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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 will attack you no matter what. Killing Jawas gives you faction points with the violent Sand People. However, max faction with the Sand People simply means that, if you encounter them in a group, they would just kill you last.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
Bounty HunterRecap/Star Wars Expanded UniverseStar Wars: Rebellion
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

alternative title(s): Star Wars Galaxies
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