27 June 2003

Star Wars Galaxies Release

Star Wars Galaxies, the first massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) based on the Star Wars universe went live yesterday, though there some registration problems. For a monthly subscription fee (~$15), SWG offers an immersive, 3D world set in the Star Wars universe to adventure along side with thousands of others.

No you can't be Luke or Han or Darth Vader, but you can be Lars Owen, bounty hunter #474, or Lyn Me the cantina entertainer. The graphics in the game are truly breathtaking - character customization is so refined that you can set how slim or fat your character is, adjust chin shape and size, eye color, hair style, etc. You can gaze at a sunset on Tatooine, harvest minerals, shoot your blaster at lizards, build droids, dance in a cantina or make food for other players in a persistent Star Wars world. Your character's skills increase when you cash in experience points for new skills or improved skills.

You can battle other players if you join the Rebel or Imperial factions, but the scheme of who can attack who is kind of complicated. At least it made my head hurt in trying to understand the difference between an "overt" and a "covert". You could choose to forego any player vs. player conflict and remain a "carebear" but I think there is some nice gear and other game bonuses for signing up for a faction.

Will I be playing? No, I just don't have the time right now. Plus, the game had many features chopped out so it could be released on time - space travel (now, you buy a ticket and instantaneously are ported to another planet) and vehicles are not in the game right now. Also, I expect, as is the case with games of this genre, many launch bugs and problems. Most of all, though, MMORPG require a huge investment of time, which I can't give right now.


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