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Star Wars Galaxies: NGE: Review, Editorial and Interview

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Just call it "New Game Experience Day" here on Today we have three features that look at this highly controversial introduction into Star Wars Galaxies. Today we have an exclusive interview with LucasArts, an editorial on changing games after launch and a review of the "New Game Experience.

The first article - an exclusive interview with Press and Community Relations Manager Casey Keefe - gives LucasArts the forum to answer four quick and basic questions about the decision to make this change and what it means.

image Are you worried about alienating the base that has made SWG a success to date? What do you say to those who feel betrayed?

Casey Keefe: That’s always a risk with the advancement of any game, whether it be taking an MMO in a new direction or releasing a completely new sequel. However, we have had multiple members of the existing player base, both casual and hardcore alike, come out in support of the new direction of the game who are really enjoying it.

To those that feel “betrayed” we understand their frustration, but really think they are missing out on a great Star Wars experience by not continuing to play the game with its new direction. I would suggest they give it a real honest try, if they do not like it after that then at least they have given it a fair shake, but don’t cast it off automatically just because it is something new.

You can read the full interview here.

In the second article, Lead Content Editor Dana Massey provides an editorial that looks at the ethics of wholesale changes to an MMORPG after it launched.

image Recently, Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts took the unprecedented step of offering refunds to those who had purchased the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack as the company announced some sweeping changes to the game.

This is the latest incident in a string of public relations misadventures for SOE and LucasArts as they make wholesale changes to Star Wars Galaxies.

Earlier this year, the much-criticized, but ultimately accepted – at least in terms of subscribers and informal polls – Combat Upgrade hit the servers to a round of howling from the fans. Then, in a recent Producer Letter, Julio Torres explained that the team would be making more moves to make the game feel more like Star Wars.

You can read the full editorial here.

Finally, writer Rob Hinman turns a critical eye towards the changes and what they mean in this new review of Star Wars Galaxies post-"New Game Experience". His verdict? He gives is 6.3 out of 10, down from the 7.0 we gave the original title. Find out why:

image Due to the massive changes recently implemented within the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) Mmorpg, we felt it was necessary to update our review to reflect the changes brought out by the New Game Experience (NGE). We do hope that this review will provide you with the information needed. Also, I will refer to the combat upgrade (CU) along with the NGE. In the last 6 months, SWG has done multiple changes to the game and we’ll try to be as clear as we can.

Before we press on, I feel that I should give a brief explanation of the NGE. The NGE has taken all professions and merged them into 9 iconic professions: The Bounty Hunter, Entertainer, Medic, Smuggler, Commando, Jedi, Officer, Trader and Spy. Some professions were abolished entirely (such as the Creature Handler and the Chef). Without further adieu…

You can read the full review here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios



  • SquidiSquidi Tallahassee, FLPosts: 419Member

    I thought the editorial was excellent, but I don't think that it is possible to maintain pre-NGE servers. Given the complexity of the relationship between all the different databases, it would be extremely difficult to separate them out. Even if it such trouble could be eventually overcome, it is unlikely that a playerbase large enough to afford the hardware costs would exist for a game that could effectively never be updated ever again. They wouldn't get any bug fixes and they wouldn't get any expansions. People would get tired and quit far sooner than the cost of setting up a pre-NGE server would be paid off.

    Launching a second product, like SWG 2, takes even more money for all new hardware, support staff, designers, programmers, and so on. Launching SWG 2 only two years after SWG, and with SWG not having even the playerbase to support one game (they've been careful not to say that SWG is in trouble, but doom has been prophecized for months in the forums due to ghost towns) would hardly ensure a success. I mean, it took a year for EQ2 to find an identity, and it was piggybacking on the largest and most powerful IP in the business. It just isn't something that could be done.

    Assuming that it was indeed impossible to launch another product or maintain pre-NGE servers, is it really ethical to change a game midstream? Like I said, they've been careful not to say so, bu SWG can't be doing well enough to support itself. I mean, after the public relations hell that was the CU, do you think they'd so willfully jump back in with an even greater change like the NGE unless they had no other choice? They CAN'T shut down SWG. It would be a franchise blackmark that would follow them forever and make SOE the laughing stock of the gaming industry (you failed at a Star Wars game?!). It's better to be hated by some than face becoming the defacto mmorpg standard for failure for ever after (not enough people played the other games that were cancelled after two years, but this is STAR WARS!)

    If the choice was between shutting down SWG, causing players to lose everything rather than just adapt to a new playstyle, or keeping SWG viable through fundamental changes, I'm personally glad that they chose the latter. I mean, a lot of the game is still there, if a little different. I mean, crafting is not as financially viable, but you can still put down harvestors, track down excellent resources, and make stuff in factories. You can still plop down houses. You can jump into space. SWG is still there, and much of what originally drew me to the game is still there. I'd be sad if SWG closed and miss it terribly. That I merely have to adapt to a slightly different game is a much better alternative.

    So, I agree with the sentiments of the editorial. I don't think it is ethical to change a wildly popular MMORPG with a happy, content playerbase, but SWG is not wildly popular and the playerbase is anything but happy and content. These changes, I believe, were not spawned from ego or greed, but by neccessity of failure. SWG just wasn't going to survive another year in its current state, if that. The NGE is bad PR, but it's a new chance when it previously had none.

    My one complaint with the NGE isn't the direction that it is taking, but more that it isn't there already. Changing the game this fundamentally is not something that happens overnight, and I do feel like they rushed it. It's not complete, and it's not completely designed. There are gaping holes and bugs, and SWG's track record in this regard does little to give hope for the immediate future. I have no choice but to trust in them for the time being, because I'd rather have SWG in any form than not have it at all. I support the NGE and I like the changes. If they deliver what they promise in the coming months, then I'll be pleased as punch. If they don't, I move on to another MMORPG.

  • lsutiglsutig Denham Springs, LAPosts: 92Member


    As the term goes for beauty; it’s in the eye of the beholder. It seems, in this case, the same rule applies. After the NGE, I logged on with my CL 80 Bounty Hunter and found it to be no fun whatsoever. However, when I created a brand new character, I found myself playing the game for two straight hours. The tutorial and beginning quests were very fun.

    have to agree with Rob Hinman here.

    i downloaded the free trial and found myself still playing after 2 hours or so. logged into the real game on a friends account thats still paid for and was bored after 20 mins. it felt exactly like the free trial for eq2. the starter island(EQ2) and space station(SWG) are compact and really fast paced instant action, but once you get into the real game it turns into something else and a lot less fun.

  • dalevi1dalevi1 Toledo, OHPosts: 829Member





    My responses. If they think vets are "missing" anything by playing this game, they are "missing" the point. Star Wars is not only what you dorks have on paper. It is also what we have had in our imaginations since we were kids. Your marketing is telling you that SW = Jedi, and nothing more. You bought it. We won't.

    Played (more than a month): SWG, Second Life, Tabula Rasa, Lineage 2, Everquest 2, EvE, MxO, Ryzom.

    Tried: WoW, Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, Everquest, WWII Online, Planetside

    Beta: Lotro, Tabula Rasa, WAR.

  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCPosts: 2,779Member Uncommon

    I couldn't tell you who to blame more... Lucas Arts or SOE... But I can tell you that they don't have a clue.  Or they are somehow falling for some very misleading information from someone in the company.

    After the CU they had a comment that I think was in fact listed on this site.  From someone at SOE claiming they had as many active players as previous to CU.

    From having been in the game at the time my server (star sider) was totally dead.  Just before the CU it had not been... There was a lot of activity once again in Theed and Coronet and various player cities.  I played a bit on two other servers that were just as dead.  When you looked at the population list every server listed as "low" with one maybe two at "medium".

    After SOE claimed the numbers were back up... The same list showed all the previous "low" at "medium" and the "medium" at "high".

    Of course logging into the game you saw the exact same numbers as before.  They rebalanced the population load list that was it.

    As to the NGE...

    It is very fun in the tutorial.  Outside it is interesting if you are lucky for 2 to 3 days.

    I'm all for the idea of "good for the long term" theory... I just cannot see how losing this much population is good for anything other than a tax write off.

    As to their claim of not being able to do pre-cu/nge servers along side the others.

    Ahem Japan servers have never been upgraded to CU... They are still pre-cu and yes are closing down in January of 2006 .. due to the fact the game failed there.

    Obviously if a pre-cu server set (there was 2 servers) can be run in Japan... one set can be run in the USA.

    I can't make SOE do anything but I will never buy another SOE product.   I played SWG from Beta till now off and on.. Used to love it.. everything I loved in that game is gone.  Including my previously professions (bio engineer and creature handler).  I've taken nerfs in many games... but I never had my class removed from a game before.

    /end ramble (sorry but very upset with this crap game at the moment).


  • daeandordaeandor Houston, TXPosts: 2,996Member Uncommon
    I think Rob Hinman pretty much hit the nail on the head in his review.  In fact, I think his giving NGE a 6.3 was generous.
  • Judge21Judge21 Miami, FLPosts: 5Member
    I soo wanted this game to rock.  Continued disappointment.
  • EnigmaEnigma Lancaster, PAPosts: 12,184Member

    lol just for the record...Rob is me

    People who have to create conspiracy and hate threads to further a cause lacks in intellectual comprehension of diversity.

  • UlfarUlfar New York, LAPosts: 75Member

    What former glory ?

    enough said.

  • admriker444admriker444 Nampa, IDPosts: 1,526Member

    The only thing I disagree with is that the NGE was implemented to make the game feel more star warsy for us.

    Its obvious it was done to make the game easier to port over to console systems. And that is a huge slap in the face to the vets.

    I will never ever be interested in a fps game. Im really bad at them. I cant aim at all. If I wanted to play one, I'd stick with Call of Duty 2 on my XBOX 360 where the graphics are better and the game doesnt cost me $15 a month

  • WeppsWepps Latrobe, PAPosts: 1,322Member

    Casey Keefe: That’s always a risk with the advancement of any game, whether it be taking an MMO in a new direction or releasing a completely new sequel. However, we have had
    multiple members of the existing player base, both casual and hardcore alike, come out in support of the new direction of the game who are really enjoying it.

    'Multiple' members?

    Is that more or less than 'several'?

    **edit** - found it - Multiple: more than one.

    And now that I think of it, I'm fairly sure I know who these two guys are...



    "For one who seeks what he cannot obtain suffers torture; one who has what is not desirable is cheated; and one who does not seek what is worth seeking is diseased." - Augustine of Hippo

  • docminusdocminus J.Posts: 717Member

    something i missed in the editorial was a comment about crafting. this seems to another trouble child SOE doesn't seem to be able to handle to well.
    i won't go on ranting about this here and now, i guess most swg players know what i mean.

    not to mention all the bugs in general that were carried into live and will probably remain for a long time to come in parallel to already existing quest bugs.....


  • TealaTeala SomewherePosts: 7,484Member Uncommon

    I have to disagree on three of your scores.

    Fun, Community, and CS.

    How you could rate them so high is mind boggling.   The game is to buggy and klunky to be fun any more.  They messed up key mapping, and with all the bugs you encounter now and there are way more now than ever before it is not fun.  I would give it at most a 3 for fun myself.

    Community you gave a 7!  Maybe in pre-NGE, but not now.  Total guilds have vanished from the game.  SOE killed off a large portion of the games community with this mess.  I would rate it a 2 at most.  My former server Tarquinas is almost empty of players.

    CS.  This has to be an error.  Star Wars Galaxies is notorious for their poor CS.  How can you honestly give this games CS the score you did.  Their customer service is so bad they even shut down their online CS services to players.  This should get a 1.

  • bugzonlsdbugzonlsd Odessa, TXPosts: 410Member
    No sorry, I totaly disagree with you there bud, lets compare when you guys implemeted the group xp NERF ( and yes thats what it was ) to the NGE. How many people cancelled,  ranted and raved at that -vs- the NGE. Ok first off people actually stayed when you threw that group xp thing in, but you noticed soon that you had to take it out right ( which you did ) ok. People came back after. Now for the NGE well take a look for yourself at and go the forums have a look around bro . People are droppin like flys because of the NGE. I myself did give the NGE an honest try dude, I tested in Test center for over a week at almost 4 to 8 hours per day and submitted many bugs and things I knew players would hate and I'm sure many others did the same but you guys released anyhow the way it was when you clearly knew it wasnt ready for live. I dont understand that. And dont get me wrong man yea this new combat system is new I'll give it that, but thats all it is bro new and a new bugged hardly working combat system it is. As for live testing I used  respec to go to jedi and spy and leveled my toon to 90 and was more then likely one of the first ones to do it and I gotta say, if thats not giving it an honest try then what would you call it. Unlike others I'm not totaly against the NGE,  I'll tell you what I'm against A BROKEN COMBAT SYSTEM THAT NOONE CAN ENJOY not to mention the halfarse job you guys did with quest xp from 1 to 30 ? I mean cmon you knew over 3 quarters of the playerbase were at the very least cl 80 you have the numbers you know you do. And I mean cmon dude,  this try it, love it or leave it attitude you just gave THE ENTIRE SWG PLAYERBASE only shows your total disregaurd for the needs wants and opinions of the community. And after reading it myself as well as everyone else who will read it pretty soon LOL I'd doubt very highly that you'll ever get any quitting players back and btw if you dont have the numbers on cancel's I'd suggest you gettem bro because they are pretty high.
  • TealaTeala SomewherePosts: 7,484Member Uncommon

    You know the more I review your review, I think you are actually doing a huge disservice to gamers with your scores.  Are you afraid to score it honestly so that SOE doesn't pull their ads?  I think maybe you are.   As long as gaming websites like this kiss up to game companies like SOE they'll continue to release buggy and broken games.  NGE is chuck full of bugs, it is not even 1/4 of the way finished.  Combat is atrocious.  The loot tables are no better than what they had before though they swear they are.  The GUI is abysmal.   How can you possibly think that you can score this game the way you did and think people are going to take you seriously?


  • EnigmaEnigma Lancaster, PAPosts: 12,184Member

    Originally posted by Teala
    You know the more I review your review, I think you are actually doing a huge disservice to gamers with your scores. Are you afraid to score it honestly so that SOE doesn't pull their ads? I think maybe you are. As long as gaming websites like this kiss up to game companies like SOE they'll continue to release buggy and broken games. NGE is chuck full of bugs, it is not even 1/4 of the way finished. Combat is atrocious. The loot tables are no better than what they had before though they swear they are. The GUI is abysmal. How can you possibly think that you can score this game the way you did and think people are going to take you seriously?

    I reviewed the game and I gave it a fair rating. lol, we have no secret agenda with SOE. On the same note, if I were to give it all 3s I guarantee you that I would get a whole bunch of How can you possibly think that you can score this game the way you did and think people are going to take you seriously? but from the opposite playerbase than you.

    If I gave it a all 3s or all 2s would you seriously have agreed to the review? Maybe you. But what about others? I think the rating was fair. The final rating was 6.3. Look at the average ratings of mmorpgs. 6.3 isnt the greatest in the world. If I gave the final rating of SWG a 3 I would transcend from a reviewer to an upset SWG fan who feels SOE is ripping me off.

    And to we do not have some super secret AD deal with SOE. That's hilarious. ::::02::

    People who have to create conspiracy and hate threads to further a cause lacks in intellectual comprehension of diversity.

  • bugzonlsdbugzonlsd Odessa, TXPosts: 410Member
    Rob thanks for the honest review bro you told it and called it just like it is, the NGE and that starterkit are TEH SUCK. What they did was not only a slap in the face to its subscribers it was a complete failure to the Starwars community, and game players everywhere, 6.3 was a bit high for me though LOL
  • MrRoseMrRose KPosts: 31Member

    Serious i have played it since launch and i have Lightspeed and Kashyyk expansions, and
    i dont like it at al. I think the new players comes in with totaly new eyes and maybe like it,
    and im starting to see a bad pattern in mmorpg games. Iknow that mmorpg MUST expand
    but after al these years i hoped game devolopers had learned how to expand with out NERF
    al vet players back to start. With CU my rare stuff converted to be semi good, and my jedi
    isnt much better then anyone else. Well enough said and kicking and screaming like a child ;)
    I really hope it will come a seriouse game that we can play for years without to be afraid of
    be nerfed so hard you want to quit :)
    (sorry if my english isnt that good, it aint my main language)

    ::::28:: for though not be nerfed here i hope ;)

  • awentworawentwor St Louis, MOPosts: 2Member

    I think one of the major things that MMORPG.COM did not touch on was the breach of trust that SOE has shown to their current client base.  Let me take a moment and outline some of it:

    1) At the time of the game just prior to the NGE, there were bugs in the game that were there since SWG launched over two years ago.  An example of this... warping mobs or rifleman warping anytime they would go prone and fire.  SOE made promises to have these fixed... and they were never addressed.

    2) The promise that Jedi would be rare and powerful.  At the end... Jedi were everywhere and weren't even the promised 1.5x more powerful than the normal professions.

    3) Releasing an expansion and then announcing sweeping changes to the game that primarily voided the benefits of the expansion.  Why have an expansion to begin with if it is known that sweeping changes were coming?  Simple... there are those people who purchase the expansion that will never get their money.  I currently am having problems getting a refund for the expansion even after following the guidelines set forth by SOE.  Just today I received a response stating that they couldn't validate my account and to submit the same information I originally did.  Wonder how many people will have the same problems, and their *responses* not in by the December deadline.

    4) Promises of profession *revamps* (ie.. Ranger) up till days before the announcement of the NGE.  Obviously the NGE spent months in building... so why lie to the community during that time?  Reason... profits.  If players knew that their professions were being eliminated, then those players would have quit a lot ealier than they did.  SOE lied to the community and duped them out of their $14.95 a month knowing full well that their character templates were going to be a thing of the past.

    These are just four quick and simple displays of SOE's breach of trust with their subscriber base.  If one looks deeper, they will see many other areas that SOE has blatantly lied to their paying customers.  The NGE was just the boiling point for the community calling it quits with SOE.  Not only has a considerable number of friends (Intrepid Server) quit the game with their multiple accounts, because of the shady treatment displayed by SOE... these friends will never again purchase a SOE game again. 

    SOE may be attempting a *gutsy* move with the NGE and trying to give a more *star warsy* feel to the game... but it is my opinion that they have hurt their company in the long run.  Not only is the current player base leaving in mass, most have lost their trust in the company.  That will come into play next time they are at their local Best Buy and standing in front of the software display while looking at two games... and one of them run by SOE.  I know I'll grab the other guy's game simply to avoid what SOE is certainly capable of as a company.

  • FaxxerFaxxer Lawton, OKPosts: 3,247Member

    The interview with the SOE rep was disappointing as he never adressed the issues facing the company with the massive exodus.  Why can't they just talk like adults and face the heat?  There are plenty of legit issues they need to answer for but simply refuse....

    Star warsy feel?  Why can't they even call it marketing?  Why won't they talk in the real world language of business....  I recently read that they claimed 115k ppl logged on daily.....if that's so, HOW MANY LOG ON DAILY NOW?  HOW MANY ACCOUNTS HAVE CLOSED THIS MONTH VS. THIS SAME MONTH LAST YEAR?  These are the questions i have for this guy....


    p.s. Julio Torres ....YOU ARE FIRED!

  • veedaveeda bellingham, WAPosts: 3Member

    Excellent review! However, it says "character customization" under pros. I'm assuming this refers to the visual customization that you make when first creating your character, because that is where the customization stops.

    I think the character customization (in terms of skills) is severely lacking, and should be listed under cons.

    Overall a very good review though.

  • FishermageFishermage Newtown, CTPosts: 7,562Member

    I want to thank Dana for being spot on with that Editorial. may the Force Bless you and keep you, Happy Lifeday and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Daffid011Daffid011 Posts: 7,881Member Uncommon

    Hi Rob,

    Nice review that covers some big point pretty objectively and right on spot. I would like to offer you my feedback of your review.

    -Chef is still in the game in the domestics trader. Scout, ranger, bio engineer and creature handler are gone.

    -Sound, graphics, fun and roleplay are right on.

    -Lag while your desciprtion is right on, I don't think you should make claims to what should be fine in a few hotfixes. If the developers track record on getting fixes out timely was not what it is, then maybe that wouldn't be an unreasonable statement. Lets be honest though, there is a huge mountain of fixes and additional programming that is needed to bring the game up to release quality. You should not state that things will be fine in "a few weeks", because there is no way to tell what the devs are working on and most of the lag issues have been around since launch.

    -Traders: I believe you should touch on this in a little more detail than you did. The crafting in SWG prior to the NGE was a whole game in iteself with many facets. Most of what made the crafting so unique and compelling has been eliminated. I won't be over dramatic, but crafting for the most part is a nonfactor in the game.

    -You list character customization in the PRO column. If you are meaning that in regards to character appearance you should state that. Otherwise most would think the previous open ended character building system offered far more character customization than the now 9 predefined templates that do not deviate between one player to the next....

    Cheers and thanks for listening.


  • AlteranAlteran Calgary, ABPosts: 1Member

    I've been a subscriber to SWG for almost 2 full years now.  The CU that happened was a partial step in the right direction.  It brought ranged combat to a level that it should have always been at and got rid of the terrible DOT's from the weapons.  On the down side it dumbed down too many aspects of the game for crafting and in some regards the abilities of combat professions.

    What SOE/LA should have done was refine the CU abit more and then leave combat alone.  Stability in any MMOG is the key to long lasting game that customers can then enjoy and count on.  The continual changes to profession abilities over the last 6 months were needed, but the Dev's needed to just stop making changes and allow the player base to work with what they had.

    The NGE for SWG has completely ruined an older stable guild that survived the CU pretty much only losing 1 person.  Now I am lucky to see another member of my guild.  My account is up in Jan and it's already been cancelled... I'm very sure that I won't be renewing either. 

    Unless there are some drastic changes in how SWG is run, both in CS and keeping the community informed, I won't be using another MMOG product from SOE again.  Tonight for the first time I'll be giving Blizzard a shot and the World of Warcraft will be loaded onto my machine. 

    What a disappointment.

  • AcheronEHJAcheronEHJ Santa Clarita, CAPosts: 18Member

    One of the things that people accept.. no, demand.. in a MMOG is continued development.  As such, I think its completely reasonable for a company to take the bold step of making major changes to an ongoing  MMOG product.

    However, such activity is not without its risks.  The more significant the changes, the greater the ability to either succeed grandly or fail horribly.  Plus regardless of whether the changes were good or bad, there will always be people who simply hate them.  Such is life.

    Did SOE have the right to make such changes?  Absolutely.

    Should they keep pre-change servers around?  Only if it is financially worthwhile to them.  And honestly, if it is, they probably made bad choices in their changes.

    SWG's fatal flaw has always really seemed to be its lack of GAME.  Its a nice looking SW World.  But the underlying game mechanics have been pathetically simplistic and dull since day one.  I doubt they're ever going to fix that in this product, no matter how much they try.

  • pestrolpestrol north ca, CAPosts: 1Member Has any thought been given to offering “classic servers” or alternatively, restricting these sweeping changes to new servers, or even simply doing a sequel or parallel title?
    Casey Keefe:



    the insensibility is **unbelieveable**!! It's this kind of comment that caused me not to regret cancelling my account last night.

    After 2 years of playing and spending my hard earn dollar to these SOE guys, it is very disappointing that they don't at least try? Freaking **unbelieveable**!!


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