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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Story in mmorpgs

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51 posts found
  Ortwig

Novice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1023

1/26/13 6:27:36 PM#41

The problem is in the method of telling the story.  

In a tabletop game, you are given certain situations, but the players determine how the story will play out based on their actions.  In many, many computer games (including single player games) the authors have created The One True Story that players must decide to participate in, or not.  Basically, the only decision we are making is whether or not to follow the script.  

But real storytelling was done well in games like Myst, where the story is present, but hidden, waiting to be discovered.   We can figure out a clue here, and then go over to the other world and find another piece, until finally the entire puzzle is assembled.  

Too often, we get a huge dose of cut scene or a wall of text explaining to us what the story is (a chunk of exposition, which any writing instructor will tell you is bad form -- show, don't tell).  Thus, the feeling of being "on rails."  We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

  User Deleted
 
OP  1/26/13 10:40:00 PM#42
Originally posted by Ortwig

 We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

I agree with this completely. 

 

Of course, this may just apply to certain subsets of players (including me). However, a lot of people still love the cut scenes and all that goes with it. I like those, too. Just not in my mmorpg.

 

 

  Ortwig

Novice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1023

1/27/13 7:47:08 AM#43
Originally posted by PWN_FACE
Originally posted by Ortwig

 We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

I agree with this completely. 

Of course, this may just apply to certain subsets of players (including me). However, a lot of people still love the cut scenes and all that goes with it. I like those, too. Just not in my mmorpg.

I actually don't even mind a cutscene or a bit of text here or there either -- it's all in how it is presented.  Heck, even Myst had little cut scenes with the two brothers when you figured out how to read the books they were trapped in.  But those were still just pieces of the story, not the whole deal.  If devs can think of the cut scene or text as one piece of the puzzle, then it's all good -- just don't make it an all-encompassing Expository with a simple yes/no decision.

  Phaserlight

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 639

Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu

1/27/13 8:07:50 AM#44
I guess it depends on what you are saying yes/no to.  We often make yes/no decisions in real life, although these decisions are often related to many other things.  Should I take that new job that pays more but is a longer commute?  Do I tell my close relative about a new project I am involved in?  Often times one has to make a host of these yes/no decisions in rapid succession that creates a cascading effect, but it's often really simpler than it appears.

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
Check it out on Steam

  Ortwig

Novice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1023

1/27/13 8:20:31 AM#45
Originally posted by Phaserlight
I guess it depends on what you are saying yes/no to.  We often make yes/no decisions in real life, although these decisions are often related to many other things.  Should I take that new job that pays more but is a longer commute?  Do I tell my close relative about a new project I am involved in?  Often times one has to make a host of these yes/no decisions in rapid succession that creates a cascading effect, but it's often really simpler than it appears.

A yes/no decision that is not a simple "proceed with the script" decision then, with no other story possibilities than that.  I think we think of stories too easily as these linear, monolithic, binary proceed/do-not-proceed things, when they should, at least in an RPG environment, be situations that can be discovered and tackled in whichever way you see fit.  There are a million ways to rescue the princess once you figure out that the princess needs rescuing.  

Take a long hard look at Myst to see how a story can be fragmented into pieces, with the players putting 2 and 2 together to figure out how to proceed.  There IS a story, but there is no One True Way to proceed.

  Phaserlight

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 639

Do you want to improve the world? I don't think it can be done. -Lao Tzu

1/27/13 9:27:25 AM#46
Originally posted by Ortwig
Originally posted by Phaserlight
I guess it depends on what you are saying yes/no to.  We often make yes/no decisions in real life, although these decisions are often related to many other things.  Should I take that new job that pays more but is a longer commute?  Do I tell my close relative about a new project I am involved in?  Often times one has to make a host of these yes/no decisions in rapid succession that creates a cascading effect, but it's often really simpler than it appears.

A yes/no decision that is not a simple "proceed with the script" decision then, with no other story possibilities than that.  I think we think of stories too easily as these linear, monolithic, binary proceed/do-not-proceed things, when they should, at least in an RPG environment, be situations that can be discovered and tackled in whichever way you see fit.  There are a million ways to rescue the princess once you figure out that the princess needs rescuing.  

Take a long hard look at Myst to see how a story can be fragmented into pieces, with the players putting 2 and 2 together to figure out how to proceed.  There IS a story, but there is no One True Way to proceed.

I agree.  I also played through Myst, and really enjoyed it.

"To be what you are not, experience what you are not." -Saint John of the Cross
Authored 110 missions in Vendetta Online
Check it out on Steam

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 18004

1/27/13 1:56:31 PM#47
Originally posted by PWN_FACE
Originally posted by Ortwig

 We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

I agree with this completely. 

 

Of course, this may just apply to certain subsets of players (including me). However, a lot of people still love the cut scenes and all that goes with it. I like those, too. Just not in my mmorpg.

 

 

Just don't view MMOs as a special genre and you will be fine. If a cutscene is good, and move the story along, i don't care less if it is a SP game, or a MMO .. it is still a good cut scene.

 

  User Deleted
 
OP  1/27/13 8:04:08 PM#48

Okay, then, I won't be stubborn. You guys persuaded me that cut scenes are okay in mmorpgs. I just don't want them to be the backbone of a story rail that I must follow. 

 

  FelixMajor

Novice Member

Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 323

1/27/13 9:57:46 PM#49
Originally posted by PWN_FACE
Originally posted by Ortwig

 We need more stories waiting to be uncovered in bits and pieces and then acted upon with our own free will.  We need to be dropped into the story, discover what is going on, then act upon it.

I agree with this completely. 

 

Of course, this may just apply to certain subsets of players (including me). However, a lot of people still love the cut scenes and all that goes with it. I like those, too. Just not in my mmorpg.

 

 

I agree 100%.  Storytelling is an art in itself and it needs to be revived.

  Ortwig

Novice Member

Joined: 4/20/12
Posts: 1023

1/27/13 10:24:50 PM#50

I guess I'm wondering when we started believing that the quest-errand became the best way of telling a story in an MMO.  Why can't the stor(ies) be imbued in the world without all the markers and pointers?  Every person or object in the world could possibly lead to something interesting, and better, it can be completely non-linear.  Simply bake the story into ALL the NPCs and objects and let us come across them serendipitously.  If I have to talk to all the locals to see what's going on, then I can make my own decision about what to do, without any packaged "quest."  Maybe if I put 2+2 together and figure something out, then do it, I can be rewarded with something for acting intelligently.  

Hell, what if NPCs were unreliable and occasionally told me fibs in order to get what they want?  What if I could get back at them in some other way once I know what the real story is -- there's a lot more room for interesting and DIFFERENT ways of playing these things out.

  drivendawn

Elite Member

Joined: 4/17/11
Posts: 784

1/27/13 11:51:20 PM#51
I played FFXI for 6 years and while always having to be in a party and 24 hour NM spawns could be a pain, I loved it. The lore was good and I'm glad it was there but the mission baced story lines are what was awsome. The in game cutscenes while simple and not voice acted were very good. I played DnD when I was younger, made some decent stories however me nor my friends ever had bad ass story telling skills like R.A. Salvatore or Robert Jordan. I am not saying XI's were as good but alot closer than ours. So yes if done right I love story in an mmorpg.
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