It’s been too long since I’ve been in World of Warcraft. I’m getting billed each month, but my level 44 mage is just sitting there waiting for me. She probably thinks I’ve gotten her as far as I ever will. I hope not. Unfortunately, that fate did befall my Star Wars Galaxies character. I can’t even remember his name, though I do remember it being a really cool one. I even wrote him a cool backstory about his mysterious parents and unknown origins. I know SWG had its problems. I played in the summer of 2003, before land vehicles existed. Shooting through hills was fun and the grind for many skills was infuriating. Talk about stupid, but for some reason I put a lot of time into that game.
Some of my favorite memories have to do with the socializing. I was actually getting quite good at being a musician in the game, and they had a pretty neat music performance system in there. You could play with other people. I think there were eight loops you could choose to play on each instrument and everyone would just jam to the same tune. As people listened, they could heal the wounds that they got while out battling random creatures for their important Fed Ex missions. But as a musician, you would just hang out in bars and chit chat, listening to other brave souls’ stories and receiving monetary tips from time to time in thanks for the healing you provided.
That was the most fun part about the game. The combat was ho hum and didn’t really bring you into the Star Wars world as much as the socializing did (especially when your friends were good role players). It was neat how you could level up playing music and could develop new loops or be able to play new instruments. This is something I wish more MMO’s could incorporate. World of Warcraft has an amazingly huge, beautifully detailed world and there is a lot to see… but not really so many different ways to actually play the game. What if you don’t want to fight, but heal instead (not heal while fighting)? Yeah, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it would be nice if that possibility existed. You can do some fishing and level up some inconsequential skills, but the heart of the game is the beating up of the baddies.
Maybe it’s just me. But it was sort of nice being “needed” in SWG… and especially nice being needed as a musician. Granted, I’m no expert on MMO’s. Maybe there’s another game out there that does that. I’m just impressed that for such a crummy game, SWG managed to be memorable because of a seemingly minor detail, and an audio detail at that!