Saturday, October 18, 2003, 12:51:48 AM (ScreenShot0817)
The next afternoon, Ciale, Ramp, Destroyer & I decided to hit up The Warren on Dantooine for the first time. This “dungeon” was added to SWG in a recent patch, so we were dying to check it out. Personally, I found this place to be very weak all around. It was haphazardly set up, the sound of the doors constantly creaking open and slamming shut still haunts my thoughts when I ever hear the word “warren,” and the whole place depended on loot drops that were camped by a sea of players who were all trying to beat you to the loot. I was happy that the devs were adding content, but this was bland, uninspired, and buggy for a long time. One such bug was my pets getting stuck behind the red barriers that separated some of the rooms… it’s very very annoying for a CH to be without his tank, so I quickly put that place on my **** list.
Saturday, October 18, 2003, 3:14:04 AM (ScreenShot0821)
Jagermeister. His captured words absolutely, unequivocally describe exactly who he was back in those days. Bombed off his ass, Jager would log in and disrupt any stagnation that may have set in during his absence. I remember this night incredibly vividly. It was past 3am on a Saturday, and all was very quiet. I had a client meeting me at the mall to pick up some armor, and I was interested in convincing them to check out Werrts guns as well… and right when I was at the point of sale, our chats get filled with Jagers typical drunk gibberish, all in caps of course, and my client is standing there looking at me as if I can somehow control the madness. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the man who created and ran <GOD>, which by now was renamed <HATED>, the guild face of GAT City for the duration of it’s existence and beyond.
Interesting side note (*I need Jager confirmation on this*), I’m pretty sure that the girl that he banged that night turned into his (very hot) wife, and the mother of his kid irl.
Saturday, October 18, 2003, 8:58:18 PM (ScreenShot0823)
Another night of GAT hijinx, another night of SOE bugs. On a giant GAT group hunt on Dathomir, we did a world tour looking for rare drops. What we got, was jail time. As the group made it across a bridge into Nightsister territory, Pokey and I ran into an invisible wall. After five minutes of running back and forth, and the horrible thought of being stuck up there with one another, we logged out, and logged back in… to find… that we were still… stuck. I don’t even remember how long we were stuck up there, but it went on for much too long, and the CSR’s never answered my calls. Once again, SOE’s code was proven to be buggy… and without a working z-axis, we couldn’t even jump off the bridge.
Monday, October 20, 2003, 6:22:52 PM (ScreenShot0825)
24 days left until PRC’s, some GATers were hard at work behind the scenes, feverishly pacing themselves to make GAT City a tangible reality. Other GATers, as FarKalkir & Corbu (or maybe that’s Elu, I can never tell those Twileks apart) showcase, would spend their time having crawling races around the Theed Cantina. I remember walking in on that, smacking myself in the head, and saying “this is what I have to deal with…” I forget who won… but clearly one of them was cheating.
Monday, October 20, 2003, 7:08:41 PM (ScreenShot0826)
You would think it was a good day if Sparticus was giving you 3, 812, 260 credits. But it wasn’t, because it meant that Spart was quitting SWG. The combination of burnout, rl, and SOE’s bull**** would be too much for many players around the mid October mark, and many would cancel, and then resub again and again throughout their SWG lifetime. Spart was just one of many great people that the SWG universe started to lose… the biggest reason of all was SOE’s bull**** though. A bad taste in the mouth of many players started to develop, as SOE would continuously nerf professions. The profession nerfing was just completely out of hand to the point that people would stop logging in. It was the last straw in a long list of bull**** that people were tired of putting up with.
Another factor was no compensation for server downtime. In those first months, the servers were all over the place, and an overwhelming majority of subscribers would simply ask for some free playing time to compensate for the amount of time they were paying for a service that was not online. SOE would never once ever grant current subscribers this request, and this is the one reason over any others that I am personally happy that SOE’s SWG ultimately failed. **** SOE. They treated their subscribers like total ****, well before the CU & NGE, and for that, they absolutely deserved the mass exodus that they are still unable to recover from.
What SOE doesn’t understand, is that their repetitive poor business decisions did more then just make subscribers quit. What it did, was wreck friendships. So many people quit so often, that it was easy to lose track of one another. And that’s why to this day, so many of us have so much pent up hostility towards SOE. It’s not only because they now peddle a bastardized version of the very game that brought us all together in the first place… I think the SWG populace would be content with not playing SWG because of the NGE and leaving it at that. In reality, subscribers took it very personally when their friends started dropping like flies, and SOE will never be able to repair those lost friendships. SOE made it so the playing experience was a personal one. People got to know one another, they exchanged emails, created forums together, and called one another one the phone. Some would meet in real life, and even get married. SWG was never a casual gaming experience for many of its subscribers, it became a catalyst to the friend making process for thousands of people. So when friends quit, and blamed SOE… then an atmosphere of “subscribers vs. SOE” started to develop.
Monday, October 20, 2003, 8:21:24 PM (ScreenShot0828)
On a lighter note, GAT City had a permanent location, but it needed a figurehead. Someone would have to get the politician profession, and the process to pick that person was no easy task for a city full of people who wanted to run the show. This person would not only be responsible for the usual things like assigning militia, granting zoning rights, etc… they would have to run all of GAT, as all of our past “mayors” from the forums did.
The quickest nomination was for me, and the majority of the city immediately said they would vote that way the second the vote was created on the forums. I was flattered, but as fast as GAT threw it’s support behind me, I turned down the opportunity. I had two main reasons… #1 I didn’t want to drop Swordsman for Politician, and two… I DID NOT want the task of being the guy to get GAT all moving in one direction. I am well aware that you cannot please everyone, and with GAT, you’re lucky to please 20% at any given time. **** that noise. Hell, at this point, I wouldn’t even join any of the GAT guilds, I wanted to remain completely neutral, give out the free armor, and help plan things. The members of the city all felt that I was the natural choice to slide right into being Mayor, but I knew they’d all end up hating me in a week, so I opted out.
That said, I threw my support behind Cerven as soon as I said I would not be running. Cerven was more of an “iron fist” type of guy then I was, and he was much more capable of getting everyone moving for the common good then I’d be. A couple other people ran, including Mal “The Pride is Back” Takana, his arch nemisis, Starscream, and some others… but Cerven won in a landslide victory. Most of GAT City were members of <HATED>, so with the guild in his pocket, there was no way anyone could touch him in the race. It didn’t mean that we couldn’t completely give him **** 100% of the time, as the screenshot from the mall above depicts… but at the end of the day, Cerven did a really good job ushering GAT City into the oncoming publish of PRC’s and many things after it.
When he accepted his position, he dubbed me “vice mayor,” and told me I was not allowed to turn the position down… so I got to hide behind him and get my ideas to the masses without having to deal with the regular GAT backlash that he had to deflect on a daily basis. Cerven would go on to join a guild in the MMO Shadowbane, called “Masquers,” and eventually he would run the Masquers guild on WOW’s Destromath server, where he and I would be reunited once again. He’d also one day find himself in Iraq in real life, part of a helicopter unit that would drop into hot zones and pull out injured American soldiers. I couldn’t, and still can’t think of anyone better to keep GAT in line.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003, 2:31:50 AM (ScreenShot0829)
Sitting in the shadow of the GAT City Mega Mall, thick brush along side the Theed River grew unchecked. On October 21st, Elu Vagabond and I sat by the water, and faced facts. Someone would have to pick up the Architect Profession. Mal Takana wasn’t going to be the guy to facilitate the building needs of a budding GAT City, that much was clear. Elu decided that the job was too big to leave up to chance, so he dropped some skill boxes, and started the grind himself. He was a self sufficient guy, but once Cerven found out, he mobilized the city to start feeling Elu credits and resources, and the race was now truly on. Elu would master the profession in just days, working tirelessly to get GAT City all the civil buildings it would need to qualify as a Township.
Not only did Elu need materials to grind his way to master, but he’d need even more resources to create the City Hall building, the hospital and cantina, the cloner, etc. And he needed these things quick, we had less then 3 weeks to get it all together and ready to plant the day PRC’s went live. GAT City was faced with a much bigger challenge then the mall, so with Spart’s 3.8 million creds and Kzins donated resources, we fueled about 80% of Suvas grind, and his civil building creations. The other 20% came from GAT donations… but once again, in the end, GAT answered the call. Elu would have all the needed buildings created before PRC’s went live, all from a guy who never even crafted so much as a sofa before this opportunity presented itself.
The “GAT Chat” in this screenshot also tells it’s own story… my quote “He’s moving from Corillia to GAT City that’s big for Kzin, it means he finally trusts it,” shows that we finally won over the biggest GAT skeptic of them all… Kzin. Although he was helping me,and other GAT crafters out on a personal level, and he did more then his fair share of helping the city as a whole, and joining many of the the hunts… he was very stubborn when it actually came to moving to GAT City itself. After all, GATers were incredibly fickle, seemingly moving the city on whims at times, and Kzin was too grounded in reality to be led around by a bunch of knuckleheads. He’d come on hunts, and 20 minutes into them I’d get a /tell from him saying things like “if this ****ing idiot aggros another rogue flaumpaset, I’m out,” and then of course it would happen 5 minutes later and he’d disband. Cant blame him, some people don’t wanna put up with poor execution or poor planning, and Kzin is one of those guys. So when he agreed to bring his house to GAT City, it told me that our most level headed guy was on board… so we had to be doing something right.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003, 10:55:45 PM (ScreenShot0830)
By Tuesday the 21st, GAT had partially moved to the new city location. The houses were haphazardly thrown down, according to “the view” of the ocean that most players valued. I would take screenshots of the setup, and then photoshop them so the entire city was on one page, and we’d try our best to coordinate the building effort on the forums using this method. We knew some stuff, like where the spaceport would eventually go, where city hall would go, etc… but everything else was pretty much dropped wherever it would fit.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 12:03:47 AM (ScreenShot0840)
By October 22, 2003, Holocron Fever was spreading. SOE was starting to lose its player base, so in an early attempt to re-dangle the Jedi carrot, they added Holocron drops to SWG. It gave focused hope to the countless Jedi hopefuls, and at the same time, dramatically changed the playerscape of the game forever. The Hologrind was the single worst thing that ever happened to the in game community, and coupled with PRC’s and instashuttles, would spell the end of NPC Cities being populated, even in the most central of starports and cantinas.
What was once a packed cantina, would now be sporadically filled with afk macro’d holo grinders, who would just dance there, staring at the wall, completely uncommunicative to anyone looking to be social. People would be afk in the field too, using macros to grind low level NPC’s to hunt for holos, or even to level up professions. It wasn’t yet as unbelievably rampant as it would become after the first Jedi hit SWG on November 9th, but the introduction of Holocrons still stopped most servers in their tracks.
SWG was introduced as the most social of social online games. It was a reason for many people to play their first MMO. At times, it could simply be described as a glorified chat room, where friends could solidify bonds that would’ve lasted their entire lifetimes. Inversely, the introduction to the Hologrind became a slow, steady wind that was carefully extinguishing the lit candle of the SWG community. And that wind became stronger, and faster, and blew harder and harder until there was nothing left but a mind numbing grind for anyone that wanted to activate a lightsaber… and for those that had no interest in being a Jedi… we were left to pick up the pieces from a shattered social community that crumbled in front of us.