Sunday, April 18, 2004, 12:24:12 PM (ScreenShot2009)
About a week after the Corvette content was patched in, I quickly learned that not everyone in the galaxy got as abused as we did on Tarq. Over on Eclipse, while waiting for a shuttle, someone pulled up in a vehicle I had never seen before. After a quick conversation I learned that it was an AV-21 which was only possibly to obtain if someone not only finished the dungeon, but also was lucky enough to loot a power plant while they were up there. The AV-21 instantly became the most expensive item in the game, selling for 10’s of millions when they were first produced.
Friday, April 30, 2004, 9:27:50 PM (ScreenShot2012)
A week later, I found myself on Endor taming an Angler. The week itself wasn’t much of anything. I was spending less time in game, down to around 4 hours a night I suppose… kind of wandering around aimlessly in a fog. Things on Tarquinas were starting to become clearly shaky so I remember spending more time on Eclipse, which deep down I knew was my “home.” I was still taking screenshots that I planned to put in the comic, but almost all of them would never make it in. It was around this time that I joined <DOM>, although I never put a house down on Corillia, where they were based. I really only joined to be in the same guild chat as my close buddies, although I did become a little friendly with Spoon and a couple others.
Sunday, May 09, 2004, 11:49:10 PM (Issue #2, Page 3)
On May 9th, over a month since I put up the last comic page, I finally got around to page #3. Of all the pages I created, this one I think really reflects what happened in SWG at that time, and how I felt about it. It starts out where the previous page left off, in the Acklay cave. Rodd is verbally perturbed, and we’re quickly shown a flashback from “5 minutes earlier.” The next pane by itself describes exactly what it was like to play SWG at that time as a member of GAT City… just about everyone, clad of course in Composite Armor, unsubbed from SWG at once. They’d play out the duration of their subscription, but when the cycle ended, so did their time spent playing SWG. Almost none of them would ever play the game again.
Their combined announcement actually happened a month prior to me posting the page itself, so when I put this one up, they were already gone from the game. The comic continues with Carledo and I (two of the only people who didn’t quit) leaving the other guys to die in the Acklay cave… and Rodd telling them to “have fun living out your dorky super hero fantasies,” referring to the City of Heroes beta. Anyone who didn’t get into the WoW beta planned to play CoH until Wow let them in… and either of those options were more enticing then continuing to pay SOE for the super buggy SWG. I say this with absolute certainty, if you were shown a graph of SWG’s subscribers, when you got to this time (when CoH & WoW betas came out), you would see an obvious decline of SWG players.
This was the last time that the Tarq crew made it into the comics. The last pane on Tarq shows me abandoning them in the cave, but in reality, I was the one left abandoned when they quit. I have hundreds of Tarq screenshots taken specifically for the comic, but they all went to waste. The story then shifts to Eclipse, and we get to find out what happened to Vroflus after he jumped back to his home server. Vro is on his way to meet Talon Karrde (a Star Wars EU character), when he’s intercepted by Zox Denosis, and escorted to Talon. The page ends with Zox holding Vro at gunpoint, leaving the reader unsure as to what will really happen to Vro in the end. Zox and I worked for hours to get this one looking right, and most of the screens I took ended up in the next page as well.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 11:53:49 PM (ScreenShot2020)
Still on Endor, I believe I was staying there because there was little chance of running into anyone if I stayed deep enough in the forest. A lot of things were changing, and I think being in the middle of the GAT City exodus on the other server was taking its toll on me. That was just a little bit of it though. I think the real issue was that it finally sunk in … SWG had gone from a wonderful dream, to a messy but lovable experience… unfortunatly, the honeymoon was wearing off for many players. People were getting sick of making excuses to continue playing. Players were done using workarounds for just about everything they did. And as for me… I was no longer the same player that I was early on. I had seen too much. I wasn’t ready to quit, but I did take a big step back to revaluate my path and practices in SWG.
Did I just spend almost a year of marathon hours banking on the half empty promises of a dev team gone haywire? I stood there on that cliff and it was like a slap in the face. A total wake up call. The Tarquinas experiment yielded astonishing results. For all my time spent, all my powergaming, all the teamwork, the mall and the city… everyone we built was almost totally abandoned. It wasn’t that bad, because all the guys and girls were still on GAT’s forums, but still, the fun in game was quickly coming to an end. I knew I’d ride out the end of GAT City on Tarq, and then abandon it with the rest of the GATers. That left me with one option… going back to Eclipse full time. Going back to the people I abandoned. Going back to some guild that I didn’t even know anything about, other then 90%+ of the members were Jedi grinders. How did it come to this? It wasn’t all bad though… at least I was in a guild with Rampage, Zox, Ciale and Destroyer… so things could be worse…
Friday, May 14, 2004, 11:23:36 AM (ScreenShot2022)
A few days later, I finally was ready to face the rest of the server. For some reason, I headed straight to Naboo, to Darkghosty’s house. When I arrived, I found an empty lot where his workshop used to be. I knew Florian and Ali were as good as gone, so I started getting desperate, hoping to find at least the houses of my friends… any relic of the good times we had… but they were few and far between. I shook my head, and instinctively switched my profession monitors from TKA back to pistols. I didn’t know wtf I was doing, but I did know that I wanted the old Vroflus back. If Eclipse was going to crumble around me the way Tarq did, then I wanted to be the purest version of myself during the process, and especially after it. I wanted to be the Vro that everyone remembered, the one leading the Kimo hunts with Pistols blazing… only there were no more hunts to lead. Not for me at least… I started to see things differently. I started to feel like an obsolete image in a world full of Composite Cloned Jedi. I started to feel the need to withdraw…
Friday, May 14, 2004, 11:39:00 AM (ScreenShot2024)
I promptly traveled directly to my house near Nyms, retrieved a Solar Generator from the satchel in the main room, and for some reason, placed it as close to my house as I could. It was a very methodical and deliberate thing for reasons that I didn’t understand at the time. Maybe it was almost like a tombstone that represented the daily subtraction of my friends as they left the game for good. I guess in a way it also represented some kind of stability, as long as I fed it the proper requirements, it would not poof like so many people around me. Maybe I was trying to assert some kind of control into a situation that was spiraling away from me. Whatever it was, looking back, it wasn’t pointless. There was some kind of determined purpose behind the placing of that generator. Maybe I wanted to remind the galaxy that at least one of us would be left behind when the dust settled.
Monday, May 17, 2004, 1:41:32 AM (Issue #2, Page 4)
Three days later, I posted the last page I’d ever create. The process was too draining for me I suppose. The captions explain the plot well enough… Vro was being shuffled around by Zox, and in the end, it is of course revealed that the two are in cahoots to rip off 10,000,000 credits from the Hutts. The idea behind the Hutt saying “blah blah blah,” and Vro and Zox having no trouble understanding her, is actually an inside joke that one of my irl friends and I had since we were kids… how did all these different species always seem to be fluent in every single language in the galaxy? I snuck the same joke into the series earlier actually, when Vro seems to have no trouble understanding his trusty Cu Pa… kinda like Timmy & Lassie.
Anyway, this process was grueling because I knew it was the last time I was going to see Zox. I was glad to get him into the comic, because obviously he and I were immortalized together every time someone reads it… but the real shame of it all is in Vro’s last words… “tell Ciale I’ll be in touch.” I had intended to take the pages to Jabbas palace, where Ciale and Rampage would be waiting for me… but it was not meant to be. This was it for the comic… unfinished but still enjoyable… exactly like the game it was based on at the time.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 5:53:51 PM (ScreenShot2034)
The following Tuesday, I found myself taking a long hard look at the topography of my home planet… one thing stood out… Purgatory was no longer recognized as a city on Lok. After all was said and done, this was a critical time for Purgatory & <LOK>, but I will be the first to admit, I played no part in saving it from disaster. At the time, it seemed like I made the right call by following my pals over to <DOM>, even though the only function it served for me was a chat room. This too bolstered the creeping feeling of wanting to isolate myself I suppose. Of course my good friends were in the guild, but I really made no effort to meet any of the other guys, or even to see my friends face to face. Ciale was grinding his ass off, Zox was halfway out the door forever, and Rampage was himself a loner, so I knew enough not to try and spend a lot of time with him (although I’m sure he would’ve welcomed it).
Tuesday, May 18, 2004, 5:54:26 PM (ScreenShot2035)
As I hoofed into the hills from the starport to my house, one thing remained. After everything was said and done, I really loved the way the game looked. So I was content. Things no longer looked uncertain, they looked straight up bleak. I knew I was losing my friends, and I knew I really didn’t plan on making new ones. Ironically though, I felt things were justified. This was probably how the guys felt when I started splitting servers in the first place, so it was only right that the server I jumped to fell apart on me. The real sting was that with Flo and Ali gone, and Zox leaving, it just left me, Ciale and Ramp… and Ciale was already starting to feel burnt out, alluding to a possible break in game play.
Things started to look dark indeed. But I was built to deal with it. With my DX2 in hand, Homer and I galloped over the ridges as Nym’s faded into the Lokian mist. This was the true life of the CH was it not? Facing insurmountable odds, you’re never alone, as your pets are always just a call away. I was prepared for whatever lie ahead…