Trending Games | Pirate101 | ArcheAge | Wasteland 2 | Destiny

  Network:  FPSguru RTSguru
Login:  Password:   Remember?  
Show Quick Gamelist Jump to Random Game
Members:2,858,955 Users Online:0
Games:742  Posts:6,244,118

Show Blog

Link to this blogs RSS feed

MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Lore vs. Gore

Posted by MikeB Thursday August 26 2010 at 1:57PM
Login or Register to rate this blog post!

This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Do you play for the lore or the gore?” by bronecar. Simply put, do you play MMOs for the story or for the gameplay?

Bronecar opens up the discussion with his own thoughts:

“The way I see it, gameplay should always come first, followed by a solid background story. After all, MMORPG's are not novels.

I strongly believe they should coexist, but if I were to choose, I'd say drop the lore and go for the gore.”

MumboJumbo draws some comparisons using singleplayer and PvP games to illustrate his opinion:

“Take some examples...

In Mass Effect 2, I found the story to be far more interesting than the gameplay, so on that account, as long as the gameplay was passable, I would be happy with the game and story and lore etc.

But in a game with more PvP credentials or sandbox interaction, the gameplay is by far more important, eg PvP in WAR was all about how satisfying you could kill the enemy especially in scenarios and nothing to do with any lore or story, the PvE in the game was very passable here. Again with a sandbox interaction you can have some story sketched, but as long as you have lots of freedom to interact, combine things and change things in the world then the story is very secondary, because the gameplay sorta is the story for yourself. Eg various god-sims, it's all about how flexible your options are.”

Eyelids asserts that if you want a story, there are plenty of books out there:

“The action of a game is primary. The game should not require lore to hold it up as a crutch for poor gameplay. If the gameplay is solid and they decide to trhow some lore in, thats fine but a game by its very name is A GAME! You want to read about fairies or space pirates, there are a million books out there for that. The game must never be dilluted otherwise it ceases to become a game more like some sort of childs interactive experience.”

Fdzzaigl argues the opposite POV:

“Storyline has always been integrated into new media steadily, becoming better presented over time; the gaming industry won't be an exception.

The 'games are not books' argument doesn't make sense, books are not the only media in which storyline is presented; you've got magazines, comics, theatre, opera, film, and so forth each

presenting storyline in their own manner; you wouldn't go tell all the people enjoying that to "Go read a book instead!".

Games are starting to find more ways to present a storyline themselves in an interactive manner which fits the medium and I think that is rather exciting.

A game should have a good balance between storyline and combat for me; I can't enjoy a pure mindless hack&slash fest for too long; but an interactive movie isn't exactly great either.”

Personally, I’m indifferent to a “good storyline.” I love great storylines in my single-player RPGs, and I can definitely appreciate them greatly in MMOs, especially when they are weaved into the game world itself (I.E. the environments tell a story, there are easter eggs, and all sorts of little details), but it’s not paramount. Good gameplay trumps story for me in an MMO.

What are your thoughts on story vs. gameplay? Let us know in the comments below!

Skuz writes:

Storyline through gameplay, it hasn't been pulled off as yet, where the very things that you do & achieve in the game are a part of the story that the story gets related to you through the very actions you are asked to perform, and you involvements in the gameworld.

It's a tricky concept for some to grasp maybe but the existing methods of storytelling don't really work that well in MMO's, relying upon reading quest text or in-game lore of stuff that already happened,  "Black Rain" the playstation title should be looked upon as a stumbling attempt at such stprylining within the gameplay, but the ingame lore of the world should reflect what the players have done, think of something like wAR's "Tome of Knowledge" combined with EverQuests "lore books" found in libraries but all pumped into an experience created for players to play through that is then recorded, like an account of a real fight players were involved in with their names and deeds portrayed in it something that they really did.

Thu Aug 26 2010 6:33PM Report
The_Grump writes:

Both are necessary, they are no mutlually exclusive and they certainly don't entail one another. The bottom line comes down to what sort of game a person is playing because a strong storyline, whathever that may be, just isn't necessary in particular genres.

 

The bottome line is that folks need to understand that the focus of the conversation is a question of whether or not a strong storyline (lore) is important in a Massive Multiplayer Online ROLEPLAYING Game.  I have seen an incredible amount of people completely forget that these are supposed to be RPGs, RPGs in such a grand scale that they take place in a MMOG format and that the most important thing in any RPG is the storyline, the lore.

 

If people do not think the storyline is important they should not play a RPG, whatever form it may take, because they are only interested in gameplay and there are plenty of games that cater to that need. This argument is completely unnecessary and, honestly, incredibly stupid because there is such a large consensus that misses the point. The point is that we are talking about RPGs in a particular form (MMOG) and the consensus really is arguing that MMORPGs are merely MMOGs with a largely unfortunate RPG core.

 

It's a small wonder that MMORPGs have survived so long when people seem to be so bent on ignoring their core: the story.

Thu Aug 26 2010 11:08PM Report
maplestone writes:

I like visiting simulations.  I want every monster to have a motive.  I want to see wagons on the roads.  I want a world rich in troubles and mysteries.  But in the end, *I* want to write my story.

Fri Aug 27 2010 2:38AM Report
Athcear writes:

Story and gameplay should work together to create an interesting and memorable experience.  Story in this case may not be a linear tale, but can be an immersive world with well written backstory.  If you sacrifice one for the other, you end up with a bad game.  Even Megaman had an interesting story for its time.

Fri Aug 27 2010 8:45AM Report
JaggaSpikes writes:

it's just two aspect of a product. game withe superb story and exquisite gameplay leaves me cold if animations are terribad and graphic is epilepsy-inducing.

imo, game that is solid in everything will get more time than one that is good at one thing, and mediocre at everything else.

Fri Aug 27 2010 10:20AM Report
Hluill writes:

The backstory, or Lore, should support the gameplay in an MMORPG.  But instead, most MMOs use the same gameplay and dress it with different lore.  The lore should describe why my character respawns, or levels, or can cast fireballs but not use a sword. 

LotRO completely dropped the ball by making yet another Tank-Healer-DPSer, WoW clone, but set it Middle Earth.  While the implementation of lore was half-assed at best, it was still better than anything else.  And now one doesn't even need to read the quest text.

Too many MMOs use the lore for useless religion or history lessons.  Like religion or history have much to do with my characters' motivations.  I love how basic MMO design includes ignoring how things really work.

/rant off 

Fri Aug 27 2010 12:25PM Report
Judyduori writes: No Virus No Lie? http://www.worldofgame.net/5.shtml Cheapest wow gold: 10000G only $29.99 Cheapest RS gold: 1M only $1.29 MSN/AIM: worldofgamecool@hotmail.com Thx?~ Mon Aug 30 2010 1:27AM Report
WinnTech writes:

I would say no, I am pretty displeased actually. As we have watched games progress it seems that we have hit a plateau. There are developers that would like to create the quickest cookie cutter style game that they can push out and call it free to play. These games are inundating the industry and causing it to take missteps. Furthermore, there are other creative groups that can create a wonderful idea but never be able to implement it properly. Most games are well planned devices that are well meaning but faulty. Why?

  • Lack of direction - I don't need to run in circles and kill 30 pigs to get another mission to kill RED pigs now. Ok, how does this tie into the storyline at all? To what good does this come?
  • Lack of immersion - Ok, so I am some Mr. I'am Soawesome and I run in the cave and wacked the purple dancing mushroom with my feather of tickling. Stop, no. Ok, we need the game to have a "Plausible" factor. I run up and attack ten mobs, I want to feel the pain. I want the ground my character is running on to blend with my character. I want directional attacks, Eye Gouge from the front and Back Stab from the back. It is tactics that make a game interesting along with many other factors, but Tactics do NOT include using a mod to time an attack, that is not learning a game at all.
  • Too easy and predictable - X monster does Y attack at Z time therefore we counter with A, then B then C. This is the basis of most games. There is just not enough randomness in the AI, I would even go as far to say, the AI's we have these days can play with the ability of a Second Grader, albeit a very strong one.
  • Lack of individuality - If ALL armor at the top of the game looks the same, let me embellish or dye it to my likes. Or even better, let me set my own stats on my character. That is how we did it in the old days, why not now? I don'd want to look like the next person standing 20 feet from me, I want to be the only one looking like ME.
  • Lack of end game activities - Welcome to end game. What is on the menu? PvP for breakfast, PVP for lunch and Raiding for dinner. If that isn't to your likes, we have PvP and Raiding on a buffett available at all times. No, I dislike both. Why can't I start my own town? Why can't I design NEW weapons that can be made available to the game server I am on only? Why can't I build a house on a plot of land I bought in an instanced server to my guild and selected people?
The current status of MMO gaming is deplorable. Not one game out there IMO gets it right. They come close so I find a few tolerable. But honestly, since EQ1, the industry has gone downhill. WoW caught the slip and progressed the game by using the well known successful aspects of gaming, but all things fade with time. Now we find ourselves in another slump hoping and praying for another game to come out and sate our thirst and hunger for something new and invigorating.
 
I truely hope that someone will finally get it right.
Thu Sep 23 2010 4:19PM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

I find the idea of a 'sandbox' MMO really quite silly and delusional. There is no real such thing as a sandbox and there never will be. Players are complaining of the linear nature of MMO's, as if content is a bad thing. They are glorifying the days when a game dropped you in the middle of the wilderness with little to no direction for you to whack mindlessly at random things for no real reason whatsoever except to pass the time. And ~that~ was supposed to be the evolution of gaming? REALLY? I am amused that the players who long for a return to those days of gaming consider today's gaming 'shallow'.

 

If there's anything shallow about today's gaming, it's the money grubbing of the companies behind it. It's the repetitive tedium of doing the same 'kill x of x' quests. It's the crafting systems which function purely on RNG and force you to farm countless hours for materials just to have the craft fail. It's the oversexualization of female characters who gradually get more and more naked the higher level they are, while men end up mini-gundams in huge amounts of armor by level 20. It's the fact that 99% of them play EXACTLY the same. It's that a game can get a fanbase based purely on the IP rather than the game's actual content and whether or not it's actually worthy of that much devotion.

 

There are SO many reasons why games are shallow in nature these days, and it has nothing to do with what they came from. Guess what, they sucked back then, too. Now they just suck casually.

 

And back to the sandbox thing, players are complaining and craving an environment with limitless possibilities. Where they can go anywhere and always experience something different. This experience already exists, it's called 'outside'. You are not going to find this in a video game, ever. Why? Because games are developed and created, and anything created has both a beginning and an end. Ths means there are no endless possibilities in an MMO. Endless ways to do the exact same thing over and over? Yes. But you will eventually reach the end of a map, that invisible boundary sometimes cleverly hidden behind mountains and scenary. You will eventually kill every monster there is at least once. You will eventually get bored.

 

Maybe one day technology will advance to the point of virtual worlds and holodecks the likes of which you've only seen on TV, where we really will have a limitless playground with which to frolick in. Until then, we're all just going to content ourselves with the (evidently, very) limited imaginations of our game developers.

 

If it bothers you that much, find something more productive to do with your time. The world would probably be better for it.

Fri Sep 24 2010 4:05PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
Login or Register to post a comment