Perfect Ten: MMO quests where you literally kill 10 rats

    
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Webster’s Dictionary describes “kill 10 rats” as “something nerds do, now shut up and read a few intelligent words.” I think the editors are getting a little lazy there at Webster’s, but that’s nothing compared to the OED crowd that routinely slips in paragraphs of cut-and-pasted Hunger Games fan fiction just to pad the volumes.

Anyway, we all know that “kill 10 rats” is a derogatory term for those quests that make you slaughter a certain number of things to make life happier for the quest giver. It stems from a long-standing RPG tradition by which lowbie characters typically start their career by doing a little rodent culling in the basement of a tavern. That’s how all great people got their start, Abraham Lincoln included.

With “kill 10 rats” already being a trope, developers have this habit of trying to be coy and meta by actually putting quests in their MMOs where you, yup, kill 10 rats. I get the feeling that they think they’re doing something clever and cheeky, even though practically all of their competitors have done the same. So here we go: ten literal “kill 10 rats” quests that you can find in your games today.

RIFT

Trion devs couldn’t resist a little tongue-in-cheek reference to the RPG trope, although they slightly subverted it by putting this kill 10 rats quest in the high-level zone of Seratos. Plus, the “rats” in question are gigantic elite crypt rats that require you to activate ancient high-tech rat traps to bring them down to size. Darn crypt rats, always fouling up my pristine crypts with their filth and their plague.

Fallen Earth

I remember barking a laugh when I came across the “Rats in the Refuse” quest and saw the “kill 10 rats” counter pop up on my quest tracker.

“Hey, I don’t suppose you’d be willing to help me out a little?” the world’s laziest farmer asks in the quest text. “These big rats done moved into the refuse heap. I wouldn’t worry about it much, but they’ve started nibblin’ on the crops too. I tried scarin’ ’em off, but they just hiss at me.”

Farming. It’s harder than going “shoo!”

Kingdom of Loathing

Early on in your Kingdom of Loathing career, you’re sent to help a barkeeper clear out some vermin in his cellar. This being the snarkiest game on the planet, there is little chance that the experience will be straightforward. You stumble in the dark, fighting drunken rats and the occasional rat king, until you find and turn off the rat faucet. Who left that on, anyway?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Yup, even a galaxy far, far away has rat problems, although it’s not so bad as in Azeroth and Norrath. The quest “Vacation’s Over” challenges players to kill womp rats for their awesome skulls, which makes me think of what type of people are totally OK with killing things for their skulls and why they’re not going, “Ew! No!” to strangers who ask them to do that.

Lord of the Rings Online

What I liked about this “Kill Ten Rats” quest is that it actually fits in very well with the game’s storyline. When it pops up, you’ve been taken prisoner by Uruk-hai and forced to do a series of menial, degrading tasks in an underground complex. Trust me, by the time you’re doing that rat stomping, it’ll seem like bliss compared to the other chores.

EverQuest II

Actually, is it more insulting to have to kill rats at higher levels than when you’re a newbie? I mean, you’ve saved the world a thousand times over, and yet these pompous, arrogant NPCs see nothing wrong with making you squish Rizzo and his entire family. Anyway, EQII players are not exempt from the fun, although they do get a giddy thrill of taking out a “commanding vermin.” Whatever that is.

RuneScape

RuneScape gets my grudging respect by taking something as mundane as a rat slaughterfest and turning it into a creative quest chain. In the “Ratcatchers” quests, you’ll unleash a cat to kill rats (which is how it should be, really), kill rats while stealthing about, make rat poison, kill a king rat, smoke rats out, and eventually Pied Piper those suckers right off a dock. Awesome.

Allods Online

I’m a big fan of the quest dialogue for “Rats in the Warehouse.” The best part is when you finish it, collect your frayed bandage (ooh!), and are told, “Thank you! That’s civilian mobilization for you. Nobody slacking; everyone fighting the rats. That’s the only way a great country can be made!”

Darn tootin’, that’s how you make great countries. I have it on good authority that Canada was founded after a weekend of enthusiastic rat slaying.

Asheron’s Call

What do you do when you find a rat smasher charm on the corpse of a fallen foe? Why, you seize your destiny and go on a killing spree, of course! And so, the legend of the mighty soldier who chopped, bashed, sliced, burned, and minced a small army of critters 1/100th his size begins. This quest is so fun that you get to kill 10 rats twice!

Runes of Magic

So “Ferocious Giant Sewer Rats” are breeding out of control, eh? And your solution is to, what? Stand around hoping that a desperate adventurer would just wander by, then pay him or her a pittance to kill a handful of them? Uh huh. Considering that your problem here is procreation, I would think that flushing the sewers with a cold shower would be more effective.

But hey, what do I know. It’s not as if I’ve killed 10 rats before.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Dean Greenhoe

It just feels natural to me for my noob toon.. I may just quit the game if you required me to kill tigers with this wooden sword and rag armor. :)

Saluka
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Saluka

It started out with 2 people around a campfire with a stick drawing into the dirt an actual plan to kill rats.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Gotta pump those numbers up. Those are rookie numbers in this racket.

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Bryan Correll

I think Australia currently has a quest available that requires killing 10 billion mice. Sure they’re not as tough as rats, but there’s a whole lot of em….

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that quest is part of a recurring event. If you miss it this time, it’ll be back in a couple of years. Unless of course no one participates and the mice actually win.

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Tee Parsley

Morrowind: in Balmora, the second city that you go to once you’ve landed in Seyda Neen, you get a job to clear out rats that have invaded a homeowner’s basement. Not 10 of them though….

Pretty sure it was tongue in cheek even back then….

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Phubarrh

And the first Fighter’s Guild quest in Oblivion’s city of Anvil turns it around in such a wonderful way…

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Minimalistway

Which game started this trope? i’m guessing Everquest but maybe it’s older than that … and thank you for including Kingdom of Loathing, i miss this game, it’s been a really long time since i played it last time.

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hewwo uwu

It probably began with pen and paper rpgs long before video games were even able support that sort of content. Was most likely a common thing for both lazy dungeon masters and groups with new players who are learning DnD for the first time, and was generally understood well enough by the time mmos came around. I would doubt EQ started it because questing was truly an afterthought in most early mmos so even if it was in there it would have been largely ignored anyway

EmberStar
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EmberStar

It’s been part of computer RPGs for ages. Someone better at research than me would have to check, but I’d be willing to bet that the old “Gold Box” D&D games from… I think SSI almost certainly had at least one where there was an innkeeper, who had a basement, and a rat problem. As mentioned above, it’s probably been a thing since the beginning of pen-and-paper where the “training room” scenario is an enclosed space with a handful of “almost but not completely harmless” enemies in need of a good exterminating.

The big contribution of MMOs to the meme is really the endless and arbitrary RNG – “get ten rat TAILS,” but only one rat out of five apparently has a tail. (Or a good enough tail, or the right kind of tail, or whatever the excuse is for needing to kill dozens and dozens of rats before getting a handful of tails.)

Harry Koala
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Harry Koala

Baldur’s gate featured a quest to kill 5 rats in the basement of an inn, which was probably the first combat you’d run across in the game. I think Icewind Dale had a virtual re-run of that as well, but not sure I’m remembering correctly.

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firithnorm

They’re all spiritual descendants of grues… and I’ve been eaten by them sooo many times.

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hewwo uwu

There should be an honorable mention for the Shin Megami Tensei mmo that had an npc tell you something along the lines of “go kill rats until you are level 10 and come back to me” and doesn’t even bother giving you a quest

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Katzvariak

BDO’s take is rather different. Instead of killing the rats from Olvia/Veila. You just rent a flute and play like the pied piper. kekw