Why I joined the SOS

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Why I joined the SOS

Postby lostkangaroo » July 16th, 2011, 8:52 am

Why did I join the SOS? Now that’s a question I have not had to answer in many years but not one that goes unthought of. Many years ago, well not so long ago, I (like many others) was one of many gamers looking for the next time sink of my gaming career. Having floated from beta to beta for the next generation of MMO’s at the time (Earth and Beyond era) I found SWG while it was still in design phase. I followed the game closely throwing in my hat to beta this one as well but was not entirely excited about my chances.

As more and more notes and information leaked from those in beta a simple line of text from the famous Q-3PO found its way to the SWG boards. While not the exact text it sounded much like this, “A shrub is floating about 12 feet above the ground at -5249, 2551.” That simple beta report noted in Q’s post forever changed my life.

I, like many others, took up the cry of the Shrub to attempt to save it from an inevitable bug fix, but our voices could not sway the design team from their jobs and I was saddened when the shrub was silenced by not only the announcement of the bug fix in a patch but how the forum mods seemed to go for blood directed toward Shrub followers. It was in one of many follow up, severely weakened, calls for the shrub to be raised once more that Maudi (Moordare) posted a little link to a website promising the Call of the Shrub lived on.

I, a naturally curious person, went to check it out and was surprised to not only find a decent looking website but a good group of people. I happened to join just before the first ever guild meeting by a few days and decided to check it out since I really didn’t have much to do anyways. I was impressed by many of the original council members in that their ideas fit much of what I desired in a guild.

The meeting soon ended with a lot of work for Dank (DankRooster) the then current and first High Prophet of the Shrub who was building the website single-handedly. Thinking that I was a world class web master at the time, I offered a hand of help and after my probation period was able to work on select portions of the site. I collected massive amounts of data from everyone and put together a new member help guide for us new guys so we could better acquaint ourselves with the guild structure, policies and practices, helpful hints, and more.

After this project I sort of became the Guild recruiter, and boy did I learn a lot. I learned so much about management, web design, marketing, peoples' likes and dislikes, and even a little romance, all of which have helped me become a better person overall as well as helping my career out in Real Life. This guild became my home and family and before you knew it after a very close race between me and another prominent member, Nyamo I was elected the second High Prophet of the Shrub.

As you read this and the many stories like it from others ask yourself one thing. Why me? The answer lies within you but probably sounds like “Why the Hell not?” You're not alone in the expansive universe of online gaming as I can attest. The Shrub is with you, Always.
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Re: Why I joined the SOS

Postby Gunslinger74 » July 18th, 2011, 10:14 pm

The Holy Floating Shrub...

The simplest misstroke of a key left behind an unassuming pixilated bush floating above the Tatooine desert. It was quickly grounded after being discovered during a code polishing pass, but it had been observed and reported in the Star Wars Galaxies Beta Patch Notes. Like a small spark can become an inferno, so the Legend of the Shrub spread. A joke here, a reference there. To the ravenous denziens of the Star Wars Galaxies Discussion board who didn't have beta access (something with which we TOR followers are quite familiar), any beta information no matter how trivial was a treat. Before long, a petition to return the shrub to its floating position above the ground was circulated and garnered hundreds of positive responses. Of course it was a joke, but those proponents of the shrub were passionate. Unfortunately its detractors were equally or more passionate.

That's where I come in. I love a good sense of humor, and the whole idea of a Holy Floating Shrub was just too perfect. What made it float? The Force? Some other power unheard of yet in Star Wars Lore? I'm what many would call an "old school" gamer. I didn't start with Doom or Duke Nukem or even Legend of Zelda. I started with good old pen and paper RPGs. I'd spend hours on characters, backstories, legends and lore of a world. These aspects of the Shrub Legend tickled my sense of fantasy and adventure, so I dove headfirst into the debate in the Petition thread. It was mostly fun and light-hearted pretending to worship a floating shrub. Before too long, the lines were pretty clear with the Shrub advocates declaring there was no harm but fun being wrought by the Shrub discussion and the detractors crying that it ruined their immersion and that we were kooks worshiping a programmer's glitch. At that time, the community moderators demanded that we stop discussing the Shrub altogether. Well, aside from being an avid gamer, I'm also a lawyer, so I can't abide censorship. In defiance of the moderator's orders, I continued to discuss the Shrub and how I believed it represented fun and could certainly fit within Star Wars lore. My thread was locked and deleted. Because the Shrub (or defiance) was strong in me, I posted again about the Holy Floating Shrub. My second post resulted in a permanent ban from the Star Wars Galaxies discussion boards. Of course, I just re-subscribed under a pseudonym (very VERY similar to my previous forum name), and continued to participate in the community.

By the time of my "Martyrdom" in the name of the Shrub, a small group of people had been discussing the creation of a Player Association (guild to us) to memorialize and commemorate the idea that had bound us all. The silliness that was so alluring to us during those pre-launch days translated into the sandbox world of SWG very well. We had a blast. The people with whom I'd only just become aquainted through our mutual admiration of a beta glitch became some of my best friends. Although I'd never spoken to them or seen them face to face, they felt like my family. Brothers and sisters.

We created something special in 2002-2003, and I'm glad to say it continues to this day, although years and miles are between us. I've played every major MMORPG from Meridian 59 through World of Warcraft. I've never had an experience, before or since my time in Star Wars Galaxies, where I've felt truly more a part of something larger than myself. We gave of ourselves in order to make everyone else's in-game experience more fun than it may otherwise have been. We made our fantasy of the Holy Floating Shrub real, and it still binds us together so many years later. There are even those who never played Star Wars Galaxies that know about the Shrub. It sometimes amazes me how many people we've touched in one way or another, and how they've touched me.

Why did I join the Servants of the Shrub? How could I not have? The Shrub represents fun and friendship. The Shrub represents reverence to the irreverent (if that makes any sense). Every single member, I'm proud to call a friend and would give an enema to a Krayt Dragon to help them. The Shrub may not be real in any physical sense, but the idea is very real. As long as we're friends, there will always be a Shrub, and the Shrub will be with you... always.

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Re: Why I joined the SOS

Postby LadyCelestine » July 26th, 2011, 12:42 am

I was one of the fortunate few beta testers of SWG during the early days. I remember hours and hours of sitting at my computer, staring at the chat window, just PRAYING the devs would annouce we could try to log in. (Of course, that would then lead to hours of crashing the login server, but I digress.)

I had heard mention in those beta chats about a 'glitchy shrub' that needed fixing. I even heard of it again, later, when people talked about 'those silly shrub guys who pretend to worship it'. Then came the PA test. Lo and behold, the first PA's ever created in the SWG universe were named HFS (Holy Floating Shrub) and FSS (for the Shrub's arch-nemesis, the Force Sensitive Sheep). It seemed that the graphic glitch lived on!

Rumors continued circulating about the 'crazy Shrub worshippers' throughout the end of beta. Then came launch. Like the other testers, I remained on Bria, hoping against hope to find one of the mythical Servants of the Shrub. All the time I'd been hearing about the SOS, everything told me that it was the kind of guild I wanted to be in: people who knew that we were playing the game to have FUN!

Months went by (six, to be exact), with no sign of the Shrub or the SOS. I started to despair ever finding my guild. I finally surrendered to never knowing my kin and joined a random city. That VERY day I was leaving a shuttle port and noticed a wookiee boarding the shuttle who had an SOS tag. I sent him a tell, asking if he (Maudbak) was truly a Servant of the Holy Floating Shrub. Well, he was, and he kindly revelled in my feeble role-play attempts. Even extending an invitation to meet some other guild members.

Well, I immediately went and introduced myself to Lostar, sucking up as best I could. It must've worked ok since he allowed me to apply for guild membership and even accepted me! Shrub be praised, I had finally found my home!

And home it truly was. I've never been so warmly welcomed by complete strangers. They taught me how to get the most out of our sandbox game, enjoying all the delights of partying in the cantina and hawtpants Thursday! After six months of wandering the SWG universe with just my BF (Lokke) for company, we had finally found our family in the SOS.

I'm not sure why the Shrub made us wait so long, but I trust in the Shrub that it was all for the best. I learned a lot during my time in SWG, and not just about the game. To this day, one of my proudest moments was our rally to save our beloved city of Ostium Vepres from the hostile takeover attempt of Prenerf and Fishfool. Some may say "it's only a game", but to them I say, "it's my reality".

The SOS are truly my long-distance family. I made friends that I've kept in touch with to this day, and others that I may keep in touch with on occasion. But never is any Shrubbite a stranger to me, and I know that I will always receive a warm welcome from them too.
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Re: Why I joined the SOS

Postby DarkCow » August 13th, 2011, 6:41 pm

Why I joined the SoS.

There is no easy answer to such a nebulous question. Why does a bird fly? Why does grass incessantly grow forcing me to mow it weekly? Some things just happen.

It was fairly early in the Star Wars Galaxies development cycle and I was excited. I was a senior in high school and thusly had a lot of free time on my hands; I decided to look for a pre-launch group to share my excitement with. I carefully searched the official SWG forums for a likeminded group; I have a fairly rye sense of humor and after reading the history of the Shrub "bug" appearance, removal and subsequent facetious religious petition to return it I was enthralled.

The "hook" worked, aside from the odd person who thought it was some sort of cannabis reference.(including our psychopathic mayor) We attracted a strong community, and our player association was a major force (ha ha... very punny) on the Bria server.

Unfortunately a great PA couldn't help the fact I just didn't like the game very much. I didn't stick with SWG very long, but I was hooked to the SoS forums where I amassed a very large post count and met a creepy older dude who kept hitting on me (prom).

So.... I joined for a laugh and a game, but it became much more than that. It may sound a little sad, but I can't really picture what my life would have been like without the SoS; my time here has really impacted me that much.
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Re: Why I joined the SOS

Postby moordare » August 13th, 2011, 11:08 pm

Like Bev, I got invited to Beta Early on, which surprised me because I had no MMO experience and remember putting that on my application--maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was doing QA at the time. I read the forums religiously out of excitement for the game and would not swear by the shrub, but am pretty darn sure that I was a first page poster when the shrub was seen and reported. I know I was one of the group that originally discussed its religious significance as was dank and Gunslinger and I am sure others, although for some reason I see the posts as gunslinger64 or 60something, I dunno, maybe it was always 76. I just remember he got banned and came back and I was thinking oh nooooes we got us a troublemaker--who knew he would turn out to be such a nice guy.

Anyway, I continued pecking away at beta, and actually became a master BH before the game ever released...which was difficult because you never knew when you were going to play or how long it would last before the server went down or if there was going to be a rollback or a wipe...lol just remembered that....remember Rollbacks? That is something I think I only saw once in wow, and it actually helped me avoid a costly AH mistake. I just remember towards the end of Beta thinking this damn game is nowhere near ready for release and BAM beta ends and relase announced.

I was a shrub in beta, but it was different...The group of us that started SOS founded it first, but someone else started it in beta based off our discussions because it gained in popularity and noteriety. I don't say that as a negative thing, it was an honor that the shrub was chosen as the first guild, just kind of an oddity.

All the different characters from our forums are what kept me coming back to them, if it were not for the SOS I would not know that a Moltar even existed in the Real world....that someone can be soo passionate about Star Wars, an mmo, space ships, blasters, wookies, where you can be what you be and do what you want...so you can spend hours of game time to be ummm a chef. and as a main. I loved it.

Probably because of Beta, I became bored playing swg sooner than I usually would have, that and in to me it seemed like the first couple of expansions or whatever made the game worse and not better. The cadilac thing, yeah, dumbest instance ever, especially for wookies without armour who get one shot by everything in there. I did enjoy owning Geonosis though, it took a couple of good upgrades before I made it my bitch....same with the nightsisters or whatever they were on rancor planet....everyone cried about them, but I killed those slappy chicks with my krayt infused scatter pistol.

So what pulled me back from boredom and gave me enough joy to play a bit longer, at least until everyone was Force sensitive and all the jedi wannabes were appeased. The shrub, our city, and an evil dictator named Prenerf. Now, don't ever tell him this, but I was kind of glad it happened and it made me laugh at the time. It gave me enough interest to keep playing, and it gave me a goal...take down prenerf and get our city back. This proved to be more difficult than I thought, because of the voting system, people not logged in defaulted in to the encumbant I believe, and he had blocked the voting booth with plants and couches and crap so it was hard to get the sweet spot to vote. But I had a plan.....and I needed some help from loyal shrubbites. (as a side note, it was all Dankrooster's fault... since he got bored with being mayor :P)

So the plan (I am explaining for anyone interested in some history, skip over if it bores you) we got several people that stopped playing that were members of the city and loyal shrubbites to agree to log on voting day to vote. There was an issue though, I can't remember how, but our previous weeks takeover attempt was thwarted by something prenerf was able to do on election day at the booth, he could stop people from voting...I believe he kicked them from the city or something. So to overcome this I, umm I mean some unnamed wookie launched a ping attack to some unnamed mayors IP address, and because of crappy anti virus software he was taken offline. He would log on for a second only to get booted off again and we took back our city and was it Lostar who gave up his career to become mayor? I believe so, but would not swear I am confusing part of the timeline.

This was not the best part, the gloating came later. I had a pal, Nyamo, who frustrated me to no end with her support of prenerf. I'll never know why she did, but she did. However, she supported the shrub more and decided he must pay for his transgressions. Nyamo said she could get him to go overt with her to go hunting, I went the opposing faction for just this purpose, and came around the corner, slow walking for affect up to his face. He waved, so I shot him in the eye once. He began firing, so I fire shot his torso and knocked him to the ground and waited till he got back up. I toyed with him for a few minutes till he decided to run where I unleashed everything a MBH/Pistoleer had to Take his life...and he lay dead, just west of Moltars chef tent and east of Gunslinger's musem. Nyamo just starts saying outloud, I'm so sorry Prenerf, and whispered me "MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!" you would just have to know her I suppose.

From that point, I do not remember how long I played, I just know it was not long after everyone was FS as I said, I think it was about the time I was accidently FS, and I went to that town where you do all the quests to increase your points or whatever, I logged out and never logged back in. I left an ungodly amount of credits, best meds/buffs in the game, about 100 factories spread out everywhere, some of the best weapons I have seen, a guild hall for a house, tons of stuff stored in a ton of houses on 3 toons, mordare the Fencer/tka, Maudbak the only one of me that mattered Wookie BH, and my DR/Merchant I forgot the name, it may have been Relics.

I took with me memories, and still followed the forums for years after not playing, until wow sucked me all the way in, but I still had plenty of Shrub connections in wow. Gunslinger and I were in 2 of the same guilds, the one he started with a friend DSP, and one I joined later to raid. I even ran into others like Poder (though I cant remember who he was in swg) and others.

But to completely answer the title of this thread, the followers of the shrub drew me in. Like minded people who saw the humor in a floating bush and recognized that this demanded the worship of a group of people who can make and take jokes.

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