Manifold Mischief

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sugar Shack 34: Exile Contact Missions: The Digger: The Matrix Excavated, Not!

Sugar Shack 34: Exile Contact Missions: The Digger: The Matrix Excavated, Not!

For me, the Digger has been something of a Holy Grail. He would never give me a mission on Recursion, and snootily blew me off times without number! My /CCRs and /bugs only seemed to embolden him! But on the QA server, I finally succeeded in approaching him, and entering his brief service. His dig in is Dannah Heights, in the basement of an unusually architected room, at 332,-2,-1008. The basement is amazing! It’s filled with junk: vases, pots, swords, boxes, busts, crates, canvases, statues, furniture, you name it. It looks like he’s been buying out garage sales or the past three iterations of the Matrix! He has a bookish demeanor, though he has a street edge to his voice.

His quest is indeed an evocative one, and he foreshadows the Archaeologist we all know and love from the four Pandora’s Box arcs. He believes in past iterations of the Matrix, and seeks to better understand them. There’s no backstory deeper than this! One might think that the machines would be the best source of information for him, but as an Exile, he cannot comfortably approach them, it appears. So he seeks everything through indirection, requiring your aid. I kind of liked him. But as a person, not as a mission contact.

1. Site of Interest

A nearby building has some areas which he wishes to research, about a previous iteration of the Matrix. The thing is, some inconvenient Exiles are hanging out there; he needs me to persuade them to move. This is surprisingly easy, since the Exiles in question are in two separate locations, and do not team up. However, it felt unfortunate to me that there was no easier way to free up the space for research (and it was a third and fourth floor apartment, so it’s not like he needed to actually, you, _dig_ or anything) some other way than killing everyone there. Surely the local crime lords could have been engaged to persuade them to leave. Or maybe they could have been paid off? Must everything come down to guns?

2. Passing Notes

He wants to pass his research notes on to Hypatia in exchange for access to some of her books. Three elite guards assault you at the drop-off though; they have killed Hypatia’s representative. “Sugaree’s here, just like he said,” one shouts; we are left wondering who “he” is. But the next stop is a successful drop off. The Digger gets his books access, and you get a pat on the back: “Good work, kid. I can keep going with my research, now I’ve got Hypatia’s books.”

By the way, I enjoyed seeing some win-win barter here. Usually Exiles kill everything in their way to get what they want (i.e., the first mission). I liked seeing someone a little more creative.

3. Safer Ground

Take his most valuable artifact, a statue, to The Collector to protect it from the avaricious Argon. I received a note from my Operator about a fight with some of Argon’s men, but it never actually happened. Not that I am complaining mind you. The suspicious soul in me wondered if this was a ploy meant to flush out the Digger’s best stuff to bring it to the Collector… I mean, it happened in a Sherlock Holmes story once. Overall, a quite simple, straightforward mission. Not like The Maltese Falcon, Indiana Jones or Gods, Graves, and Scholars at all! Perhaps more simple than such a key item might have been warranted.

4. Plug the Leak

You might think that the Digger is too arcane, and too ivory-towerish to have an organization. But you would be wrong. He does, and it comes complete with turncoats, one of whom you “snuff” in this mission. This was the one who set me up in the last mish, so it was personal. As a story this mish was leak. Basically, I traveled to a location to kill someone and his guards. There was no sense of why this person had betrayed, or what his goals, rewards, and motivation were. As I was fighting his last guard, he could have been going on about how he was going to get revenge finally, etc. Much more could have been done with this. It took a disk from him to an associate of the Digger’s and I was done. After I gave them to her, she kept asking if I had them. Curiously, the disk to be taken for safekeeping went to a building right next to his hangout!

5. A Collector’s Collection

Word of mouth rules! The Digger has mentioned me to Sirius, who wants to meet me personally before giving me an assignment. This involves rescuing one of Sirius’ people who has been taken by the Sculptress, whose interest in these guys can be imagined. Very tough fight here with no less than eight enemies (!) who attack you en masse. “Nice job, kid. Sirius was really impressed with your work”. The Digger himself, though, seemed to have run out of assignments for me.

In conclusion, these missions were disappointing. His speech style is a watered down version of the Jeweler. And oddly enough, only one or two of his missions has anything at all to do with his avocation: research into the past. All the others are the standard killing traitors, dropping off stuff, and rescuing people. For someone so preoccupied with the past, it is surprising how little time the Digger actually seems to spend on it. The dialog is very so-so. He makes no mention of his vast material wealth, which surprises since it means so much to him. Not only that, he says basically nothing about his research findings, which is immensely out of character; most people in his position talk to the hired help all day! In the end, this fascinating character is left undeveloped and unutilized. After traveling to a different world to meet him, I had expected more.

Many thanks to my clansister Illyria1 from The Collective, who helped me with these on the QA server. They would not have been nearly as good without her company.

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