Breakfast with the SWG Developers at Star Wars Celebration III

by Marinda Darnell

Sony Online Entertainment held a breakfast with the developers of Star Wars Galaxies at Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis, IN, May 23, 2005. Only two hundred players were allowed to attend, and for those who were able to get tickets, it was a time of Q & A, freebies, and exclusive previews of the new expansion Rage of the Wookiees.

Developers in attendance were Dallas Dickenson, Jason Ryan, Brandon Reinhart, Julio Torres, Diane "Tiggs," and Rouge_5. A lengthy question and answer session was held, in which the developers and event team fielded questions from a sometimes hostile audience. A few very key items that came out of the Q & A session were the professions that are going to be receiving some "love" from the developers next. While the devs would not release a time frame for any changes, due to company policy, they were willing to tell the player base that after the upcoming Combat Upgrade/Revamp/Balance (CURB), smugglers, bounty hunters, and rangers will respectively be seeing revamps to their professions. Smugglers have been waiting almost two years to receive any kind of attention from the developers, so they will be very happy to know they are next on the list of publishes. Jedi players will be thrilled to know that sometime in the future (again no time frame given) the visibility system will be redone. There were numerous other points brought up, many about the upcoming CURB, but by the time this article goes live, the CURB will be here and those points will be irrelevant, since the CURB will be live the week before this publishes.

While talking with the developers was wonderful, the Episode III: Rage of the Wookiees preview was one of the best parts of the morning. With Julio Torres providing a running commentary, Jason Ryan provided us with a sneak peek at the planet of Kashyyyk and other parts of the new expansion. Jason enabled "God Mode" on his character in order to show the new armors and vehicle available, while driving through some of the different areas of Kashyyyk. While it looks like a lot of the action will be on the ground level, there are visible aerial platforms that we were not taken onto. The ground game is extremely dangerous, with a lot of flora, fauna, and great music. The Episode III: Revenge of the Sith soundtrack is used heavily while on Kashyyyk. The new space ships and other loot items are only available through completing quests and missions associated with the home planet of the Wookiees.

A notable part of the expansion that was shown to the audience and not even to the press until this time was the brand new space instanced dungeons. No more having to compete with other groups, and having them train creatures into yours causing people to die. These extremely high end dungeons are very dangerous, and only high level groups are recommended to even try to enter them. Players must group together, and fly to a remote area of space. If the group is successful in landing, they can then enter into the Rodian and Wookiee controlled dungeons for some high end loot, mission driven storylines, and an experience unique for each group.

Overall, the experience of being able to talk with the developers, to hear their thoughts as to why certain things are happening was great. Each of the developers has a passion for their work, which they must have to survive all of the negative feedback that is present for every single game. If you ever have the chance to attend a Fan Fest, I would highly recommend it. There, players have a chance to make their thoughts and concerns heard, and to see the face behind the name and realize they love this game as much, if not more, then we do. Kudos to SOE, and thank you to all of the developers that were there; it was an enjoyable experience.

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