Manifold Mischief

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sugar Shack 30: Exile Contact Missions: Downtown in Review

Sugar Shack 30: Exile Contact Missions: Downtown in Review

Over on QA, Zurish from The Collective has been mowing down people in duels like he’s Agent Smith! (We may rename him The Lawnmower Man.) Alas, I haven’t had a chance to try his tricks yet since QA and I are seldom on at the same time. So, while waiting for QA to bounce back, I thought I’d look back over the downtown missions. First, though, some more thoughts on what constitutes a good mish, with reference to the downtown Exile crowd. (A more in-depth discussion of this takes place in Sugar Shack 18, from December 10 last year.)

Key Incredients:
1. Personality. The Weaver’s constant hectoring and complaining was fun! Madame T.’s engaging plays on words delighted me. The Chef’s irrepressible speculations about the culinary arts were great. You remember talking to them long after the missions are done. This needs only wit, which maybe explains why not all had it.

2. Good Story. The Chef’s search for perfect ingredients, the Bartender’s efforts to please the Merovingian, Tick Tock’s desire to penetrate Mr. Black’s organization. These are the hallmarks of a good mish suite. A good mish suite usually, but not always, comes from a well-developed personality.

3. Counter-intuitive Strategy. The Jeweler’s escort mission is the best example of this. There are few examples of this, understandably so. Bribes and bluffs and threats are too little used, usually the hard way is the only way.

4. Unexpected Encounters. Meeting Silver and the Chessman was cool. Delivering a gift to Beryl was fabulous! As a Machinist, running into Persephone was phenomenal.

5. A Sense of the Life of the Community. Sammy’s missions were pretty simple. However, seeing the effort to stop gang wars, and the efforts by the Hellions to undermine it, was cool.

6. Physical Settings. Nothing much was done with this that I noticed, except the cool (but almost identical) offices of the Jeweler and Nicky G.
With that in mind, here are my thoughts on the most memorable missions from downtown. All are worth doing, and all represent the content we say we crave, but you’re just nuts to miss the ones below.

Best Missions: The Jeweler (exceptionally challenging mission, and great personality!) and the Bartender (meeting Persephone and being called attractive!) and the Sculptress (fabulous artspeak and a gift at the end!) and the Chef (wonderful dialogue and everything goes awry, and surprisingly, no cake!).

Best Personality: The Chef, the Weaver, Madame T., the Jeweler, Hypatia. You remember how they talk, and what they seek long after the mishes are done.

Most Unsettling: The Coroner, by far. His experiments, and his requiring the sacrifice of the living, unsettled me. And the epic beta encounter from his first mish is something I will never forget! Nicky G., too, once you realize how cold and evil she is she is. The same goes for the Newsie.

Personal Fave: Hypatia. Like her, I love books, and I felt so close to her while doing her bidding that I wish she had another five. I even felt bad later when I was required to act against her for other Exiles. Plus, she looks like me. The Sculptress is a very close second.

Biggest Mysteries:
1. Madame T.: How did a redpill ever get so far? What was her secret? What is her story?
2. The Auditor: Just who’s trying to use memory leaks to being down the Matrix, anyway? This could be well-used to foreshadow future storyline events. We can only hope.
3. Mr. Black: What’s with his family, and why is it soooo dysfunctional?
4. Pepper: How did such an inveterate screw-up ever become an Exile with her own organization? And why on earth would anyone follow her?
5. Nicky G.: What is it with her and the Blue Book?
6. Clubs: Why do so many Exiles associate themselves with clubs and bars? And why do almost none of their missions ever reflect this?

Biggest Wish: I would like to see more backstory. It could be revealed in conversation, in stuff from the Operator, in offhand comments from miscellaneous NPCs. Especially, when I have to get books and pages and documents and letters, I would like to be able to skim them and get some sense of their highlights and key points. I want this soooo much. We see it in the documents from the Pandora’s Box missions; I would like to see it everywhere possible.

Final Thought: Exiles need not be enraging to be engaging. Sister Margaret from Mara is the perfect example of someone who assigns difficult mishes, yet you have a good feeling about them when you’re done: you help people, bring them together, etc. Good missions involving good deeds are very possible. Sammy’s and Lotus’s come close; it would be nice to see some more.

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