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Video Game: Star Wars: Galaxies

Star Wars Galaxies was an MMORPG developed by Sony Online Entertainment (makers of the EverQuest series) and LucasArts. It launched June 26th, 2003 and ran until its shutdown on Dec. 15th, 2011. Notable for having a wide variety of professions and locales and being the first Star Wars MMO (but not the last). It was also somewhat infamous for a series of controversial changes in 2005 that greatly altered a lot of the game's fundamental mechanics with little warning to the people already playing it.

Set shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star, Galaxies allowed people to join the Rebel Alliance or the Empire to fight in the escalating galactic civil war. Or not, since after finishing the tutorial segment you were pretty much free to do whatever the hell you felt like. This included, but was not limited to, exploring ten (later twelve with the expansions) worlds from the Star Wars Universe, piloting and customizing your own starships, building a business, running your own city, entertaining other players with elaborate dances or songs, tricking out a bachelor pad, milking Banthas, or just hanging around with other Star Wars fans.

Three expansions were released through out the game's run: Jump to Lightspeed (later made free to all subscribers), Rage of the Wookiees, and the Trials of Obi-Wan. An online trading card game was also created in 2008 and was free to play for all subscribers, with booster packs sold separately.

There is a legal fan run emulator of Galaxies' servers called SWG Emu that's free to play for anyone who owns a disc copy of the original game. Be warned, they're still in the testing phases, which means it's not entirely working yet and server wipes are common at the moment.


This game provides examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: Pre-NGE featured Crafting, Medical, and Entertainer professions that actually made for a variety of non-combat roles you could mix and match. Post-NGE enforced this on Traders and Entertainers at first, then later gave them combat levels.
  • Alliance Meter: In addition to the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, the game also had dozens of small NPC factions. Killing members of a faction made you lose faction points but also awarded you points for rival factions. Too many negative faction points led to NPCs of this faction attacking the player on sight. The concept was pretty much forgotten or abandoned by the developers during the later years of the game.
    • However, no matter how high your faction with some groups, there were just certain mobs that always had a chance of attacking the player. Killing Jawas gives you faction points with the violent Sand People. However, even with max faction with the Sand People, there was always a chance one of them would still attack you "just because".
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Between every game item being useable as decoration and a variety of housing choices, you could sink ridiculous amounts of time into this. The official forums had a weekly Home Show contest and player created shopping malls, bars, and museums were common on most servers. This was such a prominent feature it lead to…
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating: A lot of the rarest and most expensive items were purely ornamental.
  • Artifact Title: Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. The civil war aspect often took a back seat to non-faction content, and the subtitle never appeared on the later releases of the game.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Being both Star Wars and a video game, it had a lot of these.
    • Krayt Dragons, giant Tatooine lizards that could appear in swarms.
    • And Lok had Kimogilas, the other giant desert lizard.
    • Rancors of course, the toughest being a Zombie Rancor.
    • A sidequest on Hoth featured a Wampa who reached this size.
    • AT-AT's provide a mechanical example (at least for Rebel players).
    • The Gorax on Endor.
    • Kiin'dray, the giant spider the Spider Clan worshipped.
    • The Sher Kar, a massive scorpion like beast on Mustafar.
    • Kkorrwrot, a weird spider, reptile, bug…thing from Kashyyyk.
    • The developers went a little crazy with this in week leading up to the shutdown. They produced giant Ewoks, Giant Giant Krayt Dragons, and on the last day gave Bib Fortuna the ability to super-size players (as well as shrink them).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most heavy weapons Pre-CU. Bounty Hunters had the Light Lightning Cannon, while commandoes got a tonne of them - including rocket launchers, acid cannons, a slew of unique grenades, and their own bigger, better lightning cannon. Unfortunately they were almost all terrible weapons and were outclassed by more mundane pistols and rifles.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Before Jedi became commonplace, guess what everyone's complaints were? About how much trouble it took to be a jedi. When Jedi became more common, they complained that all their hard work meant nothing...despite that the few people who became Jedi complained about the long and tedious process every step of the way.
    • After people figured out how to exploit the crafting formulae to create armour that made the wearer almost invulnerable and buffs that turned them into statistical supermen, many called for an upgrade or overhaul of the combat system to fix the issues that ensued. They got it in the Combat Upgrade. The reception was not particularly warm. And so, apparently not having learned their lesson the first time, those same people started asking for a fix to the Combat Upgrade. The even more reviled NGE was the result.
  • The Bard: The entertainer professions were made in mind for people who would like to fill this role. They were also the only ones who could use the sing emote.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Teras Kasi, a martial arts style that let you kick ass and meditate to heal your wounds. Sadly removed in the NGE.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Flash Speeder. A special vehicle given to anyone who pre-ordered the game's first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, the Flash Speeder wasn't particularly fast or durable or all that interesting to look at. However, it was an ideal vehicle to take in dangerous environments (such as Dathomir) due to the fact that it could be instantly respawned, anywhere, for cheaper than the usual cost of a new vehicle.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Several things, but Mandalorian (Fett's) Armor was probably the most notable. It was no better than other armors, required dozens of rare items, and dragging non-combat players down a dangerous and confusing dungeon a minimum of nine times for a full suit.
    • And The KSE Firespray (Fett's) Ship was also mostly this. It cost a fortune and was outclassed by common ships.
    • The Black Sun helmet for pilots.
  • Briefer Than They Think: The beloved pre-CU incarnation of the game that most veterans love and pined for lasted only about a year. The CU that so violently shattered the base was only in place for about six months.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Naturally for Star Wars. Bonus points to Durni and Vir Vur for actually being rabbits.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Force Sensitive Village of Aurilia, Vader's failed apprentice Mellichae, The Meatlumps and their King to name a few.
  • Captain Ersatz: N-K Necrosis, who is a literal knock-off General Grievous.
  • Civil War: IN SPACE!…and on the ground. Actually this was usually pretty laid back. Neutral players could often go about their business completely unaware a war was on.
    • Later updates helped bring it more into the foreground. Bestine, Dearic, and Keren became subject to constant invasions, Rebel and Imperial warships would be seen fighting in certain space sectors, Restuss became a war zone, and nonaffiliated players could jump into fray as mercenaries without committing to the cause.
  • Class and Level System: Averted, initially at least. There was no level system (equipment generally determined how strong you were) and there was no class system (you'd gain abilities from earning skill boxes, and could choose which ones from different professions). The CU subverted this by adding a level system and the NGE played straight by adding the class system.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Most of the Meatlump gang members are…off. Averted with their King, who is actually surprisingly well spoken and waxes philosophical.
  • Cosmetic Award: Badges, purely bragging rights for doing certain things, like collecting badges.
    • Thanks to the fact that Star Wars Galaxies had probably the most fleshed out player housing system of any MMO ever, there were plenty of quests that gave furniture as rewards, which had absolutely no in-game use beyond looking cool. Players seldom complained about these being quest rewards, as most people had houses that needed decorating (and those that didn't could always sell the furniture, often for a tidy sum, to those who did).
  • Combat Medic: Was a profession Pre-NGE, all though in a twist, they actually fought people using medical knowledge, specifically building and hurling deadly poisons and diseases. Post-CU forced normal medics and doctors into this role by removing medical XP gain outside of battle.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Mustafar's lava won't hurt you as long as you don't touch it. Just like in the movie.
  • Cool Starship: Most of the famous ships from the original trilogy, plus a few from Episode III and some original ones were all fully flyable and customizable (except Imperial Ships, which couldn't be repainted.).
  • Definitely Final Dungeon: The last part of the HK-47 quest line lands you INSIDE an active volcano's peak where a small rock path leads you through the lava into the center, where HK is waiting for you.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: /consider was a command that allowed the player to gauge the relative toughness of the creature they were about to fight. It was a fairly useless command, because the information was already conveyed in a small icon near the creature's name. However, if you targeted yourself and used the command, you got this unique line:
    "It looks super tough, but you think you are too."
  • Didn't Think This Through: The developers were notorious for this. This was most visible in the first couple of years of the game, thanks to its Christmas Rushed / Obvious Beta status, where the developers hadn't realised that using the best possible materials in crafting recipes resulted in equipment and buffs far stronger than what they had originally intended.
    • The decision to remove item decay with the NGE. Previous to this, credits and resources flowed into the game through missions and loot and out of the game via in-game credit sinks like shuttle fees, a surcharge on money transfers, and destroyed equipment. Credits circulated by crafters buying material from combatants, then selling them gear. The whole system mostly worked, although inflation was an issue. However, one-by-one, the credit sinks started to get plugged. Jump to Lightspeed was a big culprit when it provided players with a completely free transport service, supplanting shuttles altogether. However, the big one was the NGE and its decision to suddenly make all weapons and armour immune to decay. Suddenly, combatants only ever needed to buy one set of high end gear, rather than replacing it every few weeks after adventuring had worn it out. As a result, the value of resources plummeted, people hoarded credits, and inflation exploded. Costs increased by a factor of several thousand percent in months, particularly for rare equipment.
    • The NGE in general could be considered this trope. SOE, seeking higher customer numbers, decided to completely revamp the game from the ground up in a mere six months. At the time the possibility was raised that the change would be unpopular amongst the current subscribers, particularly given the heated reaction to the recent Combat Upgrade. The decision was made to forge ahead, reasoning that even if the current clientele left, they would be replaced with new players from a planned marketing blitz. This wound up being a disastrous miscalculation; SOE had correctly predicted that current subscribers would leave, but failed to account for exactly how much of a stink they would kick up while doing so. The marketing blitz was more or less completely counteracted by negative press and word-of-mouth from jilted ex-subscribers and reception to the NGE was so negative, it made headlines in several major newspapers. The new surge of players failed to materialize, the game's population took a nosedive from which it never managed to recover, and the game was left with a playerbase that was broken beyond any hope of repair.
    • A cascading series of these occurred regarding non-combatants in the NGE. First, the developers failed to realise that since non-combatants were permanently left at Level 1 (since they were now unable to cross-class), they could be one-shotted by anything tougher than a rabbit, which made harvesting resources a nightmare. They solved this with another poorly-thought out fix by making non-combatants never draw aggro unless they shot first. The developers apparently failed to forget that some of the best loot in the game was stored in chests guarded by hostile mobs, mobs which would now calmly watch as a dancer walked in, plucked whatever goodies they wanted out of the chest, and left. Some high level quests could now be soloed by the weakest characters in the game and many a Corellian Corvette met its demise in this era as a dirt farmer would walk in, rummage through the furniture for rare loot, and then set the Corvette to blow up before hopping in one of the escape pods to go claim their reward.
  • The Empire: The Empire.
  • Expy: Saun Dann, an obscure character from The Star Wars Holiday Special, was sometimes made out to be a Santa expy during later Life Day celebrations.
  • Follow the Leader: After World of Warcraft redefined what success meant for an MMORPG, SOE decided they wanted in on that. Future patches and expansions saw the introduction of numerous WoW-style elements to the game including instanced dungeons, Puzzle Bosses and even an interface heavily reminiscent of WoW's. This became a common complaint in the game's later years.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Master Creature Handlers could tame most of the game's animal life, Rancors included. They were cut with the NGE, and replaced with Beast Master. A class that let you genetically engineer and train pets.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The fact that they ultimately lose didn't stop people from joining the Empire just the same.
    • Or Rebels from fighting at the Battle of Hoth.
    • Subverted on the last day. Servers where the Empire dominated actually had Imperial celebrations, but the Battle of Endor still followed.
  • Got The Whole World In My Hand: One bonus painting for the game depicts Emperor Palpatine holding two planets and a moon in his left hand... and blasting the orange planet with Force lightning discharging from his index finger, while smiling.
  • Hub Level: Coronet, Corellia in the pre-NGE days. This was the place you'd go to gather a group, get doctor and entertainer buffs, and shop for gear at the bazaar or at a shop in the player-generated suburban sprawl that surrounded the city limits. Sadly, after the NGE gutted much of the player-run economy, Coronet became a ghost town.
  • Item Crafting: Boasted an extremely elaborate and complex system that spanned most every item type in the game. Everything from clothes, weapons, spaceships, food, droids, and houses could be and often were player made. Crafters could even use factories to mass produce items.
  • Kill All Meatbags: HK-47's first order of business after getting a new body and a factory that builds killer robots.
  • La Résistance: The Rebels, of course.
  • Laser Blade: Lightsabers naturally. For balance reasons they weren't nearly as destructive as they were in the movies, leading some people to just call them glowsticks.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mustafar, a whole Lethal Lava Planet.
  • The Medic: One of the six starting professions. In addition to healing damage and buffing stats, they also healed wounds, permanent decreases to stats that incur over time. Common practice for aspiring medics needing XP was to hang out in medical centers and wait for careless wounded adventurers to stumble in. Sadly the wounds aspect was removed in the NGE, weakening doctors' role in the game.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Inverted Pre-CU where Melee Weapons tended to dominate anything that wasn't a rifle; played straight Post-NGE where generally only Jedi used melee.
  • The Obi-Wan: Obi-Wan in his own expansion serves this role to players in the main quest, despite being dead.
  • Obvious Beta: The game's launch was a mess. Bugs and glitches were abundant, certain professions didn't work, and others were borderline useless. Mounts, Vehicles, and Player Cities were all absent.
    • Managed to do this again with the NGE, making the game even more broken two and a half years into its reign than it was at launch. A developer's blog post eventually confessed that this was because the whole system was developed in less than six months.
  • Perpetual Beta: A common complaint. Exacerbated by the CU and NGE.
  • Player Generated Economy: Had a pretty strong one. Tons of customizable crafted goods, buffing services from doctors and entertainers, and old-fashioned loot farming meant most of your money wound up in other player's hands. Which might have explained all the inflation…
  • Plot Armor: Semi-literal case with main characters from the films. In the rare instances they were attackable they'd be completely invulnerable.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The players turned into this at several points, staging in-game protests to various levels of effectiveness.
    • The first in-game protest was a mostly fun affair held by Wookiee players and their friends demanding that Wookiees get proper armour (in the era where doctor buffs and composite armour was really starting to take off, Wookiee characters were significantly weaker than any other race due to their lack of an ability to wear decent armour). The characters rallied outside major spaceports and chanted slogans for their cause. SOE took notice, explained to the protestors that their point had been made, and the next patch featured three new sets of Wookiee armour.
    • The Goofus to the previous entry's Gallant saw a particularly ham-handed response to player dissatisfaction to another ham-handed developer action. When a credit duplication exploit was detected by SOE, the developer responded by banning anyone they found who had duped credits in their inventory. Great in theory, except the exploiters in question had used duplicated credits to purchase equipment and there was no way for players to tell they had received duplicated money. This resulted in a lot of characters getting banned despite having done nothing wrong which, combined with the fact that SOE somehow missed banning the most notorious exploiter, led to more in-game protests. SOE responded by teleporting people into space (actually outside an instance of the Corvette dungeon, where the players could not move or act) or throwing them into the basement of the game's most difficult dungeon and slapping a debuff on them that prevented them from doing anything. The protest, and SOE's response, drew serious backlash amongst the players and the larger gaming community, most memorably in the form of this Penny Arcade comic.
    • The previous two sets of protests - and the widespread attention they garnered - pretty much set the table for protest to be the default in-game method of airing grievances against the developers. Sadly, due to numerous unpopular patches, the community had plenty of opportunities to refine their technique. The implementation of the CU and NGE drew the largest protests. Unlike previous versions, these ones turned into full-blown riots, with the stated goal (oftentimes achieved) being to knock the servers offline by firing off whatever particle effects would use the most server resources. This was the era where protestors discovered that summoning a destroyed vehicle would create a large, loud explosion which was found to be a great way to bring down the servers. The previous "teleport characters into space" tactic returned, along with summoning high level NPCs to the protest area in order to kill off the protesters and break up the riot.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Empire pretty much had several Nazi-like imagery, unsurprisingly. Ironically, a painting, Victorious Reign, actually ended up banned because it matched the trope too well.
  • Puzzle Boss: A lot of later instances started using these. The worse was probably the Exar Kun instance, which featured a marathon of bosses who, if addition to being insanely overpowered, also had to be beaten in a very specific way.
  • Random Drop: Nearly averted a launch, where there was almost no notable loot. Later played straight as the developers routinely added new items and by the very end everything you killed usually dropped items from dozens of collections.
  • Ribcage Ridge: Several large skeleton, including the krayt dragon skeleton from Episode IV in the dune sea, the krayt dragon graveyard, a large skeleton outside of Aurilia and others in various places on Kashyyyk and Dathomir.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Shamed by a Mob: An out-of-universe example. Faced with significant bad press and player backlash after the launch of the CU, SOE's president John Smedley took to the SWG forums to make his first ever forum post, urging calm and asking players to give the new game a chance. To an angry playerbase just looking for a target, Smedley more or less walked in wearing a bullseye T-shirt. The responses were near-universally negative and while they contained plenty of vulgar venting, many were emotional anecdotes or The Reason You Suck Speeches.
    • When the NGE launched, Smedley attempted this trick a second time and got an even worse reception. Many players pointed to his first forum post, where he had asked for their patience and to allow the new game to grow, pointing out that they were being asked to do the same thing again not six months later. Years later, Smedley would admit that SOE was in the wrong on this, first explaining that the NGE's implementation was bungled, then going whole hog and explaining that the entire thing was a mistake.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Tatooine obviously, also Lok for even more desolate example.
  • Shout-Out: A certain droid with a variety of disturbing tools attached to its many arms was named after the Probulator from Futurama.
    • Also, on an article for Life Day on the official site for Galaxies, Emperor Palpatine is heard saying "Bah, humbug!"
  • Socketed Equipment
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Several elements from the expanded universe made cameos in Galaxies. The planets Dathomir, Lok, and Rori were all visitable, Thrawn could be seen at the Emperor's Retreat and every December featured a Life Day Celebration.
    • Others in the games include Mara Jade, Talon Karrde, Gilad Pellaeon, Corran Horn, Nym, and the Lady Valarian. After EU fans were introduced to the legend of Lord Nyax in the New Jedi Order series, there was a cult devoted to the worship of Lord Nyax put in the game. In addition, a number of the missions found on the mission terminals came from characters introduced in the EU (the Jawa leader Wimateeka, for example).
  • Stripperiffic: They were some fairly showy outfit choices for women. Leia's slave bikini and Oola's flimsy net get-up included. For men, your only choice would be hotpants.
  • Quick Sand Box: Originally after picking a starting profession and city, you were dropped off into the galaxy with no additional instructions and almost no supplies. The developers gradually addressed this and eventually added an entire space station for new players.
  • Technology Marches On: An unusual in-game version. The first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, gave players starships - which had no maintenance costs and could be used for free travel between starports. This had several unintended side effects, most notably shifting "hubs" away from the major cities. People previously gathered in large numbers in central cities with starports (most notably Coronet on Corellia, Theed on Naboo, and Mos Eisley on Tatooine), which, in turn, attracted all sorts of non-combatants as people waiting for a shuttle to another area would stop to get medical treatment, receive buffs, and purchase equipment. Now that players no longer had to use the hubs to travel between their homes and adventure planets, previous hubs became significantly less populated and more people tended to gravitate towards the player towns, which were often founded near popular hunting areas.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Mark of the Hero ring. If equipped, it could be used as a self-resurrection device - very useful for PvE in difficult dungeons, particularly for Doctors. Unfortunately, it could only be obtained once per character (from a very difficult to complete series of quests), was not tradeable, and could only be used 50 times before disappearing.
    • AT-ST faction pets, after they were removed from the purchasable pet list. Though they were very strong, they were also irreplaceable for those lucky enough to still have one.
    • Very rarely, in Pre-CU you could come across looted weapons that were far and away better than anything that a crafter could hope to create. One T-21 rifle was looted that had a max damage of over 4000 points (in a game where most players had about 1000 health total) and was sold for so much money, a company CSR had to oversee the transaction since the game was not designed to handle moving that much money at once. Until anti-decay kits came along, players generally never used such weapons for fear of them breaking.
  • Tree Top Town: Kashyyyk, the Wookiee home world, had shades of this. Also the Ewok tree villages on Endor.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Space combat was a twitchy flight sim, unlike the ground game which used auto aim and a typical RPG like setup.
    • The New Game Enhancements (NGE) and Combat Upgrade (CU) were very big changes to the existing game and very unexpected, going from player testing to live in less than a month.
      • A developer's tell-all blog post eventually revealed that the reason why players were only given two weeks notice before the NGE went live was because that was when the developers decided they were going to go ahead with it. They had a deadline of November 15th to make the changes and, up until that point, they'd made two versions of everything (an NGE version and a non-NGE version) in case they ultimately decided to drop it.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda:
    • Exar Kun's Tomb, an eerie empty location with little significance spawned a rumor if you examined the crystals on the bottom floor enough you could hear or see Exar Kun briefly. He was later added to the game as instance dungeon, and his tomb suddenly became infested with brainwashed Rebels he controlled.
    • Also the Meatlump gang members who came in different ranks but with no leader led some players to believe there was a Meatlump King. Sure enough he and an entire Meatlump city was added later on.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: A major highlight was creating your character.
  • Warrior Monk: Jedi obviously, also Teras Kasi Masters Pre-NGE.
  • Wretched Hive: Actually averted in Mos Eisley's case, as it was a starting city for new players.
  • You Have Failed Me: Oddly subverted with Vader himself in one instance. If you fail the "Doing Your Duty" quest, but immediately accept responsibility for your actions, he gives you a second chance to set things right. Played straight if you make excuses, at which point he kills the crap out of you.
Sword GirlsMassively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing GameStar Wars: The Old Republic
The Force UnleashedScience Fiction Video GamesJedi Starfighter
Star Wars Episode I: RacerLicensed GameRebel Assault
Bounty HunterRecap/Star Wars Expanded UniverseStar Wars: Rebellion

alternative title(s): Star Wars Galaxies
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