Where do you stand on Blizzard-created NPCs?

Where do you stand on Blizzard-created NPCs?

(Leaving aside the obvious answer of "at the gryphon master, of course"…)

But seriously, now. Where do you stand on the use of Blizzard-created NPCs in a character's backstory?

This varies for me. It depends on a number of factors, mainly having to do with how important those NPCs are and how much use they get.  How am I expected to behave in-game around people with famous connections?

What I really love are characters who don't have famous connections — characters who are related to the tiny throwaway NPCs we see every day in game and never think twice about.  (Quick!  Name your favorite trainer for your class!  Okay, now name three other trainers for that class.  Can you do it?*)

Part of what makes WoW feel so rich to me are the fact that so many of these characters have first and last names and specific occupations, even if the occupation is "pie vendor".  What does Bimble Longberry do on her days off?  Does Myra Tyrngaarde have a son who loves baking?  How many kids does Vindicator Kaalan have?  Was Harbinger Haronem maybe a little bit of a bully when he was a kid?

Connections to characters like these make me squee; they're like finding extra easter eggs in the game.  I have a friend who RPs his dwarf as a member of the Thunderbrew clan.  Nearly everyone who knows him always barks for the Thunderbrews at Brewfest, and we've been known to say some rather uncharitable things about Barleybrew ales.  (I once had a quest bug in Brewfest, I submitted an in-character ticket, and the GM answered in-character… and my character found out people had been taking bribes from the Barleybrews, hence the quest not working!  Sometimes GMs are awesome.)

Maybe some of this has to do with expectations.  If I have a tie to a specific tiny NPC, I don't expect people to know about that, any more than I would expect people to know that my father is a musician, say.  But it creates a potential bridge to open up connection or conversation — if someone happens to pick up on the reference and wants to run with it.  (Man, now I really want to roll up Myra Tyrngaarde's son, who loves baking.)

How 'bout you?  What do you think of people who use Blizzard-created NPCs in their backstory/history/current events?

* I like to train with Sulaa at the Exodar.  There's also… um… Farseer Nobundo… and that woman down at the lake in front of Stormwind City… and that guy in Ironforge near the Hall of Mysteries…

Oct 21st, 2009
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