A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

SWG and SWTOR – One Game Ends, Another Begins

With the end of Star Wars Galaxies only a few days behind us and the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic a day ahead of us, I find myself experiencing a mix of emotions. There’s a strange sense of expectation… but it has been tempered by experience. It’s hard to explain so I’ll attempt to approach it a game at a time.

A short time after Star Wars Galaxies shut down, I wrote the following…

It’s over. I don’t quite know what to say about it, but I’ll muddle through it.

Earlier today I told my mother that the game she had given me for my 20th birthday was going to stop working soon. She laughed and so did I… but for me it was a sad sort of laughter. She had pre-ordered it for me for my birthday and I waited patiently for almost seven months for it to finally come out. Through the last 8 years, SWG has been there, resting on the desktop of three different laptops, with the promise of wide-eyed wonders that I never really tired of seeing. Even in its final hour, my friend showed me two things I had never seen before: the enclaves on Yavin IV for the Light and Dark Jedi. I was awestruck.

It’s like that feeling you get when you finish a fantastic book filled with camaraderie and the overcoming of struggles where you close the book slowly just to savor the feeling of satisfaction and belonging and then you look at the book and wish it could’ve lasted just another chapter, another page, another word. If only you could have just one more adventure with those characters who you’ve come to appreciate and hold so dear. All you need is just a few more moments…

I ended it on my terms. I refused to sit still and wait for the end. I flew into a dogfight in my red-and-gold-painted X-Wing starfighter and pounded on some enemy fighters. I cried out triumphantly with each victory and when all was done and the game returned me to the character select screen I said my final farewells to those small portions of my identity. Every character I make I invest with a portion of me. Each of those characters was a part of me and I will forever remember them as they were: a small Bothan Spy, a tall Human Commando, a Smuggler-turned-Jedi who I role-played as a Private Investigator, a Medic-turned-Munitions Trader who churned out the best weapons anyone could reasonably expect in an hour apiece, and a Jedi-turned-Commando who always held the line against impossible odds.

I will miss them all quite terribly. If only I’d had just a few… more… minutes…

I kept my promise though: I was there when they turned the lights off.

And now for my thoughts leading into the full launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic…

As I said above, my expectations have been tempered by experience (also reason). I know this is a new game and that Bioware is trying new things. I know that things will not work perfectly and will be adjusted as time goes by. I know that my computer is 3 years old and is at the low end of the spectrum they designed for. I know that I can deal with the chop and the occasional lag. I know this is Star Wars and it’s my sanctuary. That said… I’m worried about putting too much pressure on myself here.

Allow me to attempt an explanation: I’ve got my own guild and my friends are all involved in playing the game. Pretty much it’s all we talk about these days because it’s new and fresh and so forth. There’s this part of me, however, that is forcing me to slow down, to take it easy. I mean, the game isn’t going anywhere any time soon, right? Let’s take it easy! Unfortunately, that’s not so simple. You see, I have this condition called “being male” where it makes me innately competitive. I hate it, but it’s hard to deny that I want to do things before my friends, be better at those things, and show them how much better at said things I am than they are. It’s ingrained in me and the more I resist it, the more frustrating it becomes when they shoot past me and do all those things to me: they’re doing things before I can, they’re becoming better at those things, and they’re showing me how they’re better. I’m trying to go my own pace, but really, it’s all I can do to keep from just logging on one character and blitzkrieg-ing the game as best I can.

What I did, in an effort to streamline my experience was to make 8 characters as soon as possible – one of each class. Then, as I feel like it, I’ve been getting them off their starter planet to their factional fleet, up to customs on their capital planet, and then parking them in their fleet cantina to be used as needed. Recently I was derided for building all my characters and doing this since I can’t start at level one with everyone else if they want to try something different. Really? *headdesk*

Anyways, there’s the sadness of losing one entirely unique experience and the pressure of handling the new experience with my friends. Maybe I’ll be able to communicate this to them, but I don’t know if it’ll come out right. Honestly, I’ve got no idea what to say.

Until next time,

– Elorfin

P.S. “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in travelling in a stage-coach, that it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.” – Washington Irving

One response

  1. Brendan

    I’ve never even played SWG but this article was sad to me. I can definitely relate to seeing parts of your identity disappear when something comes to an end though

    November 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

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