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Star Wars Galaxies

Star Wars Galaxies

Overview
Star Wars Galaxies is a Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

 themed MMORPG
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

 for Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 developed by Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment is a game development and game publishing division of Sony that is best known for creating massively multiplayer online games, including EverQuest, EverQuest II, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, DC Universe...

 and published by LucasArts
LucasArts
LucasArts Entertainment Company, LLC is an American video game developer and publisher. The company was once famous for its innovative line of graphic adventure games, the critical and commercial success of which peaked in the mid 1990s...

.

On 16 March 2000, LucasArts Entertainment announced a partnership with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment is a game development and game publishing division of Sony that is best known for creating massively multiplayer online games, including EverQuest, EverQuest II, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, DC Universe...

 to create the first massively multiplayer Star Wars online role-playing game. The then unnamed game would be developed by Verant with online play supported by SOE. This was the same team responsible for creating and supporting the popular EverQuest
EverQuest
EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was released on the 16th of March, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost...

 multiplayer online game.
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Encyclopedia
Star Wars Galaxies is a Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

 themed MMORPG
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

 for Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 developed by Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment is a game development and game publishing division of Sony that is best known for creating massively multiplayer online games, including EverQuest, EverQuest II, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, DC Universe...

 and published by LucasArts
LucasArts
LucasArts Entertainment Company, LLC is an American video game developer and publisher. The company was once famous for its innovative line of graphic adventure games, the critical and commercial success of which peaked in the mid 1990s...

.

History


On 16 March 2000, LucasArts Entertainment announced a partnership with Verant Interactive Inc. and Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment
Sony Online Entertainment is a game development and game publishing division of Sony that is best known for creating massively multiplayer online games, including EverQuest, EverQuest II, The Matrix Online, PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, Free Realms, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, DC Universe...

 to create the first massively multiplayer Star Wars online role-playing game. The then unnamed game would be developed by Verant with online play supported by SOE. This was the same team responsible for creating and supporting the popular EverQuest
EverQuest
EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game that was released on the 16th of March, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost...

 multiplayer online game. LucasArts would be responsible for all distribution of the Star Wars online game. The announcement included an expected release date some time in 2001 and that the game would take place during the original trilogy era.

LucasArts officially announced the brand name of the game to be Star Wars Galaxies on 29 November 2000. The announcement claimed the first round of testing for Star Wars Galaxies was expected to start in late 2001 which would push back the official release date to an unknown time. The game's official information site was launched on 30 November 2000 in conjunction with SOE and featured frequently asked questions about the game and message boards fielded by members of the development team.
On 17 May 2001, even before the game went into public beta testing, the first expansion's development was announced. The yet unnamed add-on, which was expected to be available six months after the initial product release, would be a space simulation and enable players to own and fly starships which would allow interplanetary travel and space combat. The release date of the initial product, the ground-based component, was updated to the second half of 2002. The staggered release schedule of the space component of the Star Wars Galaxies series was said to benefit players because they would have time to establish their characters and explore different elements of the core game before adding the space layer. Traveling between planets would be accomplished through the use of public shuttles, which would ferry characters from world to world.

A new official site was also released on the same day that put more of an emphasis behind the community of the game. It included new screen shots, movies, an updated FAQ, concept art, development team member's profiles, features about the game, and a new forum. The site reached 100,001 users by December 2001. Throughout the next year after the release of the new site, new content would be revealed. This content included information on species and locations, new images and movies of different game elements, and 360 degree QuickTime VR
QuickTime VR
QuickTime VR is a type of image file format developed by Apple Inc. for QuickTime. It allows the creation and viewing of photographically-captured panoramas and the exploration of objects through images taken at multiple viewing angles...

 panoramas of different locations.

Verant began accepting applications from users in May 2002 who were interested in participating in a closed beta test for SWG. The closed beta test would begin in July 2002. SOE would share more information on the game as the beta moved forward. This would include more screen shots, information on match making services, the fact that players would be permitted only one character per server, and skill trees and how the skill-based system would function. LucasArts also announced on 20 May 2002 that both the Xbox
Xbox
The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console...

 and PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

 would get a version of the game, however both versions were cancelled.

LucasArts officially confirmed a release date of 15 April 2003. They also announced on 20 December 2002 that the ground-based component of Star Wars Galaxies would be called An Empire Divided and that the game's online community had grown to over 400,000 users since its inception in November 2000. At the time, this represented one of the largest ever fan communities amassed for any game prior to retail availability.

An Empire Divided would later be delayed to an unknown time, but on 17 June 2003, LucasArts confirmed Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided would be released on 26 June 2003.

On 27 August 2008, after the success of SOE's "Legends of Norrath
Legends of Norrath
Legends Of Norrath is an online only collectible card game by Sony Online Entertainment. LoN is based on the popular MMORPGs EverQuest and EverQuest II. LoN is playable from within either of the two games, or via a stand-alone client....

", LucasArts and SOE released "Champions of the Force" (see below), an online trading card game based on Star Wars Galaxies.

Star Wars Galaxies has gone through 2 major "upgrades": the Combat Upgrade (CU) and later the New Game Enhancement (NGE), its current form.

On 16 September 2009, SOE informed all current and past account holders of the forthcoming closure of twelve servers (galaxies) 'due to the recent popularity of the Free Character Transfer Service'; the servers intended on being withdrawn were listed as:- Corbantis; Europe-Infinity; Intrepid; Kauri; Kettemoor; Lowca; Naritus; Scylla; Tarquinas; Tempest; Valcyn; Wanderhome. Character creation on these servers was disabled on 15 September 2009 with the final closure of the servers on October 15, 2009. Players with characters on the affected servers were also offered free character transfer to one of the thirteen remaining servers.

On 3 May 2011, SOE issued a press release stating that ALL Sony Online Products have been isolated from the internet, due to massive and widespread security infiltrations of various games, servers, databases (and likely more unmentioned). Security teams (and the FBI) were called-in and at that time no information was available regarding when the services would be restored. Initial reports indicated personal data of 20-30 million customers has potentially been compromised, none within the USA. The information compromised was old information including addresses and CC information (NOT passwords or CVC codes) from 2007. All SOE webpages were re-directed temporarily to a customer announcement and a press release page .

On 14 May 2011, SOE declared everything safe and reopened all servers. SOE offered a free 30-day membership for gamers with memberships and a 1:1 ratio of days lost. Once opened they have given every account 45 free days as well as a minor object of decoration as a "perk" for waiting out the cause. Servers were returned to an on-line and running state with the only requirement to first login to your account ultimately requiring you to change your password prior to logging into the game.

On 24 June 2011, SOE and LucasArts announced that they had mutually agreed to shut down Star Wars Galaxies on 15 December 2011.

Current status



Despite the additions the game has seen over the years the population has dropped significantly and twelve servers were closed in October 2009. These closures were preceded by a nine month campaign by Sony Online Entertainment to rehouse players of these servers to more populated servers. As these servers' players migrated to other servers the other servers enjoyed greater activity, notably the Starsider server which to this day has become the only server to regularly hit server activity above a "heavy" rating.

After the twelve servers closed and many of their players moved to more active servers there was a spike in activity on half of the major remaining servers. This activity was short lived however, as during 2010 there has been a steady decline in server population leading to petitions across the Star Wars Galaxies Gameplay Forum for further mergers. Additionally, server mergers and recent updates (notably the GCW update) have created severe lag issues, causing more unrest in the community. However, despite these issues, Star Wars Galaxies has seen a slow but sure increase in population in late 2010 and early 2011.

On May 17, 2011, SOE released Hotfix 19.17 which introduced the new feature of bounty hunting in space. This allows players to place a bounty on players of the opposite faction who have recently destroyed their ship in space combat. This will allow bounty hunters to pick these targets up as missions and pursue them in space for the monetary reward(up to 1 million credits) the player has placed on the target

Closure


On June 24, 2011, SOE has announced that Star Wars Galaxies will be shutting down. The date announced for this is December 15, 2011. According to the announcement, both LucasArts and SOE came to the agreement. "If you are an active subscriber in good standing as of September 15, 2011, then you can play for free for the final months. Players wishing to play through the end of the game and participate in the galaxy-ending event planned for the last week of live service in December will need to re-activate or join the game on or before September 15th. No new or reactivated accounts will be accepted after September 15, 2011."

Gameplay features


As with all MMORPGs
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

, the feature set of Star Wars Galaxies is subject to change.

Timeline


The game events were originally set following the destruction of the Death Star
Death Star
The Death Star is a fictional moon-sized space station and superweapon appearing in the Star Wars movies and expanded universe. It is capable of destroying a planet with a single destructive super charged energy beam.-Origin and design:...

 in Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

, but before the beginning of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan...

. Even though the battle of Hoth has been included this does not change the timeline. Some parts of the game include past "missions" to before the destruction of the Death Star.

Geography


The game launched with 10 planets: Tatooine
Tatooine
Tatooine is a fictional planet and setting for many key scenes in the Star Wars saga, appearing in every Star Wars film except The Empire Strikes Back, although it is mentioned at the end of the movie...

, Naboo
Naboo
Naboo is a fictitious planet in the fictional Star Wars universe with a mostly green terrain and which is the homeworld of two societies: the Gungans who dwell in underwater cities and the humans who live in colonies on the surface...

, Corellia, Talus, Rori, Dantooine, Lok, Yavin IV, the forest moon of Endor
Forest moon of Endor
The second moon of Endor, also referred to as the forest moon of Endor, or sanctuary moon, is a moon in the Star Wars universe. It appears in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as the home to the Ewoks, and is the body over which the second Death Star is constructed...

, and Dathomir. In the second expansion
Expansion pack
An expansion pack, expansion set, or supplement is an addition to an existing role-playing game, tabletop game or video game. These add-ons usually add new game areas, weapons, objects, and/or an extended storyline to a complete and already released game...

, Rage of the Wookiees, the Wookiee
Wookiee
Wookiees are a species of bipeds in the Star Wars universe. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca, a companion to Han Solo.-Inspiration:...

 home planet Kashyyyk
Kashyyyk
Kashyyyk , also known as Wookiee Planet C, is a planet in the Star Wars universe. It is the tropical, forested home world of the Wookiees...

 was added. In the third expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan, the planet Mustafar
Mustafar
Mustafar is a fictional planet in the Star Wars universe. It is depicted in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.The planet is covered by hundreds of volcanic caldera, most of which are in a state of constant eruption...

 was added. Each of the original 10 planets are represented by approximately 225 square kilometers (15 km x 15 km maps) of game space. In contrast, the expansion planets of Kashyyyk and Mustafar are smaller, constructed differently (e.g. instances) and in some cases imposed different rules than the original, such as terrain that is not traversable (i.e. mountains or hills that cannot be climbed over).

In addition to the 12 planets, there are 12 space zones, each encompassing approximately 3400 cubic kilometers (15 km cubes) of fully navigable space. Nine of them are associated with one or more of the playable planets: Tatoo (Tatooine), Naboo (Naboo and Rori), Corellia (Corellia and Talus), Dantooine, Karthakk (Lok), Yavin, Endor, Dathomir, and Kashyyyk. (Mustafar has no associated space zone.) Kessel and Deep Space have no planets and are used for high-level gameplay and player-versus-player combat. The Ord Mantell sector was released in January 2008 as a new space-only zone, though there is a space station there (called Nova Orion) where pilots can land and acquire quests. The planet Hoth
Hoth
In the fictional universe of Star Wars, Hoth is the sixth planet of a remote system of the same name. It is a terrestrial planet blanketed by snow and ice. Many meteorites from a nearby asteroid belt pelt the planet's surface, making temporary craters in the planet's ever-moving snow drifts. Hoth...

 was added in November 2008 as part of an instance. However, the planet can only be explored during the events of the Battle of Echo Base.

Graphics


The game has been generally praised by reviewers for its realistic character models, detailed architecture and lush environments.

Points of interest and cameos


Examples of characters and points of interest that players can visit within the game include R2-D2
R2-D2
R2-D2 , is a character in the Star Wars universe. An astromech droid, R2-D2 is a major character throughout all six Star Wars films. Along with his droid companion C-3PO, he joins or supports Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi in various points in the saga...

, C-3PO
C-3PO
C-3PO is a robot character from the Star Wars universe who appears in both the original Star Wars films and the prequel trilogy. He is also a major character in the television show Droids, and appears frequently in the series' "Expanded Universe" of novels, comic books, and video games...

, their escape pod
Escape pod
An escape pod is a capsule or craft used to escape a vessel in an emergency, usually only big enough for one person. An escape ship is a larger, more complete craft also used for the same purpose...

 on Tatooine
Tatooine
Tatooine is a fictional planet and setting for many key scenes in the Star Wars saga, appearing in every Star Wars film except The Empire Strikes Back, although it is mentioned at the end of the movie...

, the Naboo
Naboo
Naboo is a fictitious planet in the fictional Star Wars universe with a mostly green terrain and which is the homeworld of two societies: the Gungans who dwell in underwater cities and the humans who live in colonies on the surface...

 Royal Palace, the abandoned Rebel
Rebel Alliance
The Alliance to Restore the Republic is an interstellar faction of the fictional universe of Star Wars....

 bases on Dantooine and Yavin IV, the notorious pirate Nym in his stronghold on Lok, Ewok
Ewok
Ewoks originate from the Star Wars films. In the series, they are a species of teddy-bear-like hunter-gatherers that inhabit the forest moon of Endor. The Ewoks live in various tree-huts and primitive dwellings. They first appeared in the film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi...

s and Rancors. Other main characters include Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker
Luke Skywalker is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the original film trilogy of the Star Wars franchise, where he is portrayed by Mark Hamill. He is introduced in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in which he is forced to leave home, and finds himself apprenticed to the Jedi master...

, Han Solo
Han Solo
Han Solo is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise played by Harrison Ford. Introduced in the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope , Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca , become involved in the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire...

, Princess Leia, Darth Vader
Darth Vader
Darth Vader is a central character in the Star Wars saga, appearing as one of the main antagonists in the original trilogy and as the main protagonist in the prequel trilogy....

, Chewbacca
Chewbacca
Chewbacca, also known as Chewie, is a character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed by Peter Mayhew. In the series' narrative chronology, he appears in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi...

, Emperor Palpatine, Admiral Ackbar
Admiral Ackbar
Admiral Ackbar is a fictional character in the Star Wars science fiction saga. A member of the amphibious Mon Calamari species, Ackbar was the foremost military commander of the Rebel Alliance who led major combat operations against the Galactic Empire and was later integral in the formation of the...

, Jan Dodonna, Boba Fett
Boba Fett
Boba Fett is a character in Star Wars. A bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon, he is a minor villain in both Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi....

, Jabba
Jabba
Jabba may be:* Jabba the Hutt, fictional character* Jabba , Australian* JABBA, Japan Basketball Association* Malam Jabba, a hill station in Pakistan, which is home to the Malam Jabba Ski Resort....

, Borvo the Hutt, Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb, General Otto, Captain Panaka (appears as Colonel Panaka), Max Rebo, Wedge Antilles
Wedge Antilles
Wedge Antilles is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. He is a supporting character portrayed by Denis Lawson in the original Star Wars trilogy. Antilles, also called the "greatest ace" pilot in the Rebel Alliance, also appears in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and is the lead...

, Gavyn Sykes, Watto
Watto
Watto is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe, featured in the films The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. He is computer-generated and played by voice actor Andy Secombe. He is a mean-tempered, greedy Toydarian, and owner of a second-hand goods store in Mos Espa on the planet...

, Boss Nass, the "reincarnation" of General Grievous
General Grievous
General Grievous is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe, an antagonist in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He was voiced by Matthew Wood...

 as NK-Necrosis, and the Force ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe. He is one of several primary characters in the Star Wars series. Along with Darth Vader, R2-D2, and C-3PO, he is one of the few major characters to appear in all six Star Wars films...

.

References are also made of characters from the Star Wars Expanded Universe
Star Wars Expanded Universe
The Star Wars Expanded Universe encompasses all of the officially licensed, fictional background of the Star Wars universe, outside of the six feature films produced by George Lucas. The expanded universe includes books, comic books, video games, spin-off films like Star Wars: The Clone Wars,...

, such as Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn is a fictional character and major antagonist from the Star Wars galaxy. He first appeared in Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, published between 1992 and 1994...

 and Mara Jade
Mara Jade
Mara Jade Skywalker is a fictional character in Star Wars Expanded Universe books, comic books, and computer games. She is also wife to Luke Skywalker, and mother to Ben Skywalker. In the different video games, she is voiced by Heidi Shannon and Kath Soucie.-Concept and development:Mara Jade was...

 from the Thrawn trilogy
The Thrawn trilogy
The Thrawn trilogy, also known as the Heir to the Empire trilogy, is a series of best-selling novels written by Timothy Zahn. The novels are set in the Expanded Universe of the Star Wars galaxy approximately five years after the events depicted in the film Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the...

, and HK-47
HK-47
HK-47 is a fictional assassin droid from the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack to the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: Galaxies...

 from the Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic
There have been a number of Knights of the Old Republic products.* Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, a 1990s comic book miniseries* Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a role playing Star Wars video game released in 2003...

 series of games.

The game also references the other two Star Wars spin-off films, in that the player may encounter the Gorax species from Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
For the series of road trips travelled by Hamish and Andy see:Caravan Of Courage The Ewok Adventure is a 1984 American made-for-TV film based in the Star Wars setting. It was released theatrically in Europe as Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, and is known by that title today...

, and the base of the Sanyassan Marauders, as seen in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor is a 1985 made-for-TV movie set in the Star Wars galaxy. A sequel to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure, it focuses on Cindel Towani, the little girl from the first film, who, after being orphaned, joins the Ewoks in protecting their village and defeating the evil...

.

Species and professions


The 10 species available to players include: Human, Twi'lek, Zabrak, Wookiee
Wookiee
Wookiees are a species of bipeds in the Star Wars universe. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca, a companion to Han Solo.-Inspiration:...

, Trandoshan, Rodian, Mon Calamari, Bothan, Sullustan and Ithorian.

There are 9 professions: Jedi
Jedi
The Jedi are characters in the Star Wars universe and the series's main protagonists. The Jedi use a power called the Force and weapons called lightsabers, which emit a controlled energy flow in the shape of a sword, in order to serve and protect the Republic and the galaxy at large from conflict...

, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Commando, Spy, Officer, Medic, Entertainer, Trader. In addition to these professions, a character can also choose among three Pilot sub-professions (Imperial, Neutral, and Rebel) with 3 different career paths for each GCW Alignment. They also may pursue the chronicler profession regardless of alignment or profession automatically enter the Politician Sub-profession (acquired and completed automatically when a player places a structure belonging to him). Characters can specialize in different areas of their main professions by selecting "expertise" options, including Beast Mastery. The Trader profession includes four specialties: Munitions (for crafting weapons and armor), Domestics (for crafting food and clothing), Structures (for crafting furniture and housing as well as ships and related components), and Engineering (for crafting droids).
Professions are grouped into four areas of development: support, tanking, damage dealing, and healing. This system allows the combat to be more balanced between different professions. Players will be able to affect other players in different ways that will benefit their group or team. Which profession you choose also determines which types of armor your character will be able to wear.

Ships


The Jump to Lightspeed expansion made individual ships attainable by players for the first time. This allowed players to acquire and pilot ships of various sizes. Ships ranged from fighter-sized ships up to ships like the Millennium Falcon
Millennium Falcon
The Millennium Falcon is a spacecraft in the Star Wars universe commanded by smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca...

. Some players choose to play most of the game in space, while others play in both space and planetary settings. The TCG has added in a few other ships, as well as certain updates.

Combat mechanics


Ground combat is currently real-time and similar to a first-person shooter
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

. The player must aim a targeting reticule at a target and left-click the mouse to fire. Auto-aim and auto-fire features are available, creating a more traditional combat experience, but players eschewing those options are rewarded with an increased chance to do maximum damage. As characters gain levels, they gain access to additional combat abilities called "specials" which are activated by using the right mouse button or by clicking the ability on a toolbar. These specials usually have a cool-down period. In addition to providing especially powerful damage attacks, specials are also used to heal, buff, debuff and crowd control. Players gain the ability to use more powerful weapons as they advance in level.

Players also earn "Expertise Points" as they level up which they can use in their professions expertise "tree". The player can allot 45 points into various abilities and attributes to make their characters more diverse, from weapons specialties to healing and armor proficiencies.

Player housing, guilds, and cities


Characters can erect, own and decorate a variety of buildings, including houses, cantinas, theaters, hospitals, guild halls and city halls. These buildings, when grouped, can be organized into cities. Players hold election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

s via ballot box for Mayor. Elected mayors grant city members certain rights to place structures within the city and disallow the use of various civic structures by individual players as needed. Elections are held every three weeks. If another player wishes to run for mayor they can add their name at any time to the ballot box to run against the incumbent. As cities grow in population, they become eligible to add services and facilities such as vehicle repair garages, shuttleports, cloning facilities, hospitals, cantinas and garden displays. They can show up on the planet maps alongside canonical cities such as Theed and Mos Eisley
Mos Eisley
Mos Eisley is a setting in the fictional Star Wars universe. It is introduced as a spaceport town on the planet Tatooine. In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi describes Mos Eisley as a "wretched hive of scum and villainy." It is the home of the Mos Eisley Cantina and Figrin D'an...

.

The gameplay design encourages realistic social institutions such as a dynamic player economy and other real-life social phenomena like a complicated division of labor. According to Star Wars Galaxies and the Division of Labor, the division of labor in Star Wars Galaxies around April 2005 produced in-game results similar to those in real life. Galaxies original game design socialized players to specialize their characters by mastering one or two professions, and to join guilds, in which players relate to one another primarily in terms of their professions (e.g.: "I am the weaponsmith, so I make weapons for the guild") — just as in real life, people are tied to one another by organic solidarity.

Other features

  • Single- and multi-passenger ground vehicles and starships: (landspeeder
    Landspeeder
    Landspeeders are fictional antigravity craft used through the Star Wars movies and Star Wars Expanded Universe. They are depicted both in civilian and military capacities, and several versions have been merchandised as toys and models.-Origin and design:...

    s, speeder bike
    Speeder bike
    Speeder bikes and swoop bikes are small, fast transports that use repulsorlift engines in the fictional Star Wars universe. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi includes a prominent speeder bike chase; speeders and swoops also appear in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode...

    s, swoops, X-wing
    X-wing
    X-wings are fictional starfighters from the original Star Wars trilogy and the expanded universe. They are depicted as the primary interceptor and dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic...

    s, TIE fighter
    TIE fighter
    TIE fighters are fictional starfighters in the Star Wars universe. Propelled by Twin Ion Engines , TIE fighters are depicted as fast, fragile starfighters produced by Sienar Fleet Systems for the Galactic Empire...

    s and even several of the YT series of ships)
  • Player-run virtual economy
    Virtual economy
    A virtual economy is an emergent economy existing in a virtual persistent world, usually exchanging virtual goods in the context of an Internet game...

     where player characters are responsible for creating many in-game items including blasters
    Blaster (Star Wars)
    Blasters are ranged weapons in the Star Wars fictional universe. This category of plasma bolt-firing rayguns includes various pistols, rifles, and other powerful weapons.-Production:...

    , starship
    Starship
    A starship or interstellar spacecraft is a theoretical spacecraft designed for traveling between the stars, as opposed to a vehicle designed for orbital spaceflight or interplanetary travel....

    s, clothing, armor, food, housing, furniture and even a wide variety of droids. Items are created from player-collected raw materials and looted items.
  • An extensive set of emotes, moods, and associated animations, which affect not only an avatar's physical appearance but also the text used to describe a character's speech, and even the shape of the speech bubble displayed on-screen.
  • Standard MMORPG
    Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
    Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

     features such as player guilds, chat functionality, and other community features such as role play events.
  • The ability for players to place bounties on opponents that participate in PVP
    Player versus player
    Player versus player, or PvP, is a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer controlled opponents, which is correspondingly referred to as player versus environment...

    . Player character bounty hunters can then pick up another character's "bounty mission" on the terminals and track the character down. A bounty can be claimed at anytime, regardless of the target's PvP setting. Up to three bounty hunters can be tracking a character at any given time.
  • An extensive character creation system. Characters can hire Entertainers to change their appearance in-game, with even more options than those available at creation. Many visual aspects of a character are thereby changeable at any time after character creation except species and gender.
  • The game references and features elements from The Star Wars Holiday Special
    The Star Wars Holiday Special
    The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American television special set in the Star Wars galaxy. It was one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs, and was directed by Steve Binder. The show was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, November 17, 1978, on the U.S...

    , such as Lumpy's stuffed bantha
    Bantha
    Banthas are fictional creatures in the Star Wars universe. They are large elephant-sized mounts, with long furry tails, that are native to the planet of Tatooine....

    , and the customs of Life Day, when the player visits Kashyyyk. The red Life Day robes that the Wookiees wore are also available during special events in the game.

An Empire Divided



The base game, titled Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, was released on 26 June 2003 in the USA and on 7 November 2003 in Europe. A localized version for the Japanese market was published by Arts Japan
Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, Inc. is a major American developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers...

 on 23 December 2004. Japanese acceptance of the game was low, and in November 2005 the servers were shut down and existing accounts migrated to US servers.

At the time of its initial release, the game was very different from how it is now. Vehicles and creature mounts were not yet implemented. While player housing was available at the time of launch, the ability to incorporate groups of houses into cities didn't come until November 2003. Each character and creature possessed three "pools" (called Health, Action, and Mind; or "HAM") that represented his or her physical and mental reserves. Most attacks specifically targeted one of these three pools and any action the character took also depleted one or more of the pools. When any one of those pools was fully depleted, the character would fall unconscious. Combat, then, required the player to carefully manage his or her actions to avoid depleting a pool.

Character progression was vastly different at release as well. Characters started out in one of six basic professions (Medic, Brawler, Marksman, Scout, Entertainer, or Artisan) and could pick up any of the other five at any time after character creation. Each profession consisted of a tree-like structure of skills, with a single Novice level, four independent branches of four levels each, and a Master level which required completion of all four branches. Characters purchased these skills with experience points gained through a related activity. For example, an Entertainer could purchase skills to get better at playing music, but only with Musician experience points. Dancing experience points were entirely separate and could only be used to purchase dancing skills.

In addition to the basic professions, characters could specialize into advanced professions such as Bounty Hunter, Creature Handler, Ranger, Doctor, and Musician. There were a total of 24 advanced professions, although there was no way for characters to obtain all of them at once. Each advanced profession had certain skill requirements from the base professions that had to be met, some more restrictive than others.

Jedi were not available as a starting profession, or even as an advanced profession. The developers stated only that certain in-game actions would open up a Force
Force (Star Wars)
The Force is a binding, metaphysical and ubiquitous power in the fictional universe of the Star Wars galaxy created by George Lucas. Mentioned in the first film in the series, it is integral to all subsequent incarnations of Star Wars, including the expanded universe of comic books, novels, and...

-sensitive character slot. The actions required were left for players to discover. It eventually turned out that characters had to achieve Master level in random professions. At first the player had to complete four master level classes which were randomly chosen and unknown to the player. The developers then introduced Holocrons which would inform the player of the first, then after completion second master class required. At various times the number of master levels needed ranged from four to seven and the number revealed by holocrons varied from two to four. Because of the difficulty in obtaining a force sensitive (Jedi) character, the profession had many advantages in combat, often capable of taking on very powerful enemies or defeating entire groups of other non-Jedi characters in Player vs. Player combat. The first Force-sensitive character slot was unlocked on 7 November 2003.

Jump to Lightspeed


This first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, was released on 27 October 2004. Two new races were added: Sullustan and Ithorian. The expansion added space combat. Characters choose one of three factions in the new Pilot sub-profession: Rebel, Imperial, or Freelance. The playable sectors include the space surrounding the 10 planets of the game as well as Ord Mantell, Kessel, and "Deep Space." Combat is real-time and twitch-oriented like a first-person shooter
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

 and can be played with a joystick at the player's option. A new Artisan profession, Shipwright (now subsumed into the Trader profession as part of the Structures specialty), was also introduced. This profession created ships, shields, armor, weapons, etc. for players. They also have the ability to take looted components from space and reverse engineer them into better components. Players can construct their own ships with a base chassis, adding their own reactors, weapons, armor, shields, aesthetics and more, all of which visually change the starship's appearance. In many ways, this is the spiritual successor to the hit Lucasart's game 'X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter', as the theme, interface and objectives are quite similar.

Rage of the Wookiees


The second expansion, Episode III Rage of the Wookiees, was announced on 9 March 2005 and released on 5 May 2005. It added the Wookiee
Wookiee
Wookiees are a species of bipeds in the Star Wars universe. The most notable Wookiee is Chewbacca, a companion to Han Solo.-Inspiration:...

 planet of Kashyyyk
Kashyyyk
Kashyyyk , also known as Wookiee Planet C, is a planet in the Star Wars universe. It is the tropical, forested home world of the Wookiees...

 and its corresponding space sector. Kashyyyk is different from the previous 10 planets: rather than being 16 square kilometers of openly navigable area, it is divided into a small central area with several instanced "dungeon" areas. A new space zone was also added. Other content added in this expansion included the ability to add cybernetic limbs to a player character and quests
Quest (gaming)
A quest in role-playing video games — including massively multiplayer online role-playing games and their predecessors, MUDs — is a task that a player-controlled character or group of characters may complete in order to gain a reward...

 for two new creature mounts and three new starships. A substantial portion of the content for this expansion was adapted from the film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is a 2005 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the sixth and final film released in the Star Wars saga and the third in terms of the series' internal chronology....

 which was released to theaters in the U.S. on May 19, two weeks after the expansion release.

Trials of Obi-Wan


The third expansion, Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan, was announced on 19 August 2005 and released on 1 November 2005. This expansion added the ground planet of Mustafar
Mustafar
Mustafar is a fictional planet in the Star Wars universe. It is depicted in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.The planet is covered by hundreds of volcanic caldera, most of which are in a state of constant eruption...

 to the game. No new space sector was added with this expansion. Like the previous expansion, much of the content is related to Revenge of the Sith, which was released to DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 on the same day as the expansion was released. Additional content, including the presence of the droid HK-47
HK-47
HK-47 is a fictional assassin droid from the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, and the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack to the massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: Galaxies...

, is based on the Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic
There have been a number of Knights of the Old Republic products.* Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic, a 1990s comic book miniseries* Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a role playing Star Wars video game released in 2003...

 games. Within a couple weeks of this release the entire character development process was changed. This led to a number of players demanding their money back for this expansion. After a week or two of protests Sony offered refunds to anyone who asked for it. Many player towns became ghost towns due to the reaction of long term players who decided to depart en masse.

Trading Card Game


On 27 August 2008, LucasArts and SOE released Champions of the Force as a game update which enabled people to play a new card game feature. In the game, people can collect, battle, and trade with each other as well as buy new cards with money and get new in-game items from the cards to use such as podracers and house paintings. Over one hundred cards were created for players to find and play against others with new artwork featured on each card. On 16 December 2008, SOE launched a new deck in the card game, entitled Squadrons Over Corellia and subsequent expansions have been released since.

SWG compilations


On top of the expansions, SOE released several compilations of their games:

Star Wars Galaxies - The Total Experience
This pack included the original Star Wars Galaxies (An Empire Divided), Jump to Lightspeed and the Rage of the Wookiees expansion packs. Customers who bought this pack also received a BARC speeder as a gift.


Star Wars Galaxies - Starter Kit
The kit was the first version of the New Game Enhancement (NGE). It contained An Empire Divided and Jump to Lightspeed. Customers who bought this pack also received a X-Wing
X-wing
X-wings are fictional starfighters from the original Star Wars trilogy and the expanded universe. They are depicted as the primary interceptor and dogfighter of the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic...

 or TIE fighter
TIE fighter
TIE fighters are fictional starfighters in the Star Wars universe. Propelled by Twin Ion Engines , TIE fighters are depicted as fast, fragile starfighters produced by Sienar Fleet Systems for the Galactic Empire...

 instant transport vehicle as a gift.


Star Wars Galaxies - The Complete Online Adventures
This included the original game with the first three expansion packs, a DVD of never-before released bonus features, a slide show of more than 800 pieces of Star Wars Galaxies concept art and screenshots, all set to more than an hour of orchestral in-game music, excerpts from the popular “From Pencil to Pixel” book that chronicles the art of Star Wars Galaxies and interviews with the producers, and all the cinematic trailers for the game. It also included an exclusive in-game item for use while playing – a personal AT-RT vehicle as seen in Revenge of the Sith. This version was the first to be released in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, instead of An Empire Divided.


Star Wars Galaxies - The Complete Online Adventures Premium Digital Download
This includes An Empire Divided, Jump to Lightspeed, Rage of the Wookiees, Trials of Obi-Wan, and players who purchase it also receive a bonus instant travel vehicle, the Queen Amidala Transport Ship and an AT-RT walker. No disc media is provided as it is an Internet download.The Internet download later came with:

1. A Queen Amidala Transport Ship (one per character)

2. A General Grievous Wheel Bike as seen in "Revenge of the Sith", a Double seated Bike for you and a friend (one per character)

3. A Lava Flea mount as seen in "Revenge of the Sith" (one per account)

4. A Underground Mustafar Bunker player house (one per account)

5. An AT-RT walker mount (one per account)

6. A Varactyl mount as seen in "Revenge of the Sith" (one per account).

Reception and criticism


Reviews for the initial launch of the game in 2003 were mostly positive. The game was praised for its lush graphics, liberal use of the movie soundtracks, massive world size, character customization, creative creature ecology, complex skill system, player economy interdependencies and its sandbox approach. Reviewers criticized the overwhelming complexity of the game, PVP
Player versus player
Player versus player, or PvP, is a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer controlled opponents, which is correspondingly referred to as player versus environment...

/PVE combat imbalances of the professions, bugginess and lack of quest
Quest (gaming)
A quest in role-playing video games — including massively multiplayer online role-playing games and their predecessors, MUDs — is a task that a player-controlled character or group of characters may complete in order to gain a reward...

  content. The reviews for the first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, praised the new space combat but criticized the ground game for its lack of sufficient improvement. The reviews for the second expansion, Rage of the Wookiees lauded the new quest content for current subscribers but lamented the combat gameplay updates and the continued bugginess of the game.

Players who wished to play a Jedi
Jedi
The Jedi are characters in the Star Wars universe and the series's main protagonists. The Jedi use a power called the Force and weapons called lightsabers, which emit a controlled energy flow in the shape of a sword, in order to serve and protect the Republic and the galaxy at large from conflict...

 character had to first unlock their Jedi slot by fulfilling an unknown list of criteria. The first player to unlock a 'Jedi slot' did so on November 7, 2003, four months after the release of the game. Media outlets and players criticized SOE for the substantial time commitment to unlock a Jedi, penalties for in-game death of a Jedi character which was permanent after three deaths, and monotonous game play required to acquire the Jedi character. Developers responded by changing the penalty for death to skill loss in January 2004 and creating a quest system to unlock the character.
Gameplay mechanics for combat and armor/weapon systems received a major update on 27 April 2005 when SOE released the "Combat Upgrade" (abbreviated as CU). The new Combat Upgrade replaced a system that allowed players with combat professions to stack defensive abilities from various skill sets, while also fixing an exploit that allowed players to have their character attack freshly spawning non-player characters (NPC) and creatures while away from their computers in order to gain combat skill experience.

Media outlets criticized the changes while subscription cancellations rose.

Another major update called the "New Game Enhancements" (abbreviated as NGE) was implemented on 15 November 2005, and created huge demonstrations in game from the majority of players, and became available in retail on 22 November 2005 as the Star Wars Galaxies: Starter Kit. Major changes included the reduction and simplification of professions, simplification of gameplay mechanics, and Jedi becoming a starting profession. Media outlets such as CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

, New York Times, New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

 and Wired Magazine criticized the reduced depth and complexity of the game., but John Smedley
John Smedley (developer)
John Smedley was a computer game programmer, Product Development Director and is now President of Sony Online Entertainment since 2002.Smedley was involved with the creation and development of the original EverQuest and was co-founder of Verant Interactive, Inc., which became Sony Online...

, president of Sony Online Entertainment, defended the decision claiming it necessary to revamp the game in order to reverse the deterioration they were seeing in the subscriber base. SOE offered refunds on the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion due to it being released two days before the NGE was implemented. The development team affirmed this was their desired direction for the game and that they would modify parameters to address player's concerns. Features such as expertise trees were later added to the game to add complexity and differentiation to characters. After the announcement that SOE had acquired the game Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes is a high fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game created by Sigil Games Online, and now developed and run by Sony Online Entertainment. Originally, the game was co-published by Sony Online Entertainment , and the company producing it, Sigil Games...

, Smedley addressed that game's players about the perceived threat of major changes to the game:
Subscriber numbers were originally expected to exceed 1,000,000. In August 2005, SOE reported that they had sold 1,000,000 boxed copies of the game. In early 2006, unconfirmed reports showed that only 10,363 subscribers were playing on a particular Friday night, but Smedley
John Smedley (developer)
John Smedley was a computer game programmer, Product Development Director and is now President of Sony Online Entertainment since 2002.Smedley was involved with the creation and development of the original EverQuest and was co-founder of Verant Interactive, Inc., which became Sony Online...

 denied that subscriptions had fallen this low.

Updates such as the Combat Upgrade and New Game Enhancements prompted a few small groups of players to develop server emulators which would allow for play in a previous version of the game. Different groups are currently attempting to reverse engineer versions of the game that would predate the Combat Upgrade. Although none of the emulator projects are completed, some are running public and private test servers with communities forming in advance of an emulator release. Now almost one is about to achieve a completion of a SWGEmu Project.

Novelization


Star Wars Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine is a novel based in part on places and events in the game. It was authored by Voronica Whitney-Robinson and Haden Blackman, the LucasArts
LucasArts
LucasArts Entertainment Company, LLC is an American video game developer and publisher. The company was once famous for its innovative line of graphic adventure games, the critical and commercial success of which peaked in the mid 1990s...

producer of the game.

External links