The first time I ever made an emotional connection to a game that lasted was during my time in Final Fantasy VI. I was staying with my aunt and uncle for a couple of weeks one summer vacation and made my way about halfway through. The characters and stories stuck with me for the next several years... which was good, because it would be several more years before I would get a chance to actually play the game on my own terms. It's amazing how much personality was projected onto Celes, despite her having a graphical resolution currently on par with thumbnail avatars.

Since we're talking about our favorite NPCs in this week's WRUP, this is actually a vaguely topical intro. But more to the point, it's the Massively staff talking about what we're going to be doing over the weekend. So click on past the break to see what we'll be up to, and let us know in the comments what games you'll be knee-deep in over the weekend!

Brandon Felczer (@bfelczer): This weekend I will be playing Star Trek Online and Champions Online (the only games I play at the moment, hehe). Also, my visit to Cryptic is tomorrow; I am really looking forward to lunch with the dev team and recording a live Priority One episode. My experience there is going to be the basis of my first column this coming week (including pics and videos).

My favorite NPC is Q in Star Trek Online. Who doesn't like Q? :P

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna): Hopefully I'm feeling up to gaming this weekend... I've got RIFT and another new SUPER (*wink*) adorable beta sitting here waiting for me.

Favorite NPCs: Is it OK that I'm kind of a Jaina Proudmoore fangirl? Otherwise I've got to go with Margrid the Sly from Guild Wars: Nightfall or that really creepy baby in Zentia. (My guildies suggested I cast a vote for Prince Rurik or Alesia, but I think they have a different interpretation of the word "favorite.")

Eliot Lefebvre: I'm devoting myself to some control-based play in City of Heroes for the weekend, as well as hopefully getting the time to really get some Final Fantasy XI leveling done. Oddly, I've had an inexplicable urge to give Runes of Magic a shot, so I might wind up giving in to that...

While I've professed an affection for Gwen from Guild Wars, my actual favorite is a bit harder to pinpoint. Final Fantasy XI has such a standout cast of NPCs that I'd happily nominate the entire game if I could. Ultimately, to pick just one, I'm going to point to Halver, simply because his perpetual stuffiness and lack of a clue always made me smile in San d'Oria.

Justin Olivetti
(@Sypster): I'm trying hard not to think about RIFT's head-start coming in less than a week, so I'll be immersing myself in the Misty Mountains in Lord of the Rings Online for now. I also finished downloading the second episode of Back to the Future: The Game (which is a blast for BTTF fans like myself), so that's in the cards as well.

As for favorite NPCs, I'm going with Lord of the Rings Online's Sara Oakheart, just because it's so fun to hate her and her slow, plodding escort quests. CURSE YOU, SARA!

Karen Bryan (@JayeRnH): I'll be playing a little EverQuest II and some RIFT beta, but I'll be focused on getting ahead on chores in preparation for the launches of RIFT and Velious this coming week. Why, oh why, did they both have to launch during winter vacation! /shakes motherly fist in anger!

As for the bonus question, my favorite MMO NPC is Gimlik Cogboggle, the Gnome that spawns on the top of the pyramid in EverQuest's Cazic Thule. I can't tell you how many times my groupmates and I would escort that little jerk all over the Cazic maze, protecting him from lizards, only to have him suddenly despawn on us because he bumped into a wall or another player. But it was a fun event with some really nice loot, and it was one of the first "scripted" events that I recall seeing in game.

Krystalle Voecks (@Krystalle): This weekend I'll be stomping around EverQuest on Fippy Darkpaw, which I'm very much looking forward to. Outside of that, DC Universe Online as usual, as well as some [unnamed beta] if I get a chance. As for favorite NPCs, I like Ahab Wheathoof, Ezra's Make-A-Wish Tauren in World of Warcraft, the best.

MJ Guthrie: I will be immersing myself in Xsyon again; I have been eagerly anticipating this game for well over a year and a half now! And since I haven't been in for a while, I will need time to reacclimate myself. I will also dive-bomb some enemies in Aion and continue with my quest for a second set of Miragent armor (I'm totally insane, I know!).

As for the bonus question, I am sad to say I really couldn't put my finger on my favorite NPCs. I recall some I really wanted to strangle, but a favorite? I guess I am just amused by a number of them so that none sticks out.

Patrick Mackey (@mackeypb): I'm playing the "whine constantly while lying in bed bleeding after getting teeth pulled" game. I know, exciting.

I think I'd choose Livia (from GW), if she were really an NPC. Barring that, I don't know; I don't generally like NPCs. Maybe Valerian Scarlet from Champions Online, since she leads you along and gets you to accomplish all her villainous schemes and then taunts you in her sultry voice. She's also one of the top three highest damage bosses in the game, which is pretty cool -- taking her down for good feels pretty awesome.

At the start of every weekend, we catch up with the Massively staff members and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" (Otherwise known as: WRUP!) Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game -- and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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