Prologue to Play: The Quest to Quest
Let’s blame it on Revan.
After reading the book, I’m curious about The Old Republic era, and I read more of the books, Deceived as well as Fatal Alliance.
Fangirl posts my Revan review and I end up meeting DJ, an avid gamer, who has some observations to share.
Now I’m getting more curious about the game, Star Wars: The Old Republic. We have an X-box, a Wii, and my daughter and I play Nintendo DS together, mostly keeping various virtual puppies and ponies. I even had a brief stint in college working for SegaVision. But I’ve never played an MMO; I’ve never even played D&D. In fact, I’ve even been a bit suspicious of avid gamers. Turns out, though, a lot of my friends have played. And they encourage me to try.
Hubs is strangely reluctant to purchase SWTOR as a Christmas gift for me. He seems to prefer my other request – taking a ballroom dancing class! I can’t really understand his reticence. But after some pouting on my part, he relents. I’d order it myself, but I’ll need his help to set it up.
Hubs tries to insist that I wait until Christmas, but I have a prelaunch play code! We set up an account and I wait anxiously to start.
The big day is here. We start the download onto VMware on Mac, which is a virtual PC that runs inside the Mac. We go to bed while the SWTOR program downloads.
Disaster. Total disaster.
The VMware completely crashes under the weight of SWTOR, despite Bioware’s CEO insisting it can be played this way. I consider sending various emails to Bioware and EA, but I know it’s futile. I can’t even log on to the website from the Mac, although I’d logged into it via VMware before. The SWTOR doesn’t recognize my computer and account. I take deep, calming breaths.
Okay. It’s really okay. We need second computer anyway, so we go to Best Buy. I insist our sales assistant be a gamer, so the first salesguy finds another. The next assistant has the pale look of a gamer. He talks about World of Warcraft and Skyrim reverentially, so I feel like we are now in good hands. I leave Hubs and wander to games section. I chat with sales guy there, tell him my tale of woe. Turns out he’s the manager and knows Fangirl’s blog. Wow! He finds me the very last, hidden, Collector’s Edition of SWTOR. It’s the size of a milk crate and weighs ten pounds.
Then we’re told there’s no appropriate computer at Best Buy. How can this be? We live in Silicon Valley. EA’s office is across from my gym!
It turns out real gamers build their own computers.
“We’re not real gamers,” I tell Hubs.
“We’re not gamers at all,” he replies.
Hubs orders a computer from Dell, all speced out for gaming. I wait.
In the meantime, I find Knights of the Old Republic for Mac. It’s from 2004 and costs about two trips to Starbucks, so I buy it. Besides, my new friend DJ has promised to help me.
The first time, I play for 45 minutes. Padawan and I pick a character, a female rogue. We decide on her looks, which are a bit limited, but it’s fun to customize her. I start to play. I can’t move my character, Marene Star – the randomly generated name I got – very fast; I can’t even find clothes to get dressed! Hubs looks on for five minutes and walks away shaking his head. I have a companion character to help me, Lt. Trask. He sacrifices himself fighting a Sith Lord so I can escape the ship. I make it to Taris, with Carth Onasi, my second companion.
Overall result: a major headache, and guilt over getting my first NPC – Non-Playable Character – killed. I feel better later when DJ assures me that Trask was supposed to die. DJ also says I’ll find SWTOR easier. He really is an optimist, I think.
There is so much on the Internet about SWTOR. There are even billboards with SWTOR ads on them. One of them I see every time I’m on my work commute. I feel like I’m in high school. Everybody else is playing SWTOR, except me.
I continue to play KOTOR about six more hours. Bursting into people’s apartments and looting their belongings doesn’t feel very satisfying. But at least can now I can move with some degree of speed. I run around Taris City and steal Sith armor by flirting with a Sith officer at a cantina. As I explore Taris City, more quests open up. I start leveling up. I finally find the Taris Undercity with DJ’s help. I learn to hate Rakghouls, zombie-like creatures that are hard to kill. My confidence for playing a real MMO is building.
Oh happy day! The shiny black Dell arrives!
We open up the Collector’s Edition SWTOR box and take out the Darth Malgus statue. Hubs sets up the computer. I place the Malgus statue reverentially next to the Dell. Hubs starts to install the SWTOR discs. The third and last disc is cracked. Now we can’t install the game.
I think about my options: bursting into tears or screaming a Darth Vader -esque NOOOOOO! “How can you do this to me?” I ask the Malgus statue.
Hubs says, “Maybe you shouldn’t have compared that Revan book to froyo”.
Even DJ thinks I’m cursed.
“It’s okay,” I say with just a slight quiver in my voice. “I don’t need to play.” If I were really good, like Padawan, I would manage to squeeze out one fat tear. Hubs just rolls his eyes.
We return to Best Buy. I visit my games manager buddy. He advises us to try to download the game from the website. When we get home, the computer is mysteriously downloading something. I think it’s the Rise of the Rakghouls patch and I just don’t have much hope at this point.
When we wake up next morning, somehow, magically, the game is installed.
I really almost don’t believe it.
“Thank you,” I tell Malgus.
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