Stolen Pixels #7: Vulture Milk

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Stolen Pixels #7: Vulture Milk

In this installment of Stolen Pixels, Shamus Young observes that with great pie comes great responsibility, at least in the World of Warcraft.

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Bravo!, Good sir, Bravo!
I love the standard of your work Shamus, I hope you continue to write.

Great as always, Shamus! I laughed when you talked about it on your site and I laughed more reading this comic.

It should be interesting to see how much this stirs up all the fanboys this time around.

I liked this. A lot.

I mean, to start with, it was only so that the 3 copper pieces you got from rats, where due to selling the parts to an alchemist or someone who had a vested interest in seeing rats dead.

If you have to create a whole item, encumberance table etc. for each one though, it does make things a little stupid; so the idea of just swapping it for money happened.

(Although on EQ, I often found wolves with two 'wolf heads', three 'wolf tails' and two 'wolf pelts')

I'm glad to see you didn't make the joke about the Vulture Milk only coming from the males though.

Excellent work yet again, good sir. It always bugged me when I would slay a rat in some disease-ridden cellar, only to find out that until it died, it was richer than me.

nice one and ``I have to wonder how in the name of Arthas' frozen nipples´´- really funny

I'm in total agreement. Nothing annoys me more than MMO game design that pretends to present an "immersive world" while simultaneously suggesting that only mythic heroes can eat cheese, and that rats collect copper necklaces.

Even worse is when the world provides no basis whatsoever for explaining why *everyone keeps coming back from the dead* and just presents a blithe, pseudo-medieval realm where no one really discusses the fact that you can't die! Or even worse has the game's backstory revolving around the death of major NPCs.

Perhaps if it was a BOTTLE of milk, instead of a glass. Then it wouldn't spill. The vulture could hold the bottle with it's talons. You see, when you killed that boar five levels ago, you killed a baby boar's mother. Fortunately, a friendly vulture was raising that baby boar, bringing it whatever food and milk it could find. But you killed the vulture. Now that baby boar is going to starve. I hope you're happy.

Ha! Nice job, and as usual, the accompanying commentary is my favourite part.

The best games I've ever seen in terms of sensible loot have got to be the Etrian Odysseys (1 and 2) on the DS. When you kill something, it drops only bits of stuff that you'd expect it to have, usually parts of its body: Moles give you "soft hides", carnivorous flowers give you "giant petals", and so forth. You can turn all these things into money, back in town, and then buy swords, armour, and other goodies -- the critters in the dungeon don't walk around with that sort of thing. (OK, so it's a bit of a mystery why the vendor in town is so eager for petals and bits of fur, but at least the monsters don't hork up full suits of plate mail when they die.)

Heh. I totally agree... while still basically laughing at myself for simultaneously not caring that my archer is carrying 2.5 metric tons of arrows...

Realism would be dull. But couldn't we have a slightly less laughable fantasy?

Depressingly funny.

It's the core problem with most MMOs: in the process of trying to make sure that every single player enjoys the same creamy-chocolatey goodness, the designers end up making the entire game world taste like colored tofu. As you correctly point out, "vulture milk" and other silliness are evidence of a serious game design flaw. But most players are so caught up in making the gerbil wheel turn faster they never even notice.

Loneduck3:
Perhaps if it was a BOTTLE of milk, instead of a glass. Then it wouldn't spill. The vulture could hold the bottle with it's talons. You see, when you killed that boar five levels ago, you killed a baby boar's mother. Fortunately, a friendly vulture was raising that baby boar, bringing it whatever food and milk it could find. But you killed the vulture. Now that baby boar is going to starve. I hope you're happy.

*wipes a tear from his eye* Oh my, both this and that are making my sides hurt with laughter, thank you to both =D

"and that rats collect copper necklaces."

That's actually true though : / (sometimes)

Yeah, rats and birds sometimes have a thing for shiny objects, many interesting objects have been found in a nest before.

It seems baffling that simply renaming items to seem more intuitive is too elegant a solution for Blizzard.

Maybe then making aquired items gradable would work, like, start with Beef Jerky then work up to Fillet Mignon.

I love these things. Well done, once again.

Yay! There's my priest, Racheala, making her premiere debut in a Shamus production. (The female in the comic is my character on the Kirin Tor server.)

Shamus told us the general concept of the cartoon while he was taking the screen shots. But I never thought it would be THIS funny! I'm still laughing out loud at the absurdity.

Good work, Shamus!

Leslee

Archon:
Even worse is when the world provides no basis whatsoever for explaining why *everyone keeps coming back from the dead* and just presents a blithe, pseudo-medieval realm where no one really discusses the fact that you can't die! Or even worse has the game's backstory revolving around the death of major NPCs.

well in matrix online they used a emerency jack out procedure invented after the truce like a excuse for that, and they actualy talk about it on the game storyline.

And thanks for the help Leslee. (You also appear in the next comic as well.) Couldn't have done it without you.

Funny comic, but this perticular lack of immersion never bothered me in MMO's. I prefer the loot system that shares a vauge connection with the creature in question.

Like Oblivion as well. Why does a crab have a set of lockpicks? Are they trying to infiltrate our locked structures from the ocean?

not going to lie, i still loved the days in runescape when you searched hay to find a needle

NobleBear:
Maybe then making aquired items gradable would work, like, start with Beef Jerky then work up to Fillet Mignon.

Ten points.

Hee, these things are damn funny. I love stumbling across random treasures like this on sites.

The Bard's Tale (the recent action RPG, not the classic RPG/puzzle series) had a hilarious take on this one -- the first wolf you killed dropped a furniture store's worth of stuff, and the bard calls the narrator on it.

Nice cartoon. Good writing too.

The death-thingy was always the main factor that after some time drove me away from most MMOs. I think one of the only MMOs that has a good way of dealing with "death" is EvE O.

Apart from the fact that it's really gartnd up when different rules are enforced for NPCs then for players the whole reborn thing destroys a very important aspect of the game.
Lets say the rule of unlimited lives applies to everybody and anything in the world, why in [fantasy world's god]'s name would someone give you a quest to assassinate his enemy when he knows he will be raised from the dead?

Don't get me wrong I am not totally against ressurection but I think there should be a few rules that aplly. For example in Baldur's Gate (at least in BG2) there were some high lvl spells and afaik even weapons that had a chance of totally destroying the body thus making ressurection impossible.
Now the chance/possibility version of instant death would kind of suck in an MMO where you just played who knows how long to get your character fully geared up.

But I think a good way to implement permadeath would be to maybe add some special areas where you don't have the possibility of ressurection, but for beating those areas you get some pretty epic gear.
And by epic gear I mean stuff that is really gartn distinctive from the rest of the world's equipment not some slightly discolored axe/sword/shield version ABC. (Oh and I also don't mean gartdamn laz0r charging gun in an medieval setting)

so long
UnterHund

p.s.: gart/gartdammit/gartn/... is some kind of personal swearing word if you can't guess...

I'm still trying to figure out how a two-foot-tall fishman coughs up a six-foot-long axe when I kill him.

The Rogue Wolf:
I'm still trying to figure out how a two-foot-tall fishman coughs up a six-foot-long axe when I kill him.

I suppose he was holding in the same place you keep it once you pick it up. Which only leads to more questions.

The fishman was keeping the axe in the same place the vulture had the milk: His inventory.

Duh.

I have to say though, WoW is better about things like this than other games... while I do recall getting apparently fully processed food items from killing animals, you could never get money from killing animals (directly, you could always sell the vendor trash), and you couldn't get things like cloth from animals, only from humanoids. I do not think it is weird that you would occasionally kill an ostrich looking bird thing and get a necklace, or things that might logically make sense such as that...

But yeah, fully processed / cooked food from monster animals was always a bit jarring.

I have to admit that my wife, boys, and I have had similar discussions, but I don't find the "who cares 'why' it's carrying that; 'HOW' is it carrying that" scenario nearly as jarring - from an immersion standpoint - as the fact that in many cities throughout Azeroth and in Outland there's nowhere to sit. Oh, sure, you can just drop yer butt on the floor/ground/simulacrum of something comfy, but there isn't a usable chair, bench, La-Z-Boy ANYWHERE. It's one of the things that makes me hate Night Elves with a blinding passion, actually.

Maybe it's just me and my violent anal-retentiveness, but it just *feels wrong* logging out while my toon is just ... standing there. When *I'm* not going to be doing anything for twelve hours or more, I'd surely rather have a seat than be left standing...

I'm not a high enough level to say "FUCK YOU I LOVE VULTURE MILK!" so I have no choice but to say "Good work, this was funny"

(although, some variety in the screenshots would have been nice - it felt like it was in the same camera angle the whole time)

To quote:
"you'll need to be more than halfway to godhood before you're allowed to face the challenge and responsibility of eating pie."

of COURSE you need to be near godlike... this is PIE after all.

The_root_of_all_evil:
(Although on EQ, I often found wolves with two 'wolf heads', three 'wolf tails' and two 'wolf pelts')

So I'm browsing through these, Master Root, because I wasn't aware of these comics' existence (being one of those pesky young whipper-snappers that came here just for ZP and stayed on afterwards) and would like to bring your comment into the AMAZING WORLD OF TOMORROW (there's flying cars now, honest!) with the irony that the latest episode of Unforgotten Realms where this exact scenario was mentioned!

This is some kind of divine providence, I swear. The gods themselves WANT me to read Stolen Pixels!

Nerdfury:

The_root_of_all_evil:
(Although on EQ, I often found wolves with two 'wolf heads', three 'wolf tails' and two 'wolf pelts')

So I'm browsing through these, Master Root, because I wasn't aware of these comics' existence (being one of those pesky young whipper-snappers that came here just for ZP and stayed on afterwards) and would like to bring your comment into the AMAZING WORLD OF TOMORROW (there's flying cars now, honest!) with the irony that the latest episode of Unforgotten Realms where this exact scenario was mentioned!

This is some kind of divine providence, I swear. The gods themselves WANT me to read Stolen Pixels!

Odd, I knew that I'd said something similar after UR, but with 7000+ posts to track through... ;)

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