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The Guild Counsel: What if the game leaves you?

Karen Bryan

In previous Guild Counsel columns, we've tackled the issue of players leaving their guilds or even their games, but what about when the game leaves you? Recently, this has become an issue that, sadly, we're seeing more and more often, with announced closings of MMOs and even studios.

This week, Star Wars Galaxies' eight-year-plus run will come to an end, and the servers will shut down at midnight EST tonight. I saw a terrific tribute video made by Kyranna Mythina from the Starsider server, and I wanted to get some thoughts about the game and its closing. Read on for Kyranna's best memories of the game as well as thoughts about the end... and where to go from there.

When did you first start playing SWG, and how did you hear about it?

I began playing in December of 2005, so the game will be shutting down shortly before my sixth anniversary. I was a huge Star Wars fan back then, so I was interested in Galaxies even before I really knew that much about it. I was so excited when I was finally able to start playing, and now here I am nearly six years later.

What did you find most appealing about the game?

At first, it was the expansive Star Wars feel and attention to detail that impressed me. Over time, though, I began to appreciate the community aspect of the game as well as the vast amount of freedom that the game allows. Features like housing, crafting, and the player-driven economy were some of my favorites.

SWG lightsaber
What are your favorite memories from the game? Favorite places?

There are quite a few memorable moments to be made throughout the game, from boarding a star destroyer to helping Obi-Wan Kenobi save the galaxy, but I would still say that my favorite place in SWG is my guild's Buff Barge. Essentially, it's a sail barge house that we used as a cantina, supply center, safe house, and meeting place for anyone in the guild. Typically, we would meet up in the barge while forming groups for heroics, and Medics, Officers, and Entertainers would be available to give buffs (hence the name). One of my favorite memories involves a rather unfortunate Bounty Hunter. As we were forming groups one night, a Bounty Hunter came knocking at the door (only guild members are allowed inside, so he had to wait for his target to come out). Once we discovered who among us was being hunted, several of us went down to make small talk with the Bounty Hunter. Meanwhile, the target remained upstairs, stocking up on every buff and enhancement imaginable. Before long, he came outside and proceeded to teach the Bounty Hunter a lesson in front of at least a dozen spectators.

Fans often cite SWG as a game that gave players a lot of freedom in how they chose to play the game. What types of these "sandbox" aspects would you hope to see in other games?

The housing system in SWG remains the most impressive I've ever seen. Having a house that I can walk into without going through a loading screen, as well as being able to decorate with endless possibilities, will be one aspect of the game that I'll really miss. Additionally, the amount of detail in character customization and the choice of outfits, especially with an appearance tab, are things that I'm disappointed to be currently missing in The Old Republic. Hopefully, in the near future, BioWare will realize that Galaxies did, in fact, get quite a few things right.

When you heard that SWG was shutting down, what was your reaction? Has that changed at all in the months that followed?

Although the announcement itself wasn't entirely a surprise, hearing the news for the first time was still a shock. The biggest effect it had on me, however, was to motivate me to finish everything I'd never gotten around to. First and foremost, I had always wanted to make some sort of movie in the game. During the two months following the announcement in June, I explored the galaxy. With the help of my guild and some wonderful friends, I collected over 200 gigabytes of video, which I edited into a five-minute tribute as my way of preserving some of the most memorable parts of the game.

SWG barge
Will you be on for the final night? What are your plans?

I hope to be on for most of the evening, although I don't really have any specific plans. I expect to wear something nice, say my goodbyes, and maybe spend some time running instances or simply hang out and wait for the shutdown. Whatever happens, I will definitely be taking some screenshots and video footage. I may not be putting together another video tribute or anything, but I still plan on sharing some of my memories once the end has come.

What are your gaming plans after SWG shuts down? Will you try to move to a game with friends you've played with in SWG?

I'm currently in early access for The Old Republic, which is difficult to compare to Galaxies, seeing how it's an entirely different game. There are some areas that are vast improvements over SWG, while others may take some getting used to and will hopefully improve in time. Many of my former SWG guildmates have already organized a guild in TOR, so I'm definitely looking forward to reconnecting as we move into the new game together.

Many thanks to Kyranna for taking the time to talk with Massively! Make sure to visit the Massively Twitch TV channel tonight at 11 p.m. EST as we broadcast the final hour of Star Wars Galaxies. Whether you're a longtime fan or you just want to be part of a historic moment, you're welcome to join us on the Starsider server or in the Twitch TV channel as the Massively team shares memories of the game and salutes the end of a groundbreaking game.

Do you have a guild problem that you just can't seem to resolve? Have a guild issue that you'd like to discuss? Every week, Karen Bryan takes on reader questions about guild management right here in The Guild Counsel column. She'll offer advice, give practical tips, and even provide a shoulder to lean on for those who are taking up the challenging task of running a guild.

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