Monday, July 24, 2006

Resurrect My Master Weaponsmith?

Today, I came across an article at Gamer Andy entitled Star Wars: Galaxies; The Community Strikes Back that made me realize, yet again, what a geek I am. Basically, a group of independent developers has reverse engineered a version of the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies ("SWG") and plans to release it for free. For the non-gamer, this isn't news at all -- and you probably are wondering what a MMORPG is in the first place ("Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game" -- they're lots of fun). For anyone that has played this game, this is definitely very good news.

I loved this game. I had a Master Weaponsmith named Andorra who had a thriving business run out of her store on the outskirts of Anchorhead on Tattooine on one of the servers. Andorra had a great time and amassed a small fortune from her weapon crafting while running around the Galaxy on assorted missions for the Alliance. She had all kinds of cool stuff. She had two fully furnished homes, a storage house, droids, a mount, speeders and a killer wardrobe (seriously, once you had a certain amount of money in that game and an income stream, you almost couldn't spend it all). Even better, as a Master Weaponsmith, she had the best weapons available and a never-ending supply of power-ups.

Back when SWG first came out, it really wasn't clear to anyone how one eventually became a Jedi. Wasn't that part of the allure of the game? "You too can be a Jedi!" Andorra just kept showing up to gain Alliance faction and make more weapons. One day a little cube showed up in her bag that basically informed her that in her quest to becoming a Jedi, it would behoove her to become a Master Officer (I think back then she was told to become a "Squad Leader.") In order for that to happen, she would have to give up being a Master Weaponsmith. Then, in the forums, it became clear that in order to become a Jedi, one would have to become a "Master" at several professions sequentially. Ugh! How lame was that? I liked being a Weaponsmith. Andorra stayed on a while longer, but I had no intention of having her become a Squad Leader or of pursuing the course to Jedi. I was hoping that Sony would see how stupid that path was and change it.

But then Sony kept changing more and more things and then SWG stopped being fun for me. I think when Sony made the resource shifts frequent and unpredictable, I had had enough. I didn't even hang in there long enough for the expansion to come out. My husband was a Wookie Creature Handler -- and had some really nice/rare specimens that he had collected. Sony messed with that profession and it stopped being fun for him too. (There aren't even any Creature Handlers in the game anymore -- they got rid of the profession entirely.) We didn't even hang in there long enough to get upset about the Combat Upgrade that screwed everything up yet again. I took most of the money that I had and my inventory and gave it all to a friend of mine that was intent on staying to try to become a Jedi. I kept some of the money on Andorra in the hopes of hearing of some worthy changes that could lure me back in. (The gaming companies don't just delete your characters when you quit -- they keep your characters on the servers so that they can try to get you to come back to the game at a later date.) Sadly, that has never happened. If anything, the news from the SWG front seems to get more dismal as the days go by.

Today's news is good news because the game concept was really great and I think the game died from "overdevelopment." It was a lot of fun, and in the hands of the community, it may have a good chance of being fun again. Best of luck to the team that is working on this project.

I'm playing World of Warcraft these days though -- Andorra is a Night Elf Hunter now and she doesn't have many complaints. Am I going to resurrect SWG Andorra on a community server? I haven't ruled it out. I am such a geek.

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