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NGE – (n):  Short for “New Game Experience”.  NGE was introduced into the very popular game of Star Wars Galaxies back when it was quite popular, as a way of making it complete against Blizzard’s “World of Warcraft”.  Although little is known about who actually did what, there is strong evidence that LucasArts forced Sony’s Dev team to completely rewrite the interface as well as the entire gaming system so that it resembled something closer to WoW’s interface.  This was an attempt to get more people from the pre-teen and early teen market.  One of the changes was that the complex and original skilltree was replaced by a simple, yet restrictive and unoriginal skill line.   For the majority of players the game became unplayable and Star Wars Galaxies never recovered from the event. 

Since that time, the term “NGE” has referred to any situation where either Developers or Game Owners make stupid, short-sighted changes, in the belief that they know how to make the game “better”.  “Better” in this context usually means, “Get more money now.   Honesty, quality, even facts, are not considered”.

That has never proven to be true.

Fast Forward to Bioware.

I love Bioware.  I love the Fallout Series, I love the Mass Effect Series, I love the Knights of the Old Republic Series.  I loved games like Jade Empire and Baldar’s Gate.  So when I heard that they were going to do a Star Wars MMO.  I was beside myself!  They could do no wrong!

Then.. they did.   Twice.

First was the Mass Effect 3 Ending Utter Fail.  Mass Effect 3, where all the effort you put into the decisions across three game series,decisions that could have so many different outcomes, turned out to have a truly zero mass effect at the end.  Wow.  Just.. amazing fail.  I didn’t even bother to finish the game and its now collecting dust on my shelf.  The cherry on top was Casey Hudson defending the story ending.. despite the fact that its essentially the same ending no matter what you did.  “NGE” for sure.

Second is turning out to be the mess of Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO.  This game would be awesome IF it wasn’t an MMO.  The main reason is that it doesn’t act like an MMO.  I don’t have a place to call my own.  I can’t customize my ship.  Heck, I can’t even buy a ship that I want!  And when I fly in space, yep can’t even do that my own way either.  There is nothing MMO about SW:TOR.. it’s completely impersonal!  Any smuggler can replace my smuggler and vice versa.  I can replace any trooper and vice versa.  At least in Star Wars Galaxies, you had real freedom to do things, to be where you wanted to be.  Bioware didn’t even get PAZAAK into the game!

The “NGE” portion is still coming up because now EA no longer has it as a priority game, and some are even predicting that it will be Free to Play by January of next year.  As one commenter said, “If it didn’t have lightsabers, you’d never know it was a Star Wars game.” 

Some other interesting reads on these subjects:

Electronic Arts Hall of Shame: http://www.holdtheline.com/entries/electronic-arts-hall-of-shame.65/?page=1

BBB Blog on Mass Effect 3: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2012/04/mass-effect-3-is-having-a-mass-effect-on-its-consumers-for-better-or-worse/

MMORPG SWTOR Forums on Reviews: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/367/view/forums/forum/1242/Reviews-Impressions.html

All in all, with subs dropping fast, and EA being truly cryptic about subscriber numbers as well as indicating that they don’t put it as a high priority at this time.. it will be interesting to see if (when) SW:TOR finally falls by the wayside.

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