Thursday, May 27, 2004, 7:52:52 PM (ScreenShot2218)
The last time I ever saw Alistea was fitting… we were killing Stormtroopers on Endor. I’m sure this is the way Ali would like to be remembered. By now sightings of either her of Florian (actually I think Flo was officially gone by this time) were few and far between. The weighted feeling of overall loss and attrition was at this point almost stifling. On Tarq, it was sudden and huge… we all knew what day GAT City was going to die. But on Eclipse, it was like a horrible lotto, where you didn’t know which one of your friends was going to disappear next. This time it was Ali saying her goodbyes. We grinded our original professions together, we were involved in multiple complex trade schemes, and we fought next to one another in the name of the Rebellion.
Of my closest and original friends, only me, Ciale and Ramp were left. I kept thinking to myself… who would be next?
Saturday, June 05, 2004, 7:55:19 PM (ScreenShot2222)
In early June, I made sure to be available for GAT’s last hoorah in SWG. We organized as many hunts as we could, just to get the most out of the end of our time together in game. One of the last things on our list was to finally conquer the corvette. I remember loading in to see a sight that I would never forget. On our last hunt, we were all, 100%, wearing armor that Merrak and I made for the city. It was a fitting last group image that made me proud to see. If there was ever an answer to the question “will Rodd keep his promise about the free armor,” then this was the answer. That moment was one of closure for me. I completed the task that I set out to do on Tarquinas. GAT City was soon to dissolve, and that meant that I (with major help from Merrak) lived up to the promise. Free armor was given to the city throughout its entire (albeit short) lifetime. My promise was fulfilled.
Sunday, June 06, 2004, 10:55:16 PM (ScreenShot2234)
The next day, as things were winding down on Tarq, I still was making some observations. “Buff lines” were by now staples in both Coronet and Naboo… and soon some key outposts on the adventure planets would follow suit. Doctors that could offer optimal buffs were now raking in credits faster then many straight up crafters, so much so that players would actually form lines that were 20 men deep in front of the starports. This phenomenon happened very fast, and it didn’t take long for multiple Doctors to be buffing at the same time to quench the players reliance on bring buffed to perform in PVP or high end PVE.
On top of the Doctors, high quality Chefs were now in serious demand as well. You can see from the chat spam in the background, food buffs were considered by many to be just as critical as Doctor buffs. In PVE these buffs were important, but the real buyers were the PVPers who wanted any possible advantage to shift the odds in their favor. As Jedi became more prevalent, and much more powerful then most other combat professions, quality buffs were seen as a possible way to at least compete. In my experience, it didn’t really matter though… once a Jedi got a hold of a template like mine… a few swings of the saber is all it took no matter what buffs or armor I was stacking…
Sunday, June 06, 2004, 11:10:03 PM (ScreenShot2236)
The familiar sight of a Jedi slowly making his way over to send me to the cloner on Tarquinas… I remember that night very vividly. I was the only over Imperial in Theed, and a Rebel gank squad shuttled in and pwnt me in a split second. They were abusing me, spitting on me, and doing anything they could to get me to clone and go overt again. So I obliged. Time and again I ran from the cloner over to the recruiter, went overt…. And then threw mind diseases on their group until they dropped me. I did it for a good ten minutes, and lost like 300 faction points. Finally, one of the Rebels asked me “why do you keep trying to fight us?” My answer was simple “because someone has to…”
Saturday, June 12, 2004, 5:42:59 PM (ScreenShot2245)
A week later, you could see how casual I had become. There were no mass hijinx on Tarq. There was no middleman operation on Eclipse. No epic hunts… I found myself in Nosuns house on Corillia, staring into his makeshift fireplace. The idea was ingenious actually, when you got close enough, the sliding door would open and the fire that was actually placed in the other room would shine through the front opening of the structure that Nosun built. Oddly enough, this was the type of thing that kept many players subscribed to SWG. Home decorating and the collecting of rare artifacts and trinkets… who would of thought that two of the most anti-social practices would keep people interested in what was once considered one of the most social of community driven games…
Saturday, June 12, 2004, 7:01:08 PM (ScreenShot2249)
When I did venture outside the confines of a friendly house, I was typically reminded of how things were ever changing around me. Honestly, I didn’t even know what the hell Spoon was doing in front of me, or capable of all together. There he was, lightsaber sparkling, force lightning seemingly manifesting itself around him… and there I was, doing nothing other then showing the world what being a Jedi was not. What did this all mean to the state of SWG going forward? What did it mean for Vroflus? I started to feel very lost whenever I found myself in public, because when I was around people, chances were that some of them were Jedi… and to me, Jedi still represented the Hologrind, which in my mind was a main reason why so many players were leaving the game as fast as they were…
Saturday, June 19, 2004, 11:41:19 AM (ScreenShot2264)
On my screen, the action was paced in the name of redemption. I was grinding back up the pistoleer tree, using Masa, one of the Rancors that Zox awarded me for a year of true friendship, as a tank. Things were status quo, and in a way, I was having good memories of a time in the now distant past. Dathomir was the planet where I spent much of my time grinding Pistol XP the first time around with my closest pals. Just at the moment when I was about to let go of the current situation and live in the past for a few seconds… I looked down into guild chat. “So I made up my mind, I’m not going to renew my membership…”
Seeing these words were no big surprise… people were quitting every day. But when I moved my eyes to the left, and saw who it was that was announcing his retirement… I felt sick to my stomach. Ciale Yhagai of all people was going to be leaving SWG. I was just completely shocked. And I knew this was for real. There was no convincing… no way to change someone’s mind back then when it came to this. People were fed up for months, so when they finally decided enough was enough, it had to be respected. After a private conversation, it was clear that he intended to come back when JTL was implemented, and with that, I let the topic go. I wasn’t going to make his last month in SWG a living hell by begging him to stay… I had to face facts… soon, it would be down to Rampage and myself… ironically fitting… the two guys who beat everyone on the server to build houses on Lok, would be the last two left in game from the beta crew.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004, 7:32:12 PM (ScreenShot2277)
As far as Tarq and GAT City were concerned, I extended an open invite for anyone who wanted to reroll on Eclipse to come join me. As you can see, there was a brief short lived “GAT Chat,” on Eclipse as well as on Tarq. A good 10+ GATers, the refugees from the 80+ sized city that once towered over northern Naboo, gave it a shot… but in the end… it would not last. GAT City was dead, and the very few survivors would be absorbed by other citys on Tarq… but I was not one of those survivors.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004, 10:01:54 PM (ScreenShot2291)
This is the last screenshot I ever took of Rodd Flanders. About three weeks had gone by, and when I logged back in to see what was left of GAT City’s populace, I was met with what I already knew to be true. GAT City was dead. Anyone left in game went their separate ways, <HATED> had just a few active people left, and none were online at the same times. Dwr & Batou were still on Dantooine, Fuschia and Keiyla had joined some friendly Imperial guilds… and a few others, including Daynk, would actually stay in GAT City until 100% of it crumbled in front of them.
My time spend on Tarq with GAT City… my time playing as Rodd, was over. Looking back, I have no regrets. Splitting servers took a lot out of me, and I was happy to be a more casual player, and dedicate my time and resources towards one character instead of two. As far as the time spent, it was spent well indeed. I made over 100 friends, I was well respected by everyone that I played with, and those friendships would extend away from SWG and onto our forums, where I still keep in touch with a great many player from the SWG days on Tarq. We would go on to play other MMO’s together, and to date, I’ve met 3 GATers in person, so some of the guys are now real life friends as well.
Our time together may have come to an abrupt end, but we made the best of the short months that we spent together. We built the servers first true mall, we built a city together, and some of us became true friends. My time grinding armorsmith in the mall with guys like Zom, Niklut, and Werrt are still some of the most clear memories I have from any MMO experience. The way most of the city rallied around our harebrained schemes still amazes me. We weren’t the best in the end, but we were some of the best for our time I think.
Years later, I’m still proud to call myself a GATer… and it’s all thanks to Niklut who needed someone to buy his droids.