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Thursday 1 July 2004

Star Wars Galaxies Does Indeed Suck Urine [vagga]

So I had been feeling guilty a few months back that I was not playing any games to speak of. As I did not want to spend money in the real world, due to an expensive July coming up. So what I did was I went to Fileplanet and as a fileplanet subscriber there is a page with betas and demos to download. I downloaded Planetside, as I remember some of the lads playing it when it came out first. I played it and loved it. But in true EED style, I got pissed off with it for a number of reasons and ditched the account after two months of solid playing.
So I returned to the land of sitting in front of the PC randomly doing nothing. I play a bit of the excellent Rise of Nations expansion “Thrones and Patriots” but I only really enjoy it in multiplayer, and the only two people I know who play it wont play me anymore as I kick their ass now I have some sort of build order figured out. You know the story with these things, get the cool shit first and you should win no matter what you do! Finding someone to play online is interesting as when you randomly pick someone from the internet they are either a 11 year old who has no idea, or an 12 year old expert who can beat you in 12 moves, so that’s not much fun either! I found myself sitting at home thinking “maybe I will go to my el dodgy local internet café where I saw people playing games overnight like Shinji, Teeth, suds and myself used to do in Dublin, having mammoth 6 hour games of Starcraft and AOE2!
But I woke up to reality, I have a 2 Meg line at home that I don’t pay for, why the fuck should I pay to use some dodgy net café’s 1 meg line! So I came to the much-maligned land of massively multiplayer role playing game in search of something to play. I know I don’t want to play Everquest or a game like that, as the “Dungeons and Dragons” style of game play just sends me to sleep. The whole “cast a level 2 spell to defeat a level 1.5 shield” aspect just sucks urine to me. I don’t care if FPS games work off the same principal. I’m a child of CM and Quake, I want to do something on impulse, and don’t really care of the consequences. Planetside got around this, as it mixed both quite well, its like playing UT or Half Life, and the more you play the better you get and the better shit you can buy. I think a game like CS would work well like this, instead of getting the cool guns after 2 rounds, imagine if you needed 3 or 4 months of ‘credits’ to ! get the cool guns or the best Kevlar!
So I got a revelation in the pub one Thursday after footie training. I like the Star Wars moves as much as the next man, and since the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) forums had been reopened to the public a while ago I presumed that SWG was in a fit state to play. What I did was I swapped my level 12 Planeside character (characters go from level 1 to 20, 12 is the second last step really, as it’s the first time you can get access to anything you want really!) with a bloke on the footie club who had a Star Wars Galaxies character he did not use anymore, who was quite close to being a ‘Master Artisan’ (somewhat the same level, in the grand scheme of things).
So I downloaded the demo of the game from fileplanet (best money I ever spent BTW, great value for money having any game file of any type on a fast ftp waiting for you at any time) and installed it to make sure it ran ok, and that I thought I could get into it. It looked interesting so I got the physical game for a tenner on ebay. I also took the plunge and re-activated the character, $15 a month.
This is the big issue with MMORPG’s, in my opinion, it’s their high cost, in the grand scheme of things. A cost for SWG or Planetside of over $200 a year for a game seems a bit rich (even if you pay for a whole year in advance, its $150), and I’m expecting the earth, moon and stars. We sell our football games for £25, and support them for just as long as these fella’s, and people get as much game play from them. I got a free copy of Sega’s ESPN American Football (but would have paid £40 for it, as I did for last years version) and play it all the time, must have put up 100 hours on it, playing it here and there 4 or 5 days a week. Charging the price of 4 or 5 other full games per year means you have to deliver quality, all the time. A lot of companies can’t do this. On the flip side, one of the things that fecked up planetside for me was the dev team changing things for the sake of it, as they had to release a patch every month or people complained about va! lue for money – so where do you get a balance.
So I went into SWG, the first few nights I was just walking about, going from building to building, and talking to people and that kind of thing. But beyond that, I could not see anything that would keep me coming back. What kept me coming back to planetside was the search to get to the next level, and that my ‘group’ were always defending or attacking some island. You can check this on the website, so you see that were down to one base, and you can jump one, and its all action keeping the other guys away from your generator, or getting a new foothold somewhere else. I just could not see that in SWG. When I logged on, there was not much to do. I need to get experience surveying to move to the next level, a master Artisan, which meant I could move on to being a person who made weapons. What I could not get used it was the idea that you logged onto this virtual world and to do a real life job. I have a real life job. I very much on purpose made the choice not to be ! a carpenter or a plumber, not cos they are not good jobs, but cos I would have been crap at them! So why would I do them in a game! Maybe I should have realised that before I signed up, but it took an evening or two inside the game to realised that. If you don’t have weapons experience, you can’t get good guns, and can’t fire straight with crap one you have. I died one evening from a bloke standing still shooting me when I was dancing about. Now I’m not amazing at FPS type games, but I have been playing long enough to be able to shoot, and hit, a bloke standing still. But even though I had some kind of rifle shooting ‘laazzzzeerrr beeeeeeems’ and I did zero damage to him, and he killed me, even with my ‘uber’ armour. That’s just not fun, even if I’m at fault!
So I began the process of hooking up with the group of people whom teeth plays with, ‘The Knights of the Darkside’. His guild if you will. I got accepted for member ship, which was great, so they send me the ‘members manual’. I’m sorry, but that was the funniest document I have ever seen. It was full of, “if you see a person of a higher rank, in or out of game, you must stand to attention and salute them” and that kind of stuff. I just thought of Lurks walking into the Dickens and everyone at our table standing and saluting him as he walked in, like he was Colin Powel or something, and I have a good laugh to myself! They sounded like they really thought they were a real life army, stationed in downtown Iraq. I just don’t need that, even if its not serious, its clear a sizable number of group members feel like that, and indeed a lot of people playing the game who I met in game were like that, and that’s just not my bag, baby!
So for the last few nights I have been playing Rez again on my PS2, and believe it or not, testing bugs in CM0304 at home. Please god let Doom3 or Half Life 2 be fun, and have some kinda good group of people playing it.


  1. You realise RPG in MMORPG stands for Role Playing Game, I hope. FPS twitch skills also aren't going to help you in a game where you have to develop your characters skills and not rely on your actual skills as a mouse and keyboard adept.

  2. i do, but I did not realise that you really started off with the reactions and skills of a single cell pond life creature - and the user behind the computer was essentially usless. RPG's are just not for me it seems. But I had ot give them a go, as I never had before!

  3. You spent longer writing this post than you did playing the game. Admit it, I have you on my friends list so I've seen the amount of times you've been online. :P
    But yeah, the whole Artisan/Surveying thing you were doing is dead boring. I've never bothered with crafting in the game I prefer to go with the combat/PvP skills.

  4. I'm with you. I tried the MMORPG stuff and really it's just dreary shit which is trying to be a substitute for life. They're based on basically making things take years and be lots of hard work and bizarrely people will throw themselves at it. I did it, it's weird. You're there for four hours twatting the same monsters, all the while thinking about what new spell you might be able to get if you carry on for another eight.
    People that get some social aspect out of it, fair play I guess - although there's better and cheaper ways to socialise online. As for the 'role playing' aspect of it. I've seen precious little of that - it's always been viewed as a bit sad by the players in these games that I've seen. Ironic, no?
    Teeth's response is fairly typical of an MMORPG addict. You haven't played it long enough, that's your problem. Because you need to spend hours and hours and hours in there each day just to get the addition, so you stay for longer.
    Move on, get a life, do something constructive with all those hours I say! Hell, you could play a dozen different action games and still reclaim a semblance of a life, which is a nice compromise no?

  5. Essentially you're commenting on the quality of the game, because you chose to play a genre you know little about, and also because you chose to jump into the crafting deep end. You would have probably got more reward from the game if you had started out with combat in mind. But even then, it takes some time to build you character up progressively to be able to be a successful combatant. Laughing it up over the guilds 'roleplay' just highlighted the fact that roleplay isn't for you, and you'd come to the game looking for something which probably isn't there. Planetside to SWG just doesn't translate very well. Planetside is an MMOFPS with a very crude RPG element tacked on. SWG is all about the character building, and the roleplay. I've built SWG characters as both combatants and artisans and they play very differently, neither is better, they both require lots of effort and time to develop, but they can both be very rewarding gaming experiences. As you've shown thou!gh, MMORPG's don't seem to be your bag baby. Perhaps you'd prefer one like the upcoming Guild Wars, where its all about the PvP combat and tribal gatherings? SWG is really a Star Wars themed sandbox for RPG enthusiasts to play in.

  6. Or alternatively, there's Star Wars Battlefront which looks like it might be more interesting that watching wookie fur dry. It looked lovely at E3 on xbox and about 3fps on the PS2...

  7. teeth/spelk - Your right, I hold my hands up and say I did not give it a huge amount of time. But I would be at home on a sunday, and 'should' be playing, but would be trying to think of other things I could be doing and just get up and go to the gym. As Spelk says, the game and genre are just not for me. Im not a RPG gamer, and will never be. I know I could have stuck with it, and teeth would have helped me a lot, but I dont like being a burden to someone, in real life or in a game. Its no fun being a crap newbie :)
    Just like Teeth will never play games that come from us here at SI, as he is not a sports fan, let alone a hardcore sports fan. But that does not mean he is not allowed give them a lash and form an opinion!
    I thought it was worth a blog, as I think a few EED'ers would be in the same boat, as not having RPG'd (or at least, not a lot) and thinking of going back!

  8. Careful with the use of RPG. I quite like RPGs, as in the single player kind. The reason being because they are designed to be fun for x many hours and bosh, it's over.
    MMORPGs aren't actually fun. You just have to treat them like work and get on with it in the hope that there's a pay cheque at the end. (A bit of fun as you get something you've spent a month saving for)
    There's so much content around now, I can't possibly consume all the good books, games and TV shows out there. So why play something where you have to be bored fucking rigid until something happens? That's not play, that's work.
    I'd rather do that and get a pay cheque of the hard cash variety.

  9. I think that the roleplay aspect of these sort of games is more about immersing yourself in the characters world, ie becoming involved with the progression and the progression of your peers, rather than saying 'hey nonny nonny' alot. In a Star Wars Universe its all about choosing your side, and trying to make a difference. SWG falls short on portraying and involving the player in the actual conflict going on in the SW universe. If your involvement in the games virtual world becomes enough that you care how your character develops then I believe you are role playing in the truest sense of the world. As opposed to just saying things like 'I have a bad feeling about this' etc. I felt SWG let the side down with its rich language system - which could have seriously affected peoples play - requiring skilled translators etc, as it was, everyone went to a Cantina and taught everyone else all the language skills just to raise their blue bar. Bah!If you're bored rigid playing the game, then stop playing it. Some people enjoy the grind, some don't. I play MMORPG's till they lose their sparkle, the interest that captures me and spurs me to play them in the first place. I can get the same buzz from single player games, but, I enjoy sharing the buzz with people too. I can get also get the same sort of buzz from online, non-subscription games. You can generalise and say all MMORPG's suck urine, but from my gaming experience that simply isn't the case. I play the ones I like till they lose the fun, then I move on. With MMORPG's I don't think there ever is a pay cheque at the end. If you're playing one to conquer it, I think you're missing the point of MMORPG's.

  10. Well you can think that all you like. When I played them, most of the people were playing them to level up and get uber. It was an all consuming passion. So whether or not you think I have missed the point, nevertheless it's a pretty big reason why I - and plenty more of the EEDers - don't find them fun.

  11. My limited experience with DAOC confirmed that - folk were just running around spending aeons killing snakes to get to the next level.
    And it took *forever*. I hated it, it was just so utterly dull.
    Still, horses for courses.

  12. I agree that you do play them to level up and progress your character. You're building the character, fleshing it out, moulding it into what you want it to be. You're constantly tweaking the characters build with newer and better equipment. That IS the point. You said there was a pay off at the end of it, there isn't. It's never ending. You take it as far as you want. Its the involvement - the 'all consuming passion' you mention, that is what is special about these games. Your involvement in the creation of a unique character in a virtual world. I don't doubt a clan like EED have many member who don't like MMORPG's - EED's history originates mainly from FPS action games. But, Vagga dismissed the game as sucking urine based on some pretty poor factors, and he seemed to go into the game expecting something that wasn't there. Perhaps he thought it might be Planetside in a Star Wars Universe? I was just trying to balance his opinion, from the prespective of someone wh!o plays a lot of MMORPG's and yet also someone who never quite plays them endlessly to the detriment of all other gaming. Just my two penneth. No personal attacks meant.

  13. So to sum up, his reasons for not liking it are poor because they are a) not yours and b) you play MMORPGs.
    And DAOC, the last MMORPG game we played, very definately had an end game we wanted to get to - the PvP. Well, besides FFO and SWG which we've decided sucks piss. But hey, for the wrong reasons I'm sure.

  14. He built a crafter and then wondered why he couldn't effectively partake in combat. He found crafting to be too much like a 'real job' and didn't enjoy the roleplay aspects of a guild, so he penned here that SWG sucked piss.
    I'm saying his evaluation of the game is a little harsh based on his expectations and his experience of play.
    At what point was the end game reached? When you first tasted PvP? Do you think all DAOC players head for the 'pay cheque' reward that is the PvP game?
    To sum up, Vagga doesn't like MMORPG's, I do. I hope I've posted my view of why I think his declaration that it sucks piss is a little harsh. That's it I guess.

  15. Read what I wrote spelk. I did not say it gloabally was a bad game. I did not comment on the quality of the game a single time.
    I said that the only MM environment I have ever been in was Planetside, I did not want the game to be planetside, I just have no other point of refrence.
    I dont like the 'nothing to do, and no skills for months on end' RPG element, that is one of the main reasons I was one of the only EED'ers not to play DAoC. But I thought to give it a lash, in what I thought would be a familar environment.
    Sucks piss is a global EED phrase we use when we dont like something. Its not a massive swipe at others who play the game, or the quality of the programming. I do think I would be safe in saying that several, indeed most, regular posters here would agree with what I found.
    At least I did take a bit of a plunge to form an opinion, not just recycle other peoples, as what happens here a lot :D

  16. CoH is just boring too :( Exact same faults as DAOC
    Hit keys in almost same order every fight Level up, move on. Fun seeing everyone elses effects, but it's all pretty shallow shit really.
    Its all about the level gap as well, 2 higher than you 'run'. 2 lower 'don't bother with it'.
    I've only played 3 of these games, eq/daoc and coh. they all end up feeling exactly the same. If you had fuckall else to do, I'm sure it'd be great.Or mates who love that gameplay mechanic as well.
    But you just NEVER get uber in these games, unless you hit v low level critters with your high level powers.As you go up, so do the mobs. so you do/dish the same damage respectively ALL THE TIMEIt just gets more colourful.
    Then again, I'm renowned for not being understood in #eed. So. Anyone want to buy a pristeen copy of City of Heroes? The best damn game on the planet, now with added spandex?!

  17. Spelk said:At what point was the end game reached? When you first tasted PvP? Do you think all DAOC players head for the 'pay cheque' reward that is the PvP game?Well, when you were in your high 30s. PvP was pointless before that point. Did everyone head for it? Well... yes, in my experience, they most certainly did. And not just EED, the entire guilds I was in too. It was what you did, it was the point of the game. Unless you're saying that constantly bashing snakes is fun... oh wait, that's exactly what you're saying...

  18. EED, for me, tend to leap into a game. Full blown and without reservation then throttle it to within an inch of it's life.
    UT2004, EnB, DAOC, Planetside, Halo. All these things and more I forget are relentelessly played until understood.
    Flaws are found. It's dumped.
    The waiting begins for the next piece of kick ass entertainment.

  19. Vagga: Sucks piss sounds like a harsh judgement to me.
    Shed: I thought you liked CoH? Some of the good stuff of MMORPG's is the acquisition of new powers and how they affect the game dynamic. If you boil any game down to keystrokes its all boring. I suppose that X-factor that might be missing is the 'skillz' factor that EED prizes so highly. But motor skills are not the only skills involved in MMORPG's.
    Lurks: Were you in the same guild as me in DAOC? I don't remember PvP being the point of the game at all. It was just one way to carry on development. You can simplify and generalise it to 'bashing snakes' if you want, like Quake boils down to 'shooting grunts', but you know there are group composition and dynamics (pulling, mezzing, healing, nuking, tanking etc) that require tailored characters to play. Solo-ing also requires different tactics to be successful. Its the interplay of these aspects and the progression of the character that draw people to it, not just 'bashing snakes'.
    I must remember never to follow a blog link from the mailing list and post my thoughts again.

  20. I do like it. I just don't meet anyone I know on it. So I'm judging it as a single player game, which is how it feels.
    On that. It fails.
    Wether the failing is more with me than the game I dunno, but it's not going to captivate me I'm afraid.

  21. Shedir: one of the real bonuses of City of Heroes, is that its grouping mechanism is real easy to find people to play with. Its the easiest and most comfortable game I've found in terms of pick up grouping. These days we do have trouble all playing together, since there are so few of us anyway. We had about 6 people playing CoH at one point. That was on a good night. CoH also removes the levelling barriers with friends too. Still, if the novelty has worn off then its time to move onto your clans next big thing.

  22. Heh, you pick a fight on one of our blogs then complain when people don't agree with you.
    Yes, I was in the same guild as you. It wasn't the point for you because you were level 3 or something and played once a week. Everyone I played with was obsessed by it, including all the people that lead the guild.
    The whole dynamic of pulling, mezzing, healing, nuking and tanking is actually quite an interesting game mechanic. The problem is, it's never very complex in these games and... all it really does it dictate exactly what sort of group you need for the optimal mix, make it harder to group and then end up doing exactly the same sequence of events.
    And as for motor skills not being the only skill, christ what the hell else is in them? It's not like they have one single hundredth of a percent as much strategic gameplay as the most basic RTS even...
    All the uber players that banged on about how they had it perfect every pull because everyone knew their job... was far less interesting, in fact, than when pulls went wrong. At least shit happened then. But of course someone died and cried out in disgust at the loss of xp, left the group and went off to a real one where there was no risk and... ultimately... no fun.
    It's not like people are sitting there chatting or doing anything during this either. They're just doing the same repetitive thing. That's when I finally realised I'd had enough and that it just wasn't fun.
    About the same time everyone else did too in fact. Of course this is all because we only value motor skills or something...

  23. Ian, don't take the huff.
    It's fuckall to do with EED. I didn't get the game to be with them, but because I quite fancied it in my own right.
    Fancied playing with the UKG folks at night too. Now I don't expect the 6 of you at my beck and call, available whenever I get on. But it only happened twice I think and I've played a wee bit in the evenings.
    Grouping is easy yes, maybe I'm just not 'getting' the whole thing.
    But I don't think I will.

  24. I don't remember picking a fight. I thought I could add to the discussion. I apologise for soiling your blogs with my opinions, but I thought thats what the comments were for. Perhaps you shouldn't give out the password, if you don't want non-EED comments?
    IMHO MMORPG's have value, and can be a unique and rewarding gaming experience.
    One mans meat is another mans poison
    I won't comment again.

  25. Heh, you were adding to the discussion. No one said you were 'soiling' our blogs, no matter how many times you drop emotive words like that. By disagreeing and then kicking in your generalisations about EED and so on and so forth, you elicite a lively response. Then you act surprised that you get the response you do and complain that you should never have posted your comments. Make up your mind! You either want to post your opinions and defend them or don't post, you don't get to have it both ways.
    You might notice we get a good deal of comments on a wide variety of blogs. It's working well. As you previous said about snakes, if you don't like the responses you get on *our* web site then feel free not to post! Not our game genre, not your web site eh? Pretty straight forward I would have thought.

  26. Personally, i like some of my time in daoc, but realistically, that wasn't because of the game, it was despite the game and was because of playing with a bunch of people I knew. If you take away that part of the game, which was the case for the majority of the time i played during the week then it was just too much hassle to play. Mat had it right when he mentioned that stuff wa most fun in that game when things didn't go right, even now I can remember those times when my character had to leg it across half of the country to escape some badly pulled baddie and iirc there was the time when an eed person managed to pull the whole goblin house at once and basically a whole zone of the server had to leg it or die.
    On the subject of mmorpgs, in daoc you can now level all the way up from nothing by playing in the pvp battlegrounds supposedly.