SWGEmu is tough as bantha hide but uniquely rewarding


Ten minutes after loading my new character into Mos Eisley I already felt like quitting out of SWGEmu.

Why did I even decide to start playing this game again anyway? I’ve spent quite literally thousands of hours playing Star Wars Galaxies since I first logged in back in 2006 and probably twice as many hours spent thinking, researching, and writing about the game.

Surely there’s nothing left that it can offer me. And yet, here I am. A new Zabrak in the same old town. That town of course being Mos Eisley.

It’s been a hot minute since I last played SWG with any regularity. I put a couple of hundred hours into Legends over the past few years, and I’ve hopped into a few of the game’s other rogue servers, but I just hadn’t felt compelled to play it since the start of 2023. New year, new games or something like that.

Between a rather meandering third season of The Mandalorian, the lingering brilliance of Andor, and the recent hype of Celebration London however I’ve felt the old itch return.

I’m long overdue for a new entry in my supposed-to-be monthly Galactic Flyby column and there’s no shortage of servers out there offering a host of exciting new and original features that I’ve been wanting to check out first-hand. The premise of the column however is to do a sweeping visit of the server – ten or so hours of exploring the state of the server and its community.

I had the urge to do more than just file a report though. I wanted that feeling of developing a character and putting down some roots in the galaxy. I was also feeling compelled to correct something of a dark, shameful secret that I’d been carrying around these past few years. The secret: I’ve never really played pre-CU era Star Wars Galaxies.

That of course isn’t strictly true. I’ve spent a fair number of hours on SWGEmu before, as well as several other not-NGE servers. I’ve just never stuck it out.

Just as pre-CU players struggled to adapt to the NGE, I’ve just never really been able to gel with the original version of the game. Yes, I’m aware that the circumstances are wildly different, but the essential idea remains: it’s jarring to play a game that looks the same as the one you’ve spent hundreds of hours in but plays entirely differently.

I love the NGE version of SWG, but I can certainly appreciate that it was the wrong direction for the game to take and I’m almost always against the idea of post-launch MMO overhauls.

The actual idea of the pre-CU version of Galaxies has always appealed to me. I can see how it would offer a lot of corrections to some of the things that had always bugged me about the NGE era of the game.

Even the pre-CU’s biggest evangelists would admit to the game being far from perfect at a technical level however, and it was those faults which I would bang up against every time I tried SWGEmu and its kin.

And that’s where I found myself once again, having commenced my latest romp through the galaxy.

I had a character I was happy with – a relatively benevolent-looking Zabrak – I’d set up my keymap to resemble NGE-era movement as closely as possible, and naturally I’d chosen Mos Eisley as the starting point of my journey.

One of the things that’s always intrigued me about pre-CU Star Wars Galaxies is the way it almost forces you into a kind of soft roleplay. This is a boon to me as I’m utterly bereft of any innate creativity. I could never sit and figure out an interesting backstory for my character, or even decide on any basic motivations or personality traits for them. Still, as a big fan of the Star Wars lore, I want to feel as immersed as possible.

While games like Star Wars: The Old Republic and well, almost every other post-World of Warcraft MMO will gift your character an established role within the world, pre-NGE SWG‘s sandbox means that every action you take in the game is entirely of your own volition. In turn, these actions begin to create and define your character’s story right from the moment you’re thrust into its harsh, oftentimes impenetrable worlds.

The problem is, my story so far was one of getting killed. A lot. By very small things.

With no quest to carry me forward my first thought upon landing on Tatooine was to find something to hack at with the starter knife that I was gifted as a result of choosing to start my adventure as a Scout.

So I headed to the outskirts of town. Traditionally a surefire bet of finding some easy prey. Turns out Luke had to bullseye Womp Rats in his T-16 because those little rats are surprisingly vicious mano-e-mano.

After a brief trip to the cloner I headed out again. Only to be sent immediately back after gaining the attention – from a considerable distance nonetheless – of a pack of vicious lizards.

I closed the game and spent that night wondering whether I should bother logging back in the next day.

I woke up renewed and decided to jump back in. Maybe some new scenery would be the answer. Players can choose to set down on Tatooine, Naboo, or Corellia in the pre-CU so the population is a little more dispersed than it is on NGE servers. Naboo seemed like the most friendly of these planets so I hopped a flight to Theed and once again headed to the outskirts of the city to find something easy to kill.

Cue beat down by butterfly.

I logged out again.

The thing is, that gameplay session I just described sounds short, but in reality, it was probably about 30 minutes of precious gaming time down the drain. Nothing in pre-CU Galaxies is quick. Players move across the mountainous terrain like cold treacle off a spoon, there’s always a wait for the public transportation systems, and combat with even the most diminutive foe is a laughably slow affair of falling over, picking yourself up one limb at a time and hoping to get off one sad punch before you’re back on your butt.

I knew that if I logged in again I’d need to shift my mindset. I needed to slow down. I needed to give myself some clear objectives. I needed to ask for help.

When you need to find help in the Star Wars universe there’s one place you can rely on – the cantina. Thankfully, even though it was very early in the morning and I was in the slightly less populated city of Theed, I still managed to find an Entertainer, a Medic, and a few other stragglers in the entryway to the cantina.

I asked for some buffs and apologised profusely that I didn’t yet have any credits to tip them. With longer HAM bars (Health, Action, Mind), I ventured back out to take revenge on the butterflies. I managed to defeat one only to be swarmed by more. I left the cloning centre and headed back to the cantina with my proverbial tail between my legs.

“Back again?” remarked the Medic. I explained that I couldn’t find anything to kill, to which I was told to go pick up a quest from the Mission Terminal. I cringed as I remembered that they existed at all.

I selected a couple of missions and headed out to the nests. The enemies are mercifully scaled to something manageable. There’s still a considerable level of threat and it’s all obscenely slow, but with a little bit of tactical MOB pulling and a lot of patience, I’m able to finally make a smidgen of progress on this character.

I’m aware that there are optimal ways of doing all this stuff. Certain classes suited to earning more credits, taking down enemies faster etc, but I don’t want to just min-max my way to the endgame. I want to have an adventure – to play the game somewhat in the manner that it was intended to be played.

Those first failed attempts to get myself into SWGEmu made me seriously wonder whether to just write the game off as a relic of the past. Sure it’s great that SWGEmu exists, but perhaps its only purpose is to serve as a museum piece. An act of community-led game preservation.

Despite the CU and NGE’s obvious shortcomings, there’s a reason why Star Wars Galaxies underwent such a massive overhaul. It’s always been considered unintuitive, and let’s be honest here, a game where you’re struggling to kill a butterfly doesn’t seem like the most appealing Star Wars fantasy.

All of those things have been compounded over the past two decades, making SWG feel more arcane than ever. Yet, when I finally scrounged together enough credits to buy myself some cheap armour pieces after a few hours of play I felt a sense of satisfaction that’s rare in modern MMOs. I wasn’t gifted these new upgrades, I had earned them.

SWGEmu‘s Finalizer server may be hard to recommend to somebody looking for a bit of cheap fun, but there’s still a whole lot that can be learned and admired about its experimental game design.

Star Wars Galaxies Community Discord Server Listings


These days it’s pretty much a given that you have to be on Discord if you want to do group content in an online game. Sure it’s great as a replacement for Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, but it’s also a convenient way of finding new communities with shared interests.

Every Star Wars Galaxies rogue server has its own official Discord server, but there are also a host of other servers dedicated specifically to one faction, player city, or playstyle. Unfortunately, they’re not always easy to find.

In order to help players connect with new communities I’ve gathered all currently active SWG Discord servers into one list. All these servers are open and willing to helping new players and veterans alike so don’t be afraid to jump in!

Official Rogue Server Discords

An Empire in Flames
Dark Rebellion
New Beginnings
Rogue One
Sentinels Republic
Tarkins Revenge

Server Specific Discords


Central City: An open-roleplay community located on Tatooine.

EU Star Wars Legends Roleplayers United: An EU time zone-specific roleplaying Discord.

Imperial PvP: A server for discussion of PvP amongst members of the Empire.

Legends LFG 2.0: A server for finding groups to do all kinds of content, including Heroics, PvP, and space.

Mos Vanta Community Discord: An open-roleplay community located on Tatooine.

Pirates Cove SWG: A Rebel RP Guild and City on Dantooine.

Space RP: A server for pilot and shipwright roleplayers.

SWG:L Battlefields: Provides voice chat channels for players competing in Battlefields.

SWGLegends RP: Multi-faction roleplaying community Discord. Discuss and keep track of ongoing storylines, find guilds and other roleplayers, and view upcoming events.

SWG Legends RP – Empire and New Westport: A roleplaying Discord for Imperials and citizens of the Imperial roleplaying city of New Westport on Corellia.

SWG The Rebellion: A server for discussion of PvP amongst members of the Rebel Alliance.

The Black Flag: Multi-faction Pilot Discord. Channels for general chat, piloting/shipwright help, and ship loadout discussion.


SWG Role-Playing: Multi-faction roleplaying community Discord. Discuss and keep track of ongoing storylines, find guilds and other roleplayers, and view upcoming events.

Modding and Server Development

Expanded: Creating custom content that other public and private servers can implement for their own use.

MTG: Official Discord of Mod The Galaxy. Discuss server development and mods for the SWGEmu codebase.

Sniper_Fox22’s SWG Space Corner: Discord community created by Sniper_Fox22. Discussion, downloads, and previews of mods for SWGLegends and other SWG Source servers.

SWG Source: Discussion of the SWG source code and its continued development.

TCGEmu: In-development emulator of the Star Wars Galaxies: Trading Card Game


SWGWiki: Official Discord of the SWGWiki. Discuss article edits and design changes to the wiki.

SWGAide: Official Discord of SWGAide – a tool for tracking each server’s resources and crafting schematic requirements. As the information of the site relies on player contributions this Discord allows volunteers and users alike to share information, request help, and report bugs.

Content Creators

Adventure Game Hotspot: Public Discord of YouTuber Adventure Game Hotspot, who frequently creates videos about Star Wars Galaxies and its various rogue servers.

Mobyus1: Public Discord of YouTuber Mobyus1, who has created many videos about SWGEmu. There is a SWGEmu channel as well as channels for general Star Wars, gaming, and tabletop RPG discussion.

Missed a server? Drop me a message and I’ll add it to the list.

Interview: Thomas Cole Simmonds is creating real-life photographs of Star Wars Galaxies


Who doesn’t love taking photos of their characters or favourite locations in an MMO?

Yet, like all digital photography, there’s something ephemeral about these snapshots. I’ve lost hard drives full of screenshots in the past, and greater numbers of shots have been lost forever when online photo-hosting sites have bitten the dust. Every dead link to Photobucket or ImageShack represents a little bit of gaming history lost to the digital aether.

It’s still fairly common to print off physical copies of personal photos to safeguard somewhat against the loss of a digital photo, but who has ever printed copies of their MMO screenshots? I’d wager very few.

Provided by Thomas Cole Simmonds

The art of virtual photography isn’t a new thing, but when I read Thomas Cole Simmonds’ blog post ‘A JOURNEY INTO THE VIRTUAL WORLD #1‘, I was intrigued by his unique take on the form (not least because he was taking shots of my favourite MMO).

Sure, his landscape photography is pleasantly captured and edited, but Simmonds doesn’t stop after he’s hit PrtScn, or Save As after a bit of tinkering in Photoshop. Instead, he picks up his trusty Fuji GX680 and takes a snapshot of the screen.

Shooting on instant film, Simmonds is left with a batch of beautiful, oddly nostalgic prints of a galaxy far, far away. He calls the process [VR]ography.

This unique way of preserving MMO memories made me want to know more about the photographer’s own experiences with the genre so I reached out to ask a few questions.

Can you give me an overview of your time in Star Wars Galaxies? What type of character did you play? Do you have any specific memories which stand out?

I first played the game sometime during the Pre-CU phase, and in short order, I realised how fantastic it was. I had never played a game with such scope, and it was a terrible frustration when I could no longer afford to play. Getting a tenner a month together was rather a challenge back then and it took a while before I could revisit the far away galaxy.

By the time I finally got back the game had just undergone the Combat Upgrade. Took a bit of getting used to – but that was my favourite time. My character shifted about profession-wise (I was hungry for badges), but I spent most of the time as a combat medic and commando. Eventually, after some thrifty trading and loot hunting, I got into collecting as many of the game’s rare items as possible and spent an inordinate amount of time decorating – eventually making a museum. The housing system and the creativity it allowed were one of the highlights of the game for me.

Provided by Thomas Cole Simmonds

Other than this, it was the community that kept me in the game for so long. After re-joining the game, I played right up until the end. Seeing ‘Connection to SWG lost!’ come up for the last time was quite sad and marked an end of an era for me in my gaming. Nothing quite scratched that itch.

I’m so thankful for the great people who have kept the game alive in so many forms – SWGEmu and Legends specifically. I do sorely miss logging in to my old characters on a Saturday morning and hearing Nym’s theme playing as I sifted through vendor emails and caught up with guildmates. *Insert forlorn sigh*

What other games do you enjoy? Do you, or have you, played any other MMOs?

I have tried a few other MMOs over the years: EVE, WOW, TOR, Guild Wars, Path of Exile, and Vanguard; they were all enjoyable to a certain extent, but none of them got under my skin like Galaxies did.

Provided by Thomas Cole Simmonds

Overall, I’ve always been more into single-player games. Tomb Raider, Knights of the Old Republic, and Deus Ex, Elder Scrolls, Baldur’s Gate, GTA, Divinity – these are some of my favourites. Lately, I’ve been enamoured by Vampire Survivors and Hitman 3. I’m keeping my eye on Galaxies of Eden for the future though, as it looks to be replicating many of the systems of SWG.

What are the most frequent obstacles you face in trying to get that ‘one perfect shot’ in your virtual photography? Do you set out with an idea of the image you want to capture already in your mind, or just play the game and let the images reveal themselves to you?

Most of the time, it is a broad prompt – but it’s usually something like landscape, memory, sense of place. As for the process of capturing the image, it’s both really. Sometimes a game might need modding, or some of the assets might need isolating within the engine.

This depends, but often it’s just as simple as exploring the game space as I would within the real world, photographing scenes that catch my eye. The real trick as with most of my work is rephotographing the images using analogue camera equipment and film – all part of the fun though!

Provided by Thomas Cole Simmonds

How do you feel about in-game photography modes, such as the GPose system in Final Fantasy XIV? Is this something you’d use if it existed in SWG or do you prefer the holistic style of imagery that comes from taking a regular screenshot?

I’ve not used [GPose], but overall, I think the addition of photo modes in games is fantastic – and very well implemented in some games. Mad Max, The Witcher 3, and GTA V all have great options in this regard. My favourite ways of photographing within games have been the Sandbox 2 engine that came with Crysis, and the Arma 3 mission editor.

Having said that, simply removing the UI can yield excellent results, and of course, forces you to be more creative when attempting to get the shot you need. Nothing quite beats a simple /noclip command from a 90s or early 00s PC game though. Would be great if SWG had a more robust system for taking screenshots – I’m yet to experiment with the God Client though, this could perhaps help with capturing more interesting angles… maybe I’ll try one day!

Where do you see your virtual photography journey headed next? Any specific games you want to capture? How about selling some of your prints? I could certainly imagine there’s a market for people wanting to display a framed snapshot of their favourite virtual spots.

It’s something I haven’t engaged with properly for some time – after my university projects came to an end I felt as though I had exhausted my creativity with it. However, since starting my Substack blog and reviewing my old work again, my desire to revisit the process has been rekindled.

Provided by Thomas Cole Simmonds

I’m not sure what games I’ll mine for content next. I mentioned that the photo mode for Mad Max was great, and I did start gathering some images from that game but never got around to creating a cohesive project, maybe I’ll start there.

I’m not sure what the copyright issues for selling prints of in-game scenes would be, but I wouldn’t be against the idea, I am certainly attached to the images I took within SWG, and I definitely feel that screenshots of a game, especially one that you spent a lot of time in socially, can be just as important as real-world photographs. I do have a print shop, but it’s not game related, perhaps I should blend the two!

A massive thank you to Tom for taking the time to chat with me. You can keep track of his future blog entries and forays into virtual photography at TypedByTom on Substack, and you can also check out his portfolio here.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – March 2023


Unfortunately, March was another month where not a huge amount has been happening in the world of Star Wars Galaxies content development. I’m not going to complain of course, because these are volunteer projects after all, and I appreciate that many of the servers out there are cooking up additions which are pushing the game in extreme and unexpected ways.

As usual, in this month’s roundup, I’ll be running over all the past month’s news from the world of SWG, but as there are no big splashy stories to cover I thought I’d take a moment to shed some light on another important aspect of the game’s continued success.

Events have always been the backbone of what makes Star Wars Galaxies special. Back on the live servers Pex (aka Jason Ryan) and the events team helped hundreds of player events come to life every month across SWG‘s 25 servers, and later on, the Storyteller and Chronicle Master systems handed players the controls to do it themselves.

Whether it was a seasonal celebration, a roleplaying storyline being told, or just a good ol’ fashioned cantina crawl, SWG‘s events were arguably what held the community together through the long months of content droughts and controversial changes.

That legacy continues on the Star Wars Galaxies rogue servers and it’s something that richly deserves to be celebrated. As such I’ve highlighted some of the events which servers hosted throughout the past month, as well as looked ahead to those which have been announced for the near future.

An Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

The Empire in Flames server adds to its extensive repertoire of immersion building quality of life features with a new ability to activate and deactivate craftable schematics. When activated, a hologram of the craftable item will display above the schematic, making this not just a useful change in terms of actually being able to see what the item is you’ll be creating, but as a decoration for home and shop owners.

The team also reminded players that their annual Egg Hunt is just around the corner, with the Sixth Anniversary Celebration to follow in May. This will involve “showcasing a week of player-driven events in addition to the server-wide Riddle Hunt” – no doubt there will be some fun rewards for players to seek out in both events as well.

For a completely unique event offering, EiF staff member Mina hosts a weekly Pazaak Tournament at The Idiot’s Array in Eventide Trading Outpost on Dantooine (/way -3690 2665). Each week will set you back 50k credits to enter, with the victor taking home the pot. Players are encouraged to attend in character, with those not wanting to partake in the games welcome to enjoy the atmosphere and ambient roleplay.

Beyond (NGE)

The Beyond server has its own regular weekly event – Friday Night Fights. This PvP event rallies players to the battlefield as they compete in a GCW activity suitable to the number of players who attend. This may be classic SWG content such as Restuss and Battlefields, or it may be Beyond exclusive content such as Hoth Ball (think SWTOR‘s football-inspired Huttball but on Hoth), or the Battle for Theed Palace invasion event.

Other regularly held events similarly work to gather players together to create group content, such as Beyond‘s Legendary World Bosses, and endgame quests such as those found on Mustafar and in the Quarantine Zone. A recent player event gathered players together for a factional Conflict in Kashyyyk Space. Only player-crafted ship parts were permitted for use in this event, and those who took part earned an exclusive painting to hang in their homes in remembrance of the battle.

It’s not all war over on Beyond though. In a more lighthearted diversion, the Where’s Wampa event had the community combing the galaxy to find the hidden beast and earn the title of Wampa Stompa.

Dark Rebellion (D20)

Being a roleplay server, the entire gameplay experience of Dark Rebellion is, in a sense, one big player event. The server’s alternate timeline – one in which the Empire defeated the Rebellion at Endor – gives players and dungeon masters alike the ability to tell fresh stories with grand consequences.

Although I’ve yet to jump onto the server myself I tried to do a bit of digging into what has been happening in the course of Dark Rebellion‘s first year of operation. Piecing together story fragments from the forums and Discord I saw mentions of Rebel splinter groups and an ongoing bout of trouble between a faction of Mandalorians and the Imperial occupying forces on Tatooine. There were also plenty of deep-cut references to Legends Star Wars stories such as the Zann Consortium from the 2006 RTS Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption.

Looking something like the unholy love child of Mustafar and Dathomir, the planet of Sarapin is one of many new locations teased this month on Dark Rebellion’s Discord server.

This server would always rely on finding at minimum a core group of players who would embrace its unique gameplay offerings. Thankfully that seems to have happened. With lead server developer Borrie BoBaka hard at work building more locations for those players to enjoy it’ll be interesting to see how Dark Rebellion‘s storyline plays out in the years to come.

Evolve (Hybrid NGE)

A new version of the expertise UI was teased on Evolve’s Discord recently. Is it just me or is it a little weird to see just about every era of SWG’s class UIs merged into one?

SWG‘s newest rogue server pushed out four patches in March, the most significant being Patch 8: Class Revamp. Refining the server’s hybrid class system, Patch 8 attempts to further distinguish the many expertise trees which players can dip into. Based around the CU’s many class choices, the folks at Evolve have their work cut out trying to make each one play differently.

The other three patches focus on quality of life changes and bug fixes.

Infinity (Pre-CU)

A slew of patches hit the Infinity server in March, with big changes coming to the server’s handling of player cities. After six years of operation there’s need for a little bit of a clean-up, so inactive cities are being prepped for demolition to make way for new ones. There’s also a new sixth city tier – Megalopolis.

The team at Infinity are also prepping for their May 4th celebrations, with applications now open for a faction-based Best Dressed City Contest. The winner is to be announced on the big date with a 135 million credit prize up for grabs.

Legends (NGE)

No new patches from Legends this month, but it’s now confirmed that the second part of the Jedi Theme Park has entered internal testing.

The team hosted another of its Novice Player Events in March, helping to give new players a foot up in the game. These events are held every three months, so if you’ve been waiting to try out the server keep your eyes peeled for the next one as it’s a great opportunity to acquire a few helpful items, and get acquainted with some newbie-friendly guilds.

April 15th sees the return of the Battle at the Bastion event. This is the second time that the event has been held, with teams of five duking it out to take home 250 million credits among other prizes.

The long-held tradition of the Galactic Homeshow also continues on the Legends server. Submissions for April’s Homeshow are now open, and as there’s no theme this month any abode is welcome to enter. The last winner, announced at the start of March, was Pixidale’s fabulously Ewok Festival of Love-themed Bespin apartment – an incredible example of what can be done with these Legends exclusive homes.

Restoration (CU)

Since launching last year the Restoration server has seen a healthy RP community flourish, with weekly events being hosted that welcome new players wanting to drop in on the action. Other events hosted in the past month include a community night, dice tournaments, and Entertainer performances.

March also saw Restoration opening up The Droid Factory 2 instance alongside a sizeable patch of bug fixes.

Sentinel’s Republic (Pre-CU)

One of SWG‘s longest-running rogue servers, Sentinel’s Republic has a thriving regular events schedule. Their community manager Coz organizes a host of different events so that something is going on almost every weekend. In March alone players could take part in an escape house, the Never Underestimate a Droid dungeon crawl, a hitman event, and the Pirates of Pandath city invasion. Each event is story-driven to help immerse player’s in the activities.

Each event hosted on Sentinel’s Republic is accompanied by a graphic including some flavour text and instructions.

April already has an Easter event lined up (Sunday 8th) where players can expect a treasure hunt, a world boss, and ‘bunny chaos’. The very next day the Searching for Gree Tah event will have players scouring the galaxy for Jabba’s runaway musician.

Sunrunner II (Pre-CU)

In some very sad news, server admin Takh announced that the Sunrunner II server is set to close later this month. As one of the SWG rogue server communities’ most cohesive and ambitious visions of what could be accomplished with the game, it’s a shame to see the server meeting such an unceremonious end, but alas, that’s the nature of the beast.

The door isn’t closed completely on a Sunrunner III, but it seems unlikely that it would be coming anytime soon. If you want to check out SRII‘s original planets and content before it vanishes you have until around April 23rd to do so. I certainly recommend it.

In other news…

April Fools shenanigans…

The joy of not creating alts


I’ve never been one to play alts in MMOs. The first character I made in Star Wars Galaxies (the first MMO I really stuck with) was a Human Commando. There wasn’t any particular reason why I chose to play as that other than because I thought it was about as much of a blank slate as you could get in a world where fish-looking dudes could be magic laser sword wielders. I’m not a terribly creative person so I prefer to let my character’s identity evolve as I play.

Having brought him into the world in 2006, I stuck it out with this character until the day Galaxies shuttered in December 2011. Over time the character became an extension of myself – the version of myself as I might have been if I existed in the Star Wars universe. More heroic, more stylish, and certainly more stubbly than my baby-faced teenage self, but a version of myself nonetheless.

The Commando profession never really resonated with me in any particular way, but at the end of the day, it’s only really a set of abilities on a toolbar. Is there really all that much to be derived from that?

Over time I grew into my role as a tank – one which I adopted out of necessity on behalf of my guild needing one. I got the gear and learned what I had to do to for us to win. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it any more or less than I would have if I had been designated the healer or DPS role.

Honestly though I can’t say that with any certainty because I never tried any other combat class in the game.

I did make a Wookiee Entertainer and an Ithorian Trader but these non-combat professions were a completely different kettle of fish. Regardless, I never particularly felt any affinity for either. I simply couldn’t connect with them because as far as I was concerned my Human Commando avatar was me in Star Wars Galaxies. The two were inextricably intertwined.

Playing as one of those two alts made me feel as though I was playing a game, but playing as my Human Commando made me feel as though I was living in another (virtual) world.

When it came to making my character in SWG Legends I stuck to the Commando profession but switched to a Rodian. I still don’t know what I was thinking picking a Human when this game had so many other banger race options.

On the whole, I think having a roster of alts is a given for most players these days. Back in the days of yore one account would often only allow you one character. Only the truly dedicated and the wealthy would stump up for multiple subscriptions so for good or ill you were kind of forced into having that affinity with your avatar.

Nowadays most games will let you play just about as many characters as you could ever want. And don’t get me wrong, I think that’s a good thing because ultimately it gives you the choice to experiment as much as you want, and it ultimately provides better value to the customer.

Alt’o’holics are gonna alt and the fact that this has actually become less monetised in the era of the cash shop is a downright wonder.

It’s still not something that I personally feel compelled to do.

The Old Republic is the exception. As a Star Wars lore nut, I played through all eight of the class stories. Still, it was my first character that I returned to when it came to playing through all the expansions (whose stories change little between each class).

At first, I thought it was because they were a Jedi Knight and thus offered the closest thing to the ‘canon’ experience. On reflection, I think it may have been because I’d actually just made that link between character and game. Even though I preferred other class stories I still wanted to continue seeing the world through his eyes.

In the two games I’ve recently invested a sizeable amount of time in I’ve played a Summoner in Final Fantasy XIV and an Elemental Shaman in World of Warcraft. I bloody hated both classes for most of the levelling process.

I honestly don’t know why I chose either.

But I stuck through it and slowly but surely I learned the ropes and grew to appreciate its nuances. I learned my rotations and learned where I fitted into a group.

I think there’s something to be said for that. I could’ve rerolled a bunch of characters until I found one that I felt comfortable with right off the bat (or I might not have found one at all and just bounced straight off the game).

In that time I might’ve learned a little bit about how the game works. Optimizing my experience for when I finally made the character I was going to stick with. It is, after all, an inevitability in the early game that you delete an item which you later realise you could’ve used, or put your skill points into the wrong tree, or missed a bunch of easy money or XP.

There’s just something a little bit more real about accepting your choices and your mistakes. I think it bonds you to your character and bonds you to the game. There’s a special kind of satisfaction that comes from toughing that out. One that can make you love even a boring old Human Commando.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – February 2023


Who could’ve imagined the current state of Star Wars Galaxies emulation back when the game shut down in 2011? Oh sure we had the early-in-development SWGEmu, which at least gave us the ability to run around our favourite worlds and experience the ambient thrill of being in the Star Wars universe, but from my perspective at least, the prospect of the game once more being truly playable just didn’t seem at all likely.

Alas, here we are in 2023 – where handfuls of content-rich servers have been running for years. New communities have been established, and many players now have characters which are older than the ones they had on the official servers.

As the volunteers who operate these servers look ahead not only to the new year, but the years to come, many have decided it’s time to bolster their hardware.

We saw Beyond upgrade their server hardware in September last year, and now Legends have done so as well. The Empire in Flames server have similarly announced their intentions to purchase new hardware later this year.

With a gameplay experience that’s smoother than ever and such a rich variety of different server types to choose from, it’s becoming harder to argue that in some ways this isn’t the best shape Star Wars Galaxies has ever been in.

Usually I like to arrange the servers in these roundups by listing the most exciting updates first. This month there’s been a whole lot of updates, but no major developments, with many servers instead focusing on events such as the annual Ewok Festival of Love, as well as the aforementioned hardware upgrades. As such, I’ve listed each server alphabetically this month.

Beyond (NGE)

Having kicked off the year by releasing their new player species update – one of their longstanding major goals – the Beyond server gave players a glimpse of what’s coming next in their 2023 roadmap.

The two major highlights are a revamp of their three Legendary World Bosses, which will include new mechanics and new loot, as well as an upgraded version of the Marauder Theme Park with a new Heroic alongside it.

The server also celebrates its fourth anniversary in April, and a major celebration has been announced to honour the occasion. Players can expect new quests, events, and items to mark the occasion, as well as a “Refresh of exclusive Beyond content”.

In the meantime, the server has been bolstering its existing daily event schedule, making it easier than ever to get immersed in the community and experience the exclusive content which the server has to offer.

Dark Rebellion (D20)

A garage on the Dark Rebellion exclusive planet of Sulon, which players may remember from the Jedi Knight game.

The tabletop RPG-inspired SWG server Dark Rebellion celebrated its first anniversary in February. Server admin Borrie BoBaka took to Discord to reflect on the progress made so far in establishing the project’s foundations, as well as look ahead at what’s still to come.

As has been teased previously, server-unique versions of planets such as Corellia, Mandalore, Nal Hutta, and Korriban are on the cards, alongside droids and fleet battles.

Evolve (NGE)

SWG Evolve’s multi-class skill system gloms together the Pre-CU class trees with the NGE’s expertise skills to allow players to create hybrid professions.

New year, new SWG server. Evolve is an NGE-based server which has just entered public testing. Those interested can hop on to sample their hybrid profession system allowing players to pick skills from multiple expertise trees that mimic the skill system from the Pre-CU. You can also choose from an expanded pool of player species.

Legends (NGE)

Following several days of downtime, the Legends server sprung back to life with new hardware and two concurrently running holiday events.

The Ewok Festival of Love returned and as usual, the team are pulling out all the stops to ensure that there’s more to the event than simple dailies. A string of events throughout the duration of the event will culminate at The Heart/Breaker Gala (11 March). Players will decide whether the event is in support of the Ewoks or their oppressors the Blackscale Trandoshans.

Credit: Project Dorkkopia

Over in Mos Entha, The Days of the Aned-Kla festival has returned to the server for the first time since it debuted two years ago. New rewards for this year include a bust of a Togorian Jedi and a decorative tribal drum. To celebrate the server’s seventh anniversary players can also enjoy double XP from March 3rd to March 6th.

Yet another big patch this month delivered a host of quality-of-life changes and bug fixes.

Sentinel’s Republic (Pre-CU)

The long-running Sentinel’s Republic server hit a milestone this month with the release of its Chapter 3 update ‘Rise of the Sentinels‘. The highlight of this patch is its integration of the latest SWGEmu codebase – no mean feat considering the amount of custom content and features that the server offers.

The other major inclusion in this update is the Mandal Motors Theme Park which takes place on the server’s custom planet of Mandalore. Sadly the Theme Park has been taken down for extra testing and fixes, but it shouldn’t be long before it’s back online again.

The server also has an escape house event coming up on Sunday 5th March.

In other news…

In modding…

Credit: sniper_fox22

In the media…

MMO YouTuber MadSeasonShow uploaded a feature-length history of Star Wars Galaxies.

DJ and producer Porter Robinson talked at length about his love of Star Wars Galaxies in an interview with NME. His debut album Words was heavily influenced by the closure of the game.

Tosteto Lightsky – Star Wars Galaxies archivist and staff member at ProjectSWG – uploaded a bunch of episodes of the lost podcast Star Wars Galaxies with Yivvits & MrBubble.

Mourn your favourite game shutting down, but don’t regret playing it


2023 has only just kicked off and a heap of live service titles have already bitten the dust.

Here’s a list of all the titles I could find that have announced that they’re ending development:

  • Marvel’s Avengers
  • Back 4 Blood
  • Rumbleverse
  • Knockout City
  • Apex Legends Mobile
  • The Witcher: Monster Slayer
  • Crimesight
  • Kingshunt
  • AltspaceVR

That’s 9 titles in all, an average of about one shutdown announcement every 4 days since January began. You can also pretty much chuck Halo Infinite into that mix, and I guess The Crew 2, although that one is just making way for the next game in the franchise. We also saw Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier take its last gasp following an announcement made last October.

It’s a bleak state of affairs but in some ways, it makes sense that the year would be frontloaded with these announcements. It’s roadmap season, and if the writing for your game is already on the wall, it makes sense to set player expectations now.

A lot of these games feel like a flash in the pan. Disregarding AltspaceVR, which is more of a virtual platform rather than a game, only Avengers can count its lifespan in years rather than months and having launched in September 2020, it’s hardly been a storied history.

Anybody who lived through the MMORPG boom of the ‘00s will recognise that this was the sad inevitability of the GaaS boom that’s dominated the games industry in the wake of Fortnite’s success. The very fact that this was so obvious probably only hastened the demise of some of these titles.

Did anybody look at the pre-release marketing for Knockout City and think “This is a game which I want to play for years”? Did anybody get excited over thoughts of how Rumbleverse could be expanded across years of content updates?

Don’t be bitter about the loss of your favourite. Treasure the memories you made, and embrace the potential for making new ones in new games.

A couple of console generations ago these games would’ve been released as online multiplayer titles, and the developers and players might have pushed for a map pack or two to expand the game’s relevance for another six months. That type of game doesn’t really exist anymore though, with both players and developers alike idealising the concept of the ‘forever game’.

Obviously, as somebody who runs an MMO blog, it’s a concept that I’m rather fond of too. But that doesn’t mean that I think a game which shuts down is a failure (it might be a financial failure for the studio, but that’s a whole different topic). And you, as a player, should not feel like a failure if you chose to play a game which didn’t live up to the promise of ‘forever game’.

Nobody ever said they regret that summer they spent playing GoldenEye on N64 just because there weren’t any new DLC or season passes. Likewise, we’ve all had fun playing some dumb game which was, by every objective measure, bad.

The key thing is that they were a fun time. If you had fun playing Avengers or Back 4 Blood or Apex Mobile then good for you.

As somebody who waved the banner for Star Wars Galaxies, take it from me: it’s about the journey, not the destination. Treasure the time you spent in the game and just move on. It isn’t worth dwelling on, especially when there are so many other potential favourites on the horizon.

Thankfully many of these games seem to be taking some small measure to keep the proverbial lights on for those still wanting to play. Maintenance mode is increasingly looking like the new normal (Rumbleverse being the outlier here – poor showing from Epic in not keeping the servers going). That’s a great step forward for game preservation, and it’s also reassuring to know that you can still decide to organise a play session with your friends if you want to.

It sucks seeing a game you enjoyed getting the plug pulled. It’s easy to feel bitter about the whole thing, especially when there are so many out there who relish celebrating when a game they don’t like or didn’t ever want to play gets shuttered. Ignore them. And whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about having ‘wasted your time’ playing a ‘dead game’.

Star Wars Galaxies Rogue Server Roundup – January 2023


Following on from the one-two punch of the Galactic Moon Festival and Life Day events which take place at the end of every year, January always feels like a quiet month. Of course, the Ewok Festival of Love event will be spinning out in the next few weeks, but beyond that, there’s plenty of server-specific content being worked on ready to keep players hooked to Star Wars Galaxies throughout 2023.

This month has seen a lot of reflection on the accomplishments of the year that’s passed, and a little bit of excitement building for what is coming down the pike. We’re still mostly in the dark about what some servers have planned, while others are continuing along their roadmaps or building upon larger projects they began last year.

The big question remains to be answered: Will this be the year that SWGEmu finally launches the Suncrusher server? One thing we now know for sure is that serious development has finally begun on implementing space flight, and while this is still doubtless some years away from completion, it’s something that will provide a major boost to pre-CU servers once it enters into public testing.

Here’s this month’s biggest news stories from across the Star Wars Galaxies rogue server-verse.

Beyond (NGE)

In what is a first for NGE-based servers, new player races have been added to the game. New players can pick from one of nine new species options, including Togrutan, Chiss and Nightsisters. Those who already have characters on the server can utilise a Species Respec Voucher for a one-time change to a new species.

Empire in Flames (Pre-CU)

Following on from the success of their Taanab Harvest event at the end of last year, January saw the return of the Boonta Eve Celebration on Empire in Flames. Compete in Skyhopper races, track down or free runaway slaves, and defend against rival gangs to earn rewards from the Hutt clans who have graciously organised the event.

Players partaking in the Boonta Eve Celebration event on Empire in Flames may recognise a couple of Rebels.

Legends (NGE)

Since the release of the City in the Clouds expansion in 2021, the Legends server have been decidedly coy on what they’re working on next. This is a theme which is continued in their latest Community Transmission, which looks back on what’s been happening on the server over the past few months, and shines a spotlight on the community, including the incredible Seed Project.

Replies in their community Q&A section confirm that more space content is on the way and that the long-awaited second part of the Jedi Themepark is still in active development, but other than that we’re mostly in the dark as to what’s next. Last year saw the huge new ranching system shadow drop, so perhaps we might get a similar surprise later this year.

In other news…
Infinity (Pre-CU) pushed 4(!) sizeable updates full of tweaks and bug fixes, including new world bosses and smuggler splicing stations.
ProjectSWG (NGE) recapped the progress they’ve made in emulating the CU over the past year.
Reckoning (Pre-CU) celebrated their eight anniversary.
Restoration (CU) further detailed their unique Jedi system, and released a Bug Bash patch.
Resurgence (NGE) invested in some new server hardware to compensate for a growing playerbase.

MMO Private Servers, Emulators, and Rogue Servers: What’s the Difference?


Playing an MMO in an unofficial capacity has evolved quite a lot in recent years. Way back when, Ultima Online fans set up private shards (or free shards) that would allow them to play custom versions of the game. Sometimes these would be just for themselves and a handful of friends to enjoy, and sometimes they’d see thousands of other players flock to them.

In time many other MMOs both popular and niche would find themselves in a similar position. Oftentimes, this was done to restore a version of the game that players preferred over the live game, where updates may have changed certain aspects of the experience. Just as popular these days however are servers which revive MMOs that have been shut down altogether.

There are no firmly defined ways to use the terms commonly associated with these different methods of playing MMOs, and admittedly I’m just as guilty of using them interchangeably here on this site. That’s something I’d like to rectify though as there are certain instances where it’s absolutely correct to use one term over another, and I think it would be to everyone’s benefit if the different types of ‘unofficial servers’ were more clearly defined.

This is a layman’s approach to things. I’ve absolutely no knowledge of how to reverse engineer a game myself and save from messing around a bit with local server set-ups I’ve never operated a game server of any kind. This is purely an attempt at adding a bit of clarification for those dipping their toes into these often murky waters.

What is an emulator?

In its simplest form, an emulator is a version of the original game which has been rebuilt from the ground up to replicate as closely as possible the game as it was at a certain point in time.

This is, in effect, the code which most private/rogue servers are running. The other being versions of a game’s source code which were released to the community either officially or leaked out into the public via some kind of security breach.

I would hasten to call leaked source code emulators as they’re not actually emulating anything. It’s not uncommon however for incomplete versions of source code to be obtained, with teams then working to ‘fill in the gaps’ with code which emulates the bits which were missing.

On the flipside, emulators may make changes or additions themselves to the game’s code. Just because they’re not emulating anything with this new code though, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still emulators.

Examples of emulators include CMaNGOS (World of Warcraft), ACEmulator (Asheron’s Call), and EQEmu (EverQuest). While some emulation teams will also operate servers which run their code, these servers are not emulators themselves, but private/rogue servers e.g. SWGEmu (emulator) and Finalizer (the rogue server which the SWGEmu team operate).

What is a private server?

This is where things get a little bit trickier. Historically any server running an emulated MMOs code would be called a private server. But is a private server still a private server if they’re not trying to stay private? While some are more brazen than most, it’s fair to say that most private servers for games which are still in live operation try to keep a pretty low profile. That’s not to say that you need to know secret handshakes to get an invite (most are found with very simple searches), but it’s more likely that you’ll find them rather than they find you.

There are of course private servers of all types and sizes, and occasionally one will start to gain mainstream attention. This can end badly – such was the case with the WoW private server Nostalrius – or positively, as with Project 1999, which was officially sanctioned by EverQuest developer Daybreak.

Private servers and rogue servers alike often alter the code of an emulator – sometimes significantly – but as this new code isn’t emulating a pre-existing game it would be incorrect to label them as emulators.

What is a rogue server?

The term ‘rogue server’ isn’t one which has proliferated into general parlance yet, but the MMORPG website MassivelyOP has been using it with regularity in recent years. You might be surprised however to hear that the term can actually be dated as far back as 2005 when Edward Castronova described player-run servers in his book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games.

With servers for long-shuttered games like Star Wars Galaxies, Warhammer Online, City of Heroes and Toontown reaching ever-wider audiences, it makes sense to designate them by a term which doesn’t lump them in with servers that are running alongside games which are still in live operation. Many of these servers have active communities across social platforms, have been featured on major gaming news sites, and present themselves in a legitimate manner. They’re really anything but private as they attempt to make as many old (and new) players aware of their existence.

That’s not to say that these servers have been officially sanctioned. Rather, it’s generally seen that they’re operating in some kind of legal grey area. So long as they’re not profiting from what they’re doing, it’s probably not in anybody’s interest to take action against these relatively small communities at the risk of engendering ill will towards future projects from the studios or IPs.

So, there we have it, from now on I’m going to try to follow the definitions I just set out in future articles that I write here at MMO Folklorist. Personally, I think it makes a whole lot of sense to differentiate between the two different server types, but what do you think? Will ‘rogue server’ ever catch on in general conversation? I’ve heard the term ‘zombie server’ used before, but I don’t think a shambling corpse is the best descriptor for the amazing work that volunteers have done in resurrecting, not to mention preserving these abandoned virtual worlds.

Why Starkeepers is one of the MMOs I’m most looking forward to playing in 2023


These days it’s easy to be sceptical about indie MMOs. The Kickstarter era brought big promises from developers – sometimes earnest, sometimes not – and left us with mostly empty hands (and for those who funded them, empty pockets). So, it is with a mix of optimism and slight caution that I’ve been keeping one eye on the progress of Starkeepers – an indie MMO which has opted to forego crowdfunding – since its announcement last summer.

While its first teaser trailer was too short to offer any insight as to how the game might play, it’s immediately obvious that, at the very least, Starkeepers has an appealing and identifiable visual sensibility. Oh sure there are all the usual castles, mountains, and forests that you’d come to expect in an MMO, but in amongst all the stonework and foliage are shocks of bioluminescent blues and purples. What these vibrant flares of colour are exactly we don’t yet know but given that the game is being referred to as a “celestial MMO”, it’s probably fair to say that there’s something space-y going on.

Rather than the traditional fantasy races of humans, elves and dwarves, you play as one of the titular Starkeepers. Some of these characters have already been revealed, with the general style being anthropomorphic spins on Earth cultures such as Vikings and Kabuki. Again, the specifics of what a Starkeeper is are still clouded in mystery, but one thing that’s known is that the game won’t feature the kind of character creation that you’d expect from an MMO. Rather, there’s some sort of astral projection involved, whereby you take control of different hero characters each with unique playstyles and abilities.

Between Starkeepers and the recently announced Wayfinder, it seems like this might be a new trend in MMOs. The idea that in Starkeepers you play an astral being which finds themselves switching into these other forms at least offers an interesting reason behind why you don’t get to create your own character, and it still leaves an opportunity for players to roleplay, albeit as a metaphysical entity.

If the world of Starkeepers still feels a little vague (if intriguing), the gameplay is somewhat more fleshed out. Rather than the throwbacks which defined many indie MMOs of the last decade, this is very much a future-facing MMO, with an action combat system that looks remarkably fluid even at this early stage in development. The team’s love of the fighting game genre shines through, with attacks looking unusually impactful for an MMO – as though they’re actually connecting with the opponent.

Movement is one area where MMOs have lagged behind the rest of the industry, and it’s something I’m happy to see developers committing time and resources to bring up to scratch. The team at Wolfpack clearly want Starkeepers to be a zippy and engaging gameplay experience, and nailing the feel of running, jumping, and attacking is essential if they’re going to convince MMO veterans to accept the kind of platforming gameplay which has typically been an exercise in frustration.

All of this sounds great, but if the game is to have a hook, it would be its building system, which is equal parts player housing and fort building. Guild vs Guild battles could be interesting with the kind of team-based building that has been teased, but I only hope it isn’t entirely Sisyphean and that there will be opportunities for cooperative building without the fear of it all being smashed to pieces later in the evening.

Starkeepers feels like a game which is ambitious enough to stand out, yet honed in enough in its vision so that it doesn’t feel like something which will never see the light of day. With its mid-poly, stylised graphics, Starkeepers immediately brings to mind indies like Valheim and V Rising, and with its base-building mechanics and accessible horizontal progression, it’s easy to see Wolfpack’s MMO finding a similar audience.

But Starkeepers is very openly calling itself an MMO in its marketing, and it is how the game executes this which might elevate it to something more than just a flavour-of-the-month experience. Without a distinct avatar, Starkeepers will have to keep on thinking outside of the box if they want players to feel tied to the ethereal world they’ve created.

If you’re similarly excited to explore the world of Starkeepers, you can sign up for upcoming playtests here, and also wishlist the game on Steam.