Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

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.

What’s Your Most Nostalgic MMO?

I’d bet that almost everyone answers Everquest to the above question. I’m very tempted to say the same however I’m not going to. I’m going to say Star Wars: Galaxies.

Yeah, I know, I’m just plain crazy. But I’m talking about the original, unadulterated, pre-NGE SW:G. Unfortunately, I’ve lost all of my old screenshots but here’s some of my top moments:

1. Spending an entire summer playing Cromwell, my Zabrak Pikeman/Chef/Dancer, with Salinger, a Trandosian Swordsman who also happened to be my flat mate (room mate for US readers – not actually a friend who was physically flat) at the time.

2. Deciding to rework my body image and finding an Image Designer to make me hugely obese.

3. Further reworking my body image so I wore a headdress and a blue open jacket, revealing my voluptuous belly.

4. Inspiring my comrades by dancing around campfires in the desert of Tatooine with said reworked body image.

5. Gathering together giantic 20 man groups (usually full of complete noobs eager for adventure) and taking them off to the Tusken Raider fortress on Tatooine, getting them slaughtered and repeating the process over and over again.

6. Being thoroughly impressed when my Bio-Engineer buddy turned up with an AT-ST and blew the hell out of everything single-handedly.

See, you don’t need to just feel nostalgic about Everquest :)

Interestingly enough, I did a little digging on the net when writing this article and found a few pre-NGE emulator projects. True Galaxies seems to cover them all and then there’s also SWGEmu and SWG:ANH. I guess I’m not the only one who misses the original Star Wars: Galaxies.

So what MMORPG do you feel most nostalgic about?