It’s not What You Know, an Evening Post
Surprise! It’s much later than usual. It seems that while I was guaranteed that I did not have any meetings in the afternoon today, I, in fact, did. The time I’d set aside to write my post was instead spent filling out inane forms to prove that I am, in fact, and employee who wants health care benefits and some form of retirement.
To be fair, it’s a problem I’m glad to have.
The topic I’d planned to write earlier on is, once again, a comparison between WoW and The Secret World. This time, though, I want to look at the figures that populate the world, that turn it from a place where we play to a place where we live: NPCs.
Stop and consider the most striking NPCs of WoW. A few might come to mind, but, to be honest, they’re probably faction leaders, expansion bosses, and the like. Rarely do we have simple quest givers who really make an impact. I can name a few, sure. There’s Crusader Bridenbrad, who you valiantly work to save but who dies anyway, a tribute added by the developers to a friend who’d succumbed to cancer. There’s Chromie, whose persistence through the expansions and tiny potence make her (him?) stick in your mind. I suppose I might include Millhouse Manastorm, too, simply for his zany personality and memorable voice.
Three come to mind for me, and I’ve played 9 and 80/85ths characters. And one really only sticks because I did outside research about a very poignant and unusual questline. The other two, well, they’re gnomes, so they have that going for them.
I can name almost every quest giver in Secret World, by name, give you some description of them, and provide a bit of their backstory. It’s gotten to the point that almost every quest giver I meet is my new favorite. From the mysterious cowboy, to the mad author, to the truly mad CDC agent, to the dancing insurgent, to the mummified businessman, every NPC I interact with entertains me.
We all might have had laughs about Mankrik’s wife (until we realized how sad a story it was), and we may have those truly amazing individuals among us (there are many, but Rades was the first on my radar and hard to top, as he can take an island with two questgivers and turn it into a buddy story) who can flesh out these NPCs, but really, WoW questgivers are frequently just a blip on the playdar. They give us our laundry list of tasks and reward us with goodies, but the level of interaction is slim.
I like the NPCs in the Secret World. I dislike the villians; they are truly vile. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment, since other than humor, and the very occasional moment of sadness, WoW did little with literally thousands of questgivers, and TSW has already hooked me with the 30 or 40 I’ve met.
Some might argue it’s about the cinematics, and I’m not foolish enough to say it isn’t, but Star Wars did not have the same effect. A lot of the NPCs were just “another military dude in need” or “another borderline jedi.” They lacked the depth of characterization that’s made the NPCs of the Secret World something special.
Right now, Nassir is probably my favorite, but it may be Marienne Chen or Said.
Who’s your favorite NPC – in any MMO – and why?
Stubborn (and exhausted – a 5 1/2 hour day became an 11 hour one)