You win some, you lose some…
Tuesday, December 23, 2003, 8:25:22 PM (ScreenSho1216)
On Tuesday, December 23rd, I mastered Swordsman. That profession is simply fun as hell. I grinding out the last box on Lok, doing Gurk missions… I’m pretty sure that if I had a graph of my kills in SWG over the years, Gurks would be at least 30% of my total kills, followed very close my Biz Natches. Anyway, I was grinding out that last bit of XP, when I noticed something interesting in GAT Chat… familiar names from the forums were now playing on Tarq. Inache had moved over from Kettenmore, Cronik, the forums biggest critic of SWG resubbed, D8alus resubbed, and Dank resubbed. These were guys from GAT’s Talus days, before I joined the server. There was so much hype on our forums, that people were starting to wonder what SWG had become in their absence. Best of all, Spratacus had resubbed too! Not only were we recruiting players from around the server, but the original GAT quitters were trickling back in game as well. The first thing I thought was “Shuttleport!!!” I quickly contacted <EC> because Elu had dropped architect, and Amistad generously donated a Shuttleport to the city. The day the city cycle allowed for it, we dropped the shuttleport alongside just a couple other PRC’s on Naboo…
Wednesday, December 24, 2003, 2:27:31 AM (ScreenSho1218)
Having Swordsman mastered, it was time to get CM as high as I could get it. This would happen in two or three nights. Merrak and his crew had a system. They told me to meet them over at their guild hall, and to bring a few people. Elu, Keiyla, and Emerpus came with me, and waiting for us on the steps was Hybrid & Merrak. There was some explanation of certain macros, and the end result was people standing around intimating, and doing other status effects like tumbling relentlessly. This is where the phrase “tumble monkey” came from… it originated in Med Centers, where players would macro tumble (causing action damage) to give the medics an opportunity to have a perma-hurt target to heal. The tumble monkeys would be tipped the same way an entertainer would, so some people used it while they were afk to make cash. So on the <EC> guild hall steps, I sat there and healed, while grinding the required medical skill boxes as well. Hybrid was doing the same thing, so we’d have two CM’s able to combat the 90m exploiters that were wrecking us in PVP.
Thursday, December 25, 2003, 7:26:24 PM (ScreenSho1220)
Can you guess where I was? Hallway of a Starport… there was not a day that went by that the player base wasn’t reminded that SOE had still not fixed the basic bugs in the code. For all the good, the recent PRC patch, the vehicles, the mounts, RIS armor, faction bases… all the things that made the game fun… there was always just as much going on that made players angry. Why, still, 5 months into launch, was I finding myself floating in space or rubberbanding relentlessly? Why would my pets stop following me, or run off into the wilderness aggroing everything they ran past? Why were the professions so grossly imbalanced? Why was the Imperial faction hat still unwearable!! With all the major promises now implemented, everyone expected the devs to address the nagging code issues and imbalances… if the devs rose to the challenge, SWG in my mind would have really been the MMO to beat. But they didn’t even come close.
Thursday, December 25, 2003, 10:36:09 PM (ScreenSho1221)
“A mysterious voice says, “In order to continue your path to enlightenment, you must learn Master Marksman.” It was Christmas night, 2003, and SOE had decided to give it’s subscribed players a Holocron to help them on their path to Jedi. If players were even vaguely interested, the hologrind would soon follow for them. Players that weren’t interested would sell their Holo’s for millions, or decorate their houses with them. Personally, I was just curious what it would say… and it said “Marksman.” For a split second, I actually contemplated the grind… after all, is there an easier profession to grind then marksman? Then I remembered that the holgrind payoff was Jedi… something I didn’t want to do anyway. So that was that… I could’ve sold it for millions, but my curiosity got the better of me… I guess I didn’t get enough presents that year or something…
Friday, December 26, 2003, 1:03:07 AM (ScreenSho1222)
The day after Christmas, all of a sudden everyone I saw was a Swordsman. Maybe it was cause it was the “Template of the Month,” as we used to say… the devs were messing with the balance of the professions so much, that the players would adjust their templates to get as close to God mode as possible… but this had more to do with the free holo’s given out the night before I think. This is when I started to notice a shift in the ideology of Star Wars Galaxies. If you wanted to compete, all of a sudden you had to buy only Composite Armor, and it had to have server best stats, so you were generally going to a handful of guys, if not, one single vendor to get the best armor possible. And with the hologrind, professions became meaningless.
One day everyone was running around wearing Comp Armor with swords, the next they were all running around wearing Comp Armor with rifles… I saw exactly, 100%, what this would soon mean… in a few months, the servers would be filled with Composite Armor players swinging lightsabers at one another. There was no logical way around this fate, and anyone who didn’t see it coming was kidding themselves. The day after holo’s were passed out, it was a green light from the devs to the players… the message was “we want you to use composite armor and become Jedi.” Sure those words never came out of the developers mouths, but when they made it so only Composite was truly universally viable in PVP, and they advocated the hologrind with the Christmas gifts, the message was clear.
If the haphazard afk Cantina grinds of November were the start of the Jedi dreams, then this was the focused version of that. Players didn’t have to go afk in cantinas “because it was easy” to macro grind the Entertainer profession (why not start your grind with the profession that will grind for you while youre afk)… now they had the devs telling them which profession they really should be grinding… and furthermore, they could pay other players for their holo’s, to get an inside track on what to grind next.
And what did this really mean? Everything that I have been hinting at regarding NPC city cantinas would finally come true. Players were no longer starting their holo grinds with “Entertainer” unless their holo told them to… and if it did, they just did it in their PRC’s cantina. The die hard Musicians and Dancers created groups that would travel the galaxy and throw parties, so they were no longer in cantinas most of the time… so just like that, cantinas in NPC cities were a shadow of what they were at launch. Only about 3 or 4 cantinas in the galaxy would even be sparsely populated, while rest would go completely empty. What was once the early symbol of the community itself was now eradicated… and you had to wonder… would the community itself be next?
Monday, December 29, 2003, 1:09:33 PM (ScreenSho1226)
A few days later, I took a break from Tarq and just screwed around with my Landspeeder on Eclipse. One of the coolest effects would be how the water was effected by the vehicles hovering above it. Once again, it was a chance to give credit to the art team of SWG… those guys just constantly found ways to implement cool features. You’d have to wonder what cool things they came up with that never made it into the game itself…
Friday, January 02, 2004, 7:56:02 PM (ScreenSho1230)
As 2004 ushered in, the first of my personal friends finally unlocked their FS slot. F’oria, some chick that I introduced to the Transcendants after a hunt one night, had done it. I logged in to find her ecstatic /tells, and we talked for a good half hour on the topic… what she did, how she did it… how she was leaving Trans for some “all Jedi” guild that was forming. I was happy for her of course, the hologrind is not fun and she started it way before holo’s were easy to get. One guy I was not happy for was Ciale though… as you can see in the chat, he was now grinding Pistoleer… his 21st profession, and still had not unlocked. I really felt bad for the guy, he wanted Jedi more than anyone I knew, and it seemed like he was going to have to master every profession in the game before it was unlocked for him. But, as I always reminded him… this was the path he choose, and obviously he was going to get it sooner or later…
Friday, January 02, 2004, 8:13:35 PM (ScreenSho1231)
Back on Tarq, it was good news and bad news. The good news was that Elu Vagabond said hello, and then tipped me 5,000,000 credits out of no where. I was about to be happy, until I realized what this meant… this cash meant bad news. I learned from Spart, that when a GATer tipped me millions, it meant they were leaving SWG. I also learned from Spart that they would at times resub… but this wasn’t the case with Elu. He was fed up with the devs, and he was gone for real. What was an even bigger issue was that Blizzard had announced that the World of Warcraft beta would start in March, so Elu (along with many GATers) planned to get in on that and see how it was. GAT, in this case, was a focus group for all of SWG… when WoW beta hit, it would have gigantic implications on SWG. Once players got a taste of WoW and its dev team, SWG would be blackballed and the devs would go down in history as the worst many gamers would ever know. WoW ended up being so solid that players even forgot the good things of SWG, and to this day, many only seem to remember the horrible maneuvering by the dev team and not much else.
Friday, January 02, 2004, 8:20:43 PM (ScreenSho1232)
“RODD FLANDERS DEMANDS TO KNOW WHO NEEDS MONEY.” I wasn’t rich, I always had a few hundred thousand creds, and everything else was put into the city somehow. I had no reason to keep Elu’s cash, so I funded the civil structures, the mall, and the rest I gave away to whoever was online. I’m sure I could’ve used the cash to acquire parts for RIS armor (which I don’t think I ever created even one piece of lol), but who cared. It was more fun to play financial Santa to the rest of GAT. The fact was, we were losing one of the most important people in GAT’s SWG history, and for me, it was a sign of things to come. Elu was one of the guys that I enjoyed talking to the most, and if he was gone, I was wondering where he was going, and if I should be going with him… after all, we all knew by now that “the community makes SWG…” so if the community leaves… what is left?
Like Spartacus before him, Elu wasn’t leaving because of real life issues… he was leaving cause he was fed up with the devs. I took this as a sign and kept a close eye on the forums to see who else was getting fed up. It was a very strange time in SWG history… everything seemed to peak in a positive way concerning content, but players were starting to trickle away from the game. Would the player base stay this big and hold out until JTL hit in October? I tried not to think about, it, because if I did, I knew what the answer would be…