Florian gives us some personal insight in Entry 13 of From Beta to Blunder.

Entry #13

Sunday, July 13, 2003, 6:41:15 AM (ScreenShot0249) 

PVP. Before temploiters. Before mod stackers. Even before most people had enough XP to be a master in their combat class. PVP was part of the experience from the very first day. Personally, I joined the Rebels because my friends did, and as a rule we were generally overt at all times. Early on, I held my own. I was nothing special, but I had my moments. Eventually I’d be completely outgunned and outclassed by the hardcore PVP community… but at the start, I was sure to be involved daily. After the Kimo hunt on Lok earlier that day, Flo’s business partner (and real life friend) Alistea asked if we’d like to participate in a raid on Bestine. Having just joined the Rebellion, I thought it’d be a nice change of pace… so along with my buddies, I joined the group. Ali’s plan was put into practice multiple times prior to this moment. She had it all worked out. We flew from Nym’s on Lok to Mos Eisley on Tatooine, and then from there we shuttled into Anchorhead. When I arrived, there was a sea of Rebels on the premises. Anchorhead was a tiny settlement, even smaller then Wayfar I think… but they had a shuttle, which is more then I could say for Wayfar at the time. It was my first time being there, but I saw some familiar faces. People were running faction missions, the cantina was bustling, and some guys were just hanging out catching up. All in all, this place was packed. As I stood there I started to grasp that while “my thing” was being out in the woods or the unpopulated deserts, other people spent their time in bustling PVP hubs.Alistea walked over to a few guys I’ve never seen before, and together they created the plan. When she came back over, she explained the task. There would be a multipronged assault on not only Bestine, but Theed as well. Our group consisted of about 15 people, but we coordinated with the other group which was about 15 people as well. Group 2 shuttled to Mos Eisley, and as they did, Group 1 (my group) walked from Anchorhead to the outskirts of Bestine. The second group let Ali know when the ship to Theed arrived, and when it did, we stormed Bestines Starport. The true goal was to hold Theed as long as possible, and to do that, our group was to make sure that no Imperial made it out of Bestine, so they couldn’t help the battle at Theed.Zox and I had 3 Rancors between us, and we got to test them in PVP for the first time ever. The moment Imperials were in range, we sent the pets in ahead of our group. The Imperials were mostly overt, because they were running faction missions prior to our arrival. When we showed up, they were completely caught off guard. My job was to gank anyone using the bank, and to prevent anyone from using the shuttle that lay adjacent to it. I also had a clear view to the cloner, the cantina, and the starport. Ciale and Rampage stormed the med center, and Ali, Florian, and the rest camped the Starport itself, inside and out. In about 5 minutes the bulk of the opposing army was killed and covert. We got word that the Theed assault went over just as well, so we had both Imperial epicenters of the galaxy in check. This type of disruption would be typical in the early days, as both Rebels and Imperials constantly would make their best effort to prevent the other side from mastering their professions. To stop the other side from getting too strong, you had to stop their xp gain.

From the Florian Files –

The Battle of Bestine was part of the first large scale rebel attack on the Empire… From what I remember, it was totally organized by word of mouth at the Theed spaceport. One rebel whispering to another. Eventually a comm channel was opened, and a multi pronged assault was put together.

Alistea, I feel was always a go-to pvp leader. She held down the force at Bestine, calling out troop movements, warning of incoming imps etc…. The kimo hunt on Lok was really eye opening for her I think; suddenly the power of group movement became very apparent. She basically took what Vroflus was doing to Kimos and applied it to the empire…

Monday, July 14, 2003, 1:31:33 AM (ScreenShot0255) 

Zox may have had two Rancors, but there was no way he was going to raise them faster then I’d raise Ballrog. You can see that Zox had a giant Womp Rat too, that thing was about as big as a baby Rancor at the time. At this point, Florian was a full time buddy. Everyone really liked him and Alistea, so we all made sure to include one another in any of our plans. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to come grind XP on Lok, so we spent a lot of days hunting Kimo together. We still had big Kimo hunts, but they were usually down to about 5 or less people, because it was better XP in a smaller group. You were also able to get thousands of hide or bones instead of having to share in a bigger group. Around this time, some people had to start dropping scout in favor of elite professions, so it meant more harvesting, and more XP, for yours truly.
Monday, July 14, 2003, 1:55:23 AM (ScreenShot0257) 

One of my all time favorite screenshots. The pets were tanking, Zox and I were mid distance, followed by the Trans guys (riflemen) at maximum range. A dead Kimo rounds out the picture, illustrating just how we operated by that time. You can see the blast from my FWG5 caught on camera. It was a great gun, the vast majority of the Pistoleers preferred it, and the Weaponsmiths couldn’t pump them out fast enough. A good speed slice would have you pumping out steady DPS without drawing unwanted aggro. Zox and I fought side by side since beta. By this time, we would line up together without even thinking. I’d extend this habit to the battles I fought with Florian as well.There’s something awesome about being in a firefight right next to a close friend. It’s not just the fact that you can drop heals on one another at any given time. For me, I would queue up some special attacks, turn the hud off, and zoom in close. I’d see the looks on our faces, or the explosions coming out of our guns. I’d move the camera in every direction possible, looking for the perfect angle for an unforgettable screenshot. Often times I’d end up compromising the integrity of battle, because I was too busy looking at my group, and not spending any time looking at the mobs.People would sometimes ask why I was crawling on the floor looking up at them instead of participating in the fight. I guess now they’ll all know. Maybe instead of being a middleman in the SWG EMU, I’ll be the official camera man. A story teller to chronicle the entire launch, creating a novel, page for page, for everyone to read, centering around the people that make the galaxy spin far and wide. A SWG EMU in game journalist… This is the type of approach I give a game like pre-cu SWG, because SWG is so open that you can treat it however you want. Yeah you have 34 professions (including pilot) to choose from. But I made a 35th in “Middleman,” and why not make a 36rd in a “Galactic Journalist?” It’s probably been done before. You are never bound by anything in SWG other then your imagination.

Monday, July 14, 2003, 9:23:49 PM (ScreenShot0261) 

One CH, his Rancor, and someone tanking. I was on the cusp of being able to solo one of the most feared creatures in all of the galaxy. Two manning a Kimo as a Pistoleer was a fairly easy process. You send the pets in to gain aggro, you send in the tank, and you sit back and fire away. Sometimes I’d have to heal the pets or the guy who went in head first, but generally I just tried to maintain an even DPS as not to attract any of the Kimos attention. It would not be long before I was out there on my own doing this by myself for hours on end.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 2:25:14 AM (ScreenShot0265) 

Corellia. Honestly I didn’t spend too much time there, although Coronet was a huge Rebel hub, not to mention a general connecting flight to most adventure planets. Nosun and Warbucks lived on this planet, so I occasionally stopped by one of their houses as well. Generally, I tried to stack errands, so when I got to this planet, I’d hit the cantina, hit Nosuns place, hit the Middleman contacts, maybe tame a Slice Hound for someone, and then head off planet. The Coronet Starport was cool, because tons of people had to use it to connect to the rest of the galaxy. You’d very frequently run into your pals while waiting 10 minutes for the ship. Also, you can see that Homer was almost full grown. As a fighter, he was not preferred. As a companion, he was irreplaceable.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 2:27:44 AM (ScreenShot0266) 

I remember being blown away by the water in SWG. The way it met the shores on Corellia was artistically inspiring. You’d think a fish would swim super fast, but it’s not the case, and I really don’t know why. It didn’t stop me from taking the frequent dip though. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the water too much, because anything I needed done on Corollia was usually taken care of by Nosun for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 2:55:55 AM (ScreenShot0268) 

“So what do you think Nosun, feel like making a lil extra cash?” It’s all there in the chat. This is how my deals were born. Nosun was especially critical because he would do the running around, being my face to the public. In some cases, I didn’t actually meet the person I was dealing with, he went entirely through Nosun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 2:57:25 AM (ScreenShot0269) 

Florian did a good job of ironing out the pricing and logistics of the transactions with me. At that point it wasn’t really “my” operation anymore. I had a trusted network of friends, they all knew their specialties inside and out, so no one really needed any guidance. If it was pet or harvest related, it defaulted to me or Ramp. Anything mining related went to Flo and Ali. Nosun would do the running around, and as time went on, the deals got bigger, and he’d end up getting paid thousands for making 30 minute runs. I think he actually started to parcel out some of his runs to Warbucks, who needed the extra cash.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003, 2:58:00 AM (ScreenShot0270) 

And that’s how Nosun really got involved. I think Flo only used him as a currier a couple of times. Florian was too social a guy to not see his clients face to face and iron out the details. I’m pretty sure him and Ali made a killing both before and after they met me. Sure I helped them make some contacts like Darkghosty, but they were well established before I met them. If anything, they did me a huge favor by giving me the access to their bulk mined goods, something I had no idea about, to plug into my trade schemes.

From the Florian Files:

In the early days, as a young fish, I remember taking a walk in the suburbs of Coronet, and being awed by the batteries of mineral extractors (the small ones at that point). As young idealistic rebels, my friend Alistea and I hatched a plan. We would start up a mining operation of our own to fund the rebellion… As budding pistoleers, we couldn’t afford to devote to a crafting profession, our combat skills would deteriorate as a result. Plus, if we could get some really choice minerals for weaponsmiths like Smith N’ Wesson, Stry’ker, or Dominous, then maybe we would have first dibs on some sweet weaponry. Our first minerals came the hard way; we mined by hand, taking core samples repeatedly over choice deposits in hard-to-reach places. These small amounts of metal were enough to sell on the bazaar, and in turn, we raised enough capital to buy our first true extractors. Now, let me say, sampling by hand is extremely arduous; so running to hard-to-reach locales to construct our mines was no problem!We were small, even in those days; however, small meant flexible. We would constantly be surveying for new deposits. Even in the middle of a gun battle, Alistea and I were known to kneel down and pull a core sample or two… In those days, we ventured to planets like Yavin and Lok (you could even build on Dathomir in the early days), placing our extractors in places no one would dare go. These efforts paid off. We came to discover that most of those giant fields of extractors on Corellia were in fact just pulling junk minerals for grinding. Our 20 extractors were pulling top-grade ores that weaponsmiths and armorsmiths were paying top dollar for. Those little mines eventually went on to fund our guild, The Guardians of Lok.Vroflus became our middleman, connecting us to slightly lesser known smiths, who often times were left out of the mineral market. Specifically, big (imperial) weaponsmiths went out of their way to corner the market, persuading miners to sell all of their minerals to them. Connecting with the smaller rebel smiths enabled us to contribute to the rebel cause on a more personal basis (bigger smiths made miners sell to vendors).

Nosun became a very reliable courier after the meeting pictured in Vro’s last post. We even entrusted him to unload our mined ores and transport them to various customers. His help was tremendous in those days. As my contacts grew, my free time shrank… These kinds of relationships were what Vroflus was all about….