If you read Twitter or the Support Forums on SWTOR.com, you would think the game was all about what each player wants and why isn’t BioWare delivering their every whim? These people forget that the nature of software and an international gaming community means bugs will arise and not everyone can be pleased. I am still receiving bug fixes and updates for Office 2010. So what? I’m using it and can get along with it. The problem when everyone becomes self-absorbed in what they want is that they ignore the most valuable part of an online gaming community – the community. Sure the Galactic Command grind for ‘best gear’ instead of it dropping from the hardest content is annoying. Yes getting the best crafting schematics through CXP is hard work. But really is that the end of the Galaxy? No. Okay, rant over. Where I am going with this is to focus on something positive in this game and that’s #SWTORfamily.
What is #SWTORfamily? How Did It Start?
#SWTORfamily began as a Twitter Account (started by Madmar) and became a thriving hashtag. The aim was to support players of all shapes and sizes by retweeting Tweets using that hashtag. I’m pretty much convinced that I wouldn’t be where I am today if #SWTORfamily hadn’t retweeted me when I first started micro-blogging about my time on SWTOR. Now it’s not just about retweeting people – this hashtag started conversations, get reactions and enables people in the SWTOR Community to connect with each other.
SWTORfamily the Guild(s)
In 2016 #SWTORfamily moved from just being a hashtag to a guild – well two guilds – on The Red Eclipse Server: swtorfamily (Imperial) and swtor’family (Republic). Now the aim is to live out the name – a family that support and encourage each other and just have fun. People are generous in helping others out and there is a guild chat on Twitter dedicated to organising field trips to collect Datacrons. The understanding over my Fibromyalgia that I find on the Twitter community hashtag translates to Guild Chat and even having to take breaks and meds between killing one World Boss and another.
Guild Christmas 2016 Party
Which brings me neatly onto the need to end 2016 on some kind of positive note. The guild organised a Christmas Party this year which was so much fun and lasted hours. Here’s what went on:
Gift Giving and Socialing
After getting a group photo of those who made it to the Party, we were told everyone had a gift. Yes, the guild leaders had spent real money to give every guild member a gift from the Cartel Market. If that isn’t selfless nothing is. In my crate I got a new pet, which was really lovely!
We then had time just chatting, seeing each others characters and doing random emotes just for the heck of it. Because, why not?!
Speeder Racing on Dromund KaasWe then moved onto Dromund Kaas and were issued with the same speeder. A race ‘track’ had been devised just outside the Spaceport. A few practice runs were done so that those of us with a bad memory (i.e. me!) had a vague chance of not getting lost! Then the race began on a Firework and 5 laps later the winner was crowed: with a Wampa Companion as a reward.
The #SWTORfamily leadership had even accounted for how to keep things fair for those players who didn’t have Speeder Piloting III. And I think it was a lower-speed player who actually won the race, which I think is pretty neat too.
The Hoth Trek
The last ‘main event’ was to head to Hoth. Firstly we trooped out to go retrieve a Taunlet Pet, which most of us did not already have. Then we went and beat two World Bosses into Biochemistry Components. I healed for only the second time ever and enjoyed it!
The Party was well-conceived, generous, relaxing and fun. And is what SWTOR should be about.
The Red Eclipse isn’t alone. I have really great friends on Shadowlands too. Friends who have
- Joined me on ‘easy’ Solo Mode Flashpoints just for a ‘roflstomp’
- Shared extra Cartel Pack gear they don’t need
- Sent birth presents to our daughter, NJ
- Supported us emotionally and practically in our currently really difficult time
TL;DR #SWTORfamily – Don’t Ignore the Community
SWTOR is a synergy – it is greater than the sum of its parts. It is also more than the features we do/don’t have. It’s more than the GTN Monopolies. It’s more than Buy-Credits-Spam. To criticise SWTOR for these things is criticising a painting because it’s in the wrong frame.
Maybe it’s time to put relationships, friends and the community before the “stuff” and promote that instead. Because if we can have fun together, features will arrive at some point anyway. An MMO is not just about Ops, or group-grinding – it’s who we connect with on a daily basis. So to all my #SWTORfamily, you’ve been a real blessing (on Both Servers) and I look forward to more friendship, fun and randomness with you all in 2017.