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Star Wars Galaxies revival approaches 1.0 with a 'secretive Jedi unlock system'

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Star Wars Galaxies was a 2003 MMO that, in the words of Chris Thursten, almost changed the world. It let players take jobs and find places for themselves in the Star Wars universe, whether they wanted to be traders, smugglers, bounty hunters, entertainers, or a wide variety of other options. It didn't last, closing down in 2011 after a series of disastrous patches, revamps, and alterations.

However, and you knew there would be a however, its fans won't let it die. Multiple revivals emphasizing different aspects and eras of Star Wars Galaxies exist, including Star Wars Galaxies Restoration (opens in new tab), which has been in a kind of early access since May of 2021. SWG Restoration is about imagining what might have been if Galaxies had continued development, incorporating the space-travel expansion Jump to Lightspeed and parts of the New Game Enhancement patch, while letting players build unique characters using 32 skill trees, found their own cities, decorate houses, join factions, and visit places like Naboo, Kashyyyk, and Tatooine. 

The team behind SWG Restoration has announced its plan to release version 1.0 on September 17, which will include Mustafar, the lava planet where Obi-Wan and Anakin fought their extremely silly duel. Version 1.0 also adds over 30 questlines, server-wide progression (opens in new tab), various bug fixes and quality-of-life upgrades, and what the team calls "our secret and individualized Jedi unlock system".

When Star Wars Galaxies first launched, a planned system that would restrict Jedi to players who completed a randomized set of activities was cut. Instead of exploring and playing the game until eventually you developed Force sensitivity, a last-minute rush meant that instead using five random skills would unlock the option. Since skills were slow to learn that made Jedi rare, leaving plenty of room for all those players who wanted to open shops or become entertainers, but after being told by marketing that a Star Wars MMO ought to have more of the series' most iconic characters in it, the system was overhauled—twice. First a holocron was added that told you what skill to grind next on the path to becoming a sword-wielding space wizard, then Jedi were simply patched in as a class option at the same time as many of the MMO's other systems were taken out. None of these moves were popular ones.

So it'll be interesting to see how people take to whatever SWG Restoration has planned for the Jedi. Apparently there are "over 24,000 registered accounts eagerly awaiting launch", and presumably they won't all want to be moisture farmers. According to the roadmap (opens in new tab), "the process of becoming a Jedi will be a demanding, stimulating, and individualized experience for every inhabitant of the Star Wars Galaxy. Discovery of The Force will require exploration throughout the ground and space on group and solo adventures. Everything encountered along the way, from artifacts and horticulture to creatures and conclaves, will play a role in your saga."

The roadmap also lays out plans for future patches that will add everything from minigame locations (a casino, a Huttball arena, and a podracing track), to galactic civil war systems, and fishing leaderboards. If any of that sounds like your cup of blue milk, you can create an account and download the installer from the SWGR website (opens in new tab).

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games (opens in new tab). He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab), The Big Issue, GamesRadar (opens in new tab), Zam (opens in new tab), Glixel (opens in new tab), Five Out of Ten Magazine (opens in new tab), and Playboy.com (opens in new tab), whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.