I spent a very pleasant few hours last Sunday afternoon reading PC Gamer's lookback at the MMO 'Star Wars Galaxies', and why it's no longer around, unlike other MMOs like 'World of Warcraft'.
I am a great fan of MMOs done right, and stepping into SWG for the first time, with my newbie Creature Handler, trying to get the hang of the controls, and not get too badly injured by the womp rats I was trying to shoot outside Mos Eisley Spaceport, while goggling at all the life going on around me, was just like being in the Star Wars Universe. Getting approached by another (higher level) player character, wondering if 'he' was here to help or hinder, gave you the feeling that you were in a movie.
As it happened, 'he' (could have been a 12 year old schoolgirl or a middle aged bank manager, that's the beauty of MMOs!) helped me out a lot, and showed me all the ropes before bidding me farewell. MMOs are famous time-sinks, and we must have spent ages on that first run around Mos Eisley. I progressed, and loved the game, played it as much as I could. But in the end, my beloved Creature Handler class was eventually removed in the last disastrous rebalancing before the game folded, and none of my pets could accompany me across the galaxy any more, so I moved on to other games.
The main meat of any article, these days, is of course in the comments, and the reminiscing of other fans & players about their experiences. And it was a comment here that directed me to this extraordinary series of blogposts by Raph Koster, who was the driving force behind a game that, ultimately, couldn't handle its ambitions.
If you ever wonder what it must be like to be the creator of a gaming world, this series of articles will tell you all you need, and more.