The Return of Tamed Creatures to Star Wars Galaxies

April 28, 2007

The Star Wars Galaxies universe is currently agog over the impending introduction of the Beast Master profession.

This is an attempt to restore the professions of Creature Handler and Bio-engineer, which disappeared a couple of years ago when the game developers introduced the massively unpopular New Game Enhancement (hundreds of thousands of subscribers quit at the time) reducing the number of professions from a couple of dozen to nine.

Part of that decision was apparently based on the low number of Master Creature Handlers, but the developers failed to understand that in the old game people would dabble in different professions and changed professions often, that many had second characters as Creature Handlers, and that everybody liked having creatures as pets, mounts, or combat allies.

With the disappearance of the two professions, the remaining tamed creatures in the game, used as mounts or as decorations in homes, have become scarce and extremely valuable.

Now the new Beast Master system is running on the test servers. It is not a new profession as such. Instead the expertise points that have been rolled out to each player over the past months (an attempt to get back to the pre-NGE system of skill points) can be allocated in Beast Master skills. These seem to take two forms, those needed to actually harvest DNA and grow creature eggs, and those needed to train a hatched creature to be a fighting machine.

The developers seem to have scored in creating a system in which all four surviving craft professions (called “Traders” under the NGE) participate. It is a little harder to understand why they have created a brand new energy source (geo-thermal) to power the incubators for the eggs and the actual feeding system in the incubators seems to be incomprehensively complicated.

Apparently growing a creature to be a mount or decoration won’t be that hard. The incubating eggs will need to be fed a variety of new “enzymes” looted from the wild. But if they are to be used as combat allies those enzymes will have to be refined first in an extremely confusing manner, and requiring a wide selection of new components, many with confusingly similar names.

While the best thing the developers could have done would be to restore a few servers to the original game system as it was introduced four years ago, the introduction of Beast Master is at least a step back towards what was one of the nicer parts of the old game.


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