Manifold Mischief

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sugar Shack 63: Mercury Reloaded

A recent update shows the devs' pre-occupation with dotting i's and crossing t's. Though possibly 90% of the player population is level 50, they have been working to make things more accessible for new people, always a good thing. The collectors thronging the Uriah hardline are one example, and this cool new mish for Mercury is another. This new mission, designed for new redpills, is a very nice introduction to the world of the Exiles, showing quite well their diversity and their puzzling obsessiveness. I liked it.

I had forgotten just how accessible Mercury is. When I arrived at the Uriah South hardline, I saw things had changed. There was a new collector standing off to one side, a Codebase, looking for chopper keys of all things, and for no reason that I could see, pimping for the Machines (as if they needed help!).

Downstairs, I could see that Mercury had come up in the world. Of all the dozens of exiles scattered across the code-reefs of MegaCity, only he had rated a new mission all his own. And not only that, he had groupies now, too! As I approached him, I passed by no less than gushing attendants, eager to give me advice on staying in touch with him, and enlisting others to help me do his bidding: how to find him, run his missions, contact friends, etc. I never would have thought this from the first time I worked for him, but he obviously somehow caught the devs’ eyes, and was firmly on the Exiles fast-track. No doubt he would soon have his own construct and line of work gloves!

But the good times have not corrupted him yet, and he remains as personable and balanced as always, without Silver’s sinister obsessions. In fact, this new mish is all about the domestic and romantic entanglements of the Exiles. Very satisfying!

Honestly, this single adventure is more in the nature of an errand that a mission. Mercury is not just an inventor, he is a mechanic as well, and needs the keys to the car of his Exile girlfriend Pepper so he can finish working on it. She wants the car back quickly, apparently not being able to complete her unspecified “deliveries” downtown without it. Complicating all this is a third Exile, Raini, who’s been nosing about Mercury’s garage with a few members of her gang, the Five Points.

So what happens? You go, get the keys, fight some Five Points, and turn the keys over to one of Mercury’s guys, fighting some more Five Points along the way. Mercury gives you a letter of commendation which you give to Codebase, who then gives you an Industrial Jacket in exchange. And for a new player, the Industrial jacket has some very nice buffs.

That’s it! But other things unfold. The mission explores their personalities as well. Mercury is not the player he styles himself as (Raini dumped him, according to a mechanic, and good riddance!). Pepper is an impatient little twit, just as she is when you do her missions downtown. Raini is a menace that cannot let go. For a first mission, there are some very nice qualities to this:

1. Not too intimidating.
2. Introduces the Exiles, and gives you three names.
3. Not bad loot.
4. You learn about Mercury from his groupies.
5. You see the benefits of talking to everyone in an area before and after completing that area’s task.
6. You see how personalities drive events in MegaCity along with the war between Zion and the Machines.

For new people who’ve been getting nothing but Tyndall’s micro-managed missions this early in the game, this is a welcome change. Good variety, good background, and good loot. Nice work, and it makes me hope that other Exiles may be getting new missions and new background as well.