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General Discussion  » History and the art of Storytelling, Why Elder Scrolls Online is the next big Success. Negative Feedback or Not

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  Knotwood

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/08/14
Posts: 1115

 
OP  2/10/14 9:08:48 PM#1

Elder Scrolls Online is all about storytelling, forget the pvp, forget the gameplay, and lets focus solely on storytelling here. If you look back at all the games in history back to the days of Dungeons & Dragons itself and rolling of dice. We see storytelling, before video games we had games which a friend would sit down and tell storys and let you make decisions in that story, we called this friend a Game Master.

 

Game Masters were the RPG video game storys of the old. Sure we wanted to do things our GM wouldnt let us do but we still enjoyed these things to a high degree, we had mental pictures in our head of what a Dragon coming up on you would look like or a Beholder would look like as its gazing at you. You could feel the fear down your back as your friend would tell the story. This is what made RPG games so great, its what got you really into storys.

 

When MMORPG's first started to come out we had games like Everquest, Ashreons Call and EQOA. Which had very little story to them but huge sandbox's, back then, everyone wanted more stories in thier games but technology limits kept he storytelling to a minimum. Eventually technology caught up with data storage, and before you knew it, we were seeing many storys pop up in games such as Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft, mostly in the form of quests and such, Everquest 2 had a ton of storylines, they put in so many that it would take years to do them all if you started now. This filled the needs of many to have storylines in a MMORPG.

 

Then somewhere around 2007, LOTRO finally launched, another Major MMORPG with great storytelling,. J.R.R. Token, a writer whos works we all grew up on with books that really was a part of the foundation of fantasy and RP, that went along with the style of Dungeons and Dragons RPG. This game was the real last RPG that was released, that had huge storytelling and storylines. In fact what happend next was MInes of Moria which would change the way MMORPG storytelling was seen in the gaming industry and hasnt been easily duplicated since its release.

 

Back in 2008 Lotro's Mines of Moria made Expansion of the Year. It was praised across the entire gaming industry as one of the best expansione ever made. We have to look back and ask ourselves, what made moria so great? It was the not just storytelling and quests, but the FEELING the player got by being part of that storyline or quest that made Mines of Moria so great and launch it to Best Expansion of the Year 2008. When you would go through Mines of Moria, you really felt the feeling of something happening, the feeling like you were part of the storyline and making a differance. I want to show you some of the comments that were made by the reviews when Moria came out. It was amazing. It even resembles what I feel about ESO today.

http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/the-lord-of-the-rings-online-mines-of-moria-review/1900-6202835/

It's a wonderful marriage of content and art design that further strengthens the developer's knack for storytelling, a floundering art in most MMOGs, yet a triumph in Mines of Moria

http://www.ign.com/articles/2008/12/03/the-lord-of-the-rings-online-mines-of-moria-review

but the chapter-by-chapter progression of the story makes the overall context of your adventures just as engaging as the actual gameplay

Of course, you can play the game just as easily by focusing solely on the objectives, but you'll be missing out on a lot of the story that gives the quests a sense of substance and significance

Moria make it relatively easy to get lost on your way from A to B, and that provides a great sense of adventure and uncertainty.

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/45/view/reviews/load/68

These missions are story setup for the last mission before going into the Mines of Moria. This last mission is important though and will make you really feel like you're part of the story, or at least it did for me.

http://www.gamezone.com/reviews/2009/01/01/the_lord_of_the_rings_online_mines_of_moria_pc_review

The moment you ride up alongside the Black Pool (that body of water near the gateway to the mines of Moria) and see those dwarves throwing pebbles into the water

 

These were just a few of the review comments that was made about Mines of Moria, these comments tell you one thing. STORY and the FEELING of being a part of that story. LOTRO hasnt seen an expansion like Moria since, but had something really special there, and the storyline and storytelling was at its height in the RPG gaming industry.

 

Next lets look at SKYRIM, which was indeed a single player game, it has some relevance here even though it was not an MMO. It was a single player game that had some of the most modren and advanced storytelling an MMO has ever seen, so much that MMO players were playing single player games for a while, which is very rare to see a single player game do, but it hit Number 1 single player game for over a Year, which is a great accomplishment for an RPG offlien game. I put this in because it shows how a RPG with great storytelling and the FEELING of being a part of a STORY is the most imprortant part of a game, weather it be OFFLINE or ONLINE.

 

Next we have FFXIV, which was not quite skyrim quality but had two great things, A Great AAA storyline which was some of the best storytelling in an MMO since Mines of Moria. It had modernized graphics which added to the FEEL of the Main Storyline, which made the player really FEEL like they were part of the STORY, from day one that storytelling of the main storylines and the crafting quest lines, and the Job questlines, even as theme park as the game may be, MADE THE Player FEEL like they were part of the STORY. It was a blast. This also is a game that came from a Single player game which had great RPG storytelling alot like Elder Scrolls in that context. FFXIV did not have any more Storytelling beyond the mainstoryline, job lines, crafting lines. and after 2.1 did not have much of a story after it, but it was a blast to get to the end of that story, and made that game very fun and successful.

 

Now We have Elder Scrolls Online. A game which offers the next SAGA of storytelling in the MMO history of games. This main storyline is 5-6 hours long, much like Skyrims storyline. What this offers is a chance to have MULTITUDES of Storylines of Storytelling that lets you the player FEEL like you are part of the STORY, it gives you STORYTELLING for the ENTIRE game, you can be a part of the story 24/7 while leveling, you can finish a storyline if you want or don't want and go to another storyline. This my friends is the meaning of RPG in the MMORPG name. This is the next SAGA of STORYTELLING that allows the player to be a part of the STORY And REALLY FEEL Like they are part of it and this why, ESO Will not only succed but be the GAME OF THE YEAR of 2014.

 

I await the next chapter in the MMORPG Storytelling.... will it be EQ Next? Maybe, but 2015 or longer before that happens. So if you love Storytelling and FEELING like being part of the Story from START to FINISH, you'll be playing ESO with me. I hope alot of people who just look at gameplay or pvp or other things beside storylines and storytelling can see this from my point of view, and why the MMORPG GAME INDUSTRIES TOP games follow Storytelling. This is also why even with any bad media or talk, or anything negative, this game will succeed like the games before it have.

 

(I dint play swtor or GW2 so I cannot comment on thier storylines in this timeline, but SWTOR brings in millions right now so I can only guess the SWTOR storyline was pretty good also.)

  Knotwood

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/08/14
Posts: 1115

 
OP  2/10/14 10:20:52 PM#2
Proof Voice Overs are the way of the future.  No one likes to read anymore. 
  Nadia

Tipster

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11727

2/10/14 10:22:32 PM#3
no denying that voice overs add immersion - i wish ESO well
  Kyleran

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 19395

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

2/10/14 10:29:22 PM#4
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
Kyleran - Bitter Vet ™ since 2006
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  ihaveabeard

Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/05
Posts: 56

2/10/14 10:35:25 PM#5
MMO's are generally...hell, UNIVERSALLY known for having poor storylines compared to single player games. If Zenimax is trying to change this with ESO, kudos to them. But I think most people know going into any MMO that the story will be mediocre compared to just about any offline game. Come to think of it, the combat and gameplay in MMOs is mediocre as well.
  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 10:38:28 PM#6

So there is a little something that people do not understand about games (all games even board games and sports).

Games are not story telling devices...they are story CREATING DEVICES. The player creates the story by playing it. Sports is the same thing, the story of the rise of team X isnt pre-scripted its created by the active player base and fan base.

Now, is there space for interactive movies? yes...but that is a narrative pre-defined by an author which is very different then what a game is.

 

Something to ponder. 

 

Correlation does not imply causation

  reeereee

Elite Member

Joined: 3/22/13
Posts: 763

2/10/14 10:39:11 PM#7
Originally posted by Knotwood

Next we have FFXIV, which was not quite skyrim quality but had two great things, A Great AAA storyline which was some of the best storytelling in an MMO since Mines of Moria.

Now I see why you though the ESO story wasn't Mediocre.  Sure compared to FFXIV it's great, but I hardly would consider the FFXIV storyline good storytelling.  There was exactly one plot twist I didn't see coming for miles, and you're stuck doing ridiculous things like delivering stew in the middle of a large battle.

 

If you want good storytelling go play the agent story line from SWTOR, it's free now and is about two orders of magnitude better than the FFXIV story line.

  iridescence

Elite Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1460

2/10/14 10:40:54 PM#8

LOTRO has a good story. That is one thing I agree with you about. It gripped me as soon as I entered the game.

SWTOR sunk a lot of money into their story and it is well produced but not well written. It is riddled with adolescent cliches and I didn't find it very gripping. 

 

Likewise Skyrim's story is ridiculously bad. One of the worst I've ever seen in any RPG. Skyrim is very good at world-building though (not the same thing as story telling). When I and most people I've talked to have fun in Skyrim it's from exploring the world, doing your own thing, not doing the main quest.

 

I don't think ESO writing is on the level of LOTRO which it would at least need to be if it wants to be a story-driven MMO.

 

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 10:42:24 PM#9
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

exactly...

some companies know this and are saving on developer cost while at the same time providing a much better experience for players.

Game developers are supposed to just create a chess board, not play the chess game. we do that and in so doing we create the story

Correlation does not imply causation

  funyahns

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/02/12
Posts: 316

2/10/14 10:45:20 PM#10
 While I do love a good single player RPG I am far more interested in group dynamics in an MMORPG.   The least important part of any MMO to me is the story itself.  I consider it there to give me an excuse to commit war crimes against other factions in the world.  When i want a real deep in depth story though I usually read a book.
  ihaveabeard

Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/05
Posts: 56

2/10/14 11:03:44 PM#11
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

 

Can you really claim that THAT is the point of the whole genre? It does sound nice, I'll give you that - but that's my personal opinion. One guy. How can you assume it's what the majority of people should think is the point of the MMO genre? Are most gamers that creative? Be honest.

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 11:09:12 PM#12
Originally posted by ihaveabeard
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

 

Can you really claim that THAT is the point of the whole genre? It does sound nice, I'll give you that - but that's my personal opinion. One guy. How can you assume it's what the majority of people should think is the point of the MMO genre? Are most gamers that creative? Be honest.

They dont physically create the stories. It what happens naturally simply by playing the game.

Why does this need to be explained? oh my god.....

and yes..it is the point of the genre going back all the way to table top rpg

Correlation does not imply causation

  Fearum

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1092

2/10/14 11:12:22 PM#13
Originally posted by ihaveabeard
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

 

Can you really claim that THAT is the point of the whole genre? It does sound nice, I'll give you that - but that's my personal opinion. One guy. How can you assume it's what the majority of people should think is the point of the MMO genre? Are most gamers that creative? Be honest.

I'm not and Eve is boring as shit. :P  You want a game with no story line play DayZ. 

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 11:14:15 PM#14

ok here is an example that might help people understand 'player created stories'

Darkfall: Largest clan that got into the game day 1 had taken over a great deal of the map. Smaller clans eventually set differences aside and covertly joined together to attack this clan. They also used the forums for social propaganda.

Then on the day of the war a huge alliance came out of nowhere and took both sides down.

 

At least that is how I recall Darkfall World War 1.

Was any of that scripted? not explicitly. Where these players creative? very much so.

Devs didnt have to make a story line, didnt have to construct quests or any of that. 

Correlation does not imply causation

  CatAtomic99

Novice Member

Joined: 8/24/08
Posts: 38

2/10/14 11:15:43 PM#15
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

Yep-- that's the most commonly overlooked point in MMO development, imho. So many of these developers build a game to tell the players a story, instead of just giving them the tools (and impetus) to make their own.

 

The best times I've ever had with online games were moments where players were brought into conflict, or cooperation, of their own accord. Whether it was the tenuous alliances formed between the two lesser-populated realms in DAoC or EVE's endless backstabbing, that's where the fun is, and it never runs out of gas.

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 11:17:50 PM#16
Originally posted by CatAtomic99
Originally posted by Kyleran
If you don't realize that its supposed to be the players who make and live the story in a MMORPG, then you've missed the entire point and potential of the genre.

The stories the players have made in EVE in the past 10 years far exceed anything ever delivered in LOTRO, shame you've missed it.

Yep-- that's the most commonly overlooked point in MMO development, imho. So many of these developers build a game to tell the players a story, instead of just giving them the tools (and impetus) to make their own.

 

The best times I've ever had with online games were moments where players were brought into conflict, or cooperation, of their own accord. Whether it was the tenuous alliances formed between the two lesser-populated realms in DAoC or EVE's endless backstabbing, that's where the fun is, and it never runs out of gas.

agreed. 

They could have used that time to create player created quests which I think is what MMOs should do. The only game I know that is trying that is Xyson. You can place a totem on your property and set quests so if you need 100 rat pelts..you can make a quest for it. Which in all fairness a simple trading post does the same thing and gets used more but the idea of player created quests could be very interesting.

Correlation does not imply causation

  Fearum

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/15/11
Posts: 1092

2/10/14 11:18:57 PM#17
Originally posted by SEANMCAD

ok here is an example that might help people understand 'player created stories'

Darkfall: Largest clan that got into the game day 1 had taken over a great deal of the map. Smaller clans eventually set differences aside and covertly joined together to attack this clan. They also used the forums for social propaganda.

Then on the day of the war a huge alliance came out of nowhere and took both sides down.

 

At least that is how I recall Darkfall World War 1.

Was any of that scripted? not explicitly. Where these players creative? very much so.

Devs didnt have to make a story line, didnt have to construct quests or any of that. 

Great story but the game died. After the rebirth it is now about to die again.

Bad example.

I know what you mean but you can create that kind of thing in Cyrodiil. You don't think there will be alliance's in the game? You can use TS and Vent just like people do in DF.

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 11:20:24 PM#18
Originally posted by Fearum
Originally posted by SEANMCAD

ok here is an example that might help people understand 'player created stories'

Darkfall: Largest clan that got into the game day 1 had taken over a great deal of the map. Smaller clans eventually set differences aside and covertly joined together to attack this clan. They also used the forums for social propaganda.

Then on the day of the war a huge alliance came out of nowhere and took both sides down.

 

At least that is how I recall Darkfall World War 1.

Was any of that scripted? not explicitly. Where these players creative? very much so.

Devs didnt have to make a story line, didnt have to construct quests or any of that. 

Great story but the game died. After the rebirth it is now about to die again.

Bad example.

I know what you mean but you can create that kind of thing in Cyrodiil. You don't think there will be alliance's in the game? You can use TS and Vent just like people do in DF.

ok how about all the stories in EVE that make headline news? is that good enough for you to fully grasp?

Correlation does not imply causation

  SEANMCAD

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 5327

2/10/14 11:22:30 PM#19
to be completely honest in the pre-electronic age you gamers who want pre-scripted stories would have been the guy reading books while people like myself were playing D&D. Both are valid ways to get personal value and the new gaming media allows for both 'play' styles to intersect. I think however its painfully easy to make a game that can make both camps happy and not forced on either of the play styles

Correlation does not imply causation

  arieste

Novice Member

Joined: 10/11/04
Posts: 3310

2/10/14 11:23:40 PM#20
Originally posted by Knotwood

Then somewhere around 2007, LOTRO finally launched, another Major MMORPG with great storytelling

All MMO have storytelling.  As do all RPGs.  What separated LOTRO from the rest was that it had GOOD storytelling.  It was well written and the storytelling was supported by the game and the overall virtual world you found yourself in.

 

The fact that a game has storytelling - or even that it focuses on storytelling as it's main feature - does not mean that it will have GOOD storytelling.   SWTOR's biggest feature was storytelling.  They bet the entire game on it.  It had the most ever voiceover, and the most extensive single-player storylines in MMO history.   The problem was that the stories told were awful, and they were being told by awful writers.  And the game design in no way supported those stories.   ("Ah, young one, It has been a long time since I have seen a Jedi!"  dude.. wtf, tehre are 30 of us jedi in tihs room alone, wtf are you talking about?)  

 

You sound like a person that appreciated great storytelling.  As such, I hve to highly recommend The Secret World to you.  It is probably the epitome of storytelling in a MMO.    Regardless of ESO, you have plenty of time to check it out in the months before launch.   I warn you though, just like after playing LoTRO, if one plays TSW, it may become difficult to accept the incoherent drivel offered by less games in the guise of "storytelling". 

 

Everyone has a story to tell, not every one of those stories is interesting and far from every one of those people is a good storyteller.

 

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"I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

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