The dead tell the best stories, they say.
Outside of Divinity's Reach in Guild Wars 2
is a graveyard. It's the type of place that you run through quickly on your way to more lively settings, unless a zombie attack emerges. It was the type of place that I was running through quickly during the previous beta weekend when I realized that the gravestones could be examined -- and each and every one of them had an interesting epitaph to read. Some crazy ArenaNet
writer sat down one afternoon and wrote out dozens and dozens of gravestone inscriptions on the off-chance that any of us would slow down enough to read them. It paid off in my case.
This may be one of the most trivial Perfect Tens
I've ever done, so forgive me with being absolutely fascinated by the epitaphs that came up during my explorations. With an absolute economy of words, each gravestone tells a complete story. Some are funny, some are dark, some play into the lore, and some actually managed to be quite moving.
Here are my 10 most favorite that I found. Maybe they'll haunt you as they do me.
Guild Wars 1
players are quite familiar with Mad King Thorn, the crazy pumpkin-headed dude who emerges each Halloween to crack bad jokes, make us scramble to appease him, and kill any players who are /AFK. Good to know he still has a following and a best-seller a few centuries from now.
Also, ArenaNet: You guys would make a mint
if you actually wrote this book.
See what I'm saying about these epitaphs being little stories? In two sentences it spells out a movie-length plot of a curmudgeon -- a Crankshaft, if you're a funny-pages reader -- who tormented those around him his whole life by never being satisfied. The bitter ending makes me think that whoever buried him dusted off their hands and said, "Good riddance."
(This epitaph shoots into the epic atmosphere if you pronounce the name out loud. Bravo, ArenaNet. Bravo.)
A snarky send-up of Little Red Riding Hood. That day the bear got not only some decent XP but yummy loot as well.
I've been told that this is a tribute to Guild Wars 2
artist Tirzah Bauer
(who did not get eaten by a bear, in case you were wondering).
I don't know your philosophy on death, but this epitaph suits my outlook perfectly. And, of course, it makes me wonder why everyone in this game world isn't immortal if everyone has the power to resurrect those who die.
I can't help but think that this saying is a subversive jab at obsessive MMO gamers. Do we just live our life in games to get away? Will we regret how we spend our free time -- or how much of it we use up on our hobby? Am I bringing you all down right now?
I know it's bad, but I love black humor like this. It reminds me of the gravestones at the Haunted Mansion in Disney World or Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies. Not only is it kind of amusing, but it really makes you wonder what kind of person would inscribe something like this following what had to be a horrible tragedy.
The answer? A Massively writer.
Instead of telling a story about a person's life, this one tells you about the person herself. Who was she? What did she do in life? I don't know, but she must have been mighty in words and deeds for the Underworld to get a direct warning about her visitation. Also, she could be a raid boss in the upcoming Underworld expansion pack.
Considering the state of Shaemoor when you enter the game, I'd say it's a pity that Rhett wasn't a little better at his job. Of course, if he had been, then we wouldn't have any way to level up. So thanks for the assist, Rhett!
There are loads of other giggly, ghastly sayings, but the final two for this list are going to be a bit more somber. This one perplexes me because I can't quite figure out what the story is with her life. Was Zonnie a perpetual victim who was bullied to death? Did her meek personality result in a lack of friends? Did her cowardice disgust those around her? What did she not stand up for, exactly, and how did she die from it? I want to know these things.
Full disclosure: I'm a father, so naturally this sort of thing gets to me more than it might've otherwise. Still, how awesome is this epitaph? It's a heroic epic in and of itself. That second line could be the quote on a movie poster, and I'd watch it.
Oh... very well. One more:
Justin "Syp" Olivetti enjoys counting up to ten, a feat that he considers the apex of his career. If you'd like to learn how to count as well, check out The Perfect Ten. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.