SWG Retrospective- Part 2: Rogue Squadron

By the spring of 2004, SWG had added player cities, some vehicles and everyone was eagerly anticipating the release of the Jump to Light Speed, which would add the missing space component to the game. My friend Zeric and his brother had both reduced their play time in the game somewhat. Gu’od would never return, though Zeric would remain semi-active for the next two years. With our first guild declining I made the acquaintance of another Wookiee, by the name of Lahbacca. Lahbacca came to Chavabegga the weaponsmith looking for some new weapons. During those conversations I learned about Lahbacca’s guild, Rogue Squadron.

The idea of a guild called Rogue Squadron fascinated me. I was a fan of the fictional Rogue Squadron from the Expanded Universe books. With JTL coming out later that year I jumped at the chance to join them. Moving over to the Rogues with Zeric and a handful of other guild members (that would not last long) we moved to Lok to set up “Bravo Squadron HQ” as a base for RS.

My first night with the Rogues we made a raid on the then new Death Watch Bunker dungeon. I had never had the opportunity to journey to the DWB, as it was very difficult. It was the only way in the game to acquire Mandalorian Armor and a Jetpack so it was very popular. We raided the bunker and died a horrible, horrible death. But it was a ton of fun.

I was with the original Rogue Squadron for almost the next year. JTL came out in the fall and we took to the skies. I rushed Chavabegga through the ranks of Shipwright and Maarkean blasted to Master Pilot and acquired his long coveted YT-1300. Gaining a starship that could carry multiple players (and looked like the Millenium Falcon!) was great fun. Walking around inside the multiplayer ships was another of SWG’s unique features.

By the spring of 2005, Maarkean had unlocked the ability to become a Jedi. I did not get involved in the early days of profession grinding and so did not open up Jedi until the first days of the Village. Since Maarkean was a Zabrak, I immediately dove into the Double Bladed Lightsaber tree. However, by this point the original Rogue Squadron had collapsed.

The guild had already begun to splinter by the time I joined.  The original leader had started dental school and had no time for games. Events and gatherings became less frequent and the population of active players declined.  Guild drama surfaced and manifested in the “Lockjaw vs Kaars” fiasco.

The game was also starting to suffer from some of its original issues. The Jedi Profession Grind had taken over the game, JTL took far longer to come than expected, combat had issues with buffs and 90% Comp armor making people virtually invulnerable. The original open world PVP system was tweaked so that you had to choose to make yourself vulnerable to pvp. I cheered this change at the time but looking back, that cost the game an essential element.

In early 2005, I eventually ended up in charge of RS. I tried to keep things going for awhile but didn’t really have the time. Those of us that remained decided it was time to disband the original Rogue Squadron disbanded. I spent some time with some of the RS refugees in the guild ICE, but really didn’t like their leader Firelaw. So after some time I took Maarkean solo. 2004-2005 also saw me in grad school and busier than I had been. I had the time to play and grind Maarkean up Jedi occasionally, but that was about it.

When Rage of the Wookiees was released things had calmed down somewhat. I wasn’t a big fan of that expansion. It was the first step the game took towards the “on-rails” WOW like game. Instead of an open world, Kashyyyk had very narrow paths you could follow. ROTW also came out with the release of the infamous Combat Upgrade or CU.

Now, I’ll say upfront that I didn’t hate the CU. Many people did but there were many things I liked about it. The Jedi abilities were improved and expanded. Force Cloak was loads of fun. It fixed the issues with buffs and Comp armor clones. The thing I really didn’t like about the CU was the introduction of the concept of Levels. Until the CU, there were no levels in SWG like you know them in other games. A character who had spent all of their skill points was definitely more powerful, but if wasn’t obvious. Levels made a fundamental shift in what the game was all about.

I don’t think it was an unrecoverable mistake. The skill tree was still in the game. You could still mix and match professions. Many of the useless abilities had been fixed or improved (Hello Squad Leader). Much of the core was still there.

As the fall of 2005 approached my game time with a guild hit the golden age just as SWG was about to Jump the Shark. We’ll talk about the new Rogue Squadron and the NGE.

 

The Complete Series

SWG Retrospective Part 1

SWG Retrospective Part 2

SWG Retrospective Part 3

SWG Retrospective Part 4

SWG Retrospective Part 5

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2 Responses to SWG Retrospective- Part 2: Rogue Squadron

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