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Sony To Encase Half the Star Wars: Galaxies Servers In Carbonite 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-nobody's-coming-to-save-them dept.
Impy the Impiuos Imp writes "Sony is apparently merging out of existence half its Star Wars: Galaxies servers. In spite of a number of innovative features (three health bars, choreograph-able dancing, music you can coordinate between several players, 'your own R2 unit and 3PO,' programmable droids, and so on), a complete overhaul of the combat system, designed to simplify it and make it more action-oriented, actually drove away more people than it attracted. It soon thereafter retired to that great, Sony one-fee-for-all stable of aging and also-rans in the sky. Still on life support, it was preceded in death by Sony foster brother The Matrix Online."
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Sony To Encase Half the Star Wars: Galaxies Servers In Carbonite

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  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @11:25PM (#29449977)

    I laughed out loud at "three health bars". Thank you for making my day, Impy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @11:30PM (#29450037)

      In a move borrowed from Gilette, Sony will relaunch as Star Wars Galaxies 2 with five health bars.

    • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @11:43PM (#29450139)

      I played the game at launch... and 3 life bars is about right. If your health, action, or mind bar went below 0 you died and had to reload your clone.

      All 3 bars regenerated based on your stats, but you used action and mind points to perform specific actions... oh, those bars could also be damaged directly by other players (in PvP) or specific mobs.

      Even better, you needed other players to get rid of any "permanent" damage you took to said bars, which filled part of those bars with black.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        So essentially you had health, mana and endurance? Gee, now that's new. Or at least was, around 1990 before MUDs came into existance.

        • by Dotren (1449427)

          So essentially you had health, mana and endurance? Gee, now that's new. Or at least was, around 1990 before MUDs came into existance.

          Lets face it, what else is there?

          Even if someone comes out with a game that calls them something completely different (indeed, as SWG did) we're still going to associate them with what we already know. Besides, these are easily identifiable and understood by most game players now.. why confuse things?

          Even to knew players, anyone who understands the concept of the words "health" and "endurance" and pretty quickly figure out how they relate to their character.

          SWG at least did something slightly different wit

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rjhubs (929158)
          but in what other game could running out of mana kill you?
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Qzukk (229616)

            but in what other game could running out of mana kill you?

            Star Ocean. Which is infuriating when you're at a low level and resurrection items are damned expensive, but not such a problem later in the game.

          • From an RPG perspective at least, several Final Fantasy bosses (FF6 at least specifically for sure) died when they ran out of mana. Sure, it wasn't your own party, but still it's not an entirely new concept.
          • In world of warcraft the net effect is the same, when a mage runs out of mana in PvP he is generally going to die, so you have to balance health against mana carefully.
        • by BobMcD (601576)

          Because running out of mana has always been fatal?

        • by Chyeld (713439)

          A. TFS was being sarcastic.
          B. How many MUDs 'killed' you when you ran out of mana or endurance?

        • > So essentially you had health, mana and endurance? Gee, now that's new.
          > Or at least was, around 1990 before MUDs came into existance.

          I'm not surprised if it was in old-school stuff, but for modern, 3D worlds, it was new.

          In any case, to expand on the description, different attacks could damage different bars. If any went below zero, you died.

          So the game had an interesting dynamic -- do you specialize in one attack type, or defense for that matter, or become a jack of all trades doing mediocre damag

    • Agreed. A most excellent summary. Pretty rare these days.
  • by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @11:31PM (#29450041)

    You don't release a game and then change everything about it. Add content and features, sure. But you never drastically change the game. People start to feel like they don't "know" the game and leave. You aren't going to attract new customers by touting something like "new improved attack system". They don't know about the old one so they can't judge how much better it is. And the people that don't like the changes will spread their opinions that it sucks.

    Get it right before you release it or deal with the consequences.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbarules2999 (1440265)

      You don't release a game and then change everything about it.

      You clearly haven't played Star Wars Galaxies. That thing was a fucking cultural black hole. It needed to be plugged before we lost something important.

      • I think he's refering to the Jedi changes.

        Sony: ok, it was a bit harsh to make Jedis randomly, so ... let's make it so that everyone can roll a Jedi, no more randomness.
        Players: You WHAT? I rerolled a hundred times / paid $insane_amount on EBay for my Jedi! Fu.. you (ragequits)

        Sony: Ok, but to make Jedis at least halfway balanced, we install permadeath. So, a Jedi dies, he's dead for good.
        Players: You WHAT? Can't do that, your servers are stable like a pig on stilts, and your GM said he won't revive me for

        • This is a key problem with every single Star Wars game ever, in every genre.

          Jedi are supposed to be balanced by their scarcity alone. Or, at least they were, prior to the prequels.

          You cannot do this in any type of 'massively multiplayer' game.

          Your two workable options are:

          1) Have zero player Jedi. Make the players play the normal people.

          2) Have everyone be a Jedi.

          The middle-of-the-road solutions SOE and others have attempted fail miserably every time. And this is by design. Lucas didn't set out over thi

          • The role-playing games put out by Wizards of the Coast balance things nicely by having things Jedi aren't as good at as other players. This is harder to do in a MMORPG, because the focus tends to be a lot more on combat, but you can have quests with multiple ways to solve them.

            • by BobMcD (601576)

              The d6 game had an elegant solution as well - Vader comes to kill powerful Jedi. So if you flaunt your powers, expect to lose a limb in the near future.

          • Well, they could use in-game methods to keep the supply of Jedi low or at least 'special', like we did in tabletop D&D with PC drow characters: the authorities (Imperial, natch) try to kill you on sight, all the time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Fluffeh (1273756)

      You don't release a game and then change everything about it.

      You do if basically EVERYONE playing your game is asking that you do in fact change them. As a player, I wanted them to overhaul the combat system so that it actually promoted grouping with other players. That's the general consensus of everyone that played it. The downside was that while they did overhaul it, they totally repeated the same thing and made it ungroupable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Imrik (148191)

        Just overhauling the combat system would have been reasonable, but they also scrapped the skill system that made the game unique.

      • by navygeek (1044768)

        As a player, I wanted them to overhaul the combat system so that it actually promoted grouping with other players. That's the general consensus of everyone that played it.

        Uh, no? If it was the 'general consensus of everyone that played it', people wouldn't have abandoned ship 1) as soon as they announced the NGE, 2) once they deployed the NGE, 3) continued to leave in droves after the NGE had been out a while. People weren't abandoning the game NEARLY as fast before the combat revamp as after. I, along with the group I played with thought SWG 'Classic' was just fine the way it was. You could be exceedingly successful as a rifleman/creature handler, , or one of a dozen differ

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

          The most fun I had was playing as a Dancer/Bio Engineer. For a while there you could be very creative with BE, and as a Dancer you could use macros to create coreographed dances - I did a few myself which were pretty entertaining. I also did good business building enhanced creatures for creature handlers and superior foods for fighters. Those last two were only possible some six months or more (my memory is a little hazy) into the game's release, because BE started out as utter crap.

          It would be fair to s

          • by navygeek (1044768)
            I had a great deal of fun being a Musician/Creature Handler as the tallest possible Wookiee. A friend of mine had two accounts, both of her characters were female Twi'leks and, at the time, dancers. I set my two crystal snakes to 'trick1' that circled them as they danced, while I played a tune. Was pretty sweet to look at. That little gimmick, along with talking to most people that entered the Cantina, earned me the Professional badge. That was about 3 weeks before I quit the game because of the NGE coming
        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          You could be exceedingly successful as a rifleman/creature handler, , or one of a dozen different types of crafters. The revamp destroyed that in a big, big way.

          There were a LOT of classes that could be exceedingly successful as solo characters. But there was next to no point in playing the game with a friend and actually playing together.

          What's the point in rolling a healing class if you can only heal 1 party member out of the five you are with? Do you have a specific healer/dps combination for every class? I have no problem with trying new types of action bars, on paper it looks great to have mind, body and action points, but in a system that is supposed to en

      • by unity100 (970058)

        I wanted them to overhaul the combat system so that it actually promoted grouping with other players

        basically you wanted them to make the game into another fucking eq grind clone.

        please, dont play any games anymore. or, dont express your views.

    • by Jartan (219704) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @01:14AM (#29450647)

      I'm going to have to disagree here. Drastic changes were very much needed. The problem is they tried to do totally new things inside the framework of their existing engine to save money. They basically tried to tack semi FPS gameplay onto a client that very much did not support it. Then on top of that the changes they wanted to make just sucked. If they had spent a bit more money on it and not tried to do stuff that was obviously stupid it would of worked fine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        The NGE was the worst ever 'patch'. It was designed to make the game console friendly. Sony had a player base that was using PCs and basically said fuck you guys were simplifying the game so that it's so boring you'll leave. It worked, I left and everyone I played with left.
      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @03:48AM (#29451247) Journal

        Actually, that seems to be like exactly the kind of move that will drive players away, no matter how it's done.

        See, it's not just whether the turning to FPS is well done or (as was the case) crap done. It's that it turns the game into a whole other genre than I signed for.

        If I wanted to play a FPS, I would be playing one of the many FPS-es without an online fee. It's not like people were sitting going, "man, I'd so play a FPS, but I have no clue where to get one. If only Sony could turn one of their game into a FPS..."

        Then there were changes like that to the skill system. Honestly, when you hear someone rant about how great the old SWG was, _the_ thing that invariably comes up is the skill system. There were a lot of people who basically put up with its many other sins, just because it was the only one which didn't force them into the mould of a pre-defined class.

        So then Sony comes and throws exactly that away.

        It doesn't really matter inside which framework you do something like that. It's going to piss people off.

        Then there were the changes to the characters. Everyone had their own combination that they played because genuinely that was what they liked to play, and they had spent months tweaking them to exactly their taste, collecting gear, etc. Then suddenly that combination isn't even available any more. I'm not talking just "nerfed" or "changed", but, really, whatever combination you were playing, chances are there wasn't any close equivalent available after the NGE. For some, like animal handlers, there was nothing that even played similarly after the change.

        For those without SWG experience: Imagine if Blizzard one day and said basically, "nah, hybrid and pet classes are now out, they're too complicated for you lot. And you've been bitching about specs and your guild making you respec since we first added raid dungeons, so we're throwing those out too. So from effective now, we'll only have the classes: fighter, archer, cleric and thief. (Which incidentally don't play like warrior, hunter, priest and rogue either.) With a fixed progression of a abilities. If you were playing a paladin or druid, sucks to be you, you get to choose one or the other, not be that jack of all trades crap."

        "Oh, and what's that crap about being a warrior _and_ a blacksmith? Can't you just make up your mind? From now on, you can be a fighting class or you can be a trade class, not both. The traders won't even have a combat level, but we'll make all monsters ignore them."

        Also imagine that it wasn't an April Fools post.

        I'm willing to bet that three quarters of their population would cancel their subscription over such a drastic change. Which is what happened to SWG.

      • They drastically changed things roughly 2.5 months after launch.

        Then, they had the big wide ranging change about a year after that.

        In both cases, the game changed beyond recognition.

        I left after the 2.5 months after launch change. The game was buggy before and buggy after. Link deaths when changing server zones, pets getting stuck at server zone area changes, aggro mobs and NPCs in city zones killing unsuspecting newbs, etc.

        Plus, I am strictly a player vs. environment person, I hate player vs. player gaming

      • The point I was making is that they shouldn't have released it if it needed changes. You don't rewrite the game because your first iteration sucked. You should have made absolutely sure that what you had was what you wanted before you released it. This is where they apparently failed, or they didn't actually ask anyone how much it sucked. Regardless, they didn't plan accordingly and now they're paying the price.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Unfrtunatly they needed to be changed before release.
        A bunch of people looked at it, didn't like it and left. They aren't likely to come back any time soon no matter what you do. The ones that remained didn't pullin enough revenue.

        Sony had limited options. Make changes and hope people come back, or shut down.

        The biggest flaw is it wasn't true to what the fans expect from a SW game. To be important at the start and get on with important actions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)

      You don't release a game and then change everything about it.
      ...
      Get it right before you release it or deal with the consequences.

      Mr. cyberjock1980? George Lucas is on line one for you.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You don't release a game and then change everything about it.

      It sounds like they did a bang-up job of recreating the George Lucas Experience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      You don't release a game and then change everything about it. Add content and features, sure. But you never drastically change the game. People start to feel like they don't "know" the game and leave. You aren't going to attract new customers by touting something like "new improved attack system". They don't know about the old one so they can't judge how much better it is. And the people that don't like the changes will spread their opinions that it sucks.

      That's the problem with MMO's. If I buy Knights of the Old Republic and love it, I might resent changes in Knights of the Old Republic 2. If so, I can just stick with the old game. But that's not the case with MMO's, you're stuck with the upgrade. I don't really see how this will change.

      It's actually kind of funny how chaotically divergent the reactions can be to elements within a game. When the game launches there's no debate, it is what it is and people experience it together for the first time, warts and

    • by brkello (642429)
      I disagree. Just you have to change it for the better. Every little change you make is going to piss of at least a few of your customers, no matter how good you are. They just managed to make things worse.
    • by Fozzyuw (950608)

      You aren't going to attract new customers by touting something like "new improved attack system".

      You're not going to attract players when some other company say "hey, we're making an even BETTER Star Wars game" either. Galaxies will be dead shortly after launch of The Old Republic. Sony's more than likely knows this and is planning the phase-out.

      There's barely room in the market place for all the MMO's as it is, there's certainly no room for two Star Wars MMO... one that's been so tainted with stories of terribleness that it's joke in the MMO community.

  • May it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    rot in hell! They ruined what was a great game and alienated most of the existing player base. I am surprised it lasted this long.

  • by uvajed_ekil (914487) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @11:40PM (#29450117)
    Good job trying to be clever with the title and summary, but which is it!?!? "Encased in carbonite" or "out of existence?" Man, that's as bas as CNN anchor Kyra Phillips saying that a dancing Imperial stormtrooper looked like it needed some WD-40 the other day, as if stormtroopers are robots or something. Blasphemy. Now I'm angry.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Umm, you do realize that they wear armor, right? I mean they're not exactly cloned to have the white shell, hence the WD-40. Or are you offended, because clearly the system is self lubricating for easy use in desert conditions?
      • WD-40 is for metal. Maybe it's just me, but I sort of assumed that Stormtroopers used some sort of futuristic material instead of plain old metal that can get rusty. I think it's more likely that the journalist involved merely thought "armor = rusty" in a supreme leap of mental logic, either that or she's never seen Star Wars and thinks that Stormtroopers are Nazis.
        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Mike Buddha (10734)

          WD-40 is not for rust or lubrication, it's for loosening stuck bolts or parts. It's not a general purpose oil and will evaporate in short order. RTFC

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Z8 (1602647)

            WD-40 is not for rust or lubrication, it's for loosening stuck bolts or parts. It's not a general purpose oil and will evaporate in short order. RTFC

            Uhh, lubrication is for loosening stuck things :-)

            WD-40 is actually a combination of an oil/grease and something that evaporates really quickly like an alcohol. You spray it on when it's really light, and then it evaporates, leaving a heavier greasy substance behind which will stay there. So you can use it for many lubrication jobs.

          • I checked a can and it clearly states it cleans, lubricates and protects against rust. (among other things)

            I do agree with you though that it's not really the best choice for all that. I mainly use it for loosening stuck bolts and parts.

            But it does say so on the can.

          • Exactly - WD-40 is not an ideal general purpose lubricant. And besides, everyone knows PB Blaster is better, anyway.

            And back to my original secondary point, Imperial Stormtroopers don't need it to do the Thriller dance. There is no reason to believe their armor corrodes or rusts anymore than my cats' fur does, and I've invested plenty of hours teaching them to dance. Duh.
        • by lorenlal (164133)

          Mike Godwin is applauding you sir.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      It's not so much blasphemy, as the title wasn't quite obviously a joke.

      That is: It would have been amazing if someone had actually decided to go and encase those servers. That's the story I want to see.

      As it is, they're probably not either -- probably simply being repurposed.

      • mod parent up, i came in search of servers actually being encased in carbonite (which would be very impressive due real carbonite being an explosive) and was thoroughly disappointed!

      • by danger42 (302987)

        As it is, they're probably not either -- probably simply being repurposed.

        Or thrown into the trash compactor.

  • by tetsukaze (1635797) on Thursday September 17, 2009 @12:04AM (#29450259)
    Sony is shutting down half the servers. One half, leaving approximately one other half. This is actually good for everybody. The remaining players will actually get to play with other people, the whole point of MMOs I'm told. In addition Sony gets to spend less money supporting the game which is good for them. Oh yeah, we get to rail on Galaxies. That's good too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)
      But some of us liked playing Ben Kenobi, doing chores, fighting sand people every couple of weeks, you insensitive clod.
  • Galaxies is hardly the first MMO to shut down/merge servers and keep in business. Others have done it more gradually perhaps, but they went from 200k subscribers to probably 100k and didn't close half the servers for a long time, and as anticipation builds for Star Wars TOR they're going to have a churn of people - but they're probably seeing the eventual need to be down around 50 or 60k subscribers, if not outright close. Whatever one may think of the NGE (cough disaster cough), their technology was neve

  • Star Wars Galaxies was passà back in November 2005 when the NGE(New Game Enhancements, also known as the "Benny Hill Upgrade") was released. It exists now not so much a game but more like a cautionary tale and textbook example of a has-been mmo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 17, 2009 @02:25AM (#29450979)

    The combat system in Star Wars: Galaxies was actually completely revamped twice. The first revamp, called the CU (Combat Upgrade) went over somewhat okay. It resolved a few of the problems that the original system had, and it held a lot of promise. There were two major problems with the CU, though... One, it was just as buggy and unfinished as the system it replaced, and two Sony made almost zero effort to finish, improve, or troubleshoot the CU. The result was that even after several years into the game's launch, the core gaming system was still plagued with bugs, imbalances, half-finished ideas, and an odd mix of non-aesthetically matching game systems. Sony "solution" to all this was to simply redo the entire combat system again, this time calling it the NGE (New Game Experience). The problem with the NGE, though, was that like the CU before it, it was buggy and unfinished. At was it this point that the mass exodus of players began. Sony had already proven twice in a row that they had zero ability to actually finish and troubleshoot a combat system, and a large chunk of the playerbase decided that the NGE would be no exception. Sony also did a terrible job managing the transition from each system to the next. As in any MMO, loot, achievements, and other acquired goals/recourses play a major role in defining a player's sense of accomplishment in the game. Prior to each revamp, Sony promised that all of a players loot and achievements would be converted to something of equal usefulness in the next system. This ultimately proved to be nothing but a lie. All manner of loot and quest rewards were transformed into junk. Many players literally had months of effort wiped away in a single day. And this happened not once, but twice! The downfall of Star Wars: Galaxies was predicted from the moment the NGE was first announced. Sony ignored their playerbase when the game was launched, they ignored them when they introduced the CU, and they ignored them when they launched the NGE. It should come as zero surprise to them that their now former playerbase decided to ignore them back.

    • As in any MMO, loot, achievements, and other acquired goals/recourses play a major role in defining a player's sense of accomplishment in the game.

      you eq/wow drones. because of the hype you created endlessly blabbing about 'goals/achievements/resources/accomplishment/success', gaming has turned into a fucking job than an entertainment in the last 10 years.

      go die in a corner. and fuck your accomplishments. accomplishments are for real life.

  • Before anyone starts snarking on the NGE and what it did to the game, let me start by noting I was there at release (day 2, since no one could log in on day 1), I was there during the CU, and I was there for the horrid NGE experience (just after my birthday too, sigh). I know all about the old game, and the stages it went through after that.
    The NGE was a horrid idea, pretty much the poster child for how *not* to make changes to your MMO. The person who promulgated it should have been taken outside and shot

    • SWG may be still kicking, but it's lying in a pool of it's own blood, gurgling, hoping someone passes by to give it a coup de grÃce.

  • A million voices cried out and were ....merged with another server? hmm not quite as satisfying
  • I played this game for the better part of 2006. i started right when Jump to Lightspeed came out and quit after the Combat Upgrade (C.U.), like just about everyone else.

    hey WOW players, imagine if 95% of your inventory and 75%skills where taken away or renedered unusable. and then give a strong character a puny level 19 when they switched to Sony online everquest-y style. that was the Combat upgrade. i quit and most of the other players quit. it was like a ghost town mmorpg.

    there are people who are try

  • I don't get it. Is the article summary written in Wookie?
  • Bought this when it came out - and within two days sent Lucasfilm a rant in which I questioned how exciting it was supposed to be running across the Tattoine desert for hours at a time. In fact, I took the game back to the shop and got a refund (yes, this was back in the days when games were physically bought from shops).

    As I recall, I also ranted about why Lucasfilm had replaced 'fun' with 'profit', and why they thought that would be attractive to players. Funnily enough, they ignored my email - but it see

  • I've read some comments here that are just flat out not true about the current state of the NGE Game (I refuse to call the current iteration "Star Wars Galaxies", that game died in 2005, the NGE resembles it only graphically). If you are interested in Star Wars Galaxies, visit the emulator site (www.swgemu.com).

    First off, closing 12 of 25 servers is still going to leave a bunch of empty servers, they might have enough players left to support 4-5 at most, 13 is still ridiculous. I laugh at those who say th

  • It's great...basically restored the game to its pre-CU state. Ironically it seems like it has more players and is more stable than Sorny.
  • I am a pre and post NGE/CU person (NGE = New Game Enhancements, CU = Combat Upgrade). I actually stopped playing SWG in pre NGE because the game really sucked. It had nothing to do with the complexity. I love complex games. The game just had no direction. I was given a small tutorial and just dumped out there. Sure, it was cool that I was just dumped into the Star Wars Universe, but the complexity really hampered it (take a look at how simple WoW is if you even want to come at me about simple games su

    • by unity100 (970058)

      all that wall of text you typed tells me that you are just another eq bimbo (you can replace eq with wow, practically same) which prefer to be put in confined spaces with defined routes to go. you dont love to take initiative, dream, and create your own projects, but rather prefer to 'progress' in narrow, safe confines someone else forced on you.

      yours is not entertainment. its a small career progression simulation. no wonder you were baffled with the 'complexity' that was there in pre nge swg. you couldnt e

  • ...I joined the day the original Galaxies was released and was simply never able to get into it. It was slow and glitchy and there wasn't much to do. I can remember spending days wandering around Tatooine killing rats and occassionaly hanging out in a bar watching people stand around endlessly. I wasn't surprised when they came out with the new version and I'm not surprised it's beginning its death spiral now. I'm really hoping the Star Wars Old Republic MMORPG is going to be waaay better.
  • As long as SOE is decommissioning the servers, I think it would be great if SWG Emu could offer to buy one or two off of'em. Would be a GREAT help to their reverse engineering of the game. And since SOE hasn't tried to shut SWG Emu down yet, they might even be willing to sell one of the boxes. Long live Valcyn! :-p
  • More like incinerate like Darth Vader's appendages.

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