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.

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