Wednesday 24 August 2011

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.

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