Wired looks into the apparent unravelling of Star Wars Galaxies (SWG) following the so-called New Game Enhancements (NGE) which fundamentally changed the game and offended many of the MMO’s remaining customers (estimated at about 200K, pre-update.)
LucasArts released the NGE with little notice and without soliciting much feedback from current customers on the full scope of the upgrade. SWG producer Julio Torres claimed that an earlier announcement might have gotten “lost” amongst others. (He seems really defensive, in general.)
Key quote: With the game the way it was we knew we would never be able to attract enough people to really keep SWG viable as a business… it wouldn’t have appealed to the really large Star Wars fanbase out there.. and frankly over time the existing userbase would have churned out as happens in any game like this… The real purpose of this post is to ask for your help. In this thread, could you please list the top issues you see needing to be addressed in the short term. — better late than never?
Smedley also gave a (more tame) interview to Gamespot.
Only time will tell if LucasArts/Sony made the right call here, but it seems unlikely. MMOGs, like all other social constructs (i.e. neighborhoods, companies, etc) develop a fixed culture. Changing that culture is very hard; changing it without a major, extended socialization effort is near impossible. People get married in SWG … think they might get a little attached to the existing system?