An Empire Revisited: I finally made it to Bespin

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Bespin SWG Legends

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?

The Complete List of Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Servers 2022

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Player Characters riding mounts in Mos Eisley on Tatooine. The game is Star Wars Galaxies.

LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment may have shut down Star Wars Galaxies‘ official servers back in 2011, but rogue servers have been making the game playable in an unsanctioned capacity since long before then. That means some of these projects have now been around for more than a decade, while many others have sprung up more recently.

In 2022 SWGEmu and SWG: Legends are the two most popular servers, reviving the game as it was during its 2005 and 2011 iterations respectively. Legends, along with most other servers have made some not insignificant changes to the game’s systems, and have even added a large amount of original content. Until 2021 SWGEmu remained focused on recreating the game exactly as it was before the game’s notorious CU patch, but with the launch of the Finalizer server, they have committed themselves to future content updates as well.

The beauty of rogue servers however is that there is unlimited freedom for different projects to offer player experiences which can appeal to niche tastes. Don’t write off the other servers on this list just on the basis of their somewhat smaller communities. Some of them have done some truly incredible work with Galaxies‘ ageing game engine, adding new areas to explore, a diverse range of fresh character customisation options, and quality of life features which make the game a lot more accessible to modern gamers.

Servers are listed in alphabetical order with the Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) prefix omitted. Unless otherwise stated Pre-CU servers are running versions of the SWGEmu codebase, while NGE servers are running versions of SOE’s leaked source code. This list is updated monthly along with the Rogue Server Roundup.

Star Wars Galaxies Kel Dor and Ishi Tib characters playing Sabaac on Empire in Flames
An Empire in Flames

An Empire in Flames

Homepage: https://www.empireinflames.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/uvNrseC
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2017
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Species, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: Roleplay QoL features; post-RotJ setting; unique Jedi unlock; huge number of new playable species
Upcoming Content: Mandalorian Enclave; Underworld faction

Attack of the Clones

Homepage: https://swg-aotc.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/BzrVgjs
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2020
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Custom Content: Quests, Cosmetics
Highlights:
Conversion to Clone Wars era factions
Upcoming Content:
Server relaunch

Aurora

Homepage: https://www.swg-aurora.fr/
Discord: https://discord.gg/hCtknAvqYW
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2021
Active Development? Yes
About: French language server

Awakening

Homepage: https://swgawakening.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/QxQSXwY
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2014
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Tweaked vanilla experience; custom Jedi unlock

Beyond

Homepage: https://swgbeyond.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/ycuQZqA
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2019
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Quests, Professions, Events, JtL, Cosmetics
Highlights: Rare Loot System; Vanguard profession; Tusken Hardmode Heroic; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Multiple new species; more Hardmode Heroics

CUEmu

Homepage: https://cuemu.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/HpJR6eUh5Q
Game version: CU
Launched: Closed Testing
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: CU emulator based on SWGEmu code.

Dark Rebellion

Homepage: https://darkrebellionrp.wordpress.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/8bgXHvJEsC
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2022
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
About: Heavily customised D20-style roleplay server set in an alternate post-ROTJ timeline.

Infinity

Homepage: https://www.swginfinity.com/
Discord: https://discord.com/invite/gN22kcG
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2017
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Themeparks, Quests, Events
Highlights: Mandalorian quest line; Infinity Heritage Themepark; Big Game Hunting

Star Wars Galaxies Rodian on Bespin Legends
Legends

Legends

Homepage: https://swglegends.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/ZBXvVDN
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Professions, Events, JtL, Cosmetics
Highlights: Bespin expansion; farming and ranching systems; Jedi Themepark; huge number of new cosmetic items; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Star Viper questline; New planet – Felucia; Jedi Themepark Pt.II

Check out MMO Folklorist’s Legends column An Empire Revisited.

myswg

Homepage: https://www.swgemu.com/forums/showthread.php?t=217130
Discord: https://discord.gg/kzc46Rz
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2018
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Intended for solo gameplay

ProjectSWG

Homepage: https://projectswg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/BWhBx4F
Game version: CU/NGE
Launched: In Public Testing
Active Development? Yes
About: Emulation project. Attempting to rebuild the game with custom content and systems.

Reckoning

Homepage: https://swgreckoning.com/
Discord: https://discord.com/invite/XfzfdZ4u
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2015
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Highlights: Tweaked vanilla experience; NGE item implementation; custom Jedi unlock

Restoration

Restoration

Homepage: https://swgr.org/
Discord: https://discord.gg/swgr
Game version: CU
Launched: 2021
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content:
Cosmetics
Highlights: CU-era combat and profession system; community engagement; Server Progression System; custom Jedi unlock
Upcoming Content: Project Roadmap

Check out MMO Folklorist’s Galactic Flyby of Restoration.

Resurgence

Homepage: https://swgresurgence.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/PJpnKM7TNg
Game version: NGE
Launched: 2022
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Themeparks, Quests, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: Expanded content implementation
Upcoming Content: Unique new planet

Rogue One

Homepage: http://www.swgrogueone.net/
Discord: https://discord.gg/n82x6JEbYN
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Quests, Planets, Professions, Species, Cosmetics
Highlights: Bespin expansion; farming and ranching systems; Jedi Themepark; huge number of new cosmetic items; community/event engagement
Upcoming Content: Star Viper questline; New planet – Felucia; Jedi Themepark Pt.II

Sentinels Republic

Homepage: https://swgsremu.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/cEMtM99wwc
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2016
Active Development? Yes (infrequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Themeparks, Quests, Planets, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: 8 unique planets; new playable species; regular event schedule

Star Wars Galaxies Mon Cal on SunrunnerII
Sunrunner II

Sunrunner II

Homepage: https://swgsunrunner2.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/q6mHDqR
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2019
Active Development? Yes (frequent updates)
Custom Content: Heroics, Quests, Planets, Species, Events, Cosmetics
Highlights: 12 unique planets + integration of modified expansion planets; 11 new playable species
Upcoming Content: Expanded Mandalore content; unique Jedi, GCW systems

SWGEmu

Homepage: https://www.swgemu.com/
Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/JH3t7Qh
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: In Public Testing
Active Development? Yes (Finalizer server)
About: Emulation project. Almost complete rebuild of the game as it was before the CU patch. In development for well over a decade. Will maintain vanilla and custom content servers once 1.0 milestone is reached. Basilisk server due to shutdown in 2022 with Finalizer acting as the new primary test server.

Tarkins Revenge

Homepage: https://home.tarkinswg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/kgY3zHdzQE
Game version: Pre-CU
Launched: 2019 (Formerly operated as SWGCanon and later Tarkin/TarkinII)
Active Development? No
Custom Content: Quests, Species, Cosmetics
Highlights: NPC-city player housing; roleplay QoL features
Upcoming Content: Expanded Mandalore content; unique Jedi, GCW systems


Related Projects:

Expanded

Homepage: https://swgexpanded.fandom.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/wEENHws
About: Creating custom content that other public and private servers can implement for their own use. Content includes custom quests and cosmetics.

TCGEmu

Homepage: https://www.swgtcg.com/
Discord: https://discord.gg/QXS7UcxeZB
About: In-development emulator of the Star Wars Galaxies: Trading Card Game

The Complete List Of Rogue Servers For Dead MMOs 2022

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Wildstar CoH Tera Header

It’s always a sad day whenever an MMO is shut down. Whether it’s because of licensing issues, a dwindling playerbase, or a shuttered studio, there’s a community out there struggling to come to terms with the loss.

Sometimes publishers keep their game’s servers running in maintenance mode, but when this isn’t the case players will take it upon themselves to resurrect the virtual worlds they were turfed out of.

The teams behind these projects are volunteers – due to legal rights issues they cannot make money from their efforts. Yet, their role in preserving MMO history is a vital one, and for that, they should be commended.

Some of these rogue servers, emulators, or private servers are rebuilt from the ground up using only the game’s client-side assets, whereas others are a result of the game’s source code having been made public either officially or via a leak.

There are of course private server projects for games which are still running in an official capacity. This article will however only list private server projects for games whose official servers have been sunsetted.

Disclaimer: The vast majority of these projects are distributing unsanctioned software which could potentially contain malware. MMO Folklorist takes no responsibility for any malicious software distributed by individuals or groups mentioned in this article. Please ensure you do your own research before downloading any files!

Age of Empires Online

This cartoony version of the ground-breaking RTS series probably wasn’t the right direction for the franchise to take at the time of its release. Now that we have a real AoE4 however, there’s a certain charm to AoE Online. No wonder then that the game has been revived by a team of fans. Project Celeste brings the game back to life with new content and events.

Asheron's Call Key Art

Asheron’s Call

The original Asheron’s Call has a well-established emulation community which has been recreating the game since Turbine closed the live servers in 2017. The two main open-source emulation projects are ACEmulator and GDLEnhanced. Both projects recreate a highly playable experience with content and features which are comparable but different.

The ThwargLauncher tool is used to access servers running both versions of the emulated client. There are many servers to choose from, each featuring a variety of different rulesets, content, and playerbase sizes. Popular server lists can be found on TreeStats and AsheronDB.

At present, there are no playable servers for the game’s sequel, Asheron’s Call 2: Fallen Kings. However, there is an emulator with very limited functionality that can be used to explore the game world (there is no combat, quests, or NPCs). Head over to the game’s unofficial Discord community to gain access to the client.

Auto Assault

Described as a vehicular combat MMO, this was definitely one of the most unique games to come out of the genre’s mid-2000s boom. It couldn’t find a sustainable audience and shuttered after only a year. An emulator is in the works, but it’s been left spinning its wheels until more help comes on board.

Battlestar Galactica Online

A playable emulator for Bigpoint’s browser MMO is currently in public testing. It isn’t feature complete, but it’s not far off. Check out their Discord if you want to jump in.

The Chronicles of Spellborn

Having only been live for under two years before being taken offline, Spellborn was one of those MMOs which wilted quickly in the late-2000’s rush to publish a WoW-killer. If you ever wanted to play this “rough diamond” as the Spellborn Reborn team have referred to the game, you can head over to their site to get on board their open beta.

City of Heroes

In 2019 when the news that a private server for City of Heroes had been secretly operating for several years after the game’s 2012 demise, players of the beloved MMO were shocked. The story rippled throughout the entire gaming sphere, becoming the most widely reported story on private servers since Blizzard shut down the World of Warcraft private server Nostalrius in 2016.

It was a messy affair, but one which ultimately ended up with a feature-complete version of City of Heroes finally being widely playable once more. There’s now a choice of servers available, with the Homecoming server proving to be the most popular. Almost all of these rogue servers offer custom rulesets and content.

There were discussions held between members of the emulation community and NCsoft with regards to some kind of official sanctioning on the game’s rogue servers, but these seem to have ultimately proved fruitless.

Darkfall

Rise of Agon is an official revival of Darkfall in that the team have been granted the rights to the IP. Still, the team are currently working on a volunteer basis, so this is certainly a community led passion project.

Defiance

As Defiance (and it’s semi-reboot Defiance 2050) only shut down in 2021 it’s no surprise to hear that efforts to create an emulator for the game are not very far along in the development process. Still, if you want an early look at what the team are planning, you can head on over to the Project Defiance Discord channel.

Dragon Ball Online Key Art

Dragon Ball Online

Although this MMORPG based on the renowned anime series never made it to the west, its storyline and character designs have informed the franchise in myriad ways. Dragon Ball Online’s direct successor was the multi-platform Dragon Ball: Xenoverse – a fighting game with MMO elements. Its sequel is still receiving regular updates, but those looking to play the original MMO are in luck.

Fan translations for the game began almost as soon as it was released in Korea, and English language private servers have been operating for a number of years. Popular servers include DBOG Revival, DBOUniverse Revelations, DBO Crisis, DBO Unchained, and DBO Hope. All of them feature custom content.

Dungeon Runners

There were efforts to resurrect this F2P MMO from NCSOFT, but they’ve gone dark. There’s a community Discord if you have any interest in reviving these efforts.

Earth & Beyond

The lifespan of this early sci-fi MMO from Westwood Studios and EA was cut mercilessly short just two years after its 2002 launch. The game has since been revived by the team at Net-7, where the game can be enjoyed once more with new features and seasonal events.

Earth Eternal

A revival of this furry friendly MMO is in the works over at Terra Aeterna. The server includes the fan made expansion Valkal’s Shadow.

Endless Online

This 2D pixel graphics MMO has been brought back to life by the folks at EOSERV. They conveniently have a list of all servers running the emulator over on their site.

EverQuest

OK, this one is totally cheating because EverQuest is absolutely still alive and kicking. But, 20+ years of development can change a game a lot, and some people would rather stick to playing an older version.

Project 1999 is a completely volunteer-led, fan-operated emulator that includes content up to and including 2000’s Scars of Velious expansion. In 2015, Daybreak Games gave the server legal permission to continue operating alongside the live game.

EverQuest Online Adventures

Way back in the early days of the genre there were very few MMORPGs available to console gamers. PlayStation 2’s EverQuest Online Adventures was one such game, but unlike Final Fantasy XI, which made the jump across console generations, EQOA never left the PS2 and was eventually shut down in 2012.

Since then players at Project: Return Home have been working to reverse engineer the game to make it playable once more via PS2 or on PC via emulators.

Everquest Landmark Key Art

EverQuest Landmark

The cancelled MMO EverQuest Next‘s, cancelled sister title Landmark has an emulator project in development (Landmark RE:Build), but progress seems to have stalled.

Fallen Earth

Fans of this post-apocalyptic MMO were rewarded for their continued loyalty to the game (which was shuttered in 2019) when an official server was brought online at the end of last year.

FHX (Ferentus, Herrcot, Xiones)

This hardcore South Korean MMO which was launched globally under several different names is being emulated by the group at FHX Restoration. They’ve combined elements from both the Korean and Global versions of the game to create a new client which runs on their server.

Free Realms

There was a lot of hype behind SOE’s child-friendly MMO when it launched back in 2009. After shuttering in 2014, an emulator has been in development for several years. FR Sunrise isn’t in a public testing state yet, but progress is steady.

FusionFall

This MMO based on characters from various Cartoon Network shows has had a bit of a troubled history, with multiple private servers being shuttered in the years since its live servers went dark.

As such, it’s difficult to recommend any one server, but if you’re interested in playing the game your best bet is to head over to the Wiki page for OpenFusion, the modified source code upon which all FusionFall rogue servers are based.

Glitch

An unusual, but much-beloved MMO, players can now jump back into the colourful world of Glitch thanks to the efforts of the Odd Giants team. This rebuilt version of the game is still in development, but new patches are frequent.

Hellgate: London

Ah, Hellgate – the game with a thousand launches. London 2038 brings the original Hellgate: London back to life (as opposed to the version of Hellgate Global which is available on Steam). Yes, I’m aware that I said I wasn’t listing rogue servers for games still actively operating, but this is kind of a Star Wars Galaxies situation where the old version is practically a completely different game, therefore I’m allowing it.

Jumpgate

This 2001 space sim MMO is fully playable once more thanks to the fans at Jumpgate TRI.

Lego Universe

Sadly there are no public servers available for Lego Universe. Darkflame Universe created a functioning emulator of the game and previously hosted a public server, but following discussions with The Lego Group, they were forced to shut up shop.

However, upon closing the server they released their source code for all to use in the creation of private servers. This means that while you won’t be getting the Massively part of the MMO experience, you can set up a server to play the game either solo or with friends and family. This requires a little bit of technical tinkering, but there’s a good video guide here.

Maple Story 2

We hardly knew ye at all, Maple Story 2. Despite being the sequel to one of the most popular MMOs of all time, Maple Story 2 didn’t quite catch on in the way that publisher Nexon was hoping for, pulling the plug after only two years of live service in the west.

Fans are rebuilding the game as MapleServer2, and a public test environment is available already.

The Matrix Online

An online game set in a franchise based around simulated realities sounds like a pretty good fit, but SOE’s The Matrix Online never really took off. A full emulator of the game isn’t available, but MXOEmu allows you to explore the game world with other players. Considering that the game’s combat was notoriously bad, this may be something of a blessing. Regular in-game events such as DJ nights will keep you engaged, but if you ever wanted to check out the game’s story then it’s worth downloading this extremely in-depth PDF archive of the game.

Monster Hunter Frontier Z

Despite having never been released in the west, Monster Hunter fans have managed to not only get this game running on private servers, but have also begun an English translation patch.

Neocron

This cyberpunk MMO has been run by a player volunteer team since 2012. Neocron Evolution continues to build upon the game with regular updates, including a texture overhaul in 2021.

Perpetuum

This is kind of a strange one. Development for this mech MMO stopped back in 2018, but the developers made the very excellent choice of handing over the game’s source code to the community. It’s still available on Steam for players to download and set up their own private server, and there’s also a community for those who are adding new content to the game.

Pirates of the Burning Sea Key Art

Pirates of the Burning Sea

In a perfect world no MMO would be shut off, with publishers instead handing the game over to the players once they wish to cut ties. That’s exactly what happened to Pirates of the Burning Sea, which has been operating with continued development under an entirely fan-led team since 2019.

Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Revived under The Legends of Pirates Online, this emulation project has not only rebuilt the game to an almost finished state but has also added swathes of new content, including a major patch earlier this year.

Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst

This PC adaptation of the Phantasy Star Online games that began back on the Sega Dreamcast is available to play once more on the Ephinea, Ultima, Destiny and EdenServ servers. Their revival of the game includes new content and events.

Alternatively, you can play the Dreamcast and GameCube versions of the game (including the GameCube exclusive Episode III) again thanks to the Schthack and Sylverant servers. This requires a little bit of hardware tinkering. This video from Nighttime Gaming gives a good overview of how to get each edition of the game running in 2022.

Phantasy Star Universe

The other Phantasy Star MMO to have shuttered (Phantasy Star 2 is still alive and kicking) was revived in 2020. Phantasy Star Universe: Clementine is a fully functioning rogue server with new content.

PlanetSide

This classic MMOFPS is playable once more on PSForever. They have a guide here on how you can join the game.

Project Torque

Before Ubisoft’s The Crew came along, Project Torque was the car enthusiast MMO of choice. As of 2019, the game is being operated by a volunteer group called Jogara Ltd. It’s available via Steam, but new content updates are infrequent.

Rusty Hearts

An action combat MMO with an anime aesthetic. Rusty Hearts can be played one more thanks to the volunteers at Rusty Hearts: Revolution.

Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine

This MMO based on the beloved franchise from Atlus has been revived by fans as ReIMAGINE. The rogue server is based on the final Japan version of the game which had more content than the western servers.

Unfortunately all SMT:I private servers were taken offline in September 2022 after legal action was taken by Atlus.

The Sims Online

This online version of the game which lets you build the house of your dreams and then turn it into a torture pit for those trapped within it is back at FreeSO. They’ve brought the game back to life and added new quality of life and content features.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures

Following on from Free Realms, SOE released a similar kid-friendly MMO based on The Clone Wars animated series. The game outlived SOE’s other Star Wars MMO, Galaxies, by a few years, before it was killed off in 2014. Fans are working on an emulator for the game, and the team at CWAEmu have a playable server available for testing.

Star Wars Galaxies

Thanks to its unique gameplay and IP this game has by far the most rogue servers of any dead MMO. Follow this link for our complete list.

Tabula Rasa

With Richard Garriott at the helm and NCSoft as publisher, people were expecting huge things from Tabula Rasa. When it was released to a lukewarm critical reception the game stalled and was shuttered after just a little over a year of live service.

It’s no wonder then that there hasn’t been much of a community pull for a rogue server. There’s a small team attempting to rebuild the game under the banner of Infinite Rasa, but progress is slow and no public test server is available as of yet.

TERA

TERA‘s official servers were sadly and unexpectedly shuttered this year, but players had been operating private servers for years prior to this. In 2022 the most popular servers are Menma’s TERA and TERA Starscape. More servers along with their differences can be found in this thread on the game’s subreddit.

ToonTown

Disney’s child-friendly MMO has been given new life by three impressively active volunteer teams. Toontown Rewritten and Toontown: Corporate Clash offer versions of the game which contain hosts of new content, while Toontown Offline has built a version of the game which can be played well, offline.

Vanguard Saga of Heroes SOE MMORPG Key Art

Vanguard: Saga of Heroes

Vanguard had a whole lot of promise as a true successor to EverQuest, but a rushed launch effectively killed any chance the game would have had at being a success. Still, there were plenty of fans who enjoyed this unforgiving high fantasy title, and the VGOEmulator has a thriving community working on bringing the game back to life.

The dev team are describing the current playable test server as being in an alpha state, but players can still partake in some early-level questing and crafting.

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

One of the great rogue server success stories. Not only have the Return of Reckoning team made this MMORPG based on the table top wargame franchise available to play once more, but they’ve added huge amounts of new content. The server has been running since 2014 and has a sizeable dev team working on it.

Wildstar

The team at Nexus Forever are plugging away at rebuilding the game from the ground up. It’s going to take a while, but you can download the current code and set up your own testing environment if you want to see what they’ve accomplished so far. Maybe one day soon NCSoft will have the good sense to just revive the game themselves… maybe… but don’t bet on it.

Wizardry Online

This short-lived MMO based on the old-school Wizardry series of games is in the process of being revived by volunteers. Although the game was released in English, the team have decided to base their server on the Japanese version of the game, so players should be aware that there are some untranslated elements at present.

Digimon Masters Online is the worst Digi-World

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A show about Digital Monsters in a Digital World. On paper, the Digimon franchise seems a perfect fit for an MMO. It is, therefore, no surprise that there have been two MMORPGs based on the franchise, with a third, Digimon Super Rumble, currently in beta testing.

None of them are any good.

Launching in the west back in 2011, Digimon Masters Online has been knocking around for over a decade. We’ve seen plenty of other MMOs come and go in this time, yet Digimon Masters endures. More than that, it is apparently thriving, with a full graphics and engine overhaul announced for sometime this year.

With two new anime series, a string of movies, and a wildly successful card game under its belt, the Digimon franchise has seen a surge in popularity over the past few years. A long-awaited multi-platform single-player game, Digimon Survive, is set for release later this month, which is sure to bring even more new and returning fans sniffing around for what else the franchise has to offer.

Some of those people might be tempted to check out Digimon Masters Online. You could consider me to be one of them.

<Very Glad> Tentomon. That makes one of us.

My history with the franchise stretches right back to the days of the one-sided Pokemon vs Digimon wars at the turn of the millennium. I liked both. Pokemon had superior games and trading cards, while Digimon had a better anime.

During the mid-2000s (that most fertile time for new MMO releases), I came across an English fan translation community for a Korean turn-based MMO called Digimon RPG. I dabbled a little bit, but the translation was barebones, and with so many other new MMOs rolling out at the time, it didn’t do enough to hold my attention.

Digimon RPG received an official global launch in 2010 (as Digimon Battle), with Digimon Masters arriving the following year. I never played the official version of Digimon Battle (which was shut down in 2013, but is set to relaunch sometime this month), but I was keen to try Digimon Masters at launch.

I had high hopes for the game, watching Digimon Data Squad (the series upon which DMO is based) as I waited for an invite to the closed beta. When I got into the game I must have played for about an hour before realising that the whole thing was a terrible botch.

Surely though, after 10 years of continuous development, a Steam launch, and a playerbase big enough to warrant a remaster, the game must be a fairly solid experience by now. It is not.

I knew that I was in for an uphill battle when, try as I might, the game’s official launcher just would not run. I eventually gave in and downloaded the Steam version, which mercifully ran without a hitch.

You can look at the other avatar options but you can’t actually buy them until you’ve already made a character. Makes sense.

Character customisation is extremely limited. You begin by selecting your tamer, which is one of the four main characters from the Data Squad series, and from there you can select a clothing option, of which there are a maximum of four per tamer. That’s it as far as customisation goes. No changeable body types or hairstyles, no facial markings or eye colour changes, just the option to dress your teenage avatar in either a hoodie or a swimsuit. Hmm.

There are of course many more tamer character models available via the game’s cash shop. They’re dangled in front of you on the character creation screen, but as far I could tell there was no way to pony up your cash there and then to play as one of these other characters (which are all from the much more popular seasons of the show).

Next up, you pick yourself a Digimon partner. As before, you are shown lots of options, but not many that you can actually pick at this point. It’s all just there to get you prepared for the amount of wallet cracking you’ll have to be doing once you get into the game.

After a short and utterly pointless tutorial, you get sent into the real game, where the supposed “main quest” begins. Or at least that would be the case if the game was even marginally intelligible.

Everything in the game, from the UI to the NPC dialogue has quite obviously just been spat out by some kind of auto-translation software. There isn’t really any story to speak of anyway, so that isn’t a concern, but the biggest problem with the game’s terrible localisation is in trying to make any sense of its many bizarre systems.

I truly cannot fathom how anybody has made any sense whatsoever of how to do anything in this game besides tapping your two attack keys to execute the game’s mindless combat.

YouTube videos did little to enlighten me, and the game’s official website is just as much of a mess of Engrish as the game itself. The only luck I had with figuring out how to hatch a Digimon – surely one of the game’s most essential systems – was a guide on a wiki for one of DMO‘s private servers.

Suffice it to say, all of the game’s systems are based around having extraordinary amounts of luck. Par for the course with this sort of F2P, cash shop-driven grind-em-up, but there’s something to be said for games that at least chuck some development resources behind explaining how their game works in an effort to get you throwing down your hard earned dollar.

Going out on a limb and saying that this player’s Beelzemon won’t have come cheap.

Still, there are evidently people who have taken the time to figure these things out. I can only imagine what inconceivable sums of time and money they have invested to obtain their dream Digimon. I played on one of the less popular servers and even then the game’s main meeting ground was full of players mounted upon fan-favourite Digimon like Omegamon and Beelzemon.

I tried to interact with some of these players but got no response. In fact, nobody I encountered in the game world was ever willing to acknowledge my existence.

Upon checking my inventory however I realised I had been gifted a megaphone item at some point during the game’s early quests. I used it to send a server-wide message: “Hi, I’m a new player, does anybody have any advice?”.

I received three replies. One person told me to switch to the more-populated Omegamon server. Another told me to “stop playing this ****, do your normal life sir”. When I asked this person why they continued to play the game they responded that they just played it to kill time. I wanted to know more about this person and the mindset behind their reason for playing but they didn’t dignify me with any further responses.

A third player was much more useful, teleporting to my location and gifting me a whole bunch of items which I had no idea how to use. They were obviously a high-level player, and clearly in a hurry, so while I didn’t quite receive the socialisation I desired, it was reassuring to know that there were at least some helpful members of the community.

Players can create NPC shops to sell their goods. This makes for a messy main hub.

I was curious to know more about what was compelling people to continue playing this game. People’s social ties were apparently wafer-thin, and the gameplay was awful in every aspect. From poking my nose in on various communities on Discord and YouTube though it’s obvious that people are just playing the game because it’s their only outlet to tame and show off their own Digimon.

From the original Digimon World on Playstation to the multi-platform Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, there are a host of other, quite decent, games out there where fans of the franchise can level up their own partner Digimon, but (in the west at least) DMO is at present the only game that lets you compare and battle your Digimon with other people’s. What a shame it is then that even those players seem to be in agreeance that the game is the very worst kind of janky, predatory, rubbish.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – June 2022

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Rebel Soldier kneeling in front of downed ATAT in Star Wars Galaxies

Picking a quarterly holiday theme in an MMO is pretty simply. Typically you’ll find a Christmas-themed event in Winter, a Halloween/Thanksgiving-themed event in Autumn, and a Valentine/Easter-themed event in Spring.

Summer is a little less obvious. Many other MMOs go for a beach-themed event or perhaps a festival theme, but Star Wars Galaxies embraces the Galactic Civil War which provides the backdrop for the franchise and gives that some time in the limelight.

I guess the closest real-world analogue to this would be the July 4th celebrations, so it stands to reason that the Empire/Remembrance Day celebrations usually take place between June and July.

A handful of servers are running the event this year, but as with the Ewok Festival of Love event they’ve mostly done little more the flipped the switch to activate the event. As such I’m only highlighting the Legends server in this (very short) monthly roundup as they’re providing some unique event content.


Sunrunner II (SWGEmu-based server)

The one server which provided players with a big slice of fresh content this month was Sunrunner II, which celebrated its third anniversary. To mark the occasion they’ve finally released their long-awaited custom planet, Mandalore.

While some of the content that will fill the planet is still in the works, players can now catch a flight to the homeworld of the Mandalorians, where they can begin new quests and check out all of the incredible POIs that the team have hand-crafted.

You can find the patch notes for both the third anniversary and the Mandalore updates here, with the team promising the second half of Mandalore’s content within the coming weeks.

SWG: Legends (Custom NGE rogue server)

As we’ve come to expect from the Legends server, the events team pulled out all the stops to make a big deal out of their version of Empire Day. Sure you can do the usual event dailies (and claim some server-unique rewards), but there were also a whole host of live events running across the period.

A host of factional and holiday-themed items were also given a texture upgrade in the June patch.

Here’s a roundup of every other server which is hosting an Empire Day event in 2022:

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – May 2022

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May: a month which has inexplicably become a big thing for Star Wars fans over the past few years. In the world of Star Wars Galaxies, rogue servers started the month off with a bang, but pretty much fizzled out afterwards. Most servers hosted some kind of May the Fourth celebration, but there wasn’t much to speak of in terms of new content.


SWG: Legends (Custom NGE rogue server)

Released on the very first day of the month, Legends players finally got to check out the Ranching and Farming update, having waited an entire, er, two weeks since it was announced. Yep, this was a spectacularly quick turnaround from reveal to release.

Obviously, this update isn’t going to have the broadest appeal (and the patch notes had little to offer beyond the addition of the new systems), but if you’re the sort of person who suspected they may have liked a proper farming system in Star Wars Galaxies, then you certainly won’t be disappointed by what the Legends team have delivered.


Galaxies‘ crafting is still recognised as being one of the most robust crafting systems not just in the MMORPG genre, but in the entire medium. It’s not really something you can dabble with on the side if you want to do anything more than scratch the surface, and Legends has followed in those footsteps by creating a new system which can quite comfortably be your full-time job in the game if you want it to be.

There are a whole lot of layers to this thing and the community have been having a ball trying to figure out how to grow all the new plants and tame all the wild creatures. A month has passed since the update was released and there is clearly still a long way to go in getting everything pinned down. There’s at least one community spreadsheet in the works now though, so that’ll give you a good idea of how serious things are.

It’s really nothing short of mind-blowing how this thing has been developed by a volunteer team, and it isn’t even as though this is the only thing that’s been in the pipeline, because we already know that the Star Viper update is hitting servers pretty soon. There are, of course, a lot of logistical differences to weigh up, but the fact that Legends are delivering this much content to every kind of player while so many commercial MMOs have been underdelivering recently is really something.

SWG Infinity (SWGEmu based server)

This server had slipped out of my regular checks, but they’ve been doing some solid work recently. At the tail end of April a new update brought in an original Big Game Hunting system, and they’ve also added a Mandalorian themed quest earlier in the year. Infinity has been running since 2017, so if you’re looking for a pre-CU server which has a few years of original content under its belt then now might be a good time to have a look at this one.


ProjectSWG (Custom NGE emulator)

With the leaked source code giving rise to so many NGE era servers, it’s no surprise that the team at ProjectSWG have turned all their attention to creating a CU emulator instead. They’ve drummed up a roadmap of how they will be implementing the major features, and have announced that a public test server will be opened “very soon”.

SWG Restoration III (Custom CU rogue server)

There’s no two ways about it, SWG is a terribly optimized game. It began development two decades ago and you still can’t really run it at maxed out settings even on the most powerful gaming computer. It’s therefore reassuring that the team at Restoration have taken the time to improve things on this front before the server launches in its 1.0 state.

Boasting over 140,000 lines of changed code in their latest update, players should find their play experience a little more stable. This, they claim, will also pave the way for future upgrades “including 64-bit support, DirectX upgrades, a 4K user interface, and more”.


SWG: Beyond (Custom NGE rogue server)

‘Dailies’—repeatable content that can be completed for rewards once every 24 hours—have become standard issue in modern MMOs. It’s a reliable source of endgame content that keeps players checking in each day. It’s easy to be cynical about this kind of hamster wheel content, but there’s also something quite nice about being able to log onto a game after a long day of work, knowing that you can just jump straight into doing something without having to dedicate much thought to it.

Now at least one SWG rogue server has its own version of dailies, with Beyond having launched its own Daily Missions System. There are over 20 quests available, so there’s something for every kind of player to get stuck into if they want to earn some extra credits. There are also additional rewards for completing multiple dailies.

Interview: Loronline on documenting the history of ‘The Old Republic’, balancing MMOs with real life, and 7.0

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For a game which sometimes feels as though it has slipped into the second tier of the MMO landscape, Star Wars: The Old Republic still counts an impressively strong pedigree of content creators among its community. Loronline is one such creator, and after a year of taking a break from his regularly scheduled video content, he has now returned with a multi-part documentary charting the game’s creation and first four years of live service.


SWTOR Unmasked‘ is an epic project which unfolds over almost three hours, covering the game’s class stories, its first two expansions, and the times that the game hit the news. As a SWTOR player since launch, Loronline’s passion is evident throughout the documentary, but he doesn’t shy away from tackling the more controversial aspects of the game.

As someone who didn’t come to SWTOR until much later into the game’s lifespan, I enjoyed hearing Loronline’s first-hand account of playing the game during those early days and was interested in hearing about the creative process behind the documentary. After striking up a conversation on Twitter, Loronline (aka Lawrence) was kind enough to answer a few questions, delving into his changing MMO habits, why he attempted such an ambitious project and his thoughts on SWTOR‘s future.


When did you first start playing SWTOR? What drew you to the game initially and what kept you playing after so many years?

My journey in Star Wars: The Old Republic started a few weeks following the initial release. I was invited to the game by some old friends from college with the aim of starting an online guild. During this period I was a somewhat casual player, with a few toons at level cap (50). After a long break from the game, I returned for the Shadow of Revan expansion. My friends continued to play the game during my break, and upon my return, invited me to join an operation team.

Star Wars: The Old Republic’s endgame content, referred to as raiding, is what truly piqued my interest in the game and has furthermore kept me engaged within the MMORPG industry. I have been raiding on and off for the last half decade, both in Star Wars: The Old Republic and in other similar MMORPGs.

Have you played any other MMOs before or since playing SWTOR?

Alongside SWTOR I would actively play both Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online again with the aim of joining online raid teams to complete each title’s respective endgame content. Wildstar was my main MMO for many years, and unfortunately closed down in late 2018.

Provided by Loronline

Something the industry fails to prepare anyone for is the unfortunate truth that products have a life cycle, even MMORPGs are subject to change and eventual ends. Wildstar’s ending was an incredibly emotional experience for myself, and has helped me better appreciate the amount of work and dedication that goes into sustaining AAA MMORPGs today.

Elder Scrolls Online, was again, a totally different experience all together. The community was incredibly positive and motivating in its own way; with its own sense of identity. ESO helped me grow as a member of the MMO community, and helped me realise how similar yet unique all these different MMORPGs were.

In the past I have also played World of Warcraft, Star Wars Galaxies and Runescape. But this was more to test the waters; I had achieved level caps for various expansions in said MMOs, but I had never managed to find my bearings in the same way that I had for SWTOR, ESO or Wildstar.

How have you seen your gaming habits change over the years? How do you balance playing MMOs with playing other games and enjoying other hobbies?

Finding the time to invest in so many different MMORPGs is difficult, especially when trying to juggle hobbies, work and other elements of my day to day life. Playing through an MMO is in itself very time consuming; whether it be levelling, engaging in group content or simply experiencing the story first hand; it is very easy to amass hours of game time.

Honestly, I try to keep my MMO experience casual. I will on occasion book time into my schedule for raid teams and group content that is dependent on my attendance.

But beyond that single exception I will generally try to play these MMOs at my own leisure (during my free time).

What made you want to focus your YouTube channel on creating SWTOR content?

Early on in my content creation career I found myself becoming very attached to the MMORPG genre, I was particularly enjoying SWTOR, Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online. I initially had plans to become an ESO content creator, and further make ESO the main focus of my YouTube channel—following from my initial playthrough of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Before I finalised on this decision however, The cinematic ‘Sacrifice‘ was released for the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion. The trailer itself breathed new life into SWTOR, and motivated my school friends to continue playing for the expansion, the same few who initially introduced me to SWTOR years before. Following this, I joined my friends for the expansion, and decided to focus my efforts on SWTOR video content.


In the following months, I would meet other content creators such as Vulkk and SWTORCentral’s Sam. Two exceptional creators who would go on to support me in joining the newly established influencer program—thereby making me an official SWTOR content creator.

When did the idea come to you to create a documentary on the history of SWTOR and how did the idea evolve over the time that it was in production?

At first, ‘SWTOR Unmasked’ was a pipe dream, a video I had always wanted to do but never had the time for. I initially tested the waters of this concept with some smaller documentary videos such as: ‘The Event That Changed SWTOR‘ and ‘The True End Game of SWTOR‘ these both being docu-shorts that served as proof of concepts for the ‘Unmasked’ series.

Prior to this however, the documentary’s foundations originated from my desire to learn more about other MMOs, World of Warcraft being one such MMO. I remember scouring the internet for weeks trying to piece together the history of WOW, so that I could understand the controversies and events players were referencing in the game. I could never quite find a video that summarised each of WOW‘s major historical beats; which got me thinking about players new to SWTOR. These being players who perhaps missed SWTOR‘s own history and would benefit from a video that simply contextualised the major events. This led to my writing of the ‘Unmasked’ series.

While doing research for the documentary did you find out anything about the game that you weren’t previously aware of? Similarly, did it make you re-evaluate your feelings about any particular aspect of the game?

When researching a decade worth of content, it naturally becomes very difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. A lot of the information obtained for ‘SWTOR Unmasked’ required the use of digital archiving sites and forums to re-track down lost articles and databases; especially for raid progression and community operated pages.

For ‘Unmasked’ itself I had to track down former community members and influencers to better differentiate the fact from fiction. To my surprise the community is still largely contactable. I found myself in contact with former raiders, theorycrafters and forum posters on their respective platforms. The community’s support of the ‘Unmasked’ project was crucial in helping me find some of the older documents from SWTOR‘s past. These documents enabled me to discuss topics in more depth.

Provided by Loronline

As a raider, I was naturally aware of the community operated progression boards and former world first clears. I watched a few world first runs live back in the day, such as: Zorz’s own Temple of Sacrifice and Ravagers clear. The guild itself was renowned within the raid community and had a lot more attention than most end game guilds at the time.

After talking to a few former world first holders through direct messages, I found myself completely blown away by the kindness of the community. There is unfortunately a stigma around the raid community concerning toxicity and elitism. Whereas a large majority of the mainstream player base seems to believe that most raiders are bad people.

In reality, there are a large number of endgame raiders who are truly some of the kindest people in the community—but these raiders have unfortunately received a bad reputation due to the actions of a select few. Researching for ‘Unmasked’ has better helped me appreciate the niche raid communities within the MMO and have given me the opportunity to meet some truly fantastic people.

We’re seeing more people attempt such large-scale MMO history projects just lately, whether it’s in video or written form. Why do you feel that it’s important, and what tips/advice would you offer somebody who wants to contribute something to documenting the history of the virtual worlds that they play?

The virtual world is becoming more important day by day. The MMO industry simply utilises this fact and gives people a virtual universe to interact with. Like the real world, people provide these virtual worlds with meaning and engagement. MMOs are foundations for communities, and therefor come with their own history. I feel people are creating these large-scale history projects to share their stories with the greater MMO industry, and in extension encourage others to become a part of their universe.

My aim with ‘Unmasked’ was to make Star Wars: The Old Republic more digestible for the masses, and to in turn, encourage people to play the game. All this in the hopes that they too will find meaning and engagement within the MMO industry.

A huge setback for me was finding the time to create ‘Unmasked’. I feel this hurdle will always be present in content creation as one’s own time is finite, and one person can only do so much. My advice therefore is simply to start. Write one word on the document, film one scene, record one line of dialogue—get the ball rolling. Over time, you will be able to contribute more and more to your project until you find yourself finished and then the adventure can start all over again.

The latest expansion, Legacy of the Sith, has had a bumpy launch and the general consensus was that it underwhelmed in pretty much every respect. Where do you see SWTOR in one, five, ten-years’ time?

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Legacy of the Sith is arguably SWTOR‘s most controversial expansion to date. As it stands, I would agree that the expansion has underwhelmed in a lot of respects, and oddly over-delivered in others. As a raider, it has been a real treat to re-experiment with every class and essentially re-learn core progression from the ground up.

For example: I love the changes to the Immortal Juggernaut specialisation: the rework on the tactical item “Grit Teeth” and the newly updated combat proficiencies have completely revalued the Immortal combat style and made gameplay feel familiar yet fresh. Likewise I feel other combat styles such as Medicine Operative have been stripped down to nothing more than a few buttons, and could do with some further patching. There’s always two sides to every coin, and this update is no exception.


Moreover I felt that general expectations for this expansion were very high. Due to some miscommunication leading up to the expansion’s release. The cinematic ‘Disorder‘ was exceptional, and showed Electronic Arts’ eagerness to collaborate with Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Two titanic companies both held in high esteem, now collaborating on an official Star Wars project—this level of marketing hype was bound to set the bar fairly high.

I further felt that the official Bioware live streams gave the expansion very high praise, and made Legacy of the Sith sound larger than a few of the expansions prior. This may still be the case as update 7.0 is said to feature a staggered release schedule. But I feel further clarification from the developers would go a long way, whether this be in the form of a roadmap or possibly a simple message from the producer—anything to reassure the fanbase that content is still planned to release soon!

Do you see the documentary as an end cap on your time as a SWTOR content creator? If so, where do you see your channel headed after the documentary is released?

‘Star Wars: The Old Republic Unmasked’ is my attempt at introducing people to SWTOR and the greater MMO industry. The documentary tries to hit two birds with one stone! I’m aiming to both summarise SWTOR‘s history for new players, and thereby help introduce them to SWTOR, whilst also comparing SWTOR to other MMOs to encourage SWTOR players to further delve deeper into the MMO industry.

In the future I would like to expand my horizons by creating content for other MMOs as well as SWTOR. I would honestly like to create more documentary content for SWTOR and further go on to compare and contrast SWTOR against other various titles within the broader MMO industry.

Finally, if you had to pick one memory from your time playing the game which really sticks out, what would it be?

My favourite memory from SWTOR would have to be my first clear of Terror from Beyond on nightmare difficulty in 2018. The clear itself was with a small raiding guild called Fix the Frames. I reached out to one of the guild admins and asked if I could try out some of the higher tier raid content, as Wildstar had just shut down and I wanted to get back into endgame raiding.

Provided by Loronline

Fortunately the guild was incredibly patient with me, and took me through my first Nightmare Operation in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I would go on to stay in Fix the Frames for the majority of my raiding career until it disbanded in late 2019. During this period I made so many friends and memories within the game and am looking forward to making more with the latest 7.0 expansion!

Thank you very much for having me on mmofolklorist.com, and to everyone reading I hope you enjoy the rest of update 7.0, Legacy of the Sith!

Huge thanks to Lawrence for taking the time to chat with me, and a hearty congratulations on finishing the documentary. As it happens, however, ‘Unmasked’ is only part one of his history of The Old Republic. At the end of the third video in the series, he announced plans to produce a sequel, titled ‘Endured’. If you enjoyed the series and want to make sure ‘Endured’ gets made, be sure to share the video with your friends, and drop Loronline a comment on his videos or social media channels.

10 small ways you can have a big impact on your MMO community

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This week’s earlier post about choosing how much time you spend in MMOs got me thinking about how people with limited hours to spare can do something that still feels meaningful in their favourite virtual world.

Some of these things are fun, while others are just small ways that can make you feel as though you’re helping to keep these spaces flourishing, positive, and community-focused. Some of them may get you recognition and some are simple acts of anonymous goodwill.

Whether you’re strapped for time, suffering burnout from the same old daily grind, or just don’t want to spend 4+ hours a day keeping up with the current meta, here are 10 things you can do that will make a difference in your favourite MMO without lots of stress, commitment, and pressure.

1) Help Newbies

MMO launches are exciting times. Everybody is super social and there’s a shared sense of “What the heck are we doing?!”

Once that initial flood of players wears off though, there can often be a lack of support for new players. These are complex games and the deluge of things to do can often be overwhelming. Alternatively, some games may hold new players’ hands a little too tightly, cornering them off in a slow, segregated place away from the action taking place in the rest of the game. In this case, the lack of player interaction can be a turn-off for someone coming to the game with the hope of getting involved in a community.

If you’ve only got an hour or less to spare, then that’s ample time to drop by one of the game’s low-level areas and check in on some new players. Even if they don’t want help with anything they might simply appreciate a bit of conversation as a break from the grind. And who knows, these sorts of interactions might get them to stay around long enough that they can help you out sometime down the line.

2) Become the [insert niche here] person on your server

A whole bunch of people want to be the dude who inspires fear when they step on the PvP battlefield. You know – the one with the best gear, the rare title above their head, and a guild full of like-minded players at their tail. They’ve each got a playtime that measures in the tens of thousands. And you’ve got 40 minutes each evening while your dinner’s in the oven.

So, you’re probably not going to ever be that person unless your family pulls a Home Alone and a winning lottery ticket falls in your lap. Let’s be honest though, combat is rarely the strong point of this genre so if you want to get your share of the warlord power fantasy there are plenty of other games you can jump into that will scratch this itch without requiring you to abandon all your adult responsibilities.

Thankfully there are plenty of other things you can do to make a name for yourself on your server. You could craft one type of item and be the go-to person for that thing. You could be the guildie who supplies heaps of one or two easy-to-obtain but vital crafting materials. Or you could be the person known for helping out new players. Heck, combine all three and be the person who provides new players with the items and materials they need to get a head start on their quest to endgame.

3) Contribute to a Wiki

At some point in your MMO playtime, you’re going to go looking for a guide on what a specific item does; or how a system works; or how to complete a quest. Chances are you’ll find yourself on that game’s wiki. Even for some of the AAA MMOs out there, these wikis can often be lacking vital information. Articles can be outdated, poorly formatted, or just kind of vague.

This can be an especially great way to contribute to your community if you used to be a heavier player and therefore have a lot of knowledge about the game but have had to scale back your playtime.

4) Turn Up

Group activities and events take a lot of organization. While that sort of dedication may be out of reach for you, it’s important to remember that people host these things because they want people to turn up to them.

Whether in a game or real life we’ve all been at one of those events where it’s kind of a washout – it sucks. If you hear of a server event, or a guildie is trying to rally people to do something and you’re able to make it then let your voice be heard and do your best to be there.

5) Talk to People

Some people play these Massively Multiplayer Online games with the intention of talking to as few people as possible. These days that’s often me – I enjoy the gameplay systems and the ambience of having other ‘real people’ sharing the world with me, but most evenings I just lack the brain power to make conversation with them by the time it comes to logging into a game.

That wasn’t always the case though. Back when I was a lost and lonely teenager, being taken under the wing of a handful of older, relaxed players gave me a bit of a sounding board to go along with the distraction that the game was providing me. Those folks probably didn’t know it, but they really helped me out during those awkward years. You never know what kind of an impact you could have on somebody you would otherwise sprint straight past.


6) Blog

Virtual world blogging used to be a much bigger thing when there was still a novelty to playing online games. These days there aren’t quite so many single-game blogs out there, but the few that are around for each game still give other players and people who might be interested in the game a window into what life is like in that little corner of the online world.

News and opinion blogs (a bit like this one) are generally more prevalent these days, but I’d sure like to see a few more journal-type MMO blogs. One of my favourite examples is The True Story of Rodd & Vroflus, which is now archived on the SWGEmu forums.

Admittedly this one can end up being a little more time-consuming, but setting up the blog itself is a pretty effortless affair with either WordPress or Blogger.

7) Create an In-Game Community Space

This one is kind of dependent on the game you play, but pretty much any MMO with player housing can be used to do more than display your trophies. Check out these houses in New World for example. The game isn’t winning any prizes for its robust player housing systems, but savvy decorators have still found ways to build amazing community spaces such as inns, cafes, libraries, and prayer rooms.

8) Gift, Don’t Sell

You may not be able to contribute to your guild’s nightly dungeon runs, but no matter what content you’re doing, you’re likely to end up with an inventory full of junk by the end of your play session. Sure it’s easier to just sell it to an NPC merchant, but chances are someone in your guild could put that little stack of materials you’ve gathered along your way to good use. If you’re not going to miss the cash you’ll get for selling it, think instead about dropping it in your guild bank, or shout out in your guild chat or Discord to see if anybody needs it.

Those small stacks add up and you can quickly find yourself with a reputation as a helpful member of your guild this way.

9) Report Spam/Hate Speech

OK, so this one in isn’t any fun at all. Most games make it pretty easy to add a player to your ignore list, but usually you have to jump through one or two more hoops to report a player who’s making a nuisance of themselves. Bringing the deviant to the attention of a CSR means they’ll be dealt with sooner rather than later.

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

10) It All Adds Up

You’ve chosen to play game X because there are things in it that interest you. You’ve accepted that you might not be the best PvP’er on the server, but you enjoy it. So, do it.

Heck, even if you’re the absolute worst then at least it will make the person who’s only slightly better than you feel a little happier.

The smallest amount of crafting materials, guild-ranking points, or DPS can make the difference in the grand scheme of things. Ignore the vocal minority of hArDcOrE gAmErZ and play the game how you want to play it and chances are you’re going to make your MMO community a much more inviting place than that other guy.

What specific things do you do in your game that you feel have a high impact/effort ratio? Let me know in the comments!

Thoughts on MMO developers saying that they want to relieve the pressure to play

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It’s no big secret that in our present media-soaked landscape everybody has a backlist that stretches to the moon and nobody has anywhere near enough free hours in the day to ever get on top of it all. It makes sense then that MMO developers are shifting their messaging away from telling potential players that their game will be your one and only forever home, to telling them that it’s fine to go and check out other games.

Final Fantasy XIV‘s producer/director, Naoki Yoshida, has been vocal about this in the past, while Guild Wars 2’s design mantra has always been about “respecting your time”. This week Greg Street joined the chorus by explaining in a multi-tweet thread that the upcoming Riot MMO is being designed with the philosophy that “We don’t want to be the only game you will ever play”.

For me, the key tweet in the thread is this one:

Sounds great for pretty much everyone right?

But then again isn’t this pretty much true of any MMO?

Certainly, I think you could say that about how modern MMO content is being developed (and by modern here I’m talking about pretty much anything post-World of Warcraft). Given the amount of worldbuilding which Riot has been doing in the Runeterra-verse, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the upcoming MMO will be heavily story-focused. That’s the case with all the other major (western) MMOs that Riot’s game is going to be vying for your time and money with, and I can’t think of an instance where those games don’t fit with what Street is saying.

The story content in these games is almost always completely solo-able, and if there are mandatory dungeons as part of the main storyline, group finder tools take out a lot of the stress and tedium of having to rally together a group to chew through it and continue with the story. Rarely will you find yourself truly challenged in such a dungeon – their purpose being to remind players of the multiplayer aspect of the game they’re playing rather than to provide a genuine test of group coordination.

So if you’re the kind of person that simply wants to be on top of the latest storyline developments in a given MMO, there’s no particular difficulty or pressure there, provided you have 200 or so hours to spare.

What Street, Yoshida, and the players who espouse the sentiment that they don’t want MMOs to feel “artificially increased” are really talking about though is endgame content. The endless grind to have the best gear, the highest rank, and the phattest lewt. Back in ye olde days when the genre was new, this was a novelty, and the idea that being able to play in a shared virtual world with endless ways to progress your character sounded like the zenith of escapist entertainment.

These days the term “MMO” is something of a dirty word in games PR, and it’s mainly because of the negative views that players have of the ubiquitous endgame content that all of these games in the genre seemingly share (that and the association with egregious monetization practices and, more recently, blockchain nonsense). Places like Reddit are awash with anecdotes from people who wasted thousands of hours of their lives over years on that one game before the developers went and ruined/closed it. Oh, they had fun at the time they will admit, but in hindsight, they realise it wasn’t worth the time they lost.

Fair enough, but there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. MMOs can still be fun, and you can still have fun playing MMOs without getting sucked into the pressures of the endgame.

I’m going to preface this next point by saying that addiction is real, and if you know that you’re the kind of person who will inevitably get addicted to a game that does everything it can to keep you playing to the point where it can become destructive to your out-of-game life then you should just stay away from these sorts of games altogether and if necessary seek advice from a specialist.

Assuming that isn’t the case however it is really up to you, the player, to decide what you want to do as you continue (or not) playing the game beyond the completion of the main storyline. If you decide to go all-in and find yourself joining a guild which requires a certain level of commitment, then remember that you have the agency to step back if you decide the game isn’t a high priority for you anymore. If you consider those people friends but they berate you for wanting to take some time out then maybe consider that they’re well, not friends.

Otherwise, you can just focus on one of the game’s systems, or even one small part of one of those systems. If you like crafting then maybe you can focus on just crafting potions to give to lower-level players in your guild – still incredibly useful, but without requiring the time needed to seek out rarer materials for high-end potions. Perhaps, rather than grinding for weeks to get that decoration for your grand museum of rarities, you can use easier-to-obtain objects to decorate a cosy spot for you and your friends to hang out. If you’re the sort of person that relishes having acclaim among your fellow players then let me tell you, either of those things will make you a considerably more interesting, memorable person than just being another person who has ground out every achievement, rank, and hard-mode dungeon in the game.

Those sorts of systems however are always going to be there – and rightly so. Some people do still want that challenge, those ultra-long-term goals, that content that requires a big group of inhumanely well-coordinated people. So long as that content isn’t blocking some other essential story or system from players then it’s hard to argue against its existence outside of it maybe being a drain on the developer’s time when they could be focusing on other content.

And yes, rightly or wrongly, things like log-in rewards are probably here to stay. But ask yourself, do you truly need that hot-rod flames weapon skin? Is anybody going to think any less of you if you don’t have the achievement to say you logged in every day for a year?

Like most MMO players, I’ve done my stint as an 8-hour-a-day guild workhorse keeping on top of every endgame system going, and it’s safe to say I have no desire to go back. I still enjoy MMOs, but I just come at them with a different mindset. I get my kicks playing through quests, hitting the level cap, and getting a good aesthetic going for my character. I like to establish my little corner of the world with a house if possible and then I’m happy to just poke my head in now and again to check out new updates, or to soak in the game’s social hotspots and general ambience.

By all accounts that’s still a big, often multi-year (decade?) commitment, and yes, I could be doing something more “productive” like clearing through other books, films, games etc in my backlog, but ultimately this stuff is all just ways of using your free time, and there are always going to be new things added to the backlog so how “productive” is such a thing anyway?

There’s no harm in the point that Street and Yoshida are trying to make. It’s absolutely a positive thing for devs to be reminding their players that you’re not obligated to give them your time, or by extension, your money. The individual has absolute agency to play for as long as they want, and however they want, within the virtual worlds that they’ve designed. The thing worth realising is that we’ve kind of had that all along no matter the game we play.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – April 2022

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After last year’s Bespin expansion release, the team over at SWG: Legends finally revealed their next major content drop this month. Players had been expecting the release of either Felucia or the second part of the Jedi Themepark to be this year’s banner release, and while we know that both of those are still in active development, what was announced instead came as a very welcome surprise.

SWG: Legends (Custom NGE rogue server)


That’s right, ranching and farming are brand new systems being added to the SWG: Legends server. The concept of having some kind of player gardening profession or subsystem had been thrown around several times throughout the live game’s development, but it was always one of those things which were pushed aside to make way for something a little flashier.

Well, that’s the great thing about these fan-operated servers. Without the necessity of having to demonstrate a drive to bring in a constant stream of fresh players, the developers can focus on adding stuff to the game which keeps the existing playerbase wanting to keep logging in.

New spaces and opportunities for decorating are always welcomed by the SWG community, but the systems coming in the ranching and farming update won’t be purely superficial. Although details are pretty sparse at the moment, the trailer revealed that player gardens will tie into returning and revamped creature taming and spice crafting systems (Smugglers rejoice!), as well as offering new ways of gathering and managing crafting resources.

There’s no firm release date for all this but it doesn’t seem there will be a long wait before it goes live, with “the first half of 2022” being the expected release window according to the team’s quarterly Community Transmission which was released this month.

That Transmission also gave us an insight into more exciting stuff coming to the server throughout the year, with details on the Star Viper update (last teased back in September 2021) being further fleshed out with a planned May release. This appears to be a very space-centric content drop with ties to the Shadows of the Empire multimedia project from back in the mid-nineties (which makes sense seeing how those stories took place directly after the events that took place on Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back). New wearables and decorations were also teased as rewards, so it certainly seems that the team at Legends has something in store for every kind of player in the next month or two.

An Empire in Flames (SWGEmu-based server)


The Empire in Flames server had some teasing of their own to do this month as the team showed off some early look gifs at their visual overhaul for jetpacks. SWG‘s jetpacks have always been pretty underwhelming (especially considering how much effort they take to obtain), and thanks to The Mandalorian they’re more popular than ever amongst Star Wars fans. It will be interesting then to see how these changes look and feel once they’re ready to hit the server.

Right now however, players can jump in to check out the long-awaited Great Fashion Disaster update. Anybody who has ever played a crafting profession in Star Wars Galaxies will be fully aware of just how random and limited the game’s original colour palettes were. That isn’t the case on Empire in Flames anymore though as “All wearables (and recolorable furniture) have been moved to a unified color palette”.

It’s another major step forward for the server as they continue to offer the most diverse character customization around. Now’s a great time to jump in as they’ve got a whole host of events planned through the first week of May in celebration of their fifth anniversary.

SWG Restoration III (Custom CU rogue server)

The team at Restoration III gave a glimpse into how the server will play out when its 1.0 patch hits later this year by explaining both how its Jedi system will work, and what canon the server will be adhering to in its story content.

How playable Jedi should be handled has been one of the major bones of contention since the game was in its earliest days of development. It changed numerous times throughout SWG‘s lifetime, and rogue servers have followed in this tradition by each offering their own unique ways of unlocking the Force-wielding alpha class.

Restoration III is aiming to evoke a cinematic sensibility, with players having to endure a lengthy six-part series of events to unlock the profession. The key element in all of this is what they’re calling The Inciting Incident, a randomised event that will challenge players in some personal fashion in the ultimate discovery of their latent Force powers. It sounds genuinely exciting and not too unlike what Raph Koster had wanted to do way back when he was designing the original Jedi unlock system.

A second, much shorter developer diary entry explained that the server would be adding content that occurs according to the events in the pre-Disney takeover Legends continuity.

SWG: Prophecy (Custom NGE rogue server)

If you’ve been wanting to check out the custom content that SWG Expanded has been creating for anybody to use on their servers then head on over to the Prophecy server, which has just implemented the Isolation of the Sands questline in their 5.0 update.

SWG: Beyond (Custom NGE rogue server)

Congratulations to the Beyond server, which has been live for three years as of April. Alongside their anniversary event, players can check out a host of changes to the server’s crafting system.