Archive for March, 2008

View from the Top: Merrick

March 05th, 2008 | Category: Star Wars Role Playing,Uncategorized,VE Today

My next interviewee for the “View from the Top” series will be Merrick. Long-standing Army veteran and infamous IRC Moderator, not many people may know of Merrick, her role within the VE, or even the person behind Merrick. Well now you do.


Hello Merrick. First of all, on behalf of the VET, I’d just to welcome you here, and thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Now, according to the roster you are Colonel Skyalin “Merrick” Tel’sha, Second in Command of the Vast Empire Stormtrooper Corps, can you tell us more about who you are and what you do?

Being second in command means that I have a number of responsibilities including generally overseeing everything that happens in the army, approving medals and promotions and being around to help any other command staff with their queries or problems. I also act as the head of the army in General Fury’s absence and have the power to approve – or not – any projects that the leaders of the squads and platoons would like to take on.

You’re also one of the chief moderators on the VE IRC channel, why did you decide to take up this role, and do you enjoy it?

Initially I took on the role as a favour to Fury, but I was not the Army Executive Officer at the time. Being in a vastly different time zone meant that I was – in general – around at the times that the other mods weren’t, and so it was hoped that I could rein in some of those who were taking advantage of these more relaxed times. Having been subjected to a lot of inappropriate banter in the channel myself, I was at the time keen to keep the channel friendly, especially to younger members.

I don’t enjoy the role, I never really have. People see me as the fun police when all I am really trying to do is keep the peace between members. I do not enjoy being forced to kick or ban people – though I have been known to do it as a joke when I know that the “victim” won’t be offended by it – as I like to think of the main channel as an opportunity to meet and get to know people from all over the world.

You’re known to take a very “tough” line when it comes to moderating, yet you also have your funny side. How do you choose your stance when faced with different situations?

It’s never easy to have power over people and there are always those who will differ in their opinion of what went on. In the end I have the trust of General Fury in all matters of channel moderation. I try my best not to take complaints personally, and to keep all decisions fair. There are times when humour is called for, but in general I choose the path that is most likely to defuse the situation and have the best outcome for all parties concerned. There are people who continually question and test my authority, and it’s a matter of course that they end up with the worst punishments – and usually the loudest complaints. There’s also the odd occasion where someone forgets that what they are saying is inappropriate and so I will choose not to be as hard on them as I might be on a repeat offender.

Obviously you would have had to have been around a long time to attain such a rank; when did you join the VE, and what positions have you had in the past?

I actually sat around in the VE channel for roughly a year before joining, as I was in a club with whom the VE shared an IRC channel. I officially joined in February of 2002, making my start in the army in Wraith squad. I can’t recall who was squad leader at the time. For a long time I sat in Wraith waiting for things to get interesting, posting and developing my character. Then when Kiption got his own squad (Jester) I was invited to join; I was still a PFC at that stage. Once in a squad that was getting somewhere, I rose through the ranks relatively quickly to become the ASL of Jester squad until I was promoted to Leader when Kiption went on indefinite leave. After a brief stint away from active duty – spent away from VE in general and on the roster as Fury’s assistant – I was promoted to the position of Executive Officer. A number of times I have held Squad Leader positions concurrently with the XO position with a couple of different squads; Jester a couple of times and Nightstalkers for a time. I recently retired once more from active duty with Jester squad, though this time simply as a trooper.

I have taken long leave from VE twice in my career, and a couple of shorter breaks. After one such long break I returned mid-story to save the day as the undercover thief that stole the plans to an important rebel military asset.

Now, these days you tend to prefer spending time as the IRC channel mod, then posting in the stories. Why did you decide to take a back seat?

It’s not so much that I prefer not to be in active duty, but that I have many more time constraints than I once had. In the end it was the good of my respective squads that has seen me leave – to make room for someone who could be more active. It’s always a tough call to leave your comrades in such a fashion, and I have never liked doing so.

Would you ever consider getting back into posting?

I have made a few attempts to return to active duty, but as I mentioned getting the time to do my squad the justice of being active is a hard hurdle to get over. I know that everyone suffers from the burdens of real life considerations, and many are much more active than I am, but I have lately lacked the motivation to make more time for VE. I hope that once my real life situations calm down this will be resolved and I can enjoy the benefits of being a more active member of the army, whether in a squad or simply as a member of the command staff.

In terms of where you are in the VE, do you have any more ambitions, or are you happy in the role that you’re in? Is there anything else you would like to do?

I recently made an attempt at the Dark Jedi Order, but as I mentioned time is not something I have in large quantities. I think that any part of the Vast Empire deserves more dedication than I can give it at the moment. So I guess my ambition is to become more of an asset to particularly the army, but also to the VE as a whole. Who knows, perhaps I will one day succeed Fury as the Prefect of the Army.

And finally, as some of our readers may not know, you currently reside in Australia – What is it like living in the future?

I don’t live in the future, you guys just live in the past.

I love my country, despite the recent government changes. I have considered living in the United States but in the end this is my home. I’ve lived in many towns and cities throughout the country, and realised that the particular city doesn’t matter so much as the people I am surrounded by. I also love my job too much to leave it and I think that I lack the strength of character to be content if I were to move such a great distance from everyone I care about. While I have some great friends in America, they are spread quite far from one another. Besides, it gets way too cold in most US states!

Once again, thank you for agreeing to this interview, and we look forward to seeing you around on IRC.


Stay tuned for more interview’s in “View from the Top”. Thanks for listening.

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Today Empire Strikes Back Started Filming in 1979

March 04th, 2008 | Category: News

This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the dark side of the Force.

―Obi-Wan Kenobi

Today is the day that The Empire Strikes Back Filming started. Yes, good old March Fifth, 1979 was the date filming for the beloved movie. Now I think we have all seen The Empire Strikes back, that’s almost a no brainer. Just incase you haven’t and your some lunatic who is on a Star Wars game but has never actually seen this movie, watch it. I highly recommend it to anybody who calls themselves a star wars fan, and even if your not then watch it anyways.

Now, this was George Lucas’s 2nd movie, but the fourth in the series. Now whatever spiked Lucas into making the story of star wars and making it a movie, well bless it. None of us Star Wars fans would be hear on this site if it were not for him, praise the man I say. Now ESB (Empire Strikes Back) was originally released in 1980.

It was in the top five for best selling movies for theaters, and proved has always been popular by millions of fans and hundreds of cities. But did you know in 1997 it was released with changes? It was in fact the special edition. Personally I didn’t but that’s just me though. Even a 3D version of it is planned, but as of now no actual date is really known for its release though.

The movie made a fantastic outcome, it brought in a heck of a lot of money and it was truly a good movie too. Many love it, I know I love it. Fans all over the globe treasure this series and some say this is the best one of them all, I don’t kow, what do you think? This is definitely not a movie to miss if you ask me. This wasn’t really a movie that sci-fi lovers couldn’t get into.

The Tech in the movie for its time was outstanding, but as of now, it’s really kind of not that good. But what always gets me is why the technology in the actual movies is better in movies 1-3, and not in 4-6? 4-6 may have been made first, but as a later time shouldn’t they have even better tech? I have a few ideas as to why this may be though.

Lets just run through a quick summary for those who like to reminisce. The film is basically about the Rebel Alliance and its struggle against the Empire. Han, Chewy and Princess Leia are always being perused by our beloved Vader, and of course those elite forces too. Then meanwhile Luke Skywalker begins his all important Jedi Training with the all so famous midget master Yoda! After confronting Lord Vader, Luke has his horrific realization, and then has to face his destiny.

“Episode V

It is a dark time for the
Rebellion. Although the Death
Star has been destroyed,
Imperial troops have driven the
Rebel forces from their hidden
base and pursued them across
the galaxy.
Evading the dreaded Imperial
Starfleet, a group of freedom
fighters led by Luke Skywalker
have established a new secret
base on the remote ice world
of Hoth.
The evil lord Darth Vader,
obsessed with finding young
Skywalker, has dispatched
thousands of remote probes into
the far reaches of space…”

Movie Info:

We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads!

―Admiral Ozzel

Now of course the main events in the movie are these:
  • · The search for Skywalker
  • · Battle of Hoth
  • · Destiny of a Jedi
  • · City in the Clouds
  • · Duel with the Dark Lord

HothJedi Training Cloud CityDuel

The director of the Movie was Irvin Kershner, the Producers Jerry Kurtz and Rick McCallum. The writers were of course, George Lucas, then Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan. Then for those of us who don’t know or just can’t remember some of the Actors names then here they are:

  • Mark Hamill- Luke Skywalker
  • Harrison Ford- Han Solo
  • Carrie Fisher- Princess Leia
  • Billy Dee Williams- Lando Calrissian
  • Anthony Daniels- C-3P0
  • Peter Mayhew- Chewbacca
  • R2-D2
  • Frank Oz- Yoda
  • David Prowse- Darth Vader
  • Sir Alec Guinness-Obi-One Kenobi
  • Voice of Darth Vader- James Earl Jones
  • Ian McDiarmid- Emperor Palpitine

The Distributor of the movie was 20th Century Fox, the Release Date of the movie was May 21rst, 1980. Now just for kicks, the Runtime of the movie was approximately 124 minutes in the normal edition, and the special edition was a whole whopping 127 minutes. The budget for the movie was about 18,000,000 dollars.

Critic Reception:

“Since the release of its sequel, Return of the Jedi, many consider this installment to be the best of the entire saga. The acting is arguably much stronger than in any of the other Star Wars films. The direction is arguably the most operatic and confident, and is not over-reliant on editing.

According to the actors, Irvin Kershner would encourage group discussions and improvisations from the actors, and would do many takes of each scene, in contrast to Lucas, who would always stick to the script, usually do about three takes, and offer little direction to the actors.

It is believed to be the most morally ambiguous and darkest of the original trilogy; it is also the only one of the six Star Wars films in which no major character dies.

The Empire Strikes Back initially only received mixed reviews. Many critics had problems with the story, but at the same time said the film was a technical achievement. Only in later years was the film considered the greatest in the Saga by many of the fans. Critics had various reactions to Changes in introduced in re-leases of this film.”

My Critique:

Well, this is a great movie I recommend it to any people who watch movies. Out of 10, I give it 10. Personally I like movie 3 the best, but that’s again just me. So if you like Star Wars or just like watching movies, or even if you don’t, do not miss out on this movie, or any of the other Star Wars movies too!

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