SWC didn't have Creature and Bandit combat for an entire decade. There really was no use for a blaster. Now you can shoot creatures for XP, shoot them and if you are lucky get a drop you can sell for cash, or if you are really lucky you get a creature egg you can hatch into a creature of your own.
Or you can shoot Bandits for XP, or if you are lucky an item the bandit was wearing/using can drop.
Now you can shoot other people on the one planet of Derra.
See? Lots of uses for guns.