In a recent episode of the Massively OP Podcast, we had a terrific question winged our way asking about our personal favorite NPCs from MMOs. It’s the kind of topic that you need to clear your day’s schedule to answer because there are so, so many great characters that are written wonderfully and memorably in our online games.
I wanted to follow up on that brief discussion with a more formal list of my own. For this list, I’m limiting myself to a single NPC for each one of the MMOs I’ve played extensively in the past. Some of these will no doubt be commonly shared fan favorites, some a little more quirky and personal.
Lord of the Rings Online: Bingo Boffin
While there are many terrific characters strewn across Middle-earth, Bingo Boffin has cemented himself as an all-time great. You wouldn’t think so when you start to follow his questline, as this bumbling buffoon of a Hobbit is clearly not suited for grand adventure. Yet he won me over with his persistence, optimistic outlook, and even diplomacy skills. I adore me some Bingo.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Blizz
Ack — choosing a favorite NPC companion (never mind all of the other characters in this game) is like picking the one child in your home that you like the most. But if you held a blaster to my head, I’m going with Blizz. This sassy Jawa is a fountain of unmatched enthusiasm and destructive power. And whenever a game gives you an opportunity to adventure with a Jawa, you take it.
Elder Scrolls Online: Rigurt
I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to assign a guy with the surname “The Brash” to an ambassadorial exchange program, but I’m glad they did. Rigurt is a flat-out hilarious lunkhead whose unorthodox ways of reaching out to people end up working in a roundabout way. He reminds me a lot of Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove, and I’m on board for that.
World of Warcraft: Chromie
I like short, quirky characters in general, and ever since I first bumped into the dragon-turned-Gnome Chromie, I was a huge fan. Plus, she kicks off all of these crazy time travel quests AND directly brought us WoW Classic. Well, according to the cinematic, which I’m assuming is an accurate depiction of history.
WildStar: Belle Walker
I know it’s pretty much an entrenched trope at this point, but I’ve got a real soft spot for grease-spattered can-do female engineers in almost any work of fiction. Belle Walker hits this with her reckless genius and awesome athletic socks.
Early on in their adventures, Guardians will encounter a seemingly hapless Dwarven college student named Scotty. He’s always losing his stuff and having others pick on him, but as you quest through the game, you help him stand up for himself and even go on some pretty impressive adventures. I love me some Scotty.
Dungeons and Dragons Online: Fred the Mindflayer
Normally, Mindflayers are bad, bad business in D&D that you don’t want to meet. The one exception for this is Fred (his real name is unpronouncable, apparently), a somewhat friendly Mindflayer who will gladly use his telepathic skills to help you respec feats. Thanks a lot, Fred!
Final Fantasy XIV: Tataru Taru
In looking back at my time in FFXIV, I’d have to say that the one character that I ended up caring about the most and happy to always see was the one who would be more likely to be doing some tailoring or stationary work than adventuring. Tataru initially seemed like a silly little receptionist doing those cute anime things that Japan likes to toss in, but gradually she reveals that she’s got more nerve and initiative than many assume. I think she’s peachy.
Guild Wars 2: Trahearne
OK, OK, I know you think I’m trolling you here, but listen to me for a minute. Sure, practically everyone dislikes (or worse) this impossibly perfect walking salad that got shoved in our faces through the main storyline. But I think that’s what makes him so much fun. Sometimes it’s a hoot to have a character that everyone can bag on because it brings people together in a weird geeky way. We all may not agree on much, but Trahearne? Trahearne unified us in disliking him. That’s something.
City of Heroes: Dr. Vahzilok
Probably due to the fact that Dr. Vahzilok is one of the first big villains that players met in City of Heroes, he became very well-known over the years. I always somewhat adored him for his work crafting the puke-tastic sewer zombies, and even though I fought him, it was always with the greatest of respect.
Special Mention: Pretty much every NPC in The Secret World
Yeah, there’s absolutely no way that I can pick just one great NPC from this game when pretty much all of them are super-memorable in their own way. There’s Saïd, Montag, Carter, Emma, Edgar, Kirsten Geary, Nassir, Andy, Madame Rochet, Tyler Freeborn, Sam Krieg, Cassandra, and so, so many more.
That’s my list — what’s yours?