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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

World of EverHammer

Let me preface this by stating that I have never played World of Warcraft, Everquest, Lord of the Rings Online, Warhammer Online or Maple Story.

I’ll pause while those of you who know what I’m talking about recover from having thrown up in your mouths at that last juxtaposition.

Back? Good. I tried FreeRealms for approximately two hours in total and didn’t see the appeal. My wife and I played around with Toontown Online for about as long as it took to realize that there wasn’t much to do if you weren’t willing to upgrade to a paid membership. I have even, I’m ashamed to admit, installed Second Life on my laptop before I remembered that Second Life was developed as a kind of honey trap for griefers and perverts to keep them from intruding on real games.

So my MMO experience is essentially nil. I know enough of the jargon to fake my way through a conversation with someone who has a WOW subscription. (“So, how about those instances, eh? Those goldfarmers sure stink.)

So I’m not what you could call the target market for Felicia Day’s web show The Guild.

If you haven’t heard of Felicia Day, you have no business reading a geek-centric blog. I bid you good day sir.

If you haven’t heard of The Guild, I couldn’t say I’d blame you. The only reason I heard about it was because “Julian” Rabbit “Murdoch” interviewed Felicia Day in the aftermath of the googlebomb that Joss Whedon threw at us with Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Weblog. They discussed this webshow that she’d been producing, which was how Whedon found her to fill the role of Penny in HMDSAW.

The Guild is a show about a group of highly dysfunctional people who are members of a guild in a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game that bears a striking, if not actionable, resemblance to World of Warcraft. The group is a cross section of the kinds of people who get obsessed with MMOs: There’s your fussy, 40 year old loser, your snarky power leveler, your faux confident teenager, your sheltered late bloomer, your bad mother and your mousy redhead with self esteem issues. Apart, they’re a bunch of losers without friends. Together, they’re a bunch of losers without friends known as the Knights of Good.

The drama of the show stems from the fact that a catalyzing event thrust the nature of their relationships with each other into meatspace. Not one of them knows how to deal with people in the real world, though each of them fails to deal with people in their own way. Vork, for example, is a shutin while Tinkerballa is a user. Their interactions with each other are the reason you want to keep watching.

Felicia Day writes the show, and it’s clear that there’s a little bit of Codex in her. She’s clearly had dealings with all of the characters she’s created, though I’m sure (I hope?) the characters on the show are exaggerated for comic effect. (If Clara is based on a real person, someone should call child services immediately.)

As I said, I’m not the target market for the show. To me, Aggro is something farmers do and a mob is something that involves Marlon Brando and Italian American stereotypes. But the show has appeal to the wider geek market; and not just because Felicia Day has become kind of a nerd sex symbol (Sure, she’s attainable. Just not by you.) My wife, for example, knows less about MMORPGs than I do, and my lack of EXP with the genre is clearly evidenced by the fact that I’m the only person who still appends the RPG to the MMO when writing about them. She has become hooked on the show, and is eagerly awaiting the next free episode drop.

And there’s a bit of a rub. Having devoured the last two seasons and been consistently pleased with the writing, I’m not entirely sure I like where the season 3 storyline is going. This season’s Big Boss, the Axis of Anarchy, just makes me want to put my fist through a wall every time I see them. From the moment they cut in front of the KOG at Gamestop, I wanted to personally curb stomp every last one of them.

Maybe games do make you violent. Or maybe it’s just that I was bullied as a kid and have less than zero tolerance for bullies. I don’t just want them stopped; I want them obliterated and their lines striken from the face of the earth. (Let that be a warning to anyone harassing my son or daughter ten years from now.)

And that was my reaction to them after just the first episode. Their transgressions have only escalated in the ensuing episodes. My wife and I have seen up through Episode 7 (Coping and stuff), and with so few episodes left in the season I am concerned. To date, Felicia Day’s writing has shown none of the trappings of the Sci-Fi channel nihilism that insists on putting sympathetic characters through the nine circles of hell only to flush them down Lucifer’s toilet to live in a kind of sub-hell where all demon offal coagulates to form the tenth through eighteenth circles of hell . However, I fail to see how sufficient justice can be rendered to the Axis of Anarchy to satisfy me. To simply destroy their status as a guild would be inadequate. The Knights of Good would have to take everything they hold dear, kill them, take a dump on everything they held dear, and have the befouled items delivered via singing telegram to the grieving families during the funeral. Then the harm the Axis of Anarchy has rendered unto the Knights of Good and countless other fictional characters in the fictional history of the AoA might begin to be atoned for.

I don’t think the Knights of Good have it in them. My lone hope is Tinkerballa.

UPDATE

Okay, so we watched the rest of the season. I won't spoil the ending, but I suppose it worked out okay.

No, the KoG didn't kill the AoA, take a dump on their computers, then send their computers to the funeral via singing telegram, but I didn't really expect that anyway.

I eagerly await season four, and I'm putting season 1 and 2 on DVD in my Amazon cart to be saved for until I have spare money to buy frivolous things (owning a new house is expensive)