Chapter 7 has launched and now we do our usual post-chapter State of the Game update. Lead Designer Thomas Blair and Producer Jake Neri drop in to pen a complete update on where Star Wars Galaxies sits today and where it's headed.



Star Wars Galaxies: State of the Game, "Chapter 7"
Article by Producer Jake Neri and Lead Designer Thomas Blair

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We just released our latest piece of content, Chapter 7: A Collection of Heroes and we're feeling very good about the release. We haven't delivered a piece of content this big since the Trials of Obi-Wan expansion pack, and it was no simple task pulling the Chapter together. The Chapter is focused around two new major systems, the Collections System and the Heroic Encounter System, which presented a great challenge, but the team definitely succeeded in pulling it off. Now that the players are engaged in the content we're hearing good things about the release and it's always nice to get that positive feedback. The Chapter spent many weeks on our test center and we were very fortunate to get our players involved in the development to help us sort out some of the more complicated issues and bugs, particularly the balancing issues with our Heroic Encounters.

Looking back on Summer
Before getting into the full details of Chapter 7, I want to talk a bit about last summer, and all the activity around SWG. At the end of May we released Chapter 6 which introduced the Beast Master system to the game. This system allowed all players to grow and train pets, or "beasts," that they could use in a variety of ways, including combat. This is really the most robust pet system in an MMO today and we have still yet to see any server uncover all of the possible beast mutations. On the heels of that, the dev team had a major bug bash which was pretty much about the size of a Chapter in terms of fixes, content additions, and tweaks, all of which our players and senators had been asking us to fix for sometime. We are always trying to improve SWG and this was a true example of that dedication.

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One of the other cool events we ran was the home pack up event. SWG is one of the first MMOs to allow players to create and decorate homes. Not only that, but they can build their homes nearly anywhere they want. We had a number of key locations on many servers with homes that were no longer populated, so we ran an event that allowed current players to flag those homes for destruction. Once flagged, an Imperial bomber flew in and destroyed the homes in real time. The players were then allowed to claim this newly freed up land for themselves. We really rallied the player base around this event and we saw a number of former players come back to participate and to save their homes. While perhaps this sounds simple, the home pack up was a huge development challenge, but the results were really beneficial for SWG players.

During all this, the dev team was able to attend a variety of events, from Star Wars Celebration in Los Angeles to SOE Fan Faire in Las Vegas. Meeting face to face with our fans is really motivating, and we generally leave the events fired up with a ton of good ideas and feedback.

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Chapter 7 Details
The Collection Journal and the Heroic Encounters are two very robust systems that we've added to SWG in Chapter 7, and it's likely that we will continue to add to them in future Chapters. Relatively speaking, it will be pretty easy for the dev team to add more collections and more heroic encounters now that we have done the heavy lifting on building out the systems.

Collection System
The Collections system allows players to get three primary kinds of collections: click collections, inventory collections, and kill collections. Click collections involve clicking an object in the world to "collect" it. Inventory collections are something you loot from the corpse of a creature. And kill collections involve killing a specific creature. Each kill collection will have a counter, with some requiring that you kill hundreds of creatures. Even more challenging is when we make collections out of other collections. There are multiple ways to find a collection, and we even built a system so players can track who was the first on each server to finish a collection. . "Server firsts," or the person on each server to finish a collection, are not only tracked on the SWG website, but also in the collection journal interface. Any player can open their journal, mouse over a particular collection, and see who finished it first.

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