Player Cities – Crystal Valley, the First Metropolis on Dantooine

Crystal Valley was built by Paragon Federation <TPF>, Crimson Republic <CR>, and Exodus <EXO>. The mayor was Jarel Elus, leader of <CR>. The original founders of all three guilds were the same people who came together to build the dream Rebel city on Naboo, Grandor City, in 2002. Player cities were not a new concept in MMORPGs but the level of complexity involved in building one was never before seen in a game at the time. As a founding member of Paragon Federation, our first settlement was on the planet Corellia. It was quickly scrapped due to the over-saturation of cities and the beginner level of creatures in the surrounding environment.

grandor city logo

The Grandor City website logo in 2002, designed by Psbyran.

Our next city was founded a few kilometers from Theed on the planet Naboo. We placed over 30 houses and had our first guild meeting in the PA hall we set up. It was primarily an Imperial planet, so we affirmed our allegiance toward the Rebellion. We were not working closely with Crimson Republic and Exodus at the time, although we stayed in contact. My twin brother was one of the founders of Crimson Republic, so I was familiar with the notable members of their guild. The majority of us first met in 2002 when we came upon RobotConstructer’s thread for “Grandor City.”

A Guide to Player Cities


The Naboo Guild Hall.

The Naboo Guild Hall.

A Mission Statement – Naboo (-6732, 1711)

Paragon Federation's first guild meeting in-game, on its Naboo settlement in the PA hall.

Paragon Federation’s first guild meeting in-game, on its Naboo settlement in the PA hall.

Our city on Naboo was short-lived. The Force Crystal Hunters Cave (located at -6221, 7396) was released in a patch on the planet of Dantooine, many kilometers away from the nearest shuttleport. Player cities were just given full features around that time on November 13th, 2003. Cities could advance in rank every week, or be demoted if they have lost members. There were different specializations (such as Cloning Lab) which can be chosen if the city has a minimum rank of 3 .

Our guilds created a common forum to discuss the new opportunity on Dantooine, which was a relatively hostile planet to build a city in. The monsters and NPCs were dangerous for even masters of elite professions. However, we noted the planet’s flat landscape (which made placing deeds easier) sharply demarcated by deep ridges, which could give a defensive advantage for our city. There were also very few settlements, unlike the beginner planets like Corellia, which were nearly capped for number of player cities allowed, if not already.

After a week of intensive exploration on the planet, we found a suitable patch of land at the mouth of a large system of valleys and peaks at the northwestern-most corner of the map of Dantooine.

Dantooine

The planet of Dantooine.

Total Cities Allowed

  • Corellia, Naboo, Tatooine – 20 (15 and 10 at rank 3 and 4 respectively)
  • Dantooine, Lok, Rori, Talus – 50 (30 and 20 at rank 3 and 4 respectively)

City Specializations

  • Cloning Lab – Reduces the cost of removing Cloning Sickness by 50% (8,000 cr)
  • DNA Laboratory – 3 hour reduction per cycle (20,000 cr)
  • Encore Performance – Storyteller items last an extra 12 hours (20,000 cr)
  • Entertainment District – Increased entertainer buff duration and tick (8,000 cr)
  • Improved Job Market – 20% bonus payout for missions accepted from terminals (8,000 cr)
  • Manufacturing Center – 10% bonus to crafting assembly phase (5,000 cr)
  • Medical Center – 10% medical buffs and healing in the Medical Center (8,000 cr)
  • Research Center – 15% bonus to crafting experimentation phase (12,500 cr)
  • Sample Rich – 20% resources gathered while sampling and a 10% chance of finding resources (7,000 cr)

The Founding of Crystal Valley (-5391, 7019)

Grandor Road was the natural road that ran through the center of Crystal Valley. If one were to follow the road all the way, it would lead to the nearest NPC outpost, which was over 10,000 meters away.This road was also a major determinant of guild borders on the city blueprint.

Grandor Road was the natural road that ran through the center of Crystal Valley. If one were to follow the road all the way, it would lead to the nearest NPC outpost, which was over 10,000 meters away.This road was also bisected the settlement, helping us design a blueprint.

The Force Crystal Hunters Cave was full of Force-Sensitive NPCs that were known to drop Holocrons. Holocrons were single-use consumable items that would whisper the next profession the player had to master in order to continue on the path of becoming Force-Sensitive. To unlock the Force-sensitive slot, certain professions had to be mastered during the course of your character’s lifetime. That was the theory, anyway. The caves were extremely far from the nearest shuttleport and cloning facility. To get there required a long trek, even with a vehicle, and it went through high level creatures and NPCs. After a thorough survey of the planet, we all decided on a spot about 1,000 meters away from the cave. There was also a ‘natural road’ that ran through the center of the location. It led to the nearest outpost over 10 kilometers away.

City Hall Blueprint

City Hall Blueprint

The outpost was dubbed “Crystal Valley” and the mayor would be Jarel Elus (formerly Jaron Elus), the leader of Crimson Republic. Our guilds would place their individual PA halls in their districts, where their members would set up their houses (deeds). Placement of buildings had to go through a systematic blueprint that we designed on the forums. Buildings’ entrances would face outward toward the natural road, that we named “Grandor Road”. Certain spots were reserved for founding members only. No houses could be placed inside the city’s borders without the mayor’s permission.

Player City Rank

  1. Outpost – 5 declared citizens (150 m radius)
  2. Village – 10 declared citizens (200 m radius)
  3. Township – 15 declared citizens (300 m radius)
  4. City – 30 declared citizens (400 m radius)
  5. Metropolis – 40 declared citizens (450 m radius)
The inside of Crystal Valley City Hall. This shot was taken on December 13th, 2003.

The inside of Crystal Valley City Hall. Jarel Elus later mastered the Politician profession.

Enabled Civic Structures

The Force Crystal Hunters Cave, located at the north-westernmost point of Dantooine.

The Force Crystal Hunters Cave, located at the northwestern-most point of Dantooine.

Crystal Valley’s blueprint anticipated a high rate of traffic because of its proximity to the Force Crystal Hunters Cave. It was the equivalent to the MMORPG version of the Gold Rush. We planned several districts, where members who specialized in a certain field, like Commerce, can place their shops/vendors.

City Districts


Military District 

This area would be the site of “Operation Barricade”, a plan I designed by barricading three Rebel HQ Detachment bases within a perimeter of large Naboo houses. Enemies would be forced to enter through a single chokepoint, which would be covered with covert scanners, traps, turrets, and NPC guards. Yil Geivan <TPF> was the chief military strategist of Crystal Valley, and he would coordinate with BarenMordegan <CR> and Sheu Millon <TPF> when organizing attacks with other Rebel guilds in the Galactic Civil War.

A major military de-briefing held in Crystal Valley Theater before a coordinated assault on Imperial player-owned bases on the planet.

A major military de-briefing held in Crystal Valley Theater before a coordinated assault on Imperial player-owned bases on the planet.

Militia

The mayor can recruit any citizen into the city militia at the city management terminal if they have the Martial Planning 1 skill. Militia members may use the following new commands:

  • /cityban – The banned player may not enter a civic structure in the city and may not use the shuttleport.
  • /cityparden – Unbans a /citybanned player.
  • /citywarn – Warns the player to leave the city right away! Warned players become attackable by the militia. The TEF from /citywarn lasts 5 minutes. If a warned player is outside the city radius, they may not attack or be attacked by militia. Note that normal PvP rules apply, so Imperials will always be able to attack Rebels and vice versa, regardless as to the state of /citywarn.

Commercial District  

Vendors

<TPF>, <CR>, and <EXO> had many end-game level crafters. This part of the city was where people placed their vendors and houses that showcased their weapons, armor, and clothing.

Jataclark Zubrin of <TPF> was one of the best Master Tailors on the server. Teleck Fragger of <CR> specialized in building heavy weapons, such as flamethrowers, rocket launchers, grenades, and lightning cannons. Typically, players who dedicated their time to running a business would also live out of the same location. Certain weaponsmiths like Stettin Palver resided on Corellia but in this part of the ‘verse, everything that was ever worth buying could be found in Crystal Valley.

Sprawled out in the outskirts of Crystal Valley were harvesters owned by the major industrial groups of <TPF> and <CR>. The Player Run Economy of Star Wars Galaxies was one of its outstanding achievements. Everything was intricately connected and a single player had the power to drive the force of supply and demand through the sheer quality of his merchandise. Many players came to our city to bring great reputation to their names.

Vendor Tents


Residential District  

The majority of citizen houses were placed in this area. Most people owned multiple deeds and there were many Rebel players who made temporary residence in the city once given permission by Jarel Elus. This was the largest of the districts and each respective guild’s members lived in their own regions.

The large Naboo House could only be placed on three planets - Naboo, Rori, and Dantooine.

The large Naboo House could only be placed on three planets – Naboo, Rori, and Dantooine.

Yil Geivan

Yil Geivan (aka Dax) is one of my oldest friends from this era. He would later recruit me to Trinity in 2005, long after I quit Star Wars Galaxies. Trinity was a multi-gaming guild similar to ours and they were also a powerhouse during SWG, except they played on the Starsider server.


Entertainer District  

This was where we built the Cantina and the Theater. It was renowned on the server for being one of the most active player-run cantinas in history, named The Drinking Jawa. Hundreds of parties, both Imperial and Rebel, came together and recuperated from their long-ass journey. Being only 1,000 meters from the cave gave many players a reason to live in the city for a good portion of the year.

The Naboo Theater.

The Naboo Theater.

Crystal Valley's Theater was a popular place to hang out. Sarin Sunrider, one of the original founders of Grandor, is training for XP in the Musician profession as commanded by a Holocron. It was a shock to him as he was the first of us to reach Master Bounty Hunter, and his whole career was built on the combat.

Crystal Valley’s Theater was a popular place to hang out for Rebel guilds on Dantooine. Sarin Sunrider, one of the original founders of Grandor, is training for XP in the Musician profession as commanded by a Holocron. It was a shock to him as he was the first of us to reach Master Bounty Hunter, and his whole career was built on combat since before launch.


Medical District

The Hospital and Cloning facility were located in this part of town. Players who specialized in building med packs, stim packs, wound kits, and other items built their houses here. Hypo Crates<TPF>,  the first Master Doctor on the server, ran this district. His business was at an all-time high during the Holocron rush. Seus Shoi <TPF>, my guild’s first Master Combat Medic, sold medical items related to diseases and poisons – a more offensive side of the Medic sub-specializations.

The Hospital was busy around the clock by players looking to take advantage of the city’s perks to buff their stats before taking on the tough NPCs in the cave. It was also a good place to gain XP as a Medic. Many interesting battles between Imperials and Rebels took place in this part of town. People would instantly respawn in the cloning facility shortly after getting killed, and the violence would simply escalate in hilarious ways until one side gets tired of dying. Services were open to both factions, however, and Crystal Valley’s rules of engagement applied only to overt Imperial players and repeat offenders.

Cloning Facility

Naboo Hospital

The Naboo Hospital.


Shuttleport

In its final stages of growth, Crystal Valley hit a milestone by building a Shuttleport. No longer did players have to waste nearly an hour of their life just to get to the Force Crystal Hunters Cave. There was also a cloning facility present in the Medical District, so it made life a lot easier. It was entrepreneurship at its finest, and a fair tax was put upon using the service, the revenue of which went toward the maintenance fee of running the city.

Naboo Shuttleport

The Naboo shuttleport. Every building in Crystal Valley was based on the Naboo-schematics.

The Shuttleport was the final step in securing a foothold for the Rebellion in this far Northwestern corner of the map , something which the rival Imperials on the server would never forgive us for.


Early construction of Crystal Valley in late 2003.

Early construction of Crystal Valley in late 2003.

Looking Out

Jarel’s house was located just adjacent to the City Hall. Original founders had their houses right alongside Grandor Road. My house is placed right next to Jarel’s, and cannot be seen from this angle.

As your city grows and gains more perks, you can even place profession trainers, and they can be specialized toward certain things, like Politician.

As your city grows and gains more perks, you can even place profession trainers, and they can be specialized toward certain things, like Politician.

Standing in the center of Crystal Valley.

Standing in the center of Crystal Valley.

Pictured behind this duel in the center of the city are mission terminals. Having mission terminals available in such a remote part of the planet was a godsend for visiting players and permanent residents of Crystal Valley.

Pictured behind this duel in the center of the city are mission terminals. Having mission terminals available in such a remote part of the planet was a godsend for visiting players and permanent residents of Crystal Valley.

Gotep Vegitunks, a founder of Crimson Republic, had this Naboo mansion close to the City Hall, and frequently roamed the valleys sticking people up. This is one of the latest screenshots of the city, as the majority of screenshots were lost in a hard drive crash.

Gotep Vegitunks, a founder of Crimson Republic, had this Naboo mansion close to the City Hall, and frequently roamed the valleys sticking people up. This screenshot was taken during its ‘Outpost’ stage.


Other Notable Player Cities in SWG

Crystal Valley did not last that long. To maintain a city that size was a heavy burden on a single leader. Any director from EVE Online knows the difficult task of running a corporation for long periods of time. There were other cities built on the other servers that dwarfed my city in their own ways.

Mos Nihil – The First City of Bria

Mos Nihil, constructed by the members of Dominus Nihil, was the first player city ever constructed on the server of Bria. A fellow member of my alliance in EVE Online, Pandemic Legion, was once a part of the war effort in building it. The first player cities on all the servers in Star Wars Galaxies in late 2002 can be found here in this old developer archive post. Mos Nihil’s mayor was Vauhn Moonshyne.


Mos Nihil

Mos Nihil

Mos Nihil was located in Ebe Canyon Crater, a mere 2500 meters north of Mos Entha.

A Guide to Pod-Racing


Being located along the old Pod Race Course makes this a great vacation spot. Many stop by and all are impressed with the quaint town. Being founded by close friends, Mos Nihil has a very small town feel despite its large number of citizens.

The first thing you would notice about Mos Nihil is that it’s built in a huge crater. Whether you are standing in the crater or looking down upon it from the sharp cliffs, it’s an impressive sight to behold.

Mos Nihil used to have an odd bug causing all vehicles to ride vertically (nose pointing to the sky). This was a result of poor coding by the devs and happens anytime a vehicle goes below sea level (negative elevation). Since the entire city is below sea level, this used to make travel somewhat humorous.

During the height of SWG during the Pre-CU and CU periods, Mos Nihil was a common meeting ground for Rebels and the frequent site of fierce battles. Unfortunately, the city was also on a server line which has caused many problems for those who have lived there (this was fixed eventually). At one point, the ID placed over a hundred bases surrounding Mos Nihil which caused most of the buildings and everything inside them to disappear. They remained that way until the ID removed their bases and the server was reset.


Trinity City – Winner of Nym’s Scavenger Event on Starsider

During my life as a Trandoshan on the Chilastra server in 2003-2004, I had no idea that my future guild, Trinity Republic, was making history on the Starsider server. Star Wars Galaxies was remarkable because no two cities were ever the same. On another server, a very different type of war could be going on, and an ancestral part of your planet’s map could be a barren patch of nothing in the same location. It is a part of MMORPGs rarely seen these days. Back then, a guild’s choices shaped the natural history of a server, and it wasn’t scripted bosses and game events that were remembered. Long after this game died, we still remember the names of the players.


Trinity City.

Trinity City.

Moosacca <TPF> was the mayor of Trinity City for many years during its most tumultuous times. Trinity began in 2002 just like Grandor and performed major feats in the game, such as winning of Nym’s Scavenger event. For their efforts, a permanent X-Wing was placed in the center of the city near the City Hall to immortalize their impact as a Rebel guild in the Galactic Civil War.


Trinity City

Trinity City 2

Moosacca and his bride, Starfire.

Moosacca and his bride, Starfire, in Trinity City.

The Aftermath of Crystal Valley

Unfortunately, the vast majority of my screenshots were lost due to a hard drive crash in 2004. These are the only screenshots I have left of Crystal Valley – its early construction. It would later become the first Rebel player city to reach rank 5 (Metropolis) on the planet of Dantooine.

During its climb to the top, it was a major center-piece for the Galactic Civil War on the Chilastra server. Its concept was imitated by other guilds on other servers over the years, long after the fall of Crystal Valley. The defining point of our city was not its status as a symbol of the Rebellion war effort but the fact that it was an economic powerhouse. Hundreds of supplies were sold on a daily basis and visitors from all over the galaxy made the pilgrimage just to see what it was all about. Even Rebel Jedi players felt safe enough within our borders to show off their titles.

I saw my first Jedi player in Crystal Valley, while I was building "Operation Barricade." This was a period when Jedi were extremely rare on the server and the penalty for death was uncompromising.

I saw my first Jedi player in Crystal Valley, while I was building “Operation Barricade.” This was a period when Jedi were extremely rare on the server. The penalty for death was extremely harsh.

At its peak, over 150 active players took permanent residence in the city. Over 200 buildings were constructed and the architecture was very organized for its size. Our mayor and Master Politician, Jarel Elus, later quit the game due to real life obligations, and things began to burn out. The city would devolve into a ghost town but there were so many credits in the maintenance bank that its remnants would last in that remote corner of Dantooine for many years, until SOE released the patch that would permanently destroy inactive cities.

Although my career in Star Wars Galaxies was short, I felt that we, as a group of players, finally realized our ambition of building a city to the best of our abilities. We aimed to serve the Rebel cause and created our own paths in a war that would continue to rage for years after our downfall. Even decades from now, I will still remember these times like it was yesterday. Crystal Valley and other cities like it are a wild fiction today, but back then their impacts were quite real to the thousands of players around the world who came across them.

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