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Author Topic: Star Wars Galaxies cutting it's servers by almost half  (Read 3409 times)
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« on: September 15, 2009, 10:09:45 PM »

by 12.  sounds like not a lot of people are playing any more, as that will leave only 13 running.
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 04:43:43 AM »

From when I gave the game a whirl (just after their little 'whoops' that got 95% of the player population to quit in disgust) they could've run the game on a single server. I'm shocked that they recovered as well as they did.
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 07:34:13 AM »

I'm curious.  What exactly did they do to make most people quit the game?  I've never played it.
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 07:54:30 AM »

From what I understand, a rather serious overhaul of combat and lots of other changes, that caused actually most of those playing to quit.
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 01:33:09 PM »

My memory is foggy but I think originally SWG was very heavy on crafting, and a lot of people seemed to love it more for that than the combat.

You can see in these Massively.com fan comments some mentions of NGE [New Game Enhancements - basically, it made the game more "actiony" and re-did the classes] and CU [Combat Upgrade] ruining the game for early fans. The intention (to make the game appeal to a wider player base) was probably good, but the general impression was that it pissed off nearly all of its original, very passionate fan base, and didn't in any way draw enough new players to make up for that alienation.
http://www.massively.com/2009/09/15/star-wars-galaxies-to-shut-down-12-servers/#continued

I tried a trial version shortly after the NGE stuff, and I found it a mostly mediocre-looking game that didn't really animate well enough or excitingly enough to cut the mustard as an "actiony" MMO. I just got the impression they were trying to take the SWG game engine in a direction it wasn't really meant for.

They want to posit this as a "positive," as in "now the servers will be flooded with players," but it's always going to look from the outside (as it did with Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea and others that close a lot of servers) like the game is failing, or that they might as well pull the plug when Bioware's MMO releases.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 01:35:57 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 02:10:17 PM »

Basically old SWG was a game where your class was what you wanted it to be. You didn't pick, say, Jedi or something right from the start. You worked on your class and could jump to others at any time. And the players loved the freeform game because you could be anything from smuggler to bounty hunter to dancer to monster handler to jedi.

Then, something like 1 day after an expansion launched they completely scrapped that idea and turned it into a traditional 'pick your class at level 1' whatnot with absolutely NO warning. Oh, and some of the classes you had before just don't exist under the new system. Oh, and you can pick Jedi (which was a pain in the ass to become in the first place) from the start.

The combination of NO warning (seriously - it never showed up on the test server or forum posts or anything), and putting it immediately after a paid expansion, caused utter and total hell of the likes you can't imagine. The players left in absolute droves and demanded their money back from the expansion. The universe turned into a ghost town overnight.
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 03:34:53 PM »

Star Wars Galaxies was going to be the only MMO I ever played once it came out.  It did so many things right, I wasn't going to need to play another one.

- The ability to level up and play a completely non-combat character.  There were people who did nothing but dance or heal characters in cantinas all day long.  And they loved it.  You did not have to go out into the fields and kill Jantas over and over again to advance your non-combat character.

- The crafting system was the best in any MMO, past or present.  There were no NPC vendors.  There were no loot drops for usable items.  All usable items were crafted by other players, from the weapons and armor to furniture and houses.  The basics of crafting started off with resources, which were scattered across multiple planets.  Each resource received unique stats relative to the item.  Wood would be used for building, steel for weapons, etc....  Wood would be durable in a building, but weak against impact, steel would come in different toughness, etc....  A crafter would have to travel to different planets surveying and harvesting only the best resources to make the best item they could.  There could also be enhanced resources which were loot drops from killing NPCs, but never usable items.

- The housing system was the best in any MMO, past or present.  All player housing took place on the planet.  There was no zoning into a special housing area.  You travelled outside of a major in-game town, found a nice spot, and placed your house.  There were different buildings which gave different enhancements, and guilds could build their own cities which would show up on the over-head map just like any other static city in the game.

- There was only one character slot allowed per account, per server.  No alt creating for mules or to make a weaponsmith, a dancer, a medic, and a pistoleer.  Just one slot.  There was the ability to unlock a second slot, which leads into the next item:

- The path to unlock the Jedi character was completely hidden.  No one would say what was needed in order to get this.  Once unlocked, your account received a second character slot, in order to have a Jedi and your other character at the same time.  A Jedi had to do all leveling up without getting seen by another person, or else they were attack-able on-sight without penalty by anyone.  Once up in levels, the Jedi character was the most powerful class in the game.  However, if a Jedi died, it was perma-death.  All progress was lost and you would have to start over again.  The first Jedi slot was unlocked several months after the game launched, but the person had no idea how they did it.  And this was a good thing.

Now, what was the beginning of the downfall of Star Wars Galaxies?

Holocrons.

The game launched in June 2003 and the first Jedi slot unlocked was November 7th, 2003.  Holocrons were introduced into the game as a loot drop in the winter of 2003.  What were holocrons?  When you used them, they would tell you a profession.  It turned out in order to unlock the Jedi slot, when you created your character, the game randomly chose seven character classes which you had to get to "Master" level.  If you did this, you unlocked your jedi slot.  Each holocron used would tell you a profession you needed to master.  You could do this 3 times.  The 4th profession was not revealed by a holocron.  So what did this do?  It completely destroyed the game as people who were happy to be support characters like dancers and medics started dropping their professions and grinding the other 20 professions up to master in order to try and unlock their Jedi slot.  The whole game turned into people learning how to afk-macro levelling each profession and interaction, individuality, and role playing went out the window.

After this, the developers continued to make mistake after mistake, putting new systems in and breaking others in the process, giving a benefit to one class but taking it away in the next patch, and the eventual change-over to a twitch-based combat system and changing character creation to a class system with Jedi as a choice right from the start.   I could go into details on each one of these as well, but really the down-fall of the game began with the introduction of Holocrons.

Massively wrote up an excellent article - "A Star Wars Galaxies History Lession - From Launch to the NGE".  You can read it here.
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 04:28:02 PM »

Thanks for the info everyone, especially MaxSteele!  Wow.  Sounds like they took a nice big shit on their loyal players.  Making those huge changes right after everyone bought an expansion, especially without even telling anyone, is one of the shittiest things I've ever heard of a developer doing.  I'd have quit too, without hesitation.

Quote
There was only one character slot allowed per account, per server.  No alt creating for mules or to make a weaponsmith, a dancer, a medic, and a pistoleer.  Just one slot.

I would have loved that.  I hate alts on the same server, and muleing and all that crap.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 05:07:47 PM »

Ha! They actually e-mailed even me a notice about the server stuff (as a trial player years ago, I guess they still consider me an account holder).

To me (not that my opinion means squat icon_razz), SOE should've embraced what made SWG unique (before the NGE/CU stuff) and marketed it as such. Eve Online seems to have thrived by being different and sticking with its differences even though I'm sure someone at some point said "Let's just make it a big sloppy space dogfighting game and remove the complicated stuff."

I don't think SWG was ever going to be as big a hit as everyone assumed a Star Wars MMO would be, but forcing it into a different shaped hole, so to speak, and alienating those early players who seemed to have so much passion for the game seemed like a mistake the game never fully recovered from. The funny thing is, SOE seems to have so very much patience for "outside the box" MMOs like the recently canceled Matrix Online or the still surviving Pirates of the Burning Sea, and they seem to have done fine things with Vanguard (which likely would've been canceled without SOE stepping in to support it) without forcing it to be more accessible to knuckleheads like myself.  icon_smile

I wouldn't really stereotype SOE as someone that would force a unique MMO to try to be something it wasn't, but who knows? Maybe they learned from SWG and don't do that type of thing anymore.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 08:16:46 PM »

I love SWG threads, my observation is that the NGE update was so bad that people forget how bad the game actually was before it.  For all of the things they did right, they had almost an equal number that were just plain awful. Take beast masters - an interesting class until ALL of them had rancors.  Or how about the Empire characters farming Krayt Dragons using AT STs, or better yet pvp marked rebels - for which there was NO comparable rebel counter, so everybody was either neutral or empire. For all it did, it NEVER (before or after the  update) felt like Star Wars. It made the rare from  the movies trivial (rancors) and never captured some of the most common themes (droids were very poorly represented).

And as good as crafting was, some classes were absolutely married to it.  I played a master doctor, you had to craft to make heals and buffs (basically devices you used). I made sure I always had the best resources for the best heals - I was loved in groups as I could heal 10,000+ and buff each state over 5,000.  I had guys paying me the rarest crafting drops just so I'd heal their pets.  The downside to this is for every day you spend in the field in groups adventuring, it took 3 to harvest resources & craft. That got old for me quick (although I can see that some would love it).

In all, it had a lot of great ideas, however there were enough bad ones that the game was destined to fail. The NGE went in because they were trying to actually save the game (amazingly enough).   Still pisses me off, because there was so much potential.  
« Last Edit: September 16, 2009, 08:20:12 PM by Wargus » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 12:09:21 AM »

The nice thing about SWG was that they had I think 26 classes to balance.  In order to get to combat level 80 you would max out two classes.  The good part wsa that if you got bored with what you were you simply dropped skills and then began learning new skills via XP so you could completely revamp your character.  When they dropped the NGE on everyone you had to pick one class of the 10 they kept; one of them being Jedi.  Previously it took a verylong time to become a Jedi and that was after they made it easier fro the holocron cube thing.  The game was definitely not newbie friendly at all prior to the NGE.  When or if you unlocked Jedi you could then create a second character on that server; other than that you were limited to one toon.
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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 02:06:17 AM »

I was in the beta, and though I was blindly optimistic that the game would succeed, I knew there were major design issues from the start. Combat was really ill-conceived - everything had three different life bars (I don't remember the names, but they were red, blue, and green), and some weapons took away from this bar, some took away from that one; it was needlessly complex and never really made much sense. It was also incredibly buggy at launch; the rumor is that the publisher insisted on pushing the game out way too early, and that definitely hurt it. There were entire areas that were just devoid of content.

That being said, I have some really fond memories of the game for the things they did right. The aforementioned crafting, housing, and non-combat professions were just awesome. I also had one of the most funny experiences and disturbing experiences in an MMO to date. The funniest was when our very own rittchard attended a guild meeting wearing nothing but some bright pink underwear. The dance he was doing brought tears to my eyes and is still my #1 comedy moment in an MMO. The most disturbing experience was running through Tatooine and stumbling across a player house that was open. I walked in to check it out and caught two people in the middle of cyber-sexing. AWK-WARD.
 
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2009, 06:48:59 AM »

Wish I could find it, but one of the funniest things I've seen in an MMO was in SWG. After player cities had been implemented, something happened requiring a GM to intervene (don't know what), however when he entered the player city, they set him as KOS, at which point the guards took him down.  The picture is of the dead GM with a speech bubble saying "un-KOS me NOW!".  Was great smile
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2009, 11:39:39 AM »

SWG was the first game I ever preordered and my first MMO.  I remembered running around a lot on Tattoine and thinking "Did people ever run this much in the movies?  Where's my landspeeder?"  I quit after the first free month, hugely disappointed.
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 03:50:25 PM »

I miss running Imperial faction missions with my AT-ST, then popping out a portable camp in the middle of the desert.

And, when people started holocron grinding the entertainment professions (how I miss those), the action was hot and furious at all the cantinas.

Great moments in that game.  It tried to do too much, for sure, but that was it's charm, too.
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2009, 04:56:42 PM »

I'll admit I lost interest in SWG when I couldn't roll a Jedi from the beginning.  I left the game and never went back.  Kotor will need to do the sam thing as Sith/Jedi will need to be available from the start.
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2009, 05:09:03 PM »

I remember at launch just heading into the mountains of my homeworld hunting and looking around.  The views were great and it was relaxing just wandering around, avoiding bad guys that actually patrolled.  Hoping to find something i could take down.

Never really had that kind of freedom in an MMO since.  Maybe LotRO sort of but SWG was big in size os I could actually get lost up in the mountains.
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2009, 05:41:05 PM »

Stick a fork in it.
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2009, 05:47:55 PM »

Quote from: Daehawk on September 17, 2009, 05:41:05 PM

Stick a fork in it.

+1    make room for a REAL Star Wars MMO please.
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2009, 07:13:44 PM »

Quote from: Jaddison on September 17, 2009, 05:09:03 PM

I remember at launch just heading into the mountains of my homeworld hunting and looking around.  The views were great and it was relaxing just wandering around, avoiding bad guys that actually patrolled.  Hoping to find something i could take down.

Never really had that kind of freedom in an MMO since.  Maybe LotRO sort of but SWG was big in size os I could actually get lost up in the mountains.

Vanguard is the only one of similar size. 

Star Wars - well, they had problems the moment they chose to put it during the movies era. How do you deal with Jedi & Sith when there are only supposed to be 3-5 living (depending on time: Palpatine, Vader, Yoda, Kenobi, Skywalker) when everybody expects to be able to play one?  Outside of gameplay issues it was a very poorly thought out concept. Just chalk it up with onto the long list of horrible Star Wars games. It is such a great franchise, I'm always stunned that the have screwed it up for so long.  I chalk it up to a case of knowing the games will sell so not putting the effort into them that they really deserve.
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« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2009, 07:17:24 PM »

Need a new Tie Fighter.
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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2009, 09:52:07 PM »

Quote from: Wargus on September 17, 2009, 07:13:44 PM

Quote from: Jaddison on September 17, 2009, 05:09:03 PM

Never really had that kind of freedom in an MMO since.  Maybe LotRO sort of but SWG was big in size os I could actually get lost up in the mountains.
Vanguard is the only one of similar size.  

Yeah, Vanguard is ABSOLUTELY HUGE. There's a reason you start getting mounts at level 10 - you have to have them just to get around.
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2009, 11:49:16 PM »

I think they thought it would be cool to just be in the Star Wars universe during that time in the history.

Flaws and all at launch it was fun but it required an intellectual investment to figure things out plus it was just so firggin huge.

I understand why people don't want time sinks for games or I guess they don't want to have a lot of dead time.

There is certainly a niche group that loves to have to work hard for anything in a game.

Unfortunately they figured out a way to piss all groups off....now that takes talent
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« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2009, 07:50:54 PM »

body
action
mind

Rifleman/Combat Medic is overpowered!
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2009, 02:57:16 AM »

Star Wars Galaxies was a buggy, unfinished, unpolished mess. It was also the best MMO I've ever played. I doubt another publisher will be brave enough to make another MMO like it in a long, long time.

The one thing it really got right that Blizzard just can't compete with is community. As has already been said, there were classes such as dancer and musician that forced the community to come together. There were also systems in place (combat fatigue) in place that required you to see an entertainer. What's more, and perhaps most importantly, you could talk to the enemy. Some of my best friends in that game, some I still talk to today several years later, were my enemies.

I hope there's another deep MMO like it someday soon.
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2009, 07:37:54 AM »

It was done by Sony Online Entertainment...right?  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2009, 05:46:12 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on September 21, 2009, 07:37:54 AM

It was done by Sony Online Entertainment...right?  Roll Eyes

Yea beacause we all know Everquest 1 and 2 were pure crap and a huge flop.   Roll Eyes

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« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2009, 11:36:19 PM »

I played SWG at launch and I think Cheeba nailed it.
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« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2009, 03:30:53 AM »

Quote from: morlac on September 21, 2009, 05:46:12 PM

Yea beacause we all know Everquest 1 and 2 were pure crap and a huge flop.   Roll Eyes
Never played them, but doesn't matter. What happened in SWG has revealed SOE as a lying, conniving, scheming, disloyal to its subscribers, awful developer.

As YK pointed out, combat in SWG needed some major improvements. People were generally happy with it, though. SOE completely tore apart combat and created the CU - the combat upgrade. This turned combat from smooth and beautifully animated to a WoW-clone that none of its customers had asked for. It caused many to quit, but most of the regulars stayed and stuck with it and some of us even had some fun with it, though nothing like before.

Then came the Mustafar (the lava planet where Anakin and Obi-Wan have their final fight in Ep 3) expansion. With this expansion, SOE advertised to the fans that they would have improvements to the Creature Handler class along with other improvements. Folks who pre-paid for the expansion would get to play it 2 weeks early. Nearly everyone went with this option. One week before the expansion went retail live but one week after most of its customers bought it, SOE announced the NGE - the new game experience. No longer would there be 30+ classes. No longer could you adjust your class and be a Rifleman/Combat Medic/Smuggler or whatever combination you chose. No longer would Jedi be an earned class. Instead, Jedi would be available from the beginning and everything special about it was cast away. Bounty hunters no longer got missions on jedi. Creature handlers were removed from the game entirely. Before the expansion, they were advertising improvements to Creature Handlers - but all along they knew they were removing the class entirely from the game.

In what I think is an unprecedented move, and likely an attempt to avoid a lawsuit, SOE eventually capitulated to the outrage and offered refunds on the expansion.

Later, SOE would admit that they made a business decision to screw over the fan base for the game in an attempt to draw in the significant Star Wars fan base that didn't want much to do with SWG. They never got that audience they were looking for, and in the process they lost by some estimates 80-90% of their player base.

SOE is a scumbag company.
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« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2009, 07:08:17 AM »

A design mistake (although one of the biggest ones I've ever seen in the game industry) doesn't necessarily make you a scumbag. It just makes you a poor designer.
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« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2009, 11:51:23 AM »

I think the scumbag part is that they didn't tell the current players the direction they were really headed in.
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« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2009, 12:22:09 PM »

It wasn't normal at the time to do so. Having patch notes and open customer relations is a relatively new thing for MMORPGs unless I'm completely mistaken. Sony wanted to improve the game but failed miserably. I'm not trying to defend their decision to change the game, as it was a completely retarded thing for them to attempt to do, particularly at the same time as an expansion. Thinking that they did it to purposefully screw with their customers is nearly as retarded though. They wanted to save the game, but only managed to destroy it through ineptitude.
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« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2009, 12:32:14 PM »

Quote from: cheeba on September 22, 2009, 03:30:53 AM


Never played them, but doesn't matter. What happened in SWG has revealed SOE as a lying, conniving, scheming, disloyal to its subscribers, awful developer.


Cool I never played SWG so I think SOE is da bomb diggity because of my experience with the Everquest games.  They made a decision based on economics that pissed off their already small userbase in an attempt to garner a bigger one.  The timing sucked for sure and they were rather dishonest but I never played so that doesn't matter.  
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« Reply #33 on: September 22, 2009, 12:33:57 PM »

They've done pretty good by Vangaurd, due to the fact that its part of the Station package... I doubt they are all evil puppeteers, they just made some poor decisions once in a while, like so many other companies
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« Reply #34 on: September 22, 2009, 02:06:55 PM »

Quote from: Razgon on September 22, 2009, 12:33:57 PM

They've done pretty good by Vangaurd, due to the fact that its part of the Station package... I doubt they are all evil puppeteers, they just made some poor decisions once in a while, like so many other companies

Basically they kept Vanguard from shutting down IMHO. And the Matrix Online was kept around for HOW long where it would've been closed down by anybody else? SOE isn't the devil everybody paints them to be.

The dev team screwed up bad with SWG. That much is obvious. What I want to know is this - how much of the changes were forced upon them from Lucasarts? They do own the copyright you know.
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« Reply #35 on: September 22, 2009, 03:24:19 PM »

Quote from: Destructor on September 22, 2009, 02:06:55 PM

The dev team screwed up bad with SWG. That much is obvious. What I want to know is this - how much of the changes were forced upon them from Lucasarts? They do own the copyright you know.

Good point.  They did make it less complicated and easier to get into aka 'kid friendly'. 
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cheeba
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« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2009, 11:22:39 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on September 22, 2009, 07:08:17 AM

A design mistake (although one of the biggest ones I've ever seen in the game industry) doesn't necessarily make you a scumbag. It just makes you a poor designer.
Advertising improvements to a class and then, after the vast majority of the player base buys the expansion, announcing you are removing the class entirely is not a "mistake." It is a lie. They did not have to offer refunds because of a mistake, they had to do it because they intentionally misled their customers.
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cheeba
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« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2009, 11:29:36 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on September 22, 2009, 12:22:09 PM

It wasn't normal at the time to do so. Having patch notes and open customer relations is a relatively new thing for MMORPGs unless I'm completely mistaken.
They had patch notes and customer relations managers all throughout SWG, from the very beginning. It was not new.

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Sony wanted to improve the game but failed miserably.
Well, I wouldn't say they wanted to improve the game. They wanted to reach a different customer base than what they had.

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Thinking that they did it to purposefully screw with their customers is nearly as retarded though.
Again, I wouldn't say they wanted to purposefully screw with their customers... but they did purposefully discard/ignore their customers in favor of attempting to find new customers. I'd provide quotes here from ex-developers who said as much but I'm not at home and don't really have much access.
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metallicorphan
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« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2010, 05:13:14 PM »

i have just been talking to a friend about this game

 its a shame with SWG,it had such potential,i started on Tattooine,and explored that planet,and it took quite a few hours in my speeder to get to well known locations,like Mos Espa race track or Jabba's palace(if i remember rightly i couldn't figure out how to actually access Jabba's Palace,i think it was high up)...then i went to Mos Eisly,and i would pass towns in the middle of nowhere that had long been deserted that people had started up,but then left


and then there was the bars etc you could visit

as said,that planet was massive,and took me ages to explore it..then i paid for passage to Naboo,and went to that planet and inspected the palace grounds and the waterfall etc..not sure how many planets there was

it really was great doing all that stuff,but so many other problems with the game,i think the interface was a bit shit..and another problem when i started SWG was that people were leaving in the thousands at the time

it was just after the Trials of Obi Wan expansion pack came out,as i understand it(and confirmed by this thread) SONY changed everything around,for the worse

i was with SWG for no more than 2 months before quitting(and no i really didn't get as much out of the game that i could of in those 2 months)


i talked about the interface/controls..and i found the same problem with FF11 when i was with that on PC(i guess i am just not a PC gamer,but i do like MMOs),but when that game came to the 360 and i had the 360 controller i loved the game....maybe a console version of SWG(cheap as shit...or free even,they have that shite that is called HOME which is free)could work wonders for it...i would certainly think about trying it again,however..with it being Sony Online Entertainment,of course it would only happen on the PS3

now they have only a dozen or so servers,it will be interesting to see what DOES happen to the game once TOR is out
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Daehawk
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« Reply #39 on: July 11, 2010, 09:15:00 PM »

I just liked hanging out in the cantina playing my drums.
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