TOR Was An Accomplice In Galaxies’ Death

By Alec Meer on July 12th, 2011 at 11:37 am.

There's a lot of rancour about Galaxies' closure

There’s been a fair bit of grumbling and grief about the upcoming closure of olden MMO Star Wars: Galaxies, with some players reckoning the decision makes no sense and wasn’t necessary. I should probably insert some sort of Star Wars quote here, but I’m a 32 year old man – can’t I stop doing that now? There’s a petition against the closure, of course. There’s always a petition. Whether 3000 signatures are enough to change SOE’s mind seems unlikely – especially given SOE boss John Smedley has shone a little more light on just why Galaxies was fed to the Sarlacc pit.

Clarified was the Star Wars license rented from LucasArts, which expires next year. Had that not happened, Galaxies might have hung around:”That’s the problem with licenses: they end,” Smedley said at event attended by the Escapist. “We’re going to continue to do some licensed work, but we’re largely going to stick to original I because then we won’t have this issue. We’ll never have this problem with EverQuest.”

However, also noted was “the odds of a pretty large portion of the audience moving to TOR, which looks like a terrific game. I think that’s going to be really well-received by the population.” Who knows, eh? I’m quite sure most Galaxies players would have checked out TOR, but whether they’d have stayed, given its apparent non-sandbox nature and seeming WoWosity, could well have been another matter.

At least SOE seem pretty cut up about it too. “It hurts. We knew, with the checkered past, that this would not be a popular decision, but it was just one that we had to make.”

Seventh months of the game remain, and SOE are promising a blow-out finale. That’s something I’d like to be there for. I hope it involves the Jawas taking over the universe.

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51 Comments »

  1. Icarus says:

    In other news, the Pope was spotted entering the woods with a copy of the Vatican News and a roll of paper.

  2. frenz0rz says:

    What a shame.

  3. MrMud says:

    As someone who played SWG way back before the overhaul I can not see many people still playing that game being interested in SWTOR. SWG is in many cases much closer to EVE (with a completely player based economy, player cities and all that stuff) than it has ever been to WoW.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jubaal says:

      Yeah I was one of those too. It was such a shame that they managed to destroy the very essence of what made the game great. They turned it from an open sandbox game with unique player cities and communities to a drab Everquest 2 clone that introduced levelling and removed the ability to really specialise your class. In their cull of the class system they also removed my two favourite classes which my main consisted of: Creature Handler and Ranger.

      The fact that at one stage SOE had to roll-back one of their huge patch updates due to player pressure just shows how wrong they got it in the end. Such a shame really.

    • Odeon says:

      I was another one and had what sounds like the same kind of character as Jubaal – a Ranger/Creature Handler. I saw the change as pandering to the success of WoW to try to steal some of its players away with a better-known license – at the time, WoW was already a huge game changer (literally AND figuratively), but it wasn’t as well-known as Star Wars… Come to think of it, it sounds pretty crazy, but is likely to be true that World of Warcraft is now a more globally-recognizable brand than Star Wars.

      Anyway, it was a real shame that SOE made such a colossal strategic mistake. I’m not as sure as other commenters about whether or not I’d still be playing SWG if not for NGE, but it sure wouldn’t have made me look otherwise. I still get warm fuzzies from my memories of crafting and placing team camps out in the middle of nowhere that included all manner of modern convenience. Instead of repeatedly making those camps, I can now take the ideas to other games and use the concepts in making suggestions to the developers of games like AfterWorld.ru.

  4. D says:

    So yeah, how’s SWGEmu coming along?

  5. Bilbo says:

    It obviously still has a few players and the design is clearly very different to SWTOR so this is a pity, but without a license what do we expect them to do?

  6. MiniMatt says:

    three thousand voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced?

  7. Jumwa says:

    Did anyone seriously doubt TOR played at least this much of a role in its death?

    Not that it’s not worth pointing out they admit it.

  8. Phinor says:

    A nice case of why you might not want to play any license based MMOs. Licenses do expire and you can’t do anything about it.

    Sure, all MMOs expire but usually only when the player base has completely vanished.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Makes me wonder about the future of DC Universe or whatever it’s called. Granted, it’s new and I’m sure that license is going to last a very long time, but in the end it’s going to run out.

      One thing I want to know though, couldn’t they renew the license? Lucasarts might have refused since they are releasing a new Star Wars mmo though.

  9. Spacewalk says:

    What came first, the picture or the alt-text?

  10. psyk says:

    TOR onion routing?

    • speedwaystar says:

      yes, i read that as TOR (the anonymous network routing protocol) too.

  11. checkers says:

    What is TOR??????

    • Hydrogene says:

      SW:The Old Republic.
      Don’t ask what SW is or I’ll know you were having a joke.
      But you are right, some of the RPS News unkindly assume everybody knows every gaming acronym…

    • lunarplasma says:

      When I first read the headline I thought: “What does a book publishing company have to do with it?”

  12. The Sentinel says:

    “I should probably insert some sort of Star Wars quote here, but I’m a 32 year old man – can’t I stop doing that now?”

    Yes. Yes you can. Time to move on, I reckon. ‘Our’ Star Wars has been dead for years. Time to stop holding the corpse’s hand.

    • Dukelukeem says:

      No, Never give up, never surrender!

      By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, it shall be avenged.

      oops, wrong universe.

    • Bhazor says:

      Keep faith battle brothers, the Force must flow.

  13. Winged Nazgul says:

    ”That’s the problem with licenses: they end,” Smedley said at event attended by the Escapist. “We’re going to continue to do some licensed work, but we’re largely going to stick to original I because then we won’t have this issue. We’ll never have this problem with EverQuest.”

    I’m sure that just fills the players of DCUO with confidence about the future of their game.

  14. Premium User Badge

    BathroomCitizen says:

    I played SWG before the NGE (was it called like that?) patch. It had some great moments, but all in all was quite boring compared to stuff like Ultima Online! Man, I hated the pvp in SWG : /

    The saddest part of SWG was remembering the queues to doctors at the starport who were buffing people for money.

    • Nick says:

      Huh, I just went to the local cantinas and watched the dancers/musicans in order to get buffed.

    • Odeon says:

      I always found it so odd that someone (let alone groups of people!) would choose to spend hours upon hours working on skills that made sure they were all but glued to common areas like cantinas and cities for nearly the entirety of their game time… but that didn’t stop me from taking advantage of those characters’ skills! X-D

  15. po says:

    As much as I hate what it’s become, I fully expect Blizzard to do the same to WoW once they have Diablo 3 and Titan ready to sell.

    In the meantime they’re just going to drag it out and milk it for everything it’s worth, with a truly 2nd rate development team left in charge of it.

    • Starky says:

      Blizzard will never close WoW – they might stop developing content for it, and pass it on to their legacy team who’ll do nothing but minor patches every few months.

      But so long as their are people willing to pay a monthly fee for the game they’ll never close it, as it will always generate profit.

    • bigdeadbug says:

      Wait your kidding right? If it managed to loose the upwards of 11 million players any time soon they will end up doing what Starky said.

      That said this situation has nothing in common with WoW, the main reason being that Blizzard owns WoW’s IP. They will never have to make the choice of shelling out another truck load of money just to keep the rights to the IP. There is also nothing on the horizon to say that Blizzard will make another Warcraft based MMORPG and thus be in direct competition with another (older) game sharing that IP.

    • Bhazor says:

      I honestly doubt Titan will be unvieled until Wow starts dying on its own. Their too smart to compete against themselves and too sensible to kill gamings biggest cash cow on an untested follow up.

    • Wulf says:

      Last I heard is that WoW is steadily haemorrhaging a constant flow of bored players to other games, Blizzard hasn’t released an updated number of active subscribers in a long while, now, but inside rumours indicate that it’s a hell of a lot less than 11 million, these days.

      All ‘good’(?) things and that.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      There was an investor call earlier this year where they said they’d lost 600k suscribers. It’s not clear whether that was due to seasonal changes or structural losses, though.

      The ‘WoW is dying’ meme has been going for ages and it’s gained millions since, so I wouldn’t put much faith in that. There’s probably not that much growth possible since everyone who would play the game was or is playing, but WoW is still the dominant force in the MMO market to the point where their competitors don’t even break the double digits in market share…

    • bleeters says:

      It’s generally not a good sign when mmo expansions are met with resigned apathy, though. Blizzard’s insistence on trotting out an ever increasing barrage of ‘premium services’ and planned content obsolescence don’t seem to be doing them any favours.

      As far as their pve stuff goes, at least, the last time they added any especially progressive content (in terms of difficulty tiers, generally requiring that a person to partake in one tier before moving onto the next) was Burning Crusade. It also had the effect of making all tiers, for lack of a better term, viable. Not all at once for everyone, perhaps, but on the whole. The current ‘add one more instance, obliterate the last in terms of difficulty and gear reward until it’s not worth doing anymore’ thing seems to be having diminishing returns.

  16. heartlessgamer says:

    This is not the first time Lucas Arts (or Lucasfilm) has done this. Anyone remember the SW:CCG?

    More thoughts here: http://www.heartlessgamer.com/2011/06/star-wars-galaxies-shutdown-thoughts-on.html

  17. Stormdancer says:

    The New Game Experience (or was it New Player Experience?) was why I left this game. It removed everything that made it new and exciting, and turned it into yet another WoW clone.

    Yeah, it got them a brief flash of new players, but began a massive hemorrhage of the old ones. And today we see the results.

    Makes me sad… I’d still be there today, if they hadn’t gutted the fun from it.

  18. Abundant_Suede says:

    Seventh months of the game remain, and SOE are promising a blow-out finale. That’s something I’d like to be there for. I hope it involves the Jawas taking over the universe.

    I’d like to log in, if only to stare once again, in that odd mix of fascination and horror, at the last dancing wookie as the curtain falls.

  19. mwoody says:

    Can we please stick with SWTOR? TOR is used elsewhere, as pointed out above.

    • Rii says:

      Fortunately context will lead the reader to the correct interpretation approximately 100% of the time.

    • Wulf says:

      The websearch chaff caused by this is annoying, though. Poor TOR being besmirched in such a way.

  20. RakeShark says:

    LucasArts have been really minimizing their potential income this past decade (D-Rod spurt aside).

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Hey, you have to work really hard to not even make a Jedi Knight sequel. You make a decent FPS. You put it in Star Wars. You roll in piles of money. How do you fuck up that simple formula?

      I’m almost certain that George himself is to blame. There must’ve been an edict after the prequels that no further content would be allowed to take place during or after the original trilogy, with the exception of the EU novels. Oh, and Lego Star Wars.

      The problem is that nobody fucking cares about the bland prequel-or-before setting. You have lightsabers, the force, and a few aliens. Yeah, okay. What happened to Rebels vs Empire? Shooters, RPGs, space combat…slap that license on a decent game and you can print money.