LOS ANGELES--Earlier today, while visiting LucasArts to check out the E3 demo of Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, we made some time to check out the current state of Star Wars Galaxies. Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game has been through some major highs and lows since it was released almost three years ago, but it still enjoys plenty of support in the form of six weekly updates, and the upcoming publish 29 is arguably the most interesting thus far.
Unlike many of the previous Star Wars Galaxies updates, publish 29 will forever change the game's universe via an event that's driven by the actions of players. Specifically, publish 29 will task Imperial and Rebel players with building faction bases and collecting resources to fuel a war effort on the moon of Rori. And when enough resources have been collected, the city of Restuss will be the stage for what promises to be the largest battle ever seen in the game.
Although there were only a handful of SOE testers participating at the time, we had an opportunity to see them fighting the aforementioned battle alongside Imperial and Rebel non-player characters who were patrolling the city in large numbers and attacking each other on sight--there were even airstrikes being called in, which looked quite impressive. What we saw toward the end of the demo would almost certainly be considered a spoiler by most of you reading this, so all we're going to say is that when the battle ends, the city of Restuss will never be the same again, and if you visit it subsequently you'll find new NPCs to interact with and new quests to undertake.
Discussing the current state of Star Wars Galaxies with members of the clearly dedicated development team at the end of our demo, we learned that a lot of effort is going into ensuring that there are plenty of opportunities for you to create a character for yourself who is very different from others of the same class. Since the author of this story has refused to log in to the game since creature handlers were removed from it, we also enquired as to the chances of that class making a return. Suffice it to say, we didn't get the answer that we were hoping for, but the small group of SOE representatives that had assembled around us at that point did say that they're exploring ways for the most desirable aspects of that class (pets, presumably) to be worked into other classes. No promises were made, but maybe SOE will find a way to entice the author back into Star Wars Galaxies yet.