December 15th 2011 will forever be known as the day the Galaxy went dark. The final stars flickering, as they blinked out of existence. While an event unnoticed by many, for a select few thousand, It was the day their world changed forever.
The Star Wars Galaxies servers were shut down for the final time.
It wasn’t too long after closing that the familiar “Ding!” of a new email arriving in my inbox sounded. Followed by another, and then another. Community members I’d grown to know had responded from the wide reaches of the now non-existent galaxy. The final question was finally able to be answered.
How did it end?
The closure of an MMO isn’t exactly a new thing – closures come and go on a regular basis as the foundation of the MMO genre fluctuates – and we report on them like any other piece of videogame news. But there’s always been another question surrounding the closure of an MMO, what happens to the community? Luckily, late last year, as SWG’s closure loomed, I was given the opportunity to find out.
In a strange turn of events, I remember reading the review for Star Wars Galaxies in PC Powerplay Magazine some nine years ago now, begging my parents to allow me to hand over the monthly fee and lose myself to a Star Wars universe. “No” was the stern reply. Quickly followed by “You’re not wasting your time or money on those things.”
Little did I know, nine years later, I’d be writing Star Wars Galaxies’ obituary for the exact same magazine, and finding out whether it really was worth it after hundreds, or even thousands, of hours. The response from the community was immense – some twenty thousand words worth of quotes and replies – and they could never all fit into one single article, but they all provided an amazing image of a supportive community.
Talking to them was a privilege I’ll never forget, and it has truly changed the way I view time spent in front of this PC monitor where I whittle away the hours playing videogames. To that now broken and dispirate community, I say thank you.
Read the feature in Issue 201 of PC Powerplay Magazine, or online via Zinio.