Saturday, July 2, 2011

Things that Go Bump in the Night, Sister

Credits weren't easy to come by. Most of us were responsible for our own training, which had to come from NPC trainers, and we had finally figured out that we should be insuring our gear whenever possible.

So you can imagine that buying tickets to another world was quite the luxury

Cyra, our new friend Ooyna, and I decided to take a trip to Dathomir. This was an expensive trip, but we were quickly gaining in experience and abilities. You should note that there were no "levels" on our characters or on potential foes. I'm not sure if we knew about the "/consider" command just yet. No, back then, the environment was very much "Come at me" and see; the old Live/Die and Learn. As you can see, this is a recurring theme, and one I felt enabled immersion. Experience wasn't gained only through points; we, the players, became wiser.

So we had no idea what we were in for on Dathomir after each plunking down a few thousand credits, buying a return ticket at the same time just to ensure we weren't trapped there. And yes, getting trapped was possible in more ways then one as Vincer was about to find out.

Having spent nearly all of our time on the bright and open world of Tatooine, we were not prepared for the oppressive weight of of Dathomir. The air was misty and muted. Shapes in the near distance could be mangled trees or hungry creatures that had already spied us. It was impossible to tell if it was day or night. It was a simple matter to get lost. In those days, returning to your port was done either by foot or by death. So each step taken further from the base made the risk of returning via death all the more likely.

The creatures were larger then we had ever encountered. Sure, banthas and sharnaffs could be big. We'd not seen a krayt yet, nor even heard of a kimogila. But Dathomir must have had something in the water. The massive creatures were heralded by their stomping feet. Graul were still native to Dathomir at the time, having not been moved en masse to Dantooine just yet by the unseen and omnipotent hands of the Developer Deities. And the Star Wars geek in all of us knew that Rancors were probably just around the next bend.

We needed to guard our steps for Dathomir and her faunt were not to be trifled with.
Unfortunately, our grand adventure was cut short due to "technical difficulties". In fact, the only thing missing was a rather fitting "Please Stand By" sign.

Without warning, Vincer was no longer able to move. He was frozen in place, and unable to speak in the spatial channel. Similar things had happened in the past to both me and others. We called it "ghosting" since those incidents would also result in the character disappearing as well.

This one was different since I was visible but like a statue. The usual tricks didn't work. Beta was coming to an end soon, so it felt like this version of Vincer Kaden had finally come upon his fate: to be a prisoner of the Witches of Dathomir - the Nightsisters, or so we joked.

With a little disappointment for all the obvious reasons, we called it in. Cyra and Ooyna weren't about to continue on - either because they knew two against Dathomir was suicide or because they didn't want to make me insanely jealous of not being able to join them. I like to think it was the latter.
Pictured above is Cyra  giving a wave to Vincer. We'd see each other again when the game went live. You'll note how dark the environment is, and that's with my personal light turned on. The lights were turning off on Vincer, and though disappointed, I knew that more adventures would come. Plus, they were opening up a second beta server - Ahazi (this was Bria) - so I could play there.

My fate was not sealed though. A server bounce the following morning gave Vincer his legs back. He escaped the Nightsisters enslavement, used his return ticket, and came back to the bright, warm suns of Tatooine.

Not the adventure we were all hoping for; but a memorable experience all the same. And that experience told us two things: (1) that we were not yet ready to face Dathomir and (2) server reboots fix everything. Even to this day.

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