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SOE: The Old Republic Helped Kill SWG

By - Source: The Escapist | B 35 comments

It's true: Th Old Republic helped bring Star Wars Galaxies to a close.

SOE Community Relations director Linda Carlson took the stage during the SOE Fan Faire 2011 event dressed as an EverQuest dwarf holding a lightsaber. She told a captive audience that it broke everyone's heart at SOE that Star Wars Galaxies had to come to an end. It hurt, she said as she pounded on her chest, you could feel the reverberations through the company.

"Jedi, bounty hunters, entertainers, the whole lot of you, I salute you," Carlson said. "But you know what? We're not done yet. We still have seven months to get together, we can celebrate the game, we can share our memories, we can still have a hell of a good time. I hope you join us all as we follow the last few months of Star Wars Galaxies."

SOE will officially pull the plug on the MMORPG on December 15, 2011 thanks to two specific factors: the end of SOE's licensing deal with LucasArts and the upcoming launch of BioWare's own MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. SOE could have renegotiated with LucasArts to extend the license, but chose not to.

"It was time to turn it off," CEO John Smedley told The Escapist during the event. "We have a contractual relationship that's ending in 2012, The Old Republic launching, a bunch of other business things with LucasArts. And then you look at 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. But it hurts. We knew, with the checkered past [of Galaxies], that this would not be a popular decision, but it was just one that we had to make."

Going forward, SOE plans to stick with its own original intellectual properties (IPs) rather than license IPs from other companies. "That's the problem with licenses: they end," Smedley said. "We're going to continue to do some licensed work, but we're largely going to stick to original IP [going forward] because then we won't have this issue. We'll never have this problem with EverQuest."

Had SOE owned the content in Star Wars Galaxies, the MMORPG might have lived on for a few more years, if not longer. But the termination date is creeping ever so slowly closer, seemingly marking an end to an era when MMORPGs first began to blossom and spread like wildflowers. Now the market is saturated with subscription-based, free-to-play and hybrid models that appear only to draw inspiration from each other rather than offer anything completely original.

Star Wars Galaxies launched back in 2003, but initially didn't satisfy the core Star Wars fans. As a result, it saw a decline in its subscription-base shortly thereafter. SOE tried to correct the list of complaints by releasing major updates called the "Combat Upgrade" and the "New Game Enhancements" in 2005, but that made the situation even worse. Thus, even more subscriptions began to drop off. Twelve servers were eventually shut down in 2009, followed by a steady decline in server population in 2010 and 2011.

But Star Wars Galaxies won't go down without one last epic showdown between the forces of good and evil. "The team is working on all of the details [on the game's epic ending]," Smedley said. "I don't know about [blowing up the Death Star], but they've got something else in mind with the Galactic Civil War. I think [Star Wars Galaxies] is going to go out in a memorable way. With a bang, not a whimper, that's for sure."

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  • 6 Hide
    wcnighthawk , July 13, 2011 12:34 PM
    They should count their blessings they lasted this long. The plug should've been pulled after they released the NGE. You dug your own hole, SOE. I'm glad to see your finally going.
  • -4 Hide
    halls , July 13, 2011 12:44 PM
    I can't get excited about The Old Republic. More of the same MMO grinding/push a button to use a skill gameplay, with some story stuff sprinkled on top? That's just not enough.
  • 6 Hide
    roblaw80 , July 13, 2011 1:06 PM
    No t didn't.... SOE totally hosed it with the combat upgrade and the NGE. They killed it themselves.
  • Display all 35 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    therogerwilco , July 13, 2011 1:07 PM
    The game was ruined with the CU, plain and simple... That's on SOE, not licensing.
  • 1 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 13, 2011 1:12 PM
    hallsI can't get excited about The Old Republic. More of the same MMO grinding/push a button to use a skill gameplay, with some story stuff sprinkled on top? That's just not enough.

    Maybe you should open your own company and create the next killer game title, seeing as it's so easy.
  • 4 Hide
    Netherscourge , July 13, 2011 1:15 PM
    ToR better have good spaceship combat, otherwise it'll just be WoW with blasters instead of crossbows.
  • 4 Hide
    Netherscourge , July 13, 2011 1:17 PM
    Correction - I forgot Star Wars has Wookie bowcasters... maybe it's already too late for ToR?

    In any case, it's all about the spaceship stuff for me. I could care less about another Star Wars MMORPG with Tanks/Healers/DPS. I want epic space battles with customizable ships or I'm not touching it.
  • 5 Hide
    spookyman , July 13, 2011 1:30 PM
    SWG died because they kept revamping the game.
  • 1 Hide
    halls , July 13, 2011 1:33 PM
    SOE has revealed that the space combat will consist of scrolling encounters; you'll move on an x and y axis but you won't control the speed of your ship or its direction.

    It certainly looks pretty.
  • 2 Hide
    Maxor127 , July 13, 2011 1:58 PM
    The Old Republic also helped kill the KOTOR franchise. Bioware tries to say that TOR is going to be unique and not just another WoW clone, and that it will have the depth of a single-player game. But everything I've seen says otherwise. It looks like WoW with lasers. Maybe they'll surprise me like they did with Dragon Age: Origins.
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , July 13, 2011 2:03 PM
    back_by_demandMaybe you should open your own company and create the next killer game title, seeing as it's so easy.

    It should be when you have hundreds of millions in investment. I bet I could come up with something better.
  • 0 Hide
    dawolf74 , July 13, 2011 2:16 PM

    AGREED, the thing that makes space different from terrestrial games is SPACE. Why can't developers get it in their head that advanced tech MMOs are the same as magic if you can't freaking do the things generally held to tech cannon as opposed to magic cannon, which is travel in space and have space battles.
  • -4 Hide
    macewrox , July 13, 2011 2:24 PM
    Maxor127It should be when you have hundreds of millions in investment. I bet I could come up with something better.

    Clearly you have no idea what goes into creating a video game.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 13, 2011 2:55 PM
    I may or may not be testing the game as of now. I highly recommend you try it out, don't go solely by what Bioware has released. If you look at the combat or ui, yeah, it's a lot like any other MMO. The thing plays like a single player game though for the most part, the story is massive and really sucks you in, different for every class. Space combat isn't that big of a deal, basically Starfox 64 style minigame. As for the NDA I clearly just broke, I had to get that off my chest. It's a great game, you HAVE to try it.
  • 2 Hide
    kingnoobe , July 13, 2011 2:57 PM
    LOL.. Look you can't always recreate the wheel.. Sometimes you simply have to make it better and that's what games try to do. If you break everything thing down you can say the same about any genre.

    O look another race game most be a clone of something because it has tracks and cars.. O wait it has motorcycles now, so it's still the same.

    O look another fps game woo hoo clone of wolfenstien run around and shoot..

    And I could go on and on.
  • 0 Hide
    mchuf , July 13, 2011 3:13 PM
    Maxor127The Old Republic also helped kill the KOTOR franchise.

    Actually Obsidian did a fine job killing that franchise.

    And about TOR killing SWG. I think the only people who didn't know that this was going to happen were the poor saps still playing that crappy MMO.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 13, 2011 3:44 PM
    SOE has no one to blame but themselves for the decline of SWG. When first released it had, hands down the finest crafting system ever developed for an mmo at that time.

    Yes it was complicated, but it truly worked. I loved gathering and crafting the best items in the game that I could.

    I dealt with the CU, griped but moved on. However when the NGE came out, I moved over to WOW and stayed there until just this past May.

    I am waiting for SWTOR and it looks pretty darn good. Yes they have a lot of similar features to Wow, but its being implemented in a good way. And there is plenty of innovation as well.

    SOE killed Planet Side with a horrible expansion too. Unless they have learned their lessons from both SWG and Planetside, its unlikely I will ever touch another SOE online game again.
  • 2 Hide
    boltonx , July 13, 2011 4:32 PM
    SWG was fun for a bit TOR will be fun that is all that should matter.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 13, 2011 4:46 PM
    I agree original release it was a great crafting system, and the customizable character looks and skills had no rival. CU was livable but not as fun. After NGE no point in playing.

    My analogy is CU dug the grave, NGE built the coffin, put SWG in it, nailed it shut, dumped it in the ground, and buried it. SWTOR just threw some flowers on the grave site.
  • 3 Hide
    stingstang , July 13, 2011 5:17 PM
    TOR is the expact opposite of SWG. Linear gameplay, linear worlds, rail shooter space combat, and all it is is just combat combat combat. There's no player-fed economy other than the auction house. There's no rowdy cantinas where you watch other players dance for you so you can get a buff. There are no lines in major cities to wait for spices. There's no tempting 'overt' characters who could be jumped at any time. There are no player cities, fields of extractors, live-in houses, fishing... It's a combat MMO with a crappy space combat... Just what everyone wants. And it breaks my heart.
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