Tuesday 17 May 2011

It is only one's thoughts that fill a room with something more than furniture.

Shortly before the supertanker SOE revealed that it had been torpedoed below the waterline and was leaking its lucrative cargo of detailed customer information into the Sea of Iniquity, I was enjoying a fresh start in EverQuest II Extended. The unfortunate but necessary blockade on all ships entering or leaving Sony waters meant that my journey was temporarily cut short, but this past weekend I, like many others, was once again able to sally forth into SOE’s various venues for those venatorious of virtual voxels.

Thus, Melboo the Shaman continued with her adventuring through Greater Faydark’s starter hub, the Nursery, and quickly moved on to the city of Kelethin and its surrounding area. One interesting thing that struck me so far is in the nature of quest rewards. As the owner of a free-to-play account with no credit to its name, initial bag space is at a premium, and so I’ve become a little bemused that every quest which rewards an item seems to come with an added bonus.

“Thank you sir, so much, for rescuing my girdle from that vicious planetarium.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re welcome, I’ve got nothing better to do, really”.
“Here is the piece of armour that I promised you, and if sir would be so kind as to accept a further little token of my appreciation.”
“What’s that?”
“What does sir think it might be?”
“I know what it is. What I’m implying is, why are you giving it to me?”
“Sir does not like his reward? I can assure you it is of not inconsiderable value”
“But it’s a…”
“It’s a…”
“It’s a fucking bed!”
“It could be a sleeping bed, a book-reading bed, or a breakfast-on-a-tray bed. What sir chooses to do in sir’s own bed is entirely up to sir, and frankly no concern of mine”
“Well, what’s of concern to me, you great twit, is where in the Seven Hells of Luclin you think I’m going to put it? I’m an adventurer! Mad Ethel over there wants me to go and fight my way through an encampment of orcs and kill their leader because she’s convinced they stole her false teeth. How the hell am I going to do that with a four-poster strapped to my back? Even if I took the mattress off! And the… are those curtains?”
“Naturally sir, I don’t just hand out any old boudoir berth as a reward.”
“Even if I took all of that off, it’s a solid pine four-poster that I’d have to…”
“Sir! I am offended…”
“You may well be, but I’m the one who’s got to strap it…”
“It’s solid oak”
“It is not pine, sir. It is oak; sturdy, weighty, solid, back-crippling, oak. Not pine, sir. I would only offer a pine bed as a punishment, and I won’t have it said otherwise.”
“Look I… just… can… what?! FINE! I’ll take it.”
“Very good sir. And could I interest sir in the partaking of an additional errand for me? There is a very nice set of matching bedside cabinets as a reward…”

Honestly, it’s like adventuring, as sponsored by Ikea.

One chap gave me a rug in addition to a piece of armour. Wha… why? Is it a magical rug? Does it fly? Do nubile virgins fall by the orgy-load from its confines when I unroll it? No? THEN WHY THE BLAZES WOULD I WANT TO STRAP IT TO MY BACK IN THE MIDDLE OF A QUEST LINE?! I mean, admittedly, sitting around the campfire of an evening has never been so luxurious, and if you don’t want to sit on the rug by the fire, then there’s the gorram four-poster bed replete with bedside cabinets next to that tree over there. Knock yourself out; the bidet is just around the corner next to the SODDING HEATED TOWEL RAIL.

It’s like every resident in Norrath is on permanent house sale, desperately trying to flog old furnishings to any old wanderer fool enough to accept them. Roads are full of adventurers hunched over with a comical tower of furniture strapped on their backs, up-ended tables tied to chairs, with wardrobes and grandfather clocks teetering where they balance on top. When the poor weary adventurer pauses to sit by the side of the road to rest, an NPC dashes up and whips a futon down underneath them, and then scarpers before the adventurer can protest that they don’t need any more furniture.

I mean, thankfully I managed to find space on my character to carry all this stuff. Yes, it turns out that throwing away one orc ear made enough room to store an entire four-poster bed. So either it’s a tiny bed, which is unlikely seeing as it can be placed and used in your house of residence WHICH I DON’T HAVE AT LEVEL SIX, or those orcs have bloody big ears; and you’re going to want to whisper that rumour, because with ears that big, those fellows are going to be able to hear you from half a continent away. And eyes too! I can throw away one wolf eye and suddenly have enough room to store a large nineteenth century French oak armoire with eight small men still inside!

“My, Mr Wolf, what big eyes you have!”
“All the better to fill up an amount of inventory space equivalent to a large antique wardrobe with!”
“Hang on, isn’t this supposed to be an allegory of lost innocence, cannibalism and the more primal side of human-animal relations?”
“Oh was it? Was it? It was! You’re right, terribly sorry, I thought it was the one that warned about the dangers of messing with dimensional homogeneity.”
“Uh no. Duh.”
“Oh very well. So, where were we? Oh yes, ‘eyes’. Right, now, be a dear and take your clothes off, throw them in the fire, and then climb into bed with me would you?”
“Now you’re talking!”

Good grief, where was I? You see what happens when you mess with dimensional homogeneity, developers? Chaos!

So I’ve deleted most of the housing items I’ve been reward with thus far and, not having a house, it hasn’t really affected me greatly, except for the fact that I can pack in a few more orc ears and wolf eyes before I have to return to one of those poor gullible NPCs who likes to buy all this crap “Arleene! Come lookee ‘ere, I bin dun gone bought me some o’ them new-fangled orkee earholes!” I’m sure I’ll eventually get around to purchasing a property, at which point I’ll rue the fact that I no longer have that adorable antique regency flamed mahogany writing desk which would go perfectly underneath the window, but for the time being, with the limited bag space of a free-to-play account, I think I’m probably best not having my backpack resemble an outlet of Furniture Village.

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