Manifold Mischief

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

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sugar Shack 50: Westview: The Best and the Rest

Well! Another district come and gone! I seldom had the deep resonance with Westview that I felt with the downtown and Chinatown regions. It always seemed so slummy. But, really, when you compare it with some of the rogues gallery from Richland, maybe that’s unfair. After all, you don’t have the druggies and fruitcakes here that you do with Richland. And many of Dame White’s children seem to have taken up residence here, as well: of the nine known exiles in Westview, no less than eight are chromatic in nature (Mockingbird seems to be the sole exception). Why this might be remains a mystery, one of the many intriguing, unexplained aspects of this rough region.

Most Interesting and Most Fun: Rose, hands-down! The unconscious humor of her relentless striving to earn the respect of her siblings, and their scorn. Definitely worth doing! And her restless drive to earn respect lays the foundation for many, many more entertaining missions in the future. Bring them on!

Second-Most Interesting: Cerulean. Besides the cool name and her forlorn milieu, her efforts to broker a truce were great. And her speech style was curious. Both made her stand out from most of her brothers, sisters, and peers.

Most Frustrating: Mockingbird, obsessed with artifacts which are never explained or even visualized or even described. Agonizing! I know that detailed descriptions are not part opf the narrative style of this game, sure. Even so, Mockingbird or one of her flunkies could gave gushed a little. Something like this: (Mockingbird on her new candlesticks) Look at the way the flame above them shimmers when you light them. And the way their russet wax glistens in their slow flame. When they have burned for a few seconds, you start to see the code bits flicker like tiny sparks around the columns; strange shapes form and flow within the code, and you can see people and things from other places. I don’t know what those places are, but I believe that a special gem will let me see them clearly. And that’s what I want in your next mission”.

Most Perplexing: Indigo. He seems to rule the roost around here but he cannot get it together to get ammo to his own folks fighting on his behalf. What’s with that? Considering how mortifying this would be, you would expect some comment from him or his troops about it. How can he ever hope to master the assets of Westview when he can’t remember to bring the hot dogs for the company picnic?

Toughest Mission: Indigo- Gang Rumble. Oddly, Indigo seems to control the actual lakes of the lake area, but we never see the background or the results of this. The backstory is crying out to be explained.

Most So-So: Many, really. Greene. Amber. Grisaille.

Most Missed Opportunities: There are a lot. All the artifacts which Mockingbird wants. The whole business with Grisaille trying to take control of the lakes. The newspaper reporter that we never hear from elsewhere. Greene so strikingly dissimilar from his mobs (as well as the others). Whatever happened to Cerulean to make her look so weird and be so self-conscious about it? Mandarin has angered the Merovingian; what was happening with this? And with so many of their children in residence here, one would expect Dame White and Mr. Black to take more of an interest in this region and its affairs. It killed me not to know! Indeed, there are story leads aplenty scattered in the dark, dingy streets of Westview!

From a larger point of view, the most fascinating finding was the importance of the lakes as a strategic asset, some sort of reservoir of power. In light of this, of course, one must wonder why the Merovingian, that quintessentially power-driven man, takes no apparent interest in the lakes. It’s quite unlike him to leave anything so good so alone. Perhaps future story arcs will trace his efforts to gain control over it.

Conclusion: The Exiles of Westview are personal and intense. What they lacked in big-idea and big-personality missions (like the ones downtown) they make up for in the small-town, small-family qualities which pervade these. You don’t encounter major Exiles. You don’t see the world in danger. You don’t meet curious redpills. It’s more like Desperate Housewives than Star Wars. But the personalities are interesting, and there are intriguing hints of depths left in shadow.