Starwars Galaxies Beta Update

Despite my jaded attitude towards the MMORPG market lately I've been keeping a close eye on Starwars Galaxies. Mostly because unlike many, I happen to love Verant as a company and I believe they have the best shot at creating some truly unique experiences. According to a forum post by community relations manager Kevin O'Hara Star Wars Galaxies is moving along and they are planning a Beta 3 release within the next month or so.

Read more for the full update from Kevin.Our plan right now is to have Beta 3 start sometime in the second half of February or in the beginning of March. IÂ'm hoping to have a more specific date available at the DeveloperÂ's Chat next week.

Beta 2 is coming along fine for us. The testers are shaking down the advancement and balance for several professions and are trying out some new POIs (Points of Interest like the one mentioned in ShugÂ's recent post). Although we havenÂ't done official beta focus testing for certain things like crafting, those systems have been turned on and players have started trying their hand at them. (Internally systems like crafting have been getting a lot of testing by the way). WeÂ're getting tons of good feedback on what systems need more attention, what ones are feeling good, and of course lots of bug reports.

The team is ramping up for our two final milestones. The first being getting all of the beta 3 required art assets ready for the Beta 3 CDs (looks like there will be three of them). We also have a large laundry list of things that need to be working well in the game before we open the gates. These include greater server stability, a tutorial, all systems working, and enough balance so we donÂ't have to do many (if any) character wipes during beta 3.

After that milestone, the next one is Â"Gold MasterÂ". This refers to the final CDs you make internally that get tested and then sent to the duplication house to make lots of pretty packages for the stores. The team is already working tons of overtime with their eyes on this date (In fact we have signs with ominous numbers like Â"8 weeks until GMÂ" around the office). I have to say it is a daunting task but so far it looks like the team is in relatively good shape to deliver the required feature set for launch.

Your question, of course, is Â"What is the feature set?Â" Next week before the DeveloperÂ's Chat we intend on listing our launch feature set and giving the FAQ an overhaul. As weÂ've gotten into the implementation and beta testing phase, weÂ've made some changes to our initial designs for the game. In some ways I think weÂ've pulled off a bit more than we originally expected and in other ways we may not have all the things we wanted for initial launch. Often this happens because when you test you find out what people enjoy and decide to put more emphasis there. The FAQ and Dev posts have always represented what we are working towards, but not necessarily what would be in at launch. Rest assured that we will have an aggressive schedule for adding features and new content when we go live. Our goal now is to bring you a competitive, stable and fun Star Wars game. More on this next week.

Now I donÂ't want to give even more attention to those who worship the floating shrub bug from a month or so ago, but the weirdest thing happened. We needed to make some changes to how our terrain worked in the last patch. When we did another bug sprung up where hundreds of pieces of flora was no longer attached to the ground. Perhaps there is something more to this shrub cult than meets the eyeÂ"…

-Kevin O'Hara
Community Relations Manager

Comments

Just out of curiosity Certis, what makes you like Verant?

I just can't side with a company that lures you with great concepts.  Yet, when you actually spend the time to understand what they've given you, you realize its an empty shell.  The game world is highly antagonistic.  They've openly stated that player's learn the game through death and punishment.  That's just not my philosophy and not a game I want to play.

Name a quest that is actually good in Everquest?  Everything is 5 stages of hunt this semi-rare spawn to get his rare drop item and then combine it all in a box where you have a 30% chance to make something.  I can name at least half a dozen in Asheron's Call 2.  Lots of stuff is broken in AC2 but at least someone's finally got some decent quests.

I've wondered several times as well what makes EQ so popular, but there's no questioning its strength.  They must be doing something right.

<blockquote>Just a quick thank you to all our players for helping with our brand new record of over 110,000 simultaneous EverQuest users and a new record high number of subscribers too! </blockquote>

A press release from yesterday.

(here's hoping those HTML tags work)

>>here's hoping those HTML tags work<<

And, of course they didn't.  UGH, we must get rid of this comment system!

Well iam, I think you're getting a little too specific when talking about Verant. You need to understand (and I'm sure you do) that Everquest is one of the firstof its kind so yes, the gameplay mechanics are somewhat primitive and painful. They've made plenty of changes of course but you know as well as I do that any radical shifts in design philosophy would be a bad idea for Everquest considering who it caters to these days.

That said, Verant has a lot of experience and money. I think as they push forward we will see some forward looking ideas from them now that they have some experience under their belts.

I'm extolling the virtues of Everquest here, I just think the developers behind it have a great shot at doing something wonderful.

>>here's hoping those HTML tags work<<

And, of course they didn't.  UGH, we must get rid of this comment system!

Not to tell you how to run your own site, but it works better if you preview it before posting.  Somehow it works if you do it that way.

Your theory sounds solid Certis.  However, after having viewed all the material for EQ2, I think you are mistaken.  There was a movie interview with the Producer and Art Director.  The Producer talked about how EQ was successful and they are going to be great!  Thanks for all that info there bub.  The Art Director talked about realistic cloth folding and the partical system.  Now I assume you know as I do that EQ is all about guild raids and the high end game.  On guild raids, it is a mandatory rule to turn particles to the lowest setting and Luclin models, facial animations and any other graphical fluff are completely turned off.  Does this sound like the right direction to you?

Did I fail to mention the fact that they are planning to change a huge game play mechanic?  Monsters can cross zone lines in EQ2.  Do people really need to die more in that game?

I don't understand why every positive change, such as the graveyard areas in the planes, has to be met by 3-5 negative repercussions.  Thats the EQ formula in a nutshell.  Introduce something cool and powerful.  Balance it with some negatives.  Then make it mediocre by adding more negatives.  Then when popularity fades, hype the fact that you are going to fix it.  When the fix happens, there is marginally more use but the fix also comes with 2 more negatives.

Over-hyped fixes with hidden nerf's are how the unfortunate soul's are still coerced into playing EQ.  Of course killing more gods and dragons always helps longevity too.

>>>Not to tell you how to run your own site, but it works better if you preview it before posting.  Somehow it works if you do it that way.<<<

Keep pushing.  I've been just aching to ban someone.  You should ask Certis, he's always holding me back.  Maybe I should ban him too! 

Seriously though, normally I would, but I'm not thinking straight today. 

- Elysium

Ease off the Nyquil, man.  It makes you do funny things.