Saturday, February 28, 2009

Classic SWG: And So It Begins

Though I had been in beta for several days, it hadn't yet occurred to me that I might want to take a few screenshots of what I had encountered. But when I crested a hill early on during Beta 3 and found myself staring down at Mos Eisley, I suddenly felt immersed in the Star Wars universe and needed to find a way to save the memory.

Though it was nighttime and I was neither Ben nor Luke, I still felt as if I were a part of the story and galaxy I have loved since being a small child.

Above we see Vincer Kaden, hair still loose and wearing some of the default clothes that were available at the time. Tailors didn't exist after the latest character wipe and no one even thought about vendors at this point. We used terminals that the devs placed around; each with its own specific job: clothes, weapons, etc.

Though seeing Mos Eisley is commonplace nearly six years later, I sometimes am in awe of seeing the the imagery of Star Wars arranged before me.

SWG Thought of the Day: Listen While You Work

I've got to give credit where credit is due: the current SWG development team has proven to have their ear to the ground and their thumb on the pulse of the subscribers. My only regret to this situation is that the voice of those players who do not frequent the forums will largely be falling upon deaf ears since they have no "forum" (figuratively speaking, of course) to state their collective case.

Otherwise, as the latest change in policy regarding 90 day inactive citizens goes and how rewards such as the sarlacc function, the devs are paying attention to the needs and wants of the players. I think they'll come to find that players, by and large, are not a group looking for free handouts, but are looking for a fair challenge with rewards appropriate to the time and effort invested in those challenges.

Let's hope we can get through this small list of upcoming updates and then move on to giving this game a strong direction, one that will steer it well into the future despite any so called competition that might arise.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sarlacc Snacks: Going to Bed Hungry

Time to feed the baby! I select a spare comlink and intend to give it to him for his second meal, now just slightly over a week since his first.

But it would seem that feeding is not an option. It turns out that the little beast is broken, and not just for me. Jaskell is on the case, making this his top priority. So far, it seems as if the nasty little bugger isn't telling the game that he's hungry, so the option to feed him never comes up.

Hopefully we'll have a solution soon. Until then, he'll just have to go to bed hungry, even if he won't admit that he is.

Or is it a she?

Monday, February 23, 2009

SWG Thought of the Day: Six Years Ago

Six years ago, when this game was still in beta, did any of you conceive that we would today be having discussions about flying ewoks, equippable wings, heart-shaped arrows, chocolate fountains, trading card games, Jedi in armor, or overpowered spies?

I thought not. There seems to be a significant problem.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poll Results: What Does Star Wars Galaxies Need Most?

Flying Ewoks? Crossbows? Chocolate fountains? They're not included on our poll and not only because it predated the Ewok Festival of Love.

For the past 30 days, we have been gathering your votes on what is needed most in Star Wars Galaxies, and now Artoo is here to give us the results. Personally, I don't find the finally tally all that surprising. It makes me wonder just what SOE is considering when they decide what to put their resources towards. Artoo, let's have a look, shall we?

Over half of the participants decided that Star Wars Galaxies should be about the Galactic Civil War. Clearly the current implementation of the war is not sufficient, nor is it even remotely similar to the struggle depicted in every other form of legitimate Star Wars media.
Surprisingly enough, the second highest vote getter is "New Professions", nearly equalling the ticks given to the winner. Nine starting professions, pilot, beast master and politician are not enough to hold players interest. And why should it be? A quick breeze through Episode V and you'll see how the main characters are able to multi-task in various situations: fixing ships, scouting planets, firing blasters, piloting, using the Force, commanding troops, etc. Star Wars is NOT a typical "Dungeons and Dragons" style game where everyone plays a single role to the exclusion of all others. The poll, at the very least, demands that SOE provide more opportunities.

Four selections come in tied, each with over a third of the participants giving it the nod as what SWG needs. In no particular order (since they are all tied anyway) are Fully Explorable Planets, Artificial Ingelligence, Penalties for Death and the Annihilation of Credit Farmers. To sum those answers up: SWG players are looking for a challenge. All of these responses show that players are not looking for "Easy Street" or any free hall passes. Credits should be earned the hard way: against a capable artificial intelligence, upon worlds that are new and surprising, with the constant fear of death that drives a player to find the best tactics and chances for survival.

Next is the call for an integration of space and ground. Too often the games are considered separate entities; almost different executables. The Star Wars movies blend the two together brilliantly; especially in Return of the Jedi where three simultaneous battles in space, ground and (for lack of a better description) aboard a POB determine the fate of the galaxy. Those who took this as one of their responses to the poll believe that the two should not be so segregated. Nearly everyone in the Star Wars movies had some piloting experience. Why not encourage that with a tighter integration between ground and space?

The "Remove Non-Combat Professions" was a swerve of sorts; with the poll certainly not condoning the action. Rather, it was a way to see if anyone would be willing to see the dedicated crafter disappear and be merged in with combat professions not unlike how other MMOs handle their crafting systems. This would also mean that there would be no dedicated entertainers as well. A few people bit and decided that non-combat professions have no place in Star Wars Galaxies. Certainly they were in the minority. Yet again, poll participants want a more challenging game; one with many options and opportunities.

Similarly, there did not seem to be a call for any new chat opportunities such as global chats, or channels dedicated to planets, regions, factions, etc. It should also be noted that changes to the User Interface are not that important. As troublesome and cumbersome as it is, there are workarounds that allow players to get done what is needed.

SOE should also note the low tally for Collections and Heroic Instances: their "bread and butter" of the past year. Neither give players the Star Wars experience they are looking for.

To sum up, it seems that SWG players are looking for more challenging adventures; new avenues to explore both personally with their characters and globally with planets and a smarter artificial intelligence. The feeling of danger should permeate the experience with the Galactic Civil War playing a major role in defining the direction of the game and the characters. Do away with the bells and whistles of mindless collections and game-within-a-game heroics and get down to creating a challenging world that immerses players in the Star Wars experience.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the poll.

SWG Thought of the Day: Here We Go Again

Just when you forgot what it felt like to complain about the loot cards in the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game, the second expansion for this money grab has been announced. While technically called "Galactic Hunters" it offers a new mount that looks more like something from World of Warcraft.

For your viewing pleasure, I present to you... The Swift Kick in the Face of Armorsmiths, Beast Masters and those Who Love Star Wars...

Ferocious, no? These herbivorous creatures now look ready to eat you! Imagine, if you will, how many night elves shall fall to their knees, trembling in fear when this armored beast storms their way wearing the Spiked Slippers of Doom!

Seriously, SOE: Have you even seen Star Wars?

As this is the first released image of the new loot, it's obviously the one that SOE is the most proud of. That does not bode well for what will follow.

So here we go again: injecting new content into the game that should be made by crafters... and now beast masters as well. All the while, the crafting community is largely forgotten (though a big thumbs up is due for the new schematics that structures crafters shall receive for the player city updates!).

Like the comfort of an old pair of shoes, it's now time to put on our "angry" and go rage against SOE for yet again choosing the money grab rather then developing the game that we signed up to play.

"How we doin'?"

"Same as always."

"That bad, huh?"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

SWG Idea: Love Festival 2010

Ewok Familiar
The concept of an Ewok familiar (or companion) isn't so horrible, and it can be nearly worked into canon with a little care and acceptance.

The Ewok should be a creature that no one recognizes (because no one should know what an Ewok is!). NPCs will have new dialogue that they'll randomly access if they are around a deployed familiar. According to the Ewoks half-basic ramblings (when conversed with), he seems to tell the tale of accidentally wandering onto a big metal ship that landed on his homeworld. Before he knew it, it was moving and wham... he is now here.

The rest would play out when you choose to locate his home planet through a series of quests: checking the library at Theed, talking with hunters on Dantooine, checking some remote villages on Kash (and helping against a trando slaver raid), then finally locating a ship that the little fellow seems to get excited over seeing.

The ship has crash landed and some pirates have moved in to raid it. After fighting off the pirates, you acquire a few different hyperspace coordinates from the navi-computer. (After getting an Engineer to help power it up.) Then you set off in space to check those coordinates. The pirates try to get some payback while you're up there.

Finally, the little fuzzball gets excited! It's his homeworld! He recognizes it from when he took off the first time.

You go planetside and he's able to track back to his village. It's dangerous and you need to fight, but when you get there, you discover his tribe. Lots of celebrations and gift-giving; song and dance.

You then receive the title "Part of the Tribe" and can celebrate there until the end of their little festival.

If you are a Rebel or Imperial, you can return to civilized space and report on your findings. "Ma'am, they could be valuable allies as the Empire will underestimate them." OR "They're primitive and useless. We needn't worry about them." You receive some GCW bonus points for reporting in.

Match Making
All in all, the idea isn't too bad from 2009, but there needs to be less "scratch and win lottery ticket" and more "communicating with the NPCs". Next time around, when you speak with an NPC that isn't a match, your luck attribute will make a roll to determine if the NPC will give further information and hints about finding that certain someone for your love-seeking friend.

A failed luck roll will net no result. "Good luck matching him up! He is a little too self-centered!".

Conversely, a spectacular luck roll will narrow down the possible NPC matches to a select few. "Hmm... he's not my type. But since he likes making things, I'd suggest talking to either Erla or Mikalie." Both of those will be guaranteed to have the "making things" trait, but that does not mean they're the only ones.

Mediocre luck results will generate the most interesting information. "He likes money? Who doesn't? But don't bother crossing over the bridge in Tyrena. No one over there even has money!" or "Making things? Who doesn't? I know Mon Cals enjoy crafting."

With a little AI built into the NPCs and the system, the city and quest seems move lively and realistic. Rather then dealing with stacks of pixels, it feels as though you're dealing with real people with real emotions, dreams and relationships.

And isn't that what the Festival of Love is all about?

You Had To Be There: Proton Toilet

Got a number pad, but you still need your number 2?
I guess you had to be there.

Sarlacc Snacks: The First Meal

The all-powerful sarlacc (or at least the little baby beast that someone shoe-horned into a barrel) arrives anonymously and hungry. These little monsters chew junk and crap gold - or at least collection items. The general concensus is that there is a method to the madness and the same diet over a four week time - when repeated - will always net the same collection item.

And so we begin the feeding frenzy, tracked here for your convenience. Likely someone already has an official guide underway, but time is not on our side this time. It may take months before we really figure out what this biological trash can is capable of pooping. (Which really means that once we figure out how to get the really valuable collection items, the level of AFK-junk-collecting is going to go triple as folks look for the proper combination of junk pieces. Surprised? Why would you be?)

So this time around, I happened to have a tool kit in my inventory when I stuffed the beast into the corner where it shall live. I noted that it also would accept grub bait, but I didn't trust that as proper junk to receive anything from. So I dump the tool kit into its gaping maw, wait for the burp and then verified that it'll take a week for the kit to be digested, rather then the thousand years required for the more venerable of the species.

We'll check back in a week and see what else this thing is willing to snack on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SWG Thought of the Day: Adept Response

I think it's magnificent that AdeptStrain is so very active on the forums, gathering feedback and really delivering on many of the requests (appearance tab, female eye fix, looking into incap animation twitch, overhead map requests, etc.); not to mention staying on top of issues and bugs that pop up. But I am a little concerned that some of the larger issues - at least by the quantity or virtual volume of the related posts - are being left to their own devices. That is not meant to take anything away from the excellent job AS has been doing, but more of a reflection on the hierarchy at SOE as they choose when to choose.

The "under wraps" development project that Dotanuki has referenced had better be a home run. They would be wise not to toy around with their audience. Money is a commodity and competition shall continue to grow in ferocity. It's not "rocket surgery". We speak; they take notes. Let's see how they respond as 2009's shadow continues to grow longer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

You Had To Be There: St. Patrick's Day?

So there wasn't an in-game event for President's Day, but hey... it could be worse.

I guess you had to be there.

Hot Topics: More Festival of Love Hate

Star Wars, by nature, is a classic tale of good versus evil set in a fantasy environment, arguably science-fiction, but perhaps not by literal definition. The characters and concepts speak to people of all ethnicities, ages and beliefs as it both abstracts and clarifies the story details so as not to appear merely a reflection of current real world issues.

Star Wars is also about fun and excitement; the unknown and fantastic, full of twists and turns and unexpected revelations. From the tale of a farmboy who saved the galaxy, to the realization that two droids could have as much personality as any other character, to the literal muppet who made us believe he really was a master of the mystical Force, Star Wars has always had the ability to immerse us in this galaxy of make believe and tell us a tale that we're willing to believe.

To be certain, not all delvings into the fantastic were so well-received. Beloved by some, but hated by others, the Ewoks might be considered a blight on the Star Wars genre; one that may only be trumped by the general discontent saved for Jar Jar and his gungan brothers. (Were there any gungan girls, incidentally?)

Say what you will, Star Wars has always managed to pull through and be one of the most successful franchises in the history of our planet despite mixed reviews by the harshest and most demanding critics: the fans. It has made successful ventures beyond the movies and found audiences and profit in novels, television, video games, comic books, action figures, board games, clothing and more.

Which brings us to the current Star Wars MMO and the specifics of the Ewok Love Day Festival ongoing. Rather, I would suggest we pull back a bit and take a larger chunk of some of the recent additions - however temporary - there have been to Star Wars Galaxies.

Beyond the Festival of Love, we have had the Jabba-sponsored Moon Festival, and the Wookiee's Life Day event. All were conceived, designed, built and implemented for the sheer enjoyment of those who took part. And isn't Star Wars about having fun? Is that not enough to qualify any for inclusion in a Star Wars game?

The Empire Strikes Back was not only about Yoda, nor was Return of the Jedi only about the Ewoks, or The Phantom Menace about Jar Jar. But more and more, it appears that Star Wars Galaxies is based around these fun little events that do nothing to advance the story, build the drama or immerse the players. Meanwhile, the Battle of Hoth is nothing more then a recurring dream that feels more like a roleplaying game within a roleplaying game, spies receive an unbalancing update, engineers are still forgotten, and Imperials and Rebels waltz arm in arm amongst the colorful and nightclub scene that the hive of scum and villainy has become.

SOE needs to draw more then tiny tidbits from the movies and media to develop SWG. It is not sufficient to point at Ewoks - those cannibalistic little devils - and note how cute they are, thus basing an entire event around them while crushing out any last vestiges of canon in one swift stomp. It is not enough to suggest that Jabba is jovial simply because he is overweight, and thus may enjoy sponsoring costume parades. It is not enough to put wings on any character simply because there is iconography in the real world that suggests that this might mean "love".

Go and have these events. Clearly they are well-received, and they should be. None are required, nor are any so prevalent that they should affect other styles of gameplay. But do not forget that Star Wars ISN'T just about fun and light-heartedness. There is a severe and gripping battle for freedom ongoing; a struggle against tyranny and domination that has victory dangling from a thread. While presents were being crushed by candy-loving stormtroopers, an innocent world was being enslaved by the Empire, never to be heard from again.

We must find that world and immerse ourselves in its story.

Monday, February 16, 2009

SWG Idea: Fixing the Fixer, Part I

The Engineers are the most imcomplete and lacking of all SWG professions. For the next few installments of SWG Idea, we will be tossing out a few features that might make the Engineer interesting, fun and functional once again. So here we go, in no particular order of priority or importance, the first idea for Engineers.

Field Repairs! Engineers should be called upon to fix droids, vehicles, bases and weapon emplacements thoughout the galaxy. While a garage may work in a pinch, nothing can top the Engineers ability to patch up a vehicle and make it hum along better then before - at least temporarily until it resumes normal working capabilities.

Engineers can also be asked to "overclock" gear; essentially making special (and sometimes illegal) modifications to gear to make it perform way beyond factory specifications. The boost in abilities will be temporary and the item will never be the same again once the boost wears off. But sometimes that little extra something may mean the difference between glorious victory and bitter defeat.

Keeping an Engineer along for the ride would be a wise move for any mobile unit, especially those who rely upon their gear rather then their tactics. However, even the most brute force and full-speed-ahead group would be wise to adhere to one strategic maneuver: keep the Engineer alive and well.

Your equipment will thank you for it later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Did You Notice: Unrest

Did you notice that the natives have become quite restless of late, at least those that frequent the forums on a regular basis? From cries for the nerf of the spy, the declaration that PvP is dead, that lag is forcing folks to cancel to the ridiculous design ideas brought to live in the form of flying Ewoks, there seems to be quite a bit on the plate of the perturbed.

So what is SOE to do? Grab a few of the top five issues and plug away at them? Ignore the dissenting voices since they are only a small portion of those actually playing? Or be concerned even more since it is the "quiet" ones that you must be wary of?

The best course of action may be to start generating goodwill across all forms of playstyle. Create two new PvP zones: one of which will be level-capped to give mid-level toons an opportunity to get involved in the action. Expand the Legacy quest to help toons reach Level 65. Revamp the AI so that Imperials are far less trusting, far more intrusive and far more organized. Higher ranking Rebels, especially those who are above Master Sergeant, shall have percentage chances of being recognized and exposed as a Combatant. New schematics for all crafters. Finish the Engineer expertise tree.

In other words, hit 'em all; every single one. Add new storyteller items for RP - and figure out how to drop some of them down indoors AND maybe in a few less populated NPC cities. New space quests - such as opening a new system up for Smugglers (Smugglers Moon?).

SOE can figure it out. We are not THAT difficult to please. It just comes down to a simple equation: When we ask for things like the GCW or Engineer fixes and we get overpowered Spies and winged Ewoks, then pitchforks and torches are distributed and blood is called for. That's the state of affairs: general unrest.

So... did you notice?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SWG Thought of the Day: Winged Ewoks

So the Festival of Love is here at last. I realize that the holiday events are quite popular amongst some players. I can respect and accept nearly any gameplay style that one might be able to conjure. But SWG has not only jumped the shark, but it's gone ahead and cleared the next beach over to.
It's not bad enough that Ewoks are considered cute and fun, despite being blatant cannibals in Episode VI if not for the timely divine intervention by our favorite protocol droid, but now they've been reduced to winged cherubs that float behind us and ensure that bocatts don't get all rowdy.

Poor. Poor. Very, very poor. All that's needed is equal development time on things that DO appear in movies, or the expanded universe, even. How about some Rebels escaping Hoth into space, or even finding safe locales on Hoth to hide until a rescue ship can come by. What about a criminal faction? How about combat vehicles? AT-ATs? TIE Fighter fly-bys? Honest to gosh mine fields. Imperial checkpoints where not even an influence over the weak-minded will save you.

Or lets tone it down a bit and go for some new dances; new songs. How about new schematics? Or adding deconstructible traits to existing gear. Finishing Engineer expertise? Mounts that can be colored? Reducing Jedi visibility by figuring ways to adhere to canon yet still allow people to play them?

If we're going to go all pink and fuzzy, let's hear it for the hoojibs! Let's hear it for anything canonical (or non-canonical IF it's fun) as long as it gets as much development time as these holiday events that, fun or not - take your pick, are starting to become the only real content added in the core game.

Poor. Very, very poor.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Classic SWG: Waiting for the Shuttle

One of the strongest aspects of Star Wars Galaxies is the social possibilities, tools and environments. No other MMO that I have tried even begins to compare with what SOE has developed. But as times change and we move into what can be called "second gen" MMOs, even SWG has adjusted to be more... heroic?

Pictured above is Vincer and a young Cu waiting for the shuttle. (That Cu is still a baby tells me that the image is from a time before mounts were included, thus not long after launch.) What the shot fails to show is the number of people who would convene around the shuttle droid to wait for their passage. Boring right? Just like sitting in a camp?

Not quite. As a natural gathering point, it was an excellent opportunity to partake (or even listen) in on conversations, gather important intel or just make new friends (or enemies!).

It was originally a nine minute wait between shuttles. Folks would dance, craft, or just chatter away. Running into a guildmate or a "friends-lister" was always a boon and a nice way to pass the time. Especially after arriving just seconds after the last shuttle took off. (And if you talk to anyone from this era of play, they'll say that it happened all the time to them!)

In time, as doctor buffs became more common and required, buff lines would appear in and around starports. AFK spammers would shout out about their shops and wares or attempt to recruit you for their guilds. Those seeking to master their professions should shout for training or even for those to train. SWG felt alive and full of beans.

Could shuttle wait times come back? No, I would hope not. Players have become accustomed to the current means of transport. Forcing them back into waiting offers no real benefit. Those who are naturally social will find a way to interact, and those who prefer to be more of a loner shall never be forced into socializing no matter how long they wait for the ticket droid to permit them to board.

But the spirit of socialization should always be an important ingredient in any part of SWG, from Life Day gifts to player-driven event tools such as the forthcoming "storyteller costumes".

SWG will never be the FPS that it tries to emulate at all the wrong times. It will never have the balanced PvP that so many are looking for. It may never evoke visions of the Galactic Civil War as presented in our beloved movies. But it can and will always be an accessible galaxy wherein interacting with others is only a keystroke away, where meaningful friendships are created in a virtual world.

If you reach the common denominator of what really has people longing for classic SWG, it's more likely the lost social opportunities due to a decrease in subscribers more then any removed game mechanic.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hot Topics: Gameplay Senator

After months without having a SOE-annoited Gameplay Senator, nominations have finally gotten underway to fill this position.

The centralized location for this process can be found here. This thread contains links to the various nomination threads created by the candidates.

And the winner shall be...? Does it matter? Yes, to a degree it does. While SOE may not fully believe or utilize the Senator system, it does not mean that no good can come of it. I personally think that players who support the process and set-up have made some noted progress despite the "firewall"-type design.

SOE has gimped the senator system by preventing polls for gathering data. A potential senator must therefore rely upon reading posts and weeding out what is and is not gameplay related.

Personally, I would appreciate a gameplay senator who would...

  • Push for overhauls to the GCW,
  • Passes on the PvE for Artificial Intelligence
  • More tactics and strategy in combat
  • Less heroics and collections
  • Integrating crafters back into their proper role
  • Penalties for death
  • Optional credit sinks with a return on the "investment"
  • Less "free credit printing", and
  • An adherence to canon for EVERY feature going forward.
Any senator selected for the job needs to arrive without personal agendas and speak on behalf of the community.

He or she would be expected to frequently pen up the topics, open the discussion to ensure accuracy, present the topics via the official channels, then report back the responses.

I see no reason why a senator needs to create solutions for the current problems as they are not in the role of designer or developer, but rather a representative through which concerns and problems are aggregated in a meaningful and consistent way to be presented to SOE in an expected and timely manner.

And I also feel that senators should be given the right to create polls on the forums - even though that only collects a percentage of player data since not everyone partakes of the forum experience. Such a tool would at least give Senators the ability to get a sense of their shared community in a way that is not possible for any member of said community. (Otherwise, what's the point, really?)

Good luck to the potential candidates.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SWG Thought of the Day: Spies Like... Who?

After months and months of the entire SWG community asking for updates to their respective professions - especially engineers who have been really given the Death Star shaft - we finally get the Spy update that is so desperately needed.

And if that last statement didn't drip with enough sarcasm for you, well I did try to temper it a little to try to stay as objective as possible.

That said, at least it wasn't a Jedi update or there might have been a riot.

All that out of the way, objectivity and reduced sarcasm is now thrown out the hatch.

Seriously, did Spies really need this level of attention when Engineers, Entertainers, Politicians and Pilots (why not?) need so much attention it's ridiculous. Not to mention smugglers who have tired of delivering pizza. Let's lump in Bounty Hunters, too. Weren't they "Blixtev'd" within the past year or so? Hell, the Scientist NPCs have been "creature handled" into oblivion.

Were Spies broken? Breaking? Broke? Dotanuki plays a Spy, right? Smedley? I'd suggest George Lucas is a Master Spy when he logs on, but I am now 100% convinced that there is an elaborate plan set into constant motion that keeps him completely oblivious to the existence of Star Wars Galaxies.

That would explain why there aren't any retail boxes on store shelves: George may wander into a Best Buy and inquire as to what it is that he's seeing. To which Rick McCallum (because you know he would be pushing the shopping cart) would respond "I'll destroy them all for you George. Or buy them all for you. Or build a pyramid of them. Command me, Lord!"

Hey spies need some love as much as the next profession. Except, it doesn't look much like there is going to BE a next profession to receive said love (and with the Festival of Love around the corner, too. Holiday spirit, my arse.) Seems that SOE would rather release a new expertise tree - Droid Commander - before rounding up all the needs and wants of the existing professions and at least throwing them a bone or two.

Where's that promised continued development on space? The promised new structure schematic colors? Have we already forgotten to push for the rest of the Invisible Items for our Appearance Tab? And just where is the Gameplay Senator? If we find him, do we find the missing NPC scientists at the same time?

Makes you wonder.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Classic SWG: Imperial Crackdown

The sight of an Imperial Star Destroyer over a planet should be one that invokes feelings of fear, security or a tenuous mix of both depending on your political affiliation. Three such mammoths should do more then just triple the sensations.

That is the level of excitement and adventure that was advertised for the Imperial Crackdown that occurred during "Year One" of SWG. (If I recall correctly, it was somewhere around the time of the droid engineer updates that are all but completely broken to this day.)

The Empire never really "cracked down" on anything, though you might have been caught carrying illegally modified weapons if you weren't careful. (Nothing a fine or a well-timed Sprint couldn't fix). Usually you were stopped and then told to move along.

If you weren't around for this, think of it as being stopped by Mall Security every time you used the escalator.

What was it that has kept the Empire from ever becoming the well-oiled war machine of fear and domination that it's supposed to be? Is it that Rebel players have been afraid of fighting an uphill battle; of having a harder existence in the game for their political beliefs? Would it be unfair to grant infinite privileges to Imperial players so long as they fit the bill of what Emperor Palpatine was looking for in his citizens?

Whatever the reason, the Imperial Crackdown was a joke and a half - the sort of joke that has no punchline or humor at all. The Empire remains a tacked-on aspect of SWG with fat, candy-loving Stormtroopers, bumbling security checkpoints that allow saber-wielding Jedi to waltz through, a Darth Vader whose task list includes awarding badges to players who stand at a specific waypoint, an Emperor who is still vacationing at his retreat, an entire Empire that allows Rebel forces to take control of entire cities with banners and military presence even under the "watchful" eye of those Star Destroyers in orbit.

The Imperials should put the crack down and stomp this galaxy into submission under well-polished heels.

Then again, the Empire ultimately lost the Civil War because of a small squad of Stormtroopers were thrwarted by a locked door in Mos Eisley. "The door is locked. Move on to the next one."