Friday, February 28, 2020

On... In a Galaxy A Far Away

     Today Star Wars Galaxies: Legends turns four years old. All week, it has caused me to think over my SWG story... re-reading my last blog post, I had to smile. Not four days after I posted that, my entire online gaming world was rocked, and I'm loving it.
     But to understand why we need to start at the beginning... which would be during the 2008 summer Olympics. Back then, the man known to most across dozens of games as Gwreng or Ddraig was building a new PC for me. My old one couldn't run anything published after 2000. I was looking forward to trying out some of his vast collection of games. He had other ideas. Within days of it being completed, he had loaded up his favorite obsession, Star Wars Galaxies. I'd never been in an MMO before, never-the-less something so vast as SWG. Yet, there I was in the tutorial and being rescued by Han Solo himself. Soon, I was dropped in Mos Eisley, then instantly rushed off to some unknown location.
     I remember the room with the ornate table and incredible decorations and being clueless that someone in that room had designed the whole thing out of items in the game. He said this meeting would likely happen in character, and we had made a backstory for Amandiona... but I wasn't really sure of why. That night, I was introduced to the world of roleplaying through Anishor, Ramona Garcia and others, and my own world was never the same. There were lots of stumbling about that night. However, as I was introduced to those in Future Droids and Weapons Systems (FDWS) which Gwreng led, less intimidating connections were made. One member, Josh, took the time to teach me roleplay etiquette and commands and helped me flesh out Amandiona's story through conversation. We quickly became great friends. A couple months later, I was comfortable enough to join in Farpoint Valley's Monday evening gatherings and made so many connections there - ones I ended up leaning on when Gwreng started playing less and less. Months went by and we inherited the tiny town of New Kestic, Lok. It didn't stay tiny for long! Those connections and stories were spreading out as I gained more confidence. FDWS was growing and the stories were amazing! By the time Gwreng made his exit (For EVE...ick!) I was already running the guild and leading larger stories centered around the town. Every day I deployed 6 storyteller maps to enhance New Kestic and the stories grew to encompass multiple guilds. It was a great outlet after a long day of teaching.
     Then I became really sick... the genetic nightmare I was born with caught up to me. I couldn't teach anymore, could barely substitute, and was shuffling from specialist to specialist. SWG and my growing number of online friends and connections became more than an outlet. They became a lifeline. Through sports-wrapped partially-dislocating fingers, I was able to escape the increasing pain. The world written night after night kept me encouraged.
     And then it died...
     And I ended up in Star Trek Online, with its many limitations, and made some new connections along with my SWG friends who came along like Wyrrlicci, Jorax, and Josh.
     But this too passed and I had been hearing about Legends and how awesome it was. So Josh, my brother Alex, and I headed over. It was a rough start. They ended up not staying for long, but I was being recognized nearly everywhere I went... because Lazana, Amandiona's little sister, had the same last name, and Laz had been in Live too. It felt like coming home. It felt like I needed to be here... and soon it happened. I was asked to help out in the roleplay community. More specifically, asked if I'd commit to keeping my entertainer in Coronet cantina to help rebuild that facet of the community. I first tested the water with Laz's niece, Ardiona, to see how the roleplayers did things. Once I was comfortable with it, Lazana was brought in. Yes, it meant nights of dancing to an empty cantina for hours, but then a new or returning player would come in and start to talk or roleplay or ask questions, and it felt great to help them out. Some nights there was a lot of activity, and I did my best to work Lazana into the goings-on while encouraging people to engage with each other. There were some ups and downs, as there are in any roleplay community, but her story began to take off as the roleplay there did as well. I made new online friends who are amazing. Along the way, I was asked to help with the SWGRP Discord group, which has led to me now becoming a moderator. After a meeting with the ever-awesome RoarAsh, I was given a thread on the Legends forums to help highlight the player and roleplay events in the overall community. And it makes me grin. I LOVE seeing roleplayers come together and network and start stories that spread out elsewhere.
     Through it, I was asked to help build Mos Vanta an open-to-all roleplay town. Oh did we have some bumpy moments getting that going! But it has turned into something so beautiful. Now Lazana has her own little cantina she runs 4 nights a week, while the other 3 I continue to do as promised and keep rebuilding Coronet's cantina.
    While there are moments of frustration, it has remained an incredible blessing. I love chatting with my new online friends, and some have become quite dear to me. It's a lifeline now more than ever... as with my condition and the comorbidities it brings with it, I have recently been told I will "die prematurely" from it all. It makes me all the more determined to help bring the roleplaying community together for epic stories, hilarious moments, places to just hang out and relax and be distracted from the world around us and submerge into the world we are writing.... In a galaxy far away.