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First off, this is a declaration of crusade against all those who repeatedly call out against SOE for the so called disaster of NGE. I think this has become such a reflex, I can no longer stand idly and silent.
Second, I kindly ask the chivalry of my contestors to really hear me out and reply seriously and thoughtful. I respect you as a person, but I seriously think the flames against SOE and NGE are undeserved and unjust.
What is the idea if the flame? The idea to hear all the SOE and SWG hate is based on this assumption: SWG was the perfect game, running great and well and out of nowhere SOE made the NGE and ruined the game. I contest this assumption - in every part of it. It is a myth.
I played SWG for 2.5 years since a short time after launch and beyond NGE. SWG was my one big MMO love. I played it daily for hours, I was in a big and successful guild who had created one of the biggest and most thriving player cities on our server. My character was Creature Handler & Pikeman, so I lost both my professions with the NGE and all my collected animals. I that, I am a direct victim of the NGE.
However, since I played daily at the time and long before the NGE, the basic premise of the critic is a myth: SWG was not perfect and at the time before the NGE is was NOT thriving. On the contrary. I had watched my friends list and the population in constant decline. It had started with EQ2 and WOW was a huge blow. The TRUTH is, with every new MMO the number of active players were in constant decline. So NGE did not come to a well running game. NGE was a REACTION to what was going on. Going on were two things: first, SWG was in great decline of players, and second: every new and successfull MMO totally turned away from the principles of the sandbox game, on which SWG was based.
Both EQ2 and WOW, as EVERY new MMO coming since then was not sandbox, but guided quests experience. Mark me: I loved the sandbox game in those days. We did not quests and had no quests, and still we enjoyed the game. But those days clearly were coming to an end. Look at the MMO genre today. Look at the great failure of Vanguard, which is basically because they have far too much sandbox and far too little guided experience. One of the important skills of a thinking adult is to differ between HIS/HER preferrences and the trend. I can do that, so I see what was going on for REAL, not the myth people made around it. I respect ppl who love sandbox, really. For 2+ years I loved it too. But times DID change, the market changed, the majority of the players started to want quests, things to guide them, things to do, to be entertained. You can bemoam that as passive expectancy if you will, and with some right you could, but the facts remain.
SOE & Lucasarts saw a constant decline in players and a great rise of quest-based, guided MMOs, a trend which holds up until today unbroken. How could they NOT react to this? Sure, they could have stayed in a niche. But I dont think the great Star Wars franchise, of which I am a great fan, deserves that.
What did NGE do? For once, it remade the combat system. Sure, not every detail of the NGE was right. But what did we have before? My pikeman had almost 3 dozens of attacks. 3-4 attacks to the legs, 3-4 to the head - it was a HUGE assortment of attacks, but if we are honest: in real combat we ALL just made button bashing. The entire complexity was more or less superficial, because in the hectic of RT combat it doesnt really matter. I never saw anyone who did not just mash all the buttons. They had really little relevance. It is a myth. Sure, you used some special abilites once and then. But in real, most were quite a pointless complexity.
Second, yes the loss of s skill based system was bad. I agree on that. But it wasnt THAT bad. It is not that my life depends on it, and if you make specializations, why not? So many games are enjoyable even though they have no skill but level based system. I bemoan the losses of my professions, but I understand the reality of MMO market of those days just WAS that a lot of players were used to "inconic" classes instead of a obsucre mix of everything. People played tanks, wizards, scouts. They identify with it, and there just IS a great plausibility in this.
Third: I said Jedi will be playable and should be playable from day one of SWG. Why? Because its logical. It is just (obviously as you can see now) the dream of a great number of players! How can you make a Star Wars based MMO and NOT include Jedi? Sure, it does not fit well into the setting of Episode IV - V. So what? Is Star Wars the holy grail of history play? I always thought it was a bad setting in time and going back or far ahead would have been better because it would allow greater flexibility. I would have loved a SWG in the KOTOR era. But it was at it was, and with Jedi being what many potential player wanted, how could they NOT include it. And TBH, the entire system of the Aurilla-Jedi-questline was a joke. It was implementing an ENDLESS mindnumbind grind, the worst grind i have ever seen, and no fun at all. Being a Jedi has what to do with grind? It wasnt difficult, it wasnt dangerous quests, clever roleplay or anything, it was a mindnumbind grind, so taking Jedi to a normal profession was right. Killing 100000s of mobs did not really qualify a good Jedi player above someone else. It just proofed you were more tolerant to idiotic grinds of the worst kind I have seen. What did THAT have to do with being a Jedi, with playing a MMORPG - a sort of roleplaying game? If there would have been real tests, quest and trials, but it was only grinding, pure, mindless, idiotic grind. Taking that out by the NGE was bad? I dont think so.
I could go on about many things. I wont defend all things NGE did. Granted, it was a far too great simplification. Too less professions and too less alternatives from making a standart character. But it was in NO way the disaster to the well running game myth makes of it. Besides, all realistic evidence points out it was Lucasarts who pulled most of the strings, so blaming SOE is just that blind fanatism to find someone guilty and tar and feather him as witchhunters usually do. In the days before NGE, SWG was a game in decline in a new era of MMO gaming where the sandbox idea was about to fade away. Thats the truth. Even though I dont like everything NGE did, it was a courage I admire. A MMO can not only build on the always shrinking niche of vets. It must open up. We all cry always for innovation, we always blame companies who rest on their laurels and dont dare to innovate. SOE did dare. And what did the vets do? The started a witchhunt and flame war of unseen propotions.
I had sadly watched the official SWG forums those days. Besides some true claims, the majority of ppl where aggressive witchhunters, seeking to vent off and exaggerate, knowing no reason nor restraint and thus bringing ruin to the game with the emotional frenzy and the always spread false myth of SOE ruining the perfect game. SWG was NEVER perfect. It was great in many ways, but it was also heavily flawed. If something really ruined the game, it was the merciless and unreasonable flame war of veterans, who did no accept that the modalities of gaming had changed and they were dinosaurs of MMO gaming now.
Truth hurts. I am sorry it does, really. But after all this year we still hear this false myth against SWG and SOE. It is not reality and despite several great errors NGE had, it is undeserved. Before you flame me, pls now after all these years now really think calm and without prejudice about all thise before you go to auto-flame mode. Thanks.
People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert