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But what about the story?

Posted by Vexe Wednesday August 26 2009 at 12:38AM
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Story has been one of the most compelling things in human history; shaping societies, pushing forward social changes and telling (slightly exaggerated) tales of the greatest heroes. This of course turned into things like movies and the like, which certainly are a good chunk camerawork, but the story and script is always what makes or breaks the over-all concept, let alone the enjoyment of the film itself.  Even in video games, in the start, most of the deeper and most addicting games were derived first from story genres. Like the fantasy tale of the warrior trying to save a princess from an evil boar-king who is attempting to take over the kingdom. Or even things like the sci-fi tale of aliens slowly moving into earth, and you, the hero, having to take them out with your ship one at a time as they zig-zag slowly towards you.

Story is something that moves us forward and compels us to look deeper into the lives of these characters we are introduced to.  I can't say that it started with online games for sure, but as soon as the ability to create your own hero came into play, everything changed. The story was now yours to shape. "The power is yours!" so to speak. But the ultimate back-lash is that many people don't choose to make their own story. Or at least one that is not compelling or deep. Their story is to be better than that guy they just saw walking by in full teir 8 armor; or better than the girl who just killed everything with one spell. They want to be awesome and kill things and kill those things while being awesome. They strive for that above all else. They don't care about the story. They don't care about why we have to kill all those boars, they just want to kill them so they can fill up that bar at the bottom of the screen. There are no epic story lines, or those that are are very short lived and can be played hundreds of times by the same person who doesn't even care about the story after the first two times to begin with. That boss drops something. He needs that something.

I am by no means saying that people do not care about story. Not by any means. What I am saying is that a majority of people grow tired of the story because it is constantly changing and there is no main adversary that is staring you down the whole time. You always need to level to this point to beat this dude and then once you beat him, it's off to the next tough bad-guy. Story exists, but the problem is that for some reason the industry thinks our attention span is so low that we wouldn't be able to focus on it for the whole time so they break it into chunks. Or maybe it's because it's set in our mind that a story must have an ending.

TOR (the old republic) has peaked interest in many by having that added touch of both a script and voice acting to evoke some emotion from the player. You want to see your character succeed. You want to beat the crap out of those smugglers cause they stole a part from your ship that you need to flee the planet. Now, I am not praising this game. Not yet. What I'm trying to say is that It will be interesting to see what they do with this new thing they have come up with and if it will really work. Right now the closest games I've seen to getting near this level of determination are: The first 20 levels in AoC, WoW, and EVE.

Now, after reading that little (ha) rant of mine I have 3 questions to ask you. I want to see what people think and might elaborate on how most people feel in a later blog:


1.) Do you think story has a huge impact on games? If so, how big is that impact; and if not, will it ever?


2.) How often do you pay attention to the story if it all? Does this effect your gameplay or interest in the game?


3.) Do you think that new steps forward like full voice-acting will do a better job of immersing the player?



ghstwolf writes:

Voice acting by itself doesn't add much to a game. Sure a few more people will get the story bits, simply because reading is too hard for them, but that doesn't make the story any more compelling. Yes I am joking about the reading issues, truth is we often ignore the story because it isn't all that good (and that's the first time through).

That is the real problem, the unchanging and unfulfilling experience of the story. The whole "thank you Mario but our princess is in another castle" feel to the stories and game play does wear thin after a few hours. Maybe it's that there are so few ways to finish the quest (usually 1), that there are so few types of quests, or even that how well you do at it doesn't matter.

Wed Aug 26 2009 3:00AM Report writes:
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