I had a fun little adventure on Tatooine tonight. What is it with that planet and adventure? I was playing my lowbie Jedi knight and had just finished up my class quest in the area. I hadn't done anything else though, because I had quested on Tatooine on both of my previous characters and wanted to skip it in favour of other content this time.

As I was heading back to my ship, another knight - let's call him Ben - asked in general chat whether anyone could help him kill the slavemaster at the spaceport. I figured that I might as well help out since I was already there. It was a quick matter of hopping in and out of the hangar, and as we finished, Ben asked me whether I wanted to do the heroic quest Down the Hole too. I figured that I might as well, since heroic quests usually don't have any prerequisites, are fun and offer great experience.

The moment we stepped out of the hangar however, we ran into another Jedi - let's call him Liam - who was standing right in front of the door and immediately turned to me. "Hello, can you help me kill the slavemaster?" I felt like I had landed in some kind of comedy skit, suddenly doomed to help random people kill the slavemaster over and over again! However, I didn't want to be mean, so I told Ben that I'd be right with him and helped Liam get his quest done too.

Liam immediately confessed that he was new to the game and didn't really know what he was doing, so I took the lead and decided to take him along to Down the Hole as well. As it turned out, Ben appeared to be at least somewhat new to MMOs as well, as both of them asked me questions that baffled me in their innocence. I've heard the occasional comment about SWTOR attracting more genuine MMO newbies than most games, but this was the first time that I really got to see it for myself.

"What do you mean, share the quest?"
"How do I find you guys? Where are you?"
"What does need or greed mean?"

Fortunately I remembered that this particular mission was handed out in the cantina, so I made my way over there to pick it up directly, Liam called in via holo, and we were finally all on the same page.

We headed into the heroic area and were off to a good start, but it didn't take long for me to jump one way and Ben another, so that we got two groups at once and died. What followed was a lot of comedic flailing as people resed up, immediately aggroed something and died again, Liam went for the medical droid, tried to run back in and also died again... it was just a giant mess. I couldn't help but laugh though, and eventually we all just assembled outside and went back in again as a team. One of them joked that our first attempt had only been a trial run and didn't count. Fortunately all the dying had provided an important lesson and everyone (including me) was a lot more careful this time, so that we completed the mission with no further problems.

After we had handed in together, my game crashed unfortunately, and when I came back online Ben was gone. However Liam was still around and asked me with puppy dog eyes whether I could help him with another quest, which I did. Can't say that it was hugely engaging to be in spectator mode for multiple conversations, but I felt protective of this (to me) rare newbie I had found. You don't want to put anyone off the game by giving them the impression that other players they'll meet out in the open world are unhelpful or unfriendly.

We finally parted ways because he didn't want to impose any longer, though I left him with a couple of pieces of gear that I had picked up and some medpacs. I have to admit, I kind of had to laugh when I "finally" made it off Tatooine - what a distraction that simple request for help had turned out to be!

One of the best things about this whole encounter though was the fact that it stirred a pleasant WoW memory in my brain. I remember back when I was but a little WoW noob in vanilla, my human paladin was questing in Loch Modan for some reason and I ended up grouped with three warriors that were two to six levels lower than me. I had no real clue what I was doing, but somehow I was both tanking and healing at once, and it was madness. We hunted down Ol' Sooty (a very scary elite back then) multiple times for no other reason than that he had ganked one of our party members and he wanted revenge, and we killed endless amounts of troggs for the local dwarves. I never saw any of those players again, but the memory remains a fond one because to me it exemplifies one of the things that I loved about MMOs from the start: the idea that every stranger is a potential friend, because the bears/troggs/whatevers are out to get all of you.

I'm glad to see this spirit of companionship alive and well in The Old Republic, even if it's Mandalorians that are out to get us now instead of beasts and ugly humanoids. What can I say - Jedi have to stick together.


  1. Good on you for helping the noobs. It can be refreshing sometimes to help folks out. Most of those connections never resurface again, but I like to think that when I give stacks of mats to a L12 and spend 20 minutes explaining things that my guildies and I take for granted, that someday it'll be paid forward. It's pretty cool too to introduce people to cc and best ways to set up heroic 2+'s for success.

    I've also had good luck w/ inviting folks who show up to kill the same npc i'm waiting for respawn on, and I've had some good convos with fellow scoundrels or powertechs (my 2 50's) when I see them near end game pve/pvp vendors and ask them what spec they're running, etc. And somehow, through dumb luck, my guild ended up on a server with folks we knew from swg but didn't intentionally ally with pre-launch. The community is key to mmo's, and despite all the qq'ing, my own included, I've got a pretty good one on my server, and tbh, it's the main reason I've stayed subbed or unsubbed any mmo. Those 2 m's mean a lot. Folks like you really add to it and make it easy to ignore those who rage when we're losing Alderaan.

    1. Paying it forward is definitely the right term. People can criticise a separate server structure all they want, but it really does help to know that you'll run into some of the same people again and again!

  2. I've had several similar encounters with players completely new to traditional MMO concepts and I always enjoyed lending them a helping hand as well.

    There is a [HEROIC 4] mission (also on Tatooine - Republic side) where one has to rescue some villagers from evil Mandalorians. At the time I was grouped with three people who virtually had no idea what to do at all. Our "healer" (a Jedi Sage) hadn't even put any healing spells into his cast bars and it took me quite some time to explain to her how she needed to heal me and CC one mob at the same time. The other players were in for a lesson in MMO mechanics as well. All in all this simple mission took me over two hours, but I think it was totally worth it! Helping new people always feels great and everybody can leave with a pleasant memory.

    I agree with you that this is really the backbone of MMOs - community!


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