Daily Elysium: Star Wars Galaxies Confessional

It started, as perhaps many ignoble things do, innocently enough. I walked into my local Software Etc. - as it was widely known before becoming Gamestop, Babbages, NeoStar, or whatever the hell they call it - with every intention of getting back the money from my Star Wars Galaxies pre-reserve.

I would say, "Hello. I have a pre-reserve for Star Wars Galaxies." At this point IÂ'd show them my pre-reserve ticket, so the ever vigilant sales associate would see that I was on the up-and-up. IÂ'd continue, "after some careful consideration IÂ've decided not to purchase the game at this time. I was in the beta, you see, and while Galaxies has many strengths, I just donÂ't feel that itÂ's worth my hard earned money yet. Perhaps later, once some more content has been added, and some of the more engaging features implemented, I shall return and with a sense of pride and confidence purchase this product from you. But, sadly, not today." We would then give each other a knowing glance, a sense of understanding would be fostered between us, and I would walk out of the store with my head held high, and possessed of a certainty that IÂ'd done the right thing.


I got as far as, "I have a pre-reserve for Star Wars Galaxies."

The sales associate did not appear to be particularly interested in my cogent thoughts on GalaxiesÂ' beta. In fact, she seemed in something of a hurry, as a myriad of over-stimulated gamers milled about with their own slips of white paper, the word Galaxies scrawled on them, which they clutched like the most holy grail itself. She turned to her big box of Star Wars Galaxies, and said sharply, "Name?"

I decided that she was going to have to get my receipt off the box anyway before giving me my refund, so I answered her question. But, I began to feel a nagging sense of something slipping away, something I held tenuously at best to begin with and which was now barely clasped at the edge of some unseen grip, something terribly terribly slippery.

"CollectorÂ's edition or regular?" She asked.

"Regular," I answered meekly.

Next to me a waif of a manboy stood with the contrast between his black t-shirt and pasty white skin equaled only by that of the full moon framed by a dark winter night. Behind thick glasses he passed judgment on me through a condescending glance at my mention that I was only interested in the standard version. Despite his entire existence as a walking cliche, having just won a well considered argument with his friend about why a Transdoshan just makes a better combat character than a Wookie, his disdain was clear. Poser, he seemed to say to me. I felt unusually small.


And then I held it, Galaxies in its thick black box that seemed to just fit into my large, greedy, now sweating hands.  The tired sales associate glared at me with the same sort of contempt one might have for cat vomit. She said something about a strategy guide and a discount, something that I had once said to customers when I managed a Software Etc. years before, and she clearly had only a passing interest in my response. No, I told her, I didnÂ't need the strategy guide.

IÂ'm not buying the game, is the reason I should have given for eschewing PrimaÂ's Galaxies Compendium of the Painfully Obvious. Instead, I said, "I was in the beta." I meant this as a fine representation of how in-the-know I was on the whole Galaxies milieu. It was supposed to be really impressive.

"Wow," she said making it entirely clear that her actual opinion was the opposite of wow. The cliche was equally unimpressed. I smiled in way that can only be termed pathetic, "I wasnÂ't trying to brag or anything. I mean, lots of people were in the beta, IÂ'm just saying I donÂ't really need the guide." I stopped talking before I could explain that such experience also meant I didnÂ't actually want the game.

"Forty-eight twenty-four."

"Huh?" I realized I was still holding the Star Wars Galaxies box. I considered it the way I might consider the formula for cold fusion.

"You still owe forty-eight twenty four."

Now I was holding my billfold, and that also seemed pretty unusual. Nowhere in the process I had anticipated did holding a billfold factor. In fact, that was kind of the whole point, avoiding a purchase. But it was too late, I was somehow committed to the process and besides she had my credit card. I could only assume IÂ'd given it to her.

Have you ever seen the move A Christmas Story with Peter Billingsley? Do you remember when Ralphie is making his way toward Santa? When he arrives on the Jolly OneÂ's lap he is so entirely befuddled by the experience that he can only stare into SantaÂ's eyes, incapable of pointing out that what he really wants is an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle. He just sits there wearing the same expression youÂ'd expect from a chicken if youÂ'd just told it a joke. I was having that moment.

Outside the store I wondered why my head was not high, and my confidence not swollen. The plastic bag in my hand reminded me that IÂ'd just paid fifty dollars for a game I didnÂ't actually want. I stood there for a moment, breathed what I think may have been a Â"˜cleansing breathÂ', and then proceeded toward the exit as if IÂ'd done precisely what I wanted. And who knows, perhaps I had? Maybe subconsciously IÂ'd wanted to be tricked into buying Galaxies all along. Besides, I told myself, Software Etc. still accepts returns, and the first month of Galaxies is free, so I can still walk away a winner here. By the time IÂ'd reached the car, IÂ'd convinced myself that things were going exactly to plan.

So IÂ'd take a few days, see Galaxies again for exactly what it was, and return it with no one the wiser to my indiscretion. All I need do is really sell people on the idea that I wasnÂ't playing Galaxies. After all, IÂ'd made some pretty specific statements to that fact, and people (by people, I mean Certis) can be very judgmental about my trend toward impulse purchases.


Hey, I know IÂ'm weak. YouÂ're not opening some unexplored psychological doorway by cluing me in to that fact. I think my weakness is best exemplified by this Penny-Arcade strip which is odd because Certis and I agreed long ago that if they had a Penny-Arcade movie and called on us to star he would be Tycho and I would be Gabe. There are a variety of unspoken reasons for this, all of which are ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that IÂ'm Weak.

The fiasco with Galaxies that followed is best saved for the review I plan to write as both validation for my purchase and penance. I donÂ't want to spoil the judgements IÂ've made on the game as they still need to be more finely crafted, much like the Bone Armor chest plate IÂ've recently taken to selling on the Bazaar (... when it works ...) on the Starsider server (... when it works). But, I know in a dark place that I will never get around to returning Galaxies, that IÂ'm just not capable of giving up on what I think the game can be. Besides, that sales girl kinda scared me.

- Elysium


Nice story, Elysium, but we all knew it would happen. It had been foretold by the oracle. The only thing that would have made the story better is if you told the girl you co-founded Gamers With Jobs.

Do you guys ever play that game where you pretend you don't belong in ElecBoutique or SoftEtc? I do it all the time. I look around and snicker at the dorks as they squabble over the nerdliest topics. I secretly count my blessings that I'm not One Of Them, and shake my head because they appear so oblivious to their own despair. For some reason, though, the sales clerk never does a double-take when I ask him for an EverQuest expansion. I never get asked if I'm buying the new GBA version of Yu-Gi-Oh! for my kid. Clearly I'm not like the rest of their customers, right? And then...then they trick me! I hate when they trick me. They trick me into revealing my secret alter-ego nature, the one hidden by my cool and charismatic exterior. Filthy tricksy sales clerkses make me demonstrate an unhealthy amount of information about a game. The tricky sales clerk says something seemingly innocent like, "Careful, I hear the controls are tough to get used to." Before I can help myself I respond with, "Well the default ones are difficult, to be sure, but the options allow you to use one of three different controller configurations, and the middle one of the three is supposedly much more natural to those of us used to FPS-type games." Curse them and their trickery! I am not like the others. I don't belong in this store of yours that smells like B.O. or grilled onions or, more likely, both. I AM NOT AN ANIMAL!

I wish you two would stop being so funny, you're making me terribly jealous.

Hey!  I know you are thinking it but, dont you dare compare me to that evil sales clerk witch!  Ya I kinda put some pixelated letters arranged in a certain fashion (several times) many moons ago.  They may have indirectly implied to start playing EQ again.  Ya I told you about how fun and funny the Frogloks were, and about the bazaar and KEI, but everything works in EQ.  Well, um...

Okay!  Lets put it this way...  I didn't take your credit card!  And there was no collector's edition to be snobbish about.

which is odd because Certis and I agreed long ago that if they had a Penny-Arcade movie and called on us to star he would be Tycho and I would be Gabe. There are a variety of unspoken reasons for this

For some reason this was the best part of the whole article, mainly because it scared me. It scared me that I could see this conversation happening between these two. Have I gone in too deep? Also, I've got dibs on Div.

I thought Certis was just being funny this morning, but no, it was just a preview. Seriously the funniest thing I have seen in a while, I guess that article last week on gamers all being sheep was just self-denial. ;)

Of course, the only reason I don't do stuff like this is because my average impulse game buy costs like $20. All the years of penny pinching to save up for the latest game has left me with the inability to pay $50 for a game without putting some sort of thought behind it.

err... I did the same
After being in the BETA and Vehemently stating that the game was not out of BETA status... I have to admit I am playing it too.

To be honest, I havent encountered a single bug on the list of bugs that I thought needed fixing before the game went live. Its actually kinda fun. They changed some things... cant figure out why my FirstAid I isnt going up, but other than that... Im pretty much addicted.

Cant remember the name of the server.. Sycilla I think, but if anyone is there.. give me /tell


SWG Char: Par

[re-post.. accidentally put a reply on Pyroman's post]

err... I did the same

After being in the BETA and Vehemently stating that the game was not out of BETA status... I have to admit I am playing it too. To be honest, I havent encountered a single bug on the list of bugs that I thought needed fixing before the game went live. Its actually kinda fun. They changed some things... cant figure out why my FirstAid I isnt going up, but other than that... Im pretty much addicted.

Cant remember the name of the server.. Sycilla I think, but if anyone is there.. give me /tell


SWG Char: Par

"Also, I've got dibs on Div."

Well then, I've got FF200.

We should have a Penny Arcade cosplay convention, and send pictures to Tycho and Gabe, so they can come kill us in our sleep with hammers.

I could be mistaken but I don't think the Software Etc will take a return on anything with a registration code like MMP have... I know Walden's stooped doing so as well (before they decided to stop taking returns and thus loosing all my business).

I hit a little snag as I was trying to trade in Shadowbane.  The guy said "We dont take those."  I gave him a quisitive look.  He said, "That a multiplayer game right?"  Wow this guy is brilliant.  I guess they wont take back NWN, WC3, Quake, Dungeon Siege, Halflife, Age of Mythology, etc now.  So I said yes its multiplayer and I hadn't played it in months.  "It it goes off a CD key right?  Did you use it?"  Of course I HAD used it but my subscription had been canceled last month.  I said," Look, the CD is good I canceled my account and it expired weeks ago."  He said,"Oh, I'll give ya $10 for it."  I agreed and went on to try and tell him that they had been trying to get me to resubscribe and had given my account free gifts of the prestige races.  I explained I didnt know whether those would get passed on to the new owner of the CD.  Before I could finish, he obliviously replied,"They use CD keys to register these.  We dont take these back normally if the CD key has been used."  Dumbass, just give me my $10!

Did I fail to mention there was another couple of copies of Shadowbane in plain view in the used bin?

Man, that is one of the funniest bits you've ever written Elysium.  And I can totally relate to impulse buying (although I've almost broken that I think after buying Asheron's Call 2.)  That Penny Arcade strip was perfect too.  It reminds me of a more recent strip regarding the Game Boy Player and all the Game Boy incarnations over the years. http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2003-06-27  Those guys crack me up.

OT: Can anyone tell me how to get links working right.  The old method, go here doesn't work, and I can't figure out how to do it.  Thanks!


Stop on by www.hoodednomads.com and say hello.  We would be honored (and quite amused) if you would like to join our band.  By this Saturday I'll have hit Master Architect and we'll be having a Build the PA Hall day.  Devington from the old Ava Tarati gang is with us on Starsider, and we have been in the Anchorhead, Tatooine area mostly.  I think I'm the only powergamer of our entire group, so it's a pretty casual setting in our guild.

Despite all the problems I've had in the game, when it's working correctly the game has been quite fun to play.  Being one of the earliest people to climb the Architect profession has me in /tell hell, everyone and their brother wants one kind of structure or another built.  But the conversations usually go like this:

HouseBuyer#2345 "do you have a house for sale?"

Eason "Yes, I can make small, medium and large"

HouseBuyer#2345 "really?  already you can make large houses?  hmm, guess I'll take one of those, how much are they?"

Eason "I base my price upon cost of paying maintenance of the harvestors and power generators needed to collect the resources, 4 credits per resource.  Your large house requires a good deal of time to collect all 37,104 resources and I'll have to charge you 148,500 credits for it."

HouseBuyer#2345 "are you F'n crazy?  No one in the whole game has that much money!"

This is the point were in order to get a sale I try to explain just how hard it is to collect that many resources and the extent of my harvestor maintenance bills.  Needlessly I might add that I have only crafted two large house deeds so far, and they are both still in my pack unsold

Anyway, give me a /tell or email in game and we can hook up.  If you have need for anything a Master Artisan or Master Architect can build, please start saving your credits now


It's different between the main page comments and the forum. The [url=] method works in the forums, but out here on the main page you need to use standard HTML. You know, like <a href="link.html"> and whatnot.

Which Software ect did you manage? I used to be an assistant manager in my local store. Was rather unceremoniously dumped when my manager got caught for falsifying returns and they refused to believe I had nothing to do with it. (This was 5 years ago, and I've since moved on to better things) I can tell you folks that not all gaming stores or the people who operate them fall into that "Stench of unwashed nerd" category. When I worked at my store, we were pulling in record sales for our area. We were making about 3K a day, which was good for our economically depressed city. We accomplished this by adopting a hardcore "No B.S." policy. Basically, when people asked us what the good games were, we didn't lie. If someone brought up a game that stunk, I'd tell them. On the same token, if they passed over a game that was good, I'd recommend it to them and tell them they had my gaurantee that it would please them. I sold a LOT of copies of Persona and King's Field that way. (And actually made some good friends out of my customers)

As for Strategy Guides, I refused to sell them. I told people they could get walkthroughs for free off the net, or look through messageboards, so what was the point? 15 bucks for a wad of colored paper? Yeah, right. If people didn't have net acess (This was late 97 you know) I would tell them to come back in a week and I'd print out a walkthrough for them.

Sure, the DM hated me for it, and that is probably why they fired me (Though that wasn't the reason they gave me) but I was a gamer first, and an employee second. Sadly, employees like that don't last long in these stores.