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Video Game / Star Wars: Galaxies

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It is the height of the Galactic Civil
War. Although the Rebel Alliance
has destroyed the dreaded Death
Star, the Emperor still holds
thousands of systems in his grip.

Throughout the galaxy, brave
adventurers struggle to restore
peace, while smugglers, bounty
hunters and crime lords prosper
amid the chaos.

Meanwhile, in the Outer Rim of the
galaxy, one of Darth Vader's
Imperial Star Destroyers has
captured a passenger freighter on
suspicion of harboring criminals....

Star Wars Galaxies was a Star Wars Legends 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 (New Game Enhancements) 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. Also there's a fan-run post-New Game Enhancements emulator project (with a larger playerbase) called SWG Legends, that's currently live on the Omega server. These are the two most popular options, but after the game's source code leaked there were a multitude of custom servers like "Attack of the Clones" taking place during the prequel era or "Empire in Flames" which takes place shortly after Return of the Jedi.

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.
  • 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 (originated from their Fighting Game Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi). 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 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.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Generally true in the Pre-NGE days. Rifles were the only ranged weapon whose specialist class (Rifleman) was any good at PvE and PvP. Pistols could be decent, but required dedicating an entire build to them. Carbines and heavy weapons were generally considered low-tier and not worth using. This in contrast to melee, where nearly every melee class except Pikeman was considered very good at either PvE, PvP, or both.
  • 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.
    • Depending on the server/time of day, Theed, Naboo was this as well. Pre-NGE, odds were if you couldn't find it in Coronet, you could in Theed, or vice versa.
  • Infinity +1 Element: The "lightsaber" damage typing (which nothing resisted) in the Pre-NGE days. There was also a runner up for PvP in stun damage (which could be resisted, but at far lower rates than the more common damage typings like Energy or Kinetic).
  • 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.
    • Pre-NGE, all clothing, armor, weapons, items, vehicles, and housing were crafted, except for a rare few reward items that were almost always not worth it (except for bragging rights or roleplaying). Post-NGE, quest rewards gradually supplanted crafted items (crafted items were still better, but NGE quests would give you usable gear), rubbing more salt in the wounds of jilted crafters already upset that the loss of item decay and difficulty harvesting resources (see above) were ruining their businesses.
  • 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.
  • Lord British Postulate: Some NPCs - such as Dark Jedi Knights, Dark Jedi Masters, Jedi Sentinels, and Dark Jedi Sentinels - were meant to be effectively unkillable, boasting six or seven digits of HP (in a game where a typical attack dealt a few hundred damage), attacks that dealt enormous amounts of damage, immunity to certain types of damage and resistances that reduced all other types by up to 90%. Players killed them anyways.
  • Massive Race Selection: The game launched with eight playable species: Humans, Wookiees, Zabrak, Twi'leks, Rodians, Bothans, Trandoshans, and Mon Calamari. Sullustans and Ithorians were added later. While each species did have a few advantages, in practice Wookiee entertainers and Bothan bounty hunters were equally feasible (if not equally common); the diversity was intended to satisfy Star Wars fans as much as possible, rather than to fill a requisite number of archetypes. Humans, Zabrak, and Twi'leks — the least 'alien' of all the species — were by far the most popular.
  • 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.
  • Multiple Endings: On the final day, you found out whether the Rebels or the Empire won the war. In some servers, the Rebels won, other servers had the Empire win.
  • 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.
  • Noob Cave: Originally the game dropped you off on an Imperial Star Destroyer, which ran you through some basic tutorials before dumping you on the starter planet of your choice. The NGE eventually changed this to Tansarii Point Station, which is a more standard variant of the Noob Cave trope. In both cases, once you left it was impossible to return.
  • Non-Human Undead: The zombies inside the quarantine zone on Dathomir included pretty much every alien species available in the game, including rotting Wookiees, Ithorians, Chiss and even an undead Rancor.
  • Perpetual Beta: A common complaint. Exacerbated by the CU and NGE.
  • Plague Zombie: the quarantine zone on Dathomir that was added as a tie-in to the novel Death Troopers is filled with walking, rotting zombies. The plague was started by an accidental outbreak in an Imperial prison and research facility that experimented with the virus.
  • 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, particularly when the NGE did away with most of the in-game credit sinks...
  • 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.
  • Rare Random Drop: Generally averted, at least initially. At launch, the game preferred to rely on player-crafted goods as opposed to putting uber loot out in the wild, as was common MMORPG practice at the time. However, a few started to sneak in (primarily holocrons, which were highly valued for their ability to guide the player on their path to unlocking a Jedi character, although the components for RIS armour also qualified), more surfaced when the first expansion hit (notably the Black Sun Helmet and components to Mandalorian Armour and Jetpacks), and when the NGE hit full swing, the game more or less succumbed to the allure of rare loot and started throwing it everywhere.
  • 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!"
  • Solo Class: There were several in Pre-CU:
    • Rifleman was probably the best example in the game - even with no other professions (including medic for healing), a Master Rifleman could take down almost any NPC in the game. This was thanks to a skill called Conceal Shot, which allowed the Rifleman to damage its target without drawing aggro. Unless the target was part of a timed mission or was located in a close-confined area, even the most burly of NPCs would fall to a sufficiently patient and well-equipped rifleman.
    • Most melee classes were capable of soloing, but the Swordsman and Teras Kasi Artist classes were generally the best at it thanks to their excellent defences and high attack power.
    • The medic classes were, on their own, not true Solo Classes, as they lacked the defensive and offensive capability to truly perform in combat; however, they were an essential part of nearly all soloist builds, as their heals were invaluable.
    • Enforced with Jedi. Not only were they, by design, far and away the best combat class in the game, Jedi were actually punished for operating as part of a group. Any time a Jedi used their lightsaber or a Force power in view of a humanoid NPC or another player (regardless of whether that player was an ally or enemy), they would accrue "visibility", a hidden stat that slowly decayed over time. A player whose visibility got too high would start showing up on Bounty Hunter terminals, allowing other players to hunt and kill them for a significant reward.
  • 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.
  • Suburbia: Every city was surrounded by a ring of player houses and guildhalls that slowly got larger as more people started settling down.
  • 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.