Friday 19 February 2010

KiaSA Appeal.

Imagine a world in which you can only see a foot and a half in front of your face. Imagine having to live a life where you are able to hear everything, but unable to pinpoint where each sound is coming from. Imagine that day after day you suffered beatings at the hands of malicious adventurers. This is the daily life of George and Colin, two Dourhand dwarf guards who have worked together for the past four years guarding the ruins of Ost Galumar with others of their kin.

“It’s not a bad life,” says George, talking to a nearby hedge that he’s mistaken for me “it’s just that we aren’t really particularly well qualified for the role of being a guard, what with us not being able to spot intruders.”

“Yes, it can be utterly frustrating to hear combat going on all around you, but not be able to tell which direction it is, or see where the fighting is until it’s too late” Colin explains to an empty space, with his back to the rest of us.

“We’ve taken to tying ourselves together with a bungee cord”, Colin says, tugging absently on the tail of a passing cat whilst trying to demonstrate the bungee cord in question. “So whenever one of us happens to get lucky and spot an enemy, the other one gets dragged along as well”.

“Of course, we’ve had our problems” George earnestly explains to a passing goat, “we once tied one end to a gate post by mistake, and when I ran off to attack some folks, Colin tried to follow but was yanked back and dashed his head quite badly.”

“We laugh about it now, of course” Colin admits “but it’s hard to maintain the guise of serious and intimidating guards when it’s pretty obvious that we’re blissfully unaware of most things going on around us” he goes on to explain, not realising that we left the area some time ago.

Hello, I’m Melmoth Melmothson. I’m here to talk to you today about a charity that has been set up specifically to deal with the plight of NPC guards in MMOs. You encounter NPC guards on a daily basis during your adventures as a hero, but have you ever stopped to consider the unfortunate circumstances under which they are forced to live? Cursed with incredibly short sight and mono-directional hearing, these poor people are expected to stand guard and defend their homes against able bodied adventurers whose only handicap is perhaps a slight propensity for impatience and carelessness. It’s hard enough for guards to have to stand still and wait for an adventurer to introduce themselves before the guard can try to apprehend them, but consider the poor souls who have to patrol around, unable to see their own feet in front of them, let alone a party of twelve adventurers ‘sneaking’ past, armour clanking and weapons clinking, a mere metre or so away. Guide Bots for Guards is a registered charity that aims to bring help to the NPC guards of MMOs everywhere; for just five gold per month, you can provide an NPC guard with a bot of their own. Our bots are trained from early on in their lifecycle to develop AI routines which help NPC guards to see and hear, and also provide sensible pathing information. We also provide training for NPC guards in how to use their bot effectively, and together they form a partnership which benefits both parties. As an added bonus our guide bots are hellishly cute, and thus also serve to attract unwitting PC adventurers into the clutches of their NPC masters.

“It has changed my life” George tells us, while tickling the tummy of his bot, “I’m alerted to adventurers coming from miles away, and I’ve been able to set up ambushes, sneak up behind them, all the sorts of things that I just couldn’t manage before.”

Colin agrees: “Before adventurers would just sneak past me, or fight all of the other guards first, one at a time. Now we work together as a group. If Norbert here hears fighting off in the distance, he alerts me straight away and I can prepare an ambush or rush off and join the fight. We’ve caught so many adventurers, we actually feel as though we’re a defensive force now, and not a bunch of skittles to be mindlessly knocked down as an adventurer passes through”.

George and Colin have had their lives transformed; for just five gold a month you too could be providing a much needed new lease of life to an NPC guard at a ruined castle or dungeon in Azeroth, Middle-earth and many other deprived worlds. Please donate today. Thank you.

Today’s appeal was read by Melmoth Melmothson on behalf of the charity Guide Bots for Guards.

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