With War of the Ring on the Horizon, and Middle-earth Online following in late 2004, fans of online games will have all of Middle-earth at their fingertips. Is Star Wars Galaxies paving the way for another new generation of Online Titles, or is it a grim look into our own disgruntled futures? I, for one, am somewhat concerned.

A good friend of mine got me into Star Wars Galaxies. Naturally many fans of Tolkien’s mystical world also have a soft spot for that galaxy far far away. Even rings star Sean Astin has confessed that he has love for both universes and couldn’t lean towards one or the other. So Star Wars Galaxies was supposed to hold me over until Chris Taylor and his magicians over at Vivendi Universal would give us all a piece of Middle-earth to call our own. Unfortunately, what I found upon logging in is a depressed and deprived world filled with obvious bugs and Customer Service Reps who just don’t seem to give a damn.

My experiences started off on the planet of Corellia. My good friend Jaero who talked me into making the leap to Star Wars Galaxies is part of a Guild of Players who exist on Naboo [Avian Technology and Trade], and already the game was frustrating as it wouldn’t let me choose Naboo as my starting location. Something about overcrowding. So I piddled along doing delivery missions in a foreign world quite oblivious to the hours of tedium that stood before me. Well, needless to say I worked to get my Shuttle Ticket to Naboo and was soon running around with my pals in this lush beautiful environment.

Since that day one month ago I’ve seen many things, many disturbing things, and Customer Service Representatives and Developers alike carrying on as if it was the best game ever made. I guess the best example of this is a Tech Support Forum post in which a player had stated that he was having difficulty with his Imperial Trooper, well after he explained his problem a CSRRobyn comes on with a long response about Creature Handling and how it had recently been changed. That’s great, if he had asked anything about Creature Handling. I posted a response on the thread questioning why she answered his question with non-applicable information and they simply deleted the thread including the gentleman’s original complaint!

Is this the level of customer service we can expect when Vivendi makes their jump to MMORPGs? Some would say we could be walking into the same kind of chaos. Even after my experiences with Galaxies, I’m still optomistic that with the skilled guidance of Chris Taylor, an avid MMORPG player himself, Middle-earth Online will truly be the place to go to find out own little corner of Middle-earth. No one really knows, and no one will know until that fateful day rolls around towards the end of 2004.


…is it the end of 2004 yet?

…no huh?…

…how bout now?