Manifold Mischief

Mission reviews, essays, and documents of record regarding The Matrix Online. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sugar Shack 23: Exile Contact Missions: Madame T.: Like the Oracle, but Wittier

Sugar Shack 23: Exile Contact Missions: Madame T.: Like the Oracle, but Wittier

After struggling in vain to find some emotional connection with the taciturn, impassive TickTock, it was a great relief to work with Madame T. She continually refers to predicting the future; it is a delightful irony that this future-teller is located in the Historic District (!), at -1033, 1, -653. When I met her the other night, I was surprised to see this bare-shouldered woman in shades, with wild dark hair, standing resolute in a driving snowstorm, like Anna Karenina, so rapt in future visions that she was oblivious to the storm of the present. Above her left breast burned a heart tattoo, suggesting a dissolute life eventually redirected towards the world of the spirit. I could tell I was going to like her, and I was not disappointed.

In many respects she is reminiscent of Hypatia, with her ravenous desire for knowledge. However, Hypatia always had a lust for the physical book itself, the material index of knowledge. Madame T., on the other hand, simply seeks the insight itself, as we shall see.

One very, very unusual aspect of Madame T. is that she is not an Exile! One contact in her second mission observes: “She certainly is pushy for a redpill”. Wow, what a prospect this raises: perhaps one day some of us playing the game might be able to retire as Neighborhood Mission Contacts…I can see myself sitting at a table in a Chinese restaurant in Kowloon someday, passing out assignments in the form of fortune cookies…. *shakes head* Back to the task at hand! I almost forgot to mention: I ran all her missions on hard.

1. Starting Points

She just needs some data from a nearby security office. She has “seen” that we would be working together apparently, and says “I have anticipated” “I predict”, etc. Unfortunately I found myself fighting a machine captain, which went against my principles and the precepts of Agent Gray and made me feel guilty. For a minute or two, anyway.

This mish is simple, and entertaining. When I dropped off the data with a cutout, she told me, “wow, one of Madame T’s predictions actually came true!”. (Interestingly, all the cutouts and assistants I these missions are succubus in appearance, a nice touch.) Then, at the end, Madame T. foresaw many more opportunities for cooperation. I loved this cute ending.

2. Inquiring Minds

Madame T. wants some data from an exile, and whether it is given willingly or not is strictly secondary. The principal, though, moves around a lot, and you have to run around to find him. Kill all his very tough guards, and he becomes quite accommodating, commenting sourly, “She certainly is pushy for a redpill”. There are many amusing touches in this mission, such as reading the principal’s email inbox, and Madame T saying “I guess I should have seen that coming” and “I don’t need a crystal ball to see that this should be quite easy for you.”

One thing I would like to see in these get-the-data missions would be some indication of just what is all so important. It might be something urgent and desperate, like someone’s contact information. It might be something deeply personal, like the background on a missing relative. It might be something amusing, like a Victoria’s Secret catalog or a Christmas list. The Chef’s missions are wonderful examples of this.

3. Emerald Wishes

This mission was uncomfortable for me. Just last week it seems, I had been scoring accolades from The Jeweler. Now I was raiding his assets. It turns out that he has a mystic emerald Madame T wants, so that she can glimpse its secrets about the future. In this mission, we see that the Jeweler has some significant security and office assets he never told us about; and they put up a very spirited resistance. Then drop off the emerald and you are done.

More nice touches in this mish. When you drop off the emerald with a cutout, a guard remarks that he has heard of you, and compares your missions with his. Then a prediction from Madame T! “Wait…something is coming to me…I see you running many more fruitful missions for me. Nice work, Sugaree”.

One thing would have made this better. When you retrieve the emerald, your inventory just shows a box, the same generic display used for everything from tracking devices to PDAs. Some more representative artwork would have been wonderful for this.

4. Toil and Trouble

Hypatia, you may recall, has an awesome archive of all kinds of books and knowledge, and is always on the prowl for anything she does not already have. Well, it turns out that in order to unleash the power within the gem, Madame T. needs you to find an incantation in Hypatia’s archives, and then drop it off for an assistant to recite. I did this mission with a heavy heart, since Hypatia is the Exile closest to me in personality and appearance. But I was confident she had tape backup, and would only lose the physical form, not the data itself, so I went ahead.

After getting the incantation, you drop it off and go corral three assistants to help fire it off. Regrettably, they asked me to leave before running it. They were concerned for my safety. Or maybe they did not want their role-play disrupted.

5. Infosweep

Madame T. is overwhelmed by her visions from the gem and needs help from the Chessman (surely her polar opposite) in interpreting them. He has helpfully come downtown to meet you. This palaver, though, is interrupted by almost half a dozen competing operatives. Their attacks were well-coordinated, and the fight was not a breeze. On the way to the next mish location, to catch a data spike, I stopped to watch some Pit Vipers getting baptized in the pool, and was attacked! Of all the nerve! You can’t ever let your guard down!

And then it turned out that not one but two other teams were after the same data! Fortunately, they all attacked almost as soon as I got out of the elevator, which was considerate. After all, this way I didn’t have to go hunting for them. The massive data spike surged, overwhelmed the network, and miraculously fit right onto a single CD!

After I dropped it off, I hastened to the elevator, only to receive a high-urgency message from Madame T! She said, “Stop right where you are! Close your eyes. Concentrate….does anything feel different to you?” No, I confessed, just the warm heated air, fretting about agents descending on me. The she breathlessly whispered, “I see you succeeding in all your future endeavors”, and downloaded a “little something” into my inventory, bidding me to think of her when I used it. She signed off, and I walked out into the classical splendor of the Historical District, savoring the glorious, color-drenched full sun sky, with a dark blue sky and pink clouds vying for attention.

This was a great suite of missions. Well-written interactions, a distinct personality at the helm, interesting background, and neat connections with other Exiles, from The Chessman to Hyptia and The Jeweler. And the fact that Madame T. is a redpill means we should all be thinking big, big things for ourselves for the year to come.

And this is likely my last Sugar Shack for this year. Thanks to all who have read and responded. Most heartfelt thanks to my clan, The Collective, who have always supported and challenged and encouraged and listened to me. No one could ask for a better clan in the whole wide world. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to them and to all.

This mission review may be found at manifoldmischief.blogspot.com, along with previous reviews and other writings relevant to MxO.