Star Wars Galaxies was developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by LucasArts on June 26, 2003. Its servers were online until December 15, 2011. For seven and a half years, the game captivated subscribers like me with its limitless options and paths for players to pursue. You could be a gunslinger of many varieties, such as a marksman, or a pistoleer. “But wait,” a lot of gamers might say, “that sounds like every other sci-fi MMO ever made!” Au contraire, ladies and gentlemen.
Where SWG broke the mold was with its introduction of noncombat classes. You see, players could decide to be artisans. But within that path, they could also choose to focus on tailoring, droid building, gunsmithing, armorsmithing, mining, architecture, furniture, medical supplies…the list goes on and on.
And if that didn’t strike your fancy, but you still wanted to skip the nitty-gritty of combat, then you could take up the role of Medic. When players died, they accrued “wounds,” limits placed on their three status bars (Health, Action and Mind) that could only be healed by Doctors (Health and Action) and Entertainers (Mind).
While the game went through multiple redesigns and eventually suffered the fate of many an ailing MMO by turning into what was essentially World of Warcraft with Star Wars textures, it maintained a strong, loyal community that loved it to the very, very end. I played it from release to shutdown, and it provided me with many of my very favorite memories of gaming, and helped me develop friendships that I continue to maintain now.
The closing of LucasArts is like a pinch of salt dropped onto the wound left by SWG’s server shutdown last December. Knowing I may never again have an experience like the ones I had in SWG is a hard thought to bear, and I tip my hat in the memory of LucasArts as an oft-troubled, yet doggedly determined presence in the gaming industry.
This article was originally published as part of a collaborative article at inMotionGaming.com, here.