The End of a Gaming Era

Saying goodbye to SWTOR has not really been hard at all.  I’m sure I’ll be back when they make the transition to F2P, which seems more and more like a certainty with every passing day.  The fateful day for me is tomorrow, July 18th, when my sub goes dormant.  But there is a date which has caused me a good bit of sadness and melancholy as it approaches:  July 22nd.

 

You see, July 22nd is the day that my guild will turn off the lights and close and lock the doors for the final time.  Beskar has been one of the greatest guilds I have ever belonged too, and also marks the longest time I’ve ever been in one guild.  Beskar opened its doors back in 2008, if you can believe that, in preparation for the release of SWTOR, which back in those days was thought to only be a year or so away  (Looking at the timeline now, and having done some probing, I firmly believe that at that point in 2008, they were just starting technical development of the game).  I joined up in November of 2010, as the guild was getting ready to mark its two year anniversary, and was anxiously awaiting the promised release date of “Spring 2011.”  As it would turn out, I would be spending my first year in the guild with nothing to do in SWTOR *but* the guild!

 

Not that I minded.  Beskar had strict rules about being active and present, even before launch.  Be absent from the forums for a week and you were made inactive, two weeks and you were kicked.   Though no absolute posting policy was ever adopted, 50 posts a month was unofficially among those of us who were active considered a good “eyeball test” for making an effort to being an active part of the community.   I wish I had the server stats in hand to give you, but our guild, which mostly hovered around 50 people, carved out a wonderful little home for ourselves.  There was a lot of turnover, particularly as Bioware fumbled the ball  time and again before launch, and continued to back the game up (I wonder if this didn’t hurt launch sales and stability by the way.  I would say we lost 1-2 people per month who just flat decided it wasn’t worth the hell that Bioware was putting people through).   When the game launched, we had around 60 people, chomping at the bit!

 

Yet, within two months, we had begun bleeding members.  Revved up members who had been waiting three years at that point, lit into the content like a bat out of hell.  We had people who had level capped within a week, and spent the next seven chewing up dailies and pvp and maxing out crafting before realizing that Bioware had neglected to put together an actual world for people to explore, play, and -yes- even live in.

 

As of right now, we can barely scratch together a dozen members, and most of those are playing on the Republic side (we were an Empire only guild until Bioware belatedly announced that this would restrict your gameplay…) at levels so widely varying that its impossible to group or do content together.  So the guild leader, himself retired from the game, made the decision that it was time to close the doors.   And I am in 100% agreement.  The guild is not even a shadow of what it was a year ago.   And the irony, and the moral, of the story is this:

 

Every other guild I’ve been in has been killed by either another game, or by internal drama.   Beskar was killed by the game that its members was playing.

 

Just let that sink in a moment.

 

So…I will miss the people that I have spent the last two years getting to know so well.  Some of them are moving over to Guild Wars 2 together, some are sticking around in SWTOR for a while longer, one or two are headed to TSW, but the remainder are just….done with MMO’s in general.  That hurts all of us.

 

I think its appropriate that my guild leader for the last two years have the final word.   While I will miss individuals, I will also miss the environment  and home that Beskar provided me with.  And, like the leader, I know I will not be alone in that:

 

You might think I’m joking, but by early May, reports were coming in that the game had lost 400,000 subscribers.

So if there’s any saving grace in what was happening, it’s that we weren’t alone. We weren’t some strange mutant strain of gamer that obsesses over a game for years, then hates it as soon as it launches… it seems we had hundreds of thousands of other gamers, literally, who all thought the same thing, to keep us company. It’s an incredible statistic, isn’t it?

 

Writing from the website and post of his new GW2 guild, he reflects on what the loss cost us, and the hopes we still hold for the future.  But mostly, he is reflecting on the fact that Bioware, like Sony before them, managed not only to fail to deliver a top notch MMO (something that would be frustrating, but understandable), but managed also to kill communities.  Ouch.

 

To my Beskar vod’e – I wish you all the best in the future, and I hope that whatever game or guild you are headed too, it treats you well, as you deserve, because you are awesome people.

 

Mishuk gotal’u meshuroke, pako kyore!

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And Away We Go…Part II

Well, I think we are up and running.  There’s still a few things both in and out of game that need to be taken care of, but we are officially moved in to our headquarters and gearing up to take applications.

Now when I set up this corp, it was never intended to be a real corp, so I didn’t put alot of thought into the name (even though I did with the corp structure, since those were the tools I was using).  I created it on the fly one night, and as we are want to do when we don’t have the patience for creativity, we dip into the well of the past and select a congruent name.

Many, many years ago, I played Battletech often.  And the first mercenary outfit that I played as a part of with my friends, we named after an organization in an old cult movie favorite of ours.  The movie:  The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.  The organization: The Blue Blaze Irregulars.  Only at that point we didn’t have copies of the movie at home, only the occasional odd TV viewing.  And thus we mistakenly believed it to be the Blue Patch-BuckarooBanziBlueBlazeBlazer Irregulars.  

So the Blue Blazer Irregulars [BB-I] are now open for business.

Now I know you are anxious to join, so please, make your way to our office in an orderly fashion!

Seriously, we are open to applications at the moment and looking for others to join us in our endeavors.  We all do a good bit of mission running, but we figure everyone does that.  For those who enjoy exploring the EVE universe, we need scouts for the Radar Rangers division.  Those who want to conquer the world of EVE economically can sign up for the Banzai Institute, our industrial & mining division.  And for those who crave pew-pew, our location offers unique and copious opportunities for low-sec warfare, (and with a bit of time and patience, the occasional nullsec roam) and there is a place for you in the Hong Kong Cavalier’s division.

And since we are new – experienced players can expect to take on active roles in the structure of the corp early on.

Here ends the recruitment advert for the day!

Seriously we are trying to figure out what all we need in game at the moment.  I’m working on the in game advert, and an online message board for us.  We also picked up some BPO’s last night and have begun churning out an industrial base for both profit and corp activities.  And getting our standings set up.  What else do we need?  Do you have any recommendations or good advice?  We’re not too proud to take it, believe me, and we want this to be a successful endeavor for all of us.

And Away We Go… Part I

Up to now, though I haven’t been completely happy in my EVE corp, I haven’t left either.  For whatever reason, I stuck around.  In part maybe because I had nowhere to go, and in part because my gut just told me it wasn’t time yet.  I’ve been waiting for something, but I just didn’t know what.  I learned a few years ago how and when to trust my instinct in these matters, and this was one of those times.

Earlier this week, we had another incident.  A buddy found himself unceremoniously dumped from the corp, despite having been an active contributor and missioner.  In the aftermath, the leadership lied and tried to cover up their mistake, and offered reinstatement…but no apology and no explanation other than what we had to ferret out in private convos from those who were sympathetic.

Meanwhile, a month or so ago, you may remember me wondering aloud about starting a corp in the game, just to play around with the features and maybe one day to write a guide on it.  I did so, a shell corp that I used to play around with titles, role management, and settings.  It was..awkward, and so I never got around to writing the post.

And some of you can guess where this is headed:

..Incoming invite to private chat…

[01:06:31] Buddy #1 > howdy
[01:06:35] Acer Tinkari > hey
[01:06:39] Acer Tinkari > secrecy?
[01:06:45] Buddy #1 > Buddy #2 wants to join your corp
[01:07:05] Buddy #1 > i think i do too
[01:07:09] Acer Tinkari > my corp…as in not [my current corp], but [the dummy shell corp I set up last month]
[01:07:17] Buddy #1 > yeah
[01:07:23] Acer Tinkari > Hell, lets do it
[01:07:28] Buddy #1 > lol
[01:07:35] Buddy #1 > where is your base at?

[01:08:35] Acer Tinkari > Alright, well first order of business, where do we want the HQ and first corp hanger at?

[01:11:39] Acer Tinkari > Ok…I think the easiest way to do it is to bring my alt down and swap the hq to here that way, so we don’t have to travel out to his noob system to put in apps
[01:12:10] Buddy #1 > lol
[01:12:32] Buddy #1 > sounds like a plan, not only that, but also so you don’t have to maintain the cost of 2 bases
[01:12:45] Acer Tinkari > Yeah that too
[01:13:09] Acer Tinkari > Ok, I’ll swap over to him and start the journey – I don’t think it was too bad ~20 jumps or less
[01:13:29] Buddy #1 > yeah, not to bad
[01:14:40] Acer Tinkari > … put him in your address book so you can find me easy
[01:14:51] Buddy #1 > let me know if you want to scout you in

[01:15:08] Acer Tinkari > Ok will do
[01:15:18] Acer Tinkari > This is going to be fun…. (-:
[01:15:35] Buddy #1 > lol

I redacted some of it for security purposes.  We need a few days to get things set up and settled and so on before it goes 100% public.  But when that conversation came in, I knew it was the time and the place.  Having an occasionally disfunctional corp was not reason enough for me to leave.  I needed more than escape, I needed a new purpose and direction, and support in that endeavor.

So its time for me to put my money where my mouth is.  I’ve been critical, and now its time for me to be proactive.  Better (and worse) yet, you all have full access to how I think this corp should be run.  So if I stray from the vision…well all sorts of people are going to let me know about it, aren’t they!

Stay tuned over the next few days, as I’m sure as this unfolds, a weekend update will be in order!