standing at the back in my sissy robe

July 13, 2009

pursuit remembered

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin — Tamarind @ 12:26 am

He’s been picking at his blog again, despite having all the artistic talent of a colour-blind longneck grazer (after it’s been shot) and CSS skills to match. If something isn’t working, is overlapping where it shouldn’t be, looks a bit funny on your browser or is generally making you eyes bleed, please for the love of everything let me know.

You know, I’m a bit ‘feh’ about the Nesingwary quests in Northrend. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy to be in Sholazar Basin (even if I am stranded in a tuxedo), the zone is absolutely gorgeous and lots of the quests are typical Nesingwary fare (SHOOT THEM ALL, OLD BOY!). I’ve always been a big fan of the Nesingwary quest chains because first of all they’re a lovely distillation of the core WoW gameplay of going to x and killing y, but also because there’s a glorious element of gigglesome incongruity about them. I mean, you roll up to some zone in which there’s the usual array of semi-serious quests going on, evil voodoo trolls or angry nagas in STV, great big chunks o’lore in Nagrand, and right in the middle of it all there’s a group of clueless, pseudo-Victorian maniacs charging about shootin stuff for kicks. Tally ho! What what!

And I like it because you get sucked into it against your better judgement, and you end up having a stupid amount of fun, again, against your better judgement.

I mean, the Nesingwary lot are utterly obnoxious, there’s no way round that, in this sublimely parodic Great White Hunter way. And maybe I read too much into it but I always thought there was a degree to which we were meant to see them as, well, blithering morons, and Nesingwary as the self-styled Greatest Hunter in the World, rather than the actual greatest hunter in the world, if that makes sense. I mean, whenever you found them, they always seemed supremely unaware of the very real danger surrounding them, and one of them was always on the brink of death anyway, either having been gored by a wild beast or having caught the equivalent of jungle fever. But, of course, they’d always pull through, to meet up with you again later, oblivious, in the way, I’m sure, many clueless, over-privileged Victorian imperialists were.

But in Sholazar Basin it’s almost like the game has partially forgotten its own joke. For a start, despite having crashed their dirigible, they seem slightly more competent than usual. Rather than being three nutters in tents accompanied only by their trusty manservant, there’s a whole settlement of them, including shopkeepers, scientists and heaven knows what else. They’ve even come with their own inn for God’s sake. I suppose it could partially be accounted for by increasing fame and fortune, and interpreted as the equivalent as parasols and tiffin, but it just validates their wacky behaviour in a way that detracts from the fun of it.

The whole the zone seems set up FOR Nesingwary, rather than having him comically gatecrash an already fully functional area. The quests that aren’t directly connected to him are ever madder (the Frenzy Hearts) and the business on the outskirts with the Scourge breaking in (presumably to remind you that this is Serious and Epic, in case you were in danger of ever forgetting) only emphasizes the distance (metaphorically speaking) of this zone from the rest of the Northrend. And the idea of a Nesingwary-themed zone feels a bit odd to me – it’s not as if Africa only existed for Great White Hunters to pop over there, shoot shit and steal shit.

Possibly I’m over-thinking things. Who? Me? Over-thinking? Never.

But why isn’t hunting mammoths in Icecrown or whatever?

Oh wait, would the comedy guy detract from the epic, man, epic?

Sorry, I’m turning into an increasingly bitter old fart aren’t I? But Nesingwary always felt, weirdly, real to me, despite being primarily played for lulz. It creates a sense that Azeroth is a world in which stuff happens and other people exist – and some of those people just want to go places and shoot things. Having him essentially put in his own little box in Northrend contributes to the sense of linearity I find so dissatisfying.

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12 Comments »

  1. You know, I never thought of it that way before, but you’re totally right… the fact that he has his own little TOWN up there just doesn’t feel right.

    Tally ho!

    Comment by Kiryn — July 13, 2009 @ 2:57 am | Reply

    • Good grief, don’t agree with me, I’m a grumpy old man 🙂

      What ho!

      Comment by Tamarind — July 13, 2009 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  2. I hadn’t thought of it like that either. I suppose I had this rather romantic notion that once their ship crashed (what were they thinking letting a draenei drive?), they built up their camp from bits and pieces of random junk. Tents made from sails and food picked straight from the trees. I mean its highly possible that a dwarf would travel with a still aboard his ship and they would definately have bedding. I think I always imagined Victorian expeditions setting of with everything including the kitchen sink which would explain some of the things that Nesingwary shows up with. Maybe he learnt not to travel light after the affair in Nagrand.

    The idea that the Basin was basically virgin territory untouched by for the most part because of its location would explain Nesingwary being parked there, but yes I think I would have liked him to play a slightly more serious part given what is meant to be happening. A better twist than hunting innocent animals would possibly have been to have him set up in Icecrown turning his hand to scourge hunting and generally getting in the way.

    Whilst I love the feel of Sholazar Basin, I agree that it feels more theme park than serious zone especially when compared to the rest of Northrend. As you say, the avatar of Freya/Scourge quests seem tacked on which when you consider the proximity of the Lich King seems a little odd. He’s interfering in everything but Nesingwary’s day to day activities. Which leads to the question… just whose side is that little dwarf on?

    However, I’ve been off Nesingwary since Nagrand. Those talbuks hardly deserved slaughtering in their hundreds.

    Comment by Erinys — July 13, 2009 @ 5:54 am | Reply

    • I don’t think any of Nesginwary’s animals especially “deserved” slaughtering – that’s why I rather like the questlines. You feel a bit of a bastard but you do it anyway because it’s, well, it’s fun… a guilty sort of fun. I can’t really imagine Nesingwary turning his hand to Scourge hunting, but I like the idea of him camped out Icecrown, trying to shoot mammoths and getting in the way of a great big war. I think the importance of characters like Nesingwary is that they remind you that Azeroth is a world and life goes on – not everything is Arthas, or The Burning Legion, or Onxyia.

      Gosh. Nesginwary as the Right Hand of the Lich King. He’s going to be a raid boss. Nobody’ll see that coming.

      And you make a good point about the ramshackle nature of the settlement. I can buy into that romantic notion 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 13, 2009 @ 12:01 pm | Reply

  3. There’s definitely an element of Carry On Up the Jungle involved there, for sure.
    I quite like Sholazar, and I think the fact it feels a bit isolated is part of the whole ‘hidden valley’ theme.

    But am still puzzled that the anti-Nesingwary druids hadn’t realised that he was in a completely different zone. And there’s a path from where they are to where he is!

    Erinys: The talbuks were delicious, though.

    Comment by spinks — July 13, 2009 @ 6:01 am | Reply

    • Yes, I get you on the ‘hidden valley’ / dark continent theme but I just don’t like the way it underscores the idea that there are 2 seperate games going on, a light-hearted, ironic, slightly comedic game in which you shoot animals and dress up as a murloc and another serious, epic game in which you watch Thrall fight enormous bosses. Previously it always felt like a happy and chaotic mishmash of both.

      Yes, I’d have liked more from the anti-Nesingwary druids… that was such a cute idea that didn’t quite live up to its potential.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 13, 2009 @ 11:54 am | Reply

  4. I must say tha I really love the basin. It reminds me of the crater at kalimdor – it’s teaming with life and interesting creatures, giving tons of xp if you just get into a meditative grinding state of mind. And above all: it’s pretty much impossible to get lost!

    You do have some points, but still – I think those quests were an improvement to the ones in SV in the manner that he turned up every now and then, just to cheer. It made me smile.

    BTW I smiled at your new layout. Super super cool. I’m a big fan om bright and simple! This probably the best looking WoW blog of all there are. It’s a matter of fact.

    Comment by Larísa — July 13, 2009 @ 7:00 am | Reply

    • Awww, thank you so much for kind words about the layout – I knew there had to be purple in it, somewhere, in homage to the sissy robe. I, too, like to keep things simple and really narrow text areas tend to frustrate me (but I think that’s mainly because I am horribly verbose, and cannot seem to control myself). Also I’m a weird verdana-fetishist. It’s just so clear and clean.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love the Basin. Running around in the jungle shootin’ animals is always a pleasure 🙂 And, you’re right, it is very like Ungoro, another beloved zone. I do agree that the quests are better designed than the STV ones (Green Hills of Stranglethorn – eeek!) but I think what they make up for in design they lose in spirit.

      Or maybe I’m just being grumpy 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — July 13, 2009 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  5. I love Nesingwary, too, and the pocket commentary on Hemingway and his ridiculous grandiosity and masculinity gone amuck. I unquestioningly believed his Greatest Hunter in the World notion to be absolute self-styled bluster and blather. He’s one of my favorite NPCs of all time, a right jovial fellow, wot wot?

    Comment by Sylly — July 14, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

    • WoW seems to have a tonne of Hemmingway jokes – it’s almost worth trying to pull them all together, just for kicks. Now there’s a paper waiting to happen.

      But, yes, Nesingwary, spiffing chap!

      Comment by Tamarind — July 15, 2009 @ 10:20 am | Reply

  6. I admit I have yet to do Sholazar Basin (aside from the Avatar of Freya’s quests on my druid main) — partly because getting to 80 is too fast as it is, partly because I REALLY dislike the “new” Titan lore, and partly because of Nesingwary. I loathe the guy. Yes, I have done his original quests in STV on a few of my characters, but the rest of my gals would sooner shoot and skin him than look at him, nevermind exterminate entire animal populations at his whim. So I find it a bit regrettable that the druids who dislike him as much as I do got turned into such a stupid joke and that you actually can’t hunt the bugger down for them.

    But, the Basin does look awesome. Come 3.2 when I can experience-lock my gals, I’ll take at least one of them there to see the Oracle/Frenzyheart questline.

    Comment by Feralan — July 14, 2009 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

    • Getting to 80 is too fast?! I’ve been getting to 80 for what feels like a lifetime now. I’m bored and ground down by getting to 80, but then I’m generally a bit disenchanted with Northrend when it isn’t all about murlocs 🙂

      I completely understand why you’d loathe Nesinwary. He’s actually entirely loathsome … but if you can engage with the parodic elements, he actually becomes quite fun, as Sylly says above as a “pocket commentary on Hemingway and his ridiculous grandiosity and masculinity gone amuck.” Although I do like the fact that you generally feel a bit dirty after committing mass-slaughter for him. At least, I do.

      The Oracle questline, though, is *adorable* and I heartily recommend going back for it. Again, I’m shedding manpoints by the bucketload but those little guys are so damn cute. It’s one of the few ocasions I haven’t minded Blizzard saddling me with a random NPC.

      Comment by Tamarind — July 15, 2009 @ 10:25 am | Reply


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