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Now before anyone jumps all over this to claim that I am an SWG veteran pineing for the old days, you'd be very wrong indeed.
Before you reply, read this OP, consider the facts and think for a moment....
Now, this is actually where SOE could have a head start over the rest of the competition......if they still have the original pre-NGE code for SWG......
Now if that is true (after all we're talking about a hyperthetical scenario here), it could be launched on just one server cluster and used as a trial to "test" public reaction to the original design model. They could call the "New Hope" SWG server. It wouldn't necessarily have to be permanent. Maybe allow it to run for a couple of months. It could be F2P (maybe even charge players a one time only small fee for joining the server to cover maintenance costs, with no subscription).
The advantage of F2P is that there are probably no legal requirements to continuously provide the service longer than the devs want to, unlike a service which the customer subscribes to. SOE could then get the playerbases feedback via dedicated forums.
The point is, that we know developing MMOs is a very costly business. However, SWG pre-NGE has already been developed and proven to function. Therefore it could be used as a "testbed" for a new hybrid design model. A "prototype" if you want to call it that.
Personally, I've no vested interest in wanting to play SWG Pre-NGE myself. Although I recognise that the design DID have some good elements that are missing from BOTH sandbox and themepark designs these days.
We all know how much flak SOE got for changing to the NGE design, they could actually redeem themselves by running a "Vanilla server" again. Whilst at the same time actually help the rest of the MMO industry progress to the next stage of evolution in MMO design. They could pioneer it if they played their cards right.
What's everyone think? Is it time for a pre-NGE F2P server to use as a testbed for developing the sandbox / hybrid design whilst keeping development costs down to a minimum and maximising potential customer feedback?
No doubt some will like the idea, and some may not. But please, if you're going to reply to this thread, try to remain civilised and mature. No personal attacks please and lets not let this thread descend into a flamewar between sandbox vs themepark fans.
EDIT: It seems that a few people are misunderstanding why I mentioned F2P....
"F2P" is mentioned purely on the grounds that at the moment a lot of "older" games seem to be moving into the "no subscription" area. And whilst some have employed other methods of getting money from customers, F2P doesn't automatically mean "Cash Shop" or "microtransactions". It just means "Free to play", insinuating no subscription fee. Just as Anarchy Online is free to play.
This means that such a server could be viewed purely as a temporary "test server" to gauge public reaction. A massive "online survey" if you want to use that phrase. No cash shop. No microtransactions. No huge updates. No Expansions. No Customer Service (beyond forums). No Official Support (beyond forums). Just the server as it was to be used on a trial basis, the goal of which is to gauge public reaction.
It should be viewed as a Test Server, and a temporary one at that. Nothing else.