Category Archives: manicdotes


KiaSA presents: another amalgam of Melmoth’s disjointed thoughts for your delectation and edification.

Tired of it

I was guiding an NPC through one of Tera’s many fields of Death and Blood (they never want to go to the fields of Fairies and Fondant Fancies, do they?). It was the usual story: he was an archaeologist whose hobbies included ‘exploring local ruins’ and ‘being eaten by the local wildlife’; I was a ripped half-dragon with a greatsword and a penchant for the wholesale slaughter of anything with a pulse. Together our names spelled out ADVENTURE! If ‘adventure’ had a few more ‘s’s in it; and an ‘h’; and was spelled ‘shitstorm’.

It started off ordinarily enough, with him walking blithely into huge groups of angry beastmen, and then looking shocked when they proposed skinning and eating him. I would wade in at that point, offering a sharp six foot steel rebuttal to their proposition, and the archaeologist would stand to one side doing nothing. Well, that wasn’t strictly true, because it was while I was buried beneath a particularly insistent group of beastmen, who were arguing –with great vehemence and stone axes– that I should let them eat my escort, that the archaeologist offered his input on the debate by stretching, looking around in a bored fashion and then… yawning.

Yawning is it? Right then. Right. Then. Thus, I put my final argument to the current group of beastmen, to which they showed their assent by lying down and dying, and then I moved off in the opposite direction to the archaeologist. It took a while for the quest to fail, and I can only hope that it was as a result of the beastmen taking their time to devour him.

Then I went back to camp, waited for him to re-spawn, and sent him off again, while I cooked popcorn over his camp fire.


There have been some recent patches for The Secret World which have markedly improved various aspects of the game, but I’m still waiting for the patch that adds in more character facial expressions than ‘ambivalent shop dummy’ and ‘surprised inflatable sex doll’.

Hold still

Speaking of The Secret World, as more proof of developers not learning from easily corrected mistakes of the past, we have yet another example of my old favourite: having the character model fidget randomly during creation. For goodness’ sake, it’s like trying to wipe the mouth of a toddler.

Head back, please.
Look at me. Now head back.
No. Head -back-.
Your other back.
Thank you. Now we just need to do wipies…
Keep your head still.
And -back-!
Look at m… Jus–no… jus… ove–back; please will you look at me and–no don’t look at the… the cat doesn’t -need- wiping!
Great, now I’ve managed to wipe the food into your ear. Put your head on its side so I can get it out.
The side.
N-no, that’s putting your head… [through gritted teeth] back.

I’m tempted from now on in MMOs to simply pick the most mismatched garish combination of make-up and facial options I can find (the ‘applied make-up on a rollercoaster’ look) and when anyone asks I’ll just say “Oh, she wouldn’t stay still in the character creator”, to which I expect them to nod in sad understanding and say no more.

Fly! Bye!

Turbine have released a new promotional video for Lord of the Ring Online’s next expansion, Riders of Rohan. As if to prove categorically that I’ve reached a point where their development of LotRO no longer interests me, the video turns out to be a fairly generic fly-by of Rohan’s landscapes and villages.

The windmill is at 0:32, by the way, for those of you playing at home.


It’s in the Diogenes

“There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger’s Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed, and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.”
                         — Sherlock Holmes in The Greek Interpreter.

A club which, it struck me, seems evident in many MMOs, and to which I must confess I have occasionally found myself a member.

Episodic levels

I took to listening to episodes of the Cabin Pressure radio comedy show whilst pottering around in Dungeons & Dragons Online. So far I’ve finished two whole series, and still haven’t made it from level seven to level eight. It may be the case that I’m ‘doing it wrong’, but with a Lesser Tome of Learning (permanent XP gain boost) and a knowledge of the dungeons I was running, I think that perhaps two series of a comedy show is too long per level. I’m more of a three-episodes-per-level sort of chap, or perhaps two reasonable length podcasts.

I’ll be interested to see how many Cabin Pressure episodes it takes to gain a level in Guild Wars 2, especially as I believe that the claim was made that each level in Guild Wars 2 should take about the same amount of time. Eighty levels, at three Cabin Pressure episodes per level, sounds like… a lot of comedy, still. Perhaps one for the MMO examination board?

Question 14. If an MMO has eighty levels and takes a minimum of three episodes of Cabin Pressure per level, at what character level will the player be able to recite the entire first three series verbatim whilst drunk at an MMO guild BBQ? Show all working out.

For a bonus mark: How many episodes of Monty Python would be equivalent?
Note: You may use the standard unit of Mighty Boosh to convert between episodes, but must show your working out.

If you like a lot of schadenfreude on your biscuit.

Upon finding myself a member of the Diogenes Club in an MMO, one of my pet hates is players who seem to follow you around for no apparent reason other than to nab whatever mob or gatherable item you are after. Sometimes it seems like deliberate griefing, and other times you’re simply the victim of the harmless coincidence of MMOs requiring every unique and special heroflake to be original and different in exactly the same way, in exactly the same location.

I was playing an MMO recently and had been suffering the attentions of one of these folks; I was rapidly coming to the conclusion that it was neither naive innocence nor a noble desire to come to my aid which was driving their actions. I trotted down the road to put a distance between myself and this other player, and happened to notice a glowing canister lying on the ground. In my curiosity I decided to click it, and got a message that

“This can of gasoline will detonate in 3 seconds… 2 seconds…”

I quickly ran away from the object and looked back in time to see Mr Me Too! run up to the same canister (ignoring all the other glowing canisters in the area), whereupon it promptly detonated, taking fully half his health bar away. He stopped following me after that.

And now I’ll forever be disappointed in any MMO where I can’t booby trap the clickies and gatherables.