Thursday, June 26 2003 – 8:26PM (ScreenShot0000) – My first Screeny after launch
I took off of work and woke up at the crack of dawn, too excited to get sufficient rest. I drove to “Electronics Botique” and waited for it to open… and as soon as it did, I gave the guy my receipt for my paid in full Collectors Edition of Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. The guy started talking about how I “wasn’t in the system” but he didn’t even get the words out of his mouth before I made it abundantly clear that there was no chance in hell that I was leaving this store without my game. I was home about 12 minutes later installing it.
As it was installing, I got an AIM message from Zox, who told me that the official boards were freezing up. I tried to hit them, and got more of the same. I wasn’t too worried though, as I had the awesome collectors book and Prima guide I bought to hold me over while the games 4 disks installed. The computer I built specifically for the task was chugging along nicely, and in a few minutes I was ready to take my first step into the greatest gaming experience I’d ever know.
Thursday, June 26 2003 – 8:38PM (ScreenShot0003) The dreaded “server loading” screen
Too bad SOE’s garbage implementation of launch day stood between me and my noob CDEF. Zox and I were *****ing and moaning on AIM to one another all morning… and afternoon… and night. The servers would only be able to go up for a second before thousands of eager SWG owners would crash them back down. SOE couldn’t even tell us to calm the hell down cause we were crashing their boards too! Finally at around 6pm I got in game, but it was shaky at best. I quickly found Ciale on Tatooine, we grabbed the two closest people “Dceve,” & “Bogak,” and started killing Nunas and similar mobs as soon as we came across them.
Thursday, June 26 2003 – 8:40PM (ScreenShot0001)
It didn’t take long for Rampage to sniff us out, and we spent our time as best as possible… getting as much XP as we could. As we’d max boxes out, we’d pool our starting credits, give it to one guy, send his ass back to town to get trained… and then he’d catch up with the group and train everyone in what he learned. Pistols, Scouting, and Medic XP was what we were primarily concerned with… so our time together consisted of shooting and harvesting whatever we could kill as the night progressed.
Saturday, June 28 2003 – 3:11AM (ScreenShot0005)
And what did I do when my friends weren’t available? Well I didn’t level combat skills without them. I’d head to the cantinas and get some Entertainer experience, instead. When I tell you the cantinas we’re bustling… they were BUSTLING! Almost any cantina on any available planet was jammed with dancers, musicians, and all sorts of travelers and combatants taking a break from their long day. It was almost chaos, so many stories going on at once, everyone so totally excited to share the unique events of their particular day. It was just as fun as being out in the field. I used the opportunity to meet people, and become a musician myself! That was the beauty of the profession system, in the first weeks of SWG, everyone could be a jack of all trades!
Saturday, June 28 2003 – 3:15PM (ScreenShot0007)
Saturday was a busy day. If you look at the times of the screenshots, I was playing for 12 hours straight at this point, or at least whenever the servers were up. By this time I had met up with Rowa from Trans (now named “Rowah”), and we were in the field hunting Squalls. He and I had a great “give and take” relationship in the field… I’d get us into trouble, and he’d get us out. When you called a medic, you called Rowah. It was just that simple. It was awesome, cause he’d usually bring a few of his “Transcendents” with him. They invited me to what would eventually be their guild (when an architect could finally build a PA hall that they could afford), but I declined, trying to remain neutral during the first big guild “push.”
Another important piece of information in the above screenshot is the private “/tells” going on. I’m speaking with “Khan,” and that fact has major relevance. It illustrates that I was never not “networking.” I learned in beta that my biggest quality was the ability to develop bonds with other players, and maintain key relationships that would come in huge for many people… Rebels, Imperials, future guilds… what would one day become . Every relationship I maintained and nurtured had the potential to have a positive effect in an exponential way on multiple people. If I was having less then three conversations at once, then I must’ve been in heavy combat, because if I was just clearing a routine spawn point, then you can bet I was sending and receiving hundreds of /tells an hour.
For example, Khan. Khan was a big Trando who I met the day the game launched. We stayed in touch and got to know each other, even if we weren’t standing right next to one another. Weeks later Khan ended up teaming up with “Rudd,” and the two went on to become two of the premiere Slicers in the Galaxy. They then made an agreement with “Jarnis,” one of the Galaxies first name brand weapons makers. They were the best slicers around, and Jarnis was possibly the best (or at least most advanced) Weaponsmith. Khan & Rudd would slice the weapons at a discount, and Jarnis would of course give them a never ending supply of weapons to slice.
The end result… J-TECH weapons, already sliced, by the Galaxies most well known slicers. In the first weeks of SWG, you were using a J-TECH weapon or you were getting out damaged my friend. And Khan and Rudd, the two big Trandos that used to stand in the entrance of Bestines Starport… well unless you were close friends with them, you weren’t getting a slice at all… cause both of them worked strictly with Jarnis. But, all of that was at least a month down the road… at this point Jarnis was someone I didn’t even know about, and Khan was just another Trando wielding a CDEF.
The point is, imagine NOTHING on the Bazaar. Imagine NO worldwide vendor search. If you wanted something in the first few days of launch, someone was going to have to take it out of their pocket and hand it to you. Anything thrown up on the Bazaar either had an inflated price tag, or was bought in seconds. If you had a few thousand credits, you were wealthy. If you have over 10,000, you were rich.
Knowing a player who could provide a service was like having your own personal goldmine. And I embraced that concept. True I was hunting creatures out in the open… but quietly, more importantly, I was hunting contacts. And I was absolutely fantastic at it. I had the uncanny knack for finding a random player who “was thinking about becoming an Armorsmith one day,” investing time in the relationship… and ending up personally knowing the guy who could make the best armor around. It was about taking chances on unknown people, cause everyone was unknown. And as that started to change, certain people started to gain a reputation for what they did. And I was no different. But, people didn’t come looking to buy items from me. What they came for… was to find out who they should be buying itemsfrom.
Saturday, June 28 2003 – 11:20PM (ScreenShot0018)
Approaching midnight, I was pushing 24 straight hours of game time. Zox Denosis and I finally met up for the first time since Beta, and we had to hunt on Rori because the “adventure” planets (Dantooine, Lok, Yavin IV, Endor, Dathomir) did not launch with the rest of the Galaxy. That’s right, imagine the world without our beloved home… but that was the beauty of Zox. If he was anything, he was resourceful. Zox was unconcerned with the “whens and wheres” of the universe. He just wanted to get together and do something, anything, cause Zox wasn’t picky at all. He was always pushing the envelope when it came to “getting the group into trouble,” due to his typical aura of reckless abandon. Zox was the first to the waypoint, Zox was always the first into a firefight, and Zox Denosis would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Zox kept things fun, so no matter how tired you were, you stuck it out to see what he’d do next.
Sunday, June 29 2003 – 4:54AM (ScreenShot0023)
On Sunday, June 29 2003, at almost 5:00am, the servers came up, the “adventure planets” went “live,” and the first ever player transport landed on the planet Lok. It held just three passengers… myself, Rampage Savage, and Ciale Yhagai. It was one of many Galaxy wide firsts for each of us, and it is one of my most cherished memories from “the old days.” All our obsessing, the hard work, the laughs, the non stop running… it all added up to seeing Lok before anyone else in the Eclipse Galaxy.
Sunday, June 29 2003 – 5:54AM (ScreenShot0025)
Sometimes in life you are so excited, that you actually miss the moment you’re in, no matter how important it is to you. This was not one of those moments. We knew what we did, we spoke about it to one another, and we told our closest friends. We sat there for a second, the three of us, and accepted it with a smile. And then, underpowered as we were, we ran to the Cloner. A tiny team of friends, the giant abandoned planet in front of us, and nothing but our hearts and our nonsensical CDEF Blasters to push back when the planet closed in on us. No houses, no havesters, no speeders, no mounts, no personal equipment… and no people. Nothing but the wilderness of Lok.
Sunday, June 29 2003 – 7:22AM (ScreenShot0031)
Kastore Nuktan was the 4th person to make it to Lok (we first met him during the last night of Beta), followed by none other then Zox of course. Kastore had grinded some Imperial faction specifically to acquire some Stormtroopers, which turned out to be a big help on day one of Lokian survival. I remember even then, Rampage had a problem with taking help from “Imperials,” but Kastore was Kastore, and we weren’t going to hold it against him. Or at least I wasn’t, I don’t think Ramp ever really took to him for some reason.
Rampage was like that… he decided right away if he liked you or not, and that was it. It was hard to sway him one way or another, but I saw it as a good thing, because with Ramp, you know where you stood. At the end of the day, he negotiated with his blaster, and to my knowledge, he never lost a duel. Ramp was a one man wrecking crew. He always managed to have ten times the credits as me, and he only spent them on the best weapons in the known Galaxy. I could be wrong, but I’m very convinced that Rampage Savage was the first Master Pistoleer in the Galaxy.