Star Wars Galaxies Launches

The base game, titled Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, was released on 26 June 2003 in the USA and on 7 November, 2003 in Europe.

A localized version for the Japanese market was published by Electronic Arts Japan on 23 December, 2004. Japanese acceptance of the game was low, and in November 2005 the servers were shut down and existing accounts migrated to US servers.

At the time of its initial release, the game was very different than it is now. Vehicles and creature mounts were not yet implemented. While player housing was available at the time of launch, the ability to incorporate groups of houses into cities didn't come until November 2003. Each character and creature possessed three "pools" (called Health, Action, and Mind; or "HAM") that represented his or her physical and mental reserves. Most attacks specifically targeted one of these three pools and any action the character took also depleted one or more of the pools. When any one of those pools was fully depleted, the character would fall unconscious. Combat, then, required the player to carefully manage his or her actions to avoid depleting a pool.

Character progression was vastly different at release as well. Characters started out in one of six basic professions (Medic, Brawler, Marksman, Scout, Entertainer, or Artisan) and could pick up any of the other five at any time after character creation. Each profession consisted of a tree-like structure of skills, with a single Novice level, four independent branches of four levels each, and a Master level which required completion of all four branches. Characters purchased these skills with experience points gained through a related activity. For example, an Entertainer could purchase skills to get better at playing music, but only with Musician experience points. Dancing experience points were entirely separate and could only be used to purchase dancing skills.

In addition to the basic professions, characters could specialize into advanced professions such as Bounty Hunter, Creature Handler, Ranger, Doctor, and Musician. There were a total of 24 advanced professions, although there was no way for characters to obtain all of them at once. Each advanced profession had certain skill requirements from the base professions that had to be met, some more restrictive than others.

Jedi were not available as a starting profession, or even as an advanced profession. The developers stated only that certain in-game actions would open up a Force-sensitive character slot. The actions required were left for players to discover. It eventually turned out that characters had to achieve Master level in random professions. At first the player had to complete four master level classes which were randomly chosen and unknown to the player. The developers then introduced Holocrons which would inform the player of the first, then after completion second master class required. At various times the number of master levels needed ranged from four to seven and the number revealed by holocrons varied from two to four. The first Force-sensitive character slot was unlocked on 7 November 2003.