How I Helped Destroy Star Wars Galaxies

"Soon, you will know the power of exploits"

By Patrick Desjardins

I sat in front of my laptop at work, watching the videos from the previous night. While logically I knew this was Star Wars Galaxies, I recognized nothing on the screen. It was like watching a completely different game. In that video, I saw the end to what could have been an amazing game, and I saw it end with a whimper. It was like a bloated corpse, already long dead and unaware of it. It was depressing.

In summer 2001, I started reading up on the upcoming game. It sounded awesome. We were still a long way from public betas, but I took a real interest in the online community which had already formed. We talked constantly, speculated, made suggestions, argued about how Jedi should work; we were two years from ever even playing and we already had deep and powerful opinions about a game that didn’t exist yet. It was unprecedented. Many of us had already played EQ or UO. We knew what we wanted. We all had a deep love for the source material. We fantasized about force lightning and saber throws. We wanted to fly the Kessel Run with Han Solo and Chewie. We imagined arguing bounties with Jabba, fighting Darth Vader. We wanted it all, and Sony knew it.

I was 21, and had just sold my first business. Flush with cash and ready for my next adventure, I had no idea what it would be.

Spring 2002: The first sandbox alpha builds were being tested. Over the course of spring and summer, they got a little more advanced, and I could see the game starting to take shape. I got into the friends and family alpha tests from my involvement in the online community. I made copious suggestions, everything from combat to social aspects. I complained for a week about how the zabrak horns should look. I got involved, deep.

One day, I inquired as to how the economy would be structured. The answer I got very literally changed my life.

“We haven’t really planned for much of anything. I think the players will structure it organically.”

I was dumbstruck. I didn’t respond and started taking notes. I took a lot of notes — entire composition books sat next to my monitor. In hindsight, 90% of what I noted was useless, but that 10% — that was worth something.

Early 2003: Beta is in full swing. We got our first real look at how things were going to work, and I saw the opening. The giant hole that no one in development saw, or cared about if they did. More so than anything else, this game would be about real estate and ease of use for crafters. Supply a convenient place for everyone to go and they will go there, even if that means paying a premium.

I spent a lot of time in starports, counting players arriving and leaving. Establishing traffic patterns. Corillia, Naboo, Tattooine — the big three. I started running projections: where would I go first? Tat. Surely Tat, but…where would I want to live? Not in the desert. No way. Naboo, lush and green, pretty scenery, Fambas walking in the distance. Yes, this is where I would live. But there is also Coronet, the central hub for travel. If you want to go anywhere, you have to go through Coronet. That’s the meeting place, the staging point; Coronet would be the key to power. If I wanted to hold the cards, I needed to hold Coronet. I started looking at the most efficient way to place buildings outside the c-net starport. I was placing them for hours, plotting the perfect placement to not only have the closest buildings, but also to force other players to build elsewhere.

I started thinking a lot about human nature. I started thinking about exploiting laziness and sloth. I started thinking of this game as a business model and less as a hobby. This was now something to be mastered and exploited. I scoured forum posts for shortcuts, for exploits, for bugs that would most likely make it through to release.

I started thinking about the crafting, and the shortcuts there. I created timetables based on the initial samples we had. How many hours to master this, how many hours to master that. How many supplement accounts would I need to supply myself? If there are only 24 hours in a day, how could I best utilize each one?

I started building extra computers. I spent every spare moment preparing for day one.

On release day I was at EB games, cash in hand for eight copies of SWG, and I was home in a flash. I took a week’s vacation. I had the spare bedroom stocked with food and drink, my computers arrayed in a half moon.

Those first two weeks are a blur. I don’t remember details, I just remember the accomplishments. I remember when I mastered the first handful of professions. I remember screaming in frustration when my math wouldn’t work due to slight changes in crafting between beta and release. I remember my wife growing increasingly concerned.

Slowly, steadily the credits started building. I kept a tally on a whiteboard leaned against the wall. Your first million is the hardest, they say. Bullshit. Your first 100,000 is the hardest. But I kept working, kept pulling 12, 14, 18 hour shifts in front of keyboards and tiny screens.

Little by little, my plan came together. Mistakes buried under accomplishments. Vendors multiplying like rabbits. Small houses, big houses, entire malls and cantinas. Credits piling up, stacks on stacks. Professions mastered, exploited, and dropped to master new ones.

I spent more credits in a day than most people would all year. At first my “competition” didn’t get it, but I paid and they didn’t care.

They were standing on a track and couldn’t see the train. I wasn’t slowing down. If anything, I just went faster.

I clearly remember the day that I realized I had done it. It was maybe two or three months in, and I controlled not only the land around Coronet, but Theed as well. It was mine. People used my vendors because they were closer, and for no other reason. Slowly I increased my prices, 2%, 5%, 10%… and they lined up to buy. People were hologrinding and didn’t care what it cost. It was a full-time gig just keeping the vendors supplied.

Six months in and I realized I had more money than I could ever possibly spend. I needed to off-load it, and I needed help. Enter the Thai.

His name was Tan, and he needed a reliable stream of credits. See, Tan worked for a re-seller and my little enterprise was making his job difficult. He had no problem on other servers, but on those that I was on, his percentages were way down. Why not work together? Why not indeed. After a week of negotiations and arrangements we were set and money was changing hands, with an interesting side-effect.

The same people who were buying my credits from Tan were turning around and using them at my vendors, usually with more of their own credits as well.

I was now making real-world money for making virtual money by making real money. It was amazing, and it worked perfectly. I would transfer 10 mil credits to Tan; he would pay me via bank transfer. He would then sell the fake money for real money at around a 100% mark-up. The player would get his 500k or million, and turn around and buy my merchandise for 1.5mil. This happened across the board, at all levels.

I remember with crystal clarity when I realized I was making more money from this enterprise than I was at my full-time job. I quickly decided to expand and hired four guys in Singapore to play 24/7. I paid them unreasonably well for the time, almost 3x as much as they would for other re-sellers; this bought me loyalty, and in this enterprise, loyalty is everything.

Soon the money was stacking fast and I needed to expand again, and again. At the peak, I employed 12 men and women. I controlled, for the most part, the economy on four servers, and I was bringing in almost a six-figure salary.

My wife went from hating the fact that I was obsessed with the game to helping me run the books and check on the numbers. She made suggestions on rates and agreements, and in turn, I bought her a car, and we bought a house.

After almost two years, I could see that this would not last. Player counts were dropping; the game was being mishandled more and more. When they did away with the holo-grinding, it wrecked a large part of my business model. And again, when the Jedi-village went live, it was the final nail. No one needed to spend vast amounts on anything any more. You could just become a Jedi from a quest chain.

I started shutting down my enterprise. I had bought and sold dozens and dozens of accounts, billions of credits; for the remaining players on my servers, my accounts were fixtures. They were how they functioned, they were how they survived. Most had no clue it was one person pulling all these strings, and in the end, I liked it that way. I stopped “playing” the day I was killed in Theed starport by a fresh new Jedi who didn’t understand how to even play the game.

I couldn’t even bring myself to fight back. I just stood there. I was one of the few true Dark Jedi Masters, and I let him kill me. That very act illustrated perfectly what SOE did wrong. Those of us who had faithfully put in the hours and weeks and months required to earn those lightsabers were spit on and betrayed by the very architects of the game we loved.

Now obviously I did my share of exploiting the game, and your share, and his, and hers. But I put in the work to holo-grind. I put in the work to move my way up endlessly grinding on fambas in Naboo, cats in Corrilea, and rancors on Dathomir. I didn’t buy my personal Jedis; I earned them. I knew the game, I knew the struggle, and I knew what it took to get them.

And in the end? On my last day playing? You could start a new toon who was already a Jedi. I walked away and I never looked back. That moment at my desk, 10 years after it started, I sadly closed the window and went back to work.

Because it wasn’t the game I loved. That game died in 2005 with the NGE/CU. It died when developers turned their backs on the gamers who had spent the effort and instead listened to the lazy, whining voices who wanted it all given to them.

Ironically, those voices were the same people who happily handed Tan money for the credits I provided. Happily handed me stacks of cash for Jedi accounts. Did I help in the demise of SWG? Yes. That is something I accepted long ago. The game that I loved so much, I helped to destroy.

Patrick Desjardins is an American programmer and graphic artist.

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  • http://www.mkronline.com/ Michael Robinson

    This and most of the posts here are the most interesting game-related articles I’ve read in years.

  • http://www.mediumdifficulty.com/ Kyle Carpenter

    I really enjoyed this article, and want to highlight two things in it:

    One – the weird tension between having actively worked to the games’ destruction, and still feeling betrayed.

    Two – the way this story articulates in miniature the present economic crisis in North America, particularly in the United States.

    • MA_Sami

      Could you please spell out its similarities to the present economic crisis?

      • http://www.mediumdifficulty.com/ Kyle Carpenter

        Thanks for calling me on this! It was a bit self satisfied, wasn’t it?

        What I see here is the turn to laissez faire economics of the Reagan/Thatcher era that persists to this day in North American corporate culture. The suggestion that the players themselves would develop an economy lends itself to precisely this kind of exploitation (which for many, I suppose, is exactly the point of the game). By identifying a demand for game breaking elements such as the sale of “Jedi” characters (which required a massive amount of game knowledge to create in the beginning), Mr. Desjardins “broke” the game in exactly the ways he sees the administrators doing much later. The (probably obvious) take away, for me, is that the market doesn’t run itself – it requires some degree of regulation in order to prevent similar situations.

        Where the analogy breaks down, of course, is that having had this market identified for them, the owners of the game then entered that market themselves; the “jedi” character is then a much easier commodity to obtain, thereby reducing the ability of RMTraders to profit from them. The government/free enterprise distinction becomes meaningless here, and that’s where I start to look like a jackass for my original comment ;)

        Desjardins appears to lament both his business, and the game he loved and put time into. In fact, it appears that the latter is actually more important to him – hence the “guilty” claim that he helped destroy it.

        • Sol Lee

          this is like the most irrelevant thing to say, but re: “Thanks for calling me on this! It was a bit self satisfied, wasn’t it?”

          thank you for saying this. you’ve reminded me (unknowingly, unless somehow you’re omniscient) to be a good human being.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/TKROJ6PZV7Q63FCCRKMAELNQIQ Chuck O

          Actually, it’s not total BS., because I see a somewhat tangible connection between this and the collapse of the media business model.

          I’ll use the music industry. While many claim this isn’t true, corporate execs in the music industry tend to be music fans at least as much as the average person, but they like making a profit as well (do what you love, as we’re always told). The old business model involved large music conglomerates controlling certain aspects of the music the masses would hear by building and controlling the means of producing and distributing that music. E.g. Universal and other top labels signing music acts (commodities), cramming them onto the radio in the most accessible bandwidth and selling them in the most convenient, if higher-priced stores (top real estate a C-net). People would listen to bands new, unknown bands they really liked (mining) and tell everyone, including the labels, that they should be signed; Universal signs them and then resells them back to the same fans. You don’t quite make money by making money, but you do make money by controlling the means of distribution.

          That is, until file-sharing hands everyone a Jedi account from day one. What’s different is that music hasn’t died, just the former business model, as well as the government (i.e. the game’s rule makers) not being the guiding force behind the change (though they do set the rules that allow its success). If the web makes real-estate much less valuable (not worthless; think of the iTunes store and Amazon as attempts to create a convenience model in virtual real estate), the old companies cannot afford selling to or owning a Tower Records or Virgin Megastore. This is painful and life-altering for those reliant on it, but glorious (and life-altering) for those gaining value from the new model. Eventually a balance will occur when a new large-scale music business model settles in: we’re already seeing signs of it with the “CD/MP3 sales+merchandising+touring” contract replacing the old record sales version.

          So you’re not completely off base, IMHO, just that it works for a particular part of the economy, not all of it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stan-Gahpa/100001513633207 Stan Gahpa

          I don’t want to be too political here, but I see the “Occupy” folks as the ones who want things given to them instead of having to earn those things.

          If you were an Art History major or a Women’s Studies major or an English major and you want the same job chances and the same starting salary as a Finance major or a Computer Science major or a Nursing major, you’re the guy who wants a free “jedi” for everyone.

          The occupiers want “green technology” but didn’t major in engineering. They want an end to “climate change,” but most would be perplexed by atmospheric sciences. They want an end to “Wall Street” and “capitalism,” but corporate finance and international finance are mysteries to them. They want the vast supply of credits that the author of this article earned, but don’t want to work with spreadsheets, hire and manage personnel and put in 18 hour workdays to actually earn those credits.

          They want to bring about change by gathering, talking, beating drums, dancing and generally having a good time. It’s a lot easier than getting the appropriate education and genuinely *working* for change.

          • http://www.mediumdifficulty.com/ Kyle Carpenter

            While I wasn’t talking about Occupy in particular, I would like to point out the irony of accusing that movement for wanting “something for free” in the wake of the corporate bailouts following the sub-prime mortgage crisis – which was a direct result of unregulated business practices.

  • BitterAlmond

    The same nerfing of the more difficult aspects of an MMO has alienated a whole ton of WoW players. It’s interesting to see it happen in other games.

    With that aside… wow. It’s captivating to read something like this first-hand instead of just as a third-person history. Though I don’t agree with paying real money for in-game items (take that, microtransactions), I still have respect for those who build an enterprise out of it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ernie-Earnest/1340100112 Ernie Earnest

      Excellent read my friend, thanks for sharing.

  • Jon Corpus

    Loved this. So very interesting :o

  • HappyWulf Wulf

    If you loved this, I recommend you read the book, “Play Money” which describes a writer’s life as he quests to make buying and selling virtual loot his primary source of income.

    • fendien

      Totally. I read that back in the day when I was playing EQ and found it interesting because UO was one of the first games where real money transfers were going on.

      Julian Dibbell in Play Money though was nowhere near as systematic. I think what’s most interesting here is the thought Patrick put into making sure he optimized every action from a limited time/resource perspective and even in terms of thinking of how people would play the game.

      I had a stint playing SWG for a summer in high school right when it was released and had a Bounty Hunter who I leveled up by kiting tons of NPCs who, thanks to some bug at the time, would move at a snail pace and thus I could wrangle 10-15 at a time and just run around them in circles. Made some decent cash selling credits and eventually my maxed out character, but it wasn’t at all as fun as the original EQ was for me.

  • sseefried

    Economies are fragile things. They rely on trust, and when trust is broken…

  • http://twitter.com/Thunderheart_ Kurt Stangl

    Interesting article :)

  • http://www.derekmartin.ca/ Derek Martin

    >>The game that I loved so much, I helped to destroy.

    The true definition of a Dark Jedi Master.

    • http://robertocr.com/ robertocr

      True Story

  • http://twitter.com/beselfsufficien Be Self Sufficient

    Very

  • http://www.facebook.com/marioleal Mario Leal

    WOW. I really enjoyed the article. I, too, played from Day 1. I, too, built a great empire. Not even close to yours, but still mine. They ruined it and we helped. But, damn, it was a great game and lots of fun. Thanks for posting this. Lots of good memories.

  • zjane

    This is very true and you are not alone, most of the time we lose concentration from an interesting video or game. To avoid this what you need to do is to focus your mind and follow the game step by step. Try it out and you will see the difference

  • syeren

    Really nice story.

    I’ve often read on FoH that this game had the best economy of any MMO ever made; and how Sony destroyed it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=520732275 Alex McPhail

    Very good read. I played the SWG beta and was an active player until the game was mis-managed. Reading this reminded me how much I loved the economy and real estate aspect of SWG. However exploitable, it was a really fun system, even for the small time players.

  • Danny Hui

    Wow, I think you should go to a third world country, and try this out in real life.

    • http://twitter.com/essiccf37 Aly-Bocar Cisse

      Can’t work, there are already too much competition and risks (without regarding the virtual aspect of that story) is not comparable at all.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MNNYJ4HRUWEZKAMB7RVHVUUZAI Dan

    For me Jedi made SWG and jedi destroyed SWG. It was on the cards from the very start and under the sytem employed always put a limited life-span on the game.

    From experience I know SWG could be a massive ego trip. It’s over though and this article just looks like one last roll of the dice looking back on those day.

    I think you are wrong about your impact and destroying the game.
    From the sounds of it the only person you really destroyed it for was yourself.

  • Chris Weekly

    For those fascinated by this post, I highly recommend Neal Stephenson’s latest, “REAMDE” which is also about MMORPGs and the collision of virtual with real-world economies (and Chinese hackers an Russian mafia and libertarian gun nuts). It’s a fun, fun read.

  • http://spoiledtechie.myopenid.com/ spoiledtechie

    “Because it wasn’t the game I loved. That game died in 2005 with the NGE/CU. It died when developers turned their backs on the gamers who had spent the effort and instead listened to the lazy, whining voices who wanted it all given to them.”

    Sounds a lot like the government of today…

  • /|/|ichael

    That was surreal.

  • syntheticvoodoo

    This is amazing. It’s like one of those film festival movies. Some kind of accidental millionaire tales from an unlikely means. And feeling betrayed by the creators when you practically controlled half of it from micro level. Holy shit.

  • Delcoro

    Wow, I hope someday I can be a gigantic asshole like you.

  • andrewgjohnson

    Two things pop to mind:

    1) Have you considered using bots to automate most of the daily monotony? Maybe you conveniently left that part out but it seems like a real money saver.

    2) Have you considered doing something similar on other MMOs? WOW comes to mind but there are a lot and focusing on one seems like a doomed strategy as any game is likely going to stop being popular at some point, whether it’s because of awful management like SWG or something new just comes in to replace it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felipe-Conde/100000404804704 Felipe Conde

      The way he did it was only possible in a game as SW Galaxies, Wow dont have the customization necessary to make your own NPC Vendors and build your own houses and constructions where players pass. Wow is automated, slow and dead, the only thing there that reminds anyone of a live economy is the more than common Auction House. But of course it does not even come close to being what UO and SWG delivered.

      • andrewgjohnson

        I think there’s money to be made at pretty much all MMORPGs. Maybe SWG had the most space for a monopoly but it’s not the only place to grind out a buck

        • http://forums.rpgww.org/ Idran

          Yeah but that doesn’t mean you can use the same strategy on every MMO, and that doesn’t mean that someone that has a good money-making strategy in one MMO will be successful at making money in every other MMO.

          Plus from this story, a big reason of why he was successful is because he was first in the market and he was able to keep others from getting the foothold that gave him his initial advantages; those are both major advantages that he wouldn’t be able to get in any existing MMO, it’d only apply to new MMOs as they come out.

          • andrewgjohnson

            Ya he probably just retired after earning 100k/year for a couple years. No need to branch out.

  • Adam Bedell

    I have to say, there was a huge community surrounding the never made Middle Earth Online — guilds formed, lore written, development ideas, community Q&As, etc…I still miss the early UO days.

  • hipiap

    I hope the IRS finds you.

    • http://www.mkronline.com/ Michael Robinson

      I don’t see the part where he said he dodged taxes.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/5NMN33SUBQGBVR6MRIIYISB7BY Loki L

        How do you pay taxes on money that is gained through what the game companies consider illegal in the EULA? I’m serious how would one classify that one their taxes? If one did find away to so do, I would imagine that those records would only help a company like SOE in a lawsuit.

        • Grant Withers

          Well he could just say he was a merchant lulz.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505804701 Ned Coker

    How are you not already playing EVE Online? I believe you might just thrive there.

  • bsphil

    “It died when developers turned their backs on the gamers who had spent the effort and instead listened to the lazy, whining voices who wanted it all given to them.”

    This sounds like FFXI all over.

  • SWG_KAURI_VET

    vet from kauri here. did the whole holo-grind, had one of the earlier jedi.

    i don’t think you helped destroy the game. The success of wow and the arrogant attitude that SWG could be transformed into a WOW clone destroyed it.

    Yes, the alpha class and jedi chase causes issues, but hey , they just show the beauty of such an organic economy and how the problems actually reinforce the way it mirrors issues in RL. that was better than anything before and since, hands down.

    PS banthas were on tatooine, not naboo.

    • angrycripple

      I think he meant those big dinosaur looking lizards on naboo…. what were those?

      • angrycripple

        fambas. that’s what he meant. Fambas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/therealchrisward Chris Ward

    This is possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever read on the internet.

  • chivestor

    2 things:

    First, very well done. I am at a loss for words.

    Second, I clicked on the link because I honestly wasn’t sure what Star Wars Galaxies was (and I have never played).

  • Anon288

    They killed your business, not your game. Your game died for you not when you were killed in the Starport, but when you started making spreadsheets. Making money, i bet, was more fun than running around, doing whatever the hell regular players do on a MMO. That i can live with, making money and having fun is something rare these days.

    But quitting the game because a noob killed you? Your game was to profit, and that’s where you lost your interest. The backdrop, the lore, the love. All irrelevant.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Martini/100000063587309 Scott Martini

      Everyone plays a different game. Generally we assume that other players have the same goals as we do but rarely is that the case.

    • Cheri Chinn

      Another know-it-all thank you for belittling his story and suggesting that you in your wisdom some how know better. (Sarcasm)

  • HeavyHebrew

    10 years, a car for the missus, a new house and you played a game that made you cash in an ip that you love.

    You win this round.

  • http://twitter.com/ConsonantSeven J

    And you’ve got less class than a kindergarten drop-out.

  • http://twitter.com/vizoa bryand

    congrats on being a douchebag I guess

  • sojacques

    Amazing.

  • Cédric Brancourt

    Agree this was The game, the only one i felt at home … until NGE …

    But the is a New Hope … ( not that new, not that hope ), SWG Emu, the Star Wars Galaxies pre CU emulator …

    Not that bad.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OSH4SK6IIYAGLKCOMSSNMXC2FA Murphy

    Christ, what an asshole.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OSH4SK6IIYAGLKCOMSSNMXC2FA Murphy

    Christ

  • http://twitter.com/VenomTweet Ray Ray

    Galaxies was a money maker for me, too. Not to your degree, but a few thousand dollars earned.

    I was there for day one (which us true day-oners know, day one actually happened on day two since the servers were not ready for launch). I was new to the MMO scene but a lifelong Star Wars nerd.

    Here’s what killed Galaxies: The thought that you could have a Star Wars video game played by tens of thousands of people and only a handful would get to be a jedi. The thought of that was just puzzling to me.

    I grinded jedi under the old system and sold them. The most I ever got for one jedi account was $1,500. Once the jedi village came out and the hologrind was no longer a mystery, I was still making money.

    But, the NGE hit, and gone were my big paydays. I was still able to sell some accounts with very high-end items for profit, but the game just wasn’t special anymore.

    I don’t think your money-making ways helped destroy the game. What destroyed the game was the fact that SOE had very little idea what they were doing. The on-the-fly changes that were made were so huge, chunks of players would leave with each new update.

    Then SOE panicked, decided, “If we’re going to make money off this thing, we gotta dumb it down and make it WOW in the Star Wars Universe.” I actually wouldn’t have had a problem with that if they started the game that way, but completely changing everything about a game numerous times? The fallout was inevitable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021590109 Samuel Adams Vastine

    I love a good work of fiction, thanks!

  • jonnywax

    Sorry but I have absolutely no sympathy for your sob story. You act like all that effort you put into the game is now useless… yet you made millions off the game. How can you complain that they “ruined” the game by nipping your exploitation in the bud? Sounds more like they fixed the game and you’re just mad that your MMO skills won’t get you a six figure salary in the real world.

    • http://twitter.com/essiccf37 Aly-Bocar Cisse

      While the ethics of the author is questionable. I don’t think that it’s reason enough to invalidate his critics.

      • Sir_Krackalot

        Considering his criticism amounted to “Waaaaaahhh they killed grinding!/They changed it, now it sucks!”, it doesn’t require much invalidating.

        • essiccf37

          It’s the journey which is interesting besides you are simplifying a lot of things with your statement.

  • jonnywax

    By the way, that said– the business aspect of the story was truly fascinating and impressive. Even if a little sleazy and exploitative.

  • hugoestr

    My hero.

  • Malte Hansen

    Amazing, i always get all giggily when i hear about people doing a great job at something! :)

  • http://twitter.com/tallemd Matt Talley

    A game should be balanced so that it’s fun for both crafters and fighters. Swg was pro crafter. Ddo was pro fighter. Wow is balanced. Another important thing is that crafters have to be able to make loads of cash. And fighters have to be able to become over powered. Also changing a lot in a game is a risk. Risks sometimes pay off.

  • CarlPheneger

    Why don’t you take your skills and apply them to the real world. If Trump and Schwarzenegger can make millions and billions buying and selling property you can too.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/TKROJ6PZV7Q63FCCRKMAELNQIQ Chuck O

      He sold his first business at 21. He created another real-world business that provided him a living nearly double that of the average US household by controlling distribution and creating a closed loop for his services.

      That’s pretty real world to me. Maybe he could/should have enlarged his scale, but he definitely did it for real.

  • http://twitter.com/essiccf37 Aly-Bocar Cisse

    I find that story really interesting, I think that it deserve to be more detailed

  • http://www.facebook.com/ru6ydragon Rebecca Wagner

    You didn’t destroy the game. You added depth to it. You made RL money, so what. I made millions of credits over a period of 2 years by renting lots from other players to put down the largest resource farm on the server. The CU destroyed the game, thereby reducing the number of “real” players, thereby ruining your business, my business and every other in-game business. Let’s not even mention how coming into an empty Correllia was depressing enough to quit. You’re giving yourself credit for the wrong thing. You don’t get credit for destroying the game. You get credit for making it more robust and challenging.

  • Royal Cheese

    Good story :)

    It screams “EVE ONLINE” so loudly I think my ears are buzzing, but this time it’s happening on a more “popular” franchise (Starwars).

    I read/witnessed similar stories on countless MMOs, even those marketed at a much younger audience : there’s always a 15+ years old with too much desire for power, control and manipulation wandering around, finding an unexploited market, even if it’s filled with 10-12 years old players.

    When it starts to become efficient, it’s becoming a real game : you’re clearly showing signs of progress, facing new challenges, mastering old ones. But after a few weeks you’re doing the same thing over and over, you’re enslaved in your system, it isn’t fun anymore.

    Turning it into your full-time job, getting yourself a house is nice, but it wasn’t a game anymore, what you were doing is obeying to the machine you built.

    What the devs did by selling out the Jedis was closing your business, your game disappeared when your goal was no longer overcoming new challenges, when it was maintaining your system to earn enough money.

    ps: of course you feel like you had an enormous power over the world of SWG, that you were unique – you might need to keep in mind that if you weren’t there other people would have done the same service (perhaps not under an unique business empire), and that people being “cogs” of MMOs are in fact pretty common.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5AAE74OWTPVOKMFVUNG3FULNJQ Tony

    Nice little fiction and enjoyable read!

  • Andrew Schiffbauer

    And now you play on EVE online, I take it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Conrad-Bracegirdle/100000507735980 Conrad Bracegirdle

    It’s a good read, but I’m kind of suspicious of it all since he doesn’t name names. Why doesn’t he tell us what servers he was one and the characters he played? He didn’t break any laws did he?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joshua-Alan-McKnight/46107771 Joshua Alan McKnight

    I don’t understand how you “destroyed” anything. I think its pretty clear you put a LOT of work into running a crucial aspect of the game on those servers. I don’t doubt that they were better off for it; otherwise, why would people buy?

    The developers made a terrible “management”/”interventionist”/”welfare” decision and it broke down the free system they had initially provided; the system that people invested in and created themselves through their own work and determination.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Martini/100000063587309 Scott Martini

    Everyone plays a different game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mumat Brad Thiel

    While you think you helped destroy SWG you really did not.
    The destruction of SWG was from SOE and Lucas arts and several bad steps to the true dark side on their part. The Cu/NGE step 1 the bad handling after NGE and the almost unplayable game that was left for 2 years step 2. Then SOE got some god development and started fixing the screwed up game and made a playable game. then even got a few canceled accounts back. step 3 Lucas and EA resurrected the old republic! That game we had all been hearing rumors of. Step 4 the SOE security of account information Hack more than likely placed a huge wedge in the SOE/LA talks at renew time. And step 5 EA?LA probably did not want to have 2 competing Star wars games at the same time. This was more than likely the death nail for SWG.

    I am sure I have missed and omitted some steeps along the way but I think I hit the big ones. I played from 2 months after release to the end. I was on the valcyn server then radiant then flurry via the FREE CTS aanother miss step in the demise of the game.

  • John Covey

    Based on my SWG experience, I think I met this person once. This person probably operated on my server based on his description of his Coronet analysis (A billionaire owned the best Coronet malls who made a lot of real $$ from SWG), and I’m forever GRATEFUL for his efforts.

    Why am I grateful? Because he did us a SERVICE. Not only did I probably spend $10 getting credits from him to get my own operation started (which saved me ENORMOUS amounts of time), but his amazing mall layouts breathed life into that city. A friend of mine eventually convinced him we’d be the best Shipwright vendor in Coronet, and once he leased us a prominent vendor spot, we got easily 100 times the viewing exposure we got at the other 6 vendors we had combined. Sure, he shaved off of my profits, and I plunked down $10 to start my SWG experience, but I made so much money in so little time that I was no longer mining/prospecting/crafting full time anymore and was finally able to spend much more of my time PvPing in Deep space with the best ship components on the server.

    He without doubt jumpstarted my SWG experience more than any other player. Even more than my guild.

    This person (and people like him) did not destroy anything. He took a valuable area and made it extremely efficient for all. A tangible service was provided, and we paid for it instead of traveling to the backward areas to get what we wanted.

  • http://twitter.com/gordblair Gordon Blair

    The economy was always wonky, hyperinflation of credits combined with harvesters that could be placed anywhere yet not attackable by anyone resulted in gonzo item inflation. Add a powerful macro language so that you could literally bot all day / night farming fiat ‘loot’ currency and average players enterring the game didn’t stand a chance. I played from 2003 up until the end of the game 2011 when on the final night I drove my Viggo gunship and crashed it into the sarlacc pit on Tat. Yes, they aded atmospheric flight to the game, just in time for it to get cancelled. Typical SOE.

  • jonteatime

    no1curr

  • John Stanek

    Still miss this game. Great story… Anyone else still boycotting TOR for what LA/SOE did to SWG??? I sure as F%CK am!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sirchazbot Charles Victor DiGiovanna

    I dunno, the only thing I have to say to this is that I DIDN’T do that level of work. I was in from the beginning too, but I only ever wanted to be a weaponsmith. Then a shipwright. That was it, my ambitions were small and had nothing to do with that kind of grinding.