What's So Strange About Star Wars: The Old Republic's Planet Makeb?

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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What's So Strange About Star Wars: The Old Republic's Planet Makeb?

A lot of people have been enjoying the Star Wars MMO, "Star Wars: The Old Republic". But one particular enhancement, and one particular point in that enhancement, in one particular expansion is making a whole lot of trouble for EA and Bioware.

For this one, we're looking at the "Rise of the Hutt Cartel" expansion to "Star Wars: The Old Republic". The new arrival of planet Makeb is bringing with it a lot of new gameplay options, along with the rise of the Hutt Cartel, a group of Hutts who want to grow being smuggling and criminal behavior to become the new law--and power--in the galaxy. One option in particular is giving both EA and Bioware a lot of headaches: SGR.

"SGR", if you're not familiar with the acronym, stands for "same-gender romance". This has a lot of people up in arms, but where it gets worse is that not only will the SGR functionality be limited to planet Makeb--and only planet Makeb--but planet Makeb is only available in a part of the game that users have to pay to access. "Star Wars: The Old Republic" recently went from a subscription model like that of ultra-popular "World of Warcraft", but recently moved to the alternative.

This has left EA and Bioware in an unpleasant position: not only have they enraged various religious and other groups against homosexuality by including SGR in the first place, but they have also enraged those who wanted SGR, because to get in on it they not only have to pay, but they also can only engage on it in one planet, effectively creating what some are calling a "gay ghetto". Worse, it's a "gay ghetto" that players actually have to pay money to enter.

If they'd taken out the SGR, of course, they would have faced a problem from those who wanted it, and may well have taken their business elsewhere. Meanwhile, leaving it in infuriates those who'd rather not see it in the first place. While EA and Bioware's solution might seem to be the perfect intermediary step--you can have it, but only here, so that everyone else who'd rather not doesn't have to see it--it turns out that that one was the worst step of all, equally enraging both sides of the coin.

It's a difficult problem, really; "Star Wars: The Old Republic" needs all the gamers it can get to give it anything resembling a fighting chance against the recently-expanded World of Warcraft. But at the same time, each side of this particular problem wants something completely different, so there's a good chance that this move will ultimately cost EA and Bioware players. Is there a happy ending anywhere to be had in this event? It's hard to see one, but hopefully they can find it, and keep the Star Wars MMO phenomenon going.

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