Expendable Minions are people too

December 21, 2009 at 10:41 am | Posted in General | 1 Comment
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Wotcha everyone,

My Expendable Minion is called Lucky.

I must admit to having been a little surprised to discover that Skirmish Soldiers, as Expendable Minions are sometimes known, came with a generic title rather than a pre-generated name.  And that it was up to us, the players, to name them.

I don’t know why.  Spinks goes through the amount of naming options that there are within Lord of the Rings Online, but I just thought that seeing as the Skirmish Soldier was semi-autonomous, s/he’d be autonomous enough to have chosen his/her own name.

Obviously not.

So, at the start of my first real (but solo) skirmish, there’s Minstrel Hawley and Warrior, eyeing each other up warily, and wondering how this is all going to turn out.  Sort of like dating on the internet, when you wonder if that nice looking lass is going to turn out to be a sociopathic knife-wielding serial killer with a geek fixation. 


That skirmish was not a good experience for Warrior.  It went horribly wrong a number of times, and for the first three fights, the poor lad died every time.  But he was a willing soul, and utterly fearless; he’d just come back and hurl himself into the next fight.

It was as he met his demise in that third fight that the name just sort of popped into my head.  “Lucky”.  It wasn’t so much a post-ironic statement (because I hate them) so much as the first moment of sympathy for my Expendable Minion.  He was such a plucky lad that calling him anything else would be a disservice.  He can have a real name somewhere else in the world, but on the battlefield he is known by his nick-name. 


That very next fight, he survived.  For the first time.  It was probably purest distilled luck, but it seemed like Middle Earth had agreed with the name. 

Of course, poor chap kept dying for every fight after that until the end of the skirmish.

Since then, I’ve been throwing skirmish marks into levelling him up.  Lucky is now level 61, and rising.  And through the skirmishes I’ve been running, I’ve seen him start to… survive.

Part of it is that I’ve learned how to work with him, rather than despite him.  It’s not soloing, it’s working with someone else (who just happens to be fearless and mindlessly optimistic when it comes to managing aggro), and I’m getting better at keeping an eye out for his morale levels.

The other part has been the natural survivability that comes with rising up through levels. 

This has all had a rather strange side-effect, and one which only came to light part-way through a fellowship skirmish.

We were fighting a lieutentant of which sort I cannot remember.  I was healing or slacking or something, and was thus too busy to take note of what was actually going on.  And then, with no warning whatsoever, I get a debuff that tells me, in no uncertain terms, that my Expendable Minion no longer trusts my leadership.

I was gobsmacked.  My first reaction was one of guilt; had Lucky met his doom so many times that he’d realised that maybe he was better off with a different Evil Overlord?  Followed by fatherly pride; Now that Lucky was level 60, was he off to forge his own destiny?  Finally, it was rejection; How can he say that, after all we’ve been through?

I was hurt.  Even after finding out that it was a monsty-debuff that affected everyone, I was hurt.  How could Lucky believe the monsty over me, after all we’d been through?  We’re mates, aren’t we?

So, there you go.  Me and my no-longer Expendable Minion.  Somehow, somewhere, Turbine have made me care about the little fella.  I don’t just heal him because he’s a source of damage, I heal him because he’s my companion in Skirmishes.  He’s my dps pal, and I’m his healer mate.

And it’s all because I called him Lucky.




1 Comment »

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  1. I love my Expendable Minion! She named after the first healer we adopted in wow, though the wow one didn’t:

    -Get left behind, distracted by ‘something’

    -Not heal if you’re not fighting (A firm believer in ‘you have food for a reason, obviously)

    -Fail to point out that she’s being mobbed

    But not to worry, we’ve seen in 7 levels together so far, and we’re learning. Well I am, I’m still not sure she can hear me asking her (politely) to stand behind my champion.

    It does sounds like Tamrissa is doing better than Lucky in the Dirt-Nap stakes though hehe

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