My time in Star Wars galaxies came to an end last weekend. I had some fun during my trial, but in the end the game simply wasn't polished enough for me to justify buying the client or subbing. The controls are not very intuitive. Even after two weeks getting used to them, they were really only tolerable. The graphics engine also is poorly optimized. Running the game on a rig that would have been an alien supercomputer when SWG launched, my frame-rates still bogged down in places. Finally, minor things like mobs shooting me through walls or quest chains bugging out started to get to me.
SWG has amazing depth, and if I could play it for free I'd probably still be messing around with it. However, it just doesn't have the polish I expect from a sub based MMO that's been out for seven years. Since my trial ended I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons Online again. Accounts of several bloggers of the Wednesday nights with Massively gave me the urge to fire it up. I restarted on Kyhber, and I've been having a lot of fun with a freshly minted Paladin there. Transitioning between SWG and DDO, one thing that really struck me is how similar the their combat systems are.
Like SWG, the combat in DDO is "real time" rather than turn based. Like SWG, you target a foe with your mouse and click (or hold down) the left mouse button to auto attack. Unlike SWG, hitting buttons on your hotbar (or a number on your keyboard) actives a special attack directly. In SWG, hitting a hotbar button maps a special ability to your right mouse button rather than activating it. The right mouse button is used both to move the camera and to activate specials, which makes it extremely easy to blow off specials accidentally. DDO doesn't have that issue because the right mouse button is used strictly for the camera.
It sounds like a minor difference, but for me it's the difference between swearing at my monitor and not thinking about the controls at all. Add in the dated and inefficient graphics engine SWG uses, and the whole experiences comes off as clunky compared to DDO. I can't help but wonder if SWG would be doing better if its developers had nailed real time combat as well as Turbine did [or perhaps not tried to jam real time combat into a game with an engine that wasn't designed for it . . .but that's a can of worms I prefer not to open].