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Celebrate the Empire Strikes Back anniversary on Hoth


1980 was an exciting year for many. For some it was the Phillies beating the Royals (even though my team didn't win, thus ruining baseball for me forever), for others it could have been Reagan defeating Carter in the presidential election, or maybe they were just excited about someone shooting J. R. Ewing. This all pales compared to what happened at the beginning of the summer. Even at the ripe old age of four, I recall going to see Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in the theater. Forever it dominated my destiny.

A Force beyond my control compelled me to celebrate this monumental day, the 30th Anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back. I had to relive the memories; relive the fun of the day I went to see this great movie. I already had my Star Wars rockband boxers and watched the movie through, but I still felt empty. Then it hit me: I could actually go to Hoth to live out the scene of the great battle between General Veers' AT-ATs and Echo Base. I could log into my Star Wars: Galaxies account and just have some fun.

I encourage you to find the Star Wars Fanboi/gurl in you and follow me in my adventure to the snowy dunes of Hoth after the break.

I know some of you are thinking, "ZOMG! SWG sux!" I will not tout the glories of SWG, but fun comes in different sizes for different reasons. Yesterday, it was about feeding our inner fanatic and have frantic fun on a frozen landscape. The game called us to pierce our souls with iconic eye-candy and escape to the icy environment. Star Wars: Galaxies' Hoth worked for a couple of compelling reasons: AT-ATs and memorable moments.

Not belonging to a large guild, nor one that runs Hoth very often, I was presented with some problems. Searching the chat channels for willing participants was a bit of a challenge, but not impossible. In fact, once it was known that this was a celebration of our favorite film (not to mention that we had a medic already), an eight person group filled up very quickly.

"General, prepare your troops for a surface attack."

The shiver of joy began immediately when we were ordered to board our snowspeeders and defend against Imperial All Terrain Armored Transport Walkers. Despite the lack of true z-axis control, SWG has capably captured the feel of facing off against these titanic tanks. We quickly discovered attacking the mammoths from behind was the only way to defeat them. The snowspeeder has a wide turning radius, and if we happened to get caught in the front there is no maneuvering out of the way of the deadly canons. Finally, the first AT-AT fell, and the excited cheers of whole Alliance echoed over the tundra.

"Imperial troops have entered the base! Imperial troops have --"

For the next phase of the encounter, I couldn't help but attempt to identify every iconic Empire Strikes Back moment. Humorous moments like when Han Solo, Leia, and the gyro-spinning C-3PO raced to the Millenium Falcon. Or when General Veers blurted over the commlink, "Distance to power generator?" just before an explosion from outside signified the destruction of the Rebel final defense. Then when the Imperial March drummed as the dark lord Darth Vader sauntered through the base while snowtroopers blasted at Rebel soldiers trying to escape. Not to mention the last moment when Luke Skywalker encouraged R2-D2 as they made their escape from the planet.

I would be hard-pressed to say the event was impeccable. In fact, the final phase of the adventure was so filled with lag that sometimes my character would be killed before I had the chance to fire a blaster bolt. That didn't discourage us; we Rebels rallied until the last transport was destroyed or safely over the horizon.

At the end players are allotted up to nine tokens which can be used to purchase Snowtrooper gear (if Imperial), Echo Base gear (if Rebel), a blue frosty lightsaber crystal, or other Hoth-related items. Our run was not perfect, mostly because we were looking for fan-fill, but we landed five tokens. If you are interested in doing a perfect Hoth run for your celebration, the official SWG forum has a wonderful walkthrough. Let your fanboi/gurl out, and step back into the world of Star Wars for this weekend. Perhaps you will land some of the newly-added instance loot items like a Dark Trooper costume. Maybe you will find your destiny, or at least a renewed enjoyment of a game you thought you lost.

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