Saturday, September 20, 2003, 1:22:47 AM (ScreenShot0694)
Past 1:00am on September 20th, I was grinding in the mall, trying to get the ability to stock my vendor with anything useful for the grand opening, which was just 14 hours away. On the other side of the room, Niklut & Werrt were grinding away as well, and Nik finally was able to make some of the more interesting droid chassis… his first creations were placed around the room (like these R2 & Protocol droids) to add life and charm. Spart and his decoration team were running all over the place, while Cerven and some of the <GOD> guys popped their heads in to see our progress, and donate materials to the cause. It was coming down to the wire, and the finishing touches would have to be done overnight or the following morning if we were going to pull this off as planned.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 2:46:50 AM (ScreenShot0696)
Almost 3:00am, I took the elevator down to the basement, and logged out in “the office.” We used this area to plan, and to speak with potential vendors who wanted a spot within the mall. Vendors were generally “GAT only,” but at the start, we didn’t have enough quality crafters, so we had to give other Imperial guilds an opportunity to represent. The deal was “if you do the right thing, then you are welcome to stay, even after our crafters catch up.” We brought in an established master armorsmith who’s name escapes me, but other then that, I think it was completely GAT stocked. I went to bed, but Spart stuck around to direct last minute traffic and do his best to make the place look as special as possible.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 3:01:40 PM (ScreenShot0699)
3:00pm Saturday had arrived. I stood on the steps, looked outward, and saw a crowd of friends and strangers in front of me. The morning hours leading up to this moment defined the word “teamwork.” GATers hit every populated city in the galaxy and spammed the waypoint to the 3pm opening, touting it as the first mega mall on Tarq. We had also been circulating a game mail & had been bumping a SOE forum post for a couple days, doing our best to blanket the galaxy with our grand opening time and place. /Tells were coming in from GATers near and far saying that people were responding, and 3pm was going to be packed… and it was.
Classic GAT side note… the house in front of the mall, “can you feel the RAGE!?!??!!” was a running joke within our community. We always were dying to figure out who owned that house so we could get them to get it the hell out of the way of our mall, but because no GATer owned it, we could never get it moved. Finally, one day it just poofed, and we were quick to throw a factory up in it’s place for aesthetic reasons.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 3:02:46 PM (ScreenShot0700)
With a quick speech from yours truly, everyone was thanked for making it possible, and the fireworks then started to fly. Our “GAT Chat” was flying, as everyone was laughing at the fact that the biggest bunch of misfits you could find pulled off something big. You just had to roll your eyes, shake your head, and grin. Personally, I never had a doubt that this was going to happen… but there were a few GATers out there who had grown to expect a general failure considering the people that had been mobilized for the task. What the pessimists didn’t count on was that the majority of GAT was incredibly helpful when they had something to mobilize around.
The GAT City Mega Mall became a concrete reminder of how great this group of people could be when they worked together. Anyone who didn’t believe before, had no choice but to believe it now. The mall became a hub for GATers to hit every day, a place to run into one another, and get some extra face time. And it also became a recruiting tool, pushing the city from 20-30 to 30-50 members. Player Run Cities were less then two months away, and to create one on Naboo would take much more planning. Only 10 cities could be created… it would be a race. And not only would we plan for the race, but we’d win it, and go on to create one of the biggest cities on Tarq at the time, eventually pushing 80 members.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 3:12:15 PM (ScreenShot0701)
Minutes later, one of the other mall admins flipped the switch, and the building went from private, to public. The red barrier was lifted, and in poured GATers and non GATers alike. The commotion was awesome, and within seconds a sale hit my inbox. When I opened it up, I was completely surprised to find that Kzin bought my most expensive item… a pair of garbage overpriced composite pants costing 60k creds. I told him that I’d tip him the cash back, but he told me something along the lines of “consider it a donation to the cause.”
Kzin had always been a personal supporter throughout my armorsmith grind, but as what I would consider the “most mature” GATer, he did a fair job distancing himself from the rest of GAT. For him of all people to buy those pants, it kind of told me that we won him over a little bit with the success of the mall. He immediately ended up with his own vendor in the mall to deal his resources, and eventually would pack up his house and move it to the new location of GAT City when PRC’s hit. Having Kzin aboard was big, because he was the most logical of GATers, and having him weigh in the planning process of the impending PRC was of major relevance as far as I was concerned.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 3:13:28 PM (ScreenShot0702)
To my left was Pokey, who was actually setting up his vendor as the mall itself launched. He was GAT’s Bio-Engineer, and one of the more self sufficient grinders of the bunch. I remember having a conversation with Werrt, who mentioned to me that Pokey was the one guy who wasn’t really asking for anything… so I tipped him 10k (which was about half of what I had on me), and when he asked why I just said “keep doing what you’re doing.”
To the right of Pokey, Selbbog & Corbu set up a spice & slice vendor, which I annoyingly enough had to facilitate for them. I’ll go on record by saying that running a vendor for someone else is a pain in the ass, but these guys couldn’t do it themselves and they had a legit product to peddle, so it was good for the mall and the city for someone to help them out. I think I tried to get Werrt or Niklut to do it, but I was met with some resistance along the lines of “pfffft” so I ended up getting stuck with the job. Any time a sale was made, I had to take a slight cut and then /tip the cash to Corbs & Selly. It wasn’t a big deal, but I also had to stock, and restock, etc… considering that I had my own stuff to take care of, it wasn’t exactly a welcome favor… but again, these are the things the GATers had to do to get the mall up and running and be as “for the city, by the city” as possible.
That giant tin can vendor on the back wall was Mal’s architect deeds, or lack there of. We really needed to supplement his wares with that of a master architect, but they were scarce, and I was talking with a GATer to replace him anyway, so it would be eventually moot. Around this time Mal actually put a post on our forums about how “Rodds new world order” was wrecking the typical GATer hijinx & fun, but he was met with overwhelming resistance by the entire city and soon because the butt of most jokes. In his plea for a revival of a less organized time, he made the mistake of coining the phrase “the pride is back,” which is still used to this day to mock his memory.
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 7:30:03 PM (ScreenShot0703)
Later that night I found the counters strewn with objects, indicating that the crafters were doing their best to decorate the area around each of their vendors. Off in the distance you can see Mal, Niklut, Werrt’zer & Zom all still grinding away as well. The mall was a really cool place when it first opened. The sounds of tools clanking around in the background, the guys all grinding by their respective machines, clients running in and out… it was a great thing to be a part of. To my left are Koserk & Werrts weapons, followed by my Gran armor vendor on the end. I think Kamru placed that MonCal medical supply vendor, and that lil droid on the floor was Kzins resource vendor (a very big seller for us).
Saturday, September 20, 2003, 7:30:14 PM (ScreenShot0704)
As I looked around, I realized that we friggin nailed it. With GATer donations, we bought and funded the PA Hall. Spartacus almost singlehandedly put the place together from the ground up. Niklut, Werrt, Pokey, Kzin, myself, Sellbog, Corbu, Mal Takana, and others either picked up their grinds, or started from scratch to get stocked vendors up and running. Hell even Koserk had a vendor in there. And we were in there so much, that random people would come in to buy an item, get personal treatment by one of the GAT crafters, and end up joining our city because of the experience. One example was a Novice Droid Engineer named Skeet Anasazi. He came to the mall grand opening, and eventually after getting to know us, moved to GC and got to place his own vendor along side the rest of ours.
It all happened according to our plan. We did it. We were on peoples radar.
Sunday, September 21, 2003, 10:00:07 PM (ScreenShot0708)
The next night, a soon to be typical gathering of random GATers in the mall took place. Mal, Hale, Cerven, uhhh a Stormtrooper (could’ve been any of us), Werrt and myself. The mall would look like this multiple times a day for a good long time. Now that we had an identity, the members of the city felt even more of a reason to donate. Materials, credits and resources started to spill in from many members, especially through Cerven & <GOD>. Speaking of <GOD>, about this time the SOE’s CSR’s stripped Jagermeister of his PA’s name, citing <GOD> as inappropriate in a religious sense. Jager, in typical rebellious fashion, renamed the guild <HATED>, and that name would stick for the long life of the guild.