The Search For Pancakes
April 30, 2002

This is going to be a regular column on online RPGs. Whether taking the form of massively multiplayer online RPGs, multiplayer modes of single player RPGs, or even console experiments like Phantasy Star Online, there's a lot to talk about.

What works? What doesn't? What really ticks you off? Where's Waldo?

It's my hope to cover some of these topics. This column will be whatever we make of it - some weeks I'll rant, sometimes I'll go for humor. I may toss out a mini-review of whatever MMORPG I'm currently involved in, or I might preview upcoming projects. Has there been another lawsuit related to online gaming? You may hear about it here.

Feel free to send me mail; I'd love to read it. If you think I'm way off base or have something you want to add, I might put it up. If I'm too much of a carebear and you want to r0x0r the n00b, maybe I'll play along. I'm game.

With that said, let's get into it.

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There's something amusing about an evil druid with a group of pet spiders, isn't there?
Pancake Rabbit's Big Day Out
There's just something about unrestricted Player vs. Player combat. PvP in online gaming is always a very interesting thing, for reasons I'll go into in another column.

Asheron's Call PvP server is called Darktide. I've never personally played on it, but I understand that it's a very rough place for new characters. Simply put, there's no artificial restrictions on who you can and can't kill, with the slight exception that you get a temporary reprieve immediately after dying. As a result, one's guild and allegiances mean a great deal. Not to mention that new characters...well, it's always fun to gank the newbies, right?

If there's anyone that's even less popular than the newbie, it's the role-player. I'm not talking about someone who might wear inferior armor because fits his or her particular character, or has some sort of background story. I'm talking about hardcore role-player - Ye Olde English, refusal to even acknowledge they're in a game ("What is this 'statistic' you talk about?"), etc. There's a fine line between acceptable and annoying.

So for fun, let's take a newbie character onto Darktide, and role-play him. Should be fun, right? The real question becomes whom we should role-play. Eccentric mage? Chivalrous knight? Smartass thief? Nah, they're all cliché. Let's go for a tough one: The Pancake Rabbit. More info about this marvelous creature can be found here.

So, character creation. Pancake Rabbit will be Sho (Asian) - it just fits. Attributes...we'll assume the rabbit's strong enough to hold various pastries and household objects on his head, so we'll max that out. Coordination, max - we need to balance said objects. We'll go with max quickness, because rabbits tend to be pretty quick. That leaves no points for endurance, focus, or self, but that's fine. I'm not aware of any rabbits being great mages, since the lack of vocal chords tends to be a factor.

Skills - well, let's specialize run and jump - Pancake Rabbit must quickly hop about the landscape. For weaponry, we'll specialize unarmed combat, since I don't see a rabbit wielding a weapon. We'll specialize loyalty, because any pet that routinely tolerates various objects being placed on its head must be loyal. We'll also spec cooking, to make those food items, and missile defense, because it's probably hard to pull a William Tell on a rabbit. To round our furry friend out, we'll train melee defense, assess person, and assess creature.

A few cosmetic changes, and The Pancake Rabbit is ready to go! Into the world of Darktide our hero bounds...

The first thing we see is a really big pile of dead bodies. Nobody around, so I wander a bit. Someone named Retro came up to the Pancake Rabbit, and burned me with a torch.

You say, "I'm just a simple pancake rabbit, why are you hitting me?"
Retro says, "cause I've never killed a pancake rabbit"

I ran. Self-preservation instinct, and since I started with no endurance, I only have 5 HP. I'm a fragile pancake rabbit. Retro chased me and attempted to give me something. I didn't stop to see what it was.

Retro says, "if you don't stop running and talk to me I'm gonna kill u"
Retro says, "fine"
Retro says, "die"
Retro runs you through!

Apparently I wasn't as fast as I thought. Back to the lifestone. I decided to go into the training dungeon while I had my brief respite from all those who would harm pancake rabbits. This didn't last.

You say, "Do you have any pancakes?"
Xtreme terror cast Imperil Other I on you
You say, "That's not a pancake."
Xtreme terror's killing blow nearly turns you inside-out!

Darktiders 2, Pancake Rabbits, 0.

Looking in my inventory, I discovered I had some flour, water, and apples, since I was a cook. I made an apple pie. I then discovered I couldn't place the pie on my head. This is obviously a grievous oversight made by the people at Turbine, and I demand they allow baked goods to be worn as headgear.

I decided to skip the training dungeon and head to town. Perhaps they'd sell pancakes there. I encountered several people along the way.

You say, "Do you have any pancakes?"
Dark Tank says, "i got crap ankels...."

I don't want to know.

You say, "Would you like an apple pie?"
Panchan says, "?"
You give Panchan Apple Pie.
You say, "Enjoy!"
Panchan says, "ty"

Aha, a start. The Pancake Rabbit was saved! I think I was still protected from attacks by other people, but we'll pretend that's not the case. I arrived in the town of Shoushi. Nobody had any pancakes, but at least they didn't kill me. I checked the grocer, and bought carrots. Rabbits like carrots!

I couldn't put them on my head. Or in my ears. Or use them as a weapon. What, I'm supposed to cook with them? Bah.

I also bought beer from the bartender. Apparently they don't card pancake rabbits. I should see if this works outside of Dereth.

I decided to check other towns. Surely someone had to sell pancakes! I met other people as I hopped along.

Children says, "hi"
You say, "Do you have any pancakes?"
Children says, "no"
Children says, "do you"
You say, "No, I need them to put on my head."
Children tells you, "what the hell is up with ur name"
You tell Children, "I'm a rabbit, and I'm looking for pancakes to put on my head."
Children tells you, "hey"
You tell Children, "Because that's what pancake rabbits do."
Children tells you, "do poeple kill you"
You tell Children, "Some do, yes. Apparently they don't like pancake rabbits."

Children didn't respond. He didn't kill me, though, so I didn't mind. I checked another town. No pancakes. I was getting desperate. Suddenly I realized I was checking all of the towns from the original game. I hadn't checked any of the towns from the Asheron's Call expansion, however. Marae Lassel is a wondrous island, surely THEY had pancakes! I portalled to the island and checked the town of Greenspire.

You say, "Do you have any pancakes?"
Mordyph says, "dam im all out"
You say, "Darn. Thanks anyway."

My hopes arose. Mordyph had previously had pancakes - perhaps my quest wasn't futile! I continued to check around. Greenspire has a very tall tower, perhaps there's an IHOP up top. I encountered an archer with a very ugly mask on.

You say, "Do you have any pancakes?"
Spin name says, "no why"
You say, "I need them to put on my head."
Spin name says, "wot"
Spin name says, "how oyu do that"
You say, "I'm not sure."
You say, "I want the pancakes first."
The deadly force of Spin name's attack is so strong that your ancestors feel it!
You've lost your Apple Pie!

Darktide 3, Pancake Rabbits, 0. I miss my pie. I hope Spin name enjoyed it.

Deciding to check the rest of Dereth for pancakes on another occasion, I drank my beer and logged out.

Still, Asheron's Call patches monthly. I hope to obtain pancakes one of these days.



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