Monday, July 11, 2011

For Beta or Worse

The announcement that SWG was going to go live was met with absolute astonishment by the beta community.

The game was clearly not ready. Missions were bugged, objects were bisecting one another, entire profession trees were broken, and the list of problems went on and on.

We tried to disbelieve the announcement. As if we somehow had a say in things: "But how can they produce an entire game - box, CDs and instructions - in just a couple days?" Then we realized that the boxes were already distributed. Players would just patch upon installation. So much for disbelief. Hey, we tried!

The general concensus was that it was already late and that SOE management was pressing for a launch since the budget was running out. Who really knows the reason, but we all knew the game was not in a ready state.

There was going to be a final day of beta, followed by a one day "reset" period where the devs could prepare the servers, and then... Launch Day. No matter what state beta was in, the idea of going live was exciting, albeit slightly disappointing.

All of us cleared our collective real life slates so we could enjoy beta SWG for one last time. There wasn't going to be any "big ending event" or special gifts or name reservations or any other perks for being a tester. None was needed. We all felt part of something special, though it was nice to have my name appear on a page thanking all of the testers. And I still have the original beta CDs in my game binder.

The final night came and besides yesterday's story of how we unloaded our wallets and geared up, I can't remember many specifics of what we did that evening. I suppose we hunted, made final plans on what we'd be doing in two days time, and said our fond good-byes to those who were moving on to different servers.

One thing for certain is that we played until the final moment. Ooyna, Cyra and Vincer - off on our own, doing our thing, and not really positive about what would happen next. We reaffirmed our commitment to join up on Starsider, the unofficial roleplay server. Clearly Meatlumps paid the price for our possessing blasters.

And then it happened. Down came Bria and down came beta. The picture above shows a dead Meatlump fool, but all four toons had met their end. Fittingly, Ooyna was looking to her beloved E-11. I like to think that it's fitting that Cyra was looking to her beloved Vincer.

SWG beta was a huge part of my free-time for over two months. And now the servers would be down for an entire day. It would be a strange and empty twenty four hours. But I guess we could all do whatever it was we used to do before Star Wars Galaxies. Whatever that was.

With bittersweet apprehension, we were ready to begin the next chapter of Star Wars Galaxies.

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