Star Wars Galaxies Designer Eulogises The Dying MMO

The original MMO set in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars Galaxies, is ending its online existence this December, making way for Star Wars: The Old Republic. Contracts expire and so too must the occasional online community.

Star Wars Galaxies designer Raph Koster, also notable for being lead designer on Ultima Online, offers his take on the game scheduled to "sunset" later this year, a eulogy of sorts, with a dash of post mortem. The former Galaxies designer adds his take on how the game might have been a bigger success, right from the get go.

"Here's what I would have done differently," Koster writes. "I would have made sure the ground and space games were launched all at once. I would have given the game another year to develop and really polish it quite a bit. I think we created one of the most unique and amazing games ever created in the MMO space. It is the sandbox game. Nothing else even comes close to what we did there. I would have really taken our time and polished combat right so we never had to do the [New Game Enhancements, an overhaul of the game in 2005] ."

That said, Koster says he was "proud to have worked on it," calling the eight-year-old game "quite profitable," full of influential gameplay mechanics and entertaining for millions. He even addresses the game's much talked about... dancing.

"...Which everyone made fun of," Koster says. "But as far as I am concerned, it may have been the biggest and best contribution, the one that spawned a jillion YouTube videos and may well be the lasting influence the game leaves behind, an imprint on all the games since: a brief moment where you can stop saving the world or killing rats and realise the real scope and potential of the medium."

More at his official site.

SWG is shutting down [Raph Koster's Blog]


    Why can't they just make it free to play?
    That's what they did with other MMOs which helped bring them back on top or at least steadily.
    But I guess as usual, that's Sony for you.

      I doubt it has much to do with SOE - the decision was likely primarily influenced by LucasArts. They didn't want to renew the licence beyond the end of the year because they don't want any competition for The Old Republic (presumably launching at Xmas or early 1st quarter 2012). If SOE had free reign, it's likely they would have continued to milk it for a few years yet. After all, it has already been running for 5 or 6 years past its true death at the hands of the CU/NGE. If it was purely about financial viability, they could have could have simply merged 3/4 of the current servers together and reopened a couple of pre-CU/NGE servers. It boggles the mind that they didn't do that years ago when everyone left, but I guess they were just too arrogant and stubborn to admit they'd made a mistake.

      Because they're losing the Star Wars license, that's why.

      Yes, you're right. Sony are the only company that ever shut down an online game in the entire history of the universe. They are worse than the Nazis. Thank God we have people like you to drag their evil doings out into the light and expose them. Keep fighting the good fight!

      If it were free to play I would give it a try just for the fun of it.

    I suppose it could have been not wanting to take away from the new IP coming out with the star wars name. I mean, if I had a choice between starting over on a newer version of the game or maintaining my high level toon (is that the right word?)on a current game I am pretty sure the option for least change and maintenance of 'position' would win out.

    It's hard for them to make it free to play and still maintain servers for the game content when there is no money flowing in.
    It has reached the end of it's perceived life and therefore it's servers are being shut down, not much that making it free to play will save.

    I love a good eugoogaly. A good eugoogaliser really makes all the difference.

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