Travel to a galaxy far, far away to join thousands of other gamers as they battle for the Alliance, the Empire, or their own survival and prosperity. Multimedia giant LucasArts Entertainment enters the realm of persistent-world gaming with Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. As in founding MMORPGs, such as EverQuest and Asheron's Call, the Galaxies player begins by creating an online personality, choosing the character's race, appearance, and profession. Unlike other massively multiplayer games, however, LucasArts' virtual worlds are set in the sci-fi Star Wars universe.
Become a Mon Calimari artisan or play as a Rodian marksman. Grow rich as an interplanetary smuggler or learn to serve the Dark Side in the role of an outcast Jedi. Join the Rebel Alliance, swear fealty to the Empire, or remain neutral. Star Wars Galaxies is designed to allow players to follow in the footsteps of their favorite characters from the Star Wars films or discover all new possibilities playing as lesser-known races and classes. Similarly, the persistent galaxy will be full of planets to explore or exploit, some as familiar as Tatooine and Coruscant, others yet unknown to all but the most ardent fans.
Character progression is relatively open, as each hero begins with base abilities and a number of "skill points" to assign as desired. As much as any other aspect, a character's abilities define his or her role in the game and skills are organized by "professions," such as Architect or Bounty Hunting. Players may choose to develop their characters to specialize in the skills of a certain profession, or may strive for a multi-talented character who is a "jack-of-all-trades" (but master of none). Acquisition of new skills is not automatic, as players may often need to achieve a certain status or complete a given quest to advance. Training is not always free.
As the game is set in the Star Wars universe, players who enter Star Wars Galaxies find themselves in the middle of a galactic civil war. Most player-vs.-player elements of the game occur in this context. Publicly or discreetly, characters can side with the Rebels, the Empire, or the Hutt criminal underworld. Open declaration of such an alliance may allow for combat situations with player characters of opposing factions, but characters may also take sides without such a public announcement, allowing them to serve their faction without drawing so much dangerous attention from rivals.
In development for several years, Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided is designed to bring the Star Wars universe to life at an unprecedented level of detail. The game is powered by a new 3D engine which allows rich environments and seamless transitions from one area to the next. In addition to exploration on foot, player characters will eventually be able to travel across planets and through space in a variety of vehicles. Characters can build and own houses or run their own factories. They can create and join new guilds and teams, with a pledge of developer support for such player-run associations. Ongoing future additions and expansions are promised as well, such that the Force may be with players for years to come.
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