For all its problems, Star Wars Galaxies was my most played game for the longest time, and in fact still gets regular usage from me to this very day. If nothing else, as an MMORPG it without doubt stands as one of the most advanced ever made...possibly to a fault.
It's travelled a rocky road this past year, with numerous bugs and technical probs continuing to crop up on a constant basis, yet the game's ability to provide wonderfully atmospheric fun along with a brilliant social experience has never, ever waned for me. Allow me to give you an example...
Mos Espa, Tatooine
|A long time ago in Star Wars Galaxies far, far away...|
Here we stand. A ready and willing band of Rebel agents, sworn to protect the galaxy from the Empire's might. Putting our lives on the line day in, day out, in the vague and distant hope of one day bringing about a revolution that'll see peace and prosperity for all future generations. We are the WIQED Brotherhood.
It was late afternoon. I - Dig-Ler Kace - had just finished tarting up my new house in our tiny little Rebel community on the arse end of space. Seeing me all alone, some of our new recruits dropped on by to hang out and shoot some of the proverbial shit.
One of them mentioned they'd just passed by two Imperial bases on their way over, about one click north of our outpost. Just like that, the three of us headed out on speeder bike to lay the smack down.
While evading site from the three ominous AT-ST walkers clunking around the perimeter, we neatly picked off stormtrooper patrols one by one before clearing out both basses with comparative ease. Feeling stupidly smug with ourselves, I made the all important mistake of suggesting we hit something bigger next. Much
|Is it me or is there something off with that rug|
The thing is, not only are we the Rebel Alliance's finest, we also like to dabble in the seedier side of the law at times. Hey, being an intergalactic terrorist somewhat demands it. After asking around in all the usual underground haunts for any interesting jobs going, one of our spies planted deep inside Jabba the Hutt's palace came back with just the ticket.
It seems old Jabba is owed a sizable chunk of money from a senior member of the Corsec military; a female human commanding a ship known as the Corellian Corvette. Don Jabba wants us to teach this punk a lesson once and for all by sneaking on board said ship, and putting her to sleep with the fishes.
The mission'll be a tough one though; escorted by Corellia's highest ranking elite crack troopers - hideously outnumbering us I might add - we'll have to be at the top of our game to clamber our way inside and assassinate this gambling junkie (a pitiful waste of space known as Ghabla Dewa
Drunk on Jawa beer, we foolishly accept the mission, and I begin rounding up the troops in preparation for...
Operation: Jabba Wonga
|Spot the odd one out|
Our group consists of six of our very best: Irabrai Flyingwalker
(an intergalactic green haired Goth), Morian Dae
(a beautiful but deadly young human with a penchant for slicing and dicing), the twin brothers Dig-Ler
and Snowbos Kace
(Star Wars' answer to the Krays, but with horns), Woolybear
(an enormous yet hideously insane Wookie who resembles a 7 foot tall Super Ted), and last but not least, young Treper Merick
...our anonymous new recruit. He fills the all too necessary Star Trek "red shirt" role in the group (I wouldn't get too attached to him).
One by one we arrive at Jabba's private shuttle bay and saddle up. Before we take off up into space to intercept the Corvette, I decide to lay down a game plan. This is by far the most dangerous mission any of us have ever embarked upon you see, and just charging in guns blazing would be a direct ticket to the nearest cloning centre. Instead, I instruct the group to channel the great Obi-Wan Kenobi and his heroic mission aboard the late Death Star...
|Galaxies' recreation of classic Star Wars sets is certainly one of its highlights|
We must be quiet as a mouse and light on our feet. As silent as we are deadly. I advise the troops against taking down every single soldier in our way, remaining confined to the shadows instead, keeping the ultimate objective in mind at all times. There's no way we can take on the hundreds of on-board soldiers ourselves, but as long as we assassinate Ghabla and get out of there in one piece, we've done our job. The group sound off one by one - even the wookie who can mysteriously speak English - and just like that we're off...
As if by magic, we instantly find ourselves onboard the Corvette, having blown a small hole through the hull and quietly squeezed ourselves in (lack of oxygen be damned). All is quiet, just as we'd hoped, as we slowly open the door to the main corridor. It's completely empty, but oddly enough...there's something familiar about this place.
Slowly we start tip-toeing along the unnervingly long white walls. According to the maps I memorised earlier, our first job is to head port side and hijack the central computer - there we can grab all the security codes and gain access into the lower bowels where our target awaits.
|Always keep your Wookie on a leash|
I take the lead, gesturing for the team to cover me as I edge further and further down the claustrophobic corridors. Stealth is the key.
But what the hell? From behind me I suddenly hear a load roar, and before I can register what's going on, Wooly the demented Wookie has casually decided he's bored and to break radio silence. Just like that, off he charges, straight past me and head on into the enemy soldiers stationed around an upcoming bend...for some reason naked, no less. Not only that, but to add insult to injury, he's gone the wrong way.
Rather than dwell on the fact he's most likely blown the entire operation, I signal to the guys that plan B has just kicked in...
Operation: Wookie Shield
You see, Wooly's heading off in the wrong direction for no apparent reason other than his primal (and no doubt sexual) Wookie urges, has had the pleasing benefit of creating a diversion for the rest of us - a significant portion of the Corellian troops have now taken off after him. This leaves us in the clear to press on with a minimum of fuss.
Soon enough, we've secured every key code in the ship including those to the officer's quarters, where our soon to be victim unknowingly sits on death row.
|The fashion police were known to shoot on site|
Sadly by this point, word has reached the entire ship of the rabid Wookie onboard, and subsequently all guards have been alerted to our presence. Suddenly laser bolts are flying past my head, narrowly missing my beautiful shiny horns, but unfortunately others aren't so lucky. Young Treper is the first to go down, and yet oddly no one seems too surprised.
As the stealth plan goes out the window and we decide to leg it full speed to our primary objective, my brother Snowbos tragically joins him in the afterlife, taking a laser blast to the nether regions. I shed a single tear, but there'll be time for mourning later, we must
complete our assignment...after all, we know what Jabba does to people who fail him. I can practically taste the carbonite.
Surprisingly enough, the humungous mutated ewok we call Wooly, is still alive and well elsewhere on the ship. Stripped of all luxuries such as armour, weapons, and pants, the Wookie has taken it upon himself to charge up and down the length of the ship destroying anyone and everything in his path. In turn the Corsec troops decide to pull out the big guns and combat this abomination of nature with five Super Battle Droids - humungous walking laser guns that only a Jedi could possibly defeat. Wooly is gunned down shortly after, but oddly, I don't shed a tear this time.
|Good riddance to bad Wookie|
Meanwhile me, Irabrai and Morian remain the only ones still alive. Morian has suffered such immense injuries that her armour has been completely destroyed from head to toe, and yet she is somehow despatching and decapitating enemy troops as if she were Uma Thurman, not a hair strand out of place.
While my brothers and sisters in arms fight off the hordes, I split off on my own to take down Ghabla herself. She who has already gotten two of my very best friends (and a Wookie) killed here today. At last we will have our revenge.
|Duel of the Fucked|
I key in the access code to her quarters, don my vibro-axe, and head in for battle with all the style of Darth Maul. My team mates wish me luck, as they fight on for their lives below.
The duel begins, and straight away I'm all over her. Summoning my most misogynistic urges, I pummel her with all the might of Bobby Brown, and sure enough, it starts to take its toll - she is waning. However my overconfidence is my weakness, as I too have taken my fair share of injuries on this mission, with my armour starting to drop off piece by piece around me.
Before I even realise it, I'm all but naked, and between giggling at the poor excuse for an extremity between my legs, I'm knocked unconscious by my female foe.
|Who needs lightsabers?|
It's not all Girl Power though...Morian has meanwhile been slain, leaving only Irabrai, green haired Goth extraordinaire and myself alive. I clamber back to consciousness, still alive but barely, and hightail it out of there as it dawns on me that this is a battle I do not think we can win.
I regroup with Irabrai on the deck below and he urges for us to leave while I still have one horn left on my head, but I refuse.
No. I'm not leaving empty handed. The lives we have lost today cannot be in vain - we must leave this hell hole with something
to show for it. Among the access codes we stole earlier was an entry named "Armory", and if I'll be damned, I want to raid the contents of that place before we bail. One final "screw you" to Ghabla and her cronies.
With a defence made up of three Super Battle Droids and at least six elite troopers, the treasures inside must be beyond our wildest dreams, and I'm sure with whatever pretties that lie within, we'll have more than enough to pay off Jabba and also set ourselves up for life. Unwillingly, Irabrai agrees, and therein begins plan C...
Operation: Big Mistake
|Sense a pattern emerging here?|
We key in the pass code to the armoury and kick the door, err, up, charging in full speed. Almost immediately I'm struck to the ground. I'm all but dead, yet just about manage to hold on to consciousness long enough to witness Irabrai's selfless act of courage in my wake. He runs, he sidesteps, he leaps, he dives, constantly dodging all the firepower the Corellian Corvette can muster, not a single shot scorching his luminous yet ridiculous green hair. Eventually he slides up to the treasure chest in the corner of the armoury and flips open the lid ready to grab the riches within.
And yet as he picks up our reward, he becomes motionless. Still. Stunned. He slowly turns around to reveal our prize...it's a bantha doll.
As he starts to let out a humungous "NOOOOOOOOO...!" his brains are swiftly displayed on a nearby wall, courtesy of mister battle droid standing next to him. With my crew dead and my body barely functioning I have no choice left but to get up one last time and stumble to the nearest escape pod. I leave the bantha doll.
Honey, I'm Home
|The trademark WIQED pose|
Back on the sun-drenched wastelands of Tatooine, my escape pod comes crashing down to the ground just over the hill from Jabba's Palace. The door slides open and I tumble out, taking my last shallow breaths of this world, glad if nothing else, to die on my home planet underneath its ever glowing twin suns.
Over in the distance though, I see a stranger approaching (riding, appropriately enough, a bantha). He trots over to my aid.
"You alright buddy?" he snickers at my twisted corpse.
"I've seen better days" I reply.
"Let me help you..." he offers, crouching down to survey my wounds "but hey, maybe you can help me out too. Do you know where I can find Jabba's Palace? I hear he has a job of the utmost importance involving a Corellian space ship that needs taking care of".
Just as I'm about to splutter out that the last thing this poor soul wants to do is get tangled up with that tubby bitch and his sadistic suicide mission, I notice something out of the corner of my eye...this guy is wearing an Imperial uniform.
"No problem my friend" I reply with one final smile as I close my eyes and become one with The Force, "it's just over the hill behind me...".