A Great Game, Turned to a Dissapointment
This Combat Upgrade still featured all the original 34 Professions one could be in SWG, including Jedi, which had to be earned through a long process. SOE delivered patch after patch improving on the CU, and things seemed to start to get to be great again. It was getting there.
Lucasarts on the other hand couldnt stand seeing their profit bottom line off of the game drop so drastically. They saw the CU as a huge mistake and again saught to change the game. To give the players a "Star Warsy, Iconic" Experience.
Thus, The New Game Enhancements were born.
With it, the ability for a player to be a combination of any of the professions ended, the ability to choose what you wanted to be from a great variety, dwindled down to 9 "Iconic" Professions.
The players who worked tirelessly for months aspiring to be Jedi, saw with these changes that new Players were simply allowed to start as Jedi, as it was one of the Iconic Professions.
A Classic MMO Style combat system "Similar in some ways to WoW, and other Popular MMO's" was replaced with a poorly designed First Person Shooting System. Flowing and Intuitive Controls were replaced with Sloppy, awkward controls that at some points leave you begging for a Second Pair of Hands just to effectively control your character.
The Game Engine, being an Early build of the Everquest II engine, has been altered. World Textures have been given such graphical "enhancements" that do nothing to enhance the appearance, such as specular terrain lighting which only make grass appear like its covered in a oil slick at night.
Simple, and attractive visual effects that were not taxing on even an older 64mb video card were replaced by massively lagging particle effects. In example, the Commando Class in the game now specializes with Heavy Weapons such as the "Lava Cannon" its animation is simply a Lava Eruption that was borrowed from the environment of the Mustafar from the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion. These effects all tend to make use of the massive overdraw features of Pixelshading 2.0 capable video cards. Which sounds nice, but when 20, 30 people are all using these massive overdraw effects you get performance issues even on a Top of the Line Machine with a 256mb or better PCI-E video card. frame rates as stunning as 5-6fps.
The server side lag created by all of these clients lagged by these video effects causes the Game Servers themselves to slow to such a crawl in major pvp scenarios. Being in this day and time in the game, around 30-40 people. The server would play a literal game of Red Light, Green Light. Everything would move for 3 seconds, stop for 5 seconds, and so on. (at the games peak even as many as 300 people fighting in the same area wouldnt lag the server to this extent).
Crafting itself has become a relatively useless endeavor in this game, while it is still the most in depth crafting system any MMO has to offer, it has no reward to it as nearly any High Level Quest item can beat out anything crafted by its stats easily.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of the problems of Star Wars Galaxies to this day. Though the Developers are bringing positive changes to the game over time, and though it may shape into something good again in time, it simply does not deliver the experience you would expect from Star Wars. The game feels empty, because at many times the servers are empty.
The new quest based leveling system is long, dull and extremely boring.
PvP is a joke with the new PvP Battlegrounds implemented to the game. It has become a never ending story of one faction standing inside the zone along its border, the other standing just outside, gathering numbers and attempting to kill the other side.
Unlike World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies has never had dedicated PvP, RP, PvE servers. So there is no distinction and alot of confusion when it comes to attempting to PvP in the game. However it still has one unique quality to it. You are able to trashtalk the noob you killed as much as you want. Something not found in many other MMOs That being the ability to communicate with the opposite faction, and the ability to switch factions for that matter.
Space Flight in the game is good quality, a long grind to become an Ace Pilot in any of the 9 different Pilot Squadrons you can join, at times requiring multiple people to assist you in missions. It remains the only portion of the game that the developers have hardly touched at all since it was first introduced into the game. I guess that was the only thing they got right to start off with. Your able to use a joystick, or you can pilot with a mouse rather easily as well similarly to games like Freelancer.
If your a giant star wars nerd, its still worth your time despite all its major flaws. But if you are looking for a quality MMO experience, look elsewhere for the time being. Issues that if fixed would "fix" the game:
- Particle Effects
- Server Side MAJOR Lag issues
- More customization abilities with your character's skills. It just is not broad enough anymore.
- Some Epic Loot drops couldnt hurt either, there is very few incentives to PvE for any reason any longer. Most loot only gets you on par with everyone else. Barely. Thats my Two Cents as I have played Since Launch, Still play it, will play it until it dies. But I will not recommend it to the wary. It takes alot of dedication to keep playing this game longer than a week.