The sevens sins of: ‘Go and speak to…’ quests.

Wrath: The standard sin response, instantly triggered once you’ve been on one too many of these quests. Starting with the traditional ‘No, you – you ask them! You two want to talk? Then walk ten paces down the arsing corridor and have a chat!’ moving on to more impotent outbursts of rage as you slowly realise you’re simply shouting at a computer monitor, and that your other half is starting to glance nervously at you from the other side of the room. For NPCs who are not standing ten paces apart but are in fact on the other side of the world, popular rants usually reference the magical instantaneous mailbox system that could be used to send a message and receive a reply in the time it takes your character to mount their horse, let alone ride halfway across the world.

Envy: Gods, it’s like a being back in a primary school classroom around here! You’re passing notes for Jenny Ansell to Matthew Foster again, because you fancy her and hope that she’ll see that you’re really the one for her, not Matthew Bloody Whiteteeth McPerfecthair. Of course she never does. One of these days we’ll start being intercepted by NPCs who grab us by the ear and take the note we’re carrying, and send us to the headmaster’s office. At which point we’ll fill Jenny Ansell’s school bag with earwigs for getting us into trouble for passing messages. Allegedly.

Pride: Envy is shortly followed by the pride response. I’m a bloody hero of the Seventh Age! I have defeated deities, for crying out loud! I’m not Postman Sodding Pat. Nor am I a heavily armoured babysitter, trying to get sulking teenagers to talk to one another by repeating their ‘Well, tell them I said…’ instructions while they’re stood staring into each other’s miserable pimply faces!

Greed: Of course that twinge of greed eventually arrives. That invidious Luke Skywalker voice in the back of your mind that whispers ‘She’s rich…’, whereupon the greed centre of your brain lets out a low mournful Wookie growl, and you hear yourself saying ‘Rich?’ as you raise raise your eyebrows and prick up your ears. The reward never turns out to be more wealth than you can imagine, however.

Sloth: With resignation to the task comes a general level of apathetic ‘Really? I mean, *really*?’ before you slope off on the errand, hands in pockets, dragging your feet and kicking at stones along the way. ‘Go and speak to’ in NPC quest text generally invokes the same response that the words ‘I need you to…’ did from your parents when you were a child, where you instinctively knew that the rest of the sentence would be of the form ‘…do something you’re going to hate because I think it will be character building for you’. And you don’t have any choice in either of these matters.

Gluttony: It’s usually at this point that you start eating (heavy drinking is also an option) as a comfort response to the fact that you’re fully aware that you just pulled the lever for a pellet. Again.

Lust: What can I say? Gaze fixedly at a horse’s bum for hours on end as you travel between destinations, and it begins to look quite attractive. I’ve painted a face on mine and have conversations with it while I wait to get to my next appointment with Geoff ‘Here’s one line of ASCII text, now travel all the way back to where you started’ von PlotExposition the NPC. I’ve booked a nice restaurant for the two of us this evening, in fact. Candles, fine wine, good food; just me and my horse’s bum. I call him Friday.

8 thoughts on “The sevens sins of: ‘Go and speak to…’ quests.

  1. Syl

    That last one is just wrong! x) A seriously hillarious read – just made my day! Do me a favor and write a follow-up sometime, maybe on the four horsemen of the MMO apocalypse or something! I will definitely be back for more.

  2. Melmoth Post author

    I was indeed thinking of making it a series, alas a quick scan of the archives will show how good I am at writing the first post in a series and no further ones.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Capn John

    Expansion Packs are amusing, and fit right in with #3-Pride.

    You’ve defeated the hardest Bosses in the game, numerous times. Your Guild now farms him/her/them/IT out of sheer boredom because all of you already have everything he/she/them/IT could have dropped which may have been an upgrade. Not only could you beat the final Boss of the game with your eyes closed, but you have! You’ve woken up with your character repeating “I can’t do that. I don’t have a target.” and discovered your left index finger rhythmically tapped the 4-key while the Boss goes through the last of his death animation.

    There are no gods left in Ye Olde World anymore because your Guild has killed them all. You’re the gods now.

    Then out comes the expansion and the first quest you pick up goes something like this: “Hello, old chap. Could I trouble you to run across the room and ask old Jeeves there if he’d make me a pot of tea? I’ve got a neckerchief with your name on it waiting for you if you would. Yes, yes, I know it’s only a Common-quality accessory, but I’m sure it’s more than a suitable replacement for that gaudy Orange thing you have hanging around your neck. Whatever were you thinking, man? It looks like you dug it out of a Demon Lord’s chest! No, that just won’t do at all; you need my neckerchief. Now, run along. There’s a good chap.”

  4. Melmoth Post author

    Ah yes, the ol’ Sisyphean dilemma of the level-based game, where you either have to keep increasing the size of the hill the players are running up, or knock them to its base every once in a while.

    Always a difficult thing to achieve without also temporarily giving the players a bird’s-eye view of the maze in which they’re running.

  5. Van Hemlock

    Innocence: “How hard can killing 360 Wargs be?”
    Zeal: “Only 360 Wargs stand between me and +3 Might!”
    Discipline: “Must keep going – I’m still 48 Wargs short of today’s quota!”
    Fortitude: “158 Wargs down, only 202 to go!”
    Valour: “Must kill 360 grey-con Wargs, because buying the +1 from the cash shop is cheating!”
    Justice: “If I’d made more of an effort when I was questing through here, I wouldn’t have to be doing this now!”
    Determination: “Just…one more…hour of Warg murder…”
    Tolerance: “Maybe I can go PUG raiding with a few missing Traits…”
    Mercy: “Kill me now…”
    Compassion: “Poor Wargs – I’m 16 levels higher than them, they’re solo-mobs, and were just minding their own business.”
    Charity: “Anyone want 240 free Hooked Warg Claws?”
    Patience: “Completed Deed: Warg Slayer. New Deed: Warg Slayer (Advanced).”
    Wisdom: “Why am I doing this?”
    Confidence: “Perhaps I can pull five at a time to speed things up?”
    Idealism: “There must be a more interesting way to design this, surely?”
    Empathy: “I wonder who is the real victim here? Me or the Wargs?”
    Honesty: “I’m not enjoying this.”
    Loyalty: “I owe it to the guild to have the best stats I can!”
    Fidelity: “Can think of hundreds of things I’d rather be doing, but I need to get this done!”
    Honour: “Completed Deed: Warg Slayer (Advanced), go me! Now… Goblins…”

  6. Melmoth Post author

    Are those the LotRO virtues?! Crap, all this time I’ve been working on Apathy, Masochism, Vapidity, Delusion and Insanity.

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