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Choose My Adventure: Off the rails

Join me as I brave my way through lands unknown in an adventure dictated entirely by you, the Massively readers! Suggest everything from game played to character creation to ultimate goal and watch it unfold in a series of posts here on the site. Then, as our two months are up, we'll do it all over again in a new game!

This last week wound up being a medley of moments -- some pretty cool and others a study in frustration, honestly. However, to be completely fair, while some of this is related to the game, a goodly portion of the frustration is related to some pretty glaring oversights for newcomers on Sony Online Entertainment's part.

Curious as to what happened in Star Wars Galaxies this week? Join me behind the jump as I break down what things broke down, and what bits were pretty solidly in the "kick ass" column.

This week, I settled in on Thursday to run through the tail end of the Tatooine quests I'd left since I wanted to get to Naboo and see whether it really was as frustrating as everyone had said it was. However, the server hamsters were having none of it. After trying a handful of times, I gave the cause up as lost and headed off to look up some information on piloting. The good news is that Google says there's a fair amount of pilot information out there. The bad news is that a good chunk of the sites I saw are outdated sites, up to and including the Star Wars Galaxies official site piloting FAQ, which contains a number of dead links.

Thankfully, the forums contain nearly the same FAQ, maintained by the same person. Only the forum version has valid links, looks like it's been updated regularly, and (I feel) contains a lot more newbie-friendly information than the main site FAQ does. It also has the benefit of being tied to the forum where people ask all manner of questions, so you can pick up a lot of information if you're willing to slog through the typical snarkiness inherent in pretty much every forum everywhere. On top of that, it offers a nice color-coded key that helps to explain all the different factors to a new player and, frankly, just makes sense. Sure, it's not a nice solid shade of gray-on-white to go with the rest of the site, but when it comes to reading it, it's simply easier on the eyes.

Armed with the knowledge of how to get started as a pilot (or so I thought), I headed out for the Imperial recruiter and signed up. Upon stepping outside of the building, I wound up getting wasted by a couple of patrolling Rebels in fairly short order since the town I was in happened to be under Rebel control.


After managing to evade a couple of patrols (and I will say that this particular aspect -- at least once you're aware of it -- definitely adds a certain intrigue to the game), I headed out to talk to Lt. Barn Sinkko, who was to give me my first Imperial flight mission. However, he simply told me that I needed to talk to the recruiter, as I obviously wasn't Imperial, despite having just been shot down by Rebel scum for the cause.

Enter frustration and time spent running back and forth, trying to figure out why this faction switch simply wasn't working.

Heading offline and hunting down information via a combination of wiki and forums, I realized that through the process of prior questing, I had inadvertently managed to earn faction I wasn't aware of. Yes indeed: +200 for the Rebellion, and a whopping -25 for the Imperial faction. As I learned from reading, I needed to have at least +200 faction with the Imperials to be able to join up, no matter how many times I told the Recruiter I wanted to shoot things for the Empire.

Rather than accept defeat, I figured I'd join up temporarily with the Neutral faction more aligned towards the Imperials, and proceed to have some fun (and do a bit of faction grinding) by blowing assorted bad guys (and the odd Rebel) out of the sky. I wasn't disappointed!

Ship combat in Star Wars Galaxies is dogfight-tastic, off-the-rails, and just plain fun. While I don't happen to have a droid as yet (so I didn't have access to some of the options pilots have), even just flying around and shooting things down was a complete blast. Considering I've played Taikodom, and I've been waiting on Black Prophecy and Jumpgate Evolution to come out, this is a facet of the game that I could see spending quite a lot of time on -- even just in the noob ship! And hey, I got to blow up a Rebel or two -- sadly, no Gungans. I figure between running some Imperial land missions in the next few days and playing around in the Neutral/Imperial side, I should be able to get my faction back the other way around soon, enabling me to follow the vote results, and perhaps even land a cooler Imperial ship!

I should note that I've read I can drop pilot factions once I've gotten my overall faction up enough for the Imperials to take me in, so I'm not tied to being Neutral -- as long as I'm willing to do a bit of mission-running for the side I want to swap to, anyway. Just from my perspective, it wouldn't hurt to make that whole process a bit more obvious -- and to update the links on the main site.

To cap the week off, though, I managed to land in more fun when I touched down in the station after flying around one morning. It appeared that a full-on fight had broken out. While I managed to avoid getting blown to hell, the effects and blaster-fire flying were certainly fun to watch. Somehow, I have the feeling that the factional swap will get me into some of these scuffles in the coming days -- once I've manage to convince the Imperials that I'm not out to pilfer their leftovers from the breakroom fridge, or whatever it is they're feeling protective about, that is.

As we're coming into our last official Choose My Adventure days in Star Wars Galaxies, I'd like to request that you drop me a comment if you know of anything else I haven't had a chance to look into (aside from factional warfare, which is on the menu for this week, with luck). Also, as before, if you know of an RP event, let me know! Perhaps the server hamster heavens will see fit to play nice and let me check out one of the things I've heard is the lifeblood of Star Wars Galaxies.

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