DISCLAIMER: The following post is a SATIRE, which means it is written with a sense of irony and humor. It is a work of fiction, and any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Moderators, please don't ban me.
No animals were harmed in the making of this discussion. A wookie got upset, but we calmed him down before he could rip anybody's limbs off.
I'm here to tell you a tale. A cautionary tale of sorts. You see, I've been playing this game for months now, free-to-play, and I've grown quite fond if it. I don't know, some might call it an obsession. Possibly an addiction. (I wonder if there are SW:GoH-A meetings out there? Could you imagine the flyers? They'd have to be printed in landscape orientation.) I can tell you that one aspect of the game is highly addicting: daily crystal boosters.
Mine is a tale of woe. You see, up until recently, I had been content to play this wonderful game free of charge, maybe throwing two bucks at a lil' crystal pack here and there to get through a rough spot. This worked fine for a time; I had plenty of credits, I saw no need to refresh any timers, I was like a tauntaun running free in the ice cold Hoth tundras.
Then the updates came.
First came the raids. Oh, how fun it was to watch that door come down on that big ol' rancor and sic Vader and Sidious on him with a gazillion DOT's before Culling Blade would near lop his head off. But my responsibilities to my guild forced me to sim all the light and dark and Cantina battles I could... And for the first time ever, I spent crystals on an energy refresh. How cold I felt, watching those crystals dissolve as my energy counter went up, knowing how hard it is to obtain them; but I felt the sizzle of excitement as I farmed shard and gear anew, climbing to the top rank of my guild, watching my guildmates stare in awe at my daily contribution. I was a god to them.
Then I hit the level 80 ceiling. My toons struggled to climb these dizzying heights (my poor non-scoundrel IG-88 lingers at 70 to this day). As I paid 500,000 good credits to promote Teebo to six stars, news of his nerfs and bugs poured into the forums, and I wept openly. To this day, my co workers think I'm some kinda bi polar.
Then came the mods, with their Cantina energy cost and seductive, alluring secondary stats. I was like a child hooked on candy. Sweet, sweet buffing candy.
The point is, if you don't believe in credit crunches, pal, I'm here to tell you they're real. I watched the skin hang off of my Jedis' bones as I became unable, night after night, to feed them. I think my level 1, two-star Princess Leia is out on the street corners most nights, her lil' gold Hutt bikini hidden carefully under her lily white robe like a dirty secret. I didn't know what to do. That's when I made the sacrifice. The booster called to me from the data packs, beckoning like some kind of purple Siren. I trembled as I authorized the payment, my mouth going dry. There she was - a hundred fresh crystals and more to come every day. As the days progressed, and i bought credit packs with ease, I laughed and squealed with delight as I leveled Ima-Gun-Di to 70. This did nothing to ease my co workers' suspicions.
But then came the 22nd day. No crystals arrived in my box that day. (No, that's not what she said, get your mind out of the gutter.) I knew they wouldn't be there, I knew the contract I had signed in blood before a sith council had run out, but my twitching fingers checked my inbox all the same. No worries, I told myself in denial, I'll make do from here. But the misery returned. My credit meter looked like a barren wasteland to me. My little Jawa, waiting on one little gear piece (with fifty salvage parts to craft it) to earn protection like his brothers, grabbed the hem of my shorts and warbled, "Gwee, ablrr-pip, Gwee ya?" ("Why, daddy, why?"*) The tears filled my bloodshot eyes. I had to do something.
The kids were the first to go. I got a good deal for them, slightly better than Rey did with that rip off artist on Jakku. I made straw man replicas of them to fool their mother. I mean, it's not like she can't make more. I begged on street corners. I tried to barter my meager possessions at work, but my co workers thought I was trying to buy champagne, cocaine, gasoline, and everything in between, and called the cops. (If you get that musical reference, gold star!) Finally, I sold blood and... other stuff (not sure if naming it will put me in forum jail or not), but I don't think the guy that bought it was a medical professional. He - he collected it the same time. I passed out in an alley just before a sith infiltrator droid hummed by, looking to report me to the dark ones.
In the end, I got by. I mean, I hit the lottery and bought like ten crystal vaults, and now I'm #3 rank in the Arena (can't buy my way through GW though), so that helped. But I remember the struggle. I remember the hard times. I remember Mrs. Grabowski at the liquor store chasing me out with a broom as I tried to fill the void by shoplifting cheap novelty quartz rocks. I never want to go back to those days. But every now and then, as I peruse the latest data packs for sale (window shopping mind you; do you think I'm naïve?), that daily crystal booster pack starts glowing like Mace Windu's lightsaber falling in the Coruscant night... And I hear the tribal ewok drums... And just for a second my eyes flicker yellow, and Palpatine's sinister laugh cackles to me from far, far away...
*If you know the jawa language, please acknowledge that i don't and that this is made up bantha poo; please do not comment with the correct translation or how little I know about jawas. The last fictional language I've dabbled in was Klingon, and don't even get me started on THOSE weirdos.