Tuesday 6 July 2010

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but a little want of knowledge is also a dangerous thing.

Quest logs are getting to be a bit clever. I’ve stated in the past that:

“The very best user interfaces are like the steady and dependable butler from Jeeves and Wooster: never fully appreciated by the user, they’re the ones that don’t frustrate or confuse or obstruct, while at the same time providing more information than the user might have otherwise expected to receive.”

I do wonder at how helpful the quest log should be in some of these MMOs, however; how integral it should become to the general game experience of the player; that perhaps it could become too clever, too efficient, and that we as players will slowly be reduced to nothing more than foppish layabouts, throwing money at we know not what simply because it is the done thing in high adventuring society.

Bertie: “Gosh Jeeves, this chap wants me to kills some boars. I have to confess that I’m at a bit of a loss. Haven’t a blasted clue where to begin.”

Jeeves: “Might I suggest the farms to the south east, sir.”

Bertie: “Really? I don’t want to doubt your veracity in these matters, but what makes you think so my good man?”

Jeeves: “It is a generally known fact that the Northern Tusked Lootsack is known to migrate through these parts at this time of year, for a start sir.”

Bertie: “Do go on Jeeves, I’m not sure I’m convinced quite yet.”

Jeeves: “There are also the tracks, in which sir is currently standing in the middle of; they seem to be consistent with the size, shape and spread corresponding to a sounder of boars. The scratching around the base of that oak tree yonder might also suggest, to one with knowledge in such matters, that a large male boar with severely damaged tusks marked his territory at this point, that he is at least nine hands in height and is probably best avoided by all but the greatest of hunters. There is also the fact that, unless I am vastly mistaken, the cries of several sows, currently in heat at this time of year, are clearly audible from the south east. In addition there is the matter of the letter, sir.

Bertie: “The letter Jeeves?

Jeeves: “The letter sir.”

Bertie: “Do explain, do explain, old bean.”

Jeeves: “You have a letter sir. In your jacket pocket. It pertains to the matter of some boars which are in need of eviction from a farm, owned by one Mr Partfiddle, a farmer and owner of the estate of Poosmell Farm, Clitwang-Upon-Sea. A farm which, I am led to believe, is situated some six hundred and fifty yards south east of our present location, as sir will observe on his map should he choose to look at it.”

Bertie: “Gosh. Well that seems to be pretty conclusive Jeeves. Well done, well done indeed. I’d better make my way to the south east and see if I can’t give some of these boars what for, eh?”

Jeeves: “Ehm-hem, if I might be so bold, sir.”

Bertie: “By all means, Jeeves, of course.”

Jeeves: “If sir might permit me to correct sir’s handling of his sword, sir would find it far more injurious to the boars, and less so to his own person, if he were to hold the weapon by the other end.”

Bertie: “Fah! I’d have my own head off if it wasn’t for you, Jeeves!”

Jeeves: “Indubitably, sir.”

Bertie: “Right, off to bally well thrash some piggy wigs. Swish, swish! What!”

Jeeves: “Well, quite, sir. Ehm-hem, although if it isn’t too much of an imposition, sir, I have already taken the trouble to collect the requisite number of boar intestines.”

Bertie: “Oh. Oh well! Well done Jeeves, saves us both a bit of bother. We’d better just pop them back to old podger Partfiddle and collect our reward, eh?!”

Jeeves: “I’ve taken the liberty of returning them to Mr Partfiddle too, sir. It seemed that it would hardly be worth the trouble of you returning them yourself when I was already in the area. Incidentally sir, while I was there I got to talking to Mr Partfiddle’s wife, a charming women if a little robust, and it transpired that their daughter had been kidnapped by the dread lord Colon Git III. I thought it best not to trouble sir with the matter since at the time you were deeply engaged in a passionate telling of flatulence yarns with your fellow guild members back at The Club. So I took it upon myself to form a band of heroes, travel across the land to seek out the Artefact of Terribly Convenient Power that could slay Lord Git III, fight outnumbered three hundred to one through the heavily armoured forces of darkness surrounding his castle, kill the dark lord, rescue the Partfiddle’s daughter and return her home; although I believe she has now moved out and is married to one of the band of adventurers from the party who, it transpires, is soon to be crowned king of all the free lands of Upper-Middle Earth. Here is your reward sir, I believe this sword to be a significant upgrade to your current one, and the gold should buy quite a few rounds of drinks back at The Club.”

Bertie: “Well dash it all Jeeves! That’s really most decent of you. If ever there is anything I can do in return, you should let me know. I suppose I’ll be back off to the club then; hopefully Tommy, Harris, and Smedley-Brown will be there and I can tell them all about my adventures!”

Jeeves: “Ahem. There is just the small matter of The Fee, sir.”

Bertie: “Ah, yes. Rightho. £14.99 a month, wasn’t it, Jeeves?”

Jeeves: “That is correct, sir.”

Bertie: “Well, can’t complain, can’t complain, a damnably reasonable price for all the adventuring that I get up to. There you go Jeeves, don’t spend it all at once. Just remember that I’ll be at the club if there’s any adventuring that needs attending to.”

Jeeves: “It would seem the very best place for sir to be.”

Bertie: “Toodle pip, then!”

Jeeves: “Very good, sir.”

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