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I usually don't like these kins of threads but I'm bored.
SWG-what can CU learn from SWG? Don't launch too early. It's better to be late and clean than early and bug filled. Character customization, crafted economies, and housing also keep players invested beyond max level. Equality, peace, simplicity, a SWG player craves not these things. Equality is a lie, peace is myth, simplicity is for the simple minded. Diversity, chaos, complexity, these are the way to niche MMO client retention.
Seriously, SWG had major problems, major bugs, major stability issues, major combat issues, major punishments, and because it allowed us to live in a world we built rather than play in a park someone else scripted for us it maintained 250k dedicated players for years despite so many issues.
It's easy to walk away from a character that looks like everyone else, has the same leet gear as everyone else, and has had 0 impact on the evolution of the game world. It's was painful for me to walk away from a the unique character that I created for myself. It was almost impossible to leave behind the in game museum that I built. It was heart wrenching to abandon the clothing and rare items I spent countless hours acquiring. And most importantly, and this is the number one thing CU can take away from SWG...I never quit SWG entirely until the day it died. I always came back because in a player built economy where you rely on one another the community that forms is something you simply can't turn your back to.
In SWG you didn't just play a game with other people, you lived in a world, your formed a society, your built something special with other players. That is something you can't script, program, or force. It was natural. We were given the tools and we made SWG into more than the devs ever dreamed, problems be damned.