I am a huge Star Wars freak! To the level where people can quiz me on it! Part of that is down to repeatedly watching the movies and an even bigger part is thanks to playing Star Wars Galaxies.
My experience before playing this PC MMORPG had been playing Star Wars Battlefront and Knights of the Old Republic! I had heard of a game called Galaxies but I hadn't really given it much attention.
Well, late in 2004, I got a new gaming PC. It wasn't spectacular but not bad. It was a Tiny, and its guts consisted of 1GB of Ram, a Pentium 4 HT and an ATI 9800 Pro 256Mb. I got a 19" TFT (1280*1024) which at the time was really good. It ran Half-Life pretty much maxed with no AA, Doom 3 mid-high settings and Battlefield 2 on medium! Not bad!
In June I downloaded a trial version of Everquest 2! I got my mate to download it aswell and we both logged on! It took us an hour of wandering around to find each other before we realised that we were actually on different servers! I liked the whole idea of a persistent world, levelling up and exploring! The possibilities of the game seemed endless. So, when I finally read some more about Star Wars Galaxies, I was chmping at the bit to buy it!
It was one Saturday morning! I bought it, got home and installed it! It took an hour but then I had to wait another hour while the game up-dated and installed the latest patches. Eventually, I logged on and created a character! There was only one species I was going to be. I wanted to be bad, powerful and evil, I created a Darth Maul-like character. I had the face tatoos, spikey horns and had visions of myself being this uber-powerful Sith running around pwning ever last one around so that my name was the most feared on the server!
Well, I soon found out I was one of many many Darth Maul wannabe's running around Mos Eisley endlessly nagging every level 80 Jedi "How do I become a Jedi, how do I get a light Sabre?" Even then I was impressed, I was outside the starport and there was an Jedi who kept killing the NPC storm-trooper every time he respawned. I still had hopes of becoming such a n00b-pwner l33t!
Except, I had made another mistake in my character creation! Pressed for time by my lovely Elizabeth wanting me to go shopping with her down to the local Tesco's, I couldn't think of an uber evil and yet unique name. I'm the sort of person who thinks of bad-ass names when I am miles away from a PC! When in the presence of a character creation screen, all I can think of is nice puppies and tom hanks! Arrgh. So, there on the character creation screen it says, you cannot create a name based on a fictional character within Star Wars, e.g, Luke Sky Walker or Lando Calrissian!
Great! I thought, so I tried Lando (ignoring what it said)..nope, not allowed. 'What about Land'o?'...YES! Character created. When I got back after shopping, I should have deleted the character and started over. I didn't. I played through the tutorial and kept going. The name Land'o is neither intimidating, scary, evil and lends itself far more the the rebel cause than to the brutal imperial regime that I so wanted to be pwning rebels for!
My friend from the Everquest joined and we levelled up together. I remember trying to go on foot across Tatooine from Mos Eisley to Mos Entha only to keep agroing every red dotted mob at the bottom of each hill. It was slow progress but a laugh. I also remember going into the user-created city's and houses and being amazed by the level of detail and the real-world feel to it.
Before long, I had joined a guild -ACE- Arena City Enforcers and played every spare hour I could! My new found friends were Meravingian, Nyxxzks, Sarevok, Adio, Osenki, Darten and many more. They explained to me how to become a Jedi, how to become other professions and how to do lots of seeming impossible things in the game. They also explained that my goal of becoming a Jedi would probably take me 18 months and that in the mean time I should think about other professions.
To become a Jedi, I had to become force sensitive, reach level 80, go to some mythical village on Dathomir, do a series of quests to 'unlock' various 'force sensitive' skill trees, go and grind normal XP and go back to the village to trade in this XP for force XP and gain skills from these force sensitive trees. It was very slow progress. Just to become 'force sensitive' I had to complete a load of the game content and then an old man would visit me....in the game of course, but the way it all sounded I wouldn't have been surprised if I had to wait for a visit from George Lucas himself this was that hard and time consuming!
Anyway, let us just say that I got on with it! The profession I had chosen in the mean time was to become a Master Bounty Hunter / Master Combat Medic and hunt Jedi. I only hunted good Jedi, never Imperial Jedi such was the rules of our Imperial based guild hehe. I got pwned. I soon realised, my armor, my rifle, my tactics and my template all sucked bigstyle!
Meravingian helped me the most, he had only just become a Jedi and was exactly the type I was trying to hunt. When you became a Jedi, you had to trade-in your skill branches of your existing profession to replace them with Jedi skill branches. However, doing so made your level go down as at some point you would only have the basic skills of both professions as you made the transition. To add insult to injury to the Jedi having gone through this whole 18 month process if they got killed by a bounty hunter, they lost a huge chunk of XP! The reward was that eventually, as you gained the higher level Jedi powers you became Uber-l33t pwner, n00bcake eater!
To bounty hunt, you had to get a mission to hunt another player from the bounty hunter mission terminals, send a droid off to track the player and tell you where in the game world he was/ what planet he was on! When you found your target player, he or she wouldn't know you were there to hunt them. Most of them were pretty smart though and had a fair idea when they were going about their day to day routine in the middle of nowhere and little old me comes trotting along!
My first kill came when there was a n00b jedi with a group of other killing mobs for XP out on Tatooine. I got down and shot him with my rifle in the prone position dealing more damage than a normal shot, I hit him twice like this snaring him with the second so he couldn't run away! I got up ran over, shooting him all the way. Up close, he had no chance of running and up to this point had been unable to hit me with any attacks. Now, he went at me with his lightsabre dealing huge damage to me, but it was too late, he had a tiny bit of health left. Down he went, incapped!! I quickly, dealt a deathblow and there it said, "you have successfully killed ...." I had got my first kill. After then, I still got pwned by most of the Jedi but I started to get a good list of successful hits under my belt!
I also completed other quests, had an uber rifle custom made. I was only a few weeks away from 'unlocking Jedi' aswell, although, I was enjoying causing misery to all the current Jedi by hunting them. Sometimes, I would be really sneaky. I even helped this one jedi on a quest only to wait till he was struggling and incapped to give him a deathblow and pick up the reward! To help me sleep at night I simply remembered that bounty hunters were supposed to be scum! Hehe. It was great fun.
But by now, I was looking forward to becoming a Jedi. You can see now, why seeing a Jedi on the servers was a rare thing and in a very geeky kind of way something you could be proud of.
November 15th-ish. Some player in Theed on Naboo started saying the game was changing, there was to be another Combat Upgrade or CU. "Everyone will get to become a Jedi!"
I started having breathing difficulties and I had pains in my chest! Well, no I didn't actually but I'm sure if I had been 80 years old, it would have been it for me. All that hard work, all those hours and now even dirty little n00bs were to become Jedi....no-way! It was't true. He was lying, he must have been and that's what I kept telling myself for the few minutes it took me to log-off, get onto the forums and see it for myself!
If you ever visit Mos Eisley now days you will see ethnic majority of Jedi! Every toon and their pet has their own little glow-stick that they run around dueling with. It seems like yesterday that I saw that first Jedi pwning the npc storm-troopers in front of all the n00bs. It was an obvious attempt to get the World of Warcraft croud to migrate, well it didn't work. I quit my account soon after. If I couldn't be an UberL33tn00bpWnER super powerful, evil but server wide notorious Darth Maul-like Jedi then I didn't want to know!
Land'o's house is still there on Flurry, on Lok, in Arena City, along with Meravingian's, Nyyxzks', Sarevoks' and Adio's, but no one is home!