The Worst Ninja, Chapter 2: Shoes

By Alec Meer on August 30th, 2007 at 5:20 pm.

Continuing my abortive attempts to understand Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn, the remake of the venerable MMORPG.

Today I killed a llama. No-one seemed to mind. I also killed a goat and a horse, but a frog beat the hell out of me. The fact it was called ‘Bogling’ rather than ‘Frog’ is, in retrospect, a reasonable clue. Later, when it got dark, I killed a cougar that I was convinced was trying to steal babies from cots or something. I’ve yet to see any other cougars, so now I’m a bit worried I’ve killed the only big cat in New Haven. I’m not supposed to be killing endangered species – I’m supposed to be a ninja, noblest of all the warriors. Except I’m a ninja that still can’t hide.

Full-on ninja-versus-llama action: the stuff they couldn’t show in cinemas!

After the jump: the murderous healer and the great shoe drought.

I’ve learned I’m capable of killing skeletons, but the third in a row will usually have me. I’ve also learned that the small icon that denotes whether I’m in chat (yellow) or attack (red) mode is basically my rear-view mirror – I should check it often, or a terrible accident might occur. For instance, like double-clicking on a man called ‘wandering healer’, hoping he’d be able to sort out the damage caused by that horse getting a couple of nasty kicks in. He says something about reporting me, and I start to worry maybe that llama belonged to someone. I double-click again, hoping I can explain myself or pay a fine or something. More or less as I do so, I spysomething bad out of the corner of my eye. ICON IS RED. Whoops. I forgot to turn off attack mode after all that animal brutality. Still, he’s a dweeb in a robe, into herbs and stuff, isn’t he? This can’t go too badly for me. Turns out, this guy calling himself a wandering healer is a bit of a red herring. ‘Wandering foul-tempered, insta-kill thug” is closer to the truth.

Still, it has a happy ending. Upon dying and spectrally respawning at Healer HQ, World of Warcraft instinct takes over and I run ghost-me (I even get a special death robe to wear) back to my corpse. Which is enormously stupid, because only a healer can bring me back to life, then I have to run to my corpse and collect my possessions within 15 minutes, or they’re lost forever.

Before I turn and resignedly head back to town again to be restored to life, I notice the deadly Wandering Healer is still lurking around. Initial instinct: anger. The bastard NPC’s camping my corpse, hoping for another pop at me! Then he happens to wander near my ghost while I’m thinking about what to do next, and a message pops up. “Would you like to be resurrected?” Of course. He’s a healer – that’s what he does. It’s like a bully just offered to buy me a pint after boxing my ears. Except this guy has, being an NPC, entirely forgotten that he was merrily punching me in the kidney mere seconds ago. Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed by the whole incident. Still, saved me a trip to town and back, eh? I am going to have a look and see whether there’s a mod that sounds a constant, deafening klaxon whenever That Icon is toggled to Attack, however.

Later, I had a go at a zombie, but it swiftly became clear that all the confusing numbers about becoming 0.1% better at focus, anatomy or tactics or God knows what that spool across the screen whenever I’m in a fight haven’t made the slightest bit of difference to my spectacular ineptitude. This time, I run. I make it back to town, and a message announces I’m now under the guards’ protection. Phew. The zombie keeps coming. Er… Pop! A guard appears out of nowhere, and instantly slays the hapless undead. Again, phew.

I’m enormously grateful, and hope I can say so. Checking my Talk or Punch icon very carefully first, I double-click on him. He has nothing to say – instead an image of him accompanied by precise descriptions of what he’s wearing pops up. This is a bit weird, as I don’t poke around at people’s clothes when I talk to them. Then I notice something much weirder. He isn’t wearing any shoes. Full town guard armour otherwise, clearly quite handy in a fight and all that. But no shoes. I have shoes on, and I don’t even have a job! What if someone stabs him in the foot? All that armour’s a bit useless then, isn’t it? Perplexed, I go and peer at some other NPCs’ clothes. No-one is wearing shoes.

Where are his shoes?

Needless to say, I was enormously relieved. Finally, I must be getting a handle on things. Quite clearly, some bad monster has stolen everyone’s shoes, and I have to go and rescue them. I have a purpose! Hmm.

Next on The Worst Ninja: logging.

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9 Comments »

  1. SteveTheBlack says:

    Perhaps they associate shoes with the man who single handedly slew their faithful pet cougar?

    That might make shoes a little unfashionable.

  2. Ryan H says:

    Even with the knowledge that the quest actually meant for you to stand around and click every 12 seconds(!!!), these posts make me want to sign up so badly.

  3. just_finished_okami says:

    This actually sounds more fun than a 60 person WoW raid..

  4. Scallat says:

    But then getting punched very hard in the junk is often more fun than a big WoW raid.

  5. just_finished_okami says:

    ermmm…. yes. you got a point there..

  6. Tholal says:

    I played UO for several years when it was first released, and the open-ended, what-the-hell-do-i-do-now sort of environment is one of the aspects that I miss from most of the current MMOs.

    Yes, it can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you’re coming from a rail-type game such as WoW, but for those who have that constant, poking-into-things-you-shouldnt, curiosity (hmmm…. what happens with I pull this lever?), it can be a lot of fun!

  7. UOStock.com says:

    I have played UO for a very long time, and I mean, even without ever playing the game before you can plainly see that Kingdom Reborn isn’t a finished product.

    It was rushed to production and sadly, has turned alot of the hype about it into disappointment. I don’t know why the release was forced as overall the community at the time was pleased with the current structure of the game. A few more months would’ve made a world of difference to subscribers.

    Ah well, at least the Llama looks cool.

  8. Tom says:

    This was vastly humorous! anyways.. if you ever want some help killing those vicious llamas or skeletons just email me.. :)

  9. Kilroy says:

    Too funny – I also (re)started UO after a decade hiatus as a hapless non-hiding ninja. The other ninjas just slowly shake their heads at me — which they can do because I’m right out in the open.

    Here’s the secret to starting out as a ninja: Turn into a cat, and DON’T TURN BACK. Just, be a cat. Seriously you’ll thank me.

    Meow.

    - Kilroy

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