I Finally Got On Star Wars Galaxies, and It's Video CRACK!!!
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First, I know that, months ago, when vast changes were instituted to make Galaxies more playable to the general gaming public, a vast plurality of its existing usership abandoned the game. I read about this long before purchasing the game the other day, and I've discussed it with people in-game and seen the effects: massive ghost towns all over planets on my server/galaxy (Chilantra, an east coast server).
One experienced player, a Level 90 TIE Pilot, remarked to me "I think it's coming back, slowly but surely."
Well, there is definitely activity, and while the game isn't quite dying, it hasn't yet BOUNCED back... but indeed it does seem to be growing back and some sort of rate. At the very least, I have found it to be a new addiction, edging out even my beloved Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, which itself is an amazing game. If that could be a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, there would be nothing getting done on Earth - no one would go to work.
Still, Galaxies is a great game. If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. If you're one of the people who left, try coming back. I'm certainly enjoying myself.
There's got to be some interesting social theory to be found in the wake of all these ghost towns on different planets. Indeed, I've even been given a house (by that 90-level player) on Rori (which is near Naboo) and moved once I could buy my own house, to Tatooine. I decided to settle in one of the Tatooine post-player-abandonment ghost towns; this one's right outside Bestine, and it's pretty large. The number of players who jumped off the game must've been prodigious. I wonder what the game was like before, that so many people preferred it the way it had been? Would I have been one of those players?
For myself, I have a young male Zabrak smuggler, nearly level 8. He started out doing smuggling jobs for Han Solo and other people at Ord Mantell, which is like a training server for newbies. I'm not sure if everyone starts there now, but I did, and I think I started with Solo because I chose to be a Smuggler. I'll have to try creating a second character, but I've been so busy with this one. Why? Well, I wasn't sure whether I was going to join the Rebs or the Imps, or stay neutral, but that 90-level character helped me out, including financially (in-game, of course) so I decided to go Imperial. (The game has suspended the Emperor's prejudice against nonhumans in Imperial service, although you don't see nonhuman character NPC's standing around giving orders.)
The characters are indeed highly customizable, and I'm very pleased with my character, whose name is Yeng Darkslaer. He is now an Imperial TIE Interceptor pilot, and while I'm unhappy that the TIE Interceptor in Galaxies looks just like a stock TIE fighter (agh! I loved the look of the TIE Int's!), it does kick some serious butt and was a great move up from the stock fighter I came off Ord Mantell with. (You can never return to the 'trainer server', by the way.)
I chose to learn to be a pilot before I left the training server for Tatooine with Han Solo, and this has paid off in making my character especially mobile throughout the game universe. It's also made me modestly wealthy (in-game, unfortunately).
The problem is now that I'm stumped. My commanding officer in the Storm Guard, who are elite TIE pilots stationed at Tatooine from the ISD Accuser, has sent me on an intelligence mission to Lok, which is Nym's pirate stronghold (Remember Nym, originally from Dark Horse comics and then in the early X-box Star Wars fighter games? He's still alive and now harassing the Empire.) I can't find the damn contact I'm supposed to talk to, to save my life. Disappointingly, I'm going to have to buy the damn guidebook unless I can find a solution to this quest on the internet.
Anyway... you can do all kinds of things with your group: go out and hunt, go out and help each other on quests, go out and fly missions together, or even just go out into the world on your swoop bikes or your speeders and have a lot of fun. You can even sell stuff on auction or instant purchase on the bazaar terminals, just like eBay. Indeed, I've sold four items so far to other players I haven't even met yet, and I've bought a few.
I can go on at length, but the game is worthwhile. It is a lot of work bringing your level up to something decent so you can start building a small pile of credits, but it's worth it. When you're about level 7, you start seeing the rewards, as I have. I give the game, as a whole, an A -.
Why a 'minus'? There is a serious problem with crashes when coming off the starfighter element of the game and back into the ground-based gameworld; otherwise I'm pretty fine with it. It seems like they're working on it consistently to improve it. They do pay attention to the worlds and their players.
The community of online players is indeed generally friendly, too. Jump on and try it out, or try it out again. If you join my server world, look me up:
Yeng Darkslaer, Chilantra galaxy/server. My residence is on Tatooine. I'll help any new player, but if you choose to be an Imperial, I'll help you out more.