Shamus Plays WoW #5: Enemy Mine

By Shamus
on Oct 9, 2016
Filed under:
WoW

“Hello good sir! Do you have a moment?”, a bald man interrupts.

Master Norman and I are getting ready to leave town for a bit and scout out the nearby Fargodeep mine. We’re both anxious to get out of the madhouse that is Goldshire, but apparently Norman can’t resist a plea for help.

His last name is Pestle. That`s like having a chef named Bob Spatula.

His last name is Pestle. That`s like having a chef named Bob Spatula.

“Sure! What can I do for you?”, Norman says cheerily. I’m used to his goody-two-shoes act by now, so I only growl a little when he says this.

William Pestle gives us the run-down, “My brother and I run an apothecary in Stormwind, and I’m here to gather large candles for their wax. Can you help me?”

“Yes indeed!” Norman says, and he produces about a dozen small candles from his pack.

“Oh no. These won’t do,” the man says. “I need large candles.”

“But… it’s wax.”, Norman protests. “You melt it and make as many large candles as you want.” He looks down at the candle nubs in his hand with doubt.

“Hang on, boss”, I say as I tug on the fringe of his tattered, threadbare robe. “This guy runs apothecary? Don’t they make wax? Why is he buying wax?”

“Your very ugly child is wrong.”, the man says to Norman. I’m not looking to buy wax. I want you to kill for it. See, the Kobolds around here carry large candles and I’d like you to go in and get eight of them.”

“But… I’ve got all these little candles that I got from different Kobolds just this morning,” Norman says sadly. “Are you sure you can’t… you know, combine them?”

William Pestle folds his arms and says nothing.

“Okay then,” Norman sighs. “I’ll see about getting you large candles to make candles with. Where can I find the Kobolds?”

“They’re all over the place in the Fargodeep mine.”

“You’re saying you know there are Kobolds in Fargodeep?”

Pestle shrugs, “Sure. I think everybody does.”

The fireplace has always looked too big to me. I mean, I know they DO make some of them this big in real life, but something about the log or brick size makes this feel like a normal fireplace that`s been scaled up.

The fireplace has always looked too big to me. I mean, I know they DO make some of them this big in real life, but something about the log or brick size makes this feel like a normal fireplace that`s been scaled up.

“This candle stuff is nonsense!”, I say as we walk away. “This is like a dairy farmer asking you to get him a large glass of milk because he only has six small glasses. What kind of messed up world of squealing lunatics have you summoned me into?”

“Why would Marshal Dughan ask me to scout the mine if everyone already knows it has Kobolds in it?”, Norman mumbles to himself.

I think Norman is about to learn an important lesson in not being such a rube, so I don’t tell him what I think.

So we’re on our way to Fargodeep mine. Norman dithers about and talks to a few more dullards, and then we head south into the wilderness.

LOOK AT REMY. WHY DID I TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF HIM? THIS IS FORSHADOWING.

LOOK AT REMY. WHY DID I TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF HIM? THIS IS FORSHADOWING.

The place is about a two minute walk out of town. And is overrun with filthy little Kobolds.

Norman stands there looking into the valley for a few minutes. “How could the Marshal not know about this?”

Stupid draw distance. Trust me, this place is crawling with Kobolds. It`s just that the game was set up so you can`t see many at once because it was targeted at hardware in 2004.

Stupid draw distance. Trust me, this place is crawling with Kobolds. It`s just that the game was set up so you can`t see many at once because it was targeted at hardware in 2004.

“Who cares? Let’s get our murder on,” I say with a shrug.

We work our way down into the valley, bludgeoning burning Kobolds before destroying their life essence with spinning tendrils of shadow magic. Once in a while Norman has to finish one off with a crack to the skull, just to keep things interesting. After they stop twitching he rummages through their pockets and swipes their candles. Once in a while he even finds a handful of gold dust.

At the bottom of the hill is a scattered collection of rusty mining tools and litter gathered around the yawning entrance. A mangled set of tracks spills out of the opening like a lolling tongue. As we draw near, the smell of stagnant water and filth replaces the smell of burning fur and flesh.

“I’m really glad to see you coming around.”, I say as we enter the mine.

“Around? To what?”, he asks.

A Kobold spots us and shrieks a battlecry in his adorable little high-pitched voice. He waves a cudgel over his head, threatening to give Norman’s kneecaps a savage bruising. Norman stops him short with a knock to the head before the little rat is engulfed in demonic flame.

You don`t HAVE to be racist against Kobolds to do quests here, but it helps!

You don`t HAVE to be racist against Kobolds to do quests here, but it helps!

“To evil!” I say as I summon another wad of fire. “I thought you were committed to that other stuff. Good and such.”

“I am!” he says indignantly as he knocks the teeth clean out of another Kobold with a perfectly executed swing.

“Then why are you driving these Kobolds from their home? Don’t get me wrong. I am 100% in favor of this, but I didn’t think you were up for it.”

“This isn’t their home,” Norman protests. “This place belongs to humans.”

Another pair of Kobolds run in to rescue their fallen kin and end up getting added to the fire.

“Really? So how come no humans come here? I mean the guards have no idea about the place and the townsfolk just want you to come here and rob these guys, so…”

I need Blizzard to explain the subtle differences between Kobold Tunnelers, Diggers, and Miners.

I need Blizzard to explain the subtle differences between Kobold Tunnelers, Diggers, and Miners.

“Maybe the Kobolds… took control? Somehow?” Norman stops and looks back the passage doubtfully. Behind us is a trail of smoking Kobold rat-man.

“And nobody noticed? Where are the miners?”

“Dead?”, Norman posits.

“Then where are the miner’s bodies?”

“The kobolds ate them?”, he says with somewhat less certainty.

“Let’s say you’re right. Let’s say that these tiny little men that you and I are killing all by ourselves somehow overpowered a dozen or more humans armed with pickaxes, and killed them all. Let’s also assume the Kobolds somehow consumed them entirely, even their bones and clothing so that no evidence remained. Before this implausible battle took place, where did the miners live?”

Norman scoops the last few bits of candle and gold dust into his bag as he thinks it over. Finally he answers, “I guess they lived in town somewhere.”

“By ‘in town’ do you mean they all lived with the backsmith, or at the inn?”, I ask patiently. “Because those are the only buildings in ‘town’.”

Norman scratches the back of his head, as if the bafflement was simply something he had caught in his hair.

“Face it.”, I tell him, “There never was a group of humans large enough to make proper use of this mine. At least, not in the last generation. The humans decided they want what these Kobolds have, and sent you here to get it for them. You don’t have to admit to being evil. You don’t have to admit you’re a chump. But you do have to admit you’re one or the other.”

Having performed a thorough test, I have concluded that Kobold Tunnelers, Diggers, and Miners are all the same once dead.

Having performed a thorough test, I have concluded that Kobold Tunnelers, Diggers, and Miners are all the same once dead.

“I think…”, he says slowly. “I think I’m done fighting Kobolds for now.”

“Aw. We were just getting to the good part!”

So we head all the way back to town, fifty paces away. As always, madmen and loonies are stabbing one another in the streets, screaming nonsense. We sprint through the melee, ducking at opportune moments and elbowing past the half dozen or so people who challenge Norman to a duel.

Norman stops to talk to Remy “Two Times”, a shifty-looking fellow by the side of the road. I sort of remember Norman talking to him earlier, but I was too busy watching the night elf dance naked on the mailbox to pay attention to what their agreement was.

REMEMBER THE FORESHADOWING EARLIER? HUH? REMEMBER THAT? THIS IS THE PAYOFF! I AM GREAT AT STORY-MAKING.

REMEMBER THE FORESHADOWING EARLIER? HUH? REMEMBER THAT? THIS IS THE PAYOFF! I AM GREAT AT STORY-MAKING.

I watch as Norman hands the guy all the gold dust we’ve collected. They shake hands and Norman nods for us to head for the inn.

“What was that all about? Did you really give that guy gold dust?”, I ask as we skirt around a pool of fire someone has called down.

Norman Shrugs, “Sure. I mean, he asked me to get the gold from the Kobolds. I figured we were going there anyway, so might as well. A job’s a job, right? And we need the money.”

“How much money do we have? How many gold?”

“We’ve got thirty silver. Almost a third of the way to our first gold piece.”

“And how many gold pieces do you think are in ten handfuls of gold dust?”

“I…”, Norman looks back at Remy. Then down at his purse. Then over to me.

“So what did he pay you for all that gold, which you risked your life for?”. I ask as casually as possible.

Norman holds out his hand and slowly opens it to reveal a small burlap pouch, “He gave me a… bag of marbles.”

Not making this up.

Not making this up.

“So. Pretty good deal, then?” I ask.

Norman’s face goes red. “That son of a bitch!”, he shrieks.

“Woah. Easy on the language. Sensitive ears here.”

“I’m sorry”, he stammers.

“I’m just messing with you. You really think a demon is going to be offended by swearing?”

“No, I mean I’m sorry to lose my temper, but I can’t believe he would take advantage of me like that. I’m here to help these people!”

“I know, right? It’s enough to make you abandon your absurd devotion to The Lighttm and join the smart people on Team Evil.”

“No it isn’t!”, he snaps.

“Okay.”, I tell him. “But don’t think the invitation will stay open forever.”

Back inside the inn, we talk to the apothecary guy again. Norman hands over his collection of large candle nubs and William Pestle presents us with our reward:

I WISH I`d made this up. But no. This is a real quest supposedly designed by a person.

I WISH I`d made this up. But no. This is a real quest supposedly designed by a person.

Norman looks down at the gift for a long time, thinking. “So… you didn’t want the little candles. You made me get you big candles. So you can use them to make candles. And now you’re paying me in candles?”, Norman asks.

“It’s a glowing wax stick!”, Pestle corrects him.

Remember kids: Don`t read the quest text. It`s bad for you.

Remember kids: Don`t read the quest text. It`s bad for you.

“That’s what a candle is!”, Norman shouts. “I can’t even… I don’t even know which one of us just wasted his time. This is just so…”

“Don’t worry big guy,” I tell him. “It was you.”

Finally we return to Marshal Dughan.

Bug report: I am unable to attack the obviously villainous Dughan NPC, as he`s flagged as "friendly".

Bug report: I am unable to attack the obviously villainous Dughan NPC, as he`s flagged as "friendly".

“The Fargodeep mine is overrun with Kobolds.”, Norman says flatly.

“Duh.” I add under my breath.

Dughan’s face wears the shock of a man who has just woken up with a Tauren prostitute in his bed. “What’s next?”, he exclaims, “DRAGONS? I guess I’ll have to increase patrols in that area.” He fishes a couple of sweaty silver coins out of his armor and hands them over.

“You have patrols?”, Norman asks with surprise, “Because I never see you guys outside of town.”

“Oh, not that kind of patrol.”, Dughan says with a deep laugh. “You won’t catch any of us wasting our time in the wilderness.”

“So what kind of patrols do you have?” Norman asks this with a certain degree of fear in his voice.

“Oh, every once in a while we’ll get some idiot townie to go out and poke around in the woods for us. If they come back in one piece we give them a couple of silver or something.”

I glance up, and it looks like Norman is trying to eat his own mustache.

“Oh! That reminds me…”, Dughan says suddenly, “I need you to travel east to the Jasperlode Mine and check it out.”

Next Week: THE END IS NIGH FOR OLD WOW!

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19Just 19 comments.

From the Archives:

  1. NoneCallMeTim says:

    Other RPGs have this thing where you are seemingly the only other person getting anything done. However at least the rewards tend to be in line with what you achieve. I wonder how self aware the WoW people were when putting these quests together?

  2. natureguy85 says:

    I have not played much of MMOs or even tried that many, but I can usually get over a silly quest premise. I hate getting garbage as a reward though, if only for my time, let alone difficulty.

  3. Ninety-Three says:

    Next Week: THE END IS NEIGH FOR OLD WOW!

    Unless that’s a horse pun, I think you mean “nigh”.

  4. Somniorum says:

    In regards to the weird size of the fireplace: World of Warcraft is full of all sorts of weird sizing, though I’m sure you’ve noticed it. The most bizarre are the humanoids in the game – sometimes they scale them down to reasonable sizes, but many of the *really* important humanoids absolutely tower over you (or sometimes do – depending on what part of the game you see them at)… like, there’ll be humans who are double your size. It’s understandable why they do this, of course – need to make these important characters stick out, and especially when you’re FIGHTING them, easier to select when all sorts of crazy crap is happening.

    In regards to the kobold killing – I have no evidence, but I’ve often felt that the writers at Blizzard were reading your parody while doing the finishing touches on Cataclysm, because their re-work of this area feels kind of like they’re admitting to how awful many of the quest-givers in Goldshire are : P I don’t remember if it’s Pestle or someone else, but one of the guys who sends you on a quest to get candles outright says that his whole candle business is predicated on happily committing kobold genocide. He says something along the lines of “and they’d say ‘you no take candle’ so I’d say ‘no, I TAKE candle!’ and then I’d smash their little heads in!” I think Remy “Two-Times” was always supposed to be a cheat, though.

    (little ps: There are actually patrols all throughout Elwynn forest, though I forget if they were around pre-Cataclysm. The guards keep to the roads, but you see single guards going between Goldshire and Stormwind, and actually formations of… six? guards patrolling certain other main roads)

  5. MrGuy says:

    Remy Two-Times is great example of a pervasive problem in MMO’s. Pretty much everything has value. Burnt cockroach carapice? Worth 3 coppers. Woodland deer gall bladder? 4 coppers. Oddly bent stick? 2 coppers. EVERYTHING you can loot is vendor trash you can sell.

    Except, of course, quest items. Quest items can ONLY be turned in to the quest giver, and only for the reward the quest giver decides to provide. You can do the quest, or not do the quest, but if you have any of these, for some reason they’re the ONLY item in the game that’s NOT worth a single copper from a vendor.

    In cases like the gold dust, this is especially noticable – hey, isn’t this valuable in itself? Why can’t I hoard this and sell it, like I can with literally EVERY OTHER ITEM in the game? Why can I sell murloc fins to the soupmakers, but NOT torn murloc fins? (note: Link is to a later article in this series, so consider yourself spoiler warned).

    There’s no gorram reason why, unlike everything else, these quest items only have value to one single person in the game, even though they’re not obviously different from “standard” vendor trash items in any other way.

    • Matt Downie says:

      What self-respecting soup chef would use torn murloc fins in their murloc fin soup? Are we barbarians?

      (The bigger logic problem was that a torn murloc fin acts as proof that you’ve slain a murloc for the guards, but intact murloc fins don’t, and there’s no way to tear an intact murloc fin.)

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