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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

Why are there no Immersive Story MMOGs?

Posted by Meleagar Thursday July 15 2010 at 9:25AM
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Why are there no Immersive Story MMOGs?

The reason is obvious: the current game structure doesn't attract players who are interested in "storyline" entertainment.  MMOGs today are all about maximizing your key-pounding online time towards the efficient advancement of your character; sitting around RPGing and reading lore and story is about as entertaining as mud to key-pounders.  Most players probably don't even bother to read quests; they just click the NPC with the exclamation point over their head and let their UI tell them where to go and what to do next.

Current MMOGs myopically follow the exact same structure: they tie character advancement to time spent online pounding keys in some fundamental way, either through gaining experience, cash, or some other in-game commodity.  They can't even imagine how an MMOG could be entertaining without addicted key-bashing as the core element.

If they took away the need to beat your keyboard constantly to advance your character as efficiently as possible, then developers could create a depth and breadth of story the likes of which has never been seen in an MMOG - or even in books or movies.

Imagine setting your 24/7 character advancement mode to "the art of conversation" (and other advancement areas, like combat) then engaging some NPC's in some casual conversation.  As your character advances in the art of conversation and down other significant lines, other dialogue trees open up.  You are directed to several locations and NPCs in the city as you pursue an interesting storyline.  Other dialogue trees require intimidation and/or diplomatic tactics.  These storylines can lead to all kinds of intrigue, locales, and opportunities.

But, what allows one to enjoy reading or listening to the dialogue? To pursue the storyline like a good book or movie? The knowledge that you are not sacrificing anything to enjoy the story; your character is still advancing as fast as anyone else's. You can sit, sip your hot coffee, and read the MMOG like a good story, watch cut scenes like a good movie, and then participate in a way not currently offered by virtually any other entertainment media.

Myopically focusing on keybashing = advancement is ignoring the vast untapped entertainment potential of the MMOG genre.