First and foremost, I want to talk a bit about bots, or at least what I call bots, which is to say avatars set in place and unmanned to perform a service. We never saw this ‘back in the day’, although you’d occasionally catch a crafter AFK running a free-mining macro. In the EMU it is commonplace to find what I’ll affectionately call ‘poor, half-naked, bastards’ or PHNBs all over the landscape. I can’t help but wonder, with all the buildings and time since launch, why these PHNBs are necessary, and yet they never seem to diminish.
‘I once met a dancer from Naboo in the Wayfar Cantina and we did things to each other for a good hour that would make a Zabrak blush. When we were done, the bartender actually tipped me…’ Jericho Knox
Still, they don’t harm anything, and I’ve kind of stopped paying attention to them, sort of like I do the avatars left in a certain locations to constantly kill mobs (these dot the landscape outside Theed and Coronet). To each his own, I guess, but the real thing that troubles me are the buff bots. You see, they are a double-edged sword. On one hand, visiting Cyara in the Coronet Cantina and Mallorea in the Coronet Medical Center can get me buffed up in less than seven minutes no matter when I’m on the game. On the other hand, what made SWG so incredibly addictive to me was the interaction I’d get talking to docs before a buff or more importantly the time I spent in cantinas where entertainers, you know, actually entertained!
I’m reminded of an old ELO song from their concept album Time called Yours Truly, 2095. One of the lines concerning an artificial woman that has been given to the protagonist is as follows:
Although her memory banks overflow
No one would ever know
For all she says: "Is that what you want?"
Maybe one day I'll feel her cold embrace
And kiss her interface
'Til then, I'll leave her alone.
I hear this song every damn time I sit down in that chair across from Cyara or stand in the que for Mallorea until I can send her the trigger tell.
So then I’m faced with a quandary, do you sit and wait for a real doctor or entertainer and likely go hours without finding one, thus missing your chance to run missions, or do you just put lipstick on that pig and get what you want, tip a vending machine, and go on with your game?
I don’t know that correct answer, but I do know I miss entertainers and docs I’ve met in the EMU (who no longer appear on my friends list) that actually held a conversation with you before you entered the wilds or came back in from a deadly hunt. Perhaps there are no more stories to hear or be told, perhaps the role-players are dead, or maybe being a lovely and alive entertainer these days is like cosplaying Red Sonja on a crowded Tokyo commuter train, too many hands and dicks to make it worth it.
Reading Note: If you enjoy the nostalgia of these blogs, you might enjoy my pseudo-take on my time in SWG with my Gunsmith series. You can get a copy here.