An Empire Revisited: I finally made it to Bespin

But like every Disney+ show I couldn't stay away from Tatooine.

This week the itch has been upon me. I’ll be going about my day and then my brain will start to conjure an image of the Mos Eisley cantina or a strain of John Williams’ score. That’s my cue to head back to Star Wars Galaxies.

It’s been a good few months since I’ve played with any regularity, and part of me had been putting it off the past few days because I knew I’d log in and find a mountain of guild mails facing me, and potentially I might have been kicked from my guild. When I finally sat down to play on Sunday evening I found that I really shouldn’t have got worked up. Sure I had a long list of mails, but it didn’t take any more than a minute to hammer delete on them all. And I hadn’t been removed from my guild either so that was a bonus.

The thing is, even with the many QoL improvements that have been made on SWG Legends, the game is still one which requires you to carve a good chunk of time aside whenever you want to play. Or at least it feels that way.

Before you trek out to do anything combat related you’ll need to grab three things: an Entertainer buff, Medic buffs, and Officer stims. These buffs aren’t really optional as all high-end content is geared towards you having them and the boosts they give you are quite substantial. Thankfully there are always bots dolling out Medic and Officer buffs, but getting an Entertainer buff requires you to find an active player as each buff package is tailored to how you want it.

In reality, getting all these buffs only takes a few minutes, but having these mandatory extra steps before you get going can make your brain feel like doing anything in the game requires much more effort than modern MMOs.

Ithorian Entertainer and holograms in Star Wars Galaxies
Last night we had a new Entertainer playing in our guild cantina.

Earlier this year I finally tried out the game’s Hoth instance, which was something I never did on the live servers. Completing the instance meant that I could finally start the SWG Legends exclusive Bespin content. I’m not terribly far into the main questline, but so far I’m having a blast. I’m astounded at the amount of detail that has been put into making the planet feel unique, but suitably fitting with the rest of the game.

One thing I didn’t take in during my guided preview of the planet was just how much consideration the team put into the sound design. The music cues are perfectly selected and placed around the world, and the sound bites which accompany NPCs such as Death Troopers and protocol droids are a welcome jolt when the game’s aural landscape has been so well established in my mind after all these years.

An angry Rodian on Bespin in Star Wars Galaxies
I was a little miffed when I made it all the way into the underbelly of Bespin before realising I had forgotten to get Medic buffs.

I hadn’t long gotten started on running through the quests when I noticed a group forming up in our guild chat. The Bestine Invasion was about to take place on Tatooine and our guild was going to send in the cavalry to win the day for the Empire. As I never really cared for the GCW stuff in the live game this was, once again, something which I’d never tried before.

But, in my renewed efforts to try and sample a wider variety of what the game has to offer, I decided to throw my name into the proverbial hat and get in on the action. I brushed up a little on the SWG Wiki before things kicked off, but for the most part I like to just see how these things are explained by the game itself rather than rely too heavily on guides.

Guavian Death Gang AT-ST on Tatooine in SWG Legends.
Someone at the Invasion pulled out one of these Legends exclusive Guavian Death Gang AT-STs.

It was… chaotic. But my guild was pretty well organised so I generally just followed the crowd. There were strong numbers on both sides so it made for a good battle (one which the Legends server handled admirably). One thing which I didn’t know about Invasions was that they’re mostly a PvE activity. There were moments where people were switching to PvP status, but there’s no obligation to follow suit. This meant that my character felt useful even though I’m not fully geared up.

I’ll definitely do another of these at some point now that I have a better idea of what’s going on, and hopefully I can earn a few extra tokens to eventually buy myself the Imperial Gunner Helmet. Yes, it’s dorky, but it’s iconic, right?

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