Star Wars Galaxies has officially shut down as Sony Online Entertainment decided to close all the game’s servers after 8 years of its original release in America and Europe. At the time, there were multiple live streams showing the MMOs last moments (courtesy of GameSpot and primarily of GiantBomb) and even though I didn’t watch them extensively it was quite interesting to see how there were many fans playing their favorite game until the last minute. As a way of celebrating the game’s last moments, there were a couple of events which intended to determine who the best faction was. This was accomplished through a massive player versus player war where players were supposed to control different parts of the territory and the group that controlled the most territory was considered the winner of Star Wars Galaxies.
I presume that like me, many people have never played this game so here’s some basic information about the massively multiplayer online title:
Star Wars Galaxies was developed by Sony Online Entertainment and was published by LucasArts for the PC in 2003 in North America and Europe and in 2006 in Australia. An original Xbox and PlayStation 2 ports of the game were supposed to come out, but were eventually cancelled for unknown reasons. Galaxies was considered the first MMO based on the Star Wars franchise and was created by the same team that was in charge of EverQuest, arguably, SOE’s most popular MMO. The former was expected to come out in 2001, but was delayed until 2003 for multiple reasons, though there was an extensive period of beta testing before the official release.
The game received various updates in the form of add-ons that added basic functionality to it like the possibility of flying starships to travel to other planets or to engage in space combats. It should also be noted that at the time, Galaxies had one of the biggest online communities ever with around 400.000 players, but the subsequent updates (some of which had some serious issues regarding lag) failed to capture the essence of the franchise so the number of players started decreasing dramatically and more and more official servers were closed.
Finally, on June 24, 2011 SOE officially stated that the game was going to be shut down as there simply weren’t enough people playing the game, though the loyal subscribers were allowed to play for free for the last months. Although Star Wars Galaxies has been heavily criticized by both fans of the Star Wars franchise and by critics for being unbalanced, buggy and having overly convoluted mechanics, it definitely had some great qualities. Some of which included its realistic character models and environments, the accurate and meticulously detailed representation of the different planets or events, the inclusion of missions that directly tie to the films from the original trilogy, great variety of professions and species, massive size of the world, soundtrack and sandbox approach. Even when the game had many issues, it definitely did something different and I’m pretty sure that this was helpful to developed The Old Republic, which you can start playing on December 20, 2011.