Emily continues to explore the final weeks of this closing MMO.
The Last Days of Star Wars Galaxies: Part 2
Once upon a time scantily dressed Twi'Lek Entertainers provided the social glue for SWG's cantinas and starports. Now in the immortal words of Aguilera, so too go the tube tops. Today outside the Cantinas of Mos Eisley - at one time the Studio 54-cum-Bollywood-cum-Off-Broadway prime spot for Grease choreography - there is only dust.
Creating the perfect character to role-play in an MMO is a delicate and arcane process. My fledgling steps into SWG put me in the big britches of Girlofyrdreams, the snow white, jowl-slung Entertainer with skin resembling a wall texture from Castlevania. In the Greek tragedy of GOYD's short life, she is being role-played as the misunderstood Jen Aniston of the Galaxies: once celebrated, now churning out a career of minor entertainment roles and trying to find a place in a world that has outgrown her. Will other users flock to see her dance moves, as they did years back when SWG was a glint in an SOE server's eye? In the case of the dying worlds of SWG. I've decided to ask this single question: What is the place of the Entertainer profession when there is no one left to be entertained?
The aims of my play-through for the next two weeks are as follows:
- Girlofyrdreams is going to make a friend
- Girlofyrdreams is going to dance with a friend
Now, after giving myself a face, I can finally put on my best level-1 ballgown and head into the NGE tutorial Tansarii Point Station to master the skills of an Entertainer.
GOYD is on the run in a Space Port, led by the voice of a friendly C-3PO NPC while he spends several minutes talking her through the intricacies of walking in a straight line with the WASD keys. Once mastered, she uses these skills to round a corner, falling into the lap of Han Solo and Chewbacca; our Han remains fully voiced with the same "I'm waiting for my paycheque" impatience Ford perfected. He soon takes the reins from C-3PO to escort my character to his ship, headed toward the secondary tutorial centre of Tansarii.
This is where I learn the ins and outs of Entertainer-dom. Soon after landing I leave the safety of my new friend Han, who's decided to stay in the hangar to fiddle with a loose cushion on our ship or something. I'm told to make myself useful, and that the best place to go is the Cantina, so I find my way into the building ahead and into the social quarters I've been directed toward.
This is how my life as a dancer begins. Running into my first quest-giving NPC, I'm told if I want some easy money I should learn the archaic trade of dance alongside the grotto of aliens grinding to the Cantina Theme on a raised incline in the room.
Entertainers can offer buffs to other players by learning various dance moves and music numbers on what's ostensibly a Space clarinet, learning "flourishes" that let the user make slight variations to the dance or tune, and eventually accumulating enough of these flourish abilities to create complicated self-made numbers.
My first day as a Sullustan dancer got off to a rocky start when I was ushered on stage to dance for the elite of the Cantina, without having had any training. I found my place at the front of a group of dancers gyrating around me with the sensuality of a thousand Shakiras. Oh okay, I thought, and began my dance. Still fresh to the world of gyration, I worked out how exactly to switch from my first move (swaying back and forth) to my second (a sort of Will Smithian Running Man knee-jerk), and manoeuvred between these abilities for roughly half a minute until I gained a combat level.
Oh good, dancing is easy!, I said through internal dialogue. But having gained this vast experience in the art of 80s moves, I was now told to head over to the nearby Imperial Officer for a one-on-one as a favour for my new-found NPC friend, having impressed her with my leg spasms.
I walked to his quarters a few doors down. Offering him my services, he told me "I could use a break. I only have a minute to watch, though". I decided it was best to test my skills in my Running Man routine and began to do my knee-jerk for the full minute as he stood toe-to-toe with me, watching closely until at last he thanked me for my time.
Happy with how my growing abilities were shaping up, next stop was the medical unit - where it was said the power of song would be used to heal the invalids of the galaxy. Unsheathing my SpaceFlute, I found I had the ability to play two songs: Star Wars and Rock. The former is a kind of saxophone doo-wop that plays in a two-note groove, repeating over and over like a duo of kazoos looping forever. I immediately went for the second option and began to fill the room with my strange, dulcet rock tones, awaking the patients who had been sprawled out comatose on the linoleum. The doctor, pleased with my ability to cure the sick, continued to stand motionless by my side.
My work here is done, I thought. I was ready to go out into the world and meet other users in the desert world of Tatooine. But would I?
Stay tuned next time as we continue to explore this dying MMO.