I have to get this off my chest, because it hit me harder than I thought it would. Six weeks ago, I lost a gaming buddy that I met back in Beskar. And while the guild leader of Beskar, these days leading a crew in Guild Wars 2, has already written a fantastic memorial to him, I guess there was a part of me that wanted something for myself as a matter of celebration, reflection, and closure. Though he was an “online friend,” those friendships can be as meanginful as our face to face ones, as Flosch has pointed out before. And that is the reason why I picked TOR back up, and that is the reason I logged in and played all weekend, despite being mad as hell at Bioware. TOR was the last place I “saw” him, and so that is where I wanted to go.
While his name was Mike, we often referred to him by his gaming handle of LP – short for Little Powell, a nod to his favorite Civil War leader (he was something of a history buff). Without going into too many details, LP had a medical condition that meant, basically, that he was going to die within a few years of that diagnosis, and that it would be unpredictable. His health was never good, and there was always the sense that each day could be the last. His handling of that was, to me, the single greatest example of courage I have personally witnessed in life.
Because of this, he was often stuck at home, and so was light year’s ahead of me in the leveling game. I still don’t have a character to 50 in TOR, I know at the time we disbanded he had at least 2, maybe more. He loved crafting, and he loved PVP – the bigger, the more open, the messier, the better. So while I talked to him every day for over a year and a half, I rarely saw him in game. Maybe that’s why I needed to go looking for him there – at least in some spiritual fashion. So I spent the weekend on Tattooine on my newly christened Sith, the name a hat tip to him, though he was a Mando to the core. When I got to the Dune Sea, I remembered him talking about the balloon that flies over the zone and I thought maybe that would be nice, a chance to do something he had done and reflect and remember. So I started my questing in the zone, figuring I’d run across the landing dock sooner or later. And I quickly remembered something about the zone.
The class quests will lead you around the zone in a counterclockwise fashion, while the world quest, common to all classes…leads you in a counterclockwise swing. Genius. In any case, after a full time of questing and wandering, both clock and counter-clock wise, I had seen the balloon…but never found its landing spot. I could have kept looking, or wiki’d it I’m sure, but it was getting late, and somehow – it seemed fitting that I couldn’t catch up to the balloon, much in the same way that I just can’t catch up to LP right now.
So, I settled for returning to the wrecked space cruiser deep in the Dune Sea, and much as Luke would do, several millennium afterwards, gazing at the twin suns setting and wondering what the future will hold.
LP, you were a good friend. Full of great advice. If blur was the platoon leader, you were one of the veteran sergeants, equal parts gruff toughskin and kind denmother. I’ve always wondered if you admired General Hill not only for his tactics and for the parts of his personality that he shared with yours, but for the ironic name he gave to his troops – the Light Division. It didn’t actually fit, as big as they were, but one of his soldiers after the war, commented that it was a fitting name, “for we often marched without coats, blankets, knapsacks, or any other burdens except our arms and haversacks, which were never heavy and sometimes empty.” You marched everyday with so little in your packs, and yet you made it work with what you had – and still had some to share with others. Your stories, your film reviews, your outrageous avatars on the forums, the wisdom you shared in our emails – thank you for those.
I hope that one day I do catch up to you, in levels and in life. For for right now, you marched too far ner vod, and you outpaced me. And I miss you.
Ni su’cuyi, gar kyr’adyc, ni partayli, gar darasuum.
“I’m still alive, but you are dead. I remember you, so you are eternal.”