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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » How important is the story/lore in an MMO?

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Novice Member

Joined: 2/25/13
Posts: 18

OP  2/28/13 5:15:59 PM#1

I was just curious how important the average MMO player feels the lore/storyline of the MMO they are playing is. I see a lot of people saying that they usually open the quest text, click accept and then go do what they need to do and then click complete with no idea who they were doing it for, or why.

What do YOU think?



Storyline/Lore Important

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Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/10
Posts: 241

2/28/13 5:29:17 PM#2

I think there is really a sliding scale of how much lore/story an MMORPG needs to have. If you have too much, players become focused on the idividual experience instead of utilizing the MMO aspect of the game. Using too little will make the game seem shallow and drive off players who like to have explanations of why things are in the game.

It's a difficult balance but I think it is important to have some rather than have little to none.

I played WoW up until WotLK, played RoM for 2 years and now Rift.
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Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/06/06
Posts: 757

2/28/13 5:31:12 PM#3

It's a huge factor for me, but then again I grew up with console RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.  My MMO experience has been limited mostly to playing FFXI, FFXIV and WoW.  

Some people may bash on WoW's presentation of quest text, but there was a lot of lore leading up through the vanilla game and the major story arcs were written well enough I think.  

The FF MMOs haven't disappointed me on the story front.  Well...FFXIV 1.0's original story was mostly unfinished, but when the new directior took over, he put in a really good story to close out the game to usher in the new iteration of it.


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Joined: 3/30/10
Posts: 4747

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2/28/13 5:38:27 PM#4
Originally posted by Sagorn


they usually open the quest text, click accept and then go do what they need to do and then click complete with no idea who they were doing it for, or why.


I'm doing the quest to level my character.


The reason I'm questing  is because killing mobs for XP has been nerfed to the point where it is no longer a viable option.


I don't really care what reason the developer gives for the NPC to want me to kill 10 rats.  I just know that I need to kill 10 rats to progress in the game.



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7989

2/28/13 5:43:04 PM#5
I would have said very important.but then everybody is guaranteed to win.there is no danger of dying in game.i LL give you a book example Raymond e feist it all start (I think)with the series rift war saga.huge series and not boring for one bit.people die in there but the gods need those dead .power and all that .suffice it to say that area is not for the living its.yet along the way of his adventure pug need to go where the living are not tolerated.anyway imagine this In a game not all the series .he explain it very well in very dark detail and it doesn't sound like a pleasant experience.bottom line.i hope arenanet will use the opportunity they have by adding the possibility of deathas a way to expend the in the book.when they die some stay it random who knows but one thing is sure not all will stay dead and not all will be reborn if dead.and i would hope to see this potentiality happen in games:)

Novice Member

Joined: 8/08/12
Posts: 392

2/28/13 5:53:30 PM#6

I would say lore is extremely important to an MMO. It basically sets the stage for the game. Why each city is where it is, all those important landmarks and why they are there. The lore is what drives the game, influences NPC actions, bonds and rifts between races and should give you focus as you create and work through your goals and achievements in game.

Storyline an MMO can do without. Storylines don't really belong in MMOs in their current state at all.

Played: EQ1 (10 Years), Guild Wars, Rift, TERA
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Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

2/28/13 7:14:25 PM#7

For me: story is better than nothing, lore is better than story, simulation with news/history is better than lore.



Advanced Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 2610

2/28/13 7:34:43 PM#8

Story would be better in MMOs if developers implemented it on a grander scale.

With updates/expansions progress story lines and change areas. Basically what Blizzard did with Cataclysm but with every expansion.

Im playing Rift Storm Legion currently and time and the game story has moved forward but only on the new continents. Time has stood still on the old continent.

So, what happens with the second Rift expansion? A new unseen until now continent that progresses time and the game story while the Storm Legion continents stand still just like the Vanilla continent before it?

  User Deleted
3/01/13 12:02:12 AM#9

Realisticaly its only good the first time through.

It would be a very rare and epic event to create a story so engaging, so entertaining, so well put together, that it could stand as the foundation for a game.

Most people are concerned with where to go, what to kill, and how quickly they will get to endgame to even care.


I remember Rift tried really hard to impliment story and lore in everything.  I remember sitting there in agony waiting for an NPC to RP during a raid or boss fight.  In all honesty...even if it was good i didnt care.


TSW had a fantastic story however. It was interesting and i wanted to find out more.  Still even with that...mechanics of a themepark get boring for me.


I think a sandbox with bits and pieces of lore through out the world, and NPC's that actually talk to you but dont tell you what to do would be more interesting.  That way the people who want to learn will do so, and the rest will carry on.


It seems like story has gone the same path as music in game.  Developers figure people turn it off no matter how good it is or how much money they spend on they relegate it to backround ambient music and dont pay much attention.



Also...nothing irritates me more than haveing a really crappy story shoved in my face.  I think a LOT of developers over estimate how awesome their story is.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/07/11
Posts: 4707

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3/01/13 12:05:24 AM#10
Not really that important to me... but it's not a bad idea to keep those kinds of players engrossed.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/02/11
Posts: 2151

3/01/13 12:13:00 AM#11
It should be important if you like RPG's, otherwise, you're in the wrong genre and should be playing FPS, RTS, Platformers or action adventures / hack and slashers.


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Posts: 4707

GW2 socialist.

3/01/13 12:15:14 AM#12
Originally posted by Vorthanion
It should be important if you like RPG's, otherwise, you're in the wrong genre and should be playing FPS, RTS, Platformers or action adventures / hack and slashers.

Thank you for informing me of what should be important to me, and if not, where I belong.  Really opened my eyes.  Now if only they could get us our own drinking fountains.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 661

3/01/13 3:50:30 AM#13
Originally posted by Sagorn

I was just curious how important the average MMO player feels the lore/storyline of the MMO they are playing is. I see a lot of people saying that they usually open the quest text, click accept and then go do what they need to do and then click complete with no idea who they were doing it for, or why.

What do YOU think?




Lore is different to quest text or storyline. Lore is all the background info on the world which should drive a lot of the game but doesn't need to be spelled out unless the player wants to go looking for it.

A quest could just say go to a tomb and get a handful of dust from a black jar in the back. It doesn't need to explain why.

The lore would separately explain what the burial customs are in that region and what the significance of the black jar is and what the dust inside is and therefore likely what the quest-giver wants it for but that lore should require exploring, finding books, learning languages, talking to npcs etc. doing all that would be optional - although it would also be cool if it was tied into some kind of achievement path for the players who liked that kind of thing.


although the main obvious benefit is for a particular niche of players i'd say it's also a good idea from a developer's point of view because the more lore/backstory you develop for a world the easier it will be to dream up new content.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/06/12
Posts: 200

3/01/13 4:54:28 AM#14
Lore yes, story no. I like to make my own "story" by playing.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/12/09
Posts: 1106

3/01/13 5:13:22 AM#15
Lore is very important to a MMO, story not so much.

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3/01/13 5:27:14 AM#16
Originally posted by Vorthanion
It should be important if you like RPG's, otherwise, you're in the wrong genre and should be playing FPS, RTS, Platformers or action adventures / hack and slashers.

But if you are into MMORPG's, then the most important story/lore should be those created by the players themselves, otherwise your in the wrong genre and should be playing single player RPG's.

See how that works?

People have a lot of different reasons for playing MMORPG's, and vary on what is important to them or not.

I'm in the camp that story/lore isn't that important, need to have some to give context/setting to the game world, but like many others, I pretty much click through the quest text without reading more than what the objectives are and then move on.

Played EVE for over 4 years, and there's some sort of lore about 4 competing empires, and some npc pirate factions that invade periodically (incursions) and there's even some sort of religious, racial context to it all. Pretty much sums up what I know about the lore.

Now, if you were to ask me about the various stories I've read and heard about players and their corporations and alliances doing during that time, I could go on for hours with all of the great adventures that have occurred. (even though I wasn't present for many of them)

Again, that's just me.  Games like SWTOR and GW2 almost make me cringe as I sit through the "story" scenes, too much like watching TV or reading a book, and truthfully, both of those mediums do it far better.

I gave up on single player RPG's for roughly the same reason, titles such as DA are too much like watching the action, rather than making the player the center of the aciton.  Skyrim was a lot more bearable, just couldn't get into being the only "real" person in the game world.


In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
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Advanced Member

Joined: 8/26/06
Posts: 813

3/01/13 5:42:15 AM#17

I think it's very important. And I'm not even a lore freak. I admit, I don't read really everything.

But I know that lore shapes the world. It give color to the zones. It explains why those monsters are there, or why that clan is aggressive or whatever.

Without lore, nothing has meaning in the world.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2657

3/01/13 5:49:47 AM#18

Lore can be important and add to a MMO imo, but the story and voice over stuff doesn't do much for me.



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3/01/13 5:49:51 AM#19

Lore is the only reason i subscribe on and off to WoW. If it didnt have a good Lore or any at all i wouldnt touch it.

As a casual player i dont focus on end game in mmos. I focus on the LORE, PVE and how my character revolves around it. Thats why i love mmos where each race starts in a different area and all have a separate storyline. While hardcore players have a blast with end game i have a blast exploring each race's story and how they connect to the main LORE.


EDIT: and im not a lore whore, i dont read books about it. Only the wiki.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/04/09
Posts: 1034

3/01/13 6:04:46 AM#20

Lore if its a world based on past events are important for the game and how we interact with the stories that unfold later.

Story? hmmm that depends on different things, quest stories maybe if its relevant to what I am expected to do, missions fairly important as they must link into the rest of the journey, global or world stories, yes they should be interesting and I like them to be complex.  If I was rp'ing then I would make my own stories up, and sometimes they just go with the flow to other characters responces, which feel more natural, but they would also be in with the lore of the world the character is set in.

Lore and Story go hand in hand, you can't create a story with no lore or it just becomes chaotic, Lore also creates rules of what is in and not in the world, if for example your lore is based on mythical dragons and wizards, you are hardly likely to pull out a sub machine gun.

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