Something about the hum of a solar generator…

Entry #26

Saturday, August 09, 2003, 1:14:20 AM (ScreenShot0587) 

The next day, it was back to Kimo hunting on Lok with Flo and Ali. Judging by the explosion coming out of the Kimos chest, I’m willing to bet we had a commando with us as well. At this point, I was considering leaving <HHT> for real, but the concept of doing it without the guys coming with me was holding me back. The idea of half of them coming, or all of them but Ramp, was especially the problem. I didn’t want to be the driving force to break up the guild. While some of us wanted to join the rising tide of <COL>, Ramp wanted to build something epic in <HHT>, and he couldn’t understand why we all of a sudden didn’t feel the same way.

Of any of us, Rampage was the one who stuck to the original plan, and I’m sure he felt like we were all abandoning the idea right at the time where we should’ve been head first into it. We finally had the ability to create the guild we planned all along, but the rest of us were starting to bail on the idea. I understand Ramps point of view. It was more complicated then that though, considering he was very hard to sell concerning recruiting. I think we as all got deeper into SWG, we saw the ability to make things as big as we could, where as Ramp would rather be a part of an elite tight knit group. I don’t blame him for sticking to the plan, and pushing for what we clearly wanted from day one.

Saturday, August 09, 2003, 1:31:06 PM (ScreenShot0588) 

After the Kimo hunt, I headed back to the Tie Base with Flo & Ali to farm some faction points. We had learned a lot from the big raid, and pretty much kited NPC’s out of the base, one by one, until none were left. Then we took out the AT-ST as well. After the entire base was cleared, I asked Flo and Ali about their mining business. This time though, I was asking specifics. I understood aspects of the mineral trade, hell all sorts of commodities were passing through my middleman business daily. But I was not a crafter, and I hadn’t even really seen too many harvesters close up. I didn’t know about things like extraction rates, or even survey devices. I had no idea how they were operating, or how any of my clients were operating.

On top of that, the middleman operation itself was no longer what it was just a few weeks prior. Multiple factors were starting to strangle my profit margin. The official trade forums were by far the biggest culprit. People no longer needed a guy in game to sell through, they were direct connecting on the forums. My prices were easily beat, and concepts like employing Nosun to run deliveries became nonsensical. I was no longer a realistic option for people who needed something. There was a better place to go, the prices were cheaper, and quantities were larger. Suddenly, I was an obsolete player in the very game that I invented.

So with my credits running out, I had to change with the times, or lose my house due to the inability to pay my maintenance fees. Flo and Ali explained to me the basics of their business, and a possible way out of the jam presented itself. I learned that their harvesters did not run on good intentions. They ran on credits and power. So that’s where I figured I’d start. I’d be a power supplier. A quick /tell to Darkghosty revealed that there were different methods of acquiring power, and the best he was able to make was the “Solar Power Generator.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I had 8 free lots, so I asked him to give me 4, and I’d pay him back asap. I’d still have 4 free lots, so if this worked, I’d get another 4 of them from him.

I believe they were “10 BER” for all you crafters out there… but this was back in the day, and the real deal BER (base extraction rate) harvesters were not in existence yet. 15 BER was the best, so although he didn’t have the best resources at the time to build with, DG did a pretty good job making me decent generators. Flo and Ali headed back to Coronet to take care of business, and I placed my generator order with DG, hoping for a light at the end of this tunnel.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:07:05 AM (ScreenShot0590) 

The next day, DG dialed me up, and told me that my order was ready. I made my way to his place, and we had a quick chat that covered the basics of my task… how to actually place a generator, turn it on, use the hopper, etc. He also reiterated what Flo and Ali told me, that I’d have to survey the land and find a decent concentration of Solar Energy in order to actually harness it and convert it into usable power. Only Artisans have the ability to survey, and there was no way that DG and I could be seen in public together… so I had to find someone else.

I hit the starport, and shuttled over to the Rebel stronghold of Moenia. This place was a hazy swamp of a “city,” if you could even call it that. There were Rebels running missions from a nearby terminal, but I didn’t recognize anyone. I made my way over to the cantina, and was surprised to see that it was as packed as the Coronet or Theed cantinas usually were. I figured I’d cut to the chase rather than mingle, so I did this: “/shout PAYING 20K FOR A WAYPOINT TO 35%+ SOLAR ENERGY!!!” 30 seconds later I got a /tell from a guy named Badrottoy saying “come over to the side room.”

As I walked through the arch of the side room, I found a hulking Trandoshan wearing camo pants and a wife beater, getting a double lap dance from two Twi’leks. “Am I interrupting,” I asked. Clutching his laser rifle, he stood up and responded “follow me.” We grouped up and I followed him out the back door, deep into the swamp. After 5 minutes, the swamp subsided, and eventually the trees began to subside as well. Soon we were in an open field, a good 5000m from Moenia. The field extended as far as the eye could see. It was a giant empty plain, starkly contrasting the open deserts of Lok. The conversation was minimal. I asked why he couldn’t just give me a waypoint, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He told me that his house was nearby, and he was headed home anyway, so he gave me a little tour. Eventually, we came to an entire field of Solar Generators. I had never seen anything like it.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:10:06 AM (ScreenShot0593) 

Once we arrived, he took me to the top of an overlooking hill, and explained that the highest concentration was right where we were standing. He went on to explain that some areas are unbuildable, and without the survey function, I’d have to take a best guess and place it where everyone else placed theirs. He told me he had to be going, and I thanked him for his help, and /tipped him my last 20k credits. He tipped it back to me, and told me that “Rebels help each other out.” It was a very nice gesture from a very interesting guy. I wouldn’t expect this kind of generosity from a guy that I found wearing a wife beater with two chicks on him, but hey, Moenia was that type of place.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:14:09 AM (ScreenShot0594) 

As Badrotty disappeared into the jungle, I was left to my own devices. I had 4 solar generators to place, without the ability to survey on my own, I just placed them 2×2 next to the other ones.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:14:09 AM (ScreenShot0596) 

As I brought up the radial menu over the deed, I learned it was much like placing a house. I placed all four generators, and then fed them about 1000 credits each (just about all I could spare), and then turned them all on. One by one, they started to “hum,” until all four of them joined the entire field making a slight noise that I hadn’t even noticed from the other ones prior to placing my own. I really cant explain it, but for some reason, placing those four generators had a huge impact on me. Not only must have I realized that my 8 extra lots were going to waste this whole time, but I think I also realized that SWG was even more vast then I ever understood it to be.

While I was not able to build my own generators, and I could not find a good % of energy on my own, I was still able to use part of that crafting system, the most important part, under my current template. The diversity of the profession system was and would always be grand in scope. I was able to have 3 creatures, a droid, 3 faction pets (as I would soon find out) all out at once… plus I was a master pistoleer, I could have my own house, and use my other lots to acquire commodities to generate future wealth. It was a moment of epiphany. I quickly understood how much more efficient I could be by simply integrating this set of game mechanics that I had clearly been neglecting. I was left wondering how many credits I could’ve had lining my pockets if I had been doing this the whole time.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:22:53 AM (ScreenShot0598) 

As I was standing there in silent reflection, the sun moved in the sky a little bit, and all of a sudden a huge buzz was heard in all directions. I was shocked to see that every single solar generator coordinated perfectly with one another, and followed the sun across the sky. I was completely blown away. I could not believe this was the same game I had been playing since beta. A whole other world ran parallel to my own that I knew nothing about. The near silent buzz of the generator field mingled with the hermit spiders intermittently bickering off in the distance, and combined with the breathing of my pets, it all created an atmospheric symphony that must have been around me all the time… I had just never noticed it. Gone were the thoughts of guild drama, credit issues, or the GCW. I didn’t even want to go back to Lok or tame or hunt. I just wanted to stand there. And so I did.

Sunday, August 10, 2003, 2:41:36 AM (ScreenShot0599) 

Ruins, who I hadn’t seen in weeks, finally ditched the cantinas for a vibro knuckler. He wanted to meet up, so I gave him my waypoint. We spoke about the cash possibilities of my new generators, which I had worked out to about 20k in 5 hours if they were sitting on that particular % concentration. Soon that would double to 40k in 5 hours, because DG would make me another order for me, giving me a total of 8 solar generators. Flo and Ali would take it off my hands for 2cpu, which was below average for the time, so they were catching a break financially as opposed to the open market. And the best part… I didn’t even have to be in game for it to work.

Saturday, August 16, 2003, 1:23:51 AM (ScreenShot0601) 

About a week later, and I was up a few hundred thousand credits. I hadn’t even done anything to get them other then feed the generators cash, and meet up with Flo or Ali here and there. The plan worked, and ended up getting me back on my feet for good. Any time after that, even though the average cpu for power would drop dramatically over the years, I would always be able to make credits using this method.

But what is most interesting, and completely surprising about this, is what happened in between the day I first placed the generators, and the day I took the screenshot above (which was 6 days later). In those 6 days I had somehow found a way to put an end to all the guild drama, in a way that not even I realized I was doing at the time. I did something so unexpected, that I myself didn’t really understand that it was happening. It would change a lot of things for a lot of people, it would effectively sever multiple friendships, and ended up building hundreds more. To this day, I look back and wonder what would have been, if I did not do what I did.

There are many reasons why things went down the way they did, many of which I didn’t understand until I started writing these entries some 6 years later. Now that I look back, it all makes complete and total sense. At the time, I did it on a whim, but looking back, I can clearly see the motivation for what ended up being the truly epic journey that lie ahead for me in SWG.

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