|A sad man, living a life of misery.|
“The game has thousands of quest-givers and vendors and named targets,” he always tells me. “But there are only a few dozen raid bosses and even fewer characters with story roles.”
And maybe that’s true for most NPCs. But I have the drive, the talent and the star quality to beat the odds.
“No, you don’t” says Sraaz. “You’re a nerdy reference to Tolkien. You’re a joke.”
“You start out as a joke,” I say. “Then, you become a meme. And then you become beloved. And then you’re standing behind Rhonin in the cut-scene, nodding somberly about how grave the threat to the future of Azeroth is this time.”
That’s true, isn’t it? That’s how the red-shirt guy got up on the dais in the Ironforge throne room.
“You give out the quest where players have to run around collecting pieces of dragon poop,” Sraaz says. “That’s your role in the game. It’s not a position with upward mobility.”
“People love those quests,” I say. “That’s why Blizz keeps putting them in.”
“In the follow-up quest, the players throw the poop at you,” he reminds me.
“So, I have an established conflict with them when I turn up again later as a raid boss.”
“Your name is Bladdergass the Brown,” Sraaz reminds me.
“I know. I didn’t forget my name. And If I did, it’s right above my head in big green letters.”
“Along with your title, Stenchmeister.”
“And Elling Trias was just the Master of Cheese before somebody tapped him to be involved in the S:I7 quest-line,” I say. “And Nat Pagle was just a fishing trainer, before somebody decided it would be funny to use him as a red herring about the Ashbringer.”
Sraaz is shaking his head, but I’m on a roll now.
“Tirion Fordring started out as a regular quest-giver,” I say. “Now his in-game model is twelve feet tall. Bolvar Fordragon was just the guy standing around Stormwind Keep, until Blizz buffed him so he could kill the dragonkin that spawned during the Onyxia attunement quest. Now, that dude is Lich King.”
“That’s your plan?” Sraaz’s lips peel back off of clenched teeth. A fat blue vein is throbbing on the right side of his head. “You think you’re going to be Stenchmeister Bladdergass, the Lich King?”
“Why not?” I ask.
“I’ll tell you why not,” says Sraaz the pie vendor. “For the last six years, I’ve been patrolling the halls of Ironforge, seven days a week. I get about four hours off on Tuesday mornings, and, the last couple of years, it’s not even every Tuesday. In those six years of grueling labor, I have sold a total of fifty-three pies.”
“On this server?”
“Thirty-two of them sold on the same day to an RP guild that held an in-game pie-eating contest.”
“That sounds like fun.”
“It was not,” he says. “It was the opposite of fun. After that, those guys took a long, hard look at how they were spending their lives, and they did not like what they saw.”
“I can’t believe that you only sold fifty-three pies.”
"Nobody wants a pie in Ironforge. And nobody is going to go looking for the vendor that patrols around randomly. If people want to buy food for some reason, they buy it from the Innkeeper who is standing right next to them when they hearth into the city.”
“That is rough.”
“You don’t get health insurance when you sell only fifty pies in six years,” Sraaz says. “And every time a Horde rogue sneaks into Ironforge, I get stabbed in the neck.” He pulls down his shirt collar and shows me his throat, which is cris-crossed with fat, shiny scars.
“I put in papers for a transfer this expansion,” Sraaz says. “I thought I could be a named elite in Throne of the Four Winds. You know, pie in the sky. They told me they like me where I am. They said they like the holiday achievement where people have to kiss me on Valentine’s Day.”
“Well, it’s neat that you get an achievement,” I say.
“It’s just a cruel reminder that nobody really loves me,” Sraaz says.
“Well people will really love me,” I tell him. “You’ll see. I’m gonna be huge.”