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Gaming History You Should Know – The Downfall of Star Wars Galaxies December 15, 2019

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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Welcome back to another dose of Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content about the history of the gaming industry. Today, we’re going to be featuring the work of the YouTube Channel saintmillion and a video they produced about something that at one time meant a lot to me, what they believe to be the beginning of the downfall of the MMO Star Wars Galaxies.

Star Wars Galaxies was one of the first major Triple-A MMOs. It’s development was so closely followed the mainstream media covered it, and that’s something they NEVER do. At a time when MMOs like Everquest and Ultima Online were making huge money, Sony Online Entertainment (responsible for the previously mentioned Everquest) and Lucasarts announced they were going to release THE MMO gamers all over the world wanted, Star Wars Galaxies.

On paper, Star Wars Galaxies was everything every gamer could have dreamed of. A chance for gamers to create their own original playable character in the Star Wars universe, pick from a series of trades ranging from smuggler to entertainer, and explore all the familiar planets seen in the Star Wars movies! To avoid issues with the ongoing prequel trilogy, the game was set after the events of the very first Star Wars movie, now referred to as Episode IV.

Star Wars: Galaxies had a monumentally successful launch and had some fiercely loyal ongoing customers, but some vocal players found issue with the limitations SOE put on them for the sake of game balance. A different MMO was released in 2004, World of Warcraft, which became a phenomenon overnight and remains the number one MMO of all time to this day. Over time, everything from space travel, to new planets were added as expansions but it didn’t improve the player base count. Eventually, entire gameplay revamps were brought into to the game…which only served to alienate the previously loyal fans. When BioWare planned a different MMO in the Star Wars universe, set during the events of the Knights of The Old Republic timeline, the decision was made to discontinue Galaxies, effectively ending the game.

Why did it fail? Everyone had their own theories. By the time it was shut down the MMO bubble, inflated by copycats trying to compete against the hugely successful World of Warcraft, had started to deflate. However, saintmillion has their own theory and after having watched their video on the subject myself, I am inclined to agree with them. Check it out!

At this day, Star Wars Galaxies and it’s expansions are no longer playable. If you want to get a good picture about how high the anticipation for Galaxies was back before it was released, I recommend seeking out the documentary Avatars Offline directed by Daniel Liatowitsch. I was lucky enough to watch that documentary at a film festival held at the University of California, Irvine back in 2003. This documentary sadly may be a piece of lost media, as even though it received a DVD release, it is now out of print and a Google search failed to turn up any digital distribution for it.

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