'Galaxies' an impressive work-in-progress

Discussion in 'Espionage Report' started by AmShak, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    It's hard to imagine a game that could be more appealing to gamers than "Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided." Brought to us by the makers of the life-devouring "EverQuest," "Galaxies" offers a chance to explore the "Star Wars" universe alongside thousands of other players over the Internet in an adventure spanning eight planets, 26 cities and countless miles of open terrain.
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    On paper, it sounds incredible. However, the game is still riddled with bugs (daily updates make it a work-in-progress), and its structure won't appeal to everyone.
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    Like "EverQuest" before it, "Galaxies" isn't a game so much as a virtual world where players explore and fight monsters alongside others. There's no beginning, middle or end, and goals are defined by the players.
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    Starting out, players create a character, picking from eight species (including humans, wookies and other humanoid creatures from the films) and six basic professions. Players get a lot of control over their character's appearance, even molding facial features to their liking.
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    After a quick tutorial that sets up the plot (the game takes place sometime between the first film and "The Empire Strikes Back"), players pick their starting planet and city, and are set loose to make their fortune in the big, tough galaxy.
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    From there, it's the Wild West in space. The cities are safe havens, places where players can recuperate, socialize, shop and find work, and between the cities lies a vast, dangerous wilderness that players are tasked with taming. Violence is common, and nearly everyone is armed. And at the heart of it all is the struggle between the Empire and the Rebellion, which players can take sides in or ignore.
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    How players get ahead in the galaxy is determined by their profession. Fighter types can find work as hired muscle or simply wander the countryside, battling monsters and bandits to build up their strength. Entertainers and medics can make a tidy profit just staying in the cities, patching up other players and collecting tips. Scouts explore the wilderness and forage for resources, while artisans craft those resources into everything from food and clothing to droids and buildings.
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  2. AmShak

    AmShak Senior Moderator Staff Member

    The profession system is extremely flexible, and players are allowed to drop, add and combine skill sets as they see fit. As players become more experienced, they can advance to more specialized jobs such as bounty hunter, smuggler, architect or animal trainer.
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    Amassing experience, items and wealth is the closest thing the game has to a central goal, and those looking for a quick fix should be warned: Like every other "massively multiplayer" game, "Galaxies" requires an enormous time investment. It's not a game you can pick up and put down. Advancement is slow and expensive (for your character, at least; the only real-life money you'll be spending is the $14.95-per-month fee).
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    It is, however, insanely addictive, thanks to the lure of being able to do cooler things the longer you play. While it's frustrating at first, there's a definite sense of accomplishment in gradually going from a weakling who gets killed by rats and butterflies to a powerful bounty hunter or expert droid technician.
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    The fact that everything takes so long is the game's chief flaw; have a book handy when you play this. You'll often find yourself just resting for long stretches of time to "recharge" after a battle. Or sitting around in a cantina trying to lower your "battle fatigue" while someone pretending to be a half-naked alien gyrates in your face and demands tips.
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    Missions are almost always set miles outside town, and all the running you'll have to do to get there and back is a pain. The developers promise to add vehicles and mounts in the next couple of months, but for now it's all on foot. Thankfully, players can simply take a quick, safe shuttle for inter-city travel, which eliminates a lot of wear-and-tear on boots.
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    Graphically, the game is impressive, with lots of crisp detail and a look that's consistent with the films. The cities are big and futuristic, and the wilderness is beautiful, with lots of lush vegetation that sways convincingly in the breeze.
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    Control-wise, the game is very simple; you can use the arrow keys to move, or you can look around with the mouse and use the right button to move forward. Talking to other players is as simple as typing and hitting return. There are a ton of in-game commands to learn, but a simple drag-and-drop toolbar gives quick and easy access to your favorites.
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    Combat is similarly uncomplicated, which will disappoint players hoping for shooter-style action; to fight someone or something, you just double-click them, and from there it's mostly automatic.
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    "But wait," you say. "That's all fine and good, but what about the one thing that makes it 'Star Wars'? What about spaceships?"
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    Although space travel is planned, it won't be available until the release of an upcoming expansion pack. So for now, all would-be freighter captains and X-wing pilots will have to curb their ambitions.
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    While exploration and character-building make "Star Wars Galaxies" fun overall, the game is held back by a host of super-frustrating bugs, long waits and longer distances. It's certainly not a bad way to waste hours at a time, but those horrified at the thought of paying $15 a month to play an unfinished product should probably pass on this one, at least for now.
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    System requirements: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP, Intel PIII 933MHz or AMD Athlon 900 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 2 GB hard drive space, 32 MB 3-D graphics card, 4x CD-ROM, 56Kbps or faster Internet connection.

    marinij.com
     
  3. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    I'm not tired of it yet. 256 MB of RAM is a minimum - 512 MB or more is highly recommended. This game is very graphic intensive and traveling in cities is hard on your computer if you are at the minimum.

    The game doesn't "require and enormous time investment" - some people choose to give it that. I don't know that I would call SWG a non goal-oriented game. However, non goal-oriented games have been successful before. "The Sims" anyone?
     
  4. Zepp

    Zepp Interstellar Buccaneer

    I'm actually in a region where hte game has yet to go on sale and so therefore I am left a little in the cold right now...

    There are a couple of things I want to know just about character creation,

    How outragious can you get with Zabrak horns and tattoos?

    and what are the skin color and fur options for the different species?
     
  5. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    There are about a dozen horn and a dozen different tatoo patterns (give or take, don't have the game in front of me). I believe you can go even crazier with them with the help of another character with skills in changing hairstyle/faces.

    In other words, they didn't give you every option during character creation so that characters that choose to specialize in tatoos and whatnot have a reason to exist.

    With wookiees, you have a dozen or so choices of fur patterns and a very wide choice of colors (differing variations or grey, white, brown, black).

    Hope that helps...
     
  6. Zepp

    Zepp Interstellar Buccaneer

    how long can the horns get?
     
  7. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    I would say about 2 inches. However, when you select your horns, you're picking a predetermined pattern, so it's not like you get to place individual horns and shape them as you like.

    The pattern that I'm thinking of w/ the 2 inch horn had it located in the center of the forehead with smaller horns circling around the back of the scull.

    I'll try to grab some screenshots if I have time later tonight...
     
  8. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Here you go...
     

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  9. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    This should give you an idea...
     

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  10. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    And the horns...
     

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  11. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Obviously, there are quite a few combinations and changing the skin tone affects those as well.
     

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  12. Zepp

    Zepp Interstellar Buccaneer

    I see they limited the Zabrak skin tones to those of humans... little dissappointed there but it looks like there will be a lot of fun playing with character creation when I finally pic up the game... How do you rate their treatment of Bothans? Or is that too sensitive?
     
  13. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah, I haven't seen any red/black maul tattoos running around. I'm sure cooler things are possible if you can find an image designer to do some work on your character.

    I took a couple of screenshots of my Bothan (in the gaming forum) and he turned out alright.

    I don't see a bunch of characters that look just like each other (especially with the variety of clothes) running around, so that's good...
     
  14. Zepp

    Zepp Interstellar Buccaneer

    First off, thanks for all the hard work.

    Second, for a Zabrak I actually wasn't thinking Maul, just a little more colorful... like maybe Black with a Blue Tattoo...

    But for my primary character I was thinking of a White-furred Bothan with red hair that is very very short but as tough as nails.

    Again thanks and I'll be round
     
  15. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    I'll grab some Bothan "fur" shots, but it will be late tonight or tomorrow before I'll get a chance to.
     
  16. Zepp

    Zepp Interstellar Buccaneer

    No worries
     
  17. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

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  18. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

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  19. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

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  20. Borsk

    Borsk Administrator Staff Member

    This gives you a basic idea. I wasn't crazy about the limited selection of hair when you start out...
     

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