The Rebuilt World

Edit: This post was written by Kharzette, but that medatata was lost in an import from another blog.

What happens to a virtual world over time?  They are so relatively new that we don’t really know yet.  Some vanish, all change, and yet some are periodically torn down and rebuilt as something new.  The latter of these are perhaps the most difficult to revive or recreate, as only the skeleton remains of the original.  Archaeologists can return to a place like Skara Brae and dig it up, finding places intact and bits of artifact.  But for a place like Alexandria, you have new buildings built atop the old, or in the case of the library, an earthquake sent it below the waves.
Such is the fate of Starwars Galaxies.  A world that still exists today, built upon the bones of several iterations of massive sweeping changes along with the usual patch to patch adjustments.  The original world is gone, but the emulator scene is attempting to revive this and other lost game worlds.
And so I arrive in Coronet city, the jewel of the core worlds with high towers and Wookies standing about spamming in meaningless growls and grunts.
Here I would relive my memories from 2005 after hearing so much about the game from my coworkers at NCSoft.  With a couple thousand credits, a CDEF pistol, and a set of clothes maybe fashionable ten years ago, I set off into the countryside in the pouring rain.
Welcome to the Liberty server, a sort of half working in progress demo of the emulator server to come.  Historically it is about a year into the original timeline of Galaxies.  It was a very strange game, with its skill trees, odd professions and quirky engine.  It was an odd mix of appeals, attempting to ensnare such a wide variety of people that it perhaps failed to hold on to very many of them.  By this time in its early life, the game had become somewhat stable and PC performance was catching up to it.
Among the denizens of Liberty you’ll find the people that really drank the koolaid with a smattering of curious explorers like myself.  Though this server will ultimately be wiped out, people seem to toil away in the pursuit of bigger and better things as they have always done, seemingly ignoring the looming tsunami.
As a pigtailed scout, I make a quick test of my mettle, then head back in to town.  Travelling on foot is an arduous task.
Here I encounter a band of macroing miners, intent on digging up the pavement.
For my own advancement, everyone knows that scouts make tents.  It’s a rule!  But I needed hides and bones.
A few dead creatures later I had the materials.
My first campsite!
Not exactly orc slaying is it?  This is the sort of quirky offbeat gameplay you’ll find in the original.  Though the game steadily evolved towards the spoon-fed quest driven theme parks of the modern age, its beginnings were very sandbox.  The phrase “10% Luke, 90% Uncle Owen” is often used to describe this early world.
Campsites increase “Wilderness Survival” experience, which is needed for one of the columns of scout skills.  To get it, you sit in the camp for awhile.  That’s it.  And you need a ton of it.
The starry eyed young designer that no doubt gave birth to such a system likely envisioned the scout establishing a base next to a mission that she and her companions were about to tackle.  It would be a spot to rest in between waves of fighting, and would allow wounds to be healed.
Some of that works, and some does not.  For instance if the scout leaves the camp for more than a few seconds, the camp becomes “abandoned” and the scout gains no wilderness survival experience from it being there.  Bugs like this one plagued the early game, and continue on in the emulator server, leading people to circumnavigate the problems with clever use of macroing.
All one needs do to raise this skill is write a macro that plops down a camp, waits twelve minutes, disbands the camp, then repeats itself.  Then you go to work, or go to sleep, and you come back ready to train.  This no doubt mortified the starry eyed designer.
It is this sort of perversion of the designers intent that no doubt led to many of the sweeping changes over the years.  Any form of tedium that could be done automated, was done automated.  No doubt the writers mined this data and realized there was little point to a tedious task if everyone was simply skirting around it.
And speaking of it, here is the arrival of my friend Kegel!
Kegel decided to go the entertainer route, perhaps the most abused of the aforementioned tedium.  For dancers and musicians, it is simply a matter of turning on a dance and leaving your computer on for awhile.  The ones that were very skilled at it would program in flourishes and enticing speech to try seizing the attention and the tips of the fighters that came there to be rid of battle fatigue.
I got a private show.
What game company would have the courage these days to try something so completely off the wall strange?
Soon after Kegel and I fought many battles and gained much wealth and power.  Being a girl of course I spent most of it on clothes (which I will show off in a later post).  But we also bought cars, a must have for getting around the countryside.  Here I encountered an unfortunate victim of violence out in the countryside.
Soon I had mastered scout and brawler and medic, and rekindled my lost memories of 2005 or 2004 or whenever that was.  It was an interesting time, when the Jedi alpha class was just becoming possible to obtain.  Googling for hologrind will tell you all about this period, which many view as the beginning of the destruction of the economy and communities.
It has been an interesting look back.  Only time will tell if this era can be recreated, or remained buried under the new foundations of the game as it exists today.  It’s no easy task, as many of the game systems are very complex, and there are so many small nuances of the world, many carried over from Ultima Online to reproduce.  I wish them well, and will no doubt explore the final product if it ever arrives.

Edit: This post was written by Kharzette, but that medatata was lost in an import from another blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting stuff!

    I like when we write in a narrative format, because it takes us places that writing explicitly for communication usually doesn't.