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Apr 24, 2006



"game producer" (who sounded to me, and to my son, more like a marketing guy/spin doctor than a producer)

Producers wear many hats. ;-)

With the caveat that I haven't actually *played* NGE (but did quite a bit of time in the original SWG), it seems the fundamental mistake that SOE did was in replacing the old SWG with NGE - given that they're different games, they seem to have decided to alienate their existing customer base in order to attract a new one.

Would it have made more 'sense' to have added NGE as an alternate game, attracting the new players with a different experience while keeping their SWG fan base intact? I understand this probably leads to a nightmare of updating what functionaly becomes two code and asset bases, but don't economies of scale begin to mitigate that? I guess judging the wisdom of the decision hinges on whether or not the original SWG was profitable.

-gary cooper


Liz, can open, worms . . .everywhere. The Order 66 discussion started in November on TN can better explain the NGE and our original concerns with it but i can safely say your son probably had good old Julio well pegged as far as being the spin guy, especially now that Ralph Koster has left SWG and SOE completely, he being the creative guru behind the original game.

From my own experience, after playing SWG for 18 months religiously, grinding away, living through all the patches, upgrades, downgrades, bad customer service, half-thought threw changes, poor communication, bugs, typos and complete chaos that became the NGE, i'm glad i switched to WoW. After conforming to the way the game was originally configured, than changing to the combat "upgrade", then having to adjust to the NGE, which basically destroyed the game and remade it into something completely different, i don't miss it.


Also interesting to me were the number of women who got up to speak, and the high percentage of them who were entertainers and/or craftspeople in the game. I pointed out to my son that when they showed iconic representations of each of the various professioins in the game, _only_ entertainers were represented by a woman. (Hey, they're _never_ too young to be educated on implicit sexism, I think.)

entertainers are not the only ones represented by a woman. Princess leia is the officer as well as the spy. just thought i would clear that up.


Not in the representations they put up on the screen while I was there--but I'm glad to know that's the case in some of their representations.


Sure, he sounded like a complete idiot, but he had an awesome jacket.

I'd just like to say that I wish I was this funny when I was 11.


The problem with these conventions/meetings (just as in forums) is that you generally only hear the voice (annoying, bumping screams) of the vocal minority. Must take it all in with a grain of salt.

And your comment to your son on the "slicked-back hair and tight leather jacket" guy bit sounds just as offensive to me as his "big titties" comment to you. Love how you can summarily discount someone just by their looks alone.


Liz Lawley:>>"They were in the game still not because of the changes, but despite them. Their social network was in this virtual world, and they couldn't quite bring themselves to leave it completely. "

Exactly. After almost 2 years playing SWG, I quit after they broadsided the game with the NGE and destroyed everything I had striven for and achieved in levelling my full-template Jedi. I played WoW for 4 months, and enjoyed it, but have recently come back to SWG. It seems SOE got the message, and has starting to turn the ship around. I find it truly amazing how many bugs and glitches I put up with; because it's Star Wars, because my friends are here, because of my investment in the game. And my old friends list is, name by name, slowly lighting up once again as veterans return to see if it's fun again.

WoW is an amazing achievement, a gaming opus, but it cannot compare to the depth of sandbox gameplay still offered by Raph's SWG -- even after much of the sandbox was stripped away by the NGE and the sand kicked in the faces of veteran players. WoW is in my opinion the multiplayer equivalent of a single-player game, you ride a rail through it. There are many rails to choose from, each with it's own pretty paint job, but they are still rails from which you have very little ability to deviate from. This is of course part of it's winning formula, it is familiar and accessible even to those who have never played an MMOG. SWG's player housing, deep crafting system, the raw sense of logging in and thinking "what do I want to do today?" is still unparalleled.

SWG players, for the most part, WANT to be Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. They want to live as ordinary citizens in an extraordinary fiction. The complexity of the old game was to be savoured, manipulated like modeller's clay and made to your ideal image of gameplay.

The game is buggy, and it's glitchy, the GCW has been decimated, the UI sucks and the AI is ridiculously easy. But it feels like home, which is a feeling I've not found in any other MMO (and I've tried quite a few since November). Azeroth has a lot going for it, but I always felt like a visitor in that well-trodden land.


hikaru:>> "The problem with these conventions/meetings (just as in forums) is that you generally only hear the voice (annoying, bumping screams) of the vocal minority."

Your comment sounds remarkably similar to one made by SOE regarding the outcry over the release of the NGE. They were proven wrong when thousands of accounts were cancelled.

Love how you can summarily discount these players' concerns just by their effort to attend and make their voices heard above the raucous din of the game's official forums.


Interesting. I think you're right: this is proof of just how powerful this form of culture can be for some of the people who consume it, that no matter how dissatisfying it becomes in every respect, they still want to hold out hope for the possibility of its positive transformation.

In some ways, that may mimic or shadow forms of engagement people have with existing real-world social institutions that seem hopelessly broken, that some people continue to work with them, invest time, try to figure out how to fix the unfixable.

In both cases, the people who represent those institutions or worlds make a horrible, horrible mistake when they try to "buy off" criticism or opposition with public relations cant. If the dedication of some players is amazing, so too is the power of a corporate culture that is utterly unable to move towards honest engagement even when it's got nothing left to lose. If Julio Torres stood up and said, "We've made some very bad mistakes with this game, let me tell you how I see them, and let me give you some ideas I have about how we might change the way we work", how could that hurt him more than getting up and saying, "Players are KEY. Community is KEY. We're going to fix bugs. We're really listening to you!" and so on?


Excellent post, and nice to see an 'outsiders' perspective on the social networking and emotional investment that people have put into the game over what is, in game terms, a long time.

I'd love to see a demographic breakdown of the game population and compare that to the attendees at the seminars.


I honestly find SOEs actions in selecting the NGE as the future path of the game to be absolutely incomprehensible. They took the most progressive and complex MMORPG in existence and turned it into the most simplistic game available - who could possibly have thought this would go over well with the current subscriber base? I mean it takes some in-depth stupidity to make that decision.

I loved the original game, I could put up with the Combat Upgrade (even though it slid further towards more backward thinking games like EQ and WOW by going to a level based system) but the NGE utterly destroyed the game in my opinion. I spent most of my time as a crafter, and they have destroyed the wonderful economy and replaced it with a loot-based horror that seems to combine the worst excesses of similiar systems in games like WOW and EQ. Really disappointing.

I think SWG stands as a living testiment to just how badly you can misread your playerbase, and how badly you can mismanage and misdesign a game as a result. The Marketing dweeb who decided the game needed to focus on "Kill, loot, repeat" really blew it. I hope it can eventually recover from them - and that they have been summarily fired for the biggest f****p in game design since Battlecruiser 3000 :)

I miss the town I built, I miss running my business, and I miss the citizens who helped me build High Plains on Tatooine. I may someday return, but its going to require a lot of De-NGEing first I think.


"Your comment sounds remarkably similar to one made by SOE regarding the outcry over the release of the NGE. They were proven wrong when thousands of accounts were cancelled.

Love how you can summarily discount these players' concerns just by their effort to attend and make their voices heard above the raucous din of the game's official forums."

I never discounted anyone's opinions. I am merely stating that they are the vocal minority. True, thousands quit because of the NGE. Also true, thousands have stayed because of the NGE. Thousands also have come back because of the NGE. SWG, despite its detractors, still manages to be in the black for LucasArts. You yourself have come back, despite NGE.

You can object all you want, but in the end, you're voting with your dollar, approving of LucasArts' design decisions.

Either you're with them, or you're not. The minority may complain, but they're still subscribing and paying money to go to the fan conventions. They're rabid, annoyed fans, but they're still paying customers. Every fan attending those shows proves to the SWG marketeers that they're doing their jobs.


The new SOE Producer for SWG (Rogue_5) has, in a community letter, admitted to SOE's previous mistakes.
SOE has been improving the NGE, and they seem to stick with their plan, this time around. They're also retracting previous mistakes they've done, ie, they've removed armour certifications, are bringing back decay and have been giving entertainers more to do recently, battle fatigue is back in a new form.
Personally, i don't like NGE i even left when it was released, but then again i was never in the game for the game mechanics but for the roleplaying it allows me.
Three days ago, i came back to SWG, and so far i'm having fun ingame and haven't found any bugs that have hampered my fun.


I've managed to save up roughly $14573 in my bank account, but I'm not sure if I should buy a house or not. Do you think the market is stable or do you think that home prices will decrease by a lot?


Liz if your looking or even still working on something to try and find out what it is about this game that keeps so many 30/40 something’s coming back. The answer like most things in life is simple. Star Wars holds a very solid place in their hearts from childhood. Many, like me remember seeing the movie for the 1st time on big screen. A movie that gave people what they wanted so much after roughly 10 years of being let down from expecting more from a moon landing. Space movies back then were either boring or too over the top. Then comes SW. People freak out and rightfully so. Following an epic storyline, it's hard to go wrong. The formula has been around since the dawn of man. It touches everyone in some way, shape or form. Now we jump roughly 30 years later and those kids are now adults. Now making money and living normal, sometimes mundane lives. Computers are a very big source of entertainment for households and these kids/adults use them everyday. They now are given a chance to live in a small way, in the Star Wars world they grew up with. No more toying around with 4 inch figures that were constructed in someone else's vision. You could make your own toon and live your dreams in this world. Allowing you to either enjoy the excitement of combat (like Han and Luke) or the community of crafters and entertainers (like Watto the flying junk dealer in episode 1), or better yet both. This game allows people to maintain homes, have vehicles, money, change of clothes, etc. Most MMO’s do not. This game allows people to live a dream they have thought of since their 1st night of going to bed after viewing that movie. I still remember sitting in the back of my moms’ station wagon, looking up at the stars and just dreaming after seeing the movie. The first night I stepped into this game I honestly almost cried because I never in my life experienced anything that had brought back my childhood feelings so strongly. I still play this game today, finding it very hard to let go. I am very upset with the upgrade but still, it's my childhood dream that I can live in real life. I can't let it go. When I think of all the work I have done in this game, time I put in this game and most importantly friends I made in this game. Then I think of what happened to my toon, their toons. I get teary eyed. Feeling let down by one of the most influential heroes of my time, Mr. Lucas. Who I also feel could put a stop to this madness if he really knew what was going on with this game. I know he does not have input on the game but I can't help but feel in someway he could fix this. He has the money and the trademark. No one I know understands, not my wife, not my younger friends, mom or dad, brothers and sisters. No one understands other then the players who are like me. This story touched out hearts and imaginations in such a way, that it profoundly changed our lives and we didn’t even know it.

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