To Find Is To Kill

They might as well just scrap every other type of mission there is, as far as I’m concerned.

I don’t know why it is; I don’t pretend to be a psychologist.

Death says, “Yes you do! You do all the time! Just yesterday you were telling Anson his nightmare represented his latent homosexual love for you!”
You say, “Well, yeah, but EVERYBODY knows about THAT…”

Uh, okay, so usually I don’t pretend to be a psychologist. However, I have learned a tiny bit in my experience of MOGs, and the one thing that holds true is this: if you put someone – let’s say, me, for example – into a ‘dungeon’ or ‘mission’ or whatever clever word you want to call it, there is only going to be one of two results at the end of that mission.

  1. I die repeatedly in a rather gruesome manner and give up entirely on that mission
                                    OR
  2. I kill every single living thing in that dungeon. And some un-living things. And a piece of furniture or two.

This has really come to focus lately in all of the missions I’ve been accepting in Anarchy Online. Being a corporate (Omni-Tek) wage slave that I am (and quite content one, at that), I have no trouble being their lackey for any number of assignments. The problem is their fault, really. If there’s anything I learned from the Dale Carnegie course my company sent me to (which I spent the entire three days at enjoying the pool and bar – yes, the bar was IN the pool – how crazy is that? How on earth did they expect anyone to come out of the pool for some stupid course when there was a bar right there?), it’s that it is a manager’s responsibility to properly utilize their employees’ talents. Therefore, while my managers could have sent me to bartending school, instead they sent me to Dale Carnegie. As a result, I came away with alcohol poisoning and 2nd-degree sun burns.

Likewise, when the Big Giant Heads at Omni-Tek populate their Mission Boards with various missions, I have to ask them what the hell they’re thinking when they send me to find somebody. You guys know me. It’s not like I lied on my application at Omni-Tek or anything. In fact, I made it a pretty clear that I’m impatient and violent when I attacked the interviewer for suggesting I might be a tad overweight for fieldwork. But that seemed to work in my favor – they said they liked my ‘gumption,’ whatever that is.

But it’s pretty clear that I am not the person you want to send in on a hostage negotiation situation. Likewise, if you need someone found, don’t send me out expecting me to tra-la-la through the mission and merely sneak up to someone and give them a hug. No, my job on a mission is to pretty much try and melt the face off of every single thing I encounter.

Also, I like picking locks and disarming bombs. Don’t ask me why, but that’s a lot of fun. Maybe it harkens back to the time I figured out how to pick the lock leading to the janitor’s closet in high school. The janitor’s closet that just happened to have that loose air vent cover…that led right to the girl’s showers… Ah, to be young again…

Er…anyway, where was I? Oh, right – missions. It would not be this bad if you didn’t keep offering the good rewards on these ‘finder’ missions, too, you realize. If you give me a list of four missions, the first three of which are assassination missions that will reward me in a BLUE HOOD, and then one finder mission that rewards me with a NEW GUN, take a wild guess what I’m going to do?

That’s right, I’m going to take the finder mission and kill everyone anyway.

And the best part is that not only will I finish the mission successfully, but I’ll be given experience, too! It’s like some bizarre, deviant Pavlovian conditioning! Only a lot more fun – let’s face it, measuring drool is nowhere NEAR as fun as shooting people!

Look, I’m not trying to make myself out into some Manson or Ted Bundy or even George W. Bush. All I’m saying, right, is that I get further if, after I’ve gone to the effort of finding your friend, I slaughter them and everyone with them.

And hey, don’t bitch at me – if you hated me doing it so much, you’d stop giving me these assignments, wouldn’t ya? Exactly.

Your Mission: Go Get Me A Drink!

Okay, what Insane Asylum did Funcom raid for these “Guides”? (No no, not the player ones, they’re fine, very helpful. I’m talking about the NPC guides that give you your first few missions.)

Look, I understand that when someone new arrives in your world, there’s only so many things that you can have them do. But if you have only three jobs you can think of for someone to do – and one of them is just doing the first one a few extra times – then either you’re the most unimaginative goombah in the world, you’re brain damaged, or else you’re just lazy. Or some combination thereof.

Really people, if the first thing you can think of to have me do is to go kill some little chipmunk-wannabes, and then the very next assignment is to go kill THREE MORE of the little buggers, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t think very highly of your imagination. Honestly, would it be a huge stretch of your thinking capacity to have me, I dunno, go wash your car or something? Or geeze, if you’ve got a blood-thirsty chipmunk-killing bend, why not send me after a different type of chipmunk? There’s like fifty of the cursed little buggers running around in here.

And get this: they blare in HUGE, GIANT LETTERS about the threat that these chipmunks are. They carry disease and all this. And they have these big posters up trying to make the chipmunks look ferocious.

Chipmunks. Ferocious. Gimme a break already….

Death says, “Wait a sec, didn’t you get killed by them?”
You say, “Hey man, that was just bad timing – I, uh, was in a fight with a BIG MONSTER before that, and…”
Death says, “No, I remember, you tried to moon one to show how you didn’t think they were a threat…”
You say, “Shut up!”
Death says, “…and then it came up and bit you on the a…”
You say, “QUIET, SLUT!”

As I was saying; they keep telling us how dangerous these critters are. While they’re standing in the middle of about a billion of them.

I mean, hey, you want to wipe out this giant threat, then why don’t you get off your level bajillion butts and do something about it? And even if you don’t want to do anything about it, which clearly marks you as a worthless lazy bastich goombah, then you could at least find something interesting for me to do!

Oh, no, don’t criticise the Guides! They’re doing an important job of telling people to do absolutely worthless tasks! The worst part about this is that these goombahs are working for The Corporation. (Yes, that’s really the name – they pronounce the capital letters, honest.)

Rather ridiculous, really. If you were going to find a job for people in your company, wouldn’t you at least find something worthwhile for them to do? I mean, look at Benny in LA Law. They had all sorts of work for that guy to do. He could photocopy, shred papers – sometimes he mixed the two jobs up, sure, but on the whole, Benny was a productive member of society. Oh, sure, if he was your boss, maybe sometime you’d have to spend the whole day making photocopies – but he wouldn’t have you copying the same thing every time.

So why is it that these knuckleheads are still with the company? Obviously, we have to blame the union. A lot of you guys criticized me when I said I was a company man, but look – if I’m going to work someplace, and I’m forced to have lunatics like this guide above me, would you want a union rep around telling you that it was wrong – heck, maybe even illegal to shoot stupid people in the face? Of course you wouldn’t! Or at least you’d want to shoot the idiot AND the union rep.

Umm….little disclaimer here, people: before you contact your Union ‘lawyers’ named Guido and Nunzio to dispute the slanderous statements I made about your Union, please note that I’m talking about the Unions on Rubi-Ka, not any here on Earth.

So, uh, put down the .44 magnum ‘lawsuit’, please?

Always Something Sharper…

Anarchy Online is all about the “Haves” (everyone else) and the “Have Nots” (me). It’s kinda like a massive multi-player version of Rock Paper Scissors, only I’m that kid that always throws Paper and all anyone else ever throws is Scissors.

I like this game. In fact, I will go as far as to say that this game was the sole reason I didn’t spend the entire weekend off goofing around on ShadowClaim. Don’t get me wrong. I still have NO idea what the hell I’m doing. And this is even more complicated than other MOGs, because in other games, you might have the whole issue of whether you want to be a fighter or a wizard. Those are pretty obvious. If I am a fighter, let’s say, I might see a monster and attempt to fight it. However, in AO, when you are a fixer, the name is a tad misleading, because you do not, in fact, fix monsters – that is to say, unless they’re dealing with a lot of pent-up aggressions they need to pound the hell out of someone to work it out of their system.

Nonetheless, the game has captured my interest with a refreshing amount of fun-ness that I haven’t experienced in a while. The thing I REALLY like about it – which is surprising, as a lot of people I talked to didn’t like it – were the little missions you can get. I thought they were fun, even if they consisted of only running around and shooting zombies in the face. And hey, if there’s ever been an activity that never grows old, shooting zombies in the face is it.

But back to my original point, the recurring theme in this game is that as soon as I find something that I believe to be cool, someone else, like a evil clan guy, has to show up and blast off my face with something even better. And although this would inspire some people to achieve better gear, it merely inspires me to a lot of screaming.

I tend to get rather confused when I start a game.

Death says, “Not to mention when you’ve been playing a game for almost four years, too…”

Quiet, slut! Er…where was I… Oh, right, confusion. Yeah, even on the simplest of games, I’m already confused. And AO is all about taking those of us that confuse easily, stuffing our heads in the toilet, giving us a good swirly, and slapping our asses the entire time. It’s just that complicated. Oh, I suppose there are easy enough answers to most of my questions (“Why can’t I take off my pants?”), but finding them usually involves a lot of work. Why work to discover something when I can just whine about it and never fully realize satisfaction?

But I’m having fun. This is really a fun game – those of you who experienced the horror that was the beta, it is totally different now. Honest. Oh, I know what you’re thinking: “Kwip, how can we be sure?” or “Kwip, but the beta was so bad!” or maybe even, “Kwip, why the hell should we care what you think, you still can’t beat that stupid Pearl game?”

Well, hey man, I didn’t force you to come here! Back off! No, no, seriously, though – I was one of the ones hurtling cows on the catapult at this game when it first came out, because the beta was that bad. But apparently they’ve done that mystical thing and gotten their act together. As it stands right now, not only will I finish the entire free demo period for this game, but I’m going to actually pay for it after that. Yeah, I’m that into it.

You know what I really dig? You can solo! I don’t know if it’s true for the rest of the levels, but at the beginning, it really lets you solo! Quite nicely, even! And I mean, let’s face it: given the choice of grouping with me or NOT suffering insta-death, most people choose not to group with me (I know! I can’t believe it myself, but it’s TRUE!). So being able to actually do stuff on my own is pretty swell.

Of course, anyone out there that wants to spend hours powerlevelling me and giving me crazy phat lewt is SOOOOOOO welcome to….