The things you do for old friends…
Thursday, January 15, 2004, 8:27:56 PM (ScreenSho1261)
GAT Citys time on Tarq was at its apex, but for some reason, I was drawn back to Eclipse. I think my real reason was that CH’s didn’t have to use armor in PVE, so I was taking a break from churning out Composite Armor on Tarquinas with Rodd. On Eclipse, Junon was starting his hologrind (which he wouldn’t come close to finishing), so I gave him a hand getting some XP out on Lok. Republic Blasters were now the hot item for Pistoleers, so I was enjoying getting used to a new type of Pistol for a change. I think I was at a crossroads with Vroflus. CH was starting to get nerfed to all hell, and most of my friends were hologrinding (which I was disinterested in), so I spent my time asking anyone if they needed help getting XP. I think I donated my free Holocron to <LOK>’s guildhall or something… but still, as much as I was vocally against giving a $h1t about becoming a Jedi… I think I started to get a little caught up in Ciale’s hologrind. He was on the very cusp of unlocking, and the thought of running the galaxy as Jedi brothers in arms was interestingly appealing all of a sudden…
Saturday, January 17, 2004, 3:14:23 AM (ScreenSho1268)
That weekend, I found myself in front of Purgatory’s City Hall, taking a screenshot with my “Master Gunfighter” title… for what I thought could be the last time. I don’t know what I was thinking, I didn’t open a Holo, I had no real direction, but for some reason, I needed a change. I had already dropped all of medic, but there was no way in hell I was dropping CH, so I choose to start dropping Pistoleer skill boxes, in order to master the Scout profession. I figured I had a lot of the Scout profession filled out anyway, so why not just master it, and then decide where to go from there. So technically, I wasn’t “hologrinding,” Master Scout had it’s advantages, and I was curious to see the difference in harvest yields, etc… But still, in the back of my head, there was another reason. I didn’t know why I was doing it, but I knew it was something that I had to do.
Sunday, January 18, 2004, 6:37:58 PM (ScreenSho1274)
The next day, with “Master Scout” proudly hung over my head, I knew I had to keep going… I had to master Ranger. There was something very natural about it, and I felt that I was keeping in line with what I “had been” all along. So there I sat, creating camp, after camp, after camp…. after… well, camp. The trapping and harvesting XP was easy to get, but the camp XP was long and tedious. It didn’t matter. There was some greater good, something guiding me along this path. At one point I stopped, and questioned things… why would I drop my template, one that I loved, to do this? Why did I feel as if there was no turning back? What would I be once I mastered Ranger, other then a gimped combatant? I didn’t have the answers, but the path was clear. I told people in guild chat where I’d be, and occasionally, people would stop by and say “hello.”
Monday, January 19, 2004, 1:27:58 PM (ScreenSho1275)
One of the people who stopped by to keep me company was none other then one of the Rebellion’s leaders, Alistea. She showed up wearing a partial suit of RIS Armor, and for a second I thought that I should be pumping that out on the other server for GAT City… RIS was just incredibly expensive, I had no clue how she got her hands on it… at first I thought she may have sold her Nightsister Bicep, but considering she was wearing it… there was no telling where she got the cash for the RIS stuff. We sat there and caught up, spoke of old times… and then she dropped the bomb… she was considering leaving SWG. I hate to say it, but really, this was no shock. She was one of many of my friends who were losing patience with the developers. I tried to tell her to be positive, but really, I had no right to say a word. I had abandoned Ali and all of my friends when I started playing on Tarq, so my opinion couldn’t have meant too much. I started to think of what life in SWG would be without my closet friends… was there enough built into the game to keep me interested if I had to go it alone? Or would I leave with them?
Tuesday, January 20, 2004, 11:49:16 PM (ScreenSho1280)
As the days went on, my camps got bigger. I was enjoying being a Ranger, and was interested to see what being a master was like. Every day I’d pick a different POI that I had never seen and built a camp near it. One of those locations was the Ewok Village by the water on Endor. I had been to the treetop village, but never this one. I thought it was pretty cool, and there, in that camp, some kind of a switch flipped position in my head. I knew the truth. My story was going to be one of tragedy. I looked ahead, past the current year, past 2005, 2006… years later I pictured myself, alone, in a camp in the middle of no where. That was no doubt going to be the fate of Vroflus. Somehow, it was all clear in my mind. I knew what the end would bring… I knew I would be by myself. I just didn’t yet know the unthinkable events that would lead me to those final days.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004, 10:02:21 PM (ScreenSho1286)
I sat in that camp all night, staring past the oceanside village and into the night beyond it. When I logged in the next day, I was in the exact same spot, in the same position, just staring off into the distance. Then, the epic change of pace chimed into the comm…. “come to Yavin IV, come alone,” said Eragi. Who the hell was Eragi? I didn’t ask questions. I had my suspicions. I arrived to Yavin and he then sent a waypoint… as far as you could possibly get from the outpost. He was in the top left corner of the map… I pulled my Landspeeder and was on my way. When I got to within 500m I stored my vehicle, pulled my most trusted pets, and closed in. There wasn’t much I could do if this was a trap, after all, I was CH, Ranger… and not much else… I couldn’t even use half my pistols anymore.
Eventually I got close enough to see flashes of orange in the distance… it was a lightsaber. I confirmed that it was Eragi, and he was a Rebel… so this wasn’t going to be a fight, that much I knew. I finally arrived face to face, to see a Jedi in Composite Armor. “How does it feel,” I asked? “It’s strange to see myself as anything other then Ciale,” Eragi responded. I thought to myself “yeah, you get used to the alternate life eventually.” I gave him a nod, and followed it up with “lets see what it can do…” SHREEEEK, the familiar sound of 20 years of watching Star Wars movies gave me chills as he brandished his lightsaber. He tore though the local creatures in seconds, and soon I heard the quite familiar sound of an extinguishing lightsaber.
“You cant go back to society, can you,” I asked. “It’s bad enough the Bounty Hunters can find me out here,” he said as he shook his head. “What do you need me to do,” I offered. “I have everything I need… and you can have your harvesters back finally…” And that was it. I told him that I was proud of him, and he knew where I was if he needed me. The fact was, in my emaciated state of skill boxes, I couldn’t help him get out of a paper bag. I set up a camp, and he came in and out periodically throughout the night, and the following nights, as I’d follow him to wherever he would grind as I was getting camp XP. We caught up, but really, there was no lost time between Ciale and I. We were always, and would always be friends, no matter what type of distance was between us. He mentioned that many Jedi were joining exclusive guilds, and he had intentions of putting Eragi into one. I told him “do what you need to do,” and told him I’d support him no matter what he did. He asked if I’d leave <LOK> if he moved Ciale too… and I told him “I go where you go.” And when it came down to it, I did.
Friday, January 23, 2004, 12:38:06 AM (ScreenSho1289)
Two days later, I left Yavin. I had been all over the planet with “Eragi,” leaving a camp up for him, and running the perimeter. He was right, he was hunted… but with my heightened Ranger skills, I was now able to actually track players. If anyone was coming his way, I’d be the first to know, and we’d be able to leave the area well before any BH would figure out where he went. I soon realized that this was no coincidence. Days prior, when I knew Ciale was close to unlocking, I played on Tarq less, and went right for Ranger on Eclipse. It wasn’t random. It wasn’t me trying new things or contemplating a hologrind to unlock a slot of my own. It was to protect my friend. Jedi faced an easy permadeath. They lived a life of the hunted, and Ciale would be forced to hide in the far reaches of the galaxy. Who better then me, his trusted friend from beta, to acquire skills that would enable Ciale to see the Bounty Hunters coming before it was too late? Dropping Medic & Pistoleer to get Ranger was to make sure that the one guy who wanted Jedi more then anyone, didn’t lose it. I didn’t realize it when I was dropping skills, because it didn’t even cross my mind to deeply question my motivation. I just did it, because it could give him an advantage, and in a reversed situation, he’d of done it without thinking too.
Saturday, January 24, 2004, 1:43:05 AM (ScreenSho1292)
Soon, we had a game plan. I’d scout ahead, find a good spot with Ciale, make sure we were alone, and then he’d log Eragi in and goto the waypoint. It was foolproof. Eragi would grind away, I’d advise when BH’s were closing in, and we’d vanish into the depths of the planet before the fight ever happened. This wouldn’t last forever, soon he’d feel comfortable enough to get into PVP, but with a 3 kill permadeath rule, this was the smartest way to go until he got his rudimentary skills figured out. I’m not 100% positive, but I believe that Eragi was never permakilled.