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51 posts found
  User Deleted
 
OP  1/23/13 4:33:29 AM#1

These days a few games have come out touting their story, or their "personal story." Those that have played this card most heavily are Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, and Guild Wars 2. 

 

Games are stories.

 

Some games are better than others at conveying their stories and at engaging the player (the gamer) in the story to a greater or lesser extent. Some games are very open ended and players create their own stories. Others are very heavily scripted. When I think about the question of story, I think about the old dictum for novelists:

 

Show, don't tell.

 

What is the place of story in an mmorpg? What makes good story iWhich mmorpgs do you think are truly the best at story? Why?

 

What are the elements of good story in mmorpgs? 

 

 

  Quirhid

Novice Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5492

I dare you to pin a label on me.

1/23/13 4:41:16 AM#2
A good story makes you care, makes you invested, and entertains.

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

  Phaserlight

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/18/04
Posts: 687

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

1/23/13 5:13:04 AM#3

There is a recent thread on this with a lot of differing viewpoints represented:

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/5515264#5515264

I think a good story is entertaining, cuts across ages and cultural barriers, captures the interest, is well paced, and is appropriate to the audience.

"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

  User Deleted
 
OP  1/23/13 10:54:32 AM#4
Originally posted by Phaserlight

There is a recent thread on this with a lot of differing viewpoints represented:

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/5515264#5515264

I think a good story is entertaining, cuts across ages and cultural barriers, captures the interest, is well paced, and is appropriate to the audience.

Thanks for posting this link. I didn't see this. 

 

 

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19248

1/23/13 10:59:45 AM#5

To me, stories/quests are just excuses to kill lots of stuff.

However, a good story adds to the atmosphere.

  Onomas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/11
Posts: 1160

Sandbox is your only hope for a decent mmo ;)

1/23/13 11:30:20 AM#6

 

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun to me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Problem is humans are less intelligent these days, our creativity is down, and our desire to earn things has been brushed aside. And these are not my words, but words from doctors and studies funded by universities, government, and private. You can google, im lazy (see what i did there).

So our games are basicaly the same. People want things fasta and easy, want to be led around, have small paths and hand holding to make people comfortable.

Games shouldnt be complex, i agree. But they need to have some form of risk vs reward, and a feeling of earning and creating is fun once again.

Developer generated stories are full of cut scenes, kill this for that, collect this, go here, do that, and follow the marker on the map. Its not a story, its linking quest givers to give you the illusion of a story. But in actuality there is no difference between a series of quest givers and people in your story.

Personal story will always be better. Each person has their own variation. Many times i just listen to old guildies talk about their adventures and conquests. Its a story. Now you do the exact same as the person before you and after you. Reroll a character and guess what its the exact same. Story only gets you so far, you need much much more to keep people coming back for more and entertain them.

How entertaining is it to read the same book over and over and over, or do the exact same thing on a daily basis in game or in real life? Is your life less important or entertaining because there is no story handed to you? Life is a joy because everyday its new and exciting, see new stuff, go places you have never been before. This is what makes a story. Not a job but a fun time that you can pass on to friends and family.

Our games do not offer this any more. That is the problem.

 

*Edit to fix a few typo's*

  Trudge34

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/08/12
Posts: 388

1/23/13 11:40:58 AM#7
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Problem is humans are less intelligent these days, our creativity is down, and our desire to earn things has been brushed aside. And these are not my words, but words from doctors and studies funded universities, government, and private. You can google, im lazy (see what i did there).

So our games are basicaly the same. People want things fasta nd easy, want to be led around, have small paths and hand holding to make people confortable.

Games shouldnt be complex, i agree. But they need to have some form of risk vs reward, and a feeling of earning and creating is fun once again.

Developer generated stories are full of cut scenes,  kill this for that, collect this, go here, do that, and follow the marker on the map. Its not a story, its linking quest givers to give you the illusion of a story. But in actuality there is no difference between a series of quest givers and people in your story.

Personal story will lawys be better. Each person has their own variation. Many times i just listen to old guildies talk about their adventures and conquests. Its a story. Now you do the exact same as the person before you and after you. Reroll a character and guess what its the exact same. Story only gets you so far, you need much much more to keep people coming back for more and entertain them.

How entertaining is it to read the same book over and over and over, or do the exact same thing on a daily basis in game or in real life? Is your life less important or entertaining because there is no story handed to you? Life is a joy because everyday its new and exciting, see new stuff, go places you have never been before. This is what makes a story. Not a job but a fun time that you can pass on to friends and family.

Our games do not offer this any more. That is the problem.

 

Well said.

Played: EQ1 (10 Years), Guild Wars, Rift, TERA
Tried: EQ2, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Runes of Magic and countless others...
Currently Playing: GW2

Nytlok Sylas
80 Sylvari Ranger

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19248

1/23/13 11:45:57 AM#8
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

  Trudge34

Hard Core Member

Joined: 8/08/12
Posts: 388

1/23/13 11:49:52 AM#9
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

There's plenty of story and lore in EQ. It's just not fed to you on an airplane spoon with sound effects.

Played: EQ1 (10 Years), Guild Wars, Rift, TERA
Tried: EQ2, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Runes of Magic and countless others...
Currently Playing: GW2

Nytlok Sylas
80 Sylvari Ranger

  Onomas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/11
Posts: 1160

Sandbox is your only hope for a decent mmo ;)

1/23/13 11:56:05 AM#10
Originally posted by Trudge34
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

There's plenty of story and lore in EQ. It's just not fed to you on an airplane spoon with sound effects.

 

Yes, EQ has tons of lore and history. One year out of ten and he is an expert. ;) I think nariuss doesn't play mmorpg's like they should. He seems to always have a bad experience with them. But he is a god playing lobby games. I will have to group with him and show him lore and help his creative side. We shall make an epic story from our journey.
  jimdandy26

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/23/13 12:00:35 PM#11
Originally posted by Onomas
Originally posted by Trudge34
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

There's plenty of story and lore in EQ. It's just not fed to you on an airplane spoon with sound effects.

 

Yes, EQ has tons of lore and history. One year out of ten and he is an expert. ;) I think nariuss doesn't play mmorpg's like they should. He seems to always have a bad experience with them. But he is a god playing lobby games. I will have to group with him and show him lore and help his creative side. We shall make an epic story from our journey.

Holy cow, you figured out the problem! Its not that games are designed a certain way, its just that ALL of these players have been playing wrong all these years!

 

Also, you are very much incorrect that people are getting dumber, that is anything but the truth, especialy for modern society.

I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19248

1/23/13 12:03:13 PM#12
Originally posted by Trudge34
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

There's plenty of story and lore in EQ. It's just not fed to you on an airplane spoon with sound effects.

I am talking about "personal" stories. There is zero. I don't know about you .. but when i play, no one cares enough to make up any story. It is about "oh do i go camp this spot or that spot .. which one gives me more xp"

That is not very story like .. is it?

 

  Onomas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/11
Posts: 1160

Sandbox is your only hope for a decent mmo ;)

1/23/13 12:10:25 PM#13
Originally posted by jimdandy26
Originally posted by Onomas
Originally posted by Trudge34
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by Onomas

Stories end, and at a fast pace. Making your own story, keeping track of places you have been, killing ancient creatures, finding lost treasure, staking claim to the wilderness, and choosing the path as you go is more fun ot me than some generated story that is exactly like the next guys.

Never really happened. I played EQ for a year. There is zero story. Going killing a bunch of random mobs with a group does not count. There is no context, no lore. Sure, today i went with these 5 guys .. and we formed a all wiz group .. and we played mob ping pong.

That is no a real story. I will take a professional crafted story any day.

There's plenty of story and lore in EQ. It's just not fed to you on an airplane spoon with sound effects.

 

Yes, EQ has tons of lore and history. One year out of ten and he is an expert. ;) I think nariuss doesn't play mmorpg's like they should. He seems to always have a bad experience with them. But he is a god playing lobby games. I will have to group with him and show him lore and help his creative side. We shall make an epic story from our journey.

Holy cow, you figured out the problem! Its not that games are designed a certain way, its just that ALL of these players have been playing wrong all these years!

 

Also, you are very much incorrect that people are getting dumber, that is anything but the truth, especialy for modern society.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412234,00.asp

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/nov/12/pampered-humanity-less-intelligent

http://www.livescience.com/24713-humans-losing-intelligence.html

Perhaps not dumber, just more lazy. We still have great scientists, inventors, military geniuses, social and academic minds. Not calling the humans race ignorant, just not as creative and  robust as we once were. As stated by these doctors and scientists. Humans are no way in fear of becoming cavemen.

And if you cant find lore in a game full of lore and history, yes you are playing the damn game wrong! EQ has like 3 full pages of lore, how can you not find any? And lore and history is what makes a story. How do you think developers make story........ my point proven.

And telling narius i wanted to group with him isnt an attack at him, he and i have been kind of the opposites on these forums. Like to see him in action and team up with him as gamers, not as forum warriors. You shouldnt read into things that arent there.

  User Deleted
1/23/13 12:13:11 PM#14
Originally posted by PWN_FACE
 

 What are the elements of good story in mmorpgs? 

 

I agree strongly with show, don't tell.  That's also an axiom of motion picture direction.

 

For me the most important element of story in mmorpgs is presentation to the player without intrusion into gameplay.

 

I consider MMORPGs as a hybrid of simulation and game (interactive entertainment) and that balance of the two is important.  When story presentation (part of game) becomes dominant, the two fall out of balance.

 

  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

1/23/13 12:19:55 PM#15

I've mentioned this elsewhere, but I'm not a big fan of the way the most recent generation of games have handled the story thing.  Cut scenes have no place in MMOs.

They can work in single-player games, but even then they are often overdone (see any JRPG from the last 5 years).  Games are an interactive medium.  Cut scenes are, by definition, passive.  You're not playing the game -- you're sitting through a little movie waiting for the actual game to start up again. 

It's worse in MMOs, though, because cutscenes isolate players from one another.  Whether you prefer to solo or not, the whole point of MMOs is  that you're sharing the game space with other players.  Periodically teleporting a player to a pocket universe where they are Special and Unique and then dropping them back into a crowd of other Chosen Ones is not an effective way to tell a story.

Story in MMO's can't be done in a way that makes it necessary to hide players from one another.  Doing so works counter to the spirit of these games.  You need to leverage the players and give them the freedom to tell their own story, as a group.  Yes, this means sandbox features (but not necessarily full-on FFA PvP).  It also means occasionally inconveniencing players, like the Zombie invasion in WoW.   I'm sure there are other ways to achieve this as well.

Yes, I know there are some people playing MMOs who want to be left alone -- who want to be the Chosen One and get the girl/boy.  All I can say is, like a pacifist in a FPS, these people are playing the wrong kind of game.    

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19248

1/23/13 12:20:12 PM#16
Originally posted by Onomas

And if you cant find lore in a game full of lore and history, yes you are playing the damn game wrong! EQ has like 3 full pages of lore, how can you not find any? And lore and history is what makes a story. How do you think developers make story........ my point proven.

And telling narius i wanted to group with him isnt an attack at him, he and i have been kind of the opposites on these forums. Like to see him in action and team up with him as gamers, not as forum warriors. You shouldnt read into things that arent there.

"playing the damn game wrong"??? we are talking about entertainment products here. There is no wrong way of playing it. Whatever way the player like is the right way.

*And* .. why should people be lazy? We are talking about enteratinment here, again. If a player wants to be as lazy in his games as watching his movies, why shouldn't he? After all, he is the one who enjoy the activity. It is reallly preferences. Devs can either fill that preference/demand, or not.

Hahaha .. yeah .. and who says people cannot have opposite, strong opinions, and still be civil and friends.

Now to the point about grouping and lore ... i would be more than happy if you want to group and play like that. However, the point is that i have been played MMOs, and online games for a long long time (longer probably than you, unless you start playing in the time of Kingdom of Drakkar) ... i have met exactly ZERO persons that is interested in lore, and making up stories in context of the game world.

100% of the time, if they talk, (and this include back in EQ time), it is about game mechanics, or how cool a particular piece of gear is ... NEVER about anything related to story or lore.

And that is the nature of the market. These are games, not worlds, and most people treat them as such. So if i want stories, i don't get it from other uses, i get it from devs.

 

  maplestone

Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

1/23/13 12:26:35 PM#17
Originally posted by Onomas

Problem is humans are less intelligent these days

*stops reading*

  jimdandy26

Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

1/23/13 12:28:52 PM#18
Originally posted by Onomas
 

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412234,00.asp

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/nov/12/pampered-humanity-less-intelligent

http://www.livescience.com/24713-humans-losing-intelligence.html

Perhaps not dumber, just more lazy. We still have great scientists, inventors, military geniuses, social and academic minds. Not calling the humans race ignorant, just not as creative and  robust as we once were. As stated by these doctors and scientists. Humans are no way in fear of becoming cavemen.

And if you cant find lore in a game full of lore and history, yes you are playing the damn game wrong! EQ has like 3 full pages of lore, how can you not find any? And lore and history is what makes a story. How do you think developers make story........ my point proven.

And telling narius i wanted to group with him isnt an attack at him, he and i have been kind of the opposites on these forums. Like to see him in action and team up with him as gamers, not as forum warriors. You shouldnt read into things that arent there.

Do you really want to sidetrack the thread arguing theory? Keep in mind there is no scientifically accepted definition of "intellegence". That theory is based on the idea that adversity leads to creative solutions, which is true! But to flat out attempt to misconstue that into that people are getting "dumber" is insane.

Lore and history are also not the same thing as story. If you want to argue that then I posit a simple question, why are the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so fondly looked upon but the Silmerilon is not? And even keeping with that same vein where is the lore and history in the "three little pigs" or "Green eggs and ham"?

I dunno, I disagree. You are the quintessential bitter vet, waging war on anything that is not what you want and how you want, generally hearkening back to the good old days, when men were men and you had to walk up hill both ways in the snow and YOU LIKED IT cause thats just how it was. While I both agree and disagree with Narius on many things, the data we have access to as players disagrees with what makes a successful game. Which is really the vast majority of the bullshit spouted on this, and most other, forums. Your preconcieved notion of what you like equals what is successful is incredibally foolish.

I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

  Khorian

Novice Member

Joined: 5/10/07
Posts: 65

...

1/23/13 12:46:34 PM#19

I remember a guy I once knew 10+ years ago. We some day talked about 4X games (MoO, GalCiv etc) Those are games that don't really have a story. But damn it was fun to talk about games you played, how you played them and what happened and so on. It was really epic, thinking and talking about it in hindsight. Those games engage your imagination.

No story is always the same in those games, it could be similar but never the same. Thats why you can still enjoy a game of MoO2 today.

MMOs should be similar. The storys should be the players. Like EvE for example. It is possible, its just not easy to do for a Dev. It's obviously easier for a developer to let everything happen in a controlled  environment.

I mean I am not totally against storyline in MMOs, I just don't like certain ways of implementing it. Lore is important, but you should have to look for it. You could even create a new class out of it, Loremaster. But that is too revolutionary by todays standards probably.

Factor number one is, that for personalized Storyline, you need heavy instancing. And heavy instancing is not good MMO design. The problem in my opinion is the idea that Developers got, that every single player should be a hero amongst his fellow adventurers. But since they then by logic make EVERY Adventurer the hero (in their own instances) it becomes meaningless again.

You know, back in the day WE became heros by playing good and maybe pull off some impossible stunts.

Some Lucas Arts manager once said: People want to be like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo or Boba Fett. Make it more starwarsy.

And thus, the NGE was created.

Today, we are all just the most wanted bountyhunters of the galaxy or the sith that killed Darth Baras. We play the stories of someone else. I hate it.

 

TL:DR: If I want personal Story I play a fucking Singleplayer game

  Onomas

Novice Member

Joined: 7/05/11
Posts: 1160

Sandbox is your only hope for a decent mmo ;)

1/23/13 12:47:04 PM#20
Originally posted by jimdandy26
 

I dunno, I disagree. You are the quintessential bitter vet, waging war on anything that is not what you want and how you want, generally hearkening back to the good old days, when men were men and you had to walk up hill both ways in the snow and YOU LIKED IT cause thats just how it was. While I both agree and disagree with Narius on many things, the data we have access to as players disagrees with what makes a successful game. Which is really the vast majority of the bullshit spouted on this, and most other, forums. Your preconcieved notion of what you like equals what is successful is incredibally foolish.

You do realize i play a good bit of themeparks, new aged games, fps, and lobby games also? The inteligence things hold true from your statement. You jusdge me because i like the past, we learn from the past. The past keeps us from making the same mistakes. Good times are hard to replace.

So your attack on me saying i attack others is kind of two-faced when you just did it and i did not.

Bitter? Waging war on anything that i dont want? Yet i promote several games out of my normal gaming (tera, tsw, aoc, etc), and offer to group with Narius in games he likes as well as i like to play as gamers. Yet I am a bitter burnt out vet?  Think your logic is flawed. I want a good game, not half a** garbage released today. If that menas recalling on older times to mix with the newer stuff then so be it.

And sometimes the old stuff works ;)

 

 And go look up definition of lore, story, and history. They all coincide with one another in some form.

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