To say that Star Wars Galaxies was an influential MMORPG may be a slight understatement. Running over the course of eight years and two decades, the game remained strong in the galaxy far, far away despite divisive updates to its profession systems in 2005. To this day many people talk of it reverentially when comparing it to newer experiences in the Star Wars mythos and even recurring MMO’s such as Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft. However, Galaxies is not merely a relic of the past.
Star Wars Galaxies: Legends is a project that has fought vigorously to keep that dream alive. Founded in 2016, Legends is an emulation of the late-game of the beloved MMORPG. Based on one of the last builds of the live game prior to it’s shut down, the economy-centered sandbox game still allows you to live your best life whatever that may be. Drawing aspects of Ultima Online, World of Warcraft and Everquest the game has been heralded by multiple critics to be one of, if not THE, best MMORPGs of all time. Legends truly allowed anyone to do anything and that still lives on to this day in SWG: Legends.
Legends, as long time fans of the MMO might know, is based off of the New Game Enhancements (or NGE) build of Galaxies. This move released in its last expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan, distilled the incredibly varied professions system from 40 down to 6 and unlocked the incredibly powerful force-sensitive Jedi for every single player to flush the game with Revenge of the Sith’s success. With the original grind for Jedi requiring multiple months to unlock, and the profession able to solo multiple players in PvP, users abandoned the game en masse for greener pastures.
However, Legends has taken NGE and improved on it. Fleshing out several of the improvements introduced by Sony Online Entertainment towards the end of the game’s life cycle, as well as increasing the breadth of professions, this is perhaps the most genuine version of Galaxies to date. If you so wished to you could really just make a macro and level an entertainer in the back of a cantina bar until the Jawa’s came home. In the spirit of doing anything and being anything, Legends continues to deliver.
Unlike the original base game, Legends is a mod-approved emulator, meaning you can inject as much as you’d like into the world. While set-up is a touch inconvenient, requiring you to already possess a copy of Galaxies’ files, this is easily circumvented through popular means which MMOGames.com does not endorse (Piracy, yarrrr). Working like any other mod, Legends files simply require a moderate download and installation before you can hook up to the main Omega server.
But once you do, does the nostalgia ever start coming back.
On top of working to fulfill and optimize older systems, Legends has been endeavoring to inject it’s own, newer content. On top of several quality of life changes including wilderness spawning AI, collision damage while flying in space and profession tweaks, newer things such as environmental uprezzing and additional details have been put together. Newer world bosses have been added for the combat classes, such as the Ancient Krayt Dragon. Additional content has been developed for several older in-game events such as the Ewok Festival of Love (yes, that’s a real thing), as well as memorials put in place for several of the Star Wars actors who have since passed on.
One of the more major overhauls to the Galaxies emulator is a newer Galactic Senate program. While it doesn’t allow you to play as your inner Sheev Palpatine, the Senate program instead reflects similar systems in games such as Star Citizen. Players across the game world can vote for player-character representation to the Galactic Senate, functioning as a community representative for their particular demographic. These reps then work and interact with Legends staff regarding any changes to the overall game, essentially allowing widespread community feedback to be distilled by a few messengers. While this does allow for a certain level of politicking and the oh-so-feared ‘drama’ to emerge very little seems to be present in the MMO’s forums or in-game world, speaking to either the system’s working order or the community’s fidelity on the matter.
On top of these, Legends has worked to inject newer quest-based content into the game while implementing older Minor Quests left over from the older Galaxy days. Still in development, the, ‘Jedi Themepark’ will focus on a questline specifically towards the force-sensitive Jedi profession. Featuring newer heroic level instances, this questline will feature Jedi endeavoring to discover the deeper secrets of the Force. As it crosses into these dungeon-crawling instances, players of other professions will be able to tag along to assist their friends in discovering the untapped potential of the Force, be it the Light or the Dark Side.
That isn’t to say that other players don’t have enough to do. Leaning heavily on community-driven recurring content, the development team has worked to make their calendars as populated as possible. Including in-game holidays, the team has also developed several spotlight initiatives such as the ‘Galactic Homeshow’ contests, based around evaluating how players decorate their in-game housing. ‘Friday Features’ discuss gameplay content, while inviting in newer players through explanatory forum-based articles. As is the case with many legacy or private servers such as Nostalrius there is a heavy focus on the playerbase and how rewarding they are to the team as a whole.
Even still, with the ramp-up to Episode IX this December, Legends has begun their own ‘Countdown to the Rise of Skywalker.’ Featuring an expansive, if not divisive, community fandom contest, the team is also injecting in-game events inspired by the newer trilogy. Throughout December 2019 Legends will feature live events from the Sequel Trilogy including Rey and others. Much like the discussion around the trilogy, however, the emulator’s community seems to be split in two over the notion; just a few paragraphs into the contest’s announcement thread reveals people’s displeasure over the notion.
Star Wars Galaxies: Legends is a blast from the past, truthfully. It’s still fun to dive into, despite all the incumbent issues coming from the older Galaxies and the decisions made later in the game’s development cycle. However, its incredibly clear that the team behind keeping this legacy server alive deeply cares about how they do so. A lot of thought and care is being put into the game’s legacy, with minor changes and additions coming in time with major additions to content. With popular Star Wars endeavors meeting widespread community disapproval often, it’s nice to see that Legends stands alone to not only pay homage to the players but respect to the mythos its based on. Its fun to jump back a long time ago to see that the galaxy far, far away still holds true.
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