Looking back in our gaming history, we all have moments we cherish, and moments that we didn’t particularly care for. Today I would like to visit the ones that were important to us, for whatever reason. I have many fond memories from Ultima Online, my first MMO. I remember how big the world felt, and how scary it was to leave town, because there were rumors of “Dread Lords”, “Tank Mages”, and “reds”. I had no idea what those were at the time, but I knew it was bad. Turns out, they were just players like myself, only they preferred to hunt other players. I remember saving up enough gold to buy my first house in game, which was stolen from me in short order (PK’s got my key). From that point forward, I decided to never lose another house by players killing me, I decided to be an Anti-PK, or for those of you who never played UO – A player who hunts down player killers. I got pretty good at it, even entered PvP tournaments, and won a couple of them to boot. I spent many sleepless nights playing that game, much to the dismay of my report card. =)
Everquest, and UO hold most of my best memories, but my proudest memory is from Vanguard. A lot happened while I was playing Vanguard in my real life, and in game. It was the first Drow team I was ever on officially (I had played some Warcraft 3 with them but not on an official basis), and I even filled a niche in the guild that allowed me to get some Server firsts, and help to propel our Organizations Name. In Vanguard I played a Bloodmage Carpenter. Prior to Vanguard, I hadn’t ever really crafted, I generally wasn’t into it. In the beta I had been recruited to do our Diplomacy stuff, I had worked personally with the developers/programmers that were in charge of Diplomacy, so I had a great grasp on what was going on in that sphere. It turns out, that Diplomacy at launch was pretty much pointless and broken, so I searched for a new role that wasn’t filled. No one on the team had decided to do the trade skill Carpenter, so I did. Some of you from easier games will probably be thinking, big deal; you did a trade skill…
In Vanguard the Trade skill system was not dumbed-down, and easy to do like in games like Warcraft, and Rift. There were actually skills, and combinations of buttons to hit in order to make an item. The better you did those combinations the better the item was. It wasn’t just press the craft button, wait 5 seconds and an item pops out – it was a minute of pressing the right buttons at the right time, and sometimes just hoping for a little luck. It was more like normal combat, but my weapons were the hammer, and nail; my enemy a piece of wood. It took a VERY long time to max out crafting levels, and you had to stick with it. The Vanguard team started out with people whose sole purpose was to craft; that’s how ball busting it was in the beginning.
So with a lot of help from the harvesters, I was able to produce the first boats on the server. A boat in Vanguard was needed to get to some of the islands (in theory you could fly across the water, but that would take longer), and to get to some of the better house plots (also another great memory). The first Sloop on our server was crafted by me, but made by the entire team. It took something like 50 combinations, over an hour of time to build the one item. The final combine was so nerve wracking, because if I messed up during the process, it would have wasted so many materials, and time. After crafting the boat, we named it the www DROW org, set it in the harbor of the Khal for all to see, and to show them that Drow was here, and we were going to dominate the server. Of course, we also took it out for a spin.
Because I was the only Carpenter on the server able to make Sloops, business was good. I was able to make sloops for an insane price, and put that money directly into the guild fund. That money would be used to buy plots of land for the guild, and things like that. I believe at some point some of the Officers even got banned for our Official Bank Mules having too much money on them. It was good times. The sloop however, was just a small ship, the Caravel still hadn’t been discovered (mostly because it wasn’t fully in game yet). So the grind began once again, and I started to do what I could in order to prepare for when it could be built. The sloop at the time was monumental in terms of materials needed, but the Caravel was flat out insane. The combines were harder, and there were more of them, the materials were rarer, and there was a race to have the first one made worldwide. I was a day (if I remember correctly) off of the Worldwide First. On 3/18/07 I completed construction on the first Caravel on the Server. This ship was amazing; we named it www DROW org once again, to get people to come check us out. This time though, we had a bunch of guild mates come to the boat, and we took some screen shots. This has been one of the greatest feelings I have had in a game. I felt like I was able to put together this awesome ship due to their hard work, and really owed it to them to secure the Server First. I felt like a part of the team, I felt valued, and I will never forget that feeling. Since then, I have remained (in my opinion) a very strong, dedicated member of the Drow Organization, and have since had many more fantastic memories.
I had some huge issues with Vanguard however, the game was buggy, and most of the content that was supposed to be in game wasn’t in. Eventually I left the game due to all the broken promises from the Sony Staff. I am glad I was a part of the team though, and even got to be an officer of it. Vanguard, while not my first MMO, houses my greatest achievements, and memories. It was an honor to play with such talented, passionate players, and to be a part of the Drow action, instead of reading about it. The largest ship, the Galleon, was added to the game on 12/16/08, and the World Wide first went to Ectheleon, who is a Drow Member, so props to him for sticking in there for over a year, and doing what I could not.
When you think back to your gaming history, what do you remember? What were some of the highlights for you? Share them, and screenshots if you got them!