Get to know Rampage Savage, Alistea Taliseol, and learn about SWG’s first major credit dupe scam in Entry #20 of From Beta To Blunder: The Rise And Fall Of Star Wars Galaxies

Entry #20

Thursday, July 24, 2003, 9:38:23 PM (ScreenShot0450) 

Sporting my favorite new white duster outfit, showing off my Dathomirian gaping spiders (Spits and Nerf), I was feeling refreshed and ready to rock. The spiders were absolutely fantastic pets right from the start. They were small, hit relatively hard, and they had the chance to disease the unlucky Imperials who tested my tendency to stay overt. I stuck with these two for a very long time (even after the CU level system was implemented actually), because they ended up being the appropriate “creature level” to both be active simultaneously.

You non “CH’s” out there undoubtedly heard of the “CH nerf” back in the early days. This was the devs acknowledging that it wasn’t such a good idea to let CH’s use any three pets of their choosing at the same time. CH’s had to work around that nerf, and choose their best combo of pets for the task, staying within a level cap system. CH’s cried nerf, but in reality, you cant expect to stay overpowered and unbalanced forever. It’s not fair to have that kind of advantage. Another good argument was that the immersion was being broken. Although we all have seen many a creature watching the Star Wars saga, I’m sure none of us remember the Rebels and Imperials going into a giant firefight and having 3 enormous creatures present for every man on the field. It’s a legit argument imo, and this is coming from a lifelong CH.

Friday, July 25, 2003, 12:00:34 AM (ScreenShot0452) 

Rampage Savage. He had been soloing on Endor for days, and considering I still had not hit the place since the game officially launched, I asked to join him. We needed to catch up, and I needed to tame some Gurreks for myself, and for some orders. As for ol’ Ramp… well he’s not the easiest person in the galaxy to explain. Me, him, Ciale and Zox met in beta. As long as we were in the game, we would be on constant communication, until I was the last one left. That said, there were bumps along the road at times.

Rampage was “the loner” of the group. Sure we’d all spend time regularly, and I lived next door to him, so I saw him more than the rest. But that said, when the choice between “hanging out” and running missions to get xp crossed his mind… well it was no choice at all for Ramp. And once he decided he could get more XP on his own, we rarely saw him until he hit Master Pistoleer (which he hit way before I did). This isn’t to say we weren’t talking all the time, because we were. But he did start to exude a little bit of an “outsider” vibe as we were pushing the one month mark.

Combined with his solo tendencies, the real issue was his occasionally abrasive personality. Rampage Savage, as his name suggests, could be a little pushy in the eyes of some. He also didn’t like any decision that would effect <HHT> (our soon to be created guild) to occur without his input. And the thing was, his “input” usually meant his approval. Now I don’t want to paint a picture of a hard guy to get along with, or a guy who everyone had trouble dealing with, because that wasn’t the case at all. Ramp was and will always be a buddy of mine, a trusted friend who had my back no matter what. But I think when I look back and try to piece together the past, it needs to be noted that Ramp had a very strong personality, and could get set in his ways, or be stubborn when he wanted to be. That said, he was possibly the first Master Pistoleer on the server, and I never saw him lose a duel ever… so you don’t get to be that guy, without “being that guy” if you know what I mean.

A flip side of Rampage was that because he ran so many missions, he was financially secure right from launch. I remember he gave me 40k credits in week 1, and I was completely blown away. I had never had more then 10k at the time, so I couldn’t possibly imagine having so much that you could give 40k away without even asking for it to be paid back. And he was always, always generous with those credits. Another quality that he had was being able to find the best pistols in the galaxy. While everyone else was going to the server “big name” weaponsmiths, he sniffed out the low key guys that were handcrafting better guns. They were more expensive, and well off the beaten path, but the guns were totally worth it. It wasn’t even comparable to be honest.

One such weaponsmith was “Kanae.” I remember the name all these years later, because Ramp sent me to um to get a gun, and I actually had to sit there while the guy created it in front of me. Remember, there was no “world vendor search.” Hell, there was only like 30 vendors available at that point. If a crafter wanted to list something over the 20k credit limit on the bazarr (I think the original limit was 8k, and they bumped it early on), then the crafter would have to go to town and personally advertise. So finding these backdoor dealers wasn’t as easy as doing a galactic search for your item, and getting a waypoint. Instead, you had to know someone, who knew someone (my specialty of course). And in the case of pistols… I knew Rampage Savage… and he knew any weaponsmith worth knowing if you needed a pistol.

So in the end, Rampage brought much to the table. You could argue that he was headstrong and could potentially rock the boat, but bottom line he got the job done, quick and fast, every time. PVP, PVE, didn’t matter. Ramp was the best I knew at both. He was over abundantly loyal to our group, he had the pistol hookups, the bankroll, and the generosity and drive to use all of those things to our soon to be created guilds advantage. He was the first person on Eclipse to put a house on Lok, possibly the first Master Pistoleer, and he was always there when you needed him most. The most interesting thing was, he was always on the fringe of the core group. You didn’t always see him, but he was always there. If you fought with us, he’d show up in the middle of the fight and turn the tide back in our direction.

Ramp was truly a one of a kind person in these aspects. I’m not sure that everyone appreciated all the good that he did us, because on the surface, he came off too tough. In reality, he was the major all around contributor to <HHT>, and beyond. On top of that, I think of all of us, he and Ciale were the closest, and when Ciale passed away irl, I think Ramp took it hardest of all.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 2:01:38 AM (ScreenShot0454) 

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 2:01:38 AM. Star Wars Galaxies was officially one month old. When you look back at these 20 entries, it seems like an eternity. We spanned the entire known galaxy (well I *think* I hit Talus at least once), made friends, made enemies, stuck together, and just completely and totally invested hundreds and hundreds of hours, helping do our part to build the foundation of the Eclipse server. I’m sure there are hundreds of “month long sagas” just like mine, and when you put them all together, you arrived at the melting pot that was Eclipse. A random Mon Cal in a white duster is obscured by the foliage, the planet Endor rises over his head. Deep into the forest treescape, the Mon Cal fires his FWG5 through the bushes and claims another hide for his stack.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 3:40:29 AM (ScreenShot0458) 

Later that day, back on Dantooine, I could’ve been anyone out there. I was just one of the many, on a packed server, going about my business. My story is only interesting because it’s the only one we have so far. If the players are the planets, then the servers are the stars, and SWG is the universe. We’ve got to believe that each player in this universe could have had a story just as big. It’s up to them to take the time to recount their own unique time spent in the same sandbox universe that we all hope to call home again. And if the pictures weren’t taken, or the memories aren’t preserved, then everyone should consider these first 20 entries, and wonder for themselves “what story can I tell 5 years after Suncrusher (www.swgemu.com) launches?”

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 3:51:12 AM (ScreenShot0459) 

“Soloing” as a CH is somewhat of an art form. As a ranged combatant, you usually get a bonus if you are prone while shooting… so I tended to start the fight off laying face down in the dirt. I’ll walk you through the rest of a typical fight using this Huurton as an example. At the time, I had two Gaping Spiders, and a freshly tamed baby Gurreck from Endor (he’s above my left shoulder, comes up to the Huurtons knee) grouped. First, I’d use the pistol to pull a Huurton away from the pack. I always picked the mob furthest from it’s pack. After the mob came to my location, I’d send the spiders. Once they get aggro, I back away and help wear down the Huurton. When the Huurton is almost dead, I send in the baby Gurreck to get him his XP, while minimizing the chance of him getting 1-shot incapped. This is the general way to get XP, and get a pet XP, while maintaining aggro control. If my target was a non pack creature, I’d just send in the spiders, without having to drag the mob over to me first. Still though, it’s best to always isolate the target, as not to aggro it’s friends due to your own AOE.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 3:51:12 AM (ScreenShot0460) 

You can see here that I switched out the FWG5 for the DL44. It’s not because I was conscious of creature resists and what type of damage my guns were doing. It’s because I was running through FWG5’s like they were going out of style. You see me say “FWG5” a lot, I know. This is because, at the time, once you hit the higher levels of Pistoleer, all the guns you’ve already seen were crap. Even if you had a gun that had “energy” damage, and a mob that was susceptible to “energy” the FWG5’s were so advanced (on Eclipse anyway) that even if they did “heat” damage, you were still hitting way harder if you had one in your hand. Maybe it was the mineral spawns up until that point. Maybe the devs didn’t balance the pistols yet. Whatever the reason, the FWG5 was the “goto” gun until I finally got my hands on one of Kanae’s DX2’s a little while later.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 4:20:30 AM (ScreenShot0461) 

Never pass the chance to tame a Frenzied Graul. That was the motto. They were very rare, and even if no one wanted it, someone would eventually come knocking. On their hind legs, these things were huge, even as babys. People would buy them just for the novelty factor. And once the devs nerfed Frenzied Graul babies, they were extinct as pets all together… unless you already had one. Mine (“Frenzy”) eventually became one of my mounts, some time in 2007.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 6:30:45 AM (ScreenShot0463) 

Once again, back to Dathomir, but this time, with Alistea. This would turn into one of the most epic xp runs ever. First of all, she brought a Doctor with her. I really hadn’t seen Doctors much, many Medics of course, but not many Docs. Two things were discovered that day. At the start, we were fighting Nightsisters. You can see one laying dead in our camp. I actually got DB’d in that fight… but in the picture, I’m still standing. So if I’m dead, then how was I alive? After I got DB’d, the Doctor (I don’t remember his name unfortunately) gave me a /tell and said “don’t clone.” 5 minutes later, the fight ended, and Ali wrote in group chat “okay Doc, do your stuff.” The Doctor stood over me, and I quickly got a message asking if I would accept him “reviving me.” I clicked “accept,” and miraculously, I slowly stood up. I was completely blown away. Not only did I know nothing about higher end Doctors (soon they’d be “buffing” as well), but this being my first MMO… I knew nothing about rezzes either. You can only imagine the head first charging I did after meeting that guy on that hunt.

The second discovery we made that day was yet another error on the dev’s part. You can see some Baz Nitches lazily walking around inside our camp. We killed a couple and realized that they gave pretty good xp for a group our size, so we all went back to the outpost, and got 2 Baz Nitch (quickly renamed to “Biz Natch” of course by our sarcastic crew) missions, and went to the first waypoint. One tactic we used in group mission grinding was that one person would hit the lair while the others would hit the mobs, so we could finish the lair off faster. As we started this process on the first nest, the lair blew up in about 7 or 8 hits. Normal layers blew up in about 30-50.

And thus, the Biz Natch lair exploit was discovered. We all separated, ran to our mission waypoints, and ignored the mobs… hit the nest 8 times, made 10k per nest, and repeated the process. Personally, I stopped around 250k credits, but some people did it well into the millions… and thus, the first mini artificial economical inflation was born on some servers. This secret was eventually leaked, and the devs not only stealth fixed the code, but they made the friggin lairs way harder to blow up then usual as well. But the damage was done. These quick unearned credits were acquired by exploitative means (I am guilty as well), and pushed out to the public, giving dealers a reason to raise prices… knowing some people had the credits to afford them. Was it a real economic screwjob like the credit duping of 2004? No. But it was enough to inflate some prices at the start of the second month.

And there’s a side note that I need to mention about this as well. Well before the game launched, I joined many a forum dedicated to SWG. One of them was called “GAT City,” located at www.gatcity.com That web address was eventually replaced by www.generalanytopic.com, when the community there decided to reinvent themselves and disavow SWG forever (cant blame um after the **** the devs pulled over time). Anyway, I was a lurker on that site for a long time, but I never posted. They all played on Tarquinas, and I played on Eclipse, so I just lurked and never even said “hello.” Up until now. They got wind of the Biz Natch glitch, and some of them were making a big deal, making sure they told everyone. I went on there, and in my first post, basically gave um the ol’ “STFU,” before the devs nerfed the missions. That would not be my only post on those boards, but again… that’s for a later entry. I just wanted to sneak this in now, because they will become majorly involved in the story as it unfolds, and I wanted to explain how I first made contact.

Saturday, July 26, 2003, 6:43:22 AM (ScreenShot0465) 

Alistea Taliseol. If you were to ask me to describe her function (outside of her professions), I’d have to call her a “Rebel Organizer.” Ali, as Flo mentioned, did for the Rebellion what I did for the commodity exchange. Her list of contacts was almost entirely Rebellion related, and her mining operation with Flo gave her the budget to see her ideas to fruition. She almost had a one track mind when it came to the GCW, and I can honestly say that she went on to really help organize the first server wide push against the empire. She especially took it upon herself to act as an ambassador of the guild that her and Florian were about to join, and plugged them into every and all things Rebel related, from an organizational standpoint. She had a ton of friends in the right places, and wasn’t too shabby with a blaster either. Not to mention that she also had my template of CH/Pistols, so we were able to interchange pets and guns on the fly. Not a bad person to know by any means.

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