Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lil Timmy and the White Kitten

The very first non-combat pet I bought was a White Kitten, which is sold by Lil Timmy, who occasionally wanders in Stormwind. Coriel was only level 12 or 13 at the time. This was over two years ago, way back when I was still new, before I knew about such options as Instant Quest Text.

I remember running across Lil Timmy, and clicking on him, and reading his story about how his family's cat had kittens and they couldn't afford to keep them. So he had to sell them, or they would have to be drowned. But the kitten cost about 60 silver, which at level 12 was pretty much all the money I had.

I've never been a big non-combat pet collector, as they tend to take up too much inventory space for my tastes. I think I spent several minutes deciding whether or not I should spend all my money on something that had no obvious value. But what sort of paladin can pass up a kitten in distress? So I spent the silver, got the kitten, and it's been in my inventory ever since. That kitten has been all over Azeroth, and has gone to the Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Outlands, and many other places where kittens were not meant to go.

Yesterday, I ran across Lil Timmy again. This time when I clicked on him, there was no story, as I was taken straight to the Vendor screen. It seemed unusual at the time, but I chalked it up to not correctly remembering an event that happened two years ago.

However, later I realized what had happened. Several patches ago, there was a change to NPCs. If an NPC only had one option, for example a windrider asking if you wanted to fly somewhere, the game would automatically open that option, rather than making you click through a screen of flavour text. Lil Timmy was one such vendor. The only option you could pick after the flavor text was the option to buy the White Kitten, which opened up the Vendor screen. So like all the other NPCs, the flavour text got skipped.

I really liked the change when it was first implemented, and I still do. 99% of the time, it's an extra annoyance to click through an NPC's initial screen, especially when it is an NPC that you interact with again and again, and when you haven't found out about Instant Quest Text yet. The windriders were the worst for this.

But almost all changes are trade-offs, which can have unexpected ramifications, and Lil Timmy falls in that 1%. Without his story text, he's just a random boy selling a somewhat rare pet. And the game is slightly diminished for that.


Brandon Tilley said...

I, sir, agree 100%. I know that's not much of a comment, but you hit the nail on the head.

Christopher said...

Excellent observation, Rohan.

Another weird one that no longer provides backstory is the Caverns of Time quartermaster. I have not spent much time down there, so I do not recall the exact story, though to my recollection the quartermaster is a male orc who, by some distortion of the time-stream has a human female voice. His click-through screen explained this all, rather humorously, but it has since been removed. I do not know if his voice was ever altered, or if he's now just a freak without an explanation.

theeriver said...

Now your making me go to CoT to check that out lol. I really like the little easter eggs WoW has, but as time goes on those things seem to be disappearing.

Vaelin said...

Also... didn't they remove the sewer beast from SW? Little things like that are what made the game so immersive and fun. My wife actually complained (before we canceled) about the increase leveling speed for her alts. The pace was too fast to enjoy all the quests and areas she wanted to go to.

I really just think that Blizz should give the people what they want and allow someone with a 70 to create any lvl 60 alt they want. Naturally, there would be a complete lack of reputation with old world factions, but them's the ropes. They shouldn't have so drastically changed the pace and feel of the 1-60 experience.

Rohan said...

I think the sewer beast is still in SW. It's just a rare spawn.

I would like to point out that this probably isn't intentional on Blizzard's part. They made the change to fix a different aspect of the game (which needed fixing, imo, as it was frustrating), and that had an unintentional side-effect.

Josh said...

I remember that Keepers of Time NPC, christopher. I believe he/she is one of the reagent vendors, if memory serves. It's unfortunate that backstory was a casualty of patches, I found it very humorous when I first spoke to that particular Orc!

Anonymous said...

I believe the behavior you are noticing is a mod you have installed, not the default behavior.

Rohan said...

I doubt it is a mod. I run very few mods, and I don't think Omen, Recount, Bigwigs, or ClosetGnome would affect flavour text in any way.

Anonymous said...

That was really deep.

Alex - aka Firelight said...

I think they should have left it in certain NPC's.

One more example was the He-Man guy in Shattrath who's the Arathi Basin NPC for Alliance. His dialogue was hilarious! Joined with the fact that you can still talk to Battle-Cat and Orco!!

What a croc!

Rav said...

I don't play Alliance much, but the Org Bankers had these reassuring quotes about protecting your goods and how you shouldn't trust them to the Goblins.

Also, there is a Reagent vendor in Netherstorm, near TK that used to challenge everyone who wanted to buy or sell anything to him. I don't know if he kept his dialog.

Doeg said...

Yeah, I miss the depth of things like that. I was introduced to the fantasy computer games genre by Ultima 3 way-back-when, where the depth was in the story and riddles, and you had to talk to everyone in town every time you visited, because they potentially had important clues that changed with in-game events.

Ana said... heart is breaking for all the new WoWers who won't know Timmy's story (though considering that I ended up making the same bank-breaking decision you did, maybe they're better off).

When my nieces/nephews and/or guildies' kids play, one of my favorite things to do with them is the SW tour - the tales we can tell about Timmy and the mysterious sewer beast! ^.^


Maybe this is something they have changed back somewhat (as I am reading this post years later, so it's not really news) but Little Timmy walks around talking to the kitten about how he can only keep her sister, etc. I buy one every time I see him.