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Erevan_Kindelar
03.08.2012 , 03:24 AM | #21
Pre-NGE, Galaxies had a few challenges - bugs, a lack of storyline content outside a few themepark areas (the only PvE content was generic mission content... head over to this area and wipe out a cluster of mobs and their spawn point that is threatening some generic settlement; or Bounty Hunter missions that could only be picked up by members of the Bounty Hunter class).

So the people who wanted a story, and be led through the game from quest hub to quest hub, found the freeform sandbox idea to be terrible. For the rest of us, who really enjoyed the chance to explore a planet without f***ing Exhaustion Zones, and who wanted to make our own story, loved it.

The same people who wanted a storyline generally wanted a class progression system. What SWG gave you was a pool of 250 skill points that, if you had the relevant experience, you could put into learning skills from professions. The "archetypal" professions were there (you could be a Bounty Hunter, for example, which required certain scouting and weapon skills as pre-requisites. On gaining those skills, you could learn the basics of Bounty Hunting and work on your BH skills. If you only wanted specific skills from that tree and you wanted skills in other professions, you could learn just those skills and create your own skill template. For example, you want to be a Bounty Hunter who uses a rifle? Fine, learn the Bounty Hunting basics and also start the Rifleman profession. As such, hybrid builds were very common, and they allowed each player to create their own character profile and skill set.
Altogether, there were around 40 professions to work from, and there was a more integrated community based around cantinas and med centres. Getting into battles gave you mental wounds and battle fatigue, plus physical wounds (especially when you died and had to be resurrected or cloned) that would reduce your combat effectiveness. The only way to remove those wounds without waiting for a month was to go to a cantina to watch dancers or listen to musicians (to heal the mental wounds and Battle Fatigue) or a med centre to be healed by medics/doctors who would heal your physical wounds. There were also Image Designers in the game, who would help you change the physical appearance of your character. All of the dancers, musicians, doctors and image designers were real players, not NPCs, so there was a much greated social aspect to SWG than there is with SWTOR.
Player housing was added soon after launch, and introduced the Politician profession, which allowed players to form their own cities with facilities, run elections and have a periodically elected mayor (yes, SWG had democracy). Player housing allowed players to have a private or public space for storage and that they could decorate or use to host their own merchandising vendors where they could sell stuff, and those vendors were linked into the SWG equivalent of the GTN.
Crafting was a complex endeavour that many people did not enjoy, but for those who persevered with it, the financial rewards were substantial, and the best crafters in each profession on any given server were famous people within the community.
The in-game economy was extensive, with crafted items, crafting materials, and NPC loot drops available for sale.

Fundamentally, the game started off with very little content and a ton of bugs. Mounts, player housing, space, material spawns and crafting, etc., were all added post-launch, and most of the major bugs were addressed. A similar experience to SWTOR in many aspects.
The player base peaked relatively early in the game, and subscriber numbers started to decline (although not at a precipitously fast rate) 3-4 months after release, but the active player base (around 500 thousand at peak 3-400 thousand just before NGE, afaik) were very active. After the NGE, the player base dropped very quickly to below 100 thousand based on the unofficial figures I saw at the time.

Overnight, the NGE completely removed most of the 40 professions in the game, and the ones that were left were replaced with 8 linear professions based on Star Wars archetypal classes from the films. The game went from a sandbox "live and write your own story" approach to "this is your storyline, run this mission, kill x, go and talk to y for your next mission".
Ironically, there are a lot of similarities between SWTOR and SWG post-NGE, certainly more than with the pre-NGE SWG, which had more in common with EVE Online.
No, really! I am telling the truth, honestly! Look I can prove it, I am a politician! I am as honest as the day is long!
Besides, I am a terrible liar, everyone can see when I am lying - my lips are moving... oh damn, err, that last comment was off the record, right?