REVIEW: Making a Metaverse That Matters by Wagner James Au


For a bunch of people who spend so much of their time in massive online virtual worlds, the MMO community has been more sceptical than most when it comes to the inescapable subject of the metaverse these past few years.

Speaking for myself I can say that there are two main reasons for this, and I think they’re ones that I share with many other MMO players. They are:

  1. The package deal bundling of the concept with other hot tech(-bro) trends such as VR, crypto, and NFTs. The first of those is far less of a problem, but the latter two are obvious red flags.
  2. The various press releases and media puff pieces which time and again show a total ignorance of the many hard lessons learned over the past three decades about how online virtual worlds operate successfully.

As the current wave of metaverse hype subsides somewhat (thanks AI), Au’s book arrives at just the right time to put the whole matter into perspective and offer some guidance on where the concept can, might, and should head next.

Au, Second Life‘s first embedded reporter with two decades of experience working in virtual worlds, is the perfect guide through this topic. Making a Metaverse That Matters takes us through the entire history of the concept, which starts with Neal Stephenson seminal science-fiction novel Snow Crash, and ends with, the apparently imminent launch of Stephenson’s own metaverse project Lamina1.

It might be supposed that, having coined the term, Stephenson’s version of the metaverse would be the final say in the thing, but Au has his doubts. As he does with the virtual world to which he is mostly closely attached, Second Life.

Rather, Au argues convincingly that as much as Second Life is a metaverse, so too are games such as Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite, as well as VR applications such as VRChat and Rec Room. This isn’t anything new to anyone who has been following the conversation these past few years, but with the context Au provides for what exactly the oft muddy term ‘metaverse’ actually means, it finally feels like more than just an attempt by these existing pieces of software to hop on the bandwagon.

Making a Metaverse That Matters‘ greatest success is in the solutions it offers with regards to the book’s title proposal. The golden age of MMO experimentation that ended with the launch of World of Warcraft in 2004 is a long way behind us. Since then there’s been an almost exclusive focus on building upon the G part of the MMORPG acronym.

Au’s book hearkens back to the humanities-grounded thinking that inspired virtual world luminaries such as Richard Bartle and Raph Koster in defining how the digital frontier should be designed and governed. Under this line of thinking it becomes evident that Minecraft, Roblox et al, have been carrying the torch this whole time, and that the MMO genre as it is could learn a lot from their community-first approach to game design.

Koster’s own upcoming crack at a possible metaverse, the yet untitled project from his new studio Playable Worlds, is a notable omission from Making a Metaverse. Then again, offering an analysis of every announced metaverse project from the past few years would be futile, so perhaps it isn’t entirely surprising that Koster’s game didn’t find its way into the book, especially given that there isn’t any solid information on what the thing actually is yet.

What’s more, besides Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Au doesn’t dwell on any of the ‘next big thing’ duds (here’s looking at you Decentraland) that have been taking up so much of the oxygen in the room during the recent media hype cycle. Doing so would be a waste of time given that the reasons for their failure are so self-evident.

Au’s book doesn’t concern itself with MMOs all that much either, but as the exact definition between one online virtual world and another blur evermore, those looking for innovation in that genre must surely accept that it won’t come entirely from within. The lack of upcoming MMOs in the WoW-clone vein is proof that studios are once more prepared to branch out beyond the safety of that template. For those building these new worlds, Au’s book should be a guiding light whether they have aspirations of becoming the metaverse or not.

As much as those developers however, Au’s key audience may just as well be the veterans of yesteryears virtual worlds. It’s a reminder of what made our earliest online social experiences so memorable, a reassurance that the engine of innovation does still roar on, and a call-to-arms to take as much responsibility in fostering and nurturing our communities as the teams who build them.

Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For by Wagner James Au is available to purchase now.

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Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – June 2023


Well that’s the 20th anniversary of Star Wars Galaxies behind us. I hope we’re all feeling suitably old.

I dropped into Legends briefly this month and dabbled in some of the Empire Day content, but as usual I just spent most of my time getting distracted by other people’s player houses.

That seems to be a theme this month, with many servers activating the Empire/Remembrance Day event alongside hosting Galactic Home Show competitions.

Fewer servers than I anticipated hosted events to celebrate the 20th anniversary, with Legends being the only real exception (here’s a video from MassivelyOP‘s MJ if you want to see how that went down).

For my part I posted a lengthy visual history of the game over on Twitter. There’s lots of rare screenshots, artwork and video footage in there so check it out if you’ve not already purchased the book I published for SWG‘s 15th anniversary.

An Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

Of course, the major difference between the Empire/Remembrance Day events on An Empire in Flames and other servers are that EiF is set after the events of Return of the Jedi. Therefore on this server it’s the New Republic who are celebrating, while the Empire are down on their luck.

Exclusive to EiF‘s event is a limited time swoop race on Endor, a PvE event where players either have to protect or massacre Ewoks, and a ‘capture the flag’ style group PvP event. Participating in these events will earn you tokens which can be traded for exclusive rewards such as the V Wing and Tie Striker vehicles. The event is running from July 1st to August 1st.

The server also announced their first ever Galactic Home Show. Submissions for June’s Home Show wrapped up on June 16th, but while you wait for the winner to be announced you can check out some of the server’s exclusive housing options in their latest Friday Feature.

What’s next for the server? Flawed lightsaber crystals are one of the development team’s latest innovations, with a work-in-progress tease posted to their Twitter in early July.

Beyond (NGE)

SWG Beyond have concluded their anniversary event and activated the Empire/Remembrance Day event. It’s going to be running through the whole of July and August.

Legends (NGE)

June saw the Legends server receiving a sizeable update which not only kicked off their Empire/Remembrance Day event, but also added numerous piloting tweaks, and an overhaul of the veteran rewards system.

If you’ve been playing on the Legends server for some years and have already amassed all of the Empire Day event rewards then good news, there are a whole load of new ones in this update, including weapons, wearables, and decorations.

The Empire/Remembrance Day event is due to wrap up on July 17th, with a social fishing event hosted by the Emperor himself set for Sunday, July 9th.

Legends content creator OutofthisWorldBurrito has put together a great video detailing all of the additions in the latest update.

Perhaps my favourite addition from this update however is the revamped Theed Palace. Sometimes SWG‘s key locations can look a bit barren, and given that this is perhaps the single largest building in the game it was well overdue a bit of interior design love.

Even more impressive however is this months Galactic Home Space Home Show winner. FeralEwok’s YT-2400 creatively uses hundreds of items to make their ship truly look like a home in the stars. Here’s the details on next month’s factional themed competition.

Reckoning (Pre-CU)

Doing away with the whole in-universe Empire Day facade, the Reckoning server hosted an Independence Day Celebration this past weekend, with attendees receiving an exclusive painting for coming along.

Restoration (CU)

Let’s be real, SWG‘s combat has never been it’s strongest suit. As it attempts to emulate the Combat Upgrade version of the game, Restoration‘s combat was already unique among SWG rogue servers, but the team aknowledge that there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Sci-fi gaming content creator ObsidianAnt has posted a nicely detailed roundup of what’s been happening over on the Restoration server recently.

In a developer blog this past month they detailed some upcoming changes they’re going to be making, with lots of numbers to crunch for those who are into doing that sort of thing. One visual addition however is a new accuracy indicator, which should help players recognize when they’re performing optimally in combat.

Restoration is running a Galactic Civil War themed Home Show this month, with a 5 million credit prize up for grabs. Players have until July 22nd to submit their houses.

Sentinel’s Republic (Pre-CU)

This upcoming Sunday, July 9th players can join in on an original story-based event on the Sentinel’s Republic server. Leadorn and the Nathrack Stone will have players flying to Hoth in order to defeat a band of Trandoshans who have managed to wrangle the local population of wampas under their control.

The server also has a 20th anniversary themed Galactic Home Show underway, with entries open until the end of July.

SWGEmu (Pre-CU)

SWGEmu‘s Empire Day celebrations ran from the date of SWG‘s 20th Anniversary through to July 4th. As part of the celebrations the Finalizer server hosted their first Galactic Home Show. You can check out pictures of the entrants and winners in the thread here.

In the media…

A couple of retrospectives looking back on 20 years of Star Wars Galaxies:

A total conversion mod of the cult sandbox RPG Kenshi adds a whole bunch of Star Wars Galaxies‘ art assets to the game. Project Kathun, created by Steam user Kitya, is available to beta test now.

SWTOR’s studio switcheroo offers a new hope for its players


Star Wars The Old Republic has been in a sticky position these past few years. The weight of expectation that rested upon its shoulders at launch was about as much as any game could ever carry.

A spiritual sequel to one of the most beloved RPGs of all time, a blockbuster budget, a highly-regarded studio at the height of its creative output, a humongous script fully voice-acted in three languages, one of the biggest IPs in the world, and a market leader (World of Warcraft) showing its first signs of faltering, stacked up to make SWTOR one of the most anticipated games ever.

Its launch was fine, but nowhere near the success that everyone expected. So, naturally, the TORtanic memes started, and kind of stuck. They were never really fair, but that’s the internet for you.

Like all the best MMOs, SWTOR stuck it out, and over the years was able to improve a whole bunch, and switch to a more widely appealing hybrid free-to-play/subscription model. In Rise of the Hutt Cartel and Shadow of Revan, it had two expansions which were well received but tread water.

Then, at E3 2015 we got the announcement of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. With a title that hearkened back to the Knights of the Old Republic games and a sumptuous CG trailer like those from the game’s initial release, this expansion seemed like a soft relaunch of the game. A renewed show of commitment to SWTORs future which had maybe been lacking in the years since launch.

Its next expansion, Knights of the Eternal Throne, got a similar treatment, but while the marketing wow’ed, the gameplay indicated that the well may have run dry.

This has been the theme of the past two expansions also. Onslaught was a decent enough expansion which sat more in line with Hutt and Revan, while Legacy of the Sith was essentially an expansion in name only (it had a flashy trailer though!)

And so, since around 2017 it has felt like we’ve been watching the game’s slow march to the grave. This has been compounded by knowledge of the fate of the previous Star Wars MMO (Star Wars Galaxies), and BioWare’s other attempt to break into the multiplayer field (Anthem).

We know that SWTOR‘s been making money, but that doesn’t alter the fact that between the 8 distinct class stories and the full voice acting, making new content for this game is clearly not easy. But, The Old Republic is a BioWare game, and anything less than the expected BioWare polish would be seen as an admission of defeat.

All that is now a thing of the past.


Recent updates have seen new content added to older planets such as Manaan and Voss. Expect more of this going forward.

We don’t really have any idea of what’s going to be happening with future content for the game, other than the reassurance that more is coming. We might carry on getting the same tiny helpings of new content a couple of times per year, still fully voice-acted and all the rest of it. Except, probably a little less still, because some of the team are sadly not making the transition to Broadsword.

Let’s be honest though, that’s not going to happen. There will be changes in how The Old Republic doles out its new content going forward.

The worst-case scenario would be that we get a couple more patches to tie up the current main story and then the team lean back on the game’s season tracks to provide new content. As far as worst-case scenarios go, it’s better than the alternative.

What’s more likely is that we’ll carry on getting new seasonal content, AND new story content. But I think everyone is expecting voice acting to be the first thing to go. It surely adds a level of complexity to the process of adding new content that just isn’t worth the expense in both time and money. The voice acting in SWTOR is terrific, but I think at this point, after this many years, people would accept that it’s time to move on without it.

SWTOR remains one of the best looking MMOs around.

One thing that can be said with certainty is that all of the team members who have confirmed their move from BioWare to Broadsword seem positive about the changeover.

There can’t be any fun in working on a game that’s the studio’s least favourite child, and that’s more or less what SWTOR has been for the past few years. You need only look at the meagre number of pages devoted to the game in the BioWare: Stories and Secrets from 25 Years of Game Development book to get an idea of how little value the studio places in it.

At Broadsword, SWTOR is going to be the jewel in the crown. No more sneering at the old MMO – this is a studio that cares about the genre and its legacy. They’re going to be able to offer support and expertise that should translate into a bright future for the game.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, BioWare created a great MMO which never quite hit the heights it should have. After a decade of live service, they’re ready to move on. What happens next could be the best thing possible for them, Broadsword, the players, and the game itself.

The MMO golden years: I was there


So, today’s the day that Star Wars Galaxies turns 20 years old. That’s quite a milestone. When it comes to these sorts of anniversaries it always seems to put things into perspective. It’s wild to think of yourself as having played a game for that span of time. To consider all the ways that both yourself and the world around you have changed while that one game has been a constant in your life.

I wish I could say I was there on the launch day of Star Wars Galaxies, but I wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t until 2006 that I started playing the game. So technically it has only been a constant in my life for around 17 years. Pfft, child’s play.

Regardless, it’s still the defining MMO of my life (I suspect most people reading this have one of their own), and so the occasion has gotten me a little bit nostalgic. I could recount second-hand tales of the game’s launch day woes, but rather I wanted to spend a little bit of time recalling the early 2000s and the era of peak MMO hype.

I was born on the cusp of the 90s in working-class Britain. For reasons either relating to finances or just general disinterest, neither of my parents were particularly tech-savvy. I didn’t grow up surrounded by games, yet somehow, they became a defining element of my youth.

The first games console to find its way into our home was a Sega Mega Drive, and within a few months we also ended up with a Super Nintendo. Both were second-hand, a little banged up, and bundled with a scattershot assortment of about a dozen games that included classics like Sonic, Street Fighter II, and Super Metroid as well as forgotten oddities like Bubsy and Street Racer.

By this time, I knew that the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation had already been released so it must’ve been at least 1997. As such, video games just didn’t really exist for the first 7 or so years of my life.

Being a console generation behind meant that what games I had I was stuck with. I lived (still live) in a relatively small town. We had one dedicated games shop, Electronics Boutique, and other than a very small selection of second-hand SNES and Sega games (mostly sports titles which I had no interest in whatsoever), the shelves were stocked with current generation games.

It wasn’t long before I got a Nintendo 64, and then a PlayStation, and then a Gameboy Color and so on. All this time I never even considered PC as a viable gaming platform. I knew there were games for computers, but the whole idea of owning a PC seemed so out of reach, and the games so serious and adult, that it seemed totally detached from the idea of ‘games’ that I had in my head.

We got our first family PC around about 2001. It was a Windows 98 machine, had a horizontal case, and was stained that yellowy beige colour which was once so ubiquitous with gadgetry. It was, naturally, second-hand and already wildly outdated. It was also complete and utter magic.

I had been on computers before in school. The first time I touched a keyboard I wrote a paragraph about Power Rangers in Microsoft Word. We used educational software and messed around in Paint. But I had never been on the internet.

The first website I ever went on was the official site for Score Entertainment’s Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game. I’d brought a pack of these cards from a short-lived independent import/retro games shop which had recently opened in town, and I wanted to know what other sets were out there. I was totally blown away by the concept of being able to look up all this information on games and anime from around the world.

This computer was way too crappy to play anything close to that which I was playing on my Nintendo 64, but it was only another couple of years before we got a new Windows XP PC, and that started to open my eyes a little bit.

I still wasn’t sold on PC games themselves, but I discovered modding, emulators, and roms and along with that I got involved in a lot of online forums. Around the same time, MSN Messenger started to become a big thing and everyone at school would get straight home and log on every evening to spread gossip.

I don’t remember exactly what my first online game was, but I played a handful in quick succession. The ones that stick out in my mind are Jedi Knight Academy and Counter-Strike 1.6 on PC, and Star Wars Battlefront II on Xbox Live. This must’ve been around 2005, and while online multiplayer impressed me, I just wasn’t into competitive games and never got hooked on any of them.

It wasn’t long after this that I started dipping into a few MMOs. Some browser MMOs, Silkroad Online, MapleStory, and the Korean version of Digimon Battle Online are ones I can remember, but basically, I’d try out anything I could find which was free. I brought Guild Wars not long after launch but wasn’t pulled in by its generic fantasy setting.

‘Proper’ MMOs were, I thought, off the table because of the monthly subscription costs, but after spending a few days in the Star Wars Galaxies 14-day trial I just had to beg my parents for their credit card details. In every respect it offered so much more than all of those games I had played before it, and those first experiences of chatting and dancing with other players in the Tansarii Point Station cantina had the most profound effect on my isolated teenage self.

It felt like the culmination of what games could hope to achieve and, in some ways, looking back now, it was.

Oh, sure there have been plenty more innovations over the years, but it still feels like those first commercial virtual worlds were the last major revolution in the medium.

Not all games are MMOs in the same way that all films became sound and colour, but the impact of the genre and the experiences it promised (if not always delivered) have shaped the entire industry over the past 20 years.

There isn’t much wonder in MMOs these days. Certainly nothing compared to those early days, and it’s no great revelation that when people bemoan their inability to find an MMO that holds their interest these days – “nothing compares to [insert person’s first MMO here]” – it’s really that sense of wonder they’re missing more than the game itself (and try as you might there’s nothing you can do to recapture it).

Boy was it something to experience first hand though. To grow up, and in the space of less than a decade, experience the move from 2D to 3D games, text messaging to online chat, couch co-op to massively multiplayer online virtual worlds, and all the other innovations along the way.

When talking about the history of MMOs you’ll hear a lot about MUDs, and games like Habitat and Neverwinter Nights and Meridian 59. Obviously, they have their place in the history books and must have been incredible experiences for those who were a little more on the cutting edge of technology and got to experience them first-hand.

I’d hazard a bet however that – minus the specifics – vast swathes of the MMO community share a somewhat similar story to mine. How lucky we were.

Star Wars Galaxies Beginner’s Guide


There’s so much to do in Star Wars Galaxies that it can be completely overwhelming if you’re a new player. The original tagline for the game was “Experience the greatest saga ever told – yours.” That’s an exciting prospect, but it comes at a price. There’s very little guided progression in the game, and instead, it’s up to you to define who you want to be and what you want to do.

This starter guide will give you a helping hand in taking your first steps in the galaxy – covering the process of creating a character and beginning you on the path to becoming a master at your chosen profession.

If you’re wondering how to download the game and find the right server for you, check out our guide on How to Play Star Wars Galaxies. Once you’ve installed the game, read on to begin your adventure in a galaxy far, far away.

Note: This guide is not specific to any one Star Wars Galaxies rogue server, private server, or emulator. There are many variations across all these servers and updates may change core elements of the game. The information presented here is broad and intended to help you learn the necessary fundamentals to get started as a completely new player.

Creating your first character

Considering how many Star Wars games there have been, only a small handful allow you to customize your character in any meaningful way. Star Wars Galaxies offers perhaps the best character creation options of all, with heaps of options to let you create the perfect avatar and live your fantasy life in a galaxy far, far away.

Take some time to explore all the options at your disposal when making your first character but remember that you can always delete them and roll a new one if you find you’re unhappy with them.

Many servers also allow you to have multiple characters on a server, meaning that you can experience all that the game has to offer. You might play a Rodian Bounty Hunter as your main character, but have a Wookiee Chef as a secondary character, and an Ithorian Dancer to play on the weekends.

Choosing a species

The original version of Star Wars Galaxies had eight playable species to choose from: Bothan, Human, Mon Calamari, Rodian, Trandoshan, Twi’lek, Wookiee, and Zabrak. With the launch of the game’s first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed, two new species were added to the game: Ithorian, and Sullustan. Every rogue server has all 10 of these species available to play as.

All of these species are available to play as both Male and Female genders, with different body types for each. It’s important to think carefully about which species and gender you choose, as you won’t be able to change these once you complete the character creation process.

While most of the species share the same humanoid skeleton and can wear most types of clothing and armour, there are some species restrictions. For example, Trandoshans cannot wear boots and gloves.

Due to their unusual body types, Ithorians and Wookiees have their own unique sets of clothing and armour. While a few of the multi-species armour sets can be worn by Ithorians and Wookiees, there are overall, fewer armour and clothing options available for these species than others.

Some rogue servers have additional playable species options, such as Nautolans and Gungans. Oftentimes these have far fewer customization options than the default species, and some pieces of armour and clothing may appear distorted or have bad clipping.

Besides the restrictions on what you can wear, the only other thing you should consider when choosing a species is their innate abilities and stats. At launch, each species had unique attribute bonuses which made them better at certain professions. While these advantages were very small they’re something to take note of if you want to get the most out of your character. They were no longer relevant with the launch of the NGE update.

If the server supports innate racial bonuses, they will be found on the species select screen of the character creation process. If you don’t see any, then it’s likely that the server doesn’t have them.

Ultimately you should pick the species that appeals most to you but be mindful of how you may want your character to look later in the game bearing in mind the restrictions across some species.

Customizing your look

There are a huge number of options when it comes to customizing your character’s appearance in Star Wars Galaxies, and the best thing is that you can easily change them at any time.

The initial character creation process doesn’t even have the full selection of customization options available so don’t get too bogged down in getting your character looking perfect before you hit the mean streets of Tatooine.

You’ll find players with Image Designer skills in cantinas around the game and they will happily change your look for you. Not only can they change basic attributes such as your height and weight, but they can also give you a more interesting hairstyle, and they have a wider colour palette available for hair and body colours.

Naming your character

One final tip for character creation is to choose an appropriate name. Names which reference external media or riff on existing characters from Star Wars lore are frowned upon, and even if Puke Poopwalker sounds funny in the heat of the moment do you really want that to forever be the way you’re known in the game?

The in-game name generator is adequate, but you might have to refresh a few times before you find one that feels right. A great alternative is the SWTOR name generator created by Swtorista. There you can find name generators for various races which are found in both Star Wars The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies.

Just remember to choose a name which isn’t too long, has too many special characters, or is difficult to spell and pronounce. This will make it easy for other players to find, contact, and remember you.

Choosing your profession

There are a lot of interesting and unique professions to choose from in Star Wars Galaxies. The way professions work is wildly different in the pre-CU and NGE versions of the game, but either one will set you on your path to eventually becoming a master Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Entertainer, or whatever other character archetype you choose to embody.

On pre-CU servers such as SWGEmu, you will begin by choosing one of the six starter professions: Artisan, Brawler, Entertainer, Marksman, Medic, and Scout. This will give you your first abilities and set you on the path towards the game’s advanced professions, but you can mix, drop, and relearn any other skills at any time, so there isn’t too much pressure to pick the right one at this point.

On NGE servers such as SWG Legends, you can choose from nine ‘iconic’ Star Wars professions: Bounty Hunter, Commando, Entertainer, Jedi, Medic, Officer, Smuggler, Spy, and Trader. Those who choose to embark upon the Trader path also choose from one of four sub-professions: Domestic Goods (food/drink and clothing), Engineering (vehicles, droids, and cybernetics), Munitions (armour and weapons), and Structures (architect, shipwright, and furniture). You can change professions at any time so don’t dwell too long on which one you choose.

Other servers have added new professions and skills or have overhauled their profession system entirely. Restoration is based on the CU version of the game, Empire in Flames separates skills from professions, Beyond has a new Vanguard profession, and Evolve has a hybrid system combining elements of the pre-CU and NGE.

Taking your first steps

Starting out in Star Wars Galaxies varies significantly depending on if you’re playing on a pre-CU or NGE server, but both offer you some space to get your bearings in the world.

Although there were tutorials during the official version of the pre-CU, at present there is no tutorial on SWGEmu or other pre-CU servers. Upon finishing the character creation process you’ll find yourself aboard a single room on a space station. In that room you’ll find a terminal which will take you to a chosen location in the galaxy.

On SWGEmu you’re given a choice of multiple planets and cities on which to land, but it is strongly advisable that you land in one of the game’s three main cities: Theed, on Naboo; Coronet, on Corellia; or Mos Eisley, on Tatooine. These cities have the highest population counts and have all the basic amenities you will require at the start of your journey. If it’s your first time playing the game, then it is strongly recommended that you choose Mos Eisley as your starting location.

Other pre-CU servers may have fewer choices on where to land, or even just one. Oftentimes the only choice is Mos Eisley, but occasionally it is a custom city designed as an alternative main hub to Mos Eisley.

On NGE servers such as Beyond and Legends, you can choose to begin your adventure aboard the game’s tutorial area, the Tansarii Point Station. This is a great option for those playing the game for the first time. It guides players through a questline featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca, introduces the game’s core gameplay features including piloting, and lets you meet up with other new players.

Upon leaving the Tansarii Point Station you cannot return, so make the most of your time there. Also, if you’re a collect-o-holic be sure to finish the pilot missions aboard the ship as it’s the only time you can earn the Hero of Tansarii Point Station badge.

Once you finish up the tutorial area Han and Chewie will kindly drop you outside the Mos Eisley spaceport, where you’ll be guided straight into the game’s main quest line.

Some servers may grant you free skills or an instant boost to the maximum level when you start the game. If it’s your first time playing Star Wars Galaxies, it would be wise to refrain from doing this. By progressing through the game naturally, you’ll experience the game the way it was meant to be played, learning everything you need to know about the galaxy and your profession along the way.

How to learn new skills

The way your character learns new skills is probably the biggest difference between the different versions of SWG – and it’s something that’s complicated further thanks to changes that some servers have made in an attempt to refine the levelling experience.

On pre-CU and CU servers, you have access to over 30 different skill trees with the ability to mix and match skills to create your own character template. You’ll have to do specific, appropriate actions to earn the experience required to learn each skill box. For example, if you want to learn skills in the Rifleman skill tree, you’ll have to kill enemies using a rifle. Likewise, if you want to become a Weaponsmith, you’ll have to craft weapons, and if you want to become a Dancer you’ll have to – you guessed it – dance.

The fastest way to gain experience is by taking missions from the various Mission Terminals dotted throughout the world (there are always several in every NPC city). As a combat character the best missions you can take are Destroy missions from the regular Mission Terminals. You can pick two missions at a time, so select two within a similar direction and get grinding!

Once you’ve earned enough experience to learn a new skill box you’ll have to visit an appropriate Skill Trainer. These are located in major NPC and player cities and charge a fee for each skill taught. You can find them listed on your planetary map. Alternatively, other players who have already earned the skill can teach it to you at no cost (though you should tip them if you can afford it).

The most common way to request player training is by using this template: “LFT Marksman 1xxx”. “LFT” stands for Looking For Trainer, “Marksman” can be replaced with the skill tree you are learning, and “1xxx” refers to the skill box’s position in the skill tree. Just remember not to spam; if you don’t get a response after a few tries head to another city or try again later.

The SWGEmu Launchpad has a built-in Profession Calculator which you can use to map out how you will use your 250 skill points, and other servers have their own calculators also. Just remember that these may not always be up to date with the latest changes on the server.

List of Skill Calculators:

Learning new skills on NGE servers is a much more straightforward affair. Like World of Warcraft and the myriad MMOs which have followed in its wake, on servers such as Legends and Beyond you gain combat experience through defeating enemies and from completing quests. Each time you fill your experience bar you gain a level, with new skills earned as you progress towards the maximum level of 90.

Entertainers meanwhile earn XP by flourishing while dancing or playing an instrument, and Traders earn XP by crafting items. Both of these grinds are commonly performed with the aid of macros which automate much of the process. You can find the Entertainer grinding macro here, and the Trader grinding macro here. These do not require any external software and are therefore not considered as exploits.

NGE servers have some flexibility in their professions thanks to the Expertise system (an equivalent to WoW’s talent trees). Every other level, players will be granted an expertise point which they can spend in three expertise trees. Two of these trees are profession-specific, while the third tree is for Beast Master skills. Beast Master is a sub-profession available to every class and is split between creature handler and bio-engineering skills.

Players receive 45 expertise points in total. This expertise calculator allows you to test templates, but as always, be aware that different servers may have tweaked their skills.

How do I switch professions?

Unlike some other MMOs, your character is not tied down to one profession in Star Wars Galaxies. Every server allows you to change professions with relative ease. On pre-CU servers, you can drop any skill by clicking on its box in the Skills window and then clicking the ‘Surrender Skill’ button.

On NGE servers you can visit a Profession Counsellor (located outside the Starports in Coronet, Theed, and Mos Eisley) to swap to a different profession or to reset your expertise. Changing professions is free the first time but it increases in cost with each profession respec.

When you switch from one combat profession to another you will remain at the same level as you were. Traders and Entertainers have different experience tracks however and therefore will not retain the same level.

How do I become a pilot?

While it’s a crucial element of the Star Wars franchise, piloting wasn’t added to Star Wars Galaxies until the game’s first expansion, Jump to Lightspeed. While the space part of the game blends seamlessly with the rest of the game it’s an entirely unique set of systems and mechanics. As such, piloting hasn’t yet been implemented into SWGEmu and the other servers running on its code. It’s in development but it will likely be a few years before it’s fully stable and feature-complete.

Therefore if you’re dying to pilot your own X-wing or TIE Fighter you currently have no choice but to play on a server that uses the NGE code such as Legends, Beyond, or Restoration.

Not long after you start the game on one of these servers you will receive in-game mails pointing you in the direction of a trainer for each of the game’s three piloting factions – Alliance, Imperial, and Freelance.

While these mails point you towards one squadron in each of the factions however, there are in fact three squadrons for each faction. Each squadron has different missions on your path to Master Pilot, but there are no other major changes between them.

You’ll find the Pilot profession wheel in a separate tab along the top of your Profession window. To progress to Master Pilot you’ll need to complete all of your squadron’s missions, as well as grind experience along the way.

You can abandon your chosen squadron and retrain in a new one at any given time by talking to your factional pilot coordinator. Be aware however that leaving a squadron will remove all your current progression and certifications even if you rejoin the same squadron or an existing one in the same faction. Factional pilot coordinators can be found at the following locations:

  • Alliance – J’pai Brek (/way corellia -5072 -2343) Tyrena, Corellia
  • Empire – Commander Landau (/way naboo -5516 4403) Theed, Naboo
  • Freelance – Gil Burtin (/way tatooine -1174 -3674) Bestine, Tatooine

What is the Politician profession?

Anybody in Star Wars Galaxies can own and decorate their very own player house. These houses can be placed out in the wilderness, or within the boundaries of a player city. But what if you want to run your own player city? That’s where the Politician profession comes in.

The Politician skill tree gives you access to player city permissions and upgrades. On NGE servers and some pre-CU servers (such as Sentinel’s Republic), all Politician skills are granted to all players. On the majority of pre-CU servers, players must grind these skill boxes by growing their player city. Thankfully however these skills cost no skill points, meaning that you can be a Master Politician and still retain your 250 skill points to use in other professions.

Being a mayor of a player city is considered an endgame system. Maintaining your own city is a time-consuming affair and there are many complex systems to learn and manage. Therefore, it’s best to establish yourself firmly within the game and its community before you worry too much about becoming a Master Politician.

What is the Chronicler profession?

Introduced in the later years of Star Wars Galaxies’ live servers, the Chronicler system was a sub-profession which allowed all players to create their own quests, which they could give to other players to complete.

These quests are created by combining Chronicle Relics to create a quest Holocron. Each quest Holocron you create will give you Chronicler experience, with new tiers of Chronicle Relics able to be used as you progress through the Chronicler profession wheel.

By the time you’ve become a Chronicle Master, you’ll have access to a diverse array of quest objectives and customization. But, if that’s not something you’re interested in it can be pretty annoying having your inventory fill up with looted Chronicle Relics. If that’s the case, you can switch them off by typing the /chroniclesloottoggle command into chat.

This system is only available on NGE servers.

Joining a faction

As Star Wars Galaxies is set during the Galactic Civil War, you can choose to fight for either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire. All players start the game as neutral citizens – while you can become a freelance pilot, there is no freelance ground faction in the game.

To join a faction you’ll need to seek out a faction recruiter NPC. There are several of these throughout the galaxy, with Imperial recruiters often found out in the open of major cities, and Rebel recruiters in smaller outposts.

The most convenient recruiters to seek out at the start of the game are the Imperial recruiter in Mos Eisley (/way tatooine 3499 -4752), and the Rebel recruiter in Coronet (/way corellia -342 -4466).

If you’re playing on a pre-CU server, you’ll need to get 200 points of faction reputation before you can join a faction. You can gain faction points by completing missions from faction mission terminals which are usually found beside their respective faction recruiter.

Once you join a faction you can talk to a recruiter to place yourself on one of three levels of service status: On Leave, Combatant, and Special Forces. The easiest way to think of these three service statuses is to consider them as Cosmetic, PvE, and PvP respectively.

While On Leave you will remain a member of your chosen faction but will not be an active participant in the GCW. Neither players nor NPCs of the opposing faction will attack you. As a Combatant, factional NPCs will attack you, but not player characters. Going Special Forces will not only make you the target of factional NPCs, but any other player character of the opposing faction who is also Special Forces can attack you at any time.

Special Forces players receive the most faction/GCW points. These allow you to rank up within your faction and gain access to better rewards. This is done through various activities including PvP, base busts, and Invasions. The Galactic Civil War meta can vary substantially between servers, and while lower-level players can participate in some activities it is generally an endgame system.

Should you wish to switch allegiances, you can do so at any time by returning to a faction recruiter and asking to leave. After returning to neutral factional status there may be some server-specific requirements before you can join the other faction. Usually, this will require earning a certain amount of faction points or waiting a prerequisite number of days.

Finding a community

Star Wars Galaxies is a very social game. While you can technically spend a lot of your time progressing on your own, much of the fun of the game is built around the interactions you share with other players.

In Galaxies, guilds are known as Player Associations (although most players still refer to them as guilds). It can be helpful to find a Player Association (PA) as early as possible as they’ll be able to help you with any questions you have about the game and can help you with quests and gear.

You’ll find guilds of all sizes and specializations in Galaxies, from hardcore meta-focused guilds to roleplaying guilds. You can look for guilds that are actively recruiting on your server’s Discord, or you can often find guilds recruiting in the game’s major cities. Another great way to find a guild is to simply put yourself out there by getting involved in group activities and making friends.

Never be afraid to ask for help in Star Wars Galaxies, but always do so respectfully. There are several bustling centres of activity, and you should only request assistance in each area once before moving on to the next if you don’t receive a reply. Don’t spam the chat!

Your number one port of call will almost always be the Mos Eisley cantina. Just like in the films, it’s an area where characters of all trades converge to hang out, meet up, and prepare to go on adventures.

If you’re out in the field and spot someone of a similar level of experience to yourself, say “Hello”. You might be able to group up together for increased rewards and faster progression and you may even spark up a friendship which defines your entire time in the game.

Who will you become in Star Wars Galaxies?

It’s a big galaxy out there and Star Wars Galaxies gives you the freedom to live however you want in its huge open worlds. One of the game’s greatest assets is that there are very few areas in which you’re permanently tied down when it comes to customising your character. You can change your look or your skills at any time.

All this flexibility however can feel daunting. How do you decide who you want to be in the galaxy when you have complete freedom?

You have two choices. You can either head into the game with an idea of the kind of character you want to build, or you can head out into the world and let your character develop naturally – learning new skills as and when they present themselves in a way that appeals to you.

I guess, in a way, this is much like real life. And that’s the best way to think of Star Wars Galaxies. It’s a true living, breathing virtual world, and you’re just another citizen trying to make his way in the galaxy. You might become a Jedi Master or an Imperial foot soldier. Or just maybe, you’ll be a humble moisture farmer.

You may not be the saviour of the galaxy, but everyone has an important role to play in the rich tapestry of Star Wars Galaxies.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – May 2023


With May behind us, all eyes are turned to Star Wars Galaxies‘ 20th anniversary, which will be marked on June 26th.

It’s remarkable that, given this is a 20-year-old game, there are so many people still playing, and more remarkable still that there are so many others hard at work creating amazing new experiences for those players.

While none of the updates this month are huge, this roundup has collected news from 13 servers. That’s on top of the two new servers – Havelon and swGERmu – which I’ve added to the site’s complete list of SWG rogue servers this month.

I’ll have plenty more articles about the game coming throughout the month, and like many of you, I’ll be celebrating the anniversary by hanging out in this game which has done so much to define my life these past two decades.

An Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

Every server has its fair share of top tier decorators and a Galactic Home Show is a great way of honouring the creative ways players make the most of one of the game’s most enduring non-combat systems.

Now the Empire in Flames server is getting in on the action, asking players to submit their abodes for a chance of getting a coveted Home Show winner’s badge.

Oh, and a player crafted BD droid has also been teased for a future release. No big deal. Definitely don’t need one of those. Nope.

Attack of the Clones (Pre-CU)

After two years of radio silence (truthfully I wasn’t even aware the server was still in active operation), the live server of the Attack of the Clones project has been shuttered.

AotC‘s mission to create a Clone Wars era total conversion of Star Wars Galaxies will continue in private testing with the goal of relaunching sometime down the line.

Aurora (NGE)

The France-based Star Wars Galaxies server has implemented SWG Expanded‘s Tusken-themed content Isolation in the Sands. Taking inspiration from the short story ‘Pearls in the Sand’ by Voronica Whitney-Robinson (who also wrote the Star Wars Galaxies tie-in novel The Ruins of Dantooine), this new content includes a unique enemy faction, dungeons and rewards.

The server has also kicked off their Empire/Remembrance Day event, which is running from May 30th to June 14th.

Beyond (NGE)

Celebrations were in order on the Beyond server last month, as they reached their fourth year of live operation. Naturally, there has been a big ol’ party in Mos Eisley, but the event also ushered in a host of new content, including new rewards for the RLS and Heroic instances.

The Max Rebo Band are still performing in Mos Eisley as part of Beyond’s fourth anniversary celebrations.

Meanwhile, a new vendor in Mos Eisley is offering rare and exclusive paintings for 100,000 credits a pop under the banner of the Beyond Beautification Project. Mos Eisley has undergone some cosmetic improvements as part of the project.

Dark Rebellion (D20)

Some new cosmetic items have been added to the Dark Rebellion roleplay server. In a patch which also includes a host of bug fixes, players can now equip clone trooper and Mandalorian inspired kamas, as well as full face masks.

As with all of Dark Rebellion‘s clothing, these items can be picked up right off the bat, so players can instantly immerse themselves into the roleplaying environment looking exactly as they want.

Infinity (Pre-CU)

Infinity is one of many pre-CU servers who have spent much of the year or so attempting to bring their codebase inline with the latest SWGEmu changes. With more custom content than most servers this was always going to be a challenge for Infinity, but last month players were finally able to access the pre-alpha test server.

Only a small percentage of Infinity‘s custom content has been ported over to the new code at this point, but it marks a major milestone in the future of the project.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual on the server as four new patches launched in May bringing with them plenty of bug fixes and QoL changes.

Legends (NGE)

No major patches during May over on the Legends server, but this one just snuck in while I while I was typing up this post. The Health of the Economy update implements a number of changes in an effort to curb the rampant inflation on the server. As much as it’s about bringing down the sheer quantity of credits a player can acquire in a short space of time, the patch’s main focus is on specifically targeting the easy acquisition of credits through AFK grinding (while better rewarding meaningful group content such as Heroics).

As somebody who has struggled in the past to complete quest objectives or grind legitimate credits while at the keyboard in some of the game’s key hotspots, I view this as a very welcome change.

May’s Galactic Home Show winner was paulcarlob with his incredible art gallery themed Cloud City House on Naboo. I was so impressed by what I saw on the Legends website that I had to go check it out myself. I was absolutely blown away by what has been accomplished and urge everybody to go take a look themselves as screenshots just can’t do this one the justice it deserves!

All of the art pieces in this Galactic Home Show winner have names displayed on a plaque beside each work. This piece is called ‘A Spring Morning’.

Next month’s Galactic Home Show is Jump to Lightspeed themed, with players asked to submit their inventively decorated Gunboat’s and POB’s.

While the server’s next big event, Empire/Remembrance Day is set to hit later this month, players can attend two upcoming player events – The Deep Space Summer Brawl, and the Love Out Loud Pride Event – on Saturday, June 10th. More details about these events can be found on the server’s Discord.

New Beginnings (NGE)

In their first patch in just under a year, the New Beginnings server have implemented a number of quality of life changes including increased experience rates and loot changes. Empire Day is set to run on the server from 17th June to 8th July.

Reckoning (Pre-CU)

One of SWG‘s longest-running servers has sent out a brief communication reassuring their playerbase that the development team is hard at work bringing the server inline with the latest SWGEmu code.

Restoration (CU)

The Restoration server turned two years old last month. The team have posted a lengthy developer blog looking back on the progress made in that time, as well as a nifty infographic full of server stats. It’s reassuring to see so many people still trying their hand at the game’s non-combat Entertainer and Artisan skills.

The blog post also gave us a small insight at what’s to come, with a GCW revamp, mini-games, and the return of the Village on the horizon. The long-awaited 64-bit client is also set to release in the not too distant future.

For now, players can enjoy Restorations‘ latest, space-focused update, which includes new group content, and the Ace Slayer collection – pitting players against iconic pilots such as Luke Skywalker and Nym.

Resurgence (NGE)

A trio of patches brought a bunch of bug fixes and quality of life updates to Resurgence this month, including many items previously available via the SWG TCG (1, 2, 3)

Sentinel’s Republic (Pre-CU)

Star Wars Galaxies‘ most vibrant events community hosted another slew of events in May. One such event had players assisting the new leader of the Hutt Cartel following the death of Jabba.

June’s event schedule kick’s off with the Trandoshan on Tatooine event on 11th June. Players will have to repel a Trandoshan invasion in the city of Mos Entha, while creature handlers have the opportunity of taming a rare jundland eopie.

Sunrunner II (Pre-CU)

After shutting down back in April, it seems that the absence of pressure that comes with no longer having to manage a live server has reignited the passion of Sunrunner‘s development team.

One of Sunrunner II’s development team has been working on concepts newly redecorated NPC cantinas.

The project’s goals and ambitions are being redefined for this new vision of the game, with some additions from the old server set to remain, while other systems are reverted to their vanilla state.

The overall goal for this new server, which is planned to enter development later this year, is to be “a deep PvE server with the most objects and locations”.

Tarisland scores a clone goal with its too-blatant nostalgia pandering


It’s somewhat fitting that the new trailer for Tarisland’s global release should land on the same day that GameForge announced the shutdown of Sword of Legend Online’s global servers. While they don’t share the same aesthetic, they do share the same crucial design flaw. A blandness which begs the question: why would I, or indeed anybody else, want to play this?

Look, I’m aware that I’m getting ahead of myself here. Tarisland has barely even been announced, so I’m not going to write it off entirely just yet. What we’ve been shown and told about the game so far though leaves me with a feeling that hovers somewhere between apathy and despair.

From the off, Tencent has been very blatant in pitching Tarisland as World of Warcraft’s replacement in China, where the Blizzard-developed behemoth of the MMO genre was dramatically shuttered earlier this year. Clearly, this event has left a sizeable gap in the market, and it stands to reason that a company with the clout of Tencent would step in to fill it.

Though Tarisland must surely have been in development for a while prior to Blizzard and NetEase’s conveniently timed spat (three years, apparently), its announcement has leaned hard into exploiting the events which left China’s WoW playerbase heartbroken and without a (virtual) home.

While the game may have been conceived as a major rival to WoW in the Chinese market, it has now found itself in the fortuitous position of being its heir apparent.

That a game which is by every perceivable metric a WoW-clone just so happens to be primed to step up to the plate in this very moment would, on the surface, be as much of a boon to those WoW players left adrift by January’s shutdown as it is to Tencent.

The term WoW-clone was, for the longest time, a derogatory term. One which indicated a lack of imagination and a cynical attempt to capture a slice of a burgeoning market by copying the brightest student’s homework.

After a long decade of failed attempts to resurrect the ‘hardcore’ pre-WoW era of MMOs however, there is undoubtedly once more an appetite for something which is tapping unabashedly into WoW’s proven DNA.

Just, not like this.

Tarisland’s ‘Worldview’ trailer is monumentally uninspired.

Sword of Legends Online launched alongside two other prominent MMOs in 2021: New World, and Elyon. One of those games has found itself a happy spot in the market; the other is, well, it’s now only playable via a volunteer-operated rogue server.

You could make the argument that New World survived while the other two games didn’t due to the share clout and resources at Amazon’s disposal, and to a certain extent that’s fair. New World isn’t a game of any great uniqueness or expert execution, but it does enough in both categories to set itself apart from the rest of the pack. It’s not the game changer you’d want to kick off a new era in the genre, but it’s at least interesting.

SOLO and Elyon both looked pretty, and they played at least as solidly as any other medium-profile entry into the genre. Is that really all we want out of our MMOs though? Something which just looks and plays ‘nicely’. The answer, apparently, is no.

Lest we forget that Elyon began its life as Ascent: Infinite Realm. Sure, that game had the same uninspired graphic stylings of any number of other titles in the genre, but at least it looked as though some thought had been put into making the world-building stand out from the pack just a little bit. People were excited about the game’s eastern-steampunk theme, and aerial combat. This was, at one point, one of the most hyped games in the genre, but all that hype vanished when the game was rebranded as the far more generic Elyon.

Good looks just aren’t enough to keep players sticking around in your MMO.

There’s an argument to be had that the “big five” MMOs are all a bit generic themselves. They are, after all, all fantasy games, and other than WoW, none of them have a particularly distinctive aesthetic. However, it doesn’t take much digging beneath the surface to find that, while they’re not necessarily the most original worlds ever created, they’re far from derivative. They all have, in varying proportions, a healthy mix of compelling storytelling and deep gameplay systems.

Tarisland may indeed have these things – it’s too early to tell based on what little closed beta gameplay footage has leaked onto YouTube. You can say the same about any number of upcoming MMOs, and I always remain optimistic that they deliver the goods.

I think, what really galls me about Tarisland in particular, is just how content it seems to be as a ‘WoW-clone’, or ‘the Chinese-WoW’, or ‘the WoW-replacement’. There’s something deeply cynical about that. An underlying statement that says “We’ve got your number you addicts. Here’s that thing you need, now empty your pockets”.

Yes, I get it, games are a business, they need to turn a profit, blah blah. If, as I suspect, Tarisland does turn out to be nothing more than a cut and paste WoW-clone I think, and honestly, I hope that it will fail.

Because I don’t want the MMO genre to just be the fast food of gaming. I want it to aspire to be more than something that’s predictable – served up to its playerbase with a sneer of contempt.

I understand the risk aversion to making something totally out there; especially given that there are a lot of people right now who are explicitly asking for something which tickles that nostalgic appeal for the kind of themepark-style MMOs that were being released in abundance in the post-WoW boom. Just please, give us some evidence of artistry.

Tencent is making a big song and dance about the lack of pay to win monetisation in Tarisland. Obviously that’s great, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘feature’.

The biggest problem facing an unoriginal MMO launching in 2023 (and beyond) is that without a hook, why would anybody choose to play and stay in the new game rather than an already established one?

Sure, there’s a whole lot of (sometimes justified) whining about how X or Y game’s meta has changed over the years, but on the whole, the bunch of MMOs which are still kicking around 10-20 years after they first launched are well polished, and they have mounds of content. History tells us that it’s unlikely to downright impossible that a new MMO can launch with an amount of polish and content that could equal those games.

I think that’s something we just have to accept, and I think it’s something any reasonable person is willing to accept, so long as the new game is offering us something, well, new.

Everything about what happened to World of Warcraft in China just sucks. I would imagine that in an ideal world the players over there would like nothing more than to just be able to play their favourite game again. Supposing that doesn’t ever happen I’d imagine they would be pretty happy with what Tencent is offering with Tarisland.

Time will tell how the game shakes out here in the west. If WoW Classic failed to do the trick, will nu-WoW fair any better in conjuring the return to Eden which so many MMO players yearn for?

Explaining the MMO hype vacuum


Another week, another new MMO announcement. Just this past Thursday we learned that a new Warhammer MMO is on the way. This news came hot on the heels of the announcement that a new Lord of the Rings MMO is also entering development. For the first time in what seems like quite a while everyone wants a slice of the MMO pie – so why am I not hyped?

At the end of last year, I suggested that we may be entering a new golden age of MMOs. Certainly, on paper, there are more upcoming games in the genre than there have been since the 2000s. The excitement during that decade can be split pretty evenly down the middle.

The first half of the decade was defined by a mix of novelty and potential. When so many households were only just getting access to the internet for the first time, the prospect of being able to play games not just online, but in shared worlds with hundreds or thousands of other people at once was akin to magic.

That was the promise that united these virtual worlds – of which no two played the same. All that changed of course when World of Warcraft was released in 2004. With that game having cracked the formula of what we generally think of today when we use the term MMORPG, the main source of excitement now became one of scale. WoW‘s playerbase kept going up and every studio and every IP holder had a rival in the works.

Just as with today, two of the biggest upcoming franchise-based MMOs at that time were Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer Online. Being arguably the two biggest fantasy franchise’s around there was a considerable amount of hype for both games, but neither had the polish or momentum to topple WoW.

As it turns out, no game did. While some, such as Warhammer Online, came and went rather unceremoniously, others, such as LOTRO, have ticked away quite nicely, presumably making a tidy profit over the years.

Games have come a very long way since that last MMO boom though and so it’s inevitable that we’re now facing a new era.

Amazon’s New World, which launched in 2021, offered hints of how a modern MMO might play. It had a terrible launch, but it’s noticeably a game from a newer generation than the WoW-clone era. Of course, it looks shinier (and has notably terrific sound design), but it’s also taking cues from outside of the themepark MMO genre, cherry-picking design elements from survival games, third-person single-player titles, and battle royales.

Modern plus experimental should equal excitement, but that just doesn’t seem to be the prevailing sentiment among either the MMO community or the gaming community at large.

With New World, Lost Ark, Throne and Liberty, Blue Protocol, and the new Lord of the Rings MMO in their catalogue, Amazon is set to be a major powerhouse in the genre.

MassivelyOP’s Justin Olivetti recently asked the site’s readers how hungry they are for a good new MMO, and the responses were pretty evenly divided between those who were and weren’t.

This in itself is telling – a large number of the people who are really into these games are simply happy enough where they are. They don’t care about new graphics and they don’t want to learn new systems and settle into new communities. Nothing, it seems, is going to convince them to go elsewhere.

On the other side of the coin are the people who are desperate for something new. The thing is, none of them seem specifically hyped about any of the many, many upcoming MMOs which have been announced.

Gauging impressions from the comments in this thread, on the MMORPG subreddit, and on Twitter, there seem to be two reasons which come up time and again which explain why none of these games are currently generating much hype.

The first is quite simply that in many cases we know absolutely nothing about the game.

There are doubtless plenty of people who would be up for playing a new MMO set in Middle-earth, but with game development times being what they are these days, ain’t nobody getting themselves all worked up for something which is almost definitely not arriving until the latter end of the decade.

The upcoming Warhammer and LotR MMOs, as well as Blizzard’s Unnamed Survival Game, Zenimax’s Unnamed MMO, and Riot’s Unnamed MMO all belong to this category of games which exist merely as either press releases or informal announcements.

Even games which are supposedly launching sooner rather than later, have a suspicious lack of tangible footage or information on how they function.

While some upcoming MMO-adjacent games, such as Wayfinder and Diablo IV have been releasing a steady feed of press and social media content (not to mention beta tests), games such as Throne and Liberty and Blue Protocol – both of which are presumed to be launching in 2023 – feel suspiciously absent with regards to press and community engagement.

Still, at least you can go poking about on YouTube to find video evidence that those games actually exist in something like a playable state. Meanwhile, Dune Awakening, Crimson Desert, and Chrono Odyssey are among the list of MMOs which are presumably coming in the next year or two but are for now, little more than flashy teaser trailers. Nobody knows how the dang games will actually play.

There is, in a lot of cases, a whiff of vaporware in the air. MMO players have been stung too many times in the past to get all that excited over a bit of marketing fluff.

It’s all a bit bleak, innit?

The second reason – the main reason I’m not particularly hyped for anything – is that there simply aren’t any games that feel like they’re being made for me. Where are the sci-fi games dangit?!

Alright, there’s Dune Awakening, a game based on a franchise which I am somewhat a fan of, but it’s a setting which is so devoid of levity that I can’t imagine why anybody would want to actually ‘live’ in such a virtual world.

I’m sure there are some unannounced MMOs which will break the mould a little, but as of now, there’s a definite lack of variety.

Everything that actually feels as though it might be launching in the next year or two seems to be falling into two extremes – gritty Unreal Engine action MMO, or ‘comfy’ wholesome MMO. Do you prefer your MMO Dark Souls or Animal Crossing flavoured?

I would speculate that fewer people want exactly this thing than studios might imagine, though I also wouldn’t be the least surprised if one such game in either category were to become ‘the next big thing’ – something which is impossible to predict. There are among them games that I’m interested in playing, but nothing that has me drooling in anticipation.

So, am I hungry for a good new MMO? I mean, I sure wouldn’t say no to one. Am I more than happy playing old ones in the meantime? Absolutely.

Honestly, it’s hard to think of any combination of genre, aesthetic, gameplay style, and development studio which would have me wanting to throw myself wholeheartedly into the hype cycle. What’s the point? There are just too many variables for why it wouldn’t work out.

It’s fun to get properly excited about something and it’s a good thing to be vocal that “this thing interests me and I want to give it my time/money if it delivers on its promise”. Beyond that though it doesn’t really matter all that much that there’s a hype vacuum in the MMO landscape at present.

After all, to hype is human; to be pleasantly surprised, divine.

10 tips for playing old MMOs


There’s a certain appeal to playing old MMOs. In some respects, there’s a simplicity to them – there are no season passes or cash shops, no 300-hour storylines to plough through before you can even think about doing endgame content, and well, the graphics are far less intensive too, so it’ll run on any old laptop you have hanging around.

In other ways old MMOs are fiendishly complex, especially when trying to play them several decades after they were first released. The genre has come a long way since the days of Ultima Online and EverQuest, and many gameplay aspects have been standardized to make MMOs more approachable and accessible.

Some games, such as World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and EVE Online may be getting a little long in the tooth at this point, but due to frequent and continued updates they’ve been able to move with the times and remain welcoming to new players (or at least as welcoming as you could expect EVE to be).

Ultima Online

Other MMOs have intentionally chosen not to implement a lot of modern conveniences into their design, while others simply don’t have the development scope or resources to keep their game ‘up to date’. Some have been shuttered altogether and are now only playable thanks to fans bringing them back to life.

Playing one of these games, either as a new or a returning player, can be an intimidating and sometimes frustrating prospect. Here are a few tips to help get you in the right mindset for playing them.

1) Prepare yourself for the slower pace

As with most things in life these days, playing new games is a pretty breakneck affair. Log into a modern MMO and you’ll be instantly assaulted with directions to a hundred different activities that all need to be done RIGHT NOW.

Whether or not you agree with the game design law which states “Socialization requires downtime”, it was something of a given in older MMOs. These days, this forced downtime requires a conscious effort to embrace and it’s worth taking a minute before you launch the game to try and shift yourself down a mental gear.

2) Get ready to die – a lot

Unless you’re actively seeking out a challenge in a modern MMO you can quite often go several play sessions without ever seeing your health bar hit zero. It can actually be a bit of a shock when you start partaking in endgame content and actually realise you weren’t such a buffed-up He-Man after all.

It’s unlikely you’ll have that problem in older MMOs. Wander outside of the area for your level – die. Aggro more than one enemy at a time – die. Forget to spend two minutes waiting for your health bar to replenish between fights – you guessed it, die.

Again, this is mostly a case of embracing the gameplay design and making sure you’re really paying attention to what you’re doing.

Dragon Ball Online

3) Research first

People of a certain age will fondly remember the days of picking up a physical game from the store and spending hours thumbing through chunky instruction manuals before they fired the game up for the first time. Those things were useful! And there was something of an expectation that you’d take the time to read them.

While some old MMOs may offer tutorials, tooltips or guides within the game, there are no guarantees. For that reason, don’t feel bad about looking online to find a ‘new player tips’ guide or video and absorbing a bit of information on how the game functions before you jump in.

4) Play the way it’s meant to be played

On the other hand, don’t get too bogged down in wikis, let’s plays, patch notes and min-maxing guides before you’ve even made your first character. With thin plots compared to modern narrative-driven MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV and Star Wars: The Old Republic, part of the joy of playing an old MMO is in watching the world reveal itself around you as your character grows.

If you’ve already experienced all that through another player’s eyes you’re denying yourself the enjoyment of living it yourself. Sure, you might choose a class and gear that’s considered underpowered, and you may not reach the endgame quite as quickly, but you’re experiencing the game the way the designers intended you to.

5) Set your own goals

Who wants to be The Chosen One anyway? The age-old trope of starting off by killing 10 rats hasn’t quite died off yet, but you can guarantee it won’t be long before you’re slaying much bigger beasts and saving the land/world/universe in most modern MMOs.

Such accolades are rarely obtained in older titles, and you’ll probably find yourself killing a lot more woodland creatures before you’re slaying dragons and gods. That means you’ll have to decide for yourself what role you want to play in the world.

This may develop naturally as you play, or you may decide beforehand what your long-term goals are. Regardless you’ll want to settle into each play session with some idea of what you want to do or accomplish.

Star Wars Galaxies

6) Roleplay

How often do you really think about the character you want to embody when you’re making a new toon in an MMO? Oftentimes the array of options on offer are so bewildering that it’s fun to just click around and end up on something that looks cool.

Not everybody likes to roleplay. I don’t really feel comfortable doing it myself. When there isn’t a story pressed upon your character through a narrative however it’s worthwhile thinking a little bit about who the character you’re playing really is. You don’t have to share it with anybody, and you don’t have to always embody that character in everything you do, but sometimes just having a bit of backstory established in your mind can help immerse you and guide you in your adventures.

7) Ask the community

Most members of established MMO communities are more than happy to welcome fresh blood into their game so don’t be afraid to seek help and advice from them. This can be either in-game, or out-of-game in Discord servers, subreddits, or forums.

The key of course is that it’s a two-way thing. The existing community want new players to find the game, but only the right kind of player. Be patient and polite and you’ll more than likely be treated the same way in return.

8) Find a group (or bring your own)

There’s unquestionably been a shift towards solo play in MMOs, and these days many don’t require co-operative play at all until late in the endgame. Such a concept would’ve seemed bizarre in the late-90s/early-00s when online gaming was still very much a novelty. Why wouldn’t you want to spend all your time playing together?

With so many group finder tools available today it almost feels weird going back to asking for help in a hub area, but that’s the way it is. Alternatively, you can always bring a couple of friends along to try out the game with you if they’re willing.

Guild Wars Prophecies

9) Multitask

Let’s be honest, sometimes these older games can be very boring. If your play session is literally going to consist of nothing more than killing the same group of mobs for hours on end just to get a bar to go up, you’re going to want a little distraction.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of second-screen content, so my distraction of choice is a podcast. If you’re one of those people who likes to watch a movie or YouTube video while you’re playing, then you do you.

10) Don’t multitask

It’s ok to be bored. Let it wash over you. Become one with the grind.

You’re playing in a huge virtual world built by actual humans. Even if the game is dated, what you’re having the chance to experience is the culmination of thousands of hours of effort and if you take the time to really look around, you’ll see, hear, and feel that effort everywhere you go.

So crank up those ambient sounds, turn off your second monitor and allow yourself to be transported back in time.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – April 2023


This past month I played Star Wars Galaxies for the first time this year. The server I decided to try was one which I don’t feature all that often in the Rogue Server Roundup, but it’s undoubtedly the godfather of the Galaxies rogue server scene. What I didn’t expect to find when playing SWGEmu was that there have been quite a few changes and additions to the game.

When the Finalizer server launched in 2021 I was aware that there were plans to open the gate to small tweaks to the game, but I somehow missed that some have already been implemented.

From what I can tell these scant additions have been handled exceptionally sensitively – SWGEmu still feels like a vanilla server. You can now square off against world bosses, rotate furniture along every axis in your player housing, and loot Nightsister clothing and previously unavailable paintings.

They’re things which are all tied to the early version of the game and thus feel as though they should’ve always been obtainable by players anyway. Purists will be glad to hear that there’s no nonsense like movie posters or ewok wings to be had.

Of course May 4th is Star Wars Day so several servers have events and content coinciding with that in the coming days. SWGEmu themselves have a PvE event planned, with Han Solo set to make a special guest appearance.

An Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

Skirting around the May 4th shenanigans, An Empire in Flames is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a week of events. Following a commencement event on April 30th, three races are being held across the server before a final party takes place on May 6th.

Players gather for the Dantooine Destruction Derby event in celebration of An Empire in Flames sixth anniversary.
Image credit: Mina

Beyond (NGE)

A major update is set to hit the Beyond server on May 4th. The World Boss Update will see three existing world bosses – the Meatlump King, the Sarlacc, and the Tusken Sniper – updated with new mechanics and loot, as well as the introduction of a new world boss, the Spiny Gorgilla.

There appear to be heaps of new rewards available, and a new collection and reward currency will keep players coming back for more. The server hosts regular world boss weekend so be sure to keep an eye on their Server Schedule for future events.

Infinity (Pre-CU)

The winners of Infinity‘s Best Dressed City event were announced in honour of May 4th. A great display of using the game’s props and furniture to it’s fullest.

Legends (NGE)

With QA testing underway for the second part of the Jedi Themepark, Legends staff member Vincer took to Reddit to ask what other profession themed questlines players would like to see. Spy topped the poll with 40 votes, beating Commando by just 4. Curiously, Entertainer took third place, with players apparently keen on the idea of a “social-driven instance”. You can count me among that group.

Image credit: SWG Legends

Ribann was announced as the winner of April’s Galactic Homeshow. Their old school arcade inspired housing design The Coin Jam has to be seen to be believed. May’s Galactic Homeshow is now open for entries, so if you’re a keen interior designer be sure to apply!

A double XP weekend will run from May 4th – May 8th and there’s also a chance to pick up some limited-time loot and a May 4th event badge.

Restoration (CU)

Continuing with their custom Progression System, the Restoration team have teased the imminent arrival of a certain organic meatbag-hating HK droid to the server.

Two new blog posts on the Restoration site offer guides which illuminate their mysterious Jedi system and help roleplayers speak Mando’a.

Real life housework just not enough for you? Good news! Later in May the server has a Spring Cleaning event planned, with players tasked to clean away dust durni’s which will be appearing across the galaxy. There are rare creature eggs and credits up for grabs, as well as a badge and title. The event is set to run on Friday, May 19th and Saturday, May 20th.

Resurgence (NGE)

Following a brief period of downtime Resurgence‘s Apotheosis server has relaunched afresh. Yep, full server wipe.

They’re offering a whole bunch of goodies to help soften the blow and get the community back on their feet, so if you’ve been looking for a new NGE server to try out this could be a good time to jump on board. The new server still has all of the server’s custom content, including the planet of Dxun which launched in their 4.0 update.

Sentinel’s Republic (Pre-CU)

Following on from an invasion of the server’s custom planet of Mandalore late in April, Sentinel’s Republic will be celebrating May 4th with three world boss events. They kick off on another of the server’s custom planets, the dark side world of Kaas.

The following night players can participate in an event on Kashyyyk, taking on N-K Necrosis. For those looking for something a little more chill, there’s a fishing event taking place throughout the next couple of weeks, with prizes for both the biggest and smallest fish. The competition runs until May 17th.

Sunrunner II (Pre-CU)

While Resurgence has been reborn, the same can’t be said for Sunrunner II. As announced last month, the server was unceremoniously shuttered on April 23rd. A Sunrunner III server has been discussed, but it’s clearly not happening anytime soon.

In the media…

ProjectSWG staff member Tosteto shared photos of his incredible Star Wars Galaxies merchandise collection on Reddit (which of course includes a copy of The MMO Folklorist’s Guide to Galaxies).

MMO YouTuber MitchManix published a video review of Star Wars Galaxies.

EQ2 Relaxation, a YouTube channel which hosts ambient MMO content, uploaded a bunch of Star Wars Galaxies videos. Vibes.