What’s Their Story: Crafting Dialogue by Observation

I was taking a break from playing my Druid who just hit 90 not too long ago, and was sitting in the inn at Halfhill. The Lazy Turnip is a busy place, with player characters coming and going, as people often log out in this inn in order to make doing their farming a lot easier. I think Blizzard has put a decent amount of thought into the interactions between the NPCs at this inn, because since I noticed, I spend half my time wishing that their interactions had audio just so I could hear the words behind this interaction. Maybe WoWMartiean, he of the infamous girdle, can make a video with imagined dialogue? We shall see!

With as busy as this place is, though, I don’t know how many have really spent a lot of time watching the NPCs in this, or even any other inn. Do you really care what the bartender at the Blue Recluse is going through at home? Do we really wonder about the innkeepers or other characters in the inns we visit around Azeroth? Not often enough.

I want to think a bit on the characters found in the Lazy Turnip, since that is honestly where I spend most of my time on 6 of my characters these days. The first one is Lei Lan, the innkeeper, who seems to have an almost endless path from the first to second floor of the inn. Occasionally, if you watch long enough, you can see Lei Lan stop for a moment, sit on one of the seats, and cross her legs. She then looks around, and surveys her surroundings for a few moments before she rises and begins her tour of the two floors of the inn once again.

I have wondered, watching her as she takes a few moments of respite from her constant path, what goes through her mind as she watches the patrons. “Another Blingtron? Really? Can’t they leave those things outside?” perhaps, or maybe “These fools, they buy my weak beer, and rest in my inn, but little do they know every time they enter, I steal a little part of their soul. Soon I will rule all of Pandaria!” One never truly knows.

The pair I find most interesting at the inn, though, are Kora Kang and Teng Firebrew. This pair seems to be having a very animated and sometimes heated discussion. From jovial to combative, these characters maximize the high level of detail in the Pandaren characters, and the land of Pandaria as a whole, and the facial expressions and gestures really show it. Watching Kora and Teng, I have spent a lot of time imagining what could cause these two to react to each other as they do. Are they friends or lovers? Spouses perhaps, or just long time friends who enjoy having a bit to eat and a strong ale to discuss the events of the day.

Have you spent any time in the inns of Azeroth, just watching the interactions between NPCs and pondered their story? Tell us what you have seen, and your ideas about what is going on between the characters, in the comments below!

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