Star Wars: Galaxies - An Empire Divided
Windows - 2003
Description of Star Wars: Galaxies - An Empire Divided
Star Wars Galaxies has been at the top of every MMORPG player's most wanted list for ages. It's won a handful of E3 awards, been the subject of huge speculation and anticipation, and has thousands of gamers across the country taking the day off in anticipation of its release. The end of the beta test period came as quite a surprise to many, though, and some have suggested it could have used a little longer in development. The launch day brought the usual overcrowded servers and billing difficulties, so if you're looking to find out how it plays, this might be your only chance for a few days.
Galaxies' flexibility in character generation is outstanding. You can choose from eight races, including Wookies, Bothans, Mon Calamari and the ever-present humans. Every aspect of your character's appearance can be altered, from basic attributes like your height and weight to the finer details of your facial features. With a little patience, and a little trial and error, you can make your character look pretty much however you want.
From there, it's on to choose your starting profession. Your choice here determines the balance of your starting statistics and your first skills, but as your character isn't required to stick with them, it's not a crucial moment by any means. The six professions on offer include two combat-focused roles, one ranged and one melee; two support roles, medic and scout; and two more peaceful types, artisan and entertainer.
The character progression system is different from most other MMORPGs - there's no concept of absolute "level," or anything comparable to it. Rather, your character's skills improve as you use them; so if you want to become a high level artisan, you'll need to spend a long time making basic objects to advance your skills. Completing all the skills in one particular group lets you proceed on to an advanced, more specialised profession, like weaponcrafter, bioengineer, commando, or architect. You are free to mix and match skills from different professions early on, but at some point you'll be forced into choosing one or two areas in which to specialise.
Although it sounds complex, the advancement system is actually explained very well in the game. The information screens do a great job of conveying where your character is, where you can go, and what you'll need to get there. What's not so good, though, is that to advance certain skills you're going to be in for a lot of tedious, repetitive, "experience grind" play. Crafters suffer from this particularly, as all four of their basic skills are best advanced by creating and destroying the same few items over and over again, for hours.
Why not just sell these items to an NPC vendor? Then at least you'd have something to show for your efforts, right? It's not that easy, though, thanks to the developers' aims of making Galaxies have a totally player-driven economy. There are no NPCs to sell your items to; if you've made something nobody wants (and if it's a basic item, chances are nobody wants it), you might as well throw it out. Building a player-run world is a laudable principle, but in this form it's very hard on new players.
Combat-focused characters have the usual task of tackling creatures of increasing difficulty to build their skills. The combat system is a matter of mousing over an enemy and selecting the "Attack" option, which will cause your character to repeat his basic attack until the enemy is dead. Marksmen characters will need to move around to keep a suitable range for maximum effect - don't worry about cover, or even intervening terrain features like hills, as you can shoot straight through them. The enemy will fight back (unless you've found the exploit in the current build that lets you shoot them without them noticing) and make a beeline for you.
Even creatures without a visible method of ranged attack can hit you at some range, so it's wise to have a few friends along to distract them. Once killed, they might drop an item or two of little value, and scouts can harvest the corpses for resources. Powerful items in Star Wars Galaxies are exclusively player-created, not dropped by enemies.
Crafters can create buildings for a number of purposes. Factories and harvesters can continue building objects or collecting resources even while you're offline, which is a useful way to start large-scale production. All these buildings require regular maintenance payments to stop them deteriorating, though, and these payments are very high; too high, in fact, to the point where letting them wither away and replace with brand new installations is the only viable option for the non-hardcore.
All characters have a variety of mission types open to them. These are generated randomly, and those given by Rebel or Imperial NPCs will raise your standing with that faction in addition to the cash rewards. It's a shame that they aren't more compelling - take this package from point A to point B is about the extent of the options for non-combat focused players, and the pugilists are restricted to straightforward go-here-and-kill-this missions. Missions aimed at crafters, surveyors and so on are included, but appear to be non-functional.
You might have noticed that we've managed to get quite some distance into this review with hardly a mention of Star Wars. Where are the characters, vehicles and places we all know and love from the films? Where, indeed. Darth Vader, the Emperor, Jabba the Hutt and a few others are included, as part of "theme parks" where advanced characters can go for missions. Don't get any ideas about killing them, though - it's not possible. A number of key locations from the film are included, though, like the Sarlacc pit and the droids' crashed escape pod.
And vehicles? Most of the original trilogy's memorable moments involved vehicles of one kind or another. Not included, beyond the odd TIE fighter that screams overhead. If you want to get somewhere, you'll have to take the instantaneous point-to-point shuttle, or walk. The closest you can get is by running lots of repetitive Fedex missions for the Empire, to save up your faction points and earn an AT-ST. Not to drive, though - you can teach it rudimentary commands and it'll follow you about. Until, that is, it gets stuck on some building or other.
And finally, there are the Jedi. Or are there? LucasArts promised a system where every player would have the chance to play a Force-sensitive character, after completing some unknown series of tasks. This character would not be able to clone in the same way as normal characters, and if killed, would be lost outright. However, there's no evidence that this functionality is present in the game. LucasArts did not respond to our requests for a tour of the advanced features of the game, and Jedi features are apparently disabled at present. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that this feature is to be patched in at some unspecified point in the future.
Where to, then, for advanced players? Cross your fingers and hope the bugs and imbalances in the specialised professions are fixed, and sit about and wait to see if you can be a Jedi. Without compelling missions, tempting uber-mobs against which to measure your worth, once-inaccessible realms to explore or profitable player-versus-player combat, the end game is confined to economic interguild struggles - and the economy has its share of problems too.
In contrast, and if you've got the machine to handle it, Galaxies breaks new graphical ground. It's often nothing short of spectacular. The landscapes, although rather featureless on a large scale, are filled with waving grasses, small animals and other carefully animated details. Player models are superb, and have a wide variety of well-animated gestures and actions to express emotions. The interface is highly customisable and reasonably attractive. It relies heavily on typed commands, though, so isn't really very beginner-friendly.
Star Wars Galaxies has been publicised as an MMORPG for people who don't like MMORPGs, an MMORPG for casual players, and a chance to live in the Star Wars universe. It falls short on each one of these counts. Its Star Wars atmosphere is minimal, and its advancement is riddled with repetitive, boring, time-consuming experience-grind busywork. In some ways, Galaxies bears more resemblance to the glorified chatrooms of The Sims Online than to conventional MMORPGs like Anarchy Online or EverQuest.
It's also buggy -- not, admittedly, as bad as Anarchy Online, but still not in a release-worthy state -- and when combined with its premium-level $15/month subscription fee, it's really inexcusable. Perhaps patches will solve these problems and add much-needed content, and perhaps they won't, but it's not up to us to make apologies for game developers. This is the case as of publication time, and that's all that is relevant to this review.
Doubtless some will be willing to take the promise of future features and content on trust, and will put up with all the problems to advance to powerful positions before other players. But for everybody else, it's very hard to recommend Star Wars Galaxies. It has the potential to develop into something quite special, and we'll certainly revisit this review if it does... but as it stands, Galaxies is little more than a buggy, incomplete time sink. Sadly, this is not the MMORPG we've been looking for. Move along.
Review By GamesDomain
How to play Star Wars: Galaxies - An Empire Divided Windows
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Comments and reviews
Xavi 2023-10-25 -11 points
DON"T DOWNLOAD THIS. I spent 2 hours downloading it and setting it up and then I realised no one is playing this anymore and you can't play it as an RPG. Unless I'm mistaken.
capt_haddock 2023-07-18 2 points
the iso works perfectly. great many thanks. then i just dowloaded the swgemu launchpad and away we went. beautiful
Carotodoto 2021-11-21 -9 points
Can this be played as a single player RPG? Interacting only with the NPCs, doing quests, etc?
gelwo 2021-05-06 21 points
You are a fucking legend. If you are even reading this you are here for the right reasons, now give me a kiss
Moriir 2021-01-09 -5 points
You do not need to purchase Daemon Tools. You can use a free Opensource tool called WinCDEmu
Rom 2020-10-14 4 points
One of the best MMORPGS like EVER! I have got an original version of the game (box) but I believe you can play from this download, as long as it have a CD ISO.. HAVE FUN, because you won't ever experience game like this.
Foodie 2020-06-02 -6 points
So has anyone managed to get this to work with SWGemu? They are pretty clear on their site that you need an original disc, and I don't want to take the time to download this if I can't get it to play.
Oddball 2020-04-13 2 points
any exe that has been altered to run differently than originally intended will flag as a trojan. some mmorpg launchers have the server IP imbedded in them and even changing that can make it look suspicious to antivirus. I've run many servers for different mom's and this has happened before.
Kuthulu 2019-09-23 2 points
so, does this download work? I'd really love to play this game, but absolutely don't want a trojan or virus. if the download has worked and doesn't have a virus, PLEASE TELL ME!!
Luconis 2019-05-18 -3 points
I can't get it to work with SWGEmu.com, says the invalid game folder
icu812ruok? 2018-11-16 19 points
This zip file contains three .iso files of the game client, a text file, and lpesetup.exe. The .iso files are good, the lpesetup.exe however is an outdated version of the enhanced launcher which hasn't been updated since 2013, so I would not use that and instead download the latest launcher from swgemu.com.
1. mount disc one with a program such as daemon tools lite to start the install of the client. Eventually it will ask you to insert disc two and then disc three, when it does, just use daemon tools like to mount those discs.
2. When the client install is finished, run the latest setup.exe launcher that you downloaded from swgemu.com. There is a detailed guide on there website that steps you through this process.
3. Enjoy the game
Wolften 2018-10-12 13 points
Seems like a great game, I'll run some anti-virus scans for everyone's peace in mind.
Not likely a virus 2018-09-15 0 point
I think Kurry is assuming it's a virus because this RPG is actually an MMO. I haven't tried to run a private server of any MMO for single play use since most of the ones I want to play like Project Torque, Lego Universe or Drift City are still being reverse engineered by community members that take a lot of their free time to bring them back to life. I will try with this game though.
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