The Daily Grind: Who is the greatest female NPC in an MMO?

    
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The Daily Grind: Who is the greatest female NPC in an MMO?

From Jaina to Wonder Woman, Vette to Galadriel, MMORPGs sport an inspiring roster of strong and fascinating women. Sometimes they headline the game, as in the case of Tabula Rasa’s Sarah Morrison. Sometimes they serve as protector figures, such as Destiny 2’s Sloane, while other times they serve as antagonists, such as Star Wars: The Old Republic’s SCORPIO.

And sometimes they’re just adorable as all get out, as in the case of Guild Wars 2’s Taimi.

For today’s discussion topic, I thought we could toss around our opinions on great female NPCs in our online games. What makes them so arresting and memorable?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Sykes

I’ll shout out Senya and Vaylin from SWTOR. Their introductory cinematic was some of the most emotional cinematography in the industry, I think – even though there was no dialogue. Senya’s realization at the end in particular was haunting.

Sylvanus prior to BFA was well done and a strong character, though I consider her in-game writing rather poor this expansion. She went from a villain in Wrath and Cataclysm with believable motivations and smart use of others as a foil to a cartoonishly evil style. Screaming that ‘The Horde is nothing! You are all NOTHING!” is not a move that a genius political strategist would make, especially if the goal is to cause as much division and outright war as possible to cause another surge of souls to the Shadowlands. It feels like a different character to the one that somehow planned around Varimathras’s betrayal to both convince Thrall to drive the demons out of the undercity and secure her reign over the forsaken while pinning the blame on them for the development of the plague. She felt a lot more intelligent before.

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Natalyia

TSW probably wins as the game with the most memorable characters – female or otherwise. Every time I start to list a few I get reminded of more of them.

Solomon Island, in particular, is just chock full of memorable people – all of them quite doomed of course – but still memorable, and well worth getting to know. Everyone from the sheriff, to the fortune-teller, to the surviving students and staff at the Innsmouth Academy, to the shotgun-wielding widow is fun to encounter, and not someone you want to just skip through the dialog for. Your Illuminati handler is certainly memorable, although I don’t know if you’d count her as an ally or an antagonist… And then there’s Tokyo – Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

But even after Solomon Island, you’ve got Lilith, and the Children Sentinels guarding the Black Sun, and I could go on. If you’re even the least bit fond of modern conspiracy/horror stories, and somehow haven’t played TSW/SWL, it’s worth the download just to experience Solomon Island – and you won’t be disappointed by the rest of the game either.

SWTOR Has some memorable companions with stories worth seeing Jaesa, Mako, Kira, Risha, Lana, Kalyio, Scorpio. And some notable NPCs as well – Satele Shan, Governor (and later Chancellor) Saresh come to mind.

Guild Wars 2 has some memorable ones too – Taimi, Eir, Countess Anise, Caithe, Faolain, Kasmeer and Jory.

All the ones that “stick” for me – even to the point of replaying the games with alts to re-experience their stories as well as the protagonist’s – are that they aren’t just scenery. They feel like they exist outside the story of the main character.

That if the player hadn’t come along they’d have still had a story in that universe – sometimes a very different one to be sure – but still a story.

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Vunak

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Grim? Darhk

Sloane? Really. Sloane, is the one you take for D2….I question your taste immensely. Also, Joanna Blueheart from Cata’s Swamp of Sorrows. She’s awesome, and the fact that blizz forgot about her genuinely saddens me.

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NeoWolf

My personal favourite is SWTOR’s Mako, I adore that character. Saddens me the companions lack for even more depth and conversational options post-class stories.

I’ve also been playing through the Southern Elsweyr part of the Dragonhold story in ESO and I took a strong affection to Aeliah Renmus who is an Imperial Generals daughter who becomes one of the people you reform the Dragonguard with. She is very likeable and a little insecure and you have some really endearing conversations with her as she tries to find her place in the world. So I would choose her as a close second.

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starbuck1771

I like Mako but she whines a little too much.

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Robert Mann

There aren’t really any great NPCs. They are either overpowered and too lazy to actually get off their bum and fix things, or they are just poorly written (or usually both).

This isn’t limited to female NPCs, or even gendered NPCs. It’s just the way things have been done in the genre. It’s hard to remember and like an NPC, when they are developed minimally and left as minor (sometimes repeating) devices to lead you to another battle.

*Some of them are pretty solid, if you skip out of the game and do some reading in other materials. But, well, that’s OUT of the MMO, which makes it rather annoying that they are generally given such shallow treatment within.*

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Anstalt

Sara Oakheart – LotRO

Mostly just because she’s one of the few NPCs I can remember and she stirred up a lot of emotions. Not good emotions, but at least she had an impact!

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Ironwu

Good choice. :)

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Hikari Kenzaki

Anyone voiced by Cat Taber. Vette from SWTOR and Cassie King and Rose White from Secret World to name a few big standouts. The range of variation in those characters is pretty amazing.

Vette may be one of her most surprising characters to me because I didn’t love her early on. It was a slow burn that built up over time and then broke my heart on Rishi. The parting at the beginning of KotXX was downright painful.

Empress Seela is probably a big stand out in STO as well. She was probably the role Denise Crosby always deserved. One that could carry an entire story arc for years.

Then there’s Kasjory in GW2. If you never had a girl crush before, those two probably gave you one. :)

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starbuck1771

It’s a toss up between Vette and Jaesa Willsaam who I corupted to the Darkside and made my wife. Some of the scenes between Vette & Jaesa for my affection are kinda funny. If I remember there was even a part where Jaesa offered to share and Vette was like gross.

Yes I love it when they brought Crosby back as Yar & Sela in TNG and in STO. I even have been collecting the characters in Star Trek Timelines.

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rosieposie

I wish I could say something positive about the female characters of WoW universe, but even if Blizzard has elevated many of them to positions of power, they have also shown most of them being incredibly emotionally unstable and incapable of handling power responsibly. That is not exactly ’empowering’ writing.

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Ironwu

Well, to be fair “…incredibly emotionally unstable and incapable of handling power responsibly…” fits most of the male WoW NPCs as well. :)

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starbuck1771

I would disagree. Sylnanas has a damn good reason to act the way she does. Arthas a Alliance Hero became the Lich King killed her and enslaved her soul. She eventually reclaimed her body and has been after retribution against all those who have wronged her in life and in death. She has died multiple time once even by suicide.

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Gamhuin

Hands down winner is Taimi from GW2.
While GW2 has a number of amazing female characters, Taimi is the best.

Also Velsa (ESO) and Y’shtola Rhul (FFXIV) are great characters.
And sometimes Jaina Proudmoore (Wow) depending on who’s writing her.