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Star Wars Galaxies

Some Assembly Required: Three games that need player-generated content

Fantasy, Historical, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Some Assembly Required, World of Warplanes, Player-Generated Content

Some Assembly Required - Three games that need player-generated content
At times over the last half decade, I've felt as if the MMORPG genre lost sight of itself. It seemed that all any gamemaker wanted to do was emulate a certain wildly successful outlier, and this in turn threw a wet blanket over the sandbox play, emergent design, and player-generated content that separates MMOs from run-of-the-mill video games.

The last year or so has seen the collective industry start to wake up from that bad dream, as there are now a half dozen really promising sandbox or sandpark titles in development, several of which are backed by millions of dollars and major studios.

What about the current crop of games, though? Is it a stretch to imagine a few of them, even the unapologetically linear ones, expanding their horizons with a little bit of player-generated content?

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Clone Wars Adventures not (immediately) affected by EA/Disney deal

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Free-to-Play, Clone Wars Adventures

Clone Wars Adventures not immediately affected by EADisney deal
If you're a Star Wars fan, you've no doubt heard of EA's acquisition of an exclusive multi-year license for creating games based on the iconic space story, a license that spans multiple platforms. But what does that mean for current -- or even past -- Star Wars MMOs that aren't connected to that studio? Massively jumped on the case and contacted SOE to find out what, if any, effect this agreement between EA and Disney would have on its past and present titles.

Specifically, we asked if Clone Wars Adventures would be forced to shut down when the current license expires. Of course, we also slipped in a question as to whether or not that deal prevented any possibility of a return of Star Wars Galaxies. As for CWA, the studio replied "Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures is fully armed and operational, and this week's announcement does not affect our current agreement with Lucasfilm." So the browser-based games appears safe -- at least for now. The studio, however, declined to comment on SWG.

The Perfect Ten: Final moments of MMOs, part 1

Video, The Matrix Online, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Tabula Rasa, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Sunsets

The Perfect Ten Final moments of MMOs
Maybe many of us would just rather remember MMOs as they were in life rather than at the moment of their demise. But I believe that how a game went out is incredibly fascinating for many reasons and worthy of examination.

It's in these final moments when an entire community has to say goodbye. It's in these moments that the developers mourn as well before pulling the plug. It's in these moments that history is being made one last time. And it goes without saying that it's in these moments that everyone curses the unfairness of it all.

Today we're going to watch the first half of 10 videos featuring MMOs in their final moments. It's here we'll see how weird, crazy, sad, and interesting things can get. Maybe you were part of one (or more) of these moments or are simply curious what it was like. Either way, it's the end of the world as we know it. And we feel fine.

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One Shots: ???

Screenshots, EverQuest, Neocron 2, Star Wars Galaxies, One Shots, Miscellaneous

One Shots
There's a lot going on in our lead picture here. There are question marks, a fungus person, a pointedly staring frog, and enough colors to give Crayola a run for its money. But what is it about? What does it mean?

Reader Stacy helps clear things up: "That's mah frog. This was around April Fool's last year (those question marks are fireworks from that in-game event and are amazing in motion). This was my first house; I got it for free from the EverQuest in-game card game, so I did not have much decoration. I bought a bunch of pets from a man down the street and set them loose, then set off all my fireworks and partied the night away with frog and friends."

See, if we did most of these activities in real life, we'd be in jail. Aren't MMOs grand?

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Some Assembly Required: There's no crafting in Star Wars!

Sci-Fi, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox, Crafting

Some Assembly Required blueprint header
The other week I posted a Leaderboard inviting people to vote for their favorite Star Wars MMO. The comments featured a number of both predictable and surprising insights, but one line of thought in particular stood out to me. There are apparently some folks out there who think that Star Wars is nothing more than laser pistols and lightsabers, just as there are some folks who think that MMOs are nothing more than combat lobbies.

While I'll stop short of labeling these people because of a difference in opinion, it's clear that they haven't really thought this through.

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Leaderboard: What's the best Star Wars MMO?

Sci-Fi, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Free-to-Play, Browser, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Clone Wars Adventures, Sandbox, Leaderboard

SWG is the best Star Wars MMO regardless of this poll result!
Star Wars has gotten the MMO treatment not once, not twice, but three times. This is assuming that you count SOE's Clone Wars Adventures browser title, which I do since it features extensive progression, non-combat activities, and a slew of other MMO-like features in spite of its heavy use of instancing.

Then there's Star Wars Galaxies, of course, followed by Star Wars: The Old Republic. For today's Leaderboard, help us pick the best Star Wars MMO (or at least, the most popular according to Massively commenters). Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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The Daily Grind: Should player homes decay?

Fantasy, Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous, Housing

UO housing tiles
One of the issues plaguing player housing in MMOs is what to do with those houses after the player-owners have left the game or stopped paying for their subscriptions. In Ultima Online, the granddaddy of all MMO housing, your home drops to the ground if you haven't paid your sub in 90 days (and your shardmates can loot all your stuff in a grand free-for-all!). In Star Wars Galaxies, your house stayed standing until it ran out of pre-paid maintenance money, which worked pretty well to help the active players reclaim city space until maintenance was turned off for a few years in consideration for hurricane victims.

Even games with instanced housing feel the space crunch. In Lord of the Rings Online, failure to pay your maintenance fees in-game leads to the eventual return of your lot to the public pool and your having to buy back all your loot from an escrow NPC.

MMO developers are torn between the desire to lure back former players with the promise that their houses are still intact and the desire to keep the world, instanced or not, clear and open for paying or active players. So what do you guys think -- what should be the more dominant goal? If you step away from a game, should your character's home decay? And if it did, would you ever return to the game?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

Some Assembly Required: The ultimate MMORPG

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, DC Universe Online, Some Assembly Required, Sandbox

Some Assembly Required 17
It's been raining for four days straight, and I've been cooped up in my house with nothing but a head cold and a bunch of time to think about my ideal sandbox MMORPG.

For this week's Some Assembly Required, then, I'm shamelessly borrowing the format from Massively's MMO Blender column to construct a perfect(ly) theoretical hybrid. I've done so once before, but this time I'm going to put the focus on fantasy instead of on the sci-fi stylings of Star Citizen and Star Wars Galaxies.

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The Daily Grind: What's your favorite non-combat feature?

Lord of the Rings Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RIFT, ArcheAge, Sandbox, Age of Wushu

The Daily Grind
Non-combat features don't get a lot of love in popular MMOs these days, but there have nonetheless been some interesting experiments in this department over the years. From RIFT's housing to Star Wars Galaxies' Entertainers to Lord of the Rings Online's music system, several genre titles have strayed from the straight and narrow of violence and character progression.

Upcoming titles like Age of Wushu and ArcheAge are adding new wrinkles as well, so for today's Daily Grind we'd like to hear your thoughts on non-combat MMO features. Specifically, which one is your favorite?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

The Daily Grind: What obscure mechanic should become a standard MMO feature?

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, The Daily Grind, Sandbox

The Daily Grind - What obscure mechanic should become a standard MMO feature?
Over the weekend we learned that The Repopulation will be implementing some sort of Entertainer skill set that is at least partly inspired by similar mechanics in Star Wars Galaxies. SWG's signature non-combat profession is still unique in MMO annals, though, and we got to wondering if there are other nifty mechanics that should be revisited in newer games.

What do you think? Is there a particular class, system, or MMO mechanic that you'd like to see become an MMORPG standard?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

University study explores game loyalty in MMOs

World of Warcraft, Culture, Guilds, MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Miscellaneous

University study explains gamer loyalty
Developers who want to build a loyal fan base (and subsequently increase profits) might want to check out the findings of a new study conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Management. One of the study's conclusions is something that many MMO gamers probably suspect: Giving players more control of their characters and building a community fosters loyalty.

Dr. Lawrence Sanders, co-author of the study, discussed how most research focuses on the addictive nature of games instead of the reasons behind players committing to one game over another. He wrote, "Our study looked at how to make [games] more competitive in the marketplace." Sanders pointed out that research shows an increase in customer retention by as little as 5% can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

So how can developers create the fierce loyalty found in MMO communities surrounding games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars Galaxies? According to the results of the study, which will be published in the International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Sanders suggested that "to build a player's feeling of ownership toward his character, gamemakers should provide equal opportunities for any character to win a battle. They should also build more selective or elaborate chat rooms and guild features to help players socialize."

Hyperspace Beacon: Gearing up for SWTOR Update 1.5

Sci-Fi, Events (In-Game), Patches, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Free-to-Play, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Guides, Hyperspace Beacon

Hyperspace Beacon Gearing up for SWTOR Update 15
Star Wars: The Old Republic fans have been anticipating this week since the middle of the summer, and many players who dropped the game shortly after launch are looking forward to trying it out again. Veteran players are most likely familiar with how gear progression works in this game, but those returning will probably need a refresher course. After all, BioWare has made some significant changes, especially to PvP, since the game launched. It's quite understandable if you return to the game and are completely lost when considering how viable your current gear is.

Today, I'm going to speak to the returning players and help them put their gear to rights once Update 1.5 launches. If you are a solo PvEer who hasn't looked too hard at endgame gear progression, a PvPer who hasn't looked at the PvE side much, or a raider who wants to dabble in PvP, this mini-guide will help you get started and will give you the gear-progression goals you should shoot for.

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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: A tale of two shutdowns starring City of Heroes

Super-hero, City of Heroes, Events (Real-World), Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Free-to-Play, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

A few weeks left.
It's been about a year since Star Wars Galaxies was shut down, and for a lot of people that wound is still fresh. For a sadly vocal minority, that wound is so fresh as to provoke a lot of groundless vitriol toward any available target -- but that's not the point. The point is that what happened to that game is happening again, to City of Heroes, and the players are just as powerless to stop it.

Except that it's not the same thing, not really. There are different reasons behind the closure of City of Heroes, different protests, and different player organizing taking place. The result is a scenario that's both a clear parallel to an earlier tragedy and its own unique blend of awful circumstances at the same time.

When we first heard the announcement, fellow City of Heroes player and former Star Wars Galaxies player Brianna Royce asked me if I felt the same way about CoH as I had about SWG. As we talked about it, though, it became clear that there were certain parallels being drawn that just didn't work. So I'm going to talk about what happened to both games, starting with the very significant difference between the two games shutting down.

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Disney buys out Lucasfilm, LucasArts for $4.05 billion

MMO Industry, News Items, Star Wars Galaxies, Star Wars: The Old Republic

LucasArts logo
Disney is continuing its quest for global domination of the entertainment industry by announcing that it has bought out Lucasfilm -- including the studio's game developing branch, LucasArts -- for $4.05 billion US. While we're sure the nerdosphere has plenty to say about Disney's development of the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII (slated for release in 2015), we MMO fans are probably focused on a different facet of the buyout.

Now that LucasArts is under Disney's wide-reaching umbrella, there's a distinct possibility that we'll be seeing a new breed of Star Wars games hitting shelves in the near future. The question is, of course, whether a new Star Wars MMO could rise from the new ownership. So let's discuss, dear readers. Do you think a new Star Wars MMO is on the horizon? If so, what would you like to see? Many gamers mourned the loss of Star Wars Galaxies last year. Would you like to see a revival with Disney at the helm, or would you rather see something completely different? Smack on your tin-foil hats and let the speculation run rampant, folks.

MMO Blender: Jef's SWG/Star Citizen mashup

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Sandbox, MMO Blender

MMO Blender: Jef's SWG/Star Citizen mashup
Thus far I've managed to keep my nose out of Massively's MMO Blender column. This is primarily because I don't need 1000 words to describe the ideal MMORPG when a short phrase like "Star Wars Galaxies minus the IP" basically sums everything up.

That said, something happened a couple of weeks ago that caused me to expand on this idea. Chris Roberts returned to the ranks of gamemakers, and when he announced his Star Citizen multiplayer title (which I desperately hope he renames, incidentally), it set in motion an MMO flight of fancy that I would love to experience.

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