I’m not sure what it means when the unaltered mechanics of your videogame can serve as the punchline for a joke, but it probably isn’t a hallmark of success in the area of game design.
Milk is the one substance all mammals can consume immediately after birth. But some madman at Blizzard is either unfamiliar with the stuff or has confused “milk” with “Jack Daniels Old Time Tennessee Whiskey,” because you have to be a seasoned adventurer before you’re allowed a glass of it.
When I call Blizzard out on stuff like this I tend to get fanboys honking at me and jabbering on about game balance. This is like using “my head is cold” as an excuse as to why you’re wearing a diaper as a hat. It does indeed solve the problem, but it isn’t elegant or pretty and I’m not about to pretend not to notice just for the sake of being nice.
Things only get more demented as you go up in level. You need a Ph.D. in Kicking Ass to slurp down a bowl of soup, and you’ll need to be more than halfway to godhood before you’re allowed to face the challenge and responsibility of eating pie.
The fact that animals drop things like longswords and armor doesn’t bother me quite as much. Sure, animals shouldn’t be able to acquire, much less carry all the rummage sale stuff you find on their corpses, but the logic parts of my brain tend to shut down when presented with a bunch of shiny new toys. But even this prize-induced retardation can’t make me accept a vulture with a glass of frosty milk. Aside from questions about where they got it and how it stays cold, I have to wonder how in the name of Arthas’ frozen nipples the vulture managed to avoid spilling the stuff while it was trying to peck my ass off.
I don’t demand stark realism from these games, but if we could move just a little further from this acid-trip logic then I’m sure I’d just find something else trivial to complain about.
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 at ShamusYoung.com.