Taming Rancors is serious business.  Find out why in Entry 11 of From Beta To Blunder.

Entry #11

Friday, July 11, 2003, 2:10:42 AM (ScreenShot0185) 

Before I left Tatooine, I paid a visit to a good real life friend, Ruins Domino. I convinced him to get the game (we were in the same band irl), and of course like most of my RL friends, he rolled a musician. I’m pretty sure this was the Wayfar Cantina, as usually I’d leave Homer outside, but in Wayfar, “anything goes,” so I let him stink up the place. I invited Ruins to come along, explained that I was going to Dathomir for the first time, and that it would be a big difference from his normal routine… but (as with many entertainers), it was really hard to get this guy out of a Cantina. It wasn’t unheard of for an entertainer to join the hunt, but most preferred the bustling Cantinas and all the social activity that came along with them, as opposed to playing tunes solo in a scout camp.

Friday, July 11, 2003, 3:47:40 AM (ScreenShot0187) 

While hanging in Wayfar, Darkghosty rang me up and gave me some good news, my Chitin Armor was ready. I said my goodbyes to Ruins and made my way to DG’s place outside of Theed. Total trip at the time took about 50 or so minutes believe it or not. Not only did you have to run to either Bestine or Anchorhead, but you had to fight Tuskens or whatever else was in your way, and you definitely had to PvP if you were “overt” like I always was.

Initially I was always the type of PvPer to let the other guy take the first shot… but it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility for me to send my pets onto some poor imperial who was just trying to make his way to Jabbas either. That guy would get set back at least 30 minutes because he’d end up cloning back at Bestine. I’m pretty sure corpse runs were eliminated by this point though… not sure why, I always liked the idea of a big death penalty. On top of all that, Anchorhead doesn’t have a starport, so you either run into Bestine from Wayfar (as an overt rebel), and take your chances dying and cloning back at Wayfar (or taking heavy damage to clone locally). It’s either that, or you go to Anchorhead, and shuttle to Mos Eisley or wherever to catch a ship to another planet. And to add yet another layer, Theed was held by Imperials, so I’d have to fight my way out of the starport most of the time… thank God Ghosty lived behind Theed, it was easy to run out the back of the starport to his place.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 3:09:37 AM (ScreenShot0190) 

The next day, I decided that the unsliced Chitin was too cumbersome, so I threw on a light souvenir from the last group of Tuskins that caused me trouble and decided that a Swoop Helmet would round out the outfit cause I couldn’t get a Tusken Helmet over my giant fish head. I went from my house to Nyms to drop anything that wasn’t a necessity off at the bank, and then I headed to the starport.

I’ll tell you what. Lok isn’t the hardest planet to navigate. At a certain point, you can solo anything on Lok. I took a good look at that Kimo that day. Could I take him? Probably not. I didn’t have the pets for the task yet, buffs weren’t invented yet, and my pistol skills just weren’t there yet. But even if I had a shot to take him down, I really didn’t want to. I knew I’d have many Kimo soloing days ahead of me. This particular Kimo was something I thought would send a message to the slowly escalating numbers of adventurers finally making their way to Lok. You wanna come to Lok? Fine… but you need to find a different way to the cloner, cause unless you have a well balanced, well oiled team, this Kimo is going to tear noobs to shreds all day long. Head north instead and go look for Pharphles kids. I liked that big guy being there. This way, when I told people I built on Lok, they’d have to think to themselves “woah, that dude Vroflus deals with this type of thing every day… I deal with Capper Spineflaps.”

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 3:31:00 AM (ScreenShot0199) 

Dathomir. When you first get off the shuttle, you realize the severity of the situation. It was practically pitch black out. There was only one way out of the outpost that I flew into, as the whole camp is surrounded by a big metal wall. Zox was waiting for me in a small makeshift Cantina. He made sure to remind me multiple times to clone before I left. I didn’t have to ask why. We put our “mask scent” modifiers on, and ran side by side straight out the front gate. He had been on the planet for a little while, did a decent job scouting out the local area, and assured me that running out the front gate would become familiar considering the amount of times he’d been deathblown that day.

We stuck close together as usual. Zox was the impulsive one of the bunch, but he was by no means stupid. After seeing the con level of the Reptilian Flyers and Purboles, I wasn’t surprised to see him playing it safe. The landscape was mountainous, but we both had above average terrain negotiation, so we were able to traverse the obstacles with relative ease. Eventually we came across a Malkloc nest, and I decided that I wanted to bring one home. Taming him was surprisingly easy. I named him Rain, and had him for the duration of my time in SWG. Zox stood guard while I reeled the beast in, and within minutes we were back to running through the thick forest once again.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 5:22:20 AM (ScreenShot0200) 

Almost two hours later, we made the call to split up. As usual the plan was to stay focused. We were here for Rancors, not XP. If we aggro’d anything, the plan was to burst run to a safe distance, wait until the burst run reset, and then continue forward. We moved west, and made sure we never strayed more then 3000m from one another. At the time, once a group member would leave a distance of about 300m, the indicator would no longer keep track of his or her actual distance from you. We circumvented this glitch by constantly sending waypoints to one another. It was easy to get off course, and the last thing we wanted was to end up in the middle of no where without any medic support in case of an incap.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 5:22:20 AM (ScreenShot0206) 

Night turned to day yet again. By this time, Fuxu and Obi-Jin (a guy we ran into frequently while exploring) joined our group, although they had a lot of ground to cover to catch us so deep into the forest. Regardless, Zox and I ironically both ran into Rancor nests at the same time. This was perfect. Zox would tame the baby at his nest, and then come and tame the one at my nest. As you can see in the chat, things did not go according to plan. After multiple times failing to tame the baby Rancor, it despawned right in front of Zox’s eyes. He was beside himself, but I reminded him that my Rancor was still safe and sound.

Taming Rancors is as serious a business as the internets itself. You can go about it one of three ways. You can kill all the adult Rancors that surround it, and then go for the tame. This is usually impossible, as Rancors are pack creatures and the baby will end up getting killed in the fight. Another way is to actually attempt to tame the baby right in front of his family. This is not usually advised, because if you fail and aggro the baby, you’ve got a pack of adult Rancors on top of you ready to send you back to the cloner. It’s not impossible, but it’s a risk. The Marksman has a third option. An effective Warning Shot will send a creature running in a random direction.

What I did was hit the baby with a warning shot. This of course aggros the whole nest. It’s like a chain… I chase the baby, and keep hitting him with warning shots (being very careful not to kill him), and the pack chases me in return. Eventually I “peace out” of the fight, and after a while, the pack stops chasing me, and the baby stops running. I was left alone with the baby. Or was I? All the commotion aroused the attention of a near by tamer. “Ballrog” casually walked over and asked if I needed any help. I explained that I was “holding the Rancor” for a friend, but we got to know one another. Ballrog was taming Rancors and selling them to the highest bidders. He was a cool guy, I (as usual) added his name to the ol’ friendslist, and went about my business of getting smacked in the face by the gargantuan hand of a baby Rancor, periodically healing myself until Zox arrived.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 5:47:20 AM (ScreenShot0208)

It was a big moment for us all. Fuxu and Obi caught up, and the three of us sat back and gave Zox some room to work. He already had trouble earlier in the day sealing the deal, the last thing he needed was one of us aggroing the baby while he was trying to tame it. As you can see from my cheering, Zox pulled it off. It took a lot of effort that day, but Zox had his prize. He named it “Masa,” and later on that day he bought “Mune” from Ballrog for something around 80,000 credits (which was all Zox had for sure). From there on out, we referred to them as “the twins.” Years later, my pal Zox Denosis would quit SWG, and entrust them both with me.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 5:47:20 AM (ScreenShot0208) 

Dathomir wasn’t all taming legendary beasts and acting like we owned the place. As you can see above, Homer frequently found himself standing over my incapped body in the middle of a pack of hungry Rancors. You really had no choice but to respect this planet in those days. We’d never of survived without maskscent, that much I can say for sure. There was way too much to aggro, and the space to work with was very limited. There were also a lot of natural line of sight issues, the terrain was completely uneven, and of course you had Nightsisters and Witches lurking about as well. One cool thing I should mention… this planet was buildable with player housing at this time. If you built your house on “Dath” as we called it, and you kept it maintained, then you’d be “grandfathered in” a couple of weeks later when they shut it down for player housing. There was only one house that I knew of on Eclipse located on Dathomir, it was locked, and I believe it wasn’t maintained because I don’t remember seeing it for very long.

Saturday, July 12, 2003, 9:44:52 AM (ScreenShot0221) 

Loading… don’t think for a second this game was stable in the early days. The devs constantly brought the servers down, or they just crashed, very frequently. And as already discussed, rollbacks would often accompany adding to the setback. In a way, even in this circumstance, the community found a way to make something out of a bad situation. When the servers would crash, my AIM would be humming. The first to check in was always Zox of course, and then the flood of incoming and outgoing AIM messages from Ramp, Flo, Ciale, etc would keep me more then occupied. The second those servers came back online we’d circulate a quick “UP” message to one another. You could be in the middle of a conversation, and then “UP” would come across, and you’d pick up right where you left off in game. We would sometimes know how addicted we were in this circumstance as well, when one of us would out of habit start an AIM conversation with “/tell.” It was just an obvious reminder of where we all would rather be having that conversation.

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