Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

LucasArts is showing off the first retail expansion to its massively multiplayer online RPG at this year's E3. Find out what to expect.

LucasArts unofficially announced Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed way back at E3 2001, when it first unveiled Star Wars Galaxies itself. Since then, development on the project has continued behind the scenes, and at last, LucasArts is ready to show off Galaxies' first retail add-on. As the name suggests, Jump to Lightspeed's main, new feature is that it will add more than 15 new, flyable vehicles to the world of Star Wars Galaxies. You'll be able to control these via a mouse-and-keyboard setup or by using a flight stick or gamepad. But Jump to Lightspeed has more to offer than just spaceflight.

Specifically, the expansion will add more than 100 new missions for players to attempt, the ability not just to buy but to actually build and customize starships, 10 brand-new space sectors (as opposed to the terrestrial zones in present-day Star Wars Galaxies), two new player races (to be announced at a later date), and four new space-specific character classes. Additionally, LucasArts is promising what it's calling an "entirely new level of twitch-based gameplay," which suggests that the spaceflight in Jump to Lightspeed will be easily approachable, more so than the core game itself.

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Among the new vehicles, you can obviously expect to find the usual suspects like the X-Wing, the TIE fighter, and the YT-1300 transport (of which the Millennium Falcon is the best-known). The new space-based zones will take place not just in the pure, black void but also in more-colorful interstellar locales, such as within nebulae or asteroid belts. Challenges to be found here will include battles against AI-controlled capital ships, which will surely demand teamwork from multiple players.

Jump to Lightspeed is due out this fall. It sounds promising indeed, and we're anxious to get our hands on it and give it a spin, just to see how the vehicular performance is. We're also curious to see how, exactly, the expansion ties in with the core gameplay of Star Wars Galaxies. We'll bring you updates on Jump to Lightspeed as soon as we can.

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