SWG Retrospective- Part 1: The Early Years

My experience with Star Wars Galaxies began in early 2003. I didn’t follow the development of the game until close to it’s launch. This was the early days of MMO’s and I had played none of them. My sister and brother-in-law were avid EQ player so I was familiar with the concept. The hours of camping mobs and grinding that were big elements of EQ held no appeal to me. Especially after I saw some early screen shots of SWG. While nothing stellar by today’s standards, at the time, especially compared to EQ, the characters and backgrounds of SWG looked absolutely amazing.

When I first heard about it, I was really excited. I had always been a big Star Wars fan. As a kid, I would watch Return of the Jedi frequently and I made my Legos into Stars figures and ships before there were Star Wars Lego sets. I had played all of the SW games that I could find. Dark Forces and all it’s sequels, and I really loved Star Wars Rebellion (that game will get it’s own post one of these days).

My best friend from high school, we’ll call him Zeric for anonymity, was also a huge Star Wars fan. Now that we were both at college and on opposite sides of the country. The chance to play a game together that was Star Wars was a dream come true.  We’d both read most of the books, even the bad ones. We were just a few steps short of the guys from Fan Boys (no costumes, attended no conventions but just as geeky).

As launch approached, was postponed and then approached again I realized my computer wouldn’t be able to handle the game. I had an old Pentium 3 that I’d had since high school. Onboard graphics and sound, low RAM. So launch came in June and I missed it. Towards the end of summer 2003, I came into some money. My parents had always made the commitment to pay for my undergraduate schooling. Due to some life issues, I had to take out some student loans. About this time, my parents sent me a big check to use to pay off those lones, or use as I needed. I decided to buy a computer (along with some more mundane bill paying). Got, what at the time, was a nice end Pentium 4 with it’s own graphics card. This was a new thing for me.

In September the computer arrived and the first thing I do is install SWG. I decided to make a Human Artisan named Maarkean (log my online persona). I log him into Theed, Naboo and start trying to figure out how to play.  I start by trying to kill a butterfly that’s hanging out near the city. The butterfly won. I try a few times and continued to die. After being very excited for the game it was a little annoying to have my ass handed to by a butterfly.

At this point I decided to make another character on another server. This time I made a Wookiee marksman named Chavabegga.  Chewbacca was strong after all, butterfly wouldn’t kill Chewie. Starting in Mos Eisley this time I took my Wookiee out and proceeded to actually kill something.  I met my first online friend that first day, another Wookiee named Larin. We formed up into a group and killed some harder creatures near Mos Eisley.

After a short time Zeric joined the game along with his older brother. Eventually we decided to leave Tatooine and from there we went to Corellia, hearing there was a secret Rebel base there. The journey out to the Rebel base was a hilarious adventure. We must have died several dozen times. The the hills were filled with dangerous people and creatures and we weren’t exactly well skilled. After a few failed attempts Zericbought himself a Probe droid to help us. Every time we died, it kept getting lost because it would remain in the world where we had died. It was also in the days before they added vehicles so we had to walk. Up hill, both ways, in the snow.

It was around Nov 2003 when I decided I wanted a second character. I liked Chavabegga but I wanted to devote him entirely to the crafting profession. It was just to awesome to do half-assed. Picking up an account I made a new Maarkean and devoted him to the art of smuggling, pistol wielding, and the ancient order of the Teras Kasi. The freedom of the skill system was one of the best features of the original game.

Towards the end of 2003, Zeric, his brother Gu’od, Larin and a few other people we had met decided we should form a guild, or as they were called in SWG, Player Association. Now, no one used that name, ever, except to refer to the build you needed, a PA Hall. Gu’od had picked up the Architect trade and after much gathering and work, he built us our very own hall so we could form the PA, UDF Inc. The idea was that we would be a covert Rebel team that used the business as a cover.

 

Around this time, cities were added to the game. We tried to start our own city, but all of the slots were quickly filled up on Corellia. Moving to Talus, we joined up with some nice people in the town of Ba’aar. It was a lot of fun, helping to set up and organize the city, setting up our houses and creating our businesses. Decorating was a bitch back then, there was no up and down commands so everything you dropped in your house sat on the floor. That was another feature that improved exponentially as the game went on.

As 2003 gave way to 2004 I had my first experience with jerky players. My friend Larin, who I had met and played with for months at this point, suddenly cleared out a bunch of resources from our shared stockpile, took a bunch of other stuff and left the guild and city the day before we were supposed to advance to the rank required to get a shuttle. His departure left the city a person short and we didn’t advance. I never learned why he left. Whether it was malicious or if he had sold his account without saying anything. I tried talking to him but he never responded. He wasn’t in the game as much after that, so if he sold the account the buyer didn’t use it much.

I’ll leave my reminiscing off here for now. I’ll pick up next time with a look at my introduction to Rogue Squadron and the start of a new era in SWG.

 

The Complete Series

SWG Retrospective Part 1

SWG Retrospective Part 2

SWG Retrospective Part 3

SWG Retrospective Part 4

SWG Retrospective Part 5

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