For eight years, if anyone wanted to role play a character from the Star Wars universe, you were either consigned to do it in costume at one of the Comic Cons through out the U.S. and Europe, or play the MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies. Soon, at least for a short while, you'll only be able to do it in costume.

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Sony Online has decided that the time has come to pull the plug on Star Wars Galaxies. It's eight year run was full of ups and downs. Many were technical, and some were with changes made in the game that left many players ready to turn to the Dark Side because their character, or "Toon" as it's called in online role play jargon, was in some cases left without a class or role to play in the game because of the elimination of those classes. You could play one of eight classes some of which were, Jedi, bounty hunter, smuggler, officer, trader, and entertainer. So If they were a higher level, they had to pretty much start from scratch again. This left a lot of players pretty peeved, like my friend Mike who played a lot and had built up a pretty impressive character.

After that fiasco, some jumped ship at the next spaceport in protest. Others just rolled with it and kept playing. But over the time is has been running, membership has been steady. The reason for the shutdown though has more to do with the new Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG from Bioware, expected to be coming out at some point in the next couple years. If you've seen any of the trailers and videos setting up the story of the Old Republic, you'll see it's a much more rich and diverse setting for the game. A few thousand years before the rise of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

It's good timing for all this to be happening anyways not only because of the new game coming out, but also because the license for the rights Sony has, runs out in 2012. But fear not, if you are a Galaxies fan. There are still a ton of FREE servers running by dedicated fans that are unofficial and highly frowned on by Sony. But a quick Google search helps you find servers so you can play long after the Galaxies servers are turned off. They are not as populated as the official ones, but I'm guessing some of that may change if die hard fans still want to be able to play. I'll leave you with a video of one of the teaser trailers for The Old Republic. May the Force be with you.