Shamus Plays WoW Part 3: Into the Bandit’s Den

By Shamus
on Nov 10, 2010
Filed under:
Column

Part three of this series is up at the Escapist. No, I don’t know how long the series will run. Yes, it will cover the shift to Cataclysm. No, I’m not running to the end-game. No, I’m not planning on multi-player content – this stuff is hard enough to put together as it is. Yes, I’m aware that your favorite race / class is so much more interesting than the one I’m writing about – I avoided that one because I thought you wanted to write about it?

I’m really flattered by how many people are comparing this series to Terry Pratchett’s work. In truth, I’ve never read his stuff, although I’m aware of it. (My wife is a fan.) If I had to cite an influence, I suppose I’d have to go with Douglas Adams. Particularly his earlier, more playful work. The first two Hitchhiker‘s books were zany, hectic, silly, and clever. After that his books became darker, stranger, and more philosophical. The Dirk Gently books were even more so, to the point where it was hard for me to enjoy them at first. I’d gone in expecting Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and got something quite different. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the books outside of my expectations.

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From the Archives:

  1. Gandaug says:

    Douglas Adams. Great author.

    Really enjoying this Let’s Play. I never played WoW, but that’s not important. Which is a good thing.

  2. Newbie says:

    I would have said you were more Douglas Adams than Terry Pratchet. I don’t know why but the situations you discribe seem to always hint of intergral backstabbing, which is how I always thought that “The answer to life the universe and everything” was supposed to be. 42 is just a huge giant kick in the soft squishy regions.

    Terry Pratchet is only when you talked about the characters personality itself, I think.

    • Soylent Dave says:

      42 makes perfect sense when you know that The Question is “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?”*

      … although I always preferred the question the mice came up with (“How many roads must a man walk down?”)

      *Yes, I know it’s correct in base somethingorother. But I also know the machine isn’t finished when they ask it that question, which probably has a bit more to do with it.

  3. Cthulhu says:

    Hitchhiker’s Guide was originally a radio show on the BBC (also written by Douglass Adams), which is (roughly) the same material as the first two books. The later books were new material, which is why they’re different in tone.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      Actually they’re different because Adams was going through a phase. I don’t know more than that. But I do know he intended to write a new book to the series since he felt that it turned into a downer.

  4. mumakil says:

    Hey Shamus have you tried the new hitchikers guide book?

    “And another thing” by Eion Colfer

    I find it is a good addition to the series even if its by a different author(Whose work i like as well :D) The story is funny and complex(if i remember correctly it was a while since i read it :D) and it continues the from the destruction of earth(which i found always infuriated me).

    All in all its a good read and well worth it.

    PS:Terry pratchets Discworld is awesome. Just a shame he has alzheimers so we wont be able to enjoy his writing for long :(

  5. Sagretti says:

    Interesting you mention severed head collecting in WOW. While I haven’t collected other heads, I still have the level 60 version of Onyxia’s head sitting in my oldest characters bank, which will never be turned in to complete its quest. None of the outdated rewards were better than keeping a dragon’s head as a trophy. I just wonder how bad the thing must smell after 2 years.

  6. Eric Meyer says:

    Is perchance referring to this installment as both Part 2 (the title) and part three (the text) a deeply subtle nod to Douglas Adams’ “Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker’s Trilogy”?

  7. Integer Man says:

    I’m so with you on Hitchhiker’s and Terry Pratchett, though I thought the drop off point was after the 3rd book in the Hitchhiker’s trilogy (of 6 books).

    Pratchett has his skills and I’ve enjoyed some of his books quite a bit, but he doesn’t quite twist the world the same was as DNA did. Pratchett’s jokes seem to be more visual in nature whereas DNA’s were often circumstantial or plays on the meaning of phrases (e.g. “Uncomfortably like being drunk”).

    Dirk did take some getting used to and was ultimately disappointing because it lacked the qualities Ford and Zaphod brought to the table.

    Farewell DNA, you lived too short of a life. We miss you.

    • asterismW says:

      “Pratchett’s jokes seem to be more visual in nature”

      I find this very interesting, because I think Pratchett can’t be translated to a visual medium (like movies) precisely because his jokes are NOT visual. Oh, sure, there are lots of visual elements, but the bulk of his humor comes from an internal monologue, or, especially, from author narrative. His wit is highly intellectual, and his sarcasm is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. His way with words resonates with me in a way no other author has. The movie adaptations that have been made merely made me want to read the books again.

      • Museli says:

        Although I agree that most of Pterry’s gags aren’t visual, I find it’s those ones that I enjoy the most, such as when he describes The Librarian trying to stand to attention in ‘Guards! Guards!’. The image of him slumping in “a sort of respectful heap” always makes me chuckle.

        • Jeff says:

          I think that’s what asterismW is getting at though, it’s in the narrative and turn of phrase. Where DNA uses the situations, PTerry uses how he describes the situations.

  8. Deoxy says:

    *HUUURRL*

    Heh. Really liking this series.

    Sacrificing a virgin… sheep. Heh.

  9. SteveDJ says:

    Part 2? Isn’t this really part 3?

    Edit: Doh! Missed the earlier comment that already covered this. Well, anyway, I hope this series goes at least a couple dozen parts… or just 4 parts, where you repeat part 2 as many times as needed… :-)

  10. Moriarty says:

    aw, you don’t keep playing until the endgame?

    I was really looking forward to Gobstab and Norman having an argument wether to take shadow flame or bane in a 31/0/5 spec or wether gemming for haste might be worth it to activate the meta for 0,4% more dps!

  11. Amnestic says:

    I have to wonder how levelled you are for this area. The Imp quest is doable solo at around level 3-4 as memory serves, and that’s way past the starter kobold quest, not to mention that you have to talk to your warlock trainer in the graveyard to get the-

    Okay, fine, I’ll quit nitpicking.

    Edit: Oh, wow, talent trees are different! Mega different! Imp quest might be different/non-existant too. Point possibly conceded >.>

    I’m a little sad to hear you won’t be doing ‘multiplayer’ content, as that includes the Deadmines which is the end of the Defias questchain, but I suppose it makes sense from a more technical standpoint.

    • Moriarty says:

      Lulzy tackled several group quests solo, why shouldn’t Norman do the same?

      Of course if we keep the Imp active, this might not be something Shamus could do without some serious leveling.

      Edit: warlocks and hunters start the game with their pet active since 4.0

      • Amnestic says:

        This is what I get for not keeping up with WoW. Been 1+1/4 years since I last played.

        Consider my comment redacted then. Working off old information ;p

      • Yeeees but you’d have to be very, very over-levelled to take a dungeon by yourself in WoW, even as a fairly self-sufficient class like a Warlock or Hunter. At which point it just isn’t worth it as the quest rewards will suck for your level and you won’t get any experience.

        Might be amusing to comment on a high level guy running Norman through a low level dungeon though

        • Ian says:

          Not so much over-leveled, but well-geared and skilled at a given class. I’ve soloed level 75-ish dungeons with relative ease with T10/ICC gear (along with a iLvl 245 triumph trinket and one from ToTC25). This was using a death knight in a DPS spec and presence.

          By playing a straight DPS class in an esoteric manner you could probably do something similar. I know there’s an amazing boomkin “tank” on my main battlegroup, for one. I also know several hunters who were able to solo dungeons from around their level by doing some very creative trap placements and kiting. I also know mages, even ones in average gear, who were able to survive huge dungeon pulls simply by slowing the groups down.

          • Yup. It’d probably be frustrating as hell and slow to pull off though, so not too much fun for a Let’s Play. Still, I don’t deny that it’s doable – simply hard.

            Respect to those guys though – I usually played a Resto druid so soloing dungeons really wasn’t possible for me

  12. Dev Null says:

    I don’t think there was anything wrong with the books outside of my expectations.

    You really think that little caveat is going to be enough to save you from defenestration by Hordes of Raging Hitchhikers Fanboyz? Ha!

    All right, maybe around here it will. Sheesh. They NEVER let me have a pitchfork-wielding mob.

  13. Hal says:

    Ah, Dirk Gently . . . there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. I read that in high school, and . . . well, come to think of it, I don’t remember anything about it.

    Odd.

  14. X2-Eliah says:

    You don’t know how long it will run?

    You mean you *gasp* Actually haven’t finished it yet and made available it all to premium members of Escapist?

    Seriously though, I agree with those that said you seem to be a more Pratchettesque than Adamesque writer.

    Then again, the Hitchiker books went down in quality after the first 2 and a half, imo, and TP’s world evolved greatly.

  15. Ben Orchard says:

    Personally, I think Pratchett and Adams both were really great. I don’t really distinguish that much between their styles personally.

  16. Moridin says:

    Without even reading the other comments I can tell that saying that you should read some of Pratchetts work is redundant(but when you do, be sure to read Good Omens. It’s better than most of the Discworld stuff). Personally, I don’t see much resemblance in writing beyond that you both write humor(and do it well).

    • Shrikezero says:

      Good Omens is firmly planted in my top 5 list. Gaiman and Pratchett made real magic with that book.

      Adams and Pratchetts works are similar in style (gah, too many Ss). However IMO Shamus writes closer to Adams.

  17. TheAngryMongoose says:

    Personally I found the Dirk Gently novels to be far too absurd. Funny though.

  18. Ell Jay says:

    I find Pratchett to do to fantasy what Adams did to sci-fi.

  19. Old_Geek says:

    Terry Pratchet is Douglas Adams with a good plot and sometimes a twist ending.

  20. RCN says:

    Pro-Tip – Terry Pratchett style of writing is not dissimilar to the work of Douglas Adams, but in his case the books get darker during the book, instead of throughout the series, but always end in a more upbeat tune.

    I’m sure about a million people have already told you so (and your wife alone must’ve told you a million times) but, hey, every little incentive to make more people read Discworld seems like a noble endeavor to me:

    Go read Pratchett. You won’t regret it. And I bet you’ll end loving Rincewind, Granny Weatherwax, Death (one of the main characters throughout the books) and Commander Vimes, whoever is starring the book you read.

  21. FatPope says:

    It’s bizarre to think that Pratchett is now a lecturer at my alma mater. I was never a huge fan of the series but likewise I didn’t dislike them either. I’ve been told that the books of his I’ve read aren’t exactly his best though.

    I have similar feelings towards Douglas Adams: yes his books were perfecly readable and somewhat funny in places, but I fail to see why they’re held in such exalted reverence by many.

  22. Aelyn says:

    One of my favorite Adams bits comes from a Dirk Gently book. His secretary was threatening to quit (again). He successfully argued that the excitement around wondering when you’d again get a paycheck far exceeded the monotony of regular pay.

    Genius.

  23. Varewulf says:

    Is… is Hogger going to show up? Please tell me Hogger is showing up. Hogger Hogger Hogger! :D Did you know the game actually has its own “Death By Hogger” statistic?

    Edit: And you really should read Pratchett. This can’t be said enough. I love all his books, though I do love some of them more than others, I guess I should add in all honesty.

    • Witteafval says:

      The Stockade will become a three-winged dungeon, and Hogger will become one of the end bosses. “Elwynn Forest was merely a setback.”

      But as for now, I hope we see him too. I’ve heard of him pwning a 40-man raid group consisting entirely of level 1 characters.

  24. Cybron says:

    Adams is my favorite author. Like most, I read Hitchhiker’s first (with the ending being an obvious shock), but I enjoyed the Gently novels anyways.

    The thing I perhaps enjoyed most was The Salmon of Doubt, which contains a series of his essays collected and published after his death. I found them to be rather humorous and occasionally insightful.

    I’m still debating whether or not I should read the new Hitchhiker’s they had that other guy put out. I read some of his stuff when I was younger and it was alright, but I hold the Hitchhiker’s series in pretty high regard and would hate to see that legacy tarnished.

  25. Hairius Maximus says:

    Hahaha, seriously?

    Shamus, I really do enjoy your writing, but please don’t ever compare yourself to Terry Pratchett AND Douglas Adams again, okay?

    At the very least, not both at the same time.

  26. Shamus, it used to be that some starting areas had enemies that would attack first, some did not (maybe, though I’ve noticed the lack in some areas now). When I did these quests with my first warlock, they all attacked first. It could be brutal, especially as you did not start with the imp.

    Interesting effect the switch up had. Does make it seem silly.

  27. thebigJ_A says:

    Holy Crap! There was an Adams authored Hitchhiker’s book after So Long and Thanks For All the Fish?!?

    How did I not know that? Since I was a teenager I’ve had a copy of “The More Than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide”. It includes books 1-4, plus the short story “Young Zaphod Plays it Safe” (which I honestly never did ‘get’). All these years I’d thought that’s all there was. I need to read this “Mostly Harmless”.

    I actually prefer the later books, but I love them all.

    Well, I’m off to the library tomorrow! Incidentally, should I read this sixth book by some other guy? Seems odd, another person writing the last Guide book. Is it any good? More importantly, does it fit?

  28. eides says:

    DON’T READ “MOSTLY HARMLESS”, FOR THE LOVE OF THOR!!!
    SPOILERS BELOW (not getting spoiler tags to work)

    I loved the first four books, and went into the fifth with a great deal of anticipation, expecting more of the same. What I got left me the strong impression that Douglas Adams was sending a firm “I’m tired of everyone bugging me to write these stories so I’m going to show them” message. It left me very dejected…I threw it out afterwards and fervently wished I could unread it.

    Eoin Colfer did a decent job with the sixth book at least turning around the “everyone is killed and everything is destroyed, permanently, with no hope of reprieve” ending of the fifth, but it came off flat to me and wasn’t what I expected. I really only wanted to undo the fifth book and bring a nice neat ending to the series…it did the first, but failed at the second, just opening the door to another future story. I was particularly hoping for two things I didn’t get:

    Bring back Marvin
    Bring back Fenchurch (and not in the here-and-gone kick-in-the-pants way)

    • Daimbert says:

      If I recall correctly, Douglas Adams himself admitted that that was precisely what was going on, and he wanted to do another book to fix that up, but died before he could. So your impressions of “Mostly Harmless” seem accurate.

  29. Jack V. says:

    Again, great. Thank you.

  30. Neko says:

    Go read The Colour of Magic. Just do it. Come on.

  31. Andrew says:

    Page 4 had me laughing in fits pretty much the whole way. Bravo.

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