Perfect Ten: 10 stock MMO mobs from crummy to cool

    
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My pet theory of MMOs is that they exist in a gaming multiverse with scores of unseen connections. This explains why so many of these titles claim to be boldly original and yet carry the same monster DNA that exists everywhere else.

Today we’re going to carefully unpack our ancient collector’s edition of stock fantasy enemies. Blow off the dust and smell that nostalgia, mhmm. Sure, they’ve seen better days, but they’re still good, right? Still solid. Still capable of entertaining us, even if we’ve slaughtered their kin a thousand times over.

Let me show you my collection of 10 stock fantasy enemies that we encounter all the time in MMOs. Just for fun, I’m going to order them from crummiest to coolest. I would be number 11, by the way.

Slimes

There’s just nothing, nothing cool about fighting a slime. It’s as though the game’s telling you that it doesn’t think you can cut it in the real world, so here’s a semi-intelligent glob to hack away at while the big kids do Important Work.

Slimes are never satisfying to hit or kill. Slimes always split into smaller slimes because games like to teach us about basic asexual reproduction for some reason. And slimes eat your armor and belch rust. Not cool, man. Not cool.

Pigs

Forget rats; what do MMO developers have against pigs that they push us to wipe them out in ever-increasing numbers? They’re pigs, dude! Ugly, yes. Smelly, sure. But great sources of bacon and stars of children’s books and movies everywhere.

Maybe the pigs kidnapped the devs’ parents when they were young. Maybe the pigs call once a year just to taunt them. Maybe the hatred seethes into the very programming code, and we as bewildered and unquestioning players exact virtual justice on the devs’ behalf.

Birds and bats

Fighting any bird or bat in an MMO is a lose-lose proposition for the player. If you die, well, you should probably stop playing games altogether and live out your life in a shameful exile on an island somewhere. If you kill it, well, congrats. You’ve slaughtered a one-pound beast with hollow bones. You have truly passed your rite into adulthood.

Gators

You may never have thought about gators and their ilk permeating the fabric of MMOs, but I can assure you that they’re in quite a lot of them. I think they’re forgettable as a whole because they’re like short stumpy dinosaurs in worlds that deliver actual huge dinosaurs. That sends gators to the back of the classroom, where they’re destined to live out their lives in obscurity. When gators aren’t fighting you in MMOs, they’re making tacos for minimum wage at fast-food joints and talking about their former days of glory playing on their high school football team.

Dragons

The thing about dragons is that their perceived coolness by developers and writers is way out of sync with what little tolerance the public has for them. Seriously, dragons were overdone by the time Trapper Keepers rose to prominence in the 1980s, yet every dang MMO feels the need to put them up front and center as if we’ll poop our pants in fear/happiness that we’re fighting another surly giant lizard. Sometimes devs just think that putting the word “dragon” into a title makes you auto-awesomesauce.

Hint: It does not.

Skeletons

OK, admittedly, if I saw a skeleton walking toward me in real life, I might have a bit of a panic attack. But that’s real life. In video games, where skeletons are as common as mana potions, it’s the exact opposite. Digital skeletons have long since lost any semblance of fear or intimidation, much like how a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker loses its smell after you’ve rubbed it one too many times.

Being attacked by skeletons usually feels like being mobbed by a very skinny paparazzo, and if I give them any thought at all, it’s usually just a mild musing about to how they can move, see, hear, have feelings, or anything else while lacking everything but bones. The answer is “a wizard did it,” and I move on.

Spiders

I’ve often lamented how lazy devs seem by going to the Well of Giant Spiders whilst making their MMOs. And while I take back not a single word of complaint in that area, I’ll admit that there are moments when decking out an area in spider decor actually works.

For one thing, many people have a very real and visceral reaction to spiders, and any way a video game can evoke emotion is usually good. For another thing, while the spiders may be predictable and dull as dirt, I find their nests pretty interesting to explore. Plus, it’s always fun to make bugs go squash and stop writing in to me to tell me that spiders aren’t bugs. They’re bugs. Shut up.

Wolves

Don’t you sit there and try to argue with me that wolves aren’t totally boss. Don’t you dare. Just one wolf, with its slavering jaws and keen predatory sense, is enough to give me a decent fight. But wolves don’t play fair, and where there’s one, there’s 10 of them ready to pounce on your butt and introduce you to the inner workings of their digestive systems.

If I have to die in a game, I don’t mind if it’s to a wolf. You get respect at funerals if it’s a wolf instead of from, say, a spleen infection.

Kobolds

Kobolds may be the whipping boys of the fantasy world, the barely combat-ready creatures that you’re supposed to steamroll at level one and feel good about yourself. What sets them apart in my book is their attitude, however.

Kobolds don’t know that they’re at the bottom of the pecking order; they just act as though they’re on top. They’ve got spunk and drive, always throwing themselves into combat no matter how much of a mess their 20 closest friends made dying while doing the same thing. They’re fiercely possessive of trash, and they see the world through goggles of wonder.

I love Kobolds, and you should too.

Zombies

Sure, zombies are as overplayed as romantic comedies and reality TV, but we still eat them up. As they try to eat us up. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

I always welcome a good zombie or two in my MMO because they’re an excuse for the developers to channel their inner five-year-old and get gross. Creating freakish-looking shambling corpses who vomit green goo on you and give you an up-close look at the inner workings of the human anatomy is a noble profession indeed.

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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wjowski

Go face a wild boar then tell me how pigs are lame

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Utakata

I would of put bats and birds in their own separate category. And skeleton and zombies in the same category.

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cursedseishi

My pet theory of MMOs is that they exist in a gaming multiverse with scores of unseen connections.

So… kind of like the whole ‘Cosmere’ shtick with Brandon Sanderson–which I’m still slowly wrapping my brain around? If MMOs did something with that, or an MMO was made around that concept, that’d be neat! But…

Really? Pigs are bad MMO mobs? Yes, they are a source of Bacon. Tasty, Maple or Oak or Hickory smoked bacon. But you gotta slay pigs to bring home the bacon, Justin. And you know what tastes bad? Bacon that has no fat on it. Those pigs running around and attacking things? They’re burning off those precious juice-globes off all that bacon! Justin! All that fat is going away…!
I need my fatty bacon, Justin!! Otherwise it’s just crispy sticks! And I’ll sow destruction through the fields of these wild beasts as recompense for their boaring bacony bits! Get in the stay-put pen, pig!

And I will prove you wrong about Dragons quite easily. Dragon Zombies. Draco-liches, which are just Dragon Skeletons.

And Kobolds? They’re just Dragon-wannabees. Dragonnabees. Dragon Bees, that’s a freebie there–totally unrelated. I wouldn’t F*** with a Dragon Bee, even if I was a Dragonslayer.

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MesaSage

I affectionately call Kobolds – MonkeyDogMen. Those lazy swipes and “bark is worse than bite” snarl never fail to amuse me. I love Butcherblock Mountains primarily because of them.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Zombies and Spiders (and to a lesser extent skeletons) play into extremely common phobias. It’s easy to make a large group of your audience afraid with these mobs (which is where you get the ‘lazy’ part). Not jump out of your seat scared. In most people, it just gives a low creeping anxiety, which is what the dev is usually going for.

The absolute worst mob in a game is bunnies. What the hell did a bunny ever do to you, dev?!?!?! I have quit games over bunny mobs. Unless the bunny is the Rabbit of Caerbannog (good on you Conan Exiles), I’m not having it.

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Schmidt.Capela

Zombies, spiders, and skeletons are at best a “meh” for me. I mean, a giant cockroach could at least gross me out, but those other things have been so overplayed that I don’t even react to them anymore.

I love this guy, though.

Black Rabite.jpg
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Ray O'Brien

How you can trash on Dragons and then turn around and defend Zombies is beyond me. Dragons rule!