Having recently been burdened with what has to be the most boring game I’ve ever played, I hope you’ll understand why I opted for such a boring post title.

Doing favours for people in real life is nice because it’s rewarding and there’s usually a point to it; a logical reason why they can’t do something for themselves. My father has a prosthetic arm, and I sometimes help him do something simple like tie his shoelaces (he actually taught me how to tie my laces when I was little, so I can tie them with one hand!). I don’t get rewarded with a magical sword but the task is gratifying on its own, it has a purpose, and there’s a perfectly good reason for him to need my help. In the MMO world however, every single NPC is stupid, lazy, and entirely dependant on strangers, even if it says ‘Level 80’ above their head and they’re kitted out with wacky armour.

If you translated the above example into an MMO, my father would have both his arms. He would have left his shoe at the bottom of a lake, so after a treacherous journey into the water where I fought off sharks and tried to avoid drowning, I’d return to my father with the shoe, only to discover the laces are missing. I’d have to talk to another NPC in the town who somehow knew the location of the shoe laces; they’d have been eaten by a gigantic monster in a cave in the opposite direction of the lake, and I would have to muster other friends of different skills and abilities to help me vanquish it.

Kill 12 slugs for me. Yes, 12, 11 will simply not do. You need to kill blue slugs, which can only be found in my back garden, which I cannot possibly stand in right now, because that would be much too simple. Now take them to my friend Bob. He’s about 12 seconds away from me, but I can’t move from this spot on the map because I’m special. Bob wants you to take the 12 slugs as a gift to his friend Jim. Jim lives at the opposite end of the map. No, he cannot possibly take them himself, but once you have walked for hours to find Jim, you will need to come back to Bob to inform him that the slugs were delivered. Bob will reward you with some slug pellets, which would’ve been very useful beforehand, wouldn’t they?

Yes, I thought this particular quest was that mind-numbingly horrific. I’m blowing it out of proportion, but after going to and fro between two NPCs to progress a quest, I couldn’t believe the next part involved talking to someone almost as physically far away from my position as they could be. How on earth do these people know each other, anyway? I just can’t see how people scrape enjoyment by paying a monthly fee to do what is essentially the same task over and over again, I can’t see the fun in something so monotonous and repetitive!

…Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to kill 40 lizards in Age of Conan.







5 responses to “*Yawn*”

  1. Lordstar avatar

    I think work would be a lot more exciting if you got stuff. Well done young link processing that report and closing the Johnson account *insert Zelda fanfare noise*
    You got the company car level 1!

    If i ever employ staff I will be sure to the “you got the” music to my employees when they do something good.

    I also need that bleeping sound for while I talk.

    can someone hook me up with a portable sound board for Link to the past?

  2. Tony avatar

    Heh. I remember an early mission in one of the Baldurs Gate games I was playing with my old flatmate. It wasn’t the tediousness of the mission or anything, just the way it made no sense.

    We were in a basement killing all of the rats for this woman. Except while we we were there we smashed everything in the basement and looted it rotten for gold and weapons.

    I could picture the scene now:
    “Mrs. Jones? We’re finished down here.”
    “What the hell have you done?”
    “We’ve killed the rats.”
    “Yes. But you’ve also destroyed everything I own and stolen my life savings.”
    “Ungrateful bitch…”

  3. Michael avatar

    That does sound weird, Emily.

    I think The Bard’s Tale is a bit of a pisstake on RPG conventions like that, Tony. Like the barrel maker who complains about his goods being smashed up all the time.

  4. aagl avatar

    Some quest chains are enjoyable in terms of both gameplay and narrative. Others are means to an end, i.e., what buddies lament to each other over Vent or Skype while carrying them out. Friends: don’t play MMOs without them.

  5. Emily avatar

    Friends really are the key, suddenly any task in an MMO becomes fun if you’ve got friends.

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