Review: Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan

by Marinda Darnell

It is that time of the year once again, it is time for yet another DVD release of a Lucas Films movie, this time Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. What this means for Star Wars Galaxies players is another expansion, Trials of Obi-Wan. Visit Mustafar, the planet where Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi battled over burning lava. Discover a new side of the Force by completing Obi-Wan's trials, or betray him and turn to the dark side completely.

Looking at the current state of SWG, most people would not know that the time frame the game is supposed to be set in is between Episodes IV and V (A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back). The first expansion, Jump To Lightspeed, introduced the much needed space content. The second expansion was Rage of The Wookiees, rolling us back to the Clone War era. Players should have known that this was not going to be the end of outdated content being added to the game with the DVD release of RotS coming up. Combine this with hundreds of Jedi dueling every night in front of starports, at a time where there was only supposed to be a couple of Jedi in hiding, and you have a continuity nightmare. It is very obvious that Lucas Arts insisted that SWG must have a collapse in the time line, so they could milk the DVD release for everything that they can. Otherwise the players would have been given a planet that they wanted that fits with the supposed time frame, or even had bugs that have been around since launch in June 2003 addressed. Instead we get yet another Clone Wars planet, players running around finding Clone Wars relics, players wearing Clone Trooper armor, and a planet for high level combat professions only.

Mustafar does have a few things in it's favor though. The art department for this expansion worked in over time. The graphics and planet overall design is gorgeous. The lava actually flows, and has wonderful effects. The original Mustafar in the movie was a dark planet, with a lot of mountains, lava, rocks, and little ambient light. This was carried over into ToW to great effect. While the darkness will take some getting used to, it is not intolerable.

When ToW was announced, there were mixed reactions from the player base. There was great hope from the crafting and entertainment professions that they might finally get some worthwhile content. The expansion was billed as being high end content for all professions. I guess if you mean all combat professions that are above a combat level of 70 (CL 70), then that would be more accurate. It was very obvious soon into the beta testing that the crafters were going to get shafted once again with this expansion. There are 30 new schematics being included in this expansion. However, a CL 1 crafter has no hope of completing the missions that grant these schematics. All but one of these schematics come from the Chu-Gon Dar Cube. Anyone remember Diablo 2 and the Cube from there? The Cube works in the same manner, place a few items in, get a new item out. Unfortunately all of the items that are recieved from the Cube are no trade. All of the items that you put into the Cube to obtain new items are looted off of CL 65+ NPCs. So far more then 50 items have been identified for use in the Cube. How is this content for a crafter? The developers at Lucas Arts and Sony Online Entertainment seem to think this is perfectly acceptable, no matter the outcry from their player base. All of the items for use in the cube are used in more then one recipe. One of the items that are used to make a nice new dancer prop is also used in the recipe for a high desired combat buff. The hope of the crafters and entertainers that they would be able to buy the components is turning out to be false hope. Unless some major changes are made to recipes and loot drops soon, crafters have nothing to look forward to in this expansion and therefore have no reason to purchase it. There is a new song and dance for Novice Musicians and Dancers. This dance is received from talking to an NPC inside the star port on Mustafar, and requires nothing to be done other then converse with the NPC. Other then this, there is no other content that entertainers can hope to access. The developers could not even be bothered to make it a quest similar to previous entertainer quests where you had to actually earn the new dance through dancing, auditioning, and playing instruments.

Mustafar is a very good planet for high level combat players. There are definably some areas of the planet that will give even the most advanced combat profession pause to consider cloning for his future safety. Combat professions can traverse Mustafar with solo content (supposedly, since it has not been found yet) and also in large groups to tackle high level, high HAM mobs. High end weapons and other items can be found from completing the various quests including the light saber lava crystal. Mustafar can be thought of as a high end theme park for combat characters. There will be some repeatable quests, but the majority of the harder and storyline driven quests are one shot quests. Better take screen shots folks to presearve the memories of visiting Obi-Wan.

The lava actually causes major damage and while not instant death, very close to it. This will make players re-evaluate their combat strategies, and work more as a team while progressing through the planet. Mustafar has a lot of the invisible walls that are seen on Kashyyyk, but greatly relaxed. While it is doubtful we will ever see the wide open planets again that characterized the original SWG release, this planet is a compromise between the strict pathing of Kashyyyk and the free roaming original planets. The invisible walls, while they are greatly reduced, still make it very difficult to travel on Mustafar. Many a player has found that it is easier to clone via lava then spend the 40 minutes to travel to the other side of the map getting stuck inside the invisible walls and poor pathing choices.

ToW is a digital download only for the purchase price of $29.99. What this means is that players will be downloading a massive patch to the game on October 25th and November 1st, and paying the price of a full expansion that would include discs. For players on dial up (yes, these players do exist), this can mean more then a day worth of patching the game. For some it will mean almost a week of straight patching. ToW does not include a space zone, yet it costs more then Rage of the Wookiees which included the discs and also had a fully developed space zone. There are three promotional items for pre-ordering this expansion. There is a gorgeous bunker style house (which architects can not craft), an eight person skiff as seen from Return of the Jedi on Tatooine (which artisans can't craft), and a Lava Flea which can walk on lava with out damage (which bio-engineers can't craft).

If you play a crafter, I would pass on this expansion. It is good content for high end combat players though, and that is the account I will be purchasing this expansion for. Hopefully SOE and LA will address the issues players have been bringing up soon, otherwise the player base is going to take yet another nose dive. For interesting flame wars and reads, check out the forums for Star Wars Galaxies.

Liked this article? Hated it? Have questions? Discuss it in our Forums, or tell us directly.

Copyright 2004-2005 The Lady Gamer. All rights reserved.