LucasArts producer Julio Torres has announced a massive and major revamp to its MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies - just two days after the official release of its third expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan.
Rather than the 30-odd professions the game started with, SWG will now feature a rather more bijou selection of nine ‘iconic’ professions – Force Wielder, Commando, Officer, Bounty Hunter, Entertainer, Medic, Smuggler, Spy and Trader.
Players will not be able to change their profession once it is chosen, which inevitably will lead to the death of the hybrid character templates that helped make SWG a unique experience for many.
The revamp, which was previously unannounced but goes live in just over two weeks, aims to simplify proceedings and retain new players put off by the complexity of the current skill system. It also aims to make combat a lot faster and ‘Star Wars’ like, with a new ‘twitch’ based system being implemented.
Levelling up is also claimed to be faster with XP gained through defeating enemies and completing quests.
The new system has been developed, apparently, thanks to player feedback and focus groups though sifting through the hundreds of shocked and stunned posts on the SWG forums would lead you to believe the players have been taken completely by surprise.
Most are worried about their professions being ‘deleted’. Additionally, Jedi characters are crying that new players can start off as light saber wielders from day one, while Bounty Hunters can now only hunt NPCs.
Others offer a cynical view over the timing of the announcement, claiming that most veteran players would not have bought the TOW expansion if they’d know this change was coming.
It’s certainly a bold move by LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment. Only time will tell if it saves the game or finally kills it.