Saturday, July 19, 2003, 10:43:03 PM (ScreenShot0420)
“Mila,” the person who placed the Graul order, asked me to meet her in Bestine. She knew I was all over the place that day, so we coordinated as the day went on, until we finally found a good time to meet up. Personally, I was worried. Almost a month into launch, Bestine was now completely crawling with Imperials. After the Dantooine/Naboo/Lok tour I had just run with Ciale, I was in no condition to add solo PVP to the list of things done that day. Plus, if she wanted to meet in Bestine, then chances were, she was Imperial, so I’d have to go covert to trade with her anyway… and that’s what I did. We met up in front of the starport, and as suspected, Imperial she was.
We had a long conversation before the trade took place. She knew who I was, so she knew I wasn’t going to run into the city, guns blazing, looking to rouse suspicion. After all, she was trading with a Rebel, and that was something that many people would have issues with at the time. We spoke about the GCW, how it was being on our respective sides of the fence, and of course, the CH trading and taming business. She was a CH herself, spent most of her time on Endor (a place which I hadn’t seen since beta), and didn’t have the time to grab a Graul for herself on Dantooine. I made her promise 20 times that she was going to take good care of the Graul before I sold it to her. It’s funny, as a CH, you end up getting attached to most of your bigtime tames. I would feel people out, and if I thought they were a jerk, they weren’t going to get the pet. Her being Imperial didn’t bother me at all, business is business… I just didn’t want one of my tamed creatures getting stuck with a moron, and ending up helping them in PVP against my own faction. But Mila was really cool. I’d run into her again on a base raid on Corellia… oddly enough, she was a Rebel.
Sunday, July 20, 2003, 4:38:20 AM (ScreenShot0421)
The next day, and much server downtime later, it was back to Dath, this time with Zox. Not surprisingly, taming Rancors for trade orders was our objective. This scene really captures those early days on Dathomir, and the process of separating a baby from it’s pack. You can see Zox performing the tame, as I’m overlooking the adult Rancors in the murky distance. At this point, the circumstances look very casual, but just minutes earlier, they were nothing if not hectic. Since this was Zox’s tame, I’d have the job of aggroing the pack. After my first shot, he’d then aggro the baby in his direction. If successfully done, he’d be left alone with the baby, and I’d lose aggro on the pack. The end result would be me rendezvousing with him, and the pack going back to their spawn point. As a CH, it was always a big deal to see a pack of Rancors off in the distance. It was always an adrenaline rush to hope your mask scent held as you approached them… you could even hear them breathing as you snuck to the middle of their pack… breathing over your neck as you tried to tame their baby out from under them.
Monday, July 21, 2003, 1:10:05 AM (ScreenShot0429)
Another day later, another batch of rancors bought and a sold. You can see off in the distance the ham expenditures rising, as Ciale (replacing Zox as my taming partner for the day) held the pack off long enough for me to tame this baby. My playing time becomes obvious, as partners switch on and off, but the one constant was me being online. Most of my friends were just as bad though, so just because they weren’t with me, doesn’t mean they weren’t in their own corner of the galaxy getting into their own trouble. Florian and Ali were doing a lot of mining runs, Zox was doing BH missions, Rampage did a hell of a lot of soloing, Kastore was hanging around with Imperials more and more… but Ciale was usually with me when he was online. It was good having a trusted partner in crime, especially on planets like Dath. That guy saved me many a trip to the cloner.
Monday, July 21, 2003, 1:46:25 AM (ScreenShot0431)
While I was off taming, Ciale would sometimes do a lil exploring… finding the next nest of rancors, or even something more interesting. Take this Sarlacc for example. We thought the damn thing was a bug in the code or something. While I was taming the rancor in the previous screenshot, I got a /tell saying “uhhhhhhh dude, you really need to come see this.” Upon my arrival, I was completely thrown off my bearings.
Why would this be on Dathomir? Whatever the reason, it was a cool surprise, and yes, once again I had to hand it to the devs for throwing in something interesting and unexpected. People didn’t believe us, and ended up flying to Dath just to see for themselves… so once again, we might have been the first, at least on Eclipse, to come across this anomaly. It was fitting too, considering that our self imposed mission on the last night of beta was to run to the Tatooine Sarlacc and jump in… and if you read my earlier entries, you’d know that Ciale was the only one from our group to actually make it there, right before the devs brought the beta servers down for good. I guess both Sarlaccs will always remind me of Ciale and our discoveries.
Monday, July 21, 2003, 1:46:25 AM (ScreenShot0438)
And speaking of Ciales discoveries… later that day he led us to the Nightsister stronghold. It was full of some broken quests, but at least the Nightsisters had more hit points then “1” unlike the volcano cave on Lok. We spent some time exploring the place for the first time, and we kited some witches out of the camp where our pets were waiting for them. Nothing of importance dropped. Speaking of Nightsister drops, I never once had anything of interest drop from anything in SWG, other then Krayt Pearls and GDK Scales from Kimos. No DOT lances, no Black Sun armor, not even anything of consequence from the Geo Cave (once it went live). I was incredibly unlucky with high end weapons/armor loot.
I was however very lucky in the “cool friends” department. One of which was DarkGhosty, who sent me a game mail saying that my order of “one black outfit, and one white outfit,” were ready. I was excited, cause I was running around in a dress for a couple weeks, so I told Ciale I really needed to get to his place behind Theed and pick up my stuff. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand…
Monday, July 21, 2003, 11:32:01 PM (ScreenShot0444)
……..**** you SOE. Just as I picked up my clothes, the servers crash. And they ****ing stayed crashed throughout Tuesday, and finally came back up on Wednesday afternoon. This is precisely when people started to get pissed off with SOE after launch. Almost a month into the game, and it was still crashing all over the place. The boards were going crazy with pissed off people demanding at least a partial refund for their monthly fee.
Personally, I created a thread called “An Open Letter to Q4P0,” and I cant ****ing wait until Ramsey finishes his archival procedure to get all those old posts back. We’ll all get to see the response I got from Q4P0… which was, of course, nothing what so ever. I was irate. Granted I was obsessed and should’ve used the time to get some sunlight perhaps, but **** that, I was paying for a service, and SOE was ****ting the bed. If you notice a change in my tone, then it’s because I’m still very bitter over SOE’s continued piss poor implementation concerning just about all aspects of SWG. In the end, the only thing they really nailed was the graphics, as illustrated by my thousands of screenshots.
But SOE’s blunders would not stop at server issues, as we found out quickly enough. At times it felt like a comedy of errors that were not just bad business calls, but game breaking epic mistakes that caused an escalating rift between them, and their subscribers. When you look back to when the subscriber base started dropping out, I bet you can look all the way back to month #1. True they did not jump ship the way they did for the CU, or even worse, the absolutely horrific massacre that was the NGE (easily the biggest show of disrespect in the history of dev/consumer relationships in MMO history)… but this is where people started turning on the devs. It didn’t help things that a credit duped inflation was looming around the corner, which would completely wreck the economy forever. Of course, like clockwork, the dupe was completely mishandled by SOE, setting the stage for egregiously low expectations from many loyal subscribers… but before I get carried away, those are issues for later entries.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 12:51:24 AM (ScreenShot0445)
After two days of involuntary downtime thanks to our friends at Sony Online Entertainment, friction within my own posse started to develop. Kastore, who I personally didn’t mind being an Imperial, was constantly Rebel bashing. While this didn’t phase me in the least, Rampage took exception to it. It got to the point where Ramp wouldn’t even want to be around the guy. Sometimes he’s just disband, and go off to solo XP rather then group up with Kastore. When it came time to actually form HHT after the guild hall was placed, this issue would come up again.
And it wasn’t just an issue with our inner circle. Lines were being drawn. Friends were going their separate ways. At about the one month mark, all the “undecided’s” were being courted by both the Rebels and Imperials. True, some remained Neutral, but many would end up choosing sides. As this process wore on, certain stresses were placed on friendships, and some of those friendships would not be able to hold the weight. Personally, I joined the Rebellion because my friends did. I never ever treated an Imperial any different then I did a Rebel, but I can tell you that I was treated differently by many. I was spit on in starports, by covert Imperials!!! What kind of crap is that, I couldn’t even attack them! As a rule of preference, I was always overt myself, so I’d get ganged up on and ganked all the time. This would end up causing hour long skirmishes as I’d call Alistea, and she’d rally the troops. Many a PVP battle was the result of me being stubborn and being overt in the Theed cantina, just “minding my business” and cheering for entertainers.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003, 1:22:23 AM (ScreenShot0446)
Dusty and I patiently wait 10 minutes for a shuttle to take us back to Lok. To this day, the debate rages on concerning shuttle time. The original concept was that the wait forces people to congregate and communicate. I can’t argue there. The counter argument was that this forced downtime took away from the real activities of the day. I cannot argue against that either. In the end, personally, I don’t have an opinion. I can see where it sucks, if I’m only able to play for 30 min, and 20 of those min are spent waiting for two shuttles… lets not forget, in those days, you didn’t have a personal X-Wing or TIE Fighter to instaspawn you anywhere in the galaxy.
Thursday, July 24, 2003, 8:12:41 AM (ScreenShot0449)
A day later, and I needed to get back to my roots, and I needed to do it alone. The middleman business, while intricate and involved, something to be proud of for sure… well, it was taking it’s toll. Maintaining this number of relationships, while touring the world in search of XP and rare creatures, well it was a lot. I needed some time to myself, and there was no better place then “home.” This became a trend of mine. Whenever things seemed a little out of hand, I’d go back to my place to regroup. Towards the end of my days, I’d actually make a best effort to log out in my house every time I stopped playing. The idea was, if I never logged back in again, at least I’d be “home.”
And that’s what eventually happened.