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Socially-awkward life lessons learned from RPG games

RPGs, or Role Playing Games, are a genre of games I’ve always been a fan of, even as a kid. But I realized at a certain point that some things you learn from them aren’t great life lessons, they’re actually rather socially-awkward.

Here’s a run-down of a few that made my list:

  • No matter what the request or how urgent it is, it can wait

There’s a large monster about to set fire to the city? Ahh, you still have time to hit the shop, craft a few items, and head out to the field to level. That monster will wait for you. In fact, almost everything will wait for you.

  • People are lazy

Citizens will always ask you to do some quest for them, like run off and get them something. The city guard will ask you to go kill monsters they can’t handle, or just don’t feel like doing anything about. Yep, people are lazy, and they want you to do everything for them. They want you to fix their problems for them. No one else, just you.

  • Heros are overrated

The almighty legendary hero wants to join your party and help you kill some notorious monster? That’s great! Except, he’s level 10 and hasn’t raised any of his skills. How’d he get to be such a legendary hero, anyway?

Like Dunban in Xenoblade Chronicles. But he was bed-ridden for a year, so I guess that’s an excuse.

  • Talk to everyone. Twice.

You never know what useful piece of information someone wants to give you. Only, they don’t. You have to talk to them to get it, usually more than once. Which leads me to my next one…

  • People are boring

People say the same things over and over again, every time you talk to them. They’ll stand there and wait for you to go over and start a one-sided conversation with them, and you won’t be able to get them to shut up.

  • Never throw anything away

That’s right, be a hoarder. You never know when that one item you picked up at the beginning may be needed for a quest two-thirds of the say through the game, or be needed as a craft item, because you sold it or traded it and won’t be able to get another one just like it. Keep absolutely everything, forever.

  • Shopkeepers are stupid, or smart. But mostly stupid.

People who run shops are stupid. If you sell something to them, you can’t buy it back. What did they do, throw it out? Keep it? It’s not worth anything if they won’t sell it. Also, they don’t appreciate the real value of items. Hey shopkeeper, I have an item you can give to the guy across town to get a sword that I’m going to sell to you for thousands. You don’t want it? That’s a poor business decision. Also, how do you stay in business carrying goods only people in my party can buy? You don’t have very good business sense there, shopkeeper.

In NetHack, shopkeepers are especially strange. They keep everything on the floor, but you can shoplift under certain circumstances.

  • Kids can go anywhere and do anything, and they don’t die or get attacked.

What’s that? Your kids ran off into a very dangerous place and you want me to go get him? That’s fine. Until I find out he’s in the back of a cave full of level 40 monsters that aggro on sight, and my party is fully equipped and we barely made it to him alive. How’d you get back there without being attacked, kid?

  • People don’t need to eat, drink, or sleep. Except you, and that’s only sometimes.

People are out all day and all night, never eating, drinking, or sleeping. They’re just up and moving about all the time. Unless they’re at a bar, then they’re drinking all day and all night and never needed to use the toilet.

But you, you’re a hero. You eat and drink to recover, and you can go days without sleeping. Weeks even. Unless it’s to recover, then you can stay at an inn. Or maybe under a lamp in a field, but only once.

  • You can run everywhere without getting tired.

Especially across large fields, deserts, and mountains. Yep, that’s you, hero of all. You never get tired or thirsty.

  • The weather doesn’t matter. Neither does washing your clothes. Or wearing deodorant.

What, it’s raining? Snowing? Scorching hot? Who cares, wear the same clothes you wear everywhere else. Oh, and never take them off to wash them. Just buy new ones and sell or throw out the old ones.

In Final Fantasy XI online, you can deodorize yourself. But you only care because the monsters pick up on your smell, never the townspeople.

  • People move really fast when you’re not looking.

So that someone you’re supposed to follow just left for that place you’re supposed to go only moments ago, and now you’re going right after them. But they’re gone now, only to be waiting patiently for you at the very end, mysteriously untouched by all the high-level baddies you had to fight on the way in.

  • People are freeloaders

I went and worked hard to buy you that set of equipment, and not even a thank you? And you’re just going to leave the party and keep it? What jerks.

In Final Fantasy IV, Palom and Porom go so far as to turn themselves to stone wearing gear you gave them. No appreciation.

  • Size doesn’t matter. Weight does, but only if you’re wearing it.

I can’t carry around more than 12 feathers, but I can carry 12 wooden tables? That makes sense. So does the fact that my equipment weight only matters for equipped items. So, I can only equip light armor but I can carry 12 sets of heavy plate armor with being encumbered. That’s cool.

However, NetHack factors in the weight of everything in your inventory, not just equipped items.

  • Invade people’s privacy and break their stuff

Oh yeah, so-and-so won’t mind if I search through his cabinets and dressers for anything I might find useful. Like gear, money, or healing items.

In Neverwinter Nights people lock their dressers and trunks, but that doesn’t stop you! In pretty much every Zelda game ever made, people keep money in their vases. Break them!

  • Money is no object

No, seriously. It takes up no space in your inventory and doesn’t weigh anything.  

So there you have it. Have any specific game examples of the above, or any games which differ from these? Got any of your own socially-awkward game teachings to share? Please do so in the comments below. Thank you!

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