Hello, my name is DuckiDeva. I know that you may be questioning how a relative newcomer like myself has managed to sneak her way into the prestigious, highly paid and deeply coveted position of content fluffer. Well, it was talent, dedication, and hard work - the replay footage of which is banned in eleven countries and one southern state. (Sorry, Tennessee.)
Let us also not forget the power of nepotism; the ducki clan is strong, and this is but a step in our overall plan to take over important media outlets‚"…leading to the inevitable rise of the Aquatic Temple as the One True Nest and of our crowning as Supreme Good Eggs of the Known Universe. (One may still wonder what I‚'m doing here‚"…)
There are some pretty big shoes to fill in the content arena around here, or as Elysium might say, ‚"voluminous waffle-stompers‚", (ok, he probably wouldn‚'t...), but I shall endeavor to deliver some humor, some snark, some advice, and if you‚'re nice, I‚'ll give you a cookie. And while I will be noticeably absent during the holiday season, I wanted to leave you with this sage bit of seasonal advice.
The Holiday Home Game: a Player‚'s Guide
Ah, the holidays, that shining week when you don‚'t have to wake up before the sun, shave, find decent clothes and head out into the bitter, harsh world to earn your daily bread. (Alternately, for our student readers, finals are over, the kegs have been tapped, and you have to coax that sentient pile of laundry into the car.) Time to turn on the system and do some heavy leveling. Or so the optimistic gamer would like to believe.
However, the observant and the experienced amongst you will have noticed that when you approach your gaming systems, there is a sudden, certain vibe in the air, a sort of perfume of pervading panic, with top notes of hysteria, and a deep bottom note of ennui. This vibe is often emanating from your spouse - or in the case of our students, your mom. You may also notice that you are surrounded by uncommon mobs that are wandering freely about, seemingly at will, oblivious and indifferent to your pathing, hunting, and gathering needs.
At first, you may be tempted to be cranky about this interruption of your precious, precious game time. However, experienced holiday survivors recognize this situation as one of those times when your game skills can be brought to bear in a real life situation as you play the Holiday Home Game. The trick is to be able to categorize the mobs so you know which NGPCs (non-game-playing-characters) are good faction and need to be handled with care, and which NGPCs are of the opposing faction and must be neutralized before you are trapped into hearing spooky stories involving gall bladders and other mythical organs.
Collection Quest Givers: (Usually a Mom/Wife/Partner/Chief Cook, but occasionally provided by fireless fathers, smokeless sisters and your boozy ancient aunt who wants a Old Fashioned.) For the most part, look for anyone with a lost, quizzical look on his or her face.(If you see a question mark above their head, you've probably been eating the "spinach" dip your cousin's hippie girlfriend brought...and been playing way too much WoW.) With or without punctuation, approach the confused person to launch a collection quest for obscure and rare items such as mincemeat. Be warned however, these quests are on a timer. Excessive time spent searching for resources will result in experience penalties and may lower faction with the quest giver. Also of note; these quests can and will be repeated. You will be sent to the store. Many times. Many, many, many times. Often for things that were right next to the thing you picked up the last time. Just remember that even though you're burning gold, you are seriously increasing your faction. Strategy: do not, any under condition, try to abandon or ignore these quests. Trust me on this one.
Newbies: The easiest mob to spot. They have either recently been born, or you don't recognize them. In either case, they're seemingly attached to a member of your family. Unless the newbie belongs to you, experienced gamers know to avoid the small damp variety. That mob has a series of onerous tasks attached to it with negligible rewards. Suggested Strategy: View it in passing, stopping only to say, "coochie-coo...yes, he/she/it is adorable, will you excuse me, Father seems to be on fire."
The larger versions of newbie must be approached with care. They can be dangerous, as they are randomly generated beasts. Some have been known to have a very large agro range, especially if they've been slogging away at the eggnog. The drunken nymphomaniac newbie is a rare, but particularly egregious form of the newbie, as there is almost no strategy for dealing with it that will keep everyone out of trouble. Best strategy overall: Introduce the newbie to the hard-of-hearing grandmother and get out of range.
Crafters: These mobs will always reward you with handmade trinkets and goodies, ranging from a lampshade crocheted out of beer cans to a time-traveling DeLorean. It's always best to stay on the good side of the crafters, on the off chance they learn a useful skill. Although, should you receive one, it is perfectly acceptable to put the crocheted Southern Belle bathroom accessory in the dog's chew toy basket when nobody is looking.
Cooks are often categorized with the crafters. Since the cooks generally control your access to the food and libations required to maintain stamina and endurance, you should always maintain good faction with the cooks. (See collection quests.)
Kill Stealers: Easy to recognize by the necklace of desiccated turkey leg bones. This mob has the ability to teleport a turkey leg from across the room as you reach for it. They can unhinge their jaw and swallow pies whole. This mob is generally not dangerous, unless you pass in front of its mouth. Strategy: Dangle a spiral cut ham just out of its chewing range until you've led it outside.
Griefers: All games have them; the Holiday Home Game is no exception. There's the aunt who pretends to wipe dust from her fingers when she touches a surface. The boozy uncle, with a hair piece that looks like a sick Pomeranian and a wardrobe that stopped updating in 1978, who tries to hit on the newbie women. Screaming children, motorcycles on the stairs, a small jihad declared on the neighbors...your mileage may vary. Strategy: while many strategies have been tried over the years, the most successful one when dealing with groups of these mobs seems to be tranquilizers. Not for them. For you.
Notes on Loot: The thing to remember is that loot tables are stacked in favor of the youngest NGPCs. The loot table is programmed in a pyramid shape, with diminishing returns at the oldest peak. Hence, four-year old children will receive functional, drivable versions of HumVees and Harleys, and ninety-six year old grandfathers will get handkerchiefs, and for some unknown reason, Old Spice. Old Spice seems to be a default loot drop for any male over the age of 60.
If you are in the middle of the pyramid, your loot may range from underwear and socks to a weekend in Jamaica as the guest photographer for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition,although, the rarity on that drop is astronomical. Strategy: Accept everything with good grace, smile graciously, and remember that certain stores will let you return anything, no matter where it was purchased.
Ninja Looters: This mob will spend a lot of time around the tree, shaking presents. Somehow always ending up "holding" things he/she admires. Strategy: you must use stealth to search this mob‚'s bags before they leave the premises to retrieve the things that "accidentally" fell in. Extra points for replacing what you've retrieved with the aforementioned bathroom belle.
Remember, if you play the Holiday Home Game well, gain those important faction points, neutralize and get rid of the mobs that don‚'t generally spawn in your location, you will probably have gained enough experience to have unfettered access to the siren song of your digital mistress for the remainder of your holiday times.
And a very Merry Chanukwanzamas to you all.