SWG – The Master Speaks

I mentioned Raph Koster’s post a few days ago, but as it turns out there are a bunch of them about SWG and I’m still cursing the loss of Google Reader (yes I bloody well hold a grudge, at least in this case). So for my own convenience and that of a couple of other people who keep saying they need to read those posts — and they do, they’re fascinating — here are some links.

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 1

Designing a Living Society in SWG – Part 2

SWG-tagged posts

That should be enough to get you started.

It’s weird how often Mr. Koster says they didn’t end up with what they wanted for various systems in SWG (especially crafting!), when I and many others still remember it as the best crafting system ever, bar none. Actually to me it was the only real crafting system ever, bar none. All the others were just… bleh. Even EQ2, and I love EQ2 crafting — but it never even remotely compared to SWG crafting. The difference is one of several orders of magnitude in terms of complexity and depth. EQ2 is fun, but it’s whack-a-mole: once you’ve figured it out, you’ll never get anything but pristine (and yes, that was true even in the days when Death By Forge was a possibility).

And this is why SWG worked for crafters and people who wanted to be part of a society and not just someone who ran a ‘toon’ (apologies to all of you who use it, but I hate that term). It’s also why I doubt anyone will ever design another SWG. More’s the pity, but at least we have the Emulator:

I get asked this question all the time. In fact, now that I do consultancy from time to time, it’s not unusual for a company to come to me and say “can you put in crafting like SWG? Our players say it was the best ever!” Usually, they have actually, you know, designed their game already, or even built it. And I have to tell them, “No. You build your game around it, not the other way around.”

In other more fluffy news, I managed a little bit of playtime in between bouts of being sick and feeling sorry for myself. Here’s a pictorial account:

Coronet by night

Coronet by night

Poor Heidegger, can't hold his liquor

Poor Heidegger, can’t hold his liquor

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

A gift from a princely Master CH in Coronet. I shall pay it forward.

8 responses to “SWG – The Master Speaks

  1. Raph’s honesty and insights are wonderful.

    As far as the disconnect between what was planned my feeling is that SWG was amazing – but it could have been out of this world, it could have been the game WoW lost all its subs to.

    He’s so right about Jedi. I enjoyed SWG so much more before the hologrind but once you knew that levelling then dropping professions was the way to unlock the FS slot there really was no other option for Achiever types. Before that my achievement was to help build Krayt City on Tatooine, a wonderful community on SWG-Infinity.

    Get well soon!


  2. Have you tried Feedly? It’s better than Google Reader ever was and it’s free.

    I think you kind of hit the nail on the head there in a way I haven’t seen before in all the myriad posts I’ve read about crafting in MMOs over the years with “this is why SWG worked for crafters and people who wanted to be part of a society”.

    That, in a nutshell, is why that kind of crafting, including the original EQ2 version, does absolutely nothing for me nor, I would contend, for the very great majority of people who are drawn to playing what I would think of as “fantasy adventure games”. I, too, detest the use of the word “toon” to describe characters and I have little feeling for the attitude that underpins it, namely that the on-screen “avatar” (another noxious term) exists solely as the agent of the player, but I don’t believe there is much of a link between that approach to MMORPGs and a dislike of complex crafting that relies on constant interaction with other players.

    This probably deserves to be expanded upon at a length that’s not appropriate for a comment thread – I’ll stick it in my ideas folder! The upshot is, though, that I see the kind of game that SWG appears to have been (I never even tried it until post-NGE, partly because I knew a little of its reputation and was aware it was not for me) as something quite separate from what we might call the Mainstream of MMORPG gameplay. There is clearly a market for this kind of game and there are a lot of people searching for that market on Kickstarter, but whether it was ever a good match with the potential global audience for an ultra-populist I.P. like Star Wars is another matter altogether.


    • Oops – I should attribute the quote! It’s Mr K of course, not my own, but when I read it, it totally encapsulated how I felt about it too.


  3. It doesn’t surprise me that he said you have to build the game around the crafting system. Age of Conan attempted to remake their entire crafting system with a SWG style of crafting. They have yet to complete it. I don’t think they can. It’s been almost two years and still they have useless crafting. Game designers should take the crafting system into account prior tot the killing and slaughtering of pixel monsters. I know people love killing and all, but that doesn’t RETAIN membership forever. The bag has to be balanced as well. Crafting is a part of it. One thing EQ2 did do right is their house decorating ability to take what appear as normal items and place them within geometry to make them something entirely different. Their crafting is…well ok. It’s better than most that is for sure. But in the end, the only way we will ever see a game with the level of SWG crafting depth is if they make the crafting system before the rest.


  4. I’m using InoReader. It looks and feels very similar to the old Google Reader, and works well too.

    It’s interesting that Raph has made these comments in regards to building the game around crafting. I’ve felt that way for a few years now. Build the world and it’s physics (which includes crafting) first, and then add layers like combat and questing.

    Actually, I’d like to see something like ATITD with combat and mobs.


  5. BTW, forgot to mention. Spent some time in SWGEMU over the last week. Look me up when you’re on again. I might not be on a lot this week (work 😦 ) but you never know.


  6. Another vote for Feedly here – better than Google Reader by far especially once you customize it to your preference – I use the Perfect Feedly theme and it’s awesome. It’s also how I keep tabs on your blog posts here. 😉


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