One common complaint of Skyrim players is that, even after becoming the leader of all of the major factions within Skyrim, ending the Civil War, collecting all of the Daedric artifacts, touring Sovngarde and Apocrypha, and saving the world from Alduin, Harkon, and Miraak, the Dragonborn is still being asked to "collect nirnroot" or "convince so-and-so to stop bothering what's-his-name about his gambling debt." These pedestrian tasks are below the dignity of the Vanquisher of the World-Eater, they argue, and demonstrate a flaw in the game's AI. I disagree.
A recurring theme in the game is the corrupting nature of power. All three "bosses" succumb to it, and the PC is warned several times not to fall prey to it. I therefore posit that the "fetch quests" that irritate high-level players are best viewed through the lens of Robert Greenleaf's concept of "servant leadership," as outlined in his 1970 essay "The Servant as Leader":
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."The Dovahkiin is invited to be a servant leader each time an NPC ignores the enchanted dragonscale armor and simply asks the PC to find her lost necklace. These quests act as a kind of check to the Dovahkiin's ego in much the same way as Neloth's sharp tongue or the town guard's "No lollygaggin'." Far from a design flaw, I would call this arrangement an opportunity for reflection on the PC's motives and goals.
|One of your goals should not be "impress Neloth."|