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Star Wars Galaxies

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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The Daily Grind: What's your most-hated MMO zone?

Sci-Fi, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Massively Meta, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

The Daily Grind What's your most hated MMO zone
Star Wars Galaxies may have been my favorite MMO, but its pre-NGE Rage of Wookiees expansion introduced what I consider the worst MMO zone of all time: Kashyyyk. Unlike the wide-open planets that populated the SWG galaxy at launch, the tiny playable areas of Kashyyyk were a maze of tall zone walls and tight corridors, with a multi-level, below-ground, explorable themepark-style area and an inadequate map to ensure that you were totally getting lost on this ride.

It was also a no-build planet, meaning no homes or storyteller decorations (not that there would have been anywhere to put them anyway), so the whole location felt completely isolated from the rest of the game. And while the NGE version of the zone made it one of the few spots for quest-based, mid-tier leveling in the game, it was too difficult and scattershot for actual middlebies. Oh, and did I mention that vehicles and instant-transport ships mysteriously didn't work beneath the top jungle layer? Hope you enjoy running all the way back out again!

All right, picking on sunsetted games is just mean, especially when I'd take SWG back in a heartbeat, flaws and all. So what about you -- what's your most-hated MMO zone?

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!

One Shots: My preciousss

Galleries, Screenshots, EverQuest II, Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars Galaxies, One Shots, Miscellaneous

One Shots My preciousss
A must-stop on the Lord of the Rings Online tour is the former home of one of Middle-earth's most infamous inhabitants. In a recent journey, One Shots submitter Carolina stopped to take a picture of the finger-painting Gollum left behind:
Here is a warning picture I encountered while exploring Goblin Town in Lord of the Rings Online. Proceeding deep into the cave shows you this sign that something terrible lies ahead.
Personally, I think Gollum could have had a great career doing his own portraits. Check out this and several other terrific entries after the break.

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The Perfect Ten: Worst expansion names of all time

Anarchy Online, City of Heroes, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, Lineage 2, Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, Humor, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous

The Perfect Ten Worst expansion names of all time
When SOE announced that EverQuest's 19th expansion would be titled Rain of Fear, I instantly found myself tripping over the name. I shouldn't have -- it's a few simple words that are first round picks for spelling contests -- but it defied the traditional naming conventions for MMO expansions. Many people I talked to kept wanting to write "reign" instead because "rain" seemed like a deliberate misspelling by some intern in Smedley's empire.

Homophones aside, Rain of Fear is hardly the worst expansion title I've ever seen. The industry has had its share of bad names, from the confusing to the downright unpronounceable. Sure, we get used to these titles, and perhaps it's nit-picky to lug them out at such a late point in many of their lifespans, but petty is my middle name. My first name is Tom. And these are 10 poorly named expansions. Deal with it.

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Hyperspace Beacon: Six reasons to return for SWTOR update 1.4

Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Community Q&A, Hyperspace Beacon

Hyperspace Beacon Six reasons to return for SWOTR Update 14
I've been playing MMOs for many years, and in that time, I've realized that the big thing they all have in common is that they get better with age. Unlike most single-player games, MMOs are in a constant state of flux. Besides the social interaction, the fact that I can leave a game for a couple of months then come back to find things have changed makes this gaming genre more interesting to me than your average RPG or FPS. Oftentimes, it's fun to come back to a game that I liked but maybe wasn't sticky enough to play all the time just to see what has changed, and maybe I'd like it more the next time around.

That's kind of what happened to me with Star Wars Galaxies. When the game launched, I thought it was great to explore the Star Wars universe I'd grown up with as a kid, but I couldn't latch on to the game because of the bugs and other minor issues. It wasn't until about six months after launch that I was actually able to grasp the game and play it long enough to find out why people were so smitten.

Perhaps Star Wars: The Old Republic will be the same kind of game. When it launched nine months ago, there were bugs, though not as big as SWG's bugs, mind you. The content needed a little tweaking. And certain systems like the Galactic Trade Network did not function well. But now with update 1.4 coming tomorrow and free-to-play on the horizon, it might be a good time to invite your friends to come back or even come back yourself. Let's examine some of the reasons to do so.

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