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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wednesday Humor

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Okay, this is not actually a Friday Humor post that is two days early but rather a discussion of humor in MMO's. This is one of those posts I wrote and then never posted because some type of news came up. Now I'm finally getting around to it and things have changed. I'll comment at the end.

Everyone knows the really hilarious, "I-spit-on-my-keyboard," "rofling at this" moments in MMO's come from other players and not from the game. But still, MMO companies can make a conscious decision to include humor in their worlds. One way to do that is through pop culture references.

During my limited time playing WoW I really got a laugh out of the many pop culture jokes contained in the game. I recently found this site which lists many of those references. As long as it is, it is still quite incomplete.

Following is a list of some of my favorite references in WoW which I either ran across while playing or read about on the forums:

A stableboy named Wesley, a reference to the main character in the fantastic Princess Bride novel and movie.

The series of Linken quests in Unguro, referencing the classic Legend of Zelda. You will also find monkeys there that drop barrels, another obvious video game reference.

The gnome spy named Tyrion and the Direwolves and Night's Watch in Darkshire. Not that obvious, but I like to think these are a reference to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. I include this because it is, perhaps, one of my favorite fantasy series of all time.

The discussion of crossing the streams being bad by npc's in the mage area of Stormwind along with the
item called Egan's Blaster. Great Ghostbusters references and there are a few more I think.

item called the 1 Ring which is "not quite as good as the 2 ring." Good LoTR joke.

An NPC Guard in Ironforge wonders "Why didn't I take the blue potion?" A Matrix reference.

There is a crashed rocket car on the road from the Shimmering Flats to Tanaris, a reference to the great Buckeroo Bonzai movie.

I could seriously go on for hours with music, novels and other references. But I guess my point is, do you enjoy these allusions while you are playing?

I can't really think of any in EQII except for the obvious references to the original EQ, which don't really count, and the fact that Qeynos is Sony EQ backwards. Oh, and I did recently run into someone who had a Ring of Xanth, which I assume is a reference to the pun-filled Piers Anthony series. There might be others I'm missing.

I'm not saying the lack of pop culture jokes in EQII is a bad thing. I guess modern references can break immersion in the fantasy world. I think WoW goes way too far. But maybe EQII could use a few more laughs? There are ways of being funny without breaking immersion.

Well, since I initially wrote this, EQII has gotten funnier. There was the introduction of /cutemode and the naming of items after prominent community members. I also recently encountered a DoF quest which was clearly a parody of LoTR (or actually the Hobbit). There are some other funny incidents in DoF which I don't want to spoil. The Halloween costumes look pretty humorous too.

So is EQII at the right humor level now? It seems pretty close to me but what do you think?

Oh, just one more quick note. The Haven Match service I wrote about in this post has dropped their subscription model as I suggested they should (though I'm sure that's not why they did). Anyway, it's apparently now totally free for the foreseeable future so check it out if you're looking for MMO love.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh you must be from Qeynos =D

Freeport is full of good humour!

The Brawler class quest involves fighting against two pit fighters, a barbarian named Hunk Hogar and an ogre named Andre The Ogre.

How could one miss that?! =D

6:22 AM  
Anonymous tock Antonia Bayle said...

there's the t2 drink "blasted samoflange" which is a reference to a Thundercats blooper that's been circulating on the net for years and years now.


9:42 AM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Haha, those are two good ones. Pro Wrestling and the Thundercats, how can you go wrong with that?

I just listened to all of the Thundercats outtakes - hilarious, never heard them before. "And keep your foot off that blasted samoflange!"

Anyone have any more EQII jokes?

9:59 AM  
Blogger jaipehg said...

There's some elves in the Willow Wood (and a few within the city) that make some cute jokes. ;)

There's one about wanting to get piercings to be unique "just like everyone else."

Or "I had to stop listening to my favourite bard because everyone started to like him."

I like silly things like that. :B

11:40 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

Have you ever seen a Gnoll before?

That's all I gotta say about that

11:44 AM  
Blogger warm_machine said...

There certainly isn't as much pop culture references in EQ2 as there is in WoW, but there are is more funny than their used to be. Some older but still humorous in-game sayings are "My ancestors don't understand me, they're from a completely different era." and "I think the Teir 'Dal are so romantic, the way they're all dark and gloomy." I do have to say that I can't wait to try on the Halloween masks! =)

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In one of the "History of..." quests, volume 1, there is (paraphrasing)

He killed his father; he had to die.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Rotacidare said...

Batwing crunchies guy never fails to make me laugh

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hidden Cache, off of Sinking Sands, has a little guy (Mullock) that's sooo obviously Golum the game is pratically poking fun of itself for even making the reference.

When you hail him, he rants about having lost "My Cheeeerrrriiiissssheeeed!!!" Anyway, he obviously didn't look very hard, because it's right at his feet under water.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book "The Murkies" = "The Goonies"

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the strangest thing I can think of came in the original EQ ... there was always a legend going around about an almost impossible quest to do which resulted in a weapon that when you equipped it looked like a space gun from the game doom on your hand. It was named oddly enough "BFG" which if you ever played Doom.. you know that stand for Big F****** Gun.
I thought this was a groundless legend until one day a guy on Tholuxe Paells showed up with one in the EC tunnel.. I couldnt belive it.. he stayed for a long time and let us inspect him to check out the gun.. and there used to be a few screen shots of it on the web somewhere.. and I may have some stored somewhere on some zip disks if I can ever find it..
I was never sure if what we saw was genuine or some hacker..but the legend of the BFG lived on for a long time.. that was several years ago and I never heard any more of it.. the quest could be broken like many in the original EQ or just taken out quietly..

As for WOW.. in one of the citys.. I think its in Hildabrad..next to the ocean there is a farmer name Kent.. "farmer Kent" obvious reference to Superman's adopted father in the comics who was a farmer.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few notes of EQ2 humor...
Up in the top of the clefts of ruj there are three apprentices trying to summon a creature. Scoot close to them and listen to the refrence to Army of Darkness.
Also T'Narev is Qeynos style for Verant... The original makers of EQ.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EQII's humor is a little harder to find and pess pervasive than WoW's, which is a good thing in my opinion. I played WoW for a month and a half and while some references did get a chuckle out of me, most of them just had me yawning and wondering why I was still paying for a pop culture Saturday morning cartoon.

Humor does have it's place in games. Some moderan day humor is ok, but to go so overboard you find it everywhere is too much. EQII is just about right. I'm wondering what this LoTR parody quest is though. I'll have to look for it later.

7:40 PM  
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