The Devil is in the Details

Grandmother (mine and likely yours as well) had an expression…The Devil is in the details.

…details like the fine print.  You do read the fine print don’t you?  You know the type we mean.  Details like the ones in those lengthy end user license agreements -  like the ones for some digital download services that give the software publisher the right to abscond with information gathered off your computer and  distribute them to third party vendors? 

What? Don’t tell us that you don’t actually read the entire end user license agreement?

Surely you aren’t the type of person who simply pages down to the bottom of the agreement and clicks on the “accept” button!  And don’t tell us you have ever clicked through the entire text of a quest just to get to the objective!

Alright. We admit it. We do the same thing.

But as the only member of the No Prisoners, No Mercy  team who actively plays Star Wars the Old Republic (SWTOR)  I always listen to everything the npc giving the quest/mission has to say; even if it is my second time through the same mission.  And thereby hangs a tale of woe.

As anyone member of the older gamers (www.theoldergamers.com) there comes a time when you are an 18 font gamer in a 9 font gaming world.   In my case, I get so immersed in the voice acting I often forget to compare what the NPC had to say with the small font on the right hand side of the screen that gives the quest objective.  So it was, late last night, that I ventured to the planet of Alderan (In this case some 3,000 years before the Death Star blew it up).   There I interrogated a prisoner from House Thul who withheld vital information until someone brought his wife and daughter to safety – safety in this case being the detention center of House Organna. 

So I set off to save the prisoner’s family from retribution, should he reveal the secrets of House Thul.   The initial aggravation at this point is the distance of the quest objective: the other side of the continent.  Between the quest objective and myself are fighting mercenaries and angry beasts. This is complicated by the fact that, as I am wont to do, I press on doing quests that beyond  my level (two levels higher in this case).  Still, through a combination of fighting, sneaking and fleeing I made it to the objective.

I barged into the residence of the family to be rescued and politely informed them I would keep them safe if they would accompany me to House Organna.  The don their “disguises” (hooded cloaks in this case) and off we go.

Now as every SWTOR player knows, you are able to fast travel with a shuttle every 20 minutes.  At this point I figure the return trip will be a breeze. Out front of the residence, with mother and daughter in tow, I summon my shuttle.  It whisks me away to the detention center of House Organna.   Looking to my right I see my trusty killer droid companion. What I do not see are the mother and daughter I was meant to save.

“O.K.” I tell myself, “so it seems I must bring the mother and daughter back the hard way.”

With that I traipse across the length of the entire continent to once again retrieve the mother and daughter.  Once gain they don their hooded cloaks, and with a heavy sigh I set about leading the pair on an excruciatingly long escort quest, walking them back across the span of the continent from one end to another without getting the NPCs or myself killed.

After a half an hour of real time we make it.

I walk them into the detention center that the npcs picked up unless they are in the pick up zone.  “BUT THEY ARE ALREADY HERE” I yell at the computer.  Still, the system insists I deliver the mother and daughter to the pickup zone to be delivered to the House Organna detention center – the same detention center where they are already at. 

So, screaming obscenities at the computer, I make my way out to the taxi just outside house organna (Yes, the future has taxi, but these taxis fly). Fortunately, on my last trek across the entire continent I remembered to stop at all the outpost taxi stands.  This means we can all fly back to where we started…

“…but only if the mother and daughter will take the taxi” I tell the computer, remembering that they would not take the shuttle.

As it turns out they will ride a taxi, even if they won’t ride a shuttle.  This puts us near the pickup zone for the mother and daughter, so they proper shuttle can take them back to where we just started.  We are nearly to the pickup zone when I notice a small clock in 8 point font, at the extreme upper right hand corner of the screen – a clock that is counting down, and now reads 59 seconds. 

And of course, I do not manage to make it to the drop zone with mother and daughter in the requisite 59 seconds.

“That’s O.K.” I tell myself, at least I am at the North end of the continent.  So an hour of real time having already passed, I make my way back to the mother and daughter once again.  Once again the don their disguises.  Once again we make our way through the back roads to the pickup point on the map.  I try to use the signal flare to summon the “official” shuttle…

…only to find it won’t work.

“YOU BASTARDS” I scream at the computer screen.

Try as I might, no matter where I go; no matter that I am standing directly on the  dot designating the pickup point, the flare gun intended to summon the official shuttle will not work.

Eventually the clock times out.

An hour and a half of real time has now passed.

Yet AGAIN I trudge back to the front door of the mother and daughter who I am suppose to rescue.  This time I do not select the nice option, reassuring the pair I will keep them safe.  THIS TIME I select the option that tells pair that I will kill them myself if they don’t cooperate.   This time we don’t sneak anywhere. THIS TIME my killer robot and I walk right down the middle of the street killing everything in sight.

Then the inevitable happens.

Remember, that at this point my character is level 26 in a level 29 world. But we can still hold our own.  The we encounter a character  labeled “commander” who is a good five levels above us all.  And of course we get our butts kicked and good.

I summon a medical droid.

Make my way from the local outpost to the door of the mother and daughter meant to be rescued.

I click  through all the dialogue options, pausing only to make sure I select the “follow  me if you want to live” option.

We sneak back to the same pickup point on the map as before.  And just as I am wondering what to do, several other players walk by me, charging up a mountain path I have passed many times before, but which has always gone un-noticed.  God bless them, the players are on quest to kill the same level 31 commanders that are at the top of the hidden path.  I stroll up the  hidden path, mother, daughter and killer robot in tow, to find only one commander left and more than enough fire power already there to finish the job.

Two hours of real time later,  I am ready to kill the npcs I am meant to escort myself.

So is the moral of the story always read the fine print?

No, the moral is, never trust a thing an NPC says.

See you online,

Julie Whitefeather

2 Responses to The Devil is in the Details
  1. Carmedil
    April 17, 2012 | 9:11 am

    You waited for the commanders to respawn and killed them ? What about the mother and daughter ?

  2. Sr. Julie
    April 18, 2012 | 7:45 am

    The final score was House Thul, and Imperial commander stooges: 0

    The Republic, and its puppet ruling family, House Organna 1:

    Imperial commanders killed with the help of other players in the area. Mother and daughter reunited with the informant from House Thul who spilled the beans on where to find gearbox.

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