Like Assyrian emperors, sending parcels of human ears, noses, or neatly detached nostrils through the mail.

Consider the humble mailbox. A curious entity, ignored daily by most MMO players outside of bank alts and, of course, habitual mailers. You know the sort:

Dear Gren the Ungrenable,

Please find attached to this letter a complete set of plate armour too small for you; seventeen swords of various shapes and sizes, mostly broken; every random plant it was possible to pick on my way to the mailbox; a small critter of some kind (it’s either a badger or an angry halfling, hard to tell when it’s crammed into a single inventory slot); fourteen random unbindable pages from the Book of Where the Hell’s My Bagspace Gone; a raclette; a stack of offal (unwrapped); a zoomoozophone; five stacks of Potions Nobody Ever Uses But They Keep In The Bank Just In Case; twenty four cosmetic thongs of varying shades of brown; a quest item that nobody has ever found the quest for but can’t bring themselves to throw away; and three mounts: one sabretooth tiger, one partially digested goat with sabreteeth marks in it, and an angry Krogus, Giant Lord of Mammoths, who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome.

Your friend,

Geoff Awkshunhowser

P.S. Sorry about Krogus, he gets irritable when travelling by mail, is scared of zoomoozophones, and stacking him next to the sabretooth tiger probably didn’t help; I’m sure you can dig the rest of this mail out of the steaming contents of his… displeasure.

I can just picture them trying to staple Krogus, Giant Lord of Mammoths to the letter. “[plink] [clip] [clunk] There, that ought to be okay. Hrm, maybe I should use a paperclip too?”

But what of the mailbox itself? Humble. Elementary. Serviceable. Unobtrusive.

Defies all laws of time and space.

Has systematically spread to all known corners of the world.


They just need small plungers sticking out horizontally from their tops and to shout “YOU HAVE MAIL” in an angry electronic voice and they would probably pass for a Doctor Who villain.

“The mailboxes are coming!”

“No, they’re already here!”

“Damn it! Get me the President of this MMO!”

“But sir, to do that we’d need to use…”

“DAMN! Cle-verrrrr. Cle-ver mailboxes…”

They’re not just here, but also there… and everywhere. Each one believing that love never dies. Watching her eyes and hoping… sorry, it all went a bit Beatles there for a second.

Where were we? Right. MMO Mailboxes are evil! I fully expect to get to Mordor in Lord of the Rings Online and find a mailbox outside the Black Gate. “Oh thank goodness! Because I’ve really wanted to write home to mother [licks nib of pen and looks thoughtful]

Dear Mother,

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [breath]
ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh [breath]
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggg [breath]

Orcs, mum! ORCS! They’re everywhere! Oh god! Oh god! Oh god!

Love and kisses,


Then we’d fight our way through the orcs and uruk-hai and goblins and ogres and racially-slurred riders, and finally reach the throne room of the Dark Lord himself. In the gloom at the end of the cavernous chamber would be a black leather swivel chair lit by a shaft of light from a high-up window, and as we ran panting and clattering in to the hall the chair would spin round and a mailbox would be sat there looking smug, and after a pause for dramatic effect, would say “Well Mr Bond, this *is* an unexpected pleasure”.

Just consider the power that mailboxes have: you can post a mammoth into the tiny bowels of a diminutive mailbox, and have that same mammoth turn-up almost instantaneously on the other side of the world! A little irritated perhaps, I grant you, but otherwise unharmed.

And mailboxes are in the starter areas of all places! Who would possibly have mail when they’ve just spawned into the world out of thin air, fully grown, but with nothing to their name but a bunch of ragged clothes and a sharpened stick, and being hated for no apparent reason by every NPC group that exists?

“Welcome! You are a dark lord of the kindred, awoken from your centuries-long death by the power of the bloodline! You must avenge your fallen kin, fight until everything is dead or undead, destroy the world in fire and fear, and restore our clan to its rightful place on the throne of ULTIMATE POWER! Mu ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

Oh, and uh, check that mailbox over there, I think you have mail.”

I’m considering a system based upon Old Man Murray’s Time to Crate review system; mine will be a Time to Mailbox system, however, where the time it takes to find a mailbox from the starting point of a level one character will demonstrate how far the mailboxes have infiltrated the game, and thus determine how evil that MMO is (or has become, since the mailbox domination spreads over the life of the game, in case you hadn’t noticed).

Now people might suggest that mailboxes in the starter areas are just there to help people with alts who want to mail twink gear to their characters, but that’s just crazy talk! No, the truth of it is that mailboxes are evil sentient beings from another dimension sent to enslave us all. And anyway, as a habitual alt-roller myself, I can tell you that we altists need a more professional level of help than a mere starter area mailbox could provide.

And I present the contents of this post as evidence for that.

6 thoughts on “Like Assyrian emperors, sending parcels of human ears, noses, or neatly detached nostrils through the mail.

  1. Van Hemlock

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  2. Melmoth Post author

    It’s the times when you summon a Guardian and they don’t even step off the toilet before answering that really freak me out.

    “I was just enjoying this most excellent toilet when I felt you blow on my acorn”

    I’m never summoning you again.

  3. flosch

    I’ve always had this image in my mind of halflings on ponies, daring the dangers of the world, hellbent on getting your mail from A to B in the fastest way possible. As you know, a MMO pony express.

    Or, maybe even more fitting, a WoW-esque goblin postal service, with goblins riding mechanical contraptions faintly resembling ponies, daring the dangers of the world, because, in the end, who cares about a couple of lost limbs or lives? Not the goblin trade princes, I’m sure. After all, “time is money, friend!” Especially in the world of super-express mammoth courier services.

  4. Melmoth Post author

    Now picture those hobbits and goblins weeping as they’re chased along by mailboxes armed with whips who shout “FASTER!” in Dalek-like tones, and you can begin to see the harsh reality of the MMO mail service.

  5. nugget

    One of the things I noticed when I returned to WoW was the ridiculous number of mailboxes that had sprung up in Orgrimmar in my two years away. O.o

    There are now more *mailboxes* in Org than there are guards! O.o

    And who knows how these dastardly things work! Perhaps they are filled with gnomes just waiting to spring into ninja gnome action!

    *cower* That would explain how all the stuff gets delivered, anyway…

  6. Melmoth Post author

    Either a deal has been struck and the mailboxes in Orgrimmar *are* the guards now, or the uprising will soon be upon you and the mailbox overlords will begin their bid for world domination.

    Perhaps it’s a prelude to Blizzard’s next expansion: Hegemony of the Post Masters.

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