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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why the obsession with "personal story" in MMORPGs?

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  User Deleted
3/16/14 4:32:54 PM#21

In my opinion:

Quests should be common stuff, even boring, nothing epic, world changing, etc. You do them to earn your keep, maybe even learn some of the story or get pointed to areas where you might explore to find something cool or at least peculiar.

Personal story should be up to the player's choices within his/her community and this sort of mentality should be rewarded like say having gameplay geared more towards interactions between players rather than NPCs. This does not mean pvp by default but it could include it or not just make the game more sandbox in this respect but the choices players make should affect how they are seen in the community, it should be their story quite literally (having open world PVP would help deepen the consequences but throwing in NPC invasions in lieu of expecting players to murder each other could also work, just make sure there are catalysts for conflict like rare resources, hostile and very intelligent NPCs, item degradation and/or loss, etc).

  User Deleted
3/16/14 4:34:37 PM#22

Funny thing is that neither SWTOR or GW2 have update their personal stories since launch. BW even came out and admited it was just to expensive. 

I guess some people like, but like you said Creslin, it's pointless in terms of keeping players interesting. I didn't play older mmos, but pretty sure they just stuck to general world stories and lore. WOW since the beginning was the same.

It's possible to  have interesting plotlines for the game, but IMHO, when that becomes the main focus of development, you've shot yourself in the foot. Stories, probably more than any other type of content, takes a long time to make (writing the story, creating the gameplay, voicing it, etc), and then it's finished in a heartbeat.

 

  Creslin321

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 5424

 
OP  3/16/14 4:43:33 PM#23
Originally posted by Dihoru

In my opinion:

Quests should be common stuff, even boring, nothing epic, world changing, etc. You do them to earn your keep, maybe even learn some of the story or get pointed to areas where you might explore to find something cool or at least peculiar.

Personal story should be up to the player's choices within his/her community and this sort of mentality should be rewarded like say having gameplay geared more towards interactions between players rather than NPCs. This does not mean pvp by default but it could include it or not just make the game more sandbox in this respect but the choices players make should affect how they are seen in the community, it should be their story quite literally (having open world PVP would help deepen the consequences but throwing in NPC invasions in lieu of expecting players to murder each other could also work, just make sure there are catalysts for conflict like rare resources, hostile and very intelligent NPCs, item degradation and/or loss, etc).

Yah I basically agree with what you say.

I think that your "story" in an MMORPG should basically be determined by your actions and motivations in the game.  The game should provide things for you to work for, but how you get there is up to you.

For example, I think it would be awesome if a game provided "grand" goals that groups of players could work together to get.  Like they could build a great university and research powerful spells that affect the entire world.  How cool would it be for a guild to open a portal to another plane of existence after months and months of research?

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  Creslin321

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 5424

 
OP  3/16/14 4:45:35 PM#24
Originally posted by Anthur

Player logs into MMO to have some fun.

First NPC he mets says: "Oh chosen one. We are so glad to see you. You are our hero. You are the only one who can save our world !"

Player: "Oh noooo, not again....". Player faints.

Someone should make a comic of it. ;)

LOL :).

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

3/16/14 4:54:01 PM#25

game developers spend to much resources on story telling. Most of us just click thru the quests.

Want lore? build your own lore by playing the game, forming alliances etc.

Eve Online is a good example, they have made a book of real stories the players themselves have 'created' by just playing the game.

Correlation does not imply causation

  Creslin321

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 5424

 
OP  3/16/14 4:54:41 PM#26
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Creslin321

1.  Personal stories naturally clash with the persistent, open world concept of MMORPGs.

True. So if personal stories are preferred by the audience, junk, or reduce the persistent open world. It is not like MMORPGs are not already doing that with the use of instances and phasing.

 

2.  MMORPG stories are typically lower quality than their SPRPG counterparts.

Yes ... so there is room for improvement. In fact, they should have better writing, add in more scripting and events .. and so on.


3.  Long-term MMORPG players don't play for the story.

Cater to the short-term MMORPG players. Problem solved.

You don't give bad advice, but I would add to that...why not just make these games coop RPGs?  If people prefer stories to persistent open world...then your basically saying people prefer more traditional SP or coop RPGs.  So why bother with having a persistent open world when people don't want it anyway?

It's not that I necessarily agree with what I say above...but my point is that there is no reason to keep a "Veneer" of MMORPG on top of something that is basically a coop RPG.

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  Creslin321

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 5424

 
OP  3/16/14 4:56:03 PM#27
Originally posted by SEANMCAD

game developers spend to much resources on story telling. Most of us just click thru the quests.

Want lore? build your own lore by playing the game, forming alliances etc.

Eve Online is a good example, they have made a book of real stories the players themselves have 'created' by just playing the game.

Yup completely agree.  I love the concept Eve has regarding its community and virtual world.  Unfortunately I don't like the gameplay, so I never got into it lol :).

Are you team Azeroth, team Tyria, or team Jacob?

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20226

3/16/14 4:58:49 PM#28
Originally posted by Creslin321
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Creslin321

1.  Personal stories naturally clash with the persistent, open world concept of MMORPGs.

True. So if personal stories are preferred by the audience, junk, or reduce the persistent open world. It is not like MMORPGs are not already doing that with the use of instances and phasing.

 

2.  MMORPG stories are typically lower quality than their SPRPG counterparts.

Yes ... so there is room for improvement. In fact, they should have better writing, add in more scripting and events .. and so on.


3.  Long-term MMORPG players don't play for the story.

Cater to the short-term MMORPG players. Problem solved.

You don't give bad advice, but I would add to that...why not just make these games coop RPGs?  If people prefer stories to persistent open world...then your basically saying people prefer more traditional SP or coop RPGs.  So why bother with having a persistent open world when people don't want it anyway?

It's not that I necessarily agree with what I say above...but my point is that there is no reason to keep a "Veneer" of MMORPG on top of something that is basically a coop RPG.

I have no problem with what you said.

In fact, my advice is essentially making these games co-op RPGs, and call them MMORPGs if devs insist that is the genre they want to be in.

Often, devs would mix co-op RPGs in with some MMO elements. For example, TOR has some open zones, and so is marvel heroes. Personally i totally agree that those games can be made into co-op RPGs .. and they will be better games.

 

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 20226

3/16/14 5:02:19 PM#29
Originally posted by SEANMCAD

game developers spend to much resources on story telling. Most of us just click thru the quests.

 

 

No, they are not spending enough resources on story telling. That is why you are clicking thru the quests.

Their first mistake is to use text to communicate a story. That is boring, and they lose the audience right away.

No good SP games are using text to communicate their stories anymore. It is the classical principle .. show, don't tell. One good example is the assassination of the empress in the prologue of Dishonored. Are you required to read anything? No, there is a sequence of you (the protagonist) arriving at the fort/palace, and all the story elements are told by scripting/conversation, and gameplay.

That is how it should be done. Ditto in Witcher 2 ... all the stories are told by showing you the story. Very little reading is needed.

 

  onlinenow25

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/07
Posts: 281

3/16/14 5:05:42 PM#30
Originally posted by Quirhid

Oh, its an obsession now? *sigh* You get a couple of games with a personal story and now its an obsession.  Here we go...

1. Personal stories are an attempt to include the player in an engaging story much how SRPGs do it. Story is an excellent way to flesh out the world and make the player invested in it. A good story will enhance everything you do in the game.

Immersion-breaking static world is not really an argument against personal story but against all open world content; everything from resetting quests to respawning mobs are all static content. From my understanding, player's personal stories are almost exclusively run in instances which reduces the impact of other players ruining your immersion.

2. There are many good stories in MMORPGs, and many more still worth telling. The argument that a kin to "some are bad so just don't bother" is rather weak.

3. If you yourself identify your third argument to be a weak one, why not just leave it out and focus on the first two?

 

Oddly enough, games with stories tend to fare far better than games without them. How dull would it be to just grind, grind, grind all day without context and no other objective but to farm money and advance your character?

You omitted a key word is his topic "PERSONAL", now take that word add it to story and NOW you have the whole context of what he is talking about.  (Sorry for caps but people on this forum cant seem to read a sentence with out changing select words to fuel their opinion)

 

Next He did not say anything about not having a story, only questioned why there was a need for a personal your the CHOSEN story.  Yet everyone around you is a CHOSEN Savior of the world.  Its boring it blows up immersion and its been over done in way too MMORPGs.

 

To say its only a few, well I can't seem to remember playing a MMO were it didn't exist at least in some part of the game.  It was there in AO at the start, and well just about every MMO since WoW including WoW.  Heck I remember a bit of it being in DAoC for the first few starter quests as well, EQ2 had it too.

 

A better story can be developed if its centered around the world your playing in than you your self.  Not to mention a MMORPG used to be about YOUR story, you built up YOUR reputation between players not rep grinding NPCs.

 

 

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5628

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

3/16/14 5:09:11 PM#31

Originally posted by Creslin321

Originally posted by Quirhid

Oh, its an obsession now? *sigh* You get a couple of games with a personal story and now its an obsession.  Here we go...

1. Personal stories are an attempt to include the player in an engaging story much how SRPGs do it. Story is an excellent way to flesh out the world and make the player invested in it. A good story will enhance everything you do in the game.

Immersion-breaking static world is not really an argument against personal story but against all open world content; everything from resetting quests to respawning mobs are all static content. From my understanding, player's personal stories are almost exclusively run in instances which reduces the impact of other players ruining your immersion.

2. There are many good stories in MMORPGs, and many more still worth telling. The argument that a kin to "some are bad so just don't bother" is rather weak.

3. If you yourself identify your third argument to be a weak one, why not just leave it out and focus on the first two?

 

Oddly enough, games with stories tend to fare far better than games without them. How dull would it be to just grind, grind, grind all day without context and no other objective but to farm money and advance your character?

Couple of games?  I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a post-WoW AAA MMORPG that does not have a "you are the hero" story lol :).  Every one I can think of does.  ESO, GW2, AoC...

And even if they don't have a contiguous storyline, all the quests are still just for "the player" and have zero to do with the shared world.  So it's still a "problem" for an MMORPG.

I identify "you are the hero story" and "personal story" as two different things, but if you have beef with a hero story consider this: Would you be interested in hearing about Uncle Owen's story? -No. Hardly anyone would. Following Luke's exploits is much more entertaining.

And while sometimes it is fun to have a "weak" protagonist, he/she must always do something interesting in order to be entertaining. Hence, no stories about regular stormtroopers doing regular stormtrooper business. ...whatever that may be.

Next point, it's not just that some are bad, it's that the vast majority are just worse than SPRPG stories.  Sure, you may get your occasional interesting quest...but most of them are filler.  I think the majority of people would agree with that.  Even worse, the pacing in MMORPGs in normally terrible because you have to do a lot of "normal" leveling in between quests so it's like watching a 2 day long commercial in between a TV show...you totally lose focus on what the heck you were doing in your main quest.

You are basically saying that badly done or just bad stories are an argument against implementing them in the first place. If you think this is a legitimate argument, what stops you from using the same argument against everything you deem subpar? What stops me from using it?

No. You must come up with something else.

To the third point, I never identified it as a weak argument.  I said you may think it's initially a bad assumption.  Then I went on to say why it wasn't.  People who play a game for over a year clearly are not playing it for the story they completed months or years ago.

It is still a weak argument because it is based on speculation and anecdotal evidence at best. Still, even if people didn't play months or years because of the story, doesn't mean they didn't initially enjoy the stories or that the stories did a great job of introducing and immersing them to the game world.

Originally posted by Creslin321

Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Cephus404
There is no personal story, everyone who plays the game gets the same personal story.  It's fine in a SP game because there are no other people to compare your tale to, but in an MMO?  Forget it.  Everyone you see in the game is doing the same story you are.  They're all the chosen one.

Are you jealous of the other chosen ones?

Seriously. Why don't you just treat them as filler episodes in a TV series (or treat the rest of the game as a filler episodes)? They may interject the main plot line, something might happen, but anything is hardly ever permanent; and afterwards the main plot-line continues as if nothing happened.

I don't see a problem here. All good content should be welcome.

It's not that I (and probably others) think that these you are the hero games shouldn't be made.  On the contrary, I love games like that.  I just don't think they should be MMORPGs.

For example, I think that ESO and SWTOR would have fit MUCH better as coop RPGs.  There's just no reason for them to have an open shared world.

While I agree that most of what should've come from those IPs was a couple of CORPGs, there is no "should be" or "shouldn't be" in MMORPGs. I'm afraid such narrow line of thinking would stymie innovation, and we wouldn't want that now would we?

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  docminus2

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/04/13
Posts: 139

3/16/14 5:11:34 PM#32

Maybe not the full picture, but isn't SWG in part to "blame" for this?

First the was pre-CU SWG, then CU, and supposedly people were complaining that it wasn't "Star Warsy" enough, hence the NGE (though, as we all know, they were discouraged by WoW and tried to copied that instead). People wanted to feel epic (probably as in Single Player Games). And also perhaps the whole SWG vs the KOTOR story. There was also the UO/EQ people who talked about the heroic/epic parts, but tbh, there was (is) a lot of lore, but not much story.

And one thing led to another.....

  SEANMCAD

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Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

3/16/14 5:11:50 PM#33

does anyone really read quests?

 

Correlation does not imply causation

  onlinenow25

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/07
Posts: 281

3/16/14 5:16:14 PM#34
Originally posted by Quirhid

Originally posted by Creslin321

Originally posted by Quirhid

Oh, its an obsession now? *sigh* You get a couple of games with a personal story and now its an obsession.  Here we go...

1. Personal stories are an attempt to include the player in an engaging story much how SRPGs do it. Story is an excellent way to flesh out the world and make the player invested in it. A good story will enhance everything you do in the game.

Immersion-breaking static world is not really an argument against personal story but against all open world content; everything from resetting quests to respawning mobs are all static content. From my understanding, player's personal stories are almost exclusively run in instances which reduces the impact of other players ruining your immersion.

2. There are many good stories in MMORPGs, and many more still worth telling. The argument that a kin to "some are bad so just don't bother" is rather weak.

3. If you yourself identify your third argument to be a weak one, why not just leave it out and focus on the first two?

 

Oddly enough, games with stories tend to fare far better than games without them. How dull would it be to just grind, grind, grind all day without context and no other objective but to farm money and advance your character?

Couple of games?  I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a post-WoW AAA MMORPG that does not have a "you are the hero" story lol :).  Every one I can think of does.  ESO, GW2, AoC...

And even if they don't have a contiguous storyline, all the quests are still just for "the player" and have zero to do with the shared world.  So it's still a "problem" for an MMORPG.

I identify "you are the hero story" and "personal story" as two different things, but if you have beef with a hero story consider this: Would you be interested in hearing about Uncle Owen's story? -No. Hardly anyone would. Following Luke's exploits is much more entertaining.

 

Actually I bet you would.  Many famous books such as Robinson Crusoe focus on the ever day actions of an individual.  There is a whole genre of books centered around the 'average' person and their life story.  So to say people are uninterested in an random persons story well your dead wrong and I will boldly claim that you don't even know what you truly enjoy.

  Paradigm68

Novice Member

Joined: 1/24/11
Posts: 880

3/16/14 5:16:33 PM#35

Agreed!  It's just antithetical to the genre to not only define the player's characters for them, but also the idiocy of having that definition be the same for everyone.

That aside, what's even worse is that the definition is always the 'chosen one'. How embarrassing. I remember how disappointed I was at Age of Conan's launch to realize every single character had the same exact origin story and we were all the chosen one whose coming was foretold in the stars.  It's just stupid.

Devs: Make rich lush detailed game worlds with rich lush detailed lore and give the players the toolset to let their chars tell their own damn stories. It's kinda the point of the genre.

  ste2000

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 4735

3/16/14 5:19:52 PM#36
Originally posted by SEANMCAD

does anyone really read quests?

 

Nope

They are just XP ATM.............

  Tholdornas

Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/29/12
Posts: 57

3/16/14 5:20:24 PM#37

Personal story CAN work if pulled off right. While it's right that the very concept of having a 'you are the chosen one' story that mostly happens in instanced areas within a persistent world is ... let's call it weird, with a few things it could work:

1. The personal story CAN'T have a final ending

This one is obvious, yet no story-driven MMO seems to glance at this point: if you give the story a ending, of course players get bored, but if you set your story up so that there is no 'epic final boss' waiting at the end of the line and then nothing, the story itself can flow seamless into the player-driven content. I'm no story-telling genius and I sure as hell have no actual idea how to do this in every scenario, but if you focus on it right from the start, it should be possible, especially when we decide that ...

2. The story HAS to give the player choices

In a sense this one should explain itself: players love being in control. SWTOR gives us a glance at the concept, although even there it's not fully realized, in my opinion, at least. Personal stories should be split in smaller stories that just ... happen, coming from a lore perspective, meaning: say, we're in a space MMO and after the introductional part you have the choice of visiting one of three planets. Depending on your choice, another story begins and, for example, a certain villain is introduced. Let's say the story continues in a way that this villain doesn't die or vanish by the end you finish that particular planet; after that he can (maybe even kind of randomly) pop up on other planets, in addition to the (story-driven) problems you may find on your next planet, making it possible for multiple story-related incidents to occur simultaneously.

What I'm saying basically boils down to: maybe building a story around the player/protagonist is the wrong way to go and even if I just kind of writing down my thoughts on the subject, building stories off the lore and letting them clash with the player's journey makes a whole lot more sense than building the story following 'stereotypic hero story' formula B.

Just my two cents.

  Paradigm68

Novice Member

Joined: 1/24/11
Posts: 880

3/16/14 5:23:23 PM#38
Originally posted by Quirhid

Would you be interested in hearing about Uncle Owen's story? -No. Hardly anyone would. Following Luke's exploits is much more entertaining.

The point is, shouldn't the player get to decide who their own character is? Having the game determine who your character is pretty silly in a multiplayer rpg.

Consider this: Would Star Wars have been such a great movie if every character was Luke?

  Shrilly

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/24/11
Posts: 363

3/16/14 5:25:13 PM#39

They need to take a look at history and treat it like a real world thats the only way it would work. Try to fake some reality this or thats supposed to happen won't allow it to reach mass proportions.

If they made a consistent world that followed closely to the events of our own world you'd probably feel something familiar.

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5628

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

3/16/14 5:42:36 PM#40
Originally posted by Paradigm68
Originally posted by Quirhid

Would you be interested in hearing about Uncle Owen's story? -No. Hardly anyone would. Following Luke's exploits is much more entertaining.

The point is, shouldn't the player get to decide who their own character is? Having the game determine who your character is pretty silly in a multiplayer rpg.

Consider this: Would Star Wars have been such a great movie if every character was Luke?

What if nobody was Luke? -Empire won - the end. Mass Effect decides puts you in the shoes of Commander and XO of the SSV Normandy. In Planescape Torment you wake up on a slab as a corpse. In Baldur's Gate you are the child of Bhaal the god of murder and mischief, the stepchild of Gorion. In Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind you are the Nerevar reincarnate... Story dictating parts of who your character is nothing new really.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

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