Fiction, no matter what the media (books, movies, games) offers all sorts of opportunities to give the participant (viewer, reader, player, etc) the proverbial swift kick in the nads. In some cases it’s a complete visual epiphany, like the first time we saw Trinity move in “Bullet Time” or when Neo first tried “the jump”; Whoa….
Other times, it’s more of an emotional, psychological uppercut. Here, think of Atticus Finch defending a maimed black man (and losing) in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
They are moments that can truly only be experienced once, even though the episode can be gone through again, they will never have the impact they did the first time. You can read about Gollum biting off Frodo’s finger a second, third, or more often, but you won’t feel the shock as deeply.
I’ve had a couple such moments is WoW, though usually they are muted for a number of reasons:
-During the lengthy dialogue sequences I will miss portions of what’s being said, either because of bad viewing angle, other players or NPCs, or because of some dang tree branch!
-Since I often quest in a pair/twosome, the urge to “just do the quest” gets a bit strong, so I click through the dialogue balloons without reading them.
-Many of the quests are simple farm & grind with little storytelling or opportunity for impact. Even if one segment of a questline might have some depth, it’s easily lost in the clutter of other boring parts.
That being said there HAVE been a couple things that, over the last 6 months or so, have caught my eye and stuck with me:
The first is one of those long, grinding questlines, that takes place in Darkshire (or at least it ends there.) Due to much of the monotony, I don’t remember the whole line, but the one thing that suck with me is the gist of it: A girl’s father turns to evil, doing many, many bad things. The questline ends with you giving the father’s ring to the daughter (she’s a guard in Darkshire) It wasn’t huge, but it was poignant, and the ending at least, was pretty well done.
The second was simply the first time I rode the boat into Howling Fjord (HF). WOW what an impact! Because much of my other game time is played on a XBO 360, I am used to a lot of eyecandy, to the point that visually, WoW can often be a bit of a letdown. HF was just awesome from the geology (the fjord itself) to the ongoing battle, to the dragons flying around. Not only that, but Lich King was clearly a graphical upgrade. It was REALLY cool to look at.
The last moment was very recent, and isn’t nearly as “nice”. Keep in mind, I didn’t really start playing this game until AFTER Lich King came out, so I was not aware of any hullabaloo during the first weeks after it dropped. I am referring to the “The Art of Persuasion” quest where you have to torture a captive. I am WELL aware that this is “only a game”, and I LOVE using the chainsaw/Lancer in Gears of War as much as the next guy. But there was something VERY unsettling about extracting information from the tied up captive.
There’s a blogger (Richard Bartle – at youhaventlived.com) that took some offense, but got a wee bit TOO upset. Like him, we were surprised that the quest went the way it did, and proceeded in a mild state of shock. Keep in mind, Kattastrophe & I will often skip “hunting” type quests like the Nesgingwary quest where you have to kill Talbuk. We have them as mounts, and killing them seems a tad harsh. Likewise I haven’t done any of the PETA inspired D.E.H.T.A. quests.
My own personal feelings aside, have any of you had some of those “WOW!!!” moments? Good OR bad? I don’t mean “Good lord, this is an annoying, long, quest”, but moments in the game that stood out, from a story, graphics, sound, or whatever point of view.