't well built for the reality of gaming. Every single system that allowed extreme achievement with extreme effort simply ended up being the norm, and any lesser degree of effort wasn't worth anything at all.

This is a gross exaggeration.

For the vast majority of players who simply don't have that kind of time, or wanted an actual roleplay experience instead of just killing Rancors as quickly as possible that simply wasn't fun in any way.

This is the main actual problem. The game focused too heavily on player-driven end-game with nothing to do otherwise. When they finally added PvE content it was too late, buggy, and difficult to save the sinking ship.

Ultimately the lesson to learn from SWG is this: You can't make anything in an MMO rare by making it hard to get, because everyone who can't get it will quit your game, and then what few players your game has left all have the thing you wanted to be rare. The most powerful thing always ends up being the norm, the level of difficulty you set for getting that thing doesn't determine the number of people who have it, but the number of people who play at all.

You mix and match "rare" and "powerful" throughout this. One need not be the other, but if the rare is the most powerful it can become a problem, sure.

Aetrion:

RJ 17:

Aetrion:
Snip

I was going to go through and break down how completely subjective your posts were, but then I decided it'd just be easier to point out "You just really didn't like Galaxies, did you? Seems like no matter what system they implemented you were going to complain about it." :P

The market didn't like SWG and for good reason. The game was monstrously unfair to most of its players with absurd amounts of grind.

The fact that the devs' concept of bug fixing boiled down to "If it couldn't be exploited it was fine" didn't help matters.

ArcaneGamer:

leviticusd:
Hmm, not a bad idea. Much better than the village grind. The visibility thing would still be a problem. That was the biggest pain with the pre-NGE system. Everytime I logged on, all my guild members that were working on a Jedi were dead tired from farming xp in some remote cave on Yavin or Endor at 3 A.M. so no one will see them using their lightsaber. It would be even worse with Permadeath on the line.

*Edit* Just read the whole article and it was amazing and insightful. I always hated the jedi in that game. I refused to play one. Be honest with you, I was a very successful Armorsmith. Even wrote and maintained a lot of the FAQ's on the forum and was a forum player rep for a little bit. THAT was a powerful profession. I had stupid amounts of money, a decent amount of notoriety in the forums and on my server, a fun and complex resource game (ruined by resource kits), and tons of people wearing my truly unique and often customized for the player stuff! Ralph had a great original vision. I wish they gave him the time and support to make it happen that way.

Oh, Goody. You're "That Guy", aren't you?

There are so many types in SWG that the "That Guy" title can be placed on, I'm not sure which one you are labeling me as, but your probably right! Heh.

Trippy Turtle:

Riotguards:
they could have solved the "permadeath" problem by simply having your character locked out for a day or week

The permadeath is what made it good for me.
There is no sense of achievement in doing what even the lowest skilled player could do given enough time. Doing it when its bullshit tier hard and you only have one shot? That's satisfying. If you are familiar with Runescape, that's why firecapes are so cool.
The vader being rigged bits kinda annoying to me though. You should be able to escape him.

well you could have differences between someone who died and someone who is a pro survivor

for example you could be a first generation (no death) and reach the vader death, which if said event happened you'd get an achievement and extra rewards but someone who is a 2nd - 3rd - etc generation (someone who's died) would recieve something not as cool

or you could have perma death but have it so you gain exp at triple the rate (so if grinding to max level took you a 3 - 4 months in the game on a normal character it'd be 1 weeks instead), i think people wouldn't mind if that happened

ssManae:

Sounds more like you just have a problem with democracy.

So if 1 billion Chinese people simply moved to the US tomorrow, demanded an election, then all collectively voted to install a dictator who then rounded up all previous citizens, seized all their assets and kicked them out of the country and anyone wasn't cool with that, then they would just "have a problem with democracy"? That is what open towns were prone to in SWG because of how poorly the system was designed.

With the amount of Inquisitors in the new canon I guess you could just opt to join the Empire instead

Aetrion:

SWG had a lot of ideas, but people look at it through rose colored glasses a lot. People will always tell you that what killed SWG was NGE, but in reality what killed SWG was that the game was "Hardcore" and by hardcore I mean grindy as all hell. There were a ton of systems in that game that were meant well, and were built to get people to "live a Starwars life" but instead were just abused and twisted, because the game was so grindy that ultimately its primary audience ended up being powergamers, not roleplayers....(snip)

Great post and lots of excellent points, I was in the paid for beta and stayed with it during retail until the infamous patch. Man for me Koster and his "to grind is divine" and the simulation is king, perfect the simulation and the game will play itself? Ugh.

I too remember seeing the 4am top tier auto mining machines with the name Earth R8per and other classy names all over the good spots. Koster sat back with his excel tables talking about how he knew who had all the ore and with steepled fingers state how the simulation just needed some tweaks and it will all be fine. Meanwhile the forums had the casual players begging for something to be done as they were choked out of crafting anything decent.

SWG had really neat concepts no doubt but there was no follow through. The the designer failed to adapt when the "simulation" was not working. When Koster was busted for saying there was Jedi and the forums fired up asking for any real Jedi to please stand up? There were a few claims but after they failed verification by community members it was apparent SWG was a zero Jedi. That kicked over his apple cart and nothing he said after that could be trusted.

It was a shame really, the idea of crafting anything, lol remembering the posts about asking if players would be allowed to craft a Death Star heh.

I also fondly remember being an entertainer and grouping up during the early stages and showing players how to write their own scripts for flourishes, moves, light show and such. It was good times and things were looking bright for awhile.

Yes definitely it had potential and oh how much wasted potential it was, what a bummer!

Aetrion:
2. It's never real permadeath. The account is still there, you can make a new character

Ahhh....I see what you're suggesting. To make it more meaningful, when the character dies, the player should also die. That would certainly raise the stakes.
I'm totally on board with your idea. Good thinking Aetrion!

I love this idea. It's like DayZ with but with Jedi. It would certainly be a fun alternative game mod in lots of games. Perhaps there's a Garry's Mod of it already?

Li Mu:

Ahhh....I see what you're suggesting. To make it more meaningful, when the character dies, the player should also die. That would certainly raise the stakes.
I'm totally on board with your idea. Good thinking Aetrion!

I'm not suggesting anything, I'm saying that the inevitable reality of a game that wants to retain players is that permadeath is not actually permanent. If the game wants to make money it has to retain players, that means if their character gets deleted on death the only way the game retains that player is if they instantly create another one.

Is that player going to forgive whoever killed them, make all new friends, play as though their previous character never happened? No, of course not. They are going to get right back into their old guild, and get right back on their old goals. In all likelyhood they will reroll with the same name and face even. In that sense, all that was lost was some items and some leveling progress. Actual death as in erasure of that person did not occur.

The only way any chracter is actually "killed" for good is if the death frustrates the player into leaving, and that's just bad business for the game. So stuck with the dilemma of not being able to produce an actual death without losing customers is it any wonder that designers figure that there is no good reason to shrink their player numbers by making the setback on death too frustrating for most players to bear?

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