Top 5 most annoying things in MMORPGs

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Thirty minutes into the grind and Alan says to no person in particular, “I should’ve gone outside and played basketball.” Alan hates basketball. Alan has made it very clear, again and again, that he would rather pass an inflated basketball through his urethra than try to put it through a stupid net. Having no real urge to test his hypothesis, his buddies agree without question. Even if they wanted to, the legality might prove a slight problem.

This is going to come as a surprise, but annoying things are annoying. Sometimes even really annoying. And MMORPGs, bless their profitable souls, are full of annoying things. Game-specific irks aside, here’s a top 5 list of the most annoying things that MMORPGs just can’t seem to do without.

5) The generic quest.

The first time you get a quest, you’re already thinking epically. “Man, I just paid fifty dollars for this game, and I’m going to be paying about fifteen more a month from here on out! This has got to be awesome.” Your task of retrieving 6 wolf pelts stimulates your imagination like lollipops stimulate Lil’ Wayne. You’ll go through epic dungeons and vicious forests to kill the six beasts of Nar’lthug, an ancient race beast-taming race that will reveal itself later in the deep, encompassing, and morally relevant plot.

You arrive at your location to find six poorly rendered and nameless wolves that are either licking themselves or having epileptic fits. There are otherwise at least thirty flawless corpses of the things littering the ground. The supposedly live ones turn with preternatural quickness in apparently random directions, as if about ten dollars were put into animating their turgid bodies. Rabbits walk around them freely, but you could care less. To kill the epic beasts! The obvious conclusions cannot override your imagination, and you cheer with every additional, pristine corpse that pops out a pelt like a gumball dispenser.

Ten days later, you’re smoking in-game cigarettes at the in-game pub. To think you actually wondered why they added this in the game. “Yeah,” you say, “gotta rack up another twelve boar skins to get some gold.” The others nod, though you can’t actually see them do this. The crackling fireplace sounds like a trashbag being continuously crumpled, and as you stare into the glowing orange thing that is supposed to be the fire, you begin to cry, slowly. Well, that’s what the chat-box says, at least.

4) The tedious skill

“Lordy, I’ll be able to make my own items?!” It’s hard not to exclaim this fact. You ignore those generic quests, passing them off as some silly mistake so the developers could focus on other parts of the game. As to what parts, exactly, you can’t quite define, but you’re sure this part will be better.

After about ten hours of collecting and organizing, you’re prepared to make items, and a ton of them. Your skill isn’t great, but why would they have the skill in the first place if you couldn’t make something worthwhile? The memory of the quests drifts over your mind like the Enola Gay over Hiroshima. Your imagination, however, is apparently some sort of adamantium bunker which nothing can penetrate, and the option “forge item” causes you to smile.

Another ten hours later, completely sleep deprived, you’ve managed to make three maces that someone ten levels below you might use, if they were poor. The rest of your creations look like the fire sprites tried to hump the crap out of a piece of metal. One of the maces actually hurts you without any apparent benefit if you try to use it. Defeated, you retreat to the pub and complain to the NPC bartender as to the weakness of her wares. Your compatriots nod reassuringly. “Perhaps,” you lament, “there is something else.”

3) The useless helper

It came to pass that you were gifted with Deregen, son of Allergen, lord and minister of the Snuffle-Sniffle alliance. He is a “mighty and brave warior[sic] whose very fierce actions were heralded.” You wonder for a moment as to who, exactly, heralded his “fierce actions” or what, exactly a “warior” is. No matter. Deregen appears beside you in regalia that, for the slipshod graphics, actually looks kind of cool. “Awesome”, you say to the fellow beside you, who has also received Deregen and has him placed next to yours, “This guy is awesome.” As you head off to your next quest, you wonder if the other Deregen you saw was part of some sort of bizarro-world.

Deregen, as your imagination has begrudgingly come to accept, runs off like a flaming idiot into the woods. His superbly rendered armor and weapons apparently count for nothing, and after two hits from a rabies-infested rat, he dies. Seeing no other viable option, you stop and sit by the road you were on before trying to save Deregen, and hold a brief séance. You pair together previous lines from his largely inane commentary, and yell to passersby your divinations. “Deregen is…” you take a moment to put together a sentence, “happy you should love the smell of a roasted Snuffle-Sniffle kingdom we poked hard!” A few moments later, after the chat-box reveals the disgust your holy interpretation created, Deregen appears. “Hey there, chip! Just took a little spill. Right hard we fought, we did!” You listen vainly for a breeze to break the horrible, awkward silence that follows.

2) The braindead GM

After a while, Deregen simply disappears. You retrace your steps and try to activate everything you can, but he’s apparent dust in the pixellated wind. Your private message to the Game Master comes back with an automatic reply: “I will message you back as shortly as possible please be patient thank you ~xxXXglavoriXXxx~”. Ten minutes later, the conversation begins.

You: So, Deregen disappeared.
GM: Where’d he go
You: I was hoping you could answer that.
GM: Hey man, chill out. Hold on brb
You: Okay.
(Ten minutes pass)
GM: Sorry hadta pee
You: Did you try spelling the alphabet with it? You had enough time.
GM: Hah hey no sexual jokes okay??
You: What?
GM: Sex u kno.
You: Yeah… So, Deregen.
GM: What about him
You: He’s gone and, uh, I’d like him back.
GM: Where’d he go
You: Again, I was hoping you’d know.
GM: Okay I’ll reset ur account an der should be on there hav fun

Twenty minutes later, and your entire account is reset. Everything you worked for, it seems, has joined Deregen in the great poorly-rendered beyond. Oh well, you say. My friends should be able to help.

1) The fickle friends

“Well,” you say, “This sucks. Rob got me into this, he can probably get me out.” You remember Rob’s very grandiose story about being a GM or president or some such for the game, about his plans for you to become the second in command of a large and dedicated guild and a bunch of other exciting stuff you can’t really remember. His account is logged off, so you call his house and explain. His reply echoes through the now-vacant expanse of your skull.

“Nah man, that game is old. No one’s on that. This one is where it’s at.” He then mentions the new game. You look it up. It’s a sword-and-magic game, just like this one. It’s got slightly better graphics. You imagine these slightly better graphics, and the slightly better fireplaces in the slightly better taverns, maybe even slightly better quests, and your imagination once again begins to soar. “Perhaps,” you say to yourself, “this one will be better.” The wind fails again in making an appearance.

Stephen Marshall


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