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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

The argument against "No Point" ideology - in previous MMORPG's.

Posted by Teala Thursday June 3 2010 at 3:32PM
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So a developer from BioWare believes that there was "no point" in previous MMORPG's because they were not story driven.   As if there must be a set story to make an MMORPG legit?   Does he honestly believe this?   How many story arcs will we players have to choose from in SW:ToR?  Will there be thousands of different story arcs for us to choose from and from those thousands will they branch to a myriad of other story arcs that will give us players a feeling that our characters have a unique game experience that others are not privy of? 

From what we've been told there will be a story our characters will follow and depending on the four choices given per flashpoint this will determine our characters path and final place in this version of the Star Wars verse.

OK...sounds cool.   But won't that mean that every 4th player will in the end have played the same game I played?   What is or will be in the game that will allow me to experience or have a unique game experience and how will my character be unique to the thousands that play the game?

In games like EvE, and old school SWG pre-NGE and even to some extant WoW, DAoC and such we did not have to follow some predetermined path...we were free to choose where to go and what quest to take and whether we participated in certain aspects of the game and this provides a unique game play experience that maybe only I had.

How is SW:ToR going to give us a "point" to play the game?  If from what we've read is true so far, it looks like the only point to playing SW:ToR will be to experience a story that is all ready laid out for us.   Where is the uniqueness in this?  Where is my characters story?   When does she get the chance to make her own destiny and her own story?   How much freedom will SW:ToR actually give us to do just that - that other MMORPG's of the past gave us?  Look at the open ended game play we had in such games as UO, AC, SWG pre-NGE and EvE.   If the developer thinks there is no point to those games it makes me wonder if he ever played a pen and paper game in his life.

Story driven RPG's are good on the single player game level, but we're talking MMO here and I dunno about the rest of you, but I do not wish to pay to play a game that in the end will be nothing more than a co-OP online single player game.   Because based on the info we're getting it looks like that is what SW:ToR is heavily leaning towards.

If we look though at those games I mention, they allowed us players to create a unique game experience that maybe totally different than anything other players may have experienced.   Some of the games even went further and allowed us a great many ways to create unique characters due to the nature of the character progression mechanics that were built into the game.   What will SW:ToR do to provide this amount of freedom and what is the point to play an MMORPG if in the end my Bounty Hunter looks and plays like the thousands of others that are in the game? 

In my opinion when you place a player in a game that is guided by rails, such as story driven content, you are confining that player to more of a "NO POINT" game than if you say here, here is a game world rich with things you can do - find your place in the world and help make it come alive - find the dragon in the distant land that is terrorizing the village and destroy it.  Go and be a crafter and provide weapons and armor to others.  Here are the tools in game for you to build a trading guild that will allow you to gather resources to sell to crafters who in turn will sell their wares to others.    Story driven quest are cool, they help fill out the game and give us some direction - ala such games as WoW, EvE, DAoC...but there has to be other options to give us players a richer game experience in the long run that is unique to us - the things that make us wish to continue to play and continue to contribute to the games community in ways other than to be shoved into a predetermined, story driven style of game play that every other Jill and Joe gamer will experience - and I ask, where is the "point" in that? 

Nibs writes:

Even if there are 4 choices per flashpoint (a statement I don't recall being made anywhere by Bioware) that doesn't mean that 1 in 4 players will have the same experience as you. That would only be the case if there was only 1 flashpoint.

The number of paths through the story multiplies exponentially as the number of flashpoints increases.


Even with only 10 flashpoints per story you will be looking at 1 in a few hundred having the same path through the story.


And this is all assuming that you only do the main story line. The main story story line for each class is only a fraction of the total amount of quests (story) available to each person.


The odds of any 2 people sharing the exact same experience through SWTOR will be miniscule.

Fri Jun 04 2010 8:35AM Report
wootin writes:

I'm actually for this - I'd like to see how this works in an MMO situation. Generally in an MMO, youcan only really play with your group anyways, so it is like a coop game - it's just that you have a big pool of players to form groups with.

SW:TOR seems like the same model, only with a lot more story, so I can't help but think it'll be better than the usual MMO.

Sat Jun 05 2010 11:40AM Report
Hyanmen writes:

You don't have to sacrifice story for unique game experience.

Instead of being in the other extreme of the spectrum, how about trying to figure out what would actually be a good middleground?

Story can make the experience richer and give a point to playing when "getting better lewtz" is not enough. When given too much emphasis, it can also make the experience poorer in MMO terms. 

Sun Jun 06 2010 6:44AM Report
MephPotato writes:

I actualy kind of like the idea of a sotry driven MMO too, think it adds alot more to exploration of the great Lore of SW, I also like having alot of freedom ingame, and balancing both is pretty hard. I think GW2 will be the jewel wen it comes to freedom/exploration with they'r new system. SW just gives me the feel of all those single player MMO done by BioWare, with great stories and fun worlds were you can loose yourself for a long time and let time pass by. Hoping it does translates to the MMO world too but they have to come up with something else besides that, dunno what theyr planning...

Sun Jun 06 2010 6:44AM Report
tank570585 writes:

I find it interesting that you think there is less individuality in a "theme park" mmo than a sandbox one.  The truth of the matter is that in either game there are a myriad of choices of what to do at any given point. 

If you don't like a particular quest you usually do not have to do it.  That might be different for TOR when on personal story quests, but even then you are given a choice of how to proceed on the quest.  Don't feel like questing? 

Then just grind mobs or craft or explore or work on achievements(assuming they have them) or set up a guild event or use the auction house or try to do something like get across a zone in x minutes.  The point here is that a railed MMO is still as much a sandbox as a sandbox MMO.  

The reason for this is that a sandbox mmo is simply a place to play, and so is a rails mmo.  If you truly enjoy a sandbox mmo then enjoying a rails mmo should be a piece of cake.  The sandbox is still there if you only have the intelligence and creativity to see it.  The fact that there is a story available if you choose to use it in no way limits you from coming up with your own.

Now, I will give you your point that saying previous mmos had no point is disingenuous at best.  The point has always been what you make of it.

Forgive me, but it sounds like you've forgotten that part yourself.  You said the only reason to play TOR is for their storyline.  To me that sounds like the attitude of a rails mmo player and not a sandbox player.

Ultimately it all comes down to your own skill at utilizing the sandbox available to you.  To put down a rails mmo for not being a sandbox is to admit that you really are not a very good sandbox player in the first place.

Sun Jun 06 2010 11:20AM Report
theAsna writes:

I have to agree with Nibs here. You can visualize this with something like a decision tree. The more decision points are available the deeper the decision tree becomes. The more decisions per decision point are available the broader the decision tree gets.

Sun Jun 06 2010 2:16PM Report
LadyAlibi writes:

I actually agree with the post.  I don't think that "no point" was a fault of earlier MMORPGs. I think it was a strength.

That said, I think that the MMORPG tent is big enough to include games in different styles for all sorts of players. Not every game has to be right for every player. I think I will probably enjoy SWTOR, even if it has rails, because I enjoyed KOTOR, which was also a story-driven game. When I played KOTOR, I kept thinking, "how great would this game be if it were MULTIPLAYER?"

MMO is a game format-- lots of people connected to a persistent game/world-- and there's a lot of room for new ideas that fit the bill. I love games that don't shove a story down my throat and that let me decide from day to day what kind of person my character is,  but I am willing to go along for the ride on a more story-driven game too, just to see what the "point" ends up being.

Sun Jun 06 2010 5:18PM Report
halleck writes:

I also tend to agree with this post.  A heavy story driven MMO implies less emphasis placed on "Sandbox" type game qualities.  Although this may not be the case (and I hope it's not).  It is possible to have both, no?  And with respect at tank570585, it seems that what your saying is that any game could be a good sandbox.  I just don't agree.  

Mon Jun 07 2010 12:59AM Report
tank570585 writes:

halleck, of course any game can be a good sandbox.  You don't even need any game at all!  All you need is an imagination and the dedication to pull it off.  Mind you, I'm not trying to say that all games are equal in this regard, only that many people are failing to see the sandbox virtues that are there in a game like this.

But your statement that it will have less emphasis on sandbox elements does not logically follow.  There is no reason that an mmo with a strong story focus can not have all of the same elements that you enjoy in a sandbox mmo.  As long as it is developed intelligently, both should provide you with a very similar ability to play in sandbox fashion.  Not exactly the same, no, but a similar level.

If, on the other hand, what you are objecting to is the level and class based nature of the game, then you may have more of a point.  The fact is, that these systems are crude approximations of life.  Open, skill oriented systems, are probably more accurate to real life, but keep in mind that as a sandbox player you are looking for an alternate world to play in.  Things don't have to be true to life.  They just have to be interesting. 

Tue Jun 08 2010 10:36AM Report
gobla writes:

You really believe you have an unique game experience in games like EvE, SWG, WoW or any other mmo?

In EvE while flying in your fancy Abaddon, Raven, Domi or whatever there's simaltaniously flying more then a thousand players in the exact same ship. Atleast ten of those will have the same fitting as you have. And whatever you're currently doing will have been done before by someone. Whatever alliance you're in and whatever space you're conquering, it will have been done before.

Every single quest you complete, monster you slay or instance you finish, it will have been done before.

Even the backstory you write of your character will have been, on the major points, done before.

But that's alright. Uniqueness only exists in stories. I did the world's highest bungy jump, hundreds of people did it before me but that didn't make it any less of an experience.

I went into WH space, thousands have gone before me and thousands will follow. But that's okay, I enjoyed my time in there anyway.

I did a full mostly affliction spec on my warlock, tens of thousands did it before I did. But that didn't make the spec any less new or interesting for me.

Why does an experience have to be unique in order to be fun and worth it?

Thu Jun 10 2010 10:07AM Report writes:
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