Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels #151: “!”




Lots of people have commented on the way Dragon Age drops a digital huckster into your camp, who offers you a quest to buy. For real money. In the actual, non-dragon world.

They certainly knew what they were doing when they devised this. MMOGs have trained up a generation of gamers who are conditioned to seek out exclamation marks and click on them. By hijacking that impulse, they were able to turn predictable behavior into marketing effort.

Of course, like most marketing efforts it pisses off ten people for every sale it generates. Like annoying product jingles that get stuck in your head, or people that call you at dinnertime, the folks in marketing seem to want your attention no matter how much you hate them for it.

For the record, I never bought the Warden’s Keep DLC for Dragon’s Age. But I did think “Ooh! Quest!” every single time I entered camp.

Also, I didn’t look before I made the comic, but I really do wonder if anyone has created a mod that will let you kill the quest giver. I can’t be the only guy who hates him and his punctuated head.

Shamus Young is a programmer and writer by trade, videogame nitpicker by inclination. If you have the patience for more of his ramblings, they can be found here.

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