Star Wars Galaxies: The Final Moments

By Alec Meer on December 21st, 2011 at 10:12 am.

I'd be entirely happy to have the Mos Eisley cantina band play out as the world ends

So that one might live, another must die. And so it was that Star Wars Galaxies went the way of Mark Hamill’s leading man status last week, having been ushered out of existence by the dark forces of licensing in order to make way for The Old Republic. We’ve already posted news of the closure, but it’s well worth having a look at the below player videos of its final moments. As well as all the epic space battle stuff, the death of an online world makes for a strange, and sad affair, where the evident outpouring of emotion is so often hampered massively by the constraints of the game. Yet for all that the stiff animations and looped emotes somehow make these farewells all the more poignant.

Also: watch Luke Skywalker get murdered by Ron Burgundy.

Here’s the climactic invasions of Theed (by the Rebellion) and Coronet (by the Empire), which looks pretty awesome at around the four minute mark:

Here’s how the end of the universe looked from Mos Eisley, on the Europe-FarStar server. The uploader notes he had to turn off some graphical whizzbang to cope with the number of players and fireworks:

And here’s someone’s music video, which sets assorted vignettes from the last day to a very sad song.

This is oddly moving, in terms of what’s lost from a personal perspective when an MMO closes: a player touring their in-game house, carefully built and decorated across the years, for the very last time:

FInally, and all too aptly, here’s the Luke Skywalker NPC getting mobbed to death in the twilight moments of the game. I particularly like that one of his assassins is called Ron Burgundy.

Farewell then, old Galaxies. You were, if nothing else, fascinating.

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31 Comments »

  1. Orija says:

    Those aliens. Their heads look eerily familiar with a certain part of the male anatomy.

  2. Tony M says:

    When I played pen-and-paper RPGs, I wanted my characters to live forever. After years of experience, we realized the best characters have a definite and storied end. Its better if they die and their story can be fondly remembered as complete, instead of just falling into disuse.

    • Wulf says:

      There’s nothing wrong with a character living forever, you just have to purposefully retire them at some point, and that’s what I do. They get a bit old, and they just retire, and swear off adventuring. They tie up all their loose ends, and then settle down. They then live out the rest of their lives doing whatever, but it means that the door is open should I ever want to pull them out for use again.

      It’s having my cake and eating it, really, since it’s a sense of complete closure without the character dying. And, to be honest, it’s nearly impossible to write a good death. Over 90~% of writers do it in such a terrible way that it feels cheesed, or like it’s there just for a knee jerk reaction. One of the few authors I’ve seen who’s been able to get it right is Terry Pratchett. Usually though a character dies as a plot mechanic, and I’m just sat there thinking ‘well duh, I knew that, and you didn’t need to kill off those characters in order to tell me that.’

      One of the best examples of this is Fallout 2, surprisingly. Fallout 2 is a brilliant game, but there was a really poorly thought out choice made in it and it was made by Chris Avellone. I’m not surprised by this because Chris is really a weak link when it comes to Obsidian and sometimes I feel like he’s what’s holding them back, and his writing is never stellar. Sharon Cassidy in New Vegas was written by him, as an example of a character that was pretty damn flat.

      Anyway, the choice was in Fallout 2. See, normally you were supposed to be able to have a rare chance to save the sentient deathclaws. It was hard, but not at all impossible. It was supposed to be one of those things that was there to be discovered on another playthrough, a scant chance to actually save them by doing the right thing at the right time. And that’s the sort of magic that’s made the best of Obsidian’s games work, and when that’s not there, that’s when they lack that magic. This section of content had to be restored by mods (the ultimate Fallout 2 patch does it, which I’m thankful for).

      See, Avellone’s reasoning was that the deathclaws needed to die to show us that the Enclave were evil.

      Well duh.

      You got that by playing it through the first time without knowing you could save the deathclaws, but going through it a second time and seeing where you might have been able to save them, but it was removed, was absolutely infuriating. Chris makes bad decisions like that and the writing of the games he’s part of designing suffers for it. That’s a bad way to handle the death of a bunch of characters that one might have formed an attachment to. And like I said, this is just one example of a normally brilliant house of writers dropping the ball because of one weak link.

      When death occurs, it should be handled very rarely, because otherwise it can seem like it was just arbitrary. Like the writer didn’t have enough skill in order to handle a character or scenario properly, so they just threw in death as a mechanic to move things along. This has been true of the most limited writers I’ve ever seen. Few writers have actually used death successfully, and some writers… well, some have even used it to move a character’s story along, which is very entertaining.

      But really, our mortality is a precious thing, and some writers use up mortality like it was candy, and it makes me cringe. So I’m okay with my characters having a long, long life, because it means that I’m not going to give them an arbitrary death. If one of my characters does die, it’ll be after a lot of thinking and deliberation, and it’ll be done right. This is why it’s incredibly rare for me to kill off a character.

      Because really, killing off a character is just the opposite end of the same coin as having them win the lottery. You’ve jumped the shark and you don’t know what to do to progress the story, so you kill someone. It’s how it always goes.

    • Gunde says:

      @Wulf

      Interesting comment, do you happen to have a G+ account / blog or somesuch?

    • mjig says:

      “Chris is really a weak link when it comes to Obsidian and sometimes I feel like he’s what’s holding them back, and his writing is never stellar”
      Oh dear god, what?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Am I the only one that found the entirety of Wulf’s post asinine, not to mention completely off topic?
      If you’re going to go OT, then at least keep it short. The notion that he might have a blog is terrifying.

      Bleg. Sorry, that was a bit mean. But maybe called for?

    • Gunde says:

      Kind of, but I don’t want to derail the thread with another OT post, so I asked for alternate communication.

    • Cerius says:

      @Wulf Half of that stuff is taken out of context, completly wrong and absolutly insane at times. You should really go check your Black Isle/Troika/Obsidian facts one of these days again….

    • Gunde says:

      No response. Quite expected, actually.

      Back On Topic now perhaps?

      This whole bit reminds me of the events around the end of the Matrix Online some time ago. It’s perhaps the most interesting part in the life-time of an MMO.

    • vecordae says:

      @Tony

      Well said. When a character (or, in this case, MMO) ends, it is a sad affair, but only in the moment. Afterwards we get together with our friends or fellow players and remember the good times we had. When a character (or game) lingers on into perpetuity, becoming more anemic and out of touch as time goes by, the tragedy is multiplied with each passing second. The memory of what is was is poisoned with the reality of what it has become.

      Godspeed, Star Wars Galaxies.

    • Clash says:

      *Sings Queen, Who Wants to Live Forever*

  3. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Wow, it may only be virtual but it’s very eerie watching the final moments of a universe, even one I’ve never been to.

  4. Squire says:

    This woman ain’t too enthused about it either – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TWb3cxA4g_U

    GET A JOB!

    • aldo_14 says:

      I thought she was naked for a minute there.

    • Odeon says:

      I thought she was nearly naked from the image used before you start playing the video.

      I have to wonder if Felicia Day’s character in The Guild is based on this girl…

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Still the mmo i was most fond of although i haven’t played it in 8 years or something.

    • ChainsawCharlie says:

      Same here. The early SWG (after the launch bs) was awesome.

  6. kevmscotland says:

    I never played SWG, nor have I actually ever bothered to look it up interms of footage or information.

    Ironically, these videos make me wanna try it.

    Oh well!! There will be others.

    • upsidedowncake says:

      I guess it takes the death of a game to turn an MMO into something ‘interesting’, which is to say, ‘still just people stood around chatting whilst holding glowy items’.

  7. SiHy_ says:

    Wow, looks good. Think I’ll check it out.
    Oh, wait…

  8. BobsLawnService says:

    This makes me a little bit sad.

  9. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    You could put that Bon Iver song over any video ever made and end up being emotionally effected by the video

  10. John P says:

    This looks a lot more Star Warsey than SWTOR. Or anything George Lucas has done since 1983.

    • Odeon says:

      Like someone else said, it was pretty great a little while after the horrible bugginess that was its birth and before they “improved” the game mechanics to make it into a Star Wars-themed WoW clone. Shortly after that change is when I stopped playing and paying.

      What I noticed is that the game looks very much the same, with lots and lots of the same items and such from when I stopped playing it at least five years ago. Graphics, pets, speeders, locations, mobs, armor, weapons, etc., etc. all look pretty much the same, but with some new additions. The worst new addition is the rampant population of Jedi running around that was supposed to draw people into SWG by the millions and beat out WoW in popularity. Totally horrible design decision. It really screwed up everything that everyone had been doing in all the prior years and turned away a LOT of existing players.

      The only really positive thing I see is that flying spaceships could be done in planetary atmospheres instead of just in space. It used to be designed to where you had to launch into space with a cut-scene and didn’t actually play until space was loaded, with no way to fly directly down to a planet. The Jump To Lightspeed expansion was my most favorite part about the whole game. It was more fun than X-Wing or Tie Fighter, which I had TONS of fun playing way back when.

  11. Juan Carlo says:

    They have Ron Burgundy in England?

    Wow.

    Most people in the USA don’t even know who Ron Burgundy is.

    • Odeon says:

      I’m pretty sure that Ron Burgundy was someone’s pet in that video. Which means that either they aren’t too sure who Ron Burgundy is in England too or that someone already had their main account and wished they’d named him that.

      Either way, watching an herbivore named Ron Burgundy chomping away at Luke Skywalker dressed like he was in the first movie is pretty entertaining. He was a tough bugger, but I wonder how much longer it took to take down Darth Vader, who was shown at the beginning of that last video.

  12. bill says:

    The full scale Star Destroyer looked pretty cool. Made me miss Tie Fighter…

  13. tentaclesex says:

    Atmospheric flight?!

    A tad sorry I missed the closing moments. I was on a road trip, otherwise I would have popped in and lagged around the city for a few minutes.

  14. Grey_Ghost says:

    The game was perpetually screwed up. It was severely lacking in good / fun Star Wars’y play. The only thing it had continually going for it was the crafting system, which is just so very sad when you think about it.

    I’ll miss what it could have been.