An estimated 230 hours of Star Wars Galaxies played in 22 days. Was I a powergamer? Read on and decide for yourself.

Entry #15

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 12:45:57 AM (ScreenShot0291) 

Two days later, we were already 24 hours into Yavin IV. Zox and I arrived the prior day to scope the place out, and Junon soon followed. Much like our Dathomir arrival, we found ourselves in a tiny outpost surrounded by a giant fence. There was an incredibly giant planet in the sky above us, which I assumed was Yavin itself. Looking at my minimap, I saw red cons right outside the gates, so we knew we weren’t going to cut through this place the way we were cutting through Lok. It’s be more like Dath, we’d have to be focused and careful. The thing was, by this time, it wasn’t just three vs. the world. We each had a Probe Droid (pre-nerf of course), we had 3 Rancors, plus 3 other pets out at the same time just between Zox and I, not to mention that Junon had his three (albeit lower level) pets out. So you had three players, three droids, and nine pets, for a group total of 15 offensive weapons. Lets just say we weren’t sneaking up on anyone out there.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 1:53:41 AM (ScreenShot0294) 

If you know your Yavin IV geography, then you know we made it well into the planet to come across this sight. We were a day and a half deep. By this time, we were making efforts to store our earth shaking entourage and instead snake through mobs for hours on end, just looking for POI’s or other interesting things. I don’t remember if POI’s were on the world map yet, I don’t think they were, but we knew that Yavin had certain Jedi related artifacts, so naturally, with Jedi being a huge question mark in the game, we wanted to be the first to actually find a temple. I’m sure we weren’t first, considering that we actually saw mineral harvesters deep in the woods (most likely Florians, who else would be crazy enough?). After hours of walking, we came to a cliff. We walked to the ledge, and as we peered over, there it was. A giant temple, surrounded by water. The first thing I did (of course) was take this screenshot, the second thing I did was create a mail and send the waypoint to Ciale, who was our resident Jedi hopeful.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 1:53:41 AM (ScreenShot0296) 

We burst ran down the hill and directly into the gaping opening of the temple. You’d think we’d be more cautious, but oddly enough, nothing was on our radar at all. We thought that maybe “the force” was clouding our minimaps, and maybe once we got inside, we’d be met with a ton of high level mobs. But we weren’t. The devs had not yet added this particular content, and the entire temple was completely empty. It was a letdown, but it didn’t stop us from speculating over everything we came across. Obviously Junon thought that maybe if he had brought his prized looted Jedi Amulet (vendor trash), and rubbed it ever so gently on the crystal, he’d instantly be turned into the first Jedi in SWG. In a time before the holo grind, anything and everything was thrown out for consideration. We just didn’t know, and although I didn’t care about being a Jedi, the thought of being the guy to crack the dev’s secret was enticing enough for me to put forth some effort and snoop around.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 2:27:34 AM (ScreenShot0298) 

Although the temple was empty, the structure itself was cool. The fact that this thing was located in the middle of the jungle brought a certain mystique to Yavin IV, and it was a nice reward for two days of snooping around. Zox and Junon spent hours in that place trying to crack the code, so I went for a walk and took some pictures, soaked in the environment, and harvested some mobs to see what quality was spawning on Yavin.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 4:15:59 AM (ScreenShot0305) 

A Kliknik gets the drop on the Creature Handler, but the Rancor gets the drop on the Kliknik. This is another one of my all time favorite shots. If you’ve never played a CH, this is what it feels like. True, Zox and Junon were in the temple. Yes, it’s also a fact that I technically was “soloing” a nest of Klikniks. But only a foolish CH would not have backup close by. I may’ve had Homer and Lain concentrating on my target, but Ballrog was never far away. In the event of unintended aggro, I’d have a pet guarding my six, ready to intercept any creature (or player) that tried to catch me off guard. You can guess who won the fight going on behind me. Meanwhile, with a fresh FWG5 in hand, I was peeling my way through the outer layer of mobs, slowly making my way to the baby Kliknik Queen deep in the pack. I tamed her on my first attempt, and quickly named her “Klik” so I could get her up and running with XP. Kliknik Queen babys were eventually removed from SWG, so she would end up being one of the few pet queens left in existence.

Thursday, July 17, 2003, 4:20:05 AM (ScreenShot0306) 

I always respected the weather changes in SWG. The effect may have lagged other people out, or gone unnoticed by some, but personally I looked forward to the heavy rain, or the leaves falling on Naboo. Yavin was awesome for this type of experience. The thick grass, the dense jungle, and the heavy rain, all coupled with the giant gas giant in the sky made for a unique backdrop to the Yavin IV experience. While it did in some ways remind me of Dathomir, it was less mountainous at times, so the line of sight was better for hunting on many parts of Yavin. Also, I think Klik’s are one of the coolest mobs in the game, and requests for them came pouring in once people saw them.

Me, Ramp, Zox, Junon and Ciale all started to realize that taming for other people was not only lucrative, but it was very fun. The idea started being thrown around that we would host “Galactic Safari’s,” allowing players to hire us to bring them to any planet in the game, and tame them the pet of their choosing. We immediately went on the official boards and made a post offering this service. It was met with interest, although some people trolled us saying things like “why would I need you, I can do that myself.” You sure can, but this was a fun way to meet people, and as some players were unskilled, or just throught it would be a good time, we soon had the safari’s up and running. As we still didn’t have a guild hall placed, we referred to our guild as “Hunters, Harvesters, and Tamers,” or <HHT>. It would be a little while before we had a guild hall placed, and officially had the tag about our heads. We’ll get into that in a few entries… but notice, the guild that I joined was not the same as the guild on Lok that Florian joined. It’ll all be explained as the story unfolds. At this point, we still did not pay Purgatory (and Purgatori herself) the first visit though.

Friday, July 18, 2003, 1:37:45 AM (ScreenShot0310) 

Hunting on Yavin IV revived the focus on aggro control. Unlike Lok, where we could now be sloppy, Yavin IV required us to once more act as a surgical and cohesive unit. At the time, I was still using giant pets, because it was fun for me, but eventually most CH’s scaled down to the most powerful pets, that were also the smallest. It’s much easier to keep track of the situation when things aren’t crashing all over the place, and more often then not, you’d get a private request to store your massive beasts because other players were getting lagged out. Lag was especially an issue on planets like Yavin and Dath because of the incredibly artistic execution that the dev team implemented concerning the layout and the geography. True you didn’t have many players all in one spot (the usual source of Coronet lag for example), but you did have these other factors if you had your graphics jacked up to 100%.

Friday, July 18, 2003, 3:20:19 AM (ScreenShot0318) 

As things started to wind down on our first Yavin visit, I got the word from Ramp… back to Dathomir was the call. When in doubt, Rampage would be the decider on where to hunt. It was fine by me, I had my fill of Yavin, and he was already there with Ciale. They were hunting (or attempting to hunt) witches, and that sounded like a fantastic reason to make my way across the galaxy. Lets dissect the screenshot… first thing we see in chat is “you stop following Ciale Yhagai.” Lesson #1, you do not charge a witch on Dathomir without a plan in those days. We eventually tackled these mobs, but as usual, it took precision, patience, and most of all, aggro control. Witches were pack mobs, you couldn’t just pull one without pulling them all, and if you ran around, you aggro’d God knows what else in the immediate (and non-immediate) area.

You also see in the screenshot a conversation between me and DarkGhosty. Even on a witch hunt, my private chat was always moving just as fast as the combat in front of me. Steel was the topic, and rightfully so. Armorsmiths and Weaponsmiths needed it, and everyone on the server needed what those two professions were pumping out. Supply could not meet demand in most cases. Even DG, who had an Imperial guild feeding him resources, still needed to make backdoor deals with me to get the resources. Ali wouldn’t deal with him, she’d only sell to Rebels, so I’d have to be a buffer between the two parties to get this transaction completed. Unfortunately, even Ali and Flo had supply issues, as they were selling faster then they could mine with their current equipment. All these supply and demand issues played perfectly to a guy like me, who had a robust list of contacts that could at this point provide just about anything.

It’s very important to keep perspective concerning actual time. The date was now July 18th, but the galaxy only went live on June 26th. The game was only up for 22 days, and the servers were down or rolled back frequently. Now take into consideration that I already had amassed 318 screenshots (not counting the hundreds from beta), and I estimate roughly 230 hours of play in those 22 days. For those first three weekends, it was typical for me to get home from work at 6pm on Friday, and play until about 2am on Monday, not sleeping much. That’s 138 hours in those three weekends alone, giving time for 5 hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday night). On the week days, it was 6pm until 1am daily. There’s your other 140 hours. I’ll take 10% of that time away for server issues, and lose another 20 hours considering I was in bands playing shows at the time… so there’s your obsession right there, there’s your 230 hours in 22 days. I know sometimes you have to be reading and thinking “yeah Vro you were the first to do everything, blahblah,” but I think 318 screenshots in 22 days in itself, showing what they’ve shown, proves just about all of it. The fact that I wasn’t Master CH/Master pistol proves the rest. I wasn’t a “Master” because I had to spend time maintaining relationships for the middleman business. If I was online, I was talking in /tells to almost everyone I knew about some type of deal of interest. Multitasking through fights while making deals, during hundreds of hours spread over only 22 days, needs to be understood so the next reiterated sentence really stands out.

Supply could not meet demand. Insert Vroflus, and the demand is somehow met. Relatively quickly, I might add. That’s the guy I was, 22 days into life on Eclipse. Not everyone knew me. I specialized in my own things, and didn’t know about much else. But if you didn’t know me, chances are that you obtained something you needed, and that “something,” passed by me, or my operation indirectly before it got to you. And if you did know me, you knew I got you what you needed, so you came back to me. And if you were my friend, you got anything you wanted for free, or as close to it as I could manage. So like we’ve covered before, I was not the best PVPer, or PVEer, or a master of any profession yet.

I was a pillar of reliability in an economy of uncertainty. And I didn’t have 1 point spent in artisan at all. That’s why pre-cu, and the first month especially, was amazing. You carved out who you would be, and what you would mean to the whole galaxy. You invented yourself. And you were there when your friends invented themselves right next to you. Those bonds would never break. They’d carry on to other MMO’s. And years later, after not talking at all, when I dig up Florians email, and find him on Facebook, he adds me back in an hour, and is right back next to me helping recollect the story without a second thought.

That is why SWG was played even though it was broken. And that’s why it has to be remade.

2 Replies to “SWG: From Beta to Blunder – 15”

  1. I love following this.
    If there was a full graphic novel based on Rodd’s gaming experience I’d buy the thing. I’d buy the phuck out of it.

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