Star Wars Galaxies: users try to go legal

An interesting story over at VentureBeat on a cohort of remaining Star Wars Galaxies have considered legal action in a final attempt to prevent the December 2011 shutdown of the game.

As the article says, it’s a futile attempt given they’ve all signed a EULA that protects Sony Online Entertainment pretty solidly, but it certainly shows the passion of the players still involved with the game.

Others like our own Ed are pleased to see the demise of the game after its controversial change in tack. If you’re really keen, Ed gives his take in detail in our most recent podcast.

Over to you: do you care about the issue or is it just another old game biting the dust?

Death of a galaxy?

star_wars_galaxiesStar Wars Galaxies – have you heard of it?

I’d be surprised if you haven’t, considering you’re here on this site reading material related to the forthcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Galaxies was the first attempt at an MMO based on the world of George Lucas’ Star Wars, originally developed by Sony Online Entertainment on the Windows platform and published by LucasArts, and only released in Australia in 2006 (after having been first released back in 2003 elsewhere). I’d like to bring attention to this older Star Wars themed MMO, primarily because I believe its future fate hangs in the balance with the forthcoming release of the new (and improved) offering from Bioware.

The question is, will the masses of people (if masses there are), switch their loyalty over to the newer game? Galaxies has a somewhat chequered past, and it’s well known that the development team made some changes that didn’t sit well with the community at large. Details can be easily uncovered with the aid of some simple Google searching, but what I’m trying to get at is the question of whether Bioware and LucasArts will take note and not repeat the same mistakes made in the past by LucasArts’ former partnership with Sony Online Entertainment.

Star Wars Galaxies opened up with the idealistic goal of engaging the community, providing a game that had some unique and innovative options. Somewhere along the way, they lost touch, and decisions were made to change the game in a dramatic fashion, which on the whole didn’t seem to please the community.

In fact, the changes were so dramatic that an open source movement grew up to try and “free” the server technology and provide a pre-CU (Combat Upgrade – the infamous first major update) emulated server SWGEmu. It looks like the community is well on the way to returning to what a large section of the population believe is the height of the Galaxies game.

This does leave a lot of room to ponder the future implications and responsibility that lies on the shoulders of Bioware and LucasArts to deliver a game that stands up to the hype and delivers on their promises – it wouldn’t be the first time a community that has felt betrayed has taken it upon themselves to rectify the situation.

It would be a shame to see history repeating itself, and I’d hate to see SWTOR go through rapid growth, only to have the population halved (as in the case where Galaxies shut down almost half of their active servers) due to mismanagement and choosing to ignore the players and community that are the bedrock of MMO games.

That said, having been a part of the SWTOR community so far, I’m sure that the Star Wars Universe could not be in a better pair of hands than those of Bioware and LucasArts.

As to what will happen with Star Wars Galaxies – currently they still have 13 active servers, and I’d be guessing that a lot of players that have invested a significant amount of time would be loathe to part ways. Galaxies is walking a fine line however, and I don’t think they have the luxury any longer of foisting new half baked experiments onto the community as alternatives will soon exist in the form of SWTOR and emulated servers using the SWGEmu application, which opens up a whole new galaxy to those players seeking some stability and respect for their gaming dollar.