I thought this was appropriate for our new refuge.
The game was just out of beta and 40 of my guild started playing. I was one of my group’s “Planet Side” testers/players, having beta tested it. We are 200 strong spread out now over 8-10 different games.
I would tune in the SWG channel on TS and listen, it was amazing to here the accounts of things across the galaxy as seen through the eyes of noobs. Everyone was a noob. I had to be a part of this.
I got the game and away I went. There were people everywhere. Cantinas were jammed, star ports as well. People running across Dath, no speeders yet. Fighting rancors and nightsisters. Squills and Tuskin Raiders were things to avoid on our home planet. The Corellian plains ands the swamps of Talus, filled with big cats and their babies was a great place for the CH, but a dangerous one as well.
The crafting was amazing as well, folks dedicated themselves to mining, harvesting or buying the best resources, looting or buying skill tapes, and the items they made were top shelf. We knew who they were and we haggled for the best price. Weapons, armor, BE clothing, foods, drinks, etc…
The fighting classes would hire out to protect crafters as they tended their harvesters, or just paid us to bring home the best meat or bone, when ever it would be located that month at various places across the galaxy.
The player cites became sophisticated and well thought out. We would hunt in groups to fund the treasury. Recruit top crafters to place their vendors so traffic in town would increase.
Entertainers formed troupes that would travel around and perform at events for hire. Towns would have celebrations, music, fireworks, dancing. The socialization was at its peak.
Bases became focal points for the GCW, defending and attacking, when one went “hot” hundreds of players would be on hand. Theed was a kill zone as was the Bestine-Anchorhead corridor.
Jedi were rare and as the game progressed, more found their way to the Force. But through perma-death, saber TEF and eventually visibility and the BH, showing off with a LS was a bad thing. Removing the BH gank squad made us Jedi more brazen and may have been the first sign of the down hill slide. Jedi should have remained in the shadows.
I remember traveling across many planets and stopping off in a camps on a regular basis. Players just out and about were never hard to stumble across. The Master Ranger camp was a sight to see. If they had a dancer, it was a chance to heal up a bit and move on. Before leaving you could often barter for a new pet or some food or drink. Few new I was a Jedi, it was much safer that way. Regular clothes, carrying a rifle or carbine, with my LS in the tool bar just in case I was not as careful as I thought I was.
Back to a big city, get your speeder, armor and weapon repaired. It was always nice to find a smuggler and get those new items sliced. Stop by the local cantina and enjoy some music and get a mind buff, hit a star port and have a doctor buff you up. Then back out to the open spaces, never far from action.
Player run night clubs sprang up, rented juke boxes, exotic dancers, beauty pageants and just a place to hang out, waiting for the next assault on the enemy or hunting party. At one pageant, with about two hundred in attendance, a beautiful young Jedi was competing, when a BH attacked, the fight spilled out into the street and raged on for 20 minutes before she managed to escape. I cannot imagine a more “Star Warsy” scene then a fight breaking out in a Star Wars bar.
You didn’t have to run around to find PvP, it would always find you if you were not alert. NPC’s could unmask you as well, and many times you would have to fight your way out of town. For a Jedi, that meant visibility for sure. Time o be extra careful. But if laying low was your thing for the moment, there were 100 places to go and things to do. Tend to your factors, restock, shop, socialize, hunt, the Vette, Theme Parks, The Warren, Black Sun Bunker, etc… The server forums served as After Action Reports that made the slow times at work more enjoyable.
New players would seek help, and many did help. Taking them under their wing, showing them the ropes, forging bonds, weaken by the tears of this dying game, and friend’s lists evaporated as gamers left for greener pastures.
You really carved out your own existence, the greatest Star Wars saga ever told, yours… and if you ran the course and wanted a change, you could start over, 31 more times if it suited you.
Many of us have moved on, others stay and pray that the greatness of this game will return. Still others, like me, pay for a month here and there just to check in and see for ourselves.
For me, there is a soothing, surreal feeling when I hear the opening music. I stand above my home on Tatooine, in Storm’s End, a town we forged from the sands in a place called The Valley of the Wind. I watch the twin suns set over the mountains and remember what the game was like. It truly breaks my heart to think of the friends lost and the good times we had, gone forever, like the sands in a storm. I wait a bit longer, check my empty friend’s list and log off.
Yes, we were adventurers, explorers and soldiers, and it was the best of times.