Saturday, December 09, 2006

Colbert Battles for the Favor of the Gods

...and wins. As you can see from the partial screenshot (above) from the on-line roleplaying game Guild Wars, the Colbert Report is inching its way into geek culture and the team is battling for America (who else?). Who would have thought that a comedian who plays a pompous Republican would have game guilds named after him? Well, I would. but I know geeks. I found this particularly amusing since I've been watching the Colbert Report more as of late. (By the way, you can click on any of the pictures to see full screen shots which will allow the onscreen text to be read more easily.)

That inset is taken from the relatively boring screen shot above of my character digging around in her storage trunk of saved junk in the game. I usually don't pay much attention to the messages about who has the favor of the gods since it applies to a portion of the game my character isn't a high enough level to deal with yet. In Guild Wars, the favor of the gods allows you to access another area to play in. If you don't have it, you can't get there but I'm confident in America's ability to re-gain favor in time for me to get into the Underworld.

I'm liking Guild Wars more than expected but that's because it has some features I hadn't anticipated. For one thing, you can have your characters do some Sims' style movement such as dancing (see my friend in one of his heavy metal dance moves above as we engage in mature and witty banter in the above picture while my young warrior, Tankarific Carl, (with the blonde topknot) doing a John Travolta move).

You can also laugh, taunt, sit, get drunk, agree, stand at attention, beckon, beg, boo, look bored, bow, cheer, catch your breath, clap, congratulate someone, smack your head to signify "doh", do a double-take, play drums, act excited, shake your fist, flex your muscles, play the flute, cheer your team, play guitar, do a high five, jump, kneel, laugh, moan, shake your head "no", raise your hand to get the teacher to pick you, point, ponder something, pout, roar, salute, scratch, shoo someone, sigh, sit, indicate you're sorry, play violin, wave, yawn and, on special occasions, transform into other things. You've got a lot of options to make a fool of yourself. Any game that permits that gets bonus points.

You can see a whole squadron of characters who transformed themselves into candy corn during Halloween and there's a disco ball in the center of town in the picture above. On many occasions when I was playing around the end of October, groups of animated candy corn did synchronized dancing under the disco ball. You could also turn yourself into someone with a pumpkin head and release ghosts from boxes. While you can do all the normal roleplaying things like going off on quests, killing things, getting skills and gaining experience, the expanded opportunities for goofing off are more important to me. Even some of the quests are goofy (like chasing lost hogs back into their pen, finding food for a giant pet scorpion named "Joe" or tracking down a wayfaring pig.)

The game also allows you to have a pet if you build your character in a particular way. Above, you can see the only kitty I'm allowed to have (since my landlord doesn't allow pets). If cats aren't your bag, you can keep a wolf, giant bird, or spider. If that weren't nifty enough, the game has yaks and warthogs running around in it. Unfortunately, neither of them are lethal but I'm still holding out hope that a future version might include throngs of murderous yaks and man-eating warthogs. That'd be incredibly cool.

I've been playing Guild Wars with my sister (and my old friend, 0tarin) quite a bit for the past month and am still pretty incompetent at it. I'll regret it when I reach a point where I'll know what I'm doing sufficiently that I'll have grown bored with the distractions and start focussing on actually playing well. Of course, I'm sure my sister (Wandering Carl above), who has to tolerate the lunacy of my friend and I, will be relieved to not have to carry us all the time. ;-)


Sharon said...

Now Shari, I don't think I am "carrying" you two any more. As you and 0t have learned more about the character types you are playing, you are now equal partners in all but knowing where to go, and even there you have seen how frequently I get lost.

You two chose some of the more difficult character types to play, as I am learning as I move my ranger and necro characters forward in the game. I think you both do very well at playing now, and you get better as time goes on. Frankly, I have been watching how you and 0t play your characters to help me learn more about mine.

The other thing you mentioned, about the names of groups winning Favor of the Gods to make access to the Underworld and Fisher of Woe (yes, there are two places available, not one) available, I have to admit I find some of the Guild names highly amusing, occasionally rude, and something totally baffling. Some day I would like to see a complete Guild Roster. I have a feeling it might be a really strange list.

Shari said...

I assure you, any instance where I appear to know where I'm going is the product of fortunate happenstance. ;-)

To be honest, I think a lot of my playing improvement is a result of my computer's kludginess clearing up by not using talk at the same time as playing. It's amazing how much better you play when you're not moving jerkily constantly or getting frozen in battle for a minute at a time. :-p

As for guild names, we'll top them all. The Carl shall rule! This will not be denied!