Be Careful What You Wish For: Jedi and non-jedi alike complained hugely about the labyrinthine process to become a jedi. When the Holocrons came out, everyone complained about how everyone was a jedi and how the four who figured it out beforehand felt like their achievements were worthless.
Broken Base: Galaxies was plagued by this. Even in the last months before the game's closure people were still arguing about the following:
The entire Jedi profession start to finish, not helped by how many times it was changed.
For a while, there were no player Jedi. Some were fine with that, other felt it was false advertising since the box mentioned the possibility and the game's staff gave cryptic comments about it.
Holocrons. These told people to master certain professions to unlock a Jedi character. Some felt that was a unsatisfying path to Jedi hood, Jedi complained the major risks didn't merit the reward. (Bounty hunters could kill outed Jedi and dying three times meant you stayed dead.)
A village where players could train in the ways of the force after helping the inhabitants, the Jedi profession broken into five separate disciplines, XP debt instead of permadeath, and Sith and Jedi Councils were added. Yet insane amounts of grinding were needed at every stage and players not interested in Jedi were annoyed at the amount of time and resources being devoted to it.
The NGE made Jedi a starter profession, did away with the councils and the village, and gave elder Jedi a special robe and lightsaber crystal. This was also a major point of controversy and had the side effect of a disproportionate number of players choosing Jedi, making balanced groups a rarity
The combat upgrade. It capped a lot of overpowered equipment and buffs, added status effects to a lot of moves, and better defined different combat professions roles. It also added a character level system no one had asked for, turned years worth of amazing equipment into junk and wreaked havoc on every support profession. Medics buffs were mostly worthless now, crafted goods were no better than common quest rewards, and entertainers had almost no role during the CU. The following months did address some of these issues, but then…
The New Game Enhancements are ready! Released less than six months after the last massive change, 32 professions were consolidated or outright dropped to make room for nine iconic classes, and pretty much everything was overhauled all over again. The simpler set-up did require less balance tweaks, giving the dev team more time to build new content, but many felt at far too high a cost.
Christmas Rushed: For summer, not Christmas, and only after it been delayed a few times. The CU and the NGE were also likely rushed to conincide with the expansions, which themselves had to be ready by Episode III's film and DVD releases.
"Here's what I would have done differently…I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit…I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the NGE." - SOE CEO, John Smedley
Demonic Spiders: The Nightsisters. Lots of HP, resistant or immune to most types of weaponry, capable of killing an unbuffed player in seconds, and had a nasty tendency to blast vehicles from right out underneath their riders. Singlehandedly ensured that no one dared take out an AV-21 on Dathomir until a subsequent update allowed destroyed vehicles to be repaired.
Fan Myopia: Much as fans of Pre-CU loved the game, it was not particularly well thought-of in most MMORPG circles and the game was losing subscribers very, very quickly, particularly in the wake of the launch of World of Warcraft.
Game Breaker: The game had a lot of them come and go through it's lifespan:
Doctor buffs pre combat upgrade. They tripled your health and action for a few hours and boosted your secondary stats, allowing you to the wear the heaviest armor and spam specials almost without penalty. Future dungeons and enemies had to be made with them in mind to remain challenging. Unfortunately the massive nerf they got post-CU made them nearly worthless, actually gimping Doctors main source of income and XP and greatly marginalizing the role of their profession.
Entertainer buffs introduced after NGE tended to be game breakers in their own right. They could add another 50% to your armor, greatly increase stats, and infuse people with useful effects like a chance to randomly heal damage every hit. Ironically they were usually needed for PvP and high end PvE, which was the exact same complaint some people had about doctor buffs two overhauls ago.
"The circle is now complete."
In Pre-CU, Dizzy/Knockdown was considered this, particularly in PvP. "Dizzy" was a status effect that meant that any time a player changed posture (between standing, kneeling, or prone) they had a high chance of being "Knocked down" (a player who was knocked down could make no attacks and take no actions other than to stand up again). Only problem? Standing from a knocked-down state was considered a posture change. This would lead to players getting knocked flat on their back, then continually flopping around on the ground as they tried to stand up, only to be knocked down again by the attempt. Oh, and you couldn't just mash the stand-up key until you stood, since for some bizarre reason the game treated going from standing to standing as a change in posture. As a result, most competitive PvP builds had a dizzy/knockdown combo and virtually all of them required some form of defence against it.
One of the first gamebreaking classes in SWG was Bounty Hunter. Able to dish out tons of damage with pretty impressive accuracy, it dominated the game's competitive scene for the first few months of the game, after which point the Devs hit it with a nerf bat pretty hard. This became a sore point for Bounty Hunter players, as the class's initial significant power was at least partially justified by the fact it had more prerequisites (and, thus, took more skill points out of a limited skill point pool) to get into (it required TWO base class masteries, which meant that a Master Bounty Hunter had used up ~80% of their skill points and couldn't master a second advanced class) AND by the fact that achieving Master Bounty Hunter status required completing a lot of glitch-prone, time-consuming Bounty Hunter missions. The Devs appeared to agree with this criticism, eventually reducing both the prerequisites for the class and the number of bounty hunter missions that needed to be completed for reaching Master status.
Composite Armour was a huge gamebreaker in the Pre-CU days. Preventing 80-90% of damage from almost all sources, Composite Armour was originally somewhat mitigated in the fact that no one could possibly hope to wear a full suit at once because of the penalties it imposed on the wearer's stats. That went out the window once doctor buffs were discovered and soon everyone was running around in full suits, completing quests that were designed for a full group of people. If you did not have Composite Armour in PvP, you would get crushed in seconds. Eventually, all new content was developed with this in mind, understanding that everyone who attempted it would have a full set of doctor buffs and armour.
The one form of damage that Composite Armour WAS weak to (other than lightsabers, which nothing resisted)? Stun damage. This meant that any class that could wield a decent weapon with stun damage automatically had an advantage in PvP. Accordingly, mass PvP fights quickly became dominated by stun batons and jawa ion rifles.
Pre-NGE Jedi, particularly in their earlier incarnations where they could still wear armour, were significantly more powerful than any other class in both PvP and PvE. Whether or not this was justified was a matter of some debate within the community.
The AT-ST NPC pet. Players who worked their way up the ranks in the game's Galactic Civil War could originally trade their standing in the faction for NPC pets, up to three of which could be summoned at a time. Most of these were basic troopers, which were helpful but still went down fairly quickly against tough NPCs or other players. However, for a significant investment, high-ranking Imperial players could acquire AT-ST pets, a very high level, tough, powerful mob that was strong enough to trounce multiple players and/or several tough NPCs on its own. The rebels had no answer for the AT-ST and, thanks to the fact that Imperial players could have three of them out at a time, even a force of Imperials that was outnumbered several times over could still beat a rebel group if there were enough AT-STs lurking about. To add insult to injury, the AT-ST could be used by the Imperial player for anything they wanted, allowing them to solo most of the game's missions. This was addressed by the developers fairly quickly - soon the number of faction pets that could be summoned all at once was reduced from three to one. Later, a further restriction was added that made the AT-ST only summonable by players declared "Overt/Special Forces", preventing their use in PvE. When the AT-ST was still considered too unbalanced, it was eventually removed from the list of purchasable pets, although players who still had one at that point were allowed to keep it. Since they were irreplaceable after this point, they were generally considered Too Awesome to Use.
Early-game Master Creature Handlers. They could summon up to three pets of any level, which could also be bio-engineered for maximum carnage. Master Creature Handlers (especially Imperial Master Creature Handlers, thanks to the AT-ST perk mentioned above) quickly became feared for being able to summon a small army of huge monsters to fight for them. It was not uncommon in the game's early days to see a Master Creature Handler charge into battle with three bio-engineered Rancors, three AT-STs, and a Probe Droid (the only combat capable droid) stampeding in behind him. The Devs eventually addressed this by changing it so that all the creatures summoned by a Creature Handler had to have a collective level less than the handler's ability (as opposed to the original version where each individual creature had to be less than that level), thus forcing creature handlers to choose between having a single huge monster or three smaller ones to call into battle.
Any attack that could target the mind pool was considered valuable, since Mind was the one stat that could not be healed mid-battle. Special mention, however, goes to Combat Medics who could throw Mind-targeting Diseases. This would not only drain the target's mind pool, but would inflict hundreds of points worth of wounds, which did not recover without the player spending a few minutes watching an entertainer in a cantina. Combat medics were rightly feared in PvP for their ability to not just kill a combatant but take them out of the fight for a good 10 minutes minimum (since wounds persisted upon death) and were typically the first ones targeted during group combat.
In Pre-CU PvE, no one could match Riflemen in their ability to take down tough NPCs solo thanks to the Conceal Shot skill. It allowed Rifleman to attack enemy NPCs without drawing aggro. It could take a while, but this meant that unless the mission was timed or had respawning NPCs nearby, a Rifleman could solo the toughest NPCs in the game with no outside assistance. This ability, plus the fact that Riflemen targeted the mind pool with their special attacks AND had a stun weapon meant that it was far and away the best ranged class in Pre-CU combat and was generally considered one of the best classes overall.
When the NGE strictly delineated the classes, with cross-classing removed altogether, non-combatants were always considered Level 1 in combat. This made their initial existence a death sentence, as even weak NPCs could easily kill them while they were checking resource harvesters or travelling from place to place. The developers fixed the situation by making it so that NPCs would never attack non-combatants unless attacked first. This was not very well thought through, as it turned non-combatants into the best dungeon raiders in the game. Dungeons like the Corellian Corvette (six of the nine missions had objectives that could be completed without any combat at all) were easily trounced by dancers, musicians, and dirt-farmers, who walked right past all the elite guards and rummaged through the furniture for rare loot before programming the ship to self destruct or rescuing a high-ranking prisoner. Oops. (The devs would later fix their fix by restoring the ability for high-level NPCs to attack non-combatants).
The Royal Guard Interceptor for space pilots. Thanks to a glitch that wasn't fixed for years, the RGI's hitbox was significantly smaller than the ship itself, meaning most hits would pass clean through it. It was so difficult to hit, a popular tactic for Imperial pilots was to eschew armour and shields altogether in favour of loading an enormous weapons system onto the thing and giving it the biggest, most powerful engine they could find, turning it into the ultimate spaceborne Glass Cannon. Thanks to the glitch, a single RGI could take on multiple enemy ships and easily win without even getting hit once. Accordingly, using it in PvP was considered extremely poor form, even by other Imperials.
The one thing that prevented this ship from utterly destroying the competitive space game was that obtaining it required finishing That One Sidequest. The mission in question was far and away the most difficult space mission in the game when it was introduced, requiring disabling and escorting the most powerful enemy ship in the game through waves of enemy attackers. It was one of the only space missions that could not be easily soloed, typically requiring a squadron of a few master pilots in well-constructed ships.
Good Bad Bug: Several, although most got fixed pretty quickly:
During the first few days of the game, players discovered that they could actually pick up furniture in NPC cities using a text command. This was quickly patched out, but some people managed to accumulate some rare and otherwise unavailable furniture that occasionally sold for a small fortune whenever it went up for auction.
The Royal Guard Interceptor had a hitbox way smaller than the ship, making it almost invincible. As a result, it was a Game Breaker beyond belief.
Right after the NGE launched, the Aurillian Old Man suddenly and unexpectedly started appearing in front of characters offering to start them on their journey to Force Sensitivity. Particularly hilarious when he asked, "I was wondering if you had ever considered the possibility that you might be connected to the Force?" to a lightsaber-wielding Jedi Master in full robes (especially since one of your possible responses was "The thought had crossed my mind, yes", which was supposed to be earnest, but just came off as sarcastic). To a broken-and-bruised fanbase still reeling from the sudden implementation of the NGE, the sight of a crazy old man running around yelling at people about the Force was a nostalgic throwback and a welcome source of some Gallows Humor.
"Poor guy's taking the loss of his job awfully hard..."
In the game's early stages, players could place houses on the game's adventure planets - Yavin IV, Dathomir, and Endor - which were always intended to be uninhabitable. The developers removed the ability to place houses on these planets but left the current ones in place. They warned the occupants that their houses could be removed at any time, with no warning, and encouraged them to remove the houses themselves, but they never followed through on the threat. Some of the houses became quite lucrative when they wound up near dungeons.
Mis-blamed: All though he did later say the NGE shouldn't have been implemented in way that it was, Raph Koster claimed that people were wrong for pegging all the blame on a just a few people who probably weren't even responsible for it. (Specifically John Smedley, Julio Torres, and Jeff Freeman.)
The Village system for unlocking Jedi. Accused of being an unmitigated grind-fest that was boring and time-consuming, making the Jedi unlock an endurance test rather than anything that was actually engaging or interesting.
The Force-Ranking System, mostly for being easily abusable and forcing senior Jedi into a permanent, unrevokable PvP status.
Bounty Hunter missions. They took forever, they frequently glitched out (with tracking droids rendered unable to track the mission's target or the target spawning in an unkillable location), they gave out pathetic rewards in both XP and money, and they were tremendously boring as 95% of the mission involved driving from place to place (with the remaining 5% being devoted to killing a rather weak NPC).
Space-based Escort Missions. Your escorts were slow, weak, usually unarmed, and took forever to get to their destination.
Pre-CU doctor buffs and NGE-era entertainer buffs; both were stupidly overpowered when they were first introduced and became all but required for mid-to-high end content once the game had adjusted to their presence.
Bought a round of drinks in the Mos Eisley cantina, sat with the only other person in the bar, shared a drink and 10 seconds before being disconnecting said to him " may the force be with you" and he said " and you as well my friend". That was awesome, never met that person before, yet in a few short minutes just before the game died forever, I made a new friend. Thats how awesome SWG was, you could meet and make new friends in the wonderful world it was.
Lets not forget this wonderful tribute video released only a few months before the closure.
That One Sidequest: The Hero of Tattooine quests. These required finding NPCs that spawned randomly across a wide expanse of space and completing missions for them that occasionally required copious amounts of Guide Dang It.
In space, the dreaded Corvette Escort Mission. The Corellian Corvette - the most powerful ship in the game that wasn't a Star Destroyer or a Rebel Space Station - had to be taken down by the player. Oh, but just to make things interesting, it had some escorts to fight off too. And you didn't just destroy it; you needed to disable it, then escort it through large waves of powerful fighters. This was a major challenge given that the typical method of taking on a Corvette involved blowing off its guns first, something that would leave it a sitting duck for the escort half of the mission. This was, for years, the only space quest that could not be easily solo'd.
Dolac Legasi's quest line, for those who were even aware it existed. Dolac, an NPC in the Dathomir Prison who, after an early patch made him impossible to talk to, could only be accessed by glitching through a wall, sent a player off to go face down a Dark Jedi Knight and then, in the next quest, a Dark Jedi Master. These were, for a long time, the single most difficult NPCs in the game, with over 300 000 health (in a game where a typical attack did a few hundred damage) and resistances that reduced incoming damage by upwards of 80% (and which rendered them immune to certain types of damage). Even large groups typically couldn't handle these things. Only riflemen could easily complete the quest by spamming Conceal Shot over and over (which was the only attack in the game which did not draw aggro) and even then, they dealt Scratch Damage only, making the entire boss fight last several hours. Riflemen typically came into battle with at least two guns, because it was all but guaranteed that one of them would break partway through the fight. The truly aggravating thing? Your only reward for this quest line was 1800 credits! In order to even get proof you downed the most difficult enemies in the game and earn some form of Bragging Rights Reward, you had to kill the Knight, then not go back to Legasi, so you could keep the shattered Sith Altar you were supposed to return to him.
After a rocky start, SWG began to improve. It became less buggy, players were given access to vehicles and riding animals so that they didn't have to spend ridiculous amounts of time running to where they needed to go, etc. "Jump To Lightspeed" was a good addition to the game as well. It looked like the players were finally having their patience rewarded with an overall good game. But it wasn't long afterwards that the "Combat Upgrade" came along, and things started going downhill.
It got worse with the NGE in particular. There was no end of misery for pretty much everyone remotely involved with Galaxies, players and developers alike. Even the game's former creative director said he was annoyed at all the NGE backlash on his website, despite the fact he didn't even work at SOE anymore. At around the time of the game's closure, he admitted the sudden nature of the NGE was deeply unfair to the game's customer base.
"I'll make an exception (on commenting about changes) for the NGE. I don't think you can or should change a game that radically out from under a user base. You dance with the ones that brung ya, whether they are the market of your dreams or not. Changing things out from under them isn't fair in my mind, especially given how they have been loyal to you in times of trouble. It's like dumping the girlfriend who has always been patient and loving to chase after the supermodel who probably won't love you back." - Former SWG Creative Director, Raph Koster