Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan Impressions

We take a guided tour around the planet of Mustafar on which Star Wars Galaxies' third expansion pack is set.

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During a recent meeting with LucasArts, we had an opportunity to get our first look at the closed beta version of Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan in action. Designed with mid- to high-level players (combat levels 60-80) in mind, the third Star Wars Galaxies expansion pack is set exclusively on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, which is where Anakin and Obi-Wan's final battle takes place in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The fiery, inhospitable surface of Mustafar is quite unlike anything that's ever been seen in Star Wars Galaxies to date, and the 50-plus new quests and missions that you'll find there will be more story-driven and directed than what's gone before.

Trials of Obi-Wan won't feature any new space content, so to get to Mustafar you'll simply choose to be transported to the planet's starport using one of your own craft or an interplanetary shuttle. One of the first things you'll notice about Mustafar is that the visuals there represent a significant improvement over those found anywhere else in the Star Wars Galaxies universe, including the planet Kashyyyk from the Rage of the Wookiees expansion released earlier this year. The building interiors are nicely lit and use textures taken straight out of Episode III. There are windows through which you can see what's going on outside (a first for the game), and the planet actually feels alive because of the smoking volcanoes and the pools of lava that are bubbling violently. The lava on Mustafar looks great, but if you get too close to it you'll find that environmental hazards are now a feature of Star Wars Galaxies for the first time. The only safe ways to cross lava will be astride one of the new lava flea mounts (great-looking, giant red bugs) or aboard the new eight-passenger transport skiff (as seen in The Return of the Jedi) preorder bonus item.

Other new items in Trials of Obi-Wan will include a large bunker house with three underground stories, a YT-2400 multipassenger ship fashioned after that used by Dash Rendar (the star of the Nintendo 64 game Shadows of the Empire), and a veritable arsenal of weapons, such as the lava cannon that we got to see in action during our demonstration, and a sword fashioned from the horn of a creature indigenous to Mustafar. Creature handlers can look forward to taming three new types of creatures on Mustafar (including the aforementioned lava flea), entertainers will find new songs and dances to learn there, and Jedi players will no doubt be eager to get their hands on lava crystals that can be used in lightsaber construction.

Many of the new items to be found on Mustafar will take the form of quest rewards, many of which will change from time to time so that you have an incentive to replay some of the planet's most challenging instanced areas and dungeons. Objects such as new weapons, armor pieces, and décor items will be plentiful on Mustafar, although many of them will be looted in the form of multiple pieces that will require assembly. Getting your hands on all of this great loot won't be a walk in the park, of course, and you'll likely want to get into a decent group before tackling any of the enemies of the Force and large creatures that call Mustafar home.

You'll find some friends, as well as enemies, on Mustafar, including the ghost of Obi-Wan and Mustafarian miners. During our demonstration we got to see one particularly action-packed mission in which you'll side with a group of miners as they defend themselves from a droid army commanded by none other than HK-47 (you might remember him from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). The battle that ensued afforded us a great opportunity to check out some of the new weapon effects that the expansion will add to Star Wars Galaxies. We also got to see a player setting explosive charges on the ground and then using a detonator in his inventory to set them off when enemies approached them.

Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan is a good-looking expansion pack that promises to add plenty of new action-packed content to a universe that's already embroiled in a galactic civil war. It's unlikely that newcomers to Star Wars Galaxies will benefit from the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack until they've spent some time leveling up their characters. But veterans of the game who aren't already beta-testing on Mustafar will no doubt be preordering in the thousands so that they can go check out the new planet on October 25--a full week before the digital download is scheduled for release.

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