Today I had the fortunate experience of hoodwinking a group of Kobolds. Living underground has either made them remarkably blind, or perhaps their gullibility soars to a height I have never encountered before.
…I took full advantage of the situation of course.
I’d like to think there is someone at Blizzard Headquarters whose entire job consists of ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to player questing. This person’s entire raison d’être is to come up with something fresh to make sure the millions of players that have spent the better part of a decade ‘killing 10 boars’ or ‘collecting 9 cracked basilisk foreskins’ encounter something that makes them pay attention – and maybe even laugh.
One such quest was in the new Legion zone Highmountain, and involved me being approached by a ghost of a Tauren ancestor who wanted to stop some Kobolds from wearing her skull as a hat. Quite literally the crafty buggers were looting graves looking for shinies, and one of them decided that the skull-hat would make him the fanciest, and therefore he will become the boss. Now, the WoW of yesteryear would have simply tasked me with finding the bloke and killing him to loot said skull-hat, but the WoW of today decides that instead, we should have some fun with it.
Instead of simply setting forth to murder the skull-wearing dork, the ancestor tasks me with first infiltrating their number so I can get close enough to their leader. Of course, this means I need a skull-hat of my own – so in the short term I settle for murdering a ‘Skullcaptain’ to loot his ‘Skull of Bossing Around’. Obviously I then need to don this hat and go about my business blending in as one of their superiors.
I enter the cavern, and the Kobolds are all friendly to me; small chit chat is made, candles are discussed – typical Kobold things. I decided to explore the cave before talking to the NPC Kobold that was expecting me – a gatekeeper of some kind, who leered at me from behind a barred wall – and in doing so I learnt some interesting stuff.
One particular Kobold was feverishly making candles and invited to tell me a story in their broken-English Kobold speak. In this tale he spoke of the previous inhabitants of the cave all being devoured by something terrible, and how they had learned to keep it at bay by utilising lots and lots of candles to keep away the ‘darkness’. An interesting tidbit – Kobolds have been in the game for years – which explained their obsession with the waxy light sources. I filed away this little kernel of knowledge into some dark trivia-laden corner of my mind, and explored further.
I then came across a room which had a selection of candles – and I quickly realised I could actually interact with them. Approaching a candle and clicking it snuffed it out, making the room darker. I recalled the Kobold’s story from the ‘useless trivia crap’ section of my brain and went about snuffing out the remaining candles – and sure enough, ‘The Darkness’ attacked me.
As much as I wish I could say that a group of svelte rock musicians laid waste to me, it was just a generic darkness-themed baddie – but the encounter itself was elevated to somewhere beyond ‘nifty’, it was downright cool.
At this point I had exhausted my options exploration-wise, so I returned to the Gatekeeper, a little bummed that this experience would be over. I imagined that I would simply ask him to let me in, receive some flavour text about ‘Looking funny for a Kobold’ and then traipse my way over to his boss to fulfil my murder quota – which at this stage was alarmingly low.
To my surprise, the Gatekeeper was having none of it. Yes, he had seen me around the cave – but he had not seen me do any ‘Boss-like’ things. I was instructed to take myself to the ‘Throne of Ordering Around’ and …well… be a boss. It sat a few scant feet away, so I planted my arse and allowed the magic to happen.
Sure enough, I was morphed into a fully-fledged quest giver – replete with my very own yellow exclamation point. One by one Kobolds approached me to be given their very own quests – which included a range of things, like killing a nasty basilisk or collecting assorted crap – and I laughed at the charmed life of a Kobold boss. I even had my own intern!
With all my useless tasks assigned, I bid farewell to Jackie and strode confidently back to the Gatekeeper to assert my new role as a true boss.
But he still wasn’t happy. Sure, I had handed out my tasks, but I hadn’t seen their completion. I was missing a fundamental step in the ‘Quest giver’ process – turn-ins and rewards. Sure enough, I hurried back to Intern Jackie (who advised she had kept the ‘Throne of Ordering Around’ warm in my absence) and assumed my role once more.
You have retrieved many golden coins! As a reward, you get to keep one of them.
You killed the mighty beast! Good job, here’s an old boot (Truth be told, this guy was thrilled with his new boot hat).
Unfortunately, I did discover that not all of my Kobolds returned safely. One poor guy who I had tasked to dig me a new tunnel had actually met an unfortunate end. I’d like to take this moment to fondly remember Dug Digger, who struck the earth with such passion that he ended up sharing the same space as it.
With my duties as Boss finally completed, the Gatekeeper was finally ready to let me through – and sure enough I found myself face to face with the self-proclaimed Candle King. Sure enough his ‘Skull of Bossing Around’ was far superior to mine, and communicated his status well.
So, I killed him and looted it.
I bid farewell to my Kobold buddies, and headed out of the cave. At this time, I saw another player just heading in. I smiled at the thought of them experiencing the same nifty little sequence I did.
The Tauren ancestor was glad I had retrieved her skull, though a small part of me was now a little miffed I didn’t get to wear it and assume the role as Candle King with the most impressive Skull of Bossing Around. I then headed off to continue my Highmountain experience, but I will fondly remember my time in that dank cave.
I’m sure I would have been a truly amazing Kobold lord.