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News & Features Discussion  » [Editorial] General: Games and Story - The Third Paradigm

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56 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 9/16/11
Posts: 2437

5/19/14 9:07:42 PM#21
I just want a good story. Am not sure if the MMO genre is the right one for it though:

MMORPGs should be rich on the LORE
S/CRPGs should be rich on either the LORE or the STORY(or BOTH if the devs can pull it off)

I mean, imagine Kotor, HL 1/2, Morrowind etc in the MMO genre.
Now imagine various MMO wanna bees in the single player genre: TOR, ESO etc.

What a massive waste of potential. /sigh

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/08/08
Posts: 20

5/19/14 9:38:42 PM#22
Can we just not have articles by Mark Kern?  I know the reputation of this site is really hurting, but it's not Mark Kern bad.

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/19/14 9:38:49 PM#23

I'm really talking about the HOW to tell a story in games rather than saying that we need more or less in any genre.

For example, in an MMO, rather than being told by some questgiver that "crystals generate power that keeps the city lit at night." I'd rather have a quest that sent me on a mission to bring the town's magical light supply online by getting the right crystal and using it in the right way on the town's lighting system.

This way I will never forget how it works and why these crystals are important to the town. If it was just quest text and then collect three crystals and turn them in, I would forget it immediately. By making me actually use the crystals and go through the motions of inserting it into the magic furnace or other device, its much more immersive and would require much less lengthy quest text (that nobody reads) to "get it."

Follow me on <a href="">Twitter: @Grummz</a>


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/23/05
Posts: 811

5/19/14 10:28:59 PM#24

Sadly....current MMO cword just want PVP.

If no PVP, that mmo will fail.

If no FFA's not a sandbox....



Novice Member

Joined: 5/01/13
Posts: 145

5/20/14 12:26:20 AM#25
Expertly written

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/30/06
Posts: 759

Think of something witty and pretend that I typed it in this spot :)

5/20/14 1:00:17 AM#26

Good article but I worry that in the currently Ultra-Fast Paced environment of the MMORPG if this style of storytelling will actually be met with praise or if the kneejerk reaction to having to actually think about what is happening won't be to immediately run to the boards and post /fail strings ad-nauseum.

Seems to be the trend these days.

Also you guys in the first couple of responses are hardcore LOL.  Brutal.


Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2671

5/20/14 1:13:18 AM#27
Originally posted by Daessar
Originally posted by Po_gg

Hmm... Architect in CoH many years ago? Foundry in STO since (I think) 2011? Also in Neverwinter since launch.

"if they ever let the players create their own stories"  The concept is among us quite a while now... :)

I believe both of those are F2P games with cash shops that sell power. So the question is, are those 2 games immensely successful? and if yes, then is the success attributed to the Foundries, or something else.

Nope, CoH had the Architect while it was a sub game (true, later it went f2p then got axed by NCsoft)

STO has the Foundry also from its sub times, but yep, it's freemium now (you can still sub if you want). Neverwinter is built as a purely f2p game. Since you can get Zen from the game, the cash shop doesn't sell "power", only time.


Being "immensely successful" is relative I think. Both are in pretty good condition. The Foundry has some part of it, naturally, but of course that's not everyone's cup of tea, it's like crafting or housing or pvp, etc. Some like it, some don't. But yep, both games are stuffed with great / good / and often pretty weak Foundry content, and Foundry is an important part of the games. At Neverwinter's launch Grakulen had a Foundry series here on, you can check those videos if you want more infos.


"Would Foundries be hugely popular in AAA MMO's, or would they be seen as just another type of daily "chore/grind"?"

It can't be a chore or a grind, since it's an optional creative process... if you don't have the skills, or the idea etc. to build some new content, you can skip it entirely and still can enjoy the works of other's. Would it be hugely popular? Dunno. Modding communities are usually the most tight-knit fanbase of any game (just check NVN, or ES, or GTA), the success would depend on how much the content creators are jumping onto the game. If they pour lots of good new content into the game, the non-creator players would have an endless supply of content to enjoy.


Btw, there's no word lately of AC, and I wonder how that move will succeed on the long run. (officially backed player-run servers, with the editor tool so the admins can build anything into the world, even change the rulesets and mechanics)


Advanced Member

Joined: 11/10/13
Posts: 889


5/20/14 1:29:57 AM#28
Sorry, but after the debacle of Firefall (which was largely the result of Mr. Kern's inept leadership) this article has only slightly more credibility than one supposedly written by a toaster oven, and even then it's close.

AN' DERE AIN'T NO SUCH FING AS ENUFF DAKKA, YA GROT! Enuff'z more than ya got an' less than too much an' there ain't no such fing as too much dakka. Say dere is, and me Squiggoff'z eatin' tonight!


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/20/13
Posts: 207

5/20/14 1:38:57 AM#29
Originally posted by Po_gg
If they pour lots of good new content into the game, the non-creator players would have an endless supply of content to enjoy.


Ya when I said those 2 games, I was referring to STO and Neverwinter because I was commenting on the Foundry part, but I do agree that extra content for players is great, it's just that I saw so many comments of people dismissing it because it didn't give them buckets of astral diamonds, go figure.

Most of my reply was towards the idea of "player created stories" as a replacement for the Dev created ones. That seemed to be the theme of several of the initial comments. I'm not sure that would work as a replacement, but I think as extra content it would be a great addition to a AAA MMO.

( Side note:  I thought the Neverwinter shop sold astral diamonds and you could buy all the high end gear from the AH using diamonds. It was this way the last time I played.)


Elite Member

Joined: 9/26/04
Posts: 3771

5/20/14 2:38:29 AM#30

I agree that "show, don't tell" is a wonderful concept, but it is almost impossible to implement in a MMORPG game world without removing the other players from the frame.


In a single-player game, the scene and the action can be perfectly controlled and paced. In an MMO not so much. In any game setting, there are typically certain actions that have to be performed to advance the plot. There are inevitably interactions with NPC's that have to take place. When you have 5 or 10 players that have to pass through this "scene" at the same time, it creates a problem.


Many players just want to spacebar through the dialogue so they can get to the action. Others want to stop and sort their inventory, look at their map, pause to have a chat with guildies, go AFK to let the dog out or answer a telephone call in RL. A few others will try to see if they can can jump onto random terrain features while waiting for their friend to finish sorting their inventory, etc.


Non-instanced parts of MMO's are completely uncontrollable environments. It will take true genius to replicate the starting experience of HL2 in an MMORPG without using instancing.


Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2671

5/20/14 3:05:13 AM#31
Originally posted by Daessar

Ya when I said those 2 games, I was referring to STO and Neverwinter because I was commenting on the Foundry part, but I do agree that extra content for players is great, it's just that I saw so many comments of people dismissing it because it didn't give them buckets of astral diamonds, go figure.

True... sadly that's not the system's fault, simply it's the era we're living in. People don't read anymore (or they read dumbed down stuff, actually at first I wanted to comment on this part when red the article, but that'd be so long and widespreaded I rather just skipped it... in short, "books can never do that", Mr. Kern, you're wrong in this matter, the written word is the most optimal way to transfer thoughts and ideas and feelings and all those stuff which today's hairy plotter and co. readers haven't even heard of), people don't care about story, all they want is action and killing for rewards. In the time of "speedruns" less and less people are interested in the story aspect, and that is maybe the biggest obstacle in front of player created story content.

In STO there's a big Foundry community, with lots of awesome content - true, Trek fans were always a unique and special crowd :) In Neverwinter, after Cryptic closed the initial holes and there were less option for xp and money exploit, a lot of folks ditched the Foundry entirely - like you said in the example, not "worth" to them by the time/reward ratio...

And as time moves forward, this generation of the playerbase will soon dictate the trends which devs should follow if they want to survive, sadly. Fun fact, a few months ago I saw a kid complaining in chat because he couldn't find the auto-path button, and when he was told there's no such thing in here, he totally lost it :) "wtf, do they think i will wandering around by myself, how stupid this game is, blah blah etc." That's the direction we're heading nowadays - but there's a chance web and mobile/tablet gaming will kill the genre even before we could get there.


edit: btw I'd wager if you'd give HL or HL2 for a today's gamer, let's say 14, he'd say it's boring and "how the *** can I skip it, space and esc aren't working"...


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/12
Posts: 90

5/20/14 3:23:40 AM#32

I have no interest in story in games what so ever. I know others do, and that's fine. I read books and watch movies for story. Games are where my imagination makes its own story.

I might be alone in that - and that's fine. Just worth saying that for one person on this planet - story in games means nothing.


Elite Member

Joined: 6/06/12
Posts: 3098

We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

5/20/14 4:51:19 AM#33
Originally posted by scritty

I have no interest in story in games what so ever. I know others do, and that's fine. I read books and watch movies for story. Games are where my imagination makes its own story.

I might be alone in that - and that's fine. Just worth saying that for one person on this planet - story in games means nothing.

Trust me when I say your not alone.


I am one of those who feel that Story Driven MMO's take away from the whole virtual world feeling and spreads developmental time, money and decisions too thin.  I loved how the original MMO's had very little story and let the players make their own, like in a real world.

Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!


Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 525

5/20/14 7:29:34 AM#34

In single player games the developers have a lot more control over the world and what happens in it.  Not only the environment but the behavior of the NPCs is essential to telling this story.  This is definitely something single player games could do better.


However, in MMOs it just isn't that easy.  Unlike single player games the other players in the world by far do not act in a realistic or believable manner and add far too much noise to what the player is seeing.  If they want people to understand and react to what is going on around them they have to get rid of that noise.  It is hard to tell a serious story through the environment when you have liljohnny over there jumping around in his underpants yelling anal jokes in chat.  Without and story or sense of direction many player get bored and leave because they can't find the content they are supposed to be doing/enjoying.  While some players love such free form directionless gameplay, like it or not it is niche.  If they want people to stay interested and to continue giving them money, they need a hook.  Story is often that hook, but because of the above mentioned problems they often have to tell that story in a controlled environment with no or very few other players around to screw it all up.  That is usually done through instancing or phasing.  It sucks but until you can solve the liljohnny problem it appears to be a necessary evil.


Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 3480

I actually still like MMORPGs

5/20/14 7:34:25 AM#35
Originally posted by grummz

I'm really talking about the HOW to tell a story in games rather than saying that we need more or less in any genre.

For example, in an MMO, rather than being told by some questgiver that "crystals generate power that keeps the city lit at night." I'd rather have a quest that sent me on a mission to bring the town's magical light supply online by getting the right crystal and using it in the right way on the town's lighting system.

This way I will never forget how it works and why these crystals are important to the town. If it was just quest text and then collect three crystals and turn them in, I would forget it immediately. By making me actually use the crystals and go through the motions of inserting it into the magic furnace or other device, its much more immersive and would require much less lengthy quest text (that nobody reads) to "get it."

Can't agree more! Good article.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/20/14 8:25:54 AM#36

Hmm, again, I'm not debating about whether people care about stories in their MMO or if we should have a lot of story in an MMO. In fact, I agree with people who are saying "enough long winded quest text." By having payers *do* the story rather than listen to an NPC describe it to them, I think we get more/better action and skip the more tedious parts of current MMO storytelling technique.

Follow me on <a href="">Twitter: @Grummz</a>


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/18/09
Posts: 1531

5/20/14 10:53:40 AM#37
Originally posted by DamonVile

Does this really have to be about his past ? He brings up a very good point, that doesn't really need to be turned into a mud slinging trailer park. All too often people complain about quest hubs, limited content that players consume too quickly, lack of story or just down right bad story.

All of these things fall under how the story is being told. Maybe it goes beyond what he specifically wrote about but that doesn't mean people shouldn't for once take the higher road here.

Yes his past does matter.  Why should I give two fucks what this guy thinks about game design when his actions in the game world reek of failure?  He's talking about making games' storytelling different from movies but how did his big game open?  With a fucking cinematic movie! 

Steam: Neph


Novice Member

Joined: 4/17/14
Posts: 1

5/20/14 11:18:36 AM#38
This article is reminding of what Citadel of Sorcery is aiming to do by adding immersive story telling in a mmorpg where your choices will matter and affect the game world large or small.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/16/06
Posts: 32

5/20/14 11:27:25 AM#39

Agree... Make the story (be it a quest or a background story line) unfold gradually and interactively instead of throwing walls of text to the players, is surely the best way... Players often reach end game without even remembering any story, most time without even reading it. It is simply not needed, and to be honest, it is most time boring to follow (too much reading between action). Could we experience the story instead of reading about it, it would surely create a more imersive world, a more pleasant experience, and would probably incentivate more social interaction and roleplaying...

Even a sandbox needs to have some backbone story or lore, on which the players can build up their fun. The way that is presented may just as well be the difference between success and failure of a sandbox.


"Vidis Fodidis Est"


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/29/07
Posts: 1496

"Ideas are worthless. The only currency that holds any weight is the ability and drive to execute."

5/20/14 11:49:21 AM#40
Brilliant article.  I totally agree.

Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

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