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Journal: My Experience with Star Wars Galaxies So Far

Journal by Str8Dog

Intro:

Ok, I have never played a MMORPG. I have no idea what the game play entails or even how these games work. But I have a few friends at work who do and I enjoy the Star Wars Mythos, so I thought I would take a chance and pick this one up.

Now unlike others, I got the game the day AFTER it hit the shelves, so I had no problems logging in and creating an account. I was able to quickly create a human scout character, name him Knynetic Flyingsky (or some thing like that) and get in the game. Oh yeah, I was able to do this after about a 20 minute wait downloading patches.

Once in the game, I opted to do the training mission. The mission laid out the basics of the game fairly easily and understandably and soon I was on the face of a planet in some city. I was then introduced to the "Lost Connection with Star Wars Galaxies" message. Now this message and I have become good friends over the last week or so. You see the fun thing about the LCSWG message is that there is no obvious way to reconnect other than quitting out of the game and relaunching. If someone is aware of a command such as /reconnect for Quake, please let me know.

Hooking Up:

After logging in, the first thing I did was bring up the email system and message a friend from work telling him to come get me. I then moved around the starting city looking at various things until he got there. Once he arrived, he gave me $1000 credits and a carbine rifle. And then LCSWG showed up to make the game more difficult.

After logging in again, my friend and I went back to the city he was in originally and we hooked up with a couple other guys and LCSWG.

After logging in again, we went hunting for moths and butterflies as anything larger quickly smacked all 4 of us down. At this point I discovered that I could harvest resources from the fallen bugs and create traps that seem to do nothing at this point. So, I began trap making and bug killing with my friends. Until LCSWG.

That was enough for that night. I walked away and finished up reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I must admit that Harry never once LCSWG'd me.

So a few days later I though I would give it a shot again and I logged in to my account. After downloading more patches, I was in. Now this time my friends were not online, although LCSWG seems to never leave really. I decided to do some exploring as the prospect of killing moths and butterflies sounded just boring as hell.

During my exploration, I ran across a NPC who needed a task completed and was offering a handsome reward, so I accepted. The mission seemed simple enough. Go find this person and escort them back to me. No problem. I loaded up the way point and headed out. I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. The creatures around me grew and grew and grew and became ever more aggressive. Once I was a great distance into the wilderness LCSWG showed up and said hi.

After I logged back in, I walked some more and had 6-7 very aggressive hedge hogs attack me out of the blue and quickly incapacitate my character. So I'm sitting there waiting to regain my footing, when, you guessed it, LCSWG. So, I walked away from the PC.

Mission 1:

After a few days I decided to give it a shot again. After downloading more patches, I was logged back in and standing out in the middle of no where. I brought up the world map to get my bearings and noticed that my mission objective was actually in another city. What a dumb ass I am! I didn't have to walk there, I could take a shuttle. So I turned around and began walking back to the city I had come from. LCSWG'd.

Logged back in and trekked all the way back to the city. Quickly bought a ticket to the other city at a shuttle port and waited the 6 minutes for a shuttle to show up. Once I arrived in the new city I quickly made my way to the giant beam of light god had decided to shine on my objective, and began a conversation with the NPC I was supposed to escort.

The NPC informed me that he would follow me, and I headed quickly over to the shuttle port and bought both of us a ticket. Wasn't sure if I would need two, but figured that I would use the extra ticket at some point if I didn't. I then made sure the NPC was with me and I boarded the shuttle headed back to the original city. To my surprise, the NPC was not with me when I reached my destination. I did a quick once around the shuttle port to confirm he didn't get out the other side, and then bought a ticket back. LCSWG'd.

I logged back in and took the shuttle back to the other city, and low and behold there was my NPC waiting for me. So at this point I'm thinking great, I got to walk this schmuck all the way back to the other city. After my first visit to the great wilderness, I didn't think this was the greatest option, but what could I do there was a poor artisan waiting for this master painter to teach her wonderful new things.

So, I began walking. Now the first thing I noticed was the NPC seemed to walk about 1/3 of my rate and didn't understand that you could not walk through walls. Needless to say it took about a year to get out of the city by the most direct route. Once out of the city, things seemed to be better, my NPC seemed to tag right along if not a bit slowly.

After stop/walking what seemed like a couple hours, we came up to a imperial encampment. The imperials did not seem interested in us in any way shape or form, but my NPC seemed to be overcome with fear. He refused to follow me or even speak to me. He just stood there. No matter what I did, my NPC remained rooted to his spot. LCSWG'd.

At this point I decided that a book might be more entertaining for the rest of the night. Mission 1 failed.

Mission 2:

A few days later, I decided I had a few hours to kill downloading patches. Once logged in I discovered that the imperial encampment had moved and they had kidnapped my NPC. I decided that the artisan was S.O.L. and wasn't learning a damn thing from this idiot NPC. I quickly dropped the mission and headed back into a city.

I messaged my friends in the game and they informed me that they had moved on to a different planet and had found Jabba's Hut. Cool I thought and one of them offered to come get me as I didn't have the cash to make the flight myself. So I waited by the star port creating little traps which seem to have no effect on monsters but give me experience in trapping when used.

Once my friend got there, he suggested running a few missions to get some cash for the flight back. He went and grabbed a couple and off we went back into the wilderness. All the while I was telling him about my experience with the last mission I took.

We get pretty far out in the wilderness, killing knats and moths as we go when.... LCSWG. At this point I got fairly P.O.'d with LCSWG and walked away from the PC to read up on some C#. I IM'd my friend and told him I was sorry for waiting his time, but I had to go. Mission 2 failed.

Mission 3:

A few days later, I thought I would give the game a second chance. I mean I had paid $55 for it and they were sucking cash out of my account on a monthly basis so I could enjoy the Star Wars Galaxy!

Once the patches downloaded, I was in the game. My first thought was to message my friends and get hooked back up with them as that situation represented the only "fun" I had had in the game so far. But then I realized what had happened last time had prolly burnt them on coming and saving me, so I decided I would try my hand at running a mission on my own.

I began talking to NPCs and quickly found one that had a task for me to do. Sounded pretty simple too. Go to this city and deliver my marriage proposal to my love. Come back to me when you are finished. I could do that! And this time I knew to look at my world map to see where I was going ahead of time. As expected the object of my NPCs affection was in another city, so I headed to the shuttle port.

I bought a ticket and headed out. Once there, god had pleasantly cast a beam of light for me showing me right where she was. I headed over and started up a conversation. To my surprise, the NPC informed me that she would now follow me. What? I was just supposed to deliver a message not escort the NPC back.

I started walking back to the shuttle port which was not to far away. I thought I would figure out how to get my NPC to ride along with me. Half way to the port my NPC disappeared. GONE. Poof. LCSWG'd.

GODDAMNIT'd! I decided right there and then that I was GOING to complete at least 1 mission, so I logged back in. My NPC was no where to be found, but I noticed that my mission way point was back in the original city. I assumed the game realized that my mission had nothing to do with escorting a person and was ready to give me my reward. So I headed back to my love lorn friend.

Once I got back I noted the beam of god illuminating the spot where the NPC was standing, so I moseyed over and chatted him up. He of course wanted nothing to do with me and informed me that I had to complete the task at hand. I began to wonder if god's light was really a beam of mocking and I told that NPC to get bent. Mission 3 failed.

Mission 4:

So, I started walking around the city again and found a mission terminal. Figuring that I was having no luck with NPC missions, I gave the mission terminal a try. It offered up 5 missions. 4 of which involved roaming out and taking out nests of beasts that sounded much bigger than the standard fair moths and butterflies I had encountered so far. Seeing as how it only took two moths to drop me flat on my back, I opted to take the 5th mission.

My mission involved roaming out in to the great wilderness and verifying a camp was not over run with the bad element. Seemed easy. Go check something out. No Problem. LCSWG'd.

I quickly logged back in and headed out. I had my way point set and my trusty over head map up showing me all the locations I needed to avoid so I was not over run with bullfrogs and horny toads. After walking quite a while I checked my world map and saw that I was about half way to my destination. I kept walking.

After walking for what seemed like forever, cautiously avoiding the red triangles, the text area informed me that my "Mission Failed". What?! LCSWG'd. WHAT?! I went and picked up a good book and went to bed.

Conclusion:

So this is the total sum of my experience with SWG. I have found that Missions seem to be useless. A bullfrog or a pack of moths can kick my ass. Watching a person dance can heal my Avatar's stress, but does little for mine. No matter where you are going it will take a long time to get there (the scenery will be pretty but it will still take way to damn long). And finally LCSWG'd will be the biggest fight you will have in the game, unless you count the waiting for patches to download. Feh, maybe I'll give it another shot tomorrow.

Hardware

Journal: Hardware Customer/Technical Support is a Joke

Journal by Str8Dog

Let me tell you a story. For Christmas, Johnny's decided to let me build a dream machine. He had been keeping a list of all the hardware that he wanted to put into his next box for close to 6 months; updating it religiously ever week. She took his list and bought every thing on it. The beauty of the machine floored him. It ran like a monster! With the dual processors and a spankin' GeForce 3 Ti 500, he was getting over 190 FPS in Quake 3 at 1024x768/32-bit color. Heaven, I think he was in heaven.
About 45 days after building the box, Johnny decided to take it to work so he could install some software and show it off. Johnny quickly set the box up as soon as he arrived and powered it up. To his dismay the video had four neat rows of triangles across the screen and the box refused to boot at all. He assumed that the GeForce 3 had wiggled loose in transport and turned the box off.

I'll save you the in depth description of everything Johnny tried to resolve the issue, lets just say that after several hours of troubleshooting, He decided to take the card out, put his old GeForce 2 MX back in and see what happens. And as you probably already suspect, I was back in business with a $350.00 US paperweight. (opps,.. I mean Johnny. Damn.. yes, I admit it.. I fried my GeForce 3 and had no idea how I did it.)

Well now that we have dropped the Johnny façade, let's talk about the next week of my life I will never get back. The store return period had been up for over 3 weeks, and I was faced with contacting the manufacturer. I still had the box it came in and believe it or not there was an 800 number printed on the outside with text proclaiming "FREE TECHNICAL SUPPORT". I called the number to see about a RMA. Believe it or not the IVR suggests you submit a support incident on their web page and hangs up on you! Don't believe me? Call yourself: 877-484-5536

Next, I visited their website based on the information supplied by their ever so kind IVR system. I submitted my case through their "web based" email system and waited. And waited. And waited. I waited for 7 days before getting a reply. The reply simply gave me an RMA number and informed me that ALL documents, disks and devices needed to be shipped back in the original box and upon receipt of the goods they would process my RMA. I could expect a 6-8 week wait. Welcome to my hell.

Coming soon, we will be reviewing the Technical Support offered by manufacturers and rating them on how well they stand behind their warranty. If you are interested in helping, we really need to start gathering support phone numbers offered by documentation included with GeForce 3 Ti 5 Video cards. If you have one, post it in the comments.

User Journal

Journal: PCMods.Com Buyer Beware

Journal by Str8Dog
OK, I hope I am able to help someone make the right decision here. I am a new modder. I discovered your little hobby when I saw the light and window kits on thinkgeek. I quickly ordered the stunning black case w/ window from them a week later.

When I got the package I noticed that it actually shipped from PCMods and checked out their site. I quickly made a list of the cool stuff I wanted and left it sitting on the desktop for my wife to find. 8)

Find it she did and ordered all the stuff I wanted for my birthday, which was Thanksgiving. When the order arrived she noticed right away that things were missing. No lazer cut fan grill or clear rounded IDE cable.

She contacted PCMods to find out they were out of stock on the items and had no estimate when they would get them in but they did conveniently charge her for the missing items so she would not have to pay again. So, she proceeded to wrap what had arrived and prepared to let me know the rest would be showing up later.

When I opened the present yesterday, I was pretty excited but the phat 430 watt power supply, case handle, rounded floppy cable and Liquid Neon light. But I noticed right away that the light was not what we ordered. What came in the box was this. Note the car cigarette lighter power source.

Now you prolly are saying "who cares" right? Well here is what is advertised on PCMods.com:

Each kit is made up of a fixture, bulb, Molex plug, and switch. No assembly is required.

Well as you can guess, half the light kit didn't even show and no instructions on how to get it to work with my box. It did look really cool in my car though.. 8)

So to date I am out 1 laser cut fan grill, 1 rounded IDE cable and half a light kit. All for the low low price of $205.06.

I hope that PCMods will make good on the rest of the merchandise but if you are wanting to purchase something for a Christmas present and actually get the things you order in time for the holidays, you might want to consider what happened to me over a month before Christmas and consider buying somewhere else.
User Journal

Journal: Online Ordering Retribution 1

Journal by Str8Dog

So we have all ordered stuff online. ThinkGeek and Amazon get a lot of our money and we are in general happy with the service they provide. But there is a flipside to all of this. Can we hear a few horror stories from people who have ordered stuff online and were scammed? What coarse of action do we have to stop others from falling prey to the same scams?

My wife is a huge wine lover (the beverage not the emulator), so for her birthday I decided to get her a wine of the month club. I did a quick search on Google and found Wine House, who seems to offer an awesome wine club. They offer a list of 9 "wine experts" with bios to select from as your guide into the realm of fermented grapes. I selected Jamie Koren, as he has a passion for Rieslings, which my lady friend enjoys the most. I picked the option to receive 2 bottles per month for no more than $45. The order form also gives the option of giving special instructions, so I asked that my first shipment arrive on or before the 14th of August.

I submitted this order on the 1st of August. I promptly received a very nice confirmation message detailing my order and letting me know it was accepted. So when the 14th came and past I naturally became a bit concerned. I quickly launched my browser and went to the contact us page for Wine House. They actually offered a number, which calmed me somewhat.

I spoke with Steve G who did not seem to know what I was talking about. He asked for my number and said he would call back. Two hours later Steve called and stated that they did not have a wine of the month club offered on the Internet, so I offered to forward the address of the site and the order confirmation to him. He agreed and said he would call me later.

After waiting 3 days and paying a $150 "sorry you don't have a birthday gift" dinner fee to the little lady, I called again and was directed to Steve's voice mail. He never did call back, so later that day I called again.

This time Steve was there and explained to me that the website order from was too difficult for them to fulfill so they just canceled all the orders that came in. When asked why the form was still up, Steve claimed that they could not get Wine Access their hosting company to remove it.

Steve then offered to take my order over the phone for the wine club they offer that they could fulfill. The only catch was that it was $5 more and I get whatever they send me. Oh, and you pay all up front. I declined.

I tried sending an email to the manager JB, but the message bounced. So I checked out Wine Access' website and called the number given there which promptly led to voicemail hell. So I sent an email to them instead. To which I have yet to receive a reply.

So at this point I am out no money, other than that spent making up for the lack of a birthday present. But I want to insure that no one else makes the same mistakes.

Suggestions are welcome.

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

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