It was only a matter of time…
Sunday, December 14, 2003, 1:08:29 AM (ScreenSho1143)
Over a month after the first Jedi was spotted in SWG, I finally saw one for myself. I loaded into the Starport, and right when I was about to make the gallop to GAT City, I looked up and saw a crowd of people standing around someone with a red lightsaber. I made my way through the pack to find someone just standing there, brandishing their Jedi weapon for all to see. Personally, I was a bit confused concerning how to react. The first thing I did was take a screenshot, because… well… that’s always the first thing I did when I saw something new. Then I kind of just stood there, wordless. Everyone was bombarding the guy with questions and requests… I didn’t want to add to the demands, although the guy was clearly looking for the attention. In all reality, I never cared too much about Jedi in SWG. I sure as hell didn’t like how the hologrind was deteriorating the community though, so Jedi were kind of guilty by association in my mind a little bit.
Kind of annoyed, I pulled my Kaadu from my datapad, and galloped out of Theed. I made my way down the giant cliff behind the Starport, and started to follow the Theed river north as per usual. As I made my way closer to the city, someone passed me by… and then another, and it kept happening until some [HATED] members were galloping past me as well. I looked into GAT Chat, and people were excited that there was a Jedi in Theed, and wanted to see it for themselves. Even the GATers who were hologrinding dropped what they were doing and rushed to join the crowd…
And then it hit me… the hologrind was not good for the community… but maybe Jedi were. Maybe Jedi would restore the social scene that started to crumble with the introduction of the very means to obtain Jedi in the first place. Maybe, I thought… but not likely. After all, Jedi were hunted by BH’s, so they’d both end up out of sight most of the time, wouldn’t they? I didn’t know the answers, but as usual, when it came to Jedi, I stopped asking the questions. It wasn’t something I really cared about before seeing one myself… and I never would consider a hologrind… so why bother even thinking about it…
Monday, December 15, 2003, 12:02:45 AM (ScreenSho1144)
The next night, I logged into “Neesa,” Merraks alt, for the first time. At first, things were a lil confusing, especially all the armor orders that came through email that I’d have to forward over to the Neesa account. After a couple times logged in, everything fell into place. Merrak and I pooled our resources, and immediately started churning out 65%+ base Composite. Then, we’d slice it, and hand it off to GAT. There was no better deal for the city possible. Not only was it free, but since there was two of us, we’d make the armor faster, and it would come sliced… it was a dream agreement for sure. And not only that, but Merrak was really involved with making layers, so now instead of average “regular” composite, we were coming up with layered sets that the rest of the server was paying huge sums of money for.
On top of everything else… instead of me having 8 lots to drop harvesters, we had like 30 between his available alts alone… so we didn’t even need GAT to drop harvesters anymore. We’d be overflowing with amazing quality resources in the months to come, and it was all thanks to these three [EC] guys joining our city. And if all that wasn’t enough, Amisted made weapons that rivaled Werrts, his mall vendor was a smash hit within days of it being placed, and to add to the already robust list of positives… Ami made us our Starport on his Architect alt. It was completely ridiculous… you had Amisted/Amistek, you had Carledo/Hybrid, and you had Merrak/Neesa/Reesa… so that was 7 accounts, before Merrak & Carl unlocked FS slots. They had everything so covered it was not even funny, and now they were fully integrated into GAT City, our chat channel, some of their alts were in [HATED], it was totally seamless… and of course, everyone loved them. And believe it or not, after all was said and done, the [EC] guys always maintained that what GAT gave them, a “sense of community,” outweighed what they offered GAT 10 fold.
Playing as a 5 foot tall blonde chick was not without its weirdness though… Briann Wilson would frequently show up looking all stoned and getting naked… but really, there was no avoiding that no matter who you were…
Monday, December 15, 2003, 7:50:13 PM (ScreenSho1146)
When Tarq would crash, or when no one was around… maybe when I was waiting for factory runs to finish… I’d log into Eclipse to pop my head in and make sure people didn’t forget the blue fish in guild chat. Knowing that I didn’t have much time to group up or hang out, I’d usually just go to the middle of the woods somewhere and take screenshots by myself. I remember galloping all over Endor, trying to nail the perfect camera angle or maybe luck out and come across a rare baby to tame. I remembered back to when I was grinding scout, before I was a CH… before there was a “Rodd,” and a server split. This is what it was like back in those very early days… before guilds and player cities and before I had hundreds of friends to group up with over two servers. When Ramp, Ciale, and Zox weren’t around, I was generally by myself in the wilderness, and I loved it. It was lonely, but it was fitting. A fish out of water, just taking the time to appreciate the world around him.
I had a passion for SWG that not everyone shared. On Tarq, GATers were fickle, and as amazing as GAT City was back in December of ’03, I feared that GAT would suffer a mass exodus. In the woods, by myself that night on Eclipse, I for some reason got the feeling that this would be one of many nights alone in the wilderness for Vroflus. I thought ahead, not just till tomorrow, and the vehicle patch… but what of 2004, or 2005, or even past that. What would SWG be? I was so attached to Vroflus, my very first MMO creation. I knew I would be in game… but would my friends persevere? Would my guilds? What would be the fate of Vroflus…
Tuesday, December 16, 2003, 7:03:39 PM (ScreenSho1147)
The next day, vehicles hit, and my attention was solely on that new development. GAT City had been gearing up, we collected the needed materials, and Weert’zer respecced to get the skills he needed to supply the entire city with any vehicle they wanted. He charged a nominal fee to GATers just to recover some costs, but of course he didn’t charge guys like me and Marrek. There second I logged in, Werrt was in front of our city hall, handing out deeds. Swoops were the fastest, but I had my mind set on a Speeder Bike, being a Biker Scout fanboi my whole life. When I first called it, this awesome medium pitched hum permeated the air around me. I hopped on, threw it into high gear, and listened as the medium pitched hum became a high pitched hum. The play control was spot on, and as I weaved in and out of GAT City’s houses, I was met with other GATers doing the same thing. I will give credit where credit is due… SOE nailed it… if it weren’t for the rubber-banding at least…
Tuesday, December 16, 2003, 7:32:24 PM (ScreenSho1151)
After cruising around GAT City, it was time to hit Theed. “This changes everything” was the first thought in my mind. I got to Theed in mere minutes, and this wasn’t even the fastest vehicle. When I arrived, the city was overrun. People were racing, chasing, and of course PVPers were trying to blow up the opposing factions vehicles already. Master Artisans knew they hit pay dirt, as some were trying to sell Swoops for 100k credits. Luckily, being a part of GAT City entitled you to a direct link to Werrt’s vehicles, so we of course never had to worry about price gougers taking advantage on launch day.
Thursday, December 18, 2003, 9:32:21 PM (ScreenSho1159)
Everything, and I mean everything, was effected by the introduction of vehicles. In essence, SWG is itself a time-sink. The players that didn’t like the idea never played past the first month. The rest of us accepted SWG for what it was, time-sinks being a big part of that. Mounts changed things, but now mounts were practically useless. People only used mounts now if their vehicle was disabled. Vehicles cut travel times by like 75% or so it seemed. Loot was easier to get, because you could get to it faster. Items flooded the market faster because acquiring the materials to craft them became easier to retrieve. Faction bases? Obviously they were easier to hit. Gank squads were now roaring over the dunes of Tatooine or the plains of Naboo… PVP would of course be forever changed like everything else. In my opinion, nothing changed the game itself the way vehicles did. You could now even go afk while your vehicle kept you our of harms way and brought you to your destination. That concept was suicide on most planets before vehicles hit.
Friday, December 19, 2003, 1:15:20 AM (ScreenSho1165)
And crafters? Vehicles were a crafters dream. Not only was selling them an instant money maker, but making harvester runs just became way easier, and in some cases, fun. Merrak (playing as Neesa) and I could now get to our 30+ harvesters way faster, which obviously meant that our armor production was going to speed up. We didn’t have to worry about aggroing God knows what anymore, and if there were Rebel gank squads, we could evade easier then ever. Vehicles were win/win no matter how you looked at it, except for the fact that there was storage issues, and rubber-banding.
From the Keiyla files:
Right after vehicles were introduced. The devs did a great job of getting bikes IN the game, but you couldn’t store them or make them go away again. The result? Scenes like this (unfortunately this picture was removed from the web), the Bestine Bike Conference of ’03.
Sunday, December 21, 2003, 8:49:07 PM (ScreenSho1183)
When I logged into Eclipse a couple days later, Florian told me he’d provide any vehicle I wanted. I always considered Vro more of a “hoopty” driver, so I asked for a Landspeeder. I kept that thing parked outside of my house all the time, even when I wasn’t near it… I thought it was a nice touch. It especially looked cool on Lok, as the topography obviously looks much like Tatooine… so the association of Lukes Landspeeder & sand came to mind.
Monday, December 22, 2003, 1:17:16 AM (ScreenSho1194)
By Monday, I found myself crushing past GAT City on Tarq, from a whole new perspective… the ocean. I had never seen our city from his angle, and it was quite cool to see indeed. As the houses ripped by on the shore, I realized something… SWG was now “complete.” This was the original concept. Speeders, PRC’s, mounts, and a few Jedi sprinkled throughout… everything originally promised was now in game. JTL was still 10 months away, but the core game, the core promise was a reality. And it was, in my opinion, the most amazing time in SWG’s history.
This was everything any of us wanted. Yeah it was broken to all hell, and yeah, it was as imbalanced as it could get… but oh my God it was perfect. This was a game unlike any other. This is what Star Wars fans waited their whole lives for. This is what MMOers could get behind, as it was unlike other online game of the time. The community, although jaded due to the hologrind, was still primarily active and subscribed. This was the peak of SWG, before the players started to quit in big numbers. When JTL hit, SWG would again peak a second time, but it would be a wildly different game by then, with Jedi around every corner, for good, or bad, depending on your take on that situation.
This was the start of a good time for SWG, a feeling that would re-peak in 10 months with JTL, and one that would be foiled with the CU in April of 2005.