Despite the announced shutdown of Star Wars: Galaxies and the approaching new Star Wars-based MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, loyal subscribers don’t want Galaxies to end. They’ve begun a petition to try to convince Sony to let the MMO live on as a free-to-play MMO.
The petition asks Sony to convert the game to a ‘freemium’, microtransaction-based MMO, and that Sony consolidate players onto a smaller number of servers and facilitate character transfer to reduce operational costs in order to keep the game running. The petition has already gotten thousands signatures in a few days.
One of the petition leaders posted:
We are not your typical gamers.
We are not a commodity.
But if you look at the recent decision by Lucasarts to shut down Star Wars Galaxies, you might be inclined to think we are both of those things. Lucasarts thinks that we are a non-perishable commodity that can be shoved into a shipping crate and moved down the road to their next project. That is not the case. Not even close.
We are a vibrant community. We have seen our ups and downs, but we are only stronger because of it. We have endured all manner of broken promises and misleading “improvements” to this game, and throughout all of it, we have continued to build our community, and show support and loyalty to this great game. But we didn’t do it because of a game. We did it because of our community here.
No matter how hard you try, you can never apply any sort of label or definition to the players of Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, it seems like Lucasarts is doing just that by assuming we will simply shuffle over to their next product simply because it contains the words “Star Wars” in the title. But oh, that is so far from the truth. We are not your typical gamers, and we are not your typical Star Wars fans. In fact, both of those truths are the very things that make our community so strong.
The world is obsessed with trying to apply labels to groups of people, and will often do so on the basis of pure assumptions and hearsay. You can’t do that with Star Wars Galaxies players. We are not some geeky group of people who simply want to log into a video game and shoot battle droids and fly spaceships with laser guns.
Many of us are highly educated. Many of us have children and families. Many of us have great careers.
Just the other day I learned that a great player on my server of Starsider was once the mayor-elect of his city in Canada. And what’s more, he was 18 years old. I have known a concert violinist, a fireman, a surgeon, a newspaper editor, an EMT, a helicopter pilot, and on and on and on. And all of these people I met through Star Wars Galaxies.
On top of all that, many Star Wars Galaxies players are active service military personnel. I remember once talking to a member of my guild and having him tell me he was logged into Star Wars Galaxies from his base in Iraq. Without a moment’s hesitation, I got his unit’s mailing address and sent him and his comrades a care package. Star Wars Galaxies made that connection possible.
So much happens because of Star Wars Galaxies that goes unnoticed. This is much more than a game to the people who play it. It’s our community. And a community is not a commodity, so don’t be surprised when we want nothing to do with the people who are trying to force us to give up our community just so they can make a few extra bucks.
Sony has apparently not responded well to this “insurgency”, and have started locking any topics referring to the petition. Despite this, the campaign has spread like wildfire among the Star Wars Galaxies community and is beginning to take over the game’s official Facebook page.
Hilariously, Sony has said “promoting an online petition causes disruption within the community and does not provide gameplay feedback that our development team can use.” What development team, if you’re shutting the MMO down?
Several players have emailed VentureBeat stating they’re joining a class-action lawsuit against Sony shutting down the petitions; one player said that Sony pegged him as a “ring leader” in the protests and threatened to permanently ban him from its games andfile criminal charges against him for trying to cause “unlawful harm to the company.” Saywhat?
Sony can do whatever it likes on its forums, of course, since the EULA is in effect. Of course, petitions being “unlawful harm” is equally ridiculous. You’d think after SOE got hacked, with Sony remaining mum about it for a while would make people cautious about dealing with the company.