Entry #57
Sunday, August 29, 2004, 2:39:39 PM (ScreenShot2337)

The Creature Handler profession, by nature, is one of choices. You are only granted a certain number of spots in your datapad for your pets… I think that number was 12 or so. Also, there was an exploit for a while that allowed you to store pets in a droid, so some of us had well over 12 pets. The point is… you sometimes have to part with an existing pet to tame a new one. Initially, when you wanted to free up space, you would choose an option called “release pet,” and then be treated to “___insert pet name here___ has been destroyed.” Needles to say, enough petitioning went on that the devs soon changed the syntax to “___insert pet name here___ has been released into the wild.”

At this time, I had to face facts. I had a lot of sentimental reasons for keeping grossly underpowered pets in my datapad. Obviously, there were a select few that I would never release, including Homer of course. But Ashes, a Nyms Guardian Kusak that I tamed months ago on Lok was no longer destined to fight by my side. I headed out to an area on Lok that had nothing much going on, got down on a knee, and said my goodbyes to a friend that found himself between me and an unfriendly mob all too many times. With the click of a button, he was no longer under my control, and just stood there motionless. I hopped on my speeder, and started to hover away, noticing that his eyes were locked on me until we both disappeared from one another’s view. This wasn’t the first time I had to release a pet into the wild, but the process was never easy.

CH’s grow very attached to their pets. Generally, we try to give them to friends rather then release them… but no one can really afford to take on underpowered pets. In cases like this, the best we can do at the end of the day is try to find them an appropriate place to live when we have to let them go. For Ashes… I could think of no better place then the plains of Lok.

Sunday, August 29, 2004, 2:56:23 PM (ScreenShot2341)

About 15 minutes later I had to part with another pet… this time, it was Lain. I had her since my Novice CH days when I found her outside of Nosuns house on Corillia. Instead of bringing her back to her home planet, I felt that it would be better to set her free on Lok, in the city of Purgatory. Again, it’s not easy to part with a pet, but luckily longtime ian furball Shoten was not far from the scene, so he came over for some moral support. Lain loitered around our PA Hall for a duration of time, and then I never saw her again…

Thursday, September 02, 2004, 1:03:45 AM (ScreenShot2354)

A few days later, I was trying out different combinations of pets on some hapless Blood Razor NPCs at the bottom of the cliff behind my house. As the fight went on, I noticed a house sign floating in thin air right before my eyes. The sign read: “Kharist’s Mansion. Beware of Kimo.” Congratulations SOE… your broken code was now actually throwing it in our faces that our friends quit SWG, and their houses eventually poofed. The only thing that was left was a miscoded house sign, a floating mid air relic of adventurous times past. It was like SOE went out of their way to make sure that we couldn’t forget every last friend who was now just a memory to us.

As I stood there shaking my head at the irony of botched code that reminded us of exactly who unsubscribed their subscriptions, my entire screen went haywire, and then back to normal. In a total ironic twist, the physical sign that I saw in mid air served as a milestone, or a “sign” in my SWG gaming experience. At that moment, my graphics card overheated for the first time ever. Back then I didn’t know too much about the symptoms of an overheating card, but I always associated it with that sign in the air. This might not make too much sense right now but it plays a part in later entrees, so it’s best brought up now for the sake of the story later on.

Thursday, September 02, 2004, 1:06:16 AM (ScreenShot2355)

After the unusual graphical anomaly, I climbed the hill and stood right behind my house, simply admiring the view in the canyons beneath me. As I peered down, I noticed something that I had never noticed before. Beyond the bottom of the cliff, lay a small flat area that led to a second drop. Right after that second drop was a small hill that had always been there. What I noticed now that I never remember seeing was a small lake right beyond the hill. I was pretty sure that the devs weren’t editing the maps, so it was certainly a “WTF” moment for me. How could an entire lake be right under me this whole time and me not even notice? It was an interesting question, one that I was never able to answer. I took it as something to enjoy though… one of the “little things” in SWG. The game had it’s secrets, and some of them were right under your nose…

Friday, September 03, 2004, 8:54:48 PM (ScreenShot2358)

The next night, not very far from my house near Nyms, Bhaylor and I were running some missions for XP and cash. I was almost back to being a Master Pistoleer, and was pretty happy taking my time and getting to know Bhaylor better. While dealing with a Canyon Corsair spawn, we were ambushed by an Imperial gank squad, and Bhaylor was quickly DB’d. I, on the other hand, received a different treatment. After I was quickly incapped, the three Imperials stood over my body. One of them, named “Hypno,” slowely made his way over to me, and spit on me as I laid there defenseless. My pets were stored, Bhaylor was already at the cloner, and I had no choice but to sit there and let them have their way with me.

As Hypno stood over me, he added insult to injury by saying “LOK is gay.” This came as a big surprise to me because last I checked, <LOK> was widely respected by both the Rebels and Imperials. It turned out, things had changed since I was last in the guild. I think a combination of a long history of PVP and also some newer members in our guild that didn’t exactly stand for the same type of honorable actions that the guild was first based on contributed to this type of hatred from the other side. It was something to get adjusted to, especially considering the myriad of facts confirming that I was no longer suited for solo PVP… my template, CH/Pistols was now pretty useless in PVP. The fact that I generally could be found unbuffed, unarmored and alone didn’t exactly help in PVP. Worst of all, I was still overt all the time… so all these facts together made me a very easy target.

Saturday, September 04, 2004, 10:17:28 AM (ScreenShot2362)

Right around this time, the devs switched up the Jedi system, and removed the Hologrind from SWG. This was a gigantically welcome change, and possibly halted some of the quitting that was going on at the time. The new system was also mysterious but we knew it revolved around many different things, none of which included profession grinding. I didn’t know much, but what I did know is that it included the acquisition of badges. Being a Jedi was no motivation for me as it was something I never really cared about. Unlocking a second playable character slot on the other hand, was something I wanted badly. Since I was no longer playing with Rodd… I missed the crafting side of the game, plus who couldn’t use 10 extra lots? So with these thoughts in mind, I started a passive run to unlock my second slot. It wasn’t my main priority, but it was something that anyone could do in their spare time… and this fit my needs.

I started out with the obvious… getting the POI badges from every planet. I had at least half of them already, so I just swooped around and got the rest in a few days. On September 4th, Tatooine was next up on my list. I hit Bens house, the Lars’ farm, etc…. and then it was on to the Sarlacc Pit. There was no denying the fact that a great many things in SWG would remind me of Ciale, so instead of trying to avoid the fact, I knew I had to accept and embrace it. The Tatooine Sarlacc was where Ciale ended up when SOE brought the servers down for good back in beta, so I always associated Ciale and this particular Sarlacc together. As I approached, I took my time, and I guess I kind of treated it as if he was looking down from wherever he was, whispering “what are ya waiting for Vro, jump on in!!” After that day, I always made periodic visits to kind of pay my respects, and would take a jar of bile away with me when I left.

Sunday, September 05, 2004, 4:58:14 PM (ScreenShot2370)

After Tatooine, I hit Rori and did the POI tour and a little hunting. This screenshot reminds me a lot of beta screen #3 (see ). I remember sitting in that camp and thinking back over a year, when I first started in beta on Rori. I remember thinking that it was incredible to manipulate the environment and place a camp, and to just look in every direction and see a true sandbox landscape populated with NPC’s & creatures who all seemed to have their own agenda. I knew I had come a long way, as everything was completely different now other then the scenery. It was funny, I had done just about everything you could do in the entire galaxy, but here I was… by myself in a camp on Rori, once again. Things felt “full circle,” at that moment in time for me… except now, instead of having all the uncertain exciting times in front of me, I knew they were mostly behind me. I was okay with it though. The days in between the two Rori camps were all learning experiences, and I was very happy just to be a part of them all.

Sunday, September 05, 2004, 7:04:48 PM (ScreenShot2372)

Later that night, it was back to Tatooine for some last minute shopping before more POI grinding. I remember taking my shirt off during the day on Tatooine, to give the illusion of it being “too hot out.” I think I started to acquire some role play techniques when I decided to run the rest of my days by myself. I figured if I ran into anyone, especially someone new to the game, they would find it interesting and maybe do something similar… maybe we could bring back some of the immersion that we lost when people started concentrating more on the devs and less on the world in front of them.

Monday, September 06, 2004, 11:53:32 AM (ScreenShot2386)

On Monday night I had to reacquire the Warren Badge which was a major pain in the ass, so I knew I needed buffs. The wait in Coronet was a good 40 minutes… so I started paying attention to the conversations. You can see in the chat bubbles how all focus was now on badge grabbing, as this guy is screaming for a Corvette group spamming “It’s what you need to become Jedi!!!” Jedi were prevalent by this time because the Hologrinders were all popping their second slots daily… but with the new system, all the people that were on the cusp now had to do the badge thing with the rest of us. It was bad news for Hologrinders because some of them had mastered 20+ professions just to have their progress yanked away from them, but this new system was much easier in comparison so most people shut up and just started badge hunting.

Not only did you have the Hologrinders who were left out in the cold due to the changes … but you also had guys like me who knew this was a fairly easy way to get a second character slot. So basically, you had aspiring Jedi, and everyone else badge grabbing, which was good, because now people were grouping daily to hit the Corvette, the Warren, etc. So the change was good imo… it put the focus back on playing the game, not afk macro grinding as much as you could. The question was… was the change too late to cork the hole in SWG’s sinking ship?

Personally, I loved the new system because it pushed me to stay on my current path of exploring the planets. The only problem I had was that that graphical glitch back on Lok was springing up more frequently. Sometimes I had to reboot, and sometimes I had to shut the computer down and not try to play again until the next day. Again, at the time, I didn’t know enough about computer issues to easily know this was a graphics card problem… so I tried to ignore it and play through it… this treatment would not be the right call in the end.

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