Manifold Mischief

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

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sugar Shack 43: Richland’s Finest

Sugar Shack 43: Richland’s Finest

Well, with another 14 Contacts whirled behind me, it’s time to wrap up yet another distract. Richland is where we all start life in the red, and many of its clubs and hangouts are seldom alone. Mara, Uriah, Sanguine, Parallaxis…who hasn’t spent many an hour there? And the crispy Blackwoods and the juicy 88s and the saucy Furies…what a place!

Not to its resident Exiles. In fact, in contrast with the rich psychological ecology of the Downtown area, many of the Exiles here are quite bland. Few, in fact, have any agenda outside immediate gratification. Some have great lairs (Thallia and Yttri). The personal relations among some of them (Molly and Argon, Ruth and Silver, Argon/Anti-M/Beryl) are interesting. The writing for some missions is quite good, like the Chessman’s. Nonetheless, the stories of the missions seem shorter and less sophisticated that the downtown ones; this may be due to the lower expected level of the people meant to do them. Probably the plan originally was for players to finish all the Richland missions before venturing to other regions, and the downtown missions would be the last ones to be done. If so, this is yet another case of the players rushing ahead of the game. In my case, the first region I completed was downtown.

So, what can be said about the Exiles of Richland? There are distinctive personalities, to be sure. They have their intense little social circles, and they mostly seem to be very into each other. But mostly they are into themselves, and one of the remarkable aspects of the Richland crowd is that there some committed agents for good among them. I doubt that any of the Downtown crowd could make that claim. So, who stands out?

Most Interesting: Silver. Mr. Meat. The distinctive style, blunt personality, strange lair, and clear agenda for his missions were finely done. The most abrasive but the most interesting of the Richland Exiles, and one of the few to venture to other districts.

Most Bewitching: Thallia. Great lair, weird outfit, great personality, and a devious mind as expressed in her missions. It’s hard not to like the way she thinks.

Most Frustrating: Digger. There is immense promise in the way he talks and in his loot-strewn lair. But his missions were very simple, and he said very little about the previous incarnations of the Matrix. I was immensely unsatisfied when I was done with him.

Most Benevolent: Sister Margaret. Interesting force for good, and surprisingly this imperative gave great variety to her missions. I mean, after a while, you get tired of bursting into an apartment and killing everyone in sight. Well, I do, anyway.

Most Cute: Beryl. Lush, narcissistic personality. You could not help but like her!

Weakest Characters: It’s a tough race to the bottom here: Yttri, Raini, Anti-M, Argon. Molly and Ruth seem interchangeable; I can barely remember how they differ from each other! The Bag Lady similarly seems totally dispensable.

Most So-So: Mercury and the Chessman are kind of in the middle. Interesting personalities, some good thought and writing, yet bland on their missions.

Most Missed Opportunities: There are a lot! Such as:
- Exiles could speak more about their surroundings.
- They could have talked about how they got to be where they are, which mystifies me, given their deficits in the charisma and leadership departments.
- Why The Bag Lady works so hard for the Collector.
- And who is The Collector, anyway?
- Why some of them have clubs and some lurk in apartments they never leave.
- Why Silver chose such a total dump for his datacenter.
- Mercury has a total corporate look for his datacenter and seems located nearby the power grid to boot. Something with this and the MegaCity Department of Energy is crying out to be done.
- What all that other stuff is that belongs to the Digger, and what it represents.
- The Chessman’s pieces never actually seem to move, despite Tyndall’s writing about them.
- What’s the deal with Zia and Lemone having no Exile Contact? Couldn’t there at least have been some Contacts-in-Training?
- Everyone seems to have it in for Silver, yet he seems unaware of this. Is he really so oblivious? Or should he have more payback missions?

I have a feeling that more material was written for their backstories, but logistics prevented the devs from incorporating it all. If only there were some way to get access to more of this.
So, the Richland Exile missions are worth doing for the variety alone. Some of the Exiles here have exceptional personalities and writing, and few have inventive missions. Some left me hungry, but all gave me something to think about.