The Jedi and the Force

The effects of Order 66 reverberated throughout the galaxy and would change the course of the war for all time. As a Sith Lord, Emperor was already familiar with the reality that war never truly ends. In some way, the cycle of violence would return as those effected by that day would seek vengeance. Thus, the era in which Star Wars Galaxies begins is a very dark world for those whose ideals opposed the Empire.

Wars do not make one great.Yoda

It was the defining aspect of the game. No one could be a Jedi from the start. In the time setting itself, the Jedi were thought to be extinct. People like Han Solo, who’ve seen all types of weird shit during their lives, regarded them like they came out of a fairy tale. The developers of Star Wars Galaxies did allow players to unlock the Force Sensitive slot, but it was a very difficult process and the information was not well known to the public. MMORPGs during this time had a higher difficulty in the sense that there was a lot less hand-holding. You had to be good at navigating yourself around. Dying actually hurt and dying in the middle of nowhere sucked even more. There were less sources of information outside of the game and not many 3rd party tools were created, such as interface add-ons.

It was not as hardcore as classic Everquest and EVE Online, but it was definitely much tougher than World of Warcraft (released a year later), which somewhat began the more casual “golden age” era of MMORPGs. Star Wars Galaxies took the best from both sides but it leaned toward the old-school EQ and Ultima Online style open-world feel.

A Guide to Becoming a Jedi

Being a Jedi was rewarding but at a great cost. The penalty for dying was cruel and unusual. It was permanent death of your character after a certain number of deaths, as well as XP loss. This could explain the very few players who were known to be Jedi or in training during the early times of a server. I did not see a player who showed off his Jedi title (which made him overt) the first time until over six months after launch day. He was visiting our city’s three Rebel Detachment HQ faction bases. The developers intended the life of a Jedi to stay true to how it actually was in the Star Wars universe. We must not forget that there were many Jedi not present in the setting of Order 66, and so they were systematically hunted down by Anakin Skywalker, who now called himself Darth Vader. His unforgivable crimes were the result of being a broken man who felt that he had nothing more left to lose. The Jedi weren’t even safe within the Rebellion, which was infested with Imperial spies and people who were not entirely sure where their loyalties stood against a seemingly unstoppable foe.

The Empire also contracted the best Bounty Hunters in the galaxy to track down the remaining Jedi and kill them. These included the players in Star Wars Galaxies themselves. One of the few people that could take down a Jedi player was the Master Bounty Hunter.

Jedi War Stories

Mobyus shares some of his war stories during his life as a Jedi player in Pre-CU Star Wars Galaxies (the good old days), including his confrontations with Bounty Hunters who were contracted to kill him. The developers eventually reduced the punishment for death but it was still severe and made their lives quite interesting, to say the least. Few MMORPGs could recapture what it felt like to be a Jedi in the pre-CU era.


To Be or Not to Be

The truth is, I never really wanted to be a Jedi when I played Star Wars Galaxies. There were so many professions that were engaging and offered something unique, like Creature Handler, Pistoleer, Teras Kasi Artist, and Medic, all of which my character, Spawnarak’, trained in during his lifetime. I thought the Jedi profession was cool for its powerful special abilities and melee defense but I didn’t want to do something that everyone else wanted to. I played a Jedi enough in just about every single Star Wars game that has come out since its creation.

The reason people loved Star Wars Galaxies (in its original inception) was because of how many different professions there were and the range of choices you had. It was hard to find two players with the exact skill trees unless it was intentional, or if it was a specific cookie-cutter build. There weren’t that many cookie-cutter builds back in that time however, because there were just too many other good ways to approach combat (and crafting).

The developers would later make the process of unlocking the Force Sensitive slot easier as time went on. One of the ways they did it was by introducing Holocrons and the Force Crystal Hunters Cave. Holocrons were items that, when activated, would whisper to the player the next profession that he or she had to master in order to be on the “right path”. After a certain number were completed, the next step would begin. Each character was said to have a pre-determined list at birth, and people who already mastered one of the professions on that “list” in the past would have a head-start over others.

My twin brother's character, Gotep Vegitunks, activates his first Holocron.

My twin brother’s character, Gotep Vegitunks, activates his first Holocron.

Holocrons were extremely expensive but in high demand. Me and my twin brother were able to get a hold of some from our friends when we built Crystal Valley at the northwestern-most point of Dantooine, which is where the Force Crystal Hunters Cave was discovered. The NPCs in the cave were known to have a very rare chance of dropping Holocrons and other expensive loot. They were also a decent source of XP for even a relatively high difficulty planet like Dantooine. It was a major factor in our motivation and choice of location for building Crystal Valley, which became the first rank 5 (Metropolis) city on Dantooine.

Gotep is commanded to pursue the path of Commando.

Gotep is commanded to pursue the path of Commando.

My twin brother, Gotep Vegitunks, who was in Crimson Republic, went on to grind as much XP as possible to master the Commando profession. This profession was shameful in its early iteration but a buff would later make it the flavor of the month. Setting a player on fire (status effect) with the flamethrower was useful and heavy weapons like the rocket launcher and light lightning cannon did a high amount of burst damage – perfect in PvP.

He was one of the lucky ones. Other players ended up with a shit draw. One of the oldest friends, Sarin Sunrider, was one of the most combat-oriented players in our guild, but he was forced to master the Musician profession in order to continue his path. Others were even more unlucky, told to master tertiary professions like Doctor, which required a massive amount of time and crafting to complete. Holocrons were brutal but they still offered another way to become a Jedi.

Chilling in Crystal Valley Theater and helping Sarin grind some XP so he can complete his latest Holocron task. He already mastered several professions prior to this one.

Chilling in Crystal Valley Theater and helping Sarin grind some XP so he can complete his latest Holocron task. He already mastered several professions prior to this one.

In the end, the thing that made Jedi great, the notoriety behind unlocking it, was also what helped cause Star Wars Galaxies‘ demise. Indirectly. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft had a small number of archetypal classes which were a lot simpler for developers to balance. Players assumed the tank, dps, and healer roles and the system worked. SOE implemented the NGE in 2005, which cut the majority of the professions out of the game and included Force-Sensitive as a starter class. I wonder what it must have been like to be a person who went through “the grind” back in the day when SOE did this to our beloved game.

Many people may state that the game died when its servers officially closed in late 2011, but true veterans of the game will say it died much earlier than that. SWGEmu was created to bring the game back in the uncorrupted stage of its lifetime, the pre-CU era. Historians agree that this was indeed the golden age of the game and the way Jedi was meant to be played – true to Star Wars, rewarding, and not without risk.

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