When SoE Ruled The World

Cast your mind back to 2003. Everquest was middle aged and in it’s prime, World of Warcraft and Everquest 2 were still deep in development and Warhammer Online was just a twinkle in Paul Barnett’s eye. SoE ruled all MMOs and was king of the world. They were arrogant and brash and they released the most ambitious MMORPG anyone had seen so far – Star Wars: Galaxies.

Following on from my article yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to explain exactly why I felt nostalgic about SW:G. Sure, it was a heap of fun and it was a Star Wars MMORPG but there was something else. See, six years ago MMOs were rather rare and exotic, unlike today where pretty much any and every franchise seems to be getting turned into one. It was relatively new territory – new enough to excite people and inspire them, yet established enough to prove it was a lucrative market and SOE wanted to stake their claim.

I really admire the fact that SOE pushed the boat out with SW:G. They could’ve just made another Everquest or Dark Age of Camelot but they didn’t. They decided to really go for it and introduced concepts we had never seen in MMORPGs before – an entire player driven manufacturing and resource based economy, player housing and cities, pure entertainment and fluff professions – and tried to radically move away from the standard level and hp/mana gameplay. Remember HAM (Health/Action/Mind) and absolutely no adventuring levels? Sure, SW:G wasn’t the greatest game in the world but boy, it sure did try and I honestly feel that it could’ve been so much more.

I played SW:G for 10 weeks in the summer of 2003 and have never touched it since. Sometimes, just sometimes, when I’m sitting at home with my motherly EQ2 or wifely World of Warcraft, I cast my mind back to that holiday fling and smile to myself.

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  1. SonaF says:

    Those where the days…

    Still think the gameplay impressive, for the time.

  2. JC says:

    TBH, my 1st month I played I was bored, but then a lot of co-workers put together a PA, I found that I preferred healing to combat, and suddenly the game got a lot more fun for me.

    Eventually tried Dancer since that was a healer as well, got my (then) wife into also since she was a dancer IRL — it was the people that made the game for me, not the game itself.

    That said, I would LOVE if another game came out with skill tree like SWG had, rather than levels.

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