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The official line on these changes is that both SOE and LucasArts think that the new Galaxies is how the original game should have been released. Sony Online producer Dallas Dickinson was in town to show the game off and told us that they'd gotten tons of feedback from all kinds of sources "telling us essentially that Star Wars Galaxies did not deliver on the Star Wars fantasy. It didn't make you feel like you were part of the Star Wars universe." No action? No Star Wars. But why change things so drastically this time when you could simply continue down the story telling path of the last two expansions? "The existing game is in a bad place and it has been. We try to give it as much attention as we can, but we're allowing entire systems and professions to atrophy and that's just going to continue going down in that direction so it felt like a better idea for us to break with the past and develop the game it should have been to begin with."

Yeah, it's a big problem with the game when developers don't know where you'll be or if you'll be having fun 30 minutes into your gaming experience. "That was a huge turn off to people that tried the game and quit or people that got told not to play the game. The only people left were hardcore MMO players that understood the genre and were willing to accept its failings." The answer? To do what they've found to be successful during their last two expansion packs. The story directed questing has been great for players looking for things to do. I suppose some do like to wander the desert and sit on their moisture farms, but SOE feels that most players are looking for more active gameplay.

When you think of active, you think of combat. Those that play the game know that it underwent a gigantic combat upgrade this spring. That's nothing compared to this switch. "We took a really hard look at the existing game and found it lacking," said Dickinson. "We've been told this umpteen times by all kinds of people so we stripped out our combat system and put in this enhanced action combat system." What does that mean to players? An over the shoulder 3rd person view like you've seen in Resident Evil 4 on the consoles that at first glance acts like any skill based action game. It means instant understanding of how the system works, which to SOE and Lucas mean more people likely to stay and pay… er, play. "It's based on getting your reticule on the character and shooting. It's like a first-person shooter, but Diablo is a lot better parallel because there are no real dice rolls for hitting, only slight dice rolls for how much damage you do. If you click on it you hit it."

Actually getting to use this easy combat interface for fun things is another focus. In order to do that, they're creating content for everyone starting with the introduction, which they showed us in action and that will constitute the new 10-day trial period coming up. Players begin as a character being broken out of an Imperial station after being "recruited" to fight. "We chose to place players in a position of importance in this world. From the beginning, players are made to feel like they're important to the galaxy," says Dickinson, "It's not fun sitting out alone and kind of sad in a moisture farm, it's fun being someone like Luke or Han." In that regard they'll be giving player plenty to fight right off the bat after being rescued and landing on the Tensari Point Space Station.