Just a brief quote that made me wonder. This is from Gamasutra’s interview with Brian Knox, lead from the Aion Online team:
“We had some really talented writers -- still do, actually.”
Okie. What I read from that is that some of the more remarkable writers got cut. His little correction (“— still do”) kind of makes it seem like the majority of the one’s remaining are run of the mill kill/collect fodder. Realistically, that’s probably about the truth of it. The more skilled writers would have had more experience and been receiving better compensation for it. If you’re short on money, who’re you going to cut, the big earner or the $9 and hour rent-a-pen?
Note to self: don’t write quest text for an MMO company.
Maybe that assessment of the remaining writers isn't fair. I'd be willing to bet they're stifled in what they're allowed to write. If the end objective of any one quest is the same, how creative can you really be. It's like trying to find new ways to say the same thing.
For all their talk about story, I’ve found that to be the single most lacking area of the game. I read quest text but quests in Aion, though well worded, amount to nothing for the first 20 levels of the game. When it all amounts to kill this, bring me that, I find it truly hard to care about the reason.
The main issue here is that there’s nothing truly unexpected. Tell me, NCSoft, when I know the end of the story (the objectives) why should I care about reading the plot? I’ve had more fun playing the game since I stopped trying to get something from the text that, to be quite honest, isn’t there. There is very little exciting and original in 99% of the story and that bugs me when they talk about how great and amazing it is.
It’s a cool setting. There’s a lot of atmosphere and, yeah, sometimes it’s good to read the text to get a feel for it all. But don’t expect anything that great. If you set your expectations accordingly, it makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
I guess that wasn’t that brief.