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General: Editorial: Lore Almighty

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member Common

Aaron Roxby returns to with a new editorial. Today, Roxby explores the concepts of Lore and Storytelling in an article called "Lore Almighty".

image We all know the story of Superman. Kal-L, son of Jor-L is rocketed away from an un-named planet, just before its tragic demise. On Earth, he is adopted by kindly motorists John and Mary Kent. As he matures, he learns that he has three special powers. He can deflect bullets, is very strong and can jump really high in the air. When his adopted parents are killed, he moves to Metropolis and gets a job at the Daily Star, under Chief Editor George Taylor. He takes on a secret identity, makes his own costume, and becomes Superman. He proceeds to fight real life injustices, such as munitions manufacturers and dangerous mining conditions.

The whole editorial is here.

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


  • Agent_X7Agent_X7 Staff Writer Endicott, NYPosts: 515Member

    Lore: The stuff I never bother to read, because it requires me to stop playing and sit there reading a virtual book.

    I know some of the backstory to WoW because it is told while playing Warcraft 3. (Warcraft didn't really have much of a story, as I recall, and I never played WC2. In fact, I only played WC3 after I played Wow.) I think more games need cut scenes or actual missions or quests to tell you the backstory, rather than the current trend of making you read a ton of virtual books to get the information. I have a whole library of books at home that I would rather read, since they invariably contain better writing than these virtual books.

    Anyway, it doesn't bother me that they "changed" the lore to explain why you get to play a big cool-looking guy rather than a shriveled, Ori-looking bozo. In a few years, no one will care anyway. (Or, like me, people won't know until they are told by someone else who bothered to read all this crap in the first place. - Rather like me explaining to my friends that is wasn't MJ who got thrown off a bridge, but Gwen Stacy. And in the comic, she dies.)

    Agent_X7 AKA J Star
    Notice: The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of or its management.

  • MesopoliesMesopolies Hillsboro, ORPosts: 51Member

    When you talk about back story I always think of both AC and AC2. In my opinion AC2 was by far the most impresive when it came to tell a story. You actually went on quests to unlock the movies so you could check the story out.

    In AC1 the story provides a back drop for things occuring in the world.

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 491Member Uncommon
    And this article shows why there is people who don't like the story to change. I am one that does not like it to change. I accept that it does though.  Lore is why I play games. I want to go get all the quests and complete them just to see the lore. I do this because I can't truly have a story in most MMOs I have played. I can't do anything that does anything to the world. There are so many subscribers that are doing the same things I can do that the story is what I go after. DAoC is the game that I have played longest of any game. The reason for that is the RvR and I could actually see how I affected the realm after I got high level. I don't like PvP but having certain areas and reasons for it actually make me feel more like a persona in the game than just someone who is taking a character through to get what I want (whether Epic mount, raiding the highest lvl content, PvPing newbies, or just finding all the stories). That is why lore is important to me and I don't like to see it messed with because it is an easy way to make things work.
  • Lunar_KnightLunar_Knight Portland, ORPosts: 292Member

    IPs get a lot of attention, but original storylines keep their subscribers from what I've seen.

    Who wouldn't want to be a Jedi? Practically no one, and that’s the problem with IPs. There are certain personas, classes, or races that people MUST be.

    How many people are going to make an Elf in LoTR online and specialize in Bow? Probably most of the people who saw the move and thought "Man, Legolas is sooo cool!"

    Or all the people that are going to make an Axe wielding dwarf because "Nobody tosses a DWARF!"

    Of course their will be a lot of people who will try to make something new and original out of it. They will try to that Tolkien's story to a new level and experience something new inside the world he created.

    And why will both mind sets fail? Here’s why:

    The first will fail because the story won't "do it" for him/her. With so many others running around with similar characters, they won't be able to recreate the movie/story with their characters or forge one similar. That sense of awe they experienced when they first read the books or saw the movie will begin to dim because they are not getting what they hoped for...which was everything! The developers will begin to inevitably change the storyline from its original path and try to add new things to the game that will either not mesh well with the game at all or destroy the feel of the game to the point where most people who enjoyed the IP won't feel any connection with the game at all.

    And the other mind set will have some better success, but some will eventually realize that their goals in the game will be impossible to accomplish because of the restricting nature and predictability of the IP. They will try to influence the changes that will run off the first type and then decide to quit because they could only change so much about the game's concepts from the IP.

    I really hope more developers start to hire fantasy authors with visions of completely new and radical Fantasy/Sci-Fi worlds to play in and explore. Both mind sets need to be put in a world where they must choose a path they have never really traveled before and find what they gravitate to naturally as far as characters and play style go. Then they need to explore a world where they have no expectations and find a way to create their own story and be apart of a much larger one all at the same time.

    Say no to Dragons, Jedi, Paladins, Ewoks, Halflings, Elves and Orcs!

    Lets make something no one has ever seen before!

    (Btw, I didn't mean to single out LoTR online, they just happened to be a good example)



    ...but time flows like a river...

    ...and history repeats...

    -Leader of "The Fighting Irish" in DAoC on Hib/Kay-

  • defafnyrdefafnyr West of Oz, WAPosts: 83Member

    Good article.  I see some people shrug their shoulders when a game backtracks on their lore.  I've seen others rant and wail and beat their chests and make threats.  EQLive was another game that was horrible at contradicting its own lore, and of course, the Lore Nazi's that hang out at WoW are still wailing and thumping their copies of novelized Warcraft lore.  People have the right to have hurt feelings and feelings of outrage over it, but the game developers have the right to do whatever they want with their property and we can either accept it or cancel subscriptions for another game. 

    Since I'm one of those that shrugs, it was a funny read for me, especially the Special Bonus Feature.


  • IronhammerIronhammer Vancouver, BCPosts: 1Member
    Just a note, but if people had read the canon history in the Warcraft roleplaying books from a few years back, they'd realize all Blizz did was fill in some blank spots, not totally retcon an entire race... They'd already said that the Draenei we know on Azeroth are mutated, withered shells of their old selves and that they used to look quite different in the past.
  • DajminDajmin LondonPosts: 54Member

    I might be alone in this opinion, but I really enjoy reading game lore. It's good to find out why a particular culture behaves the way it does, or why certain races or creatures don't get along.

    Unfortunately, the story-telling side of things in MMOGs seems to have disappeared recently, instead focussing on getting big numbers flying around as fast as possible. I enjoyed the original Guild Wars Prophecies campaign storyline - it gave personality to the NPCs you were involved with, and if you ignore the voice acting it was a well-told story with a couple of good twists that you don't necessarily see coming.
    The problem with the GW method is that the storyline is very linear - there were no decisions to be made, just a set path to follow. In an online game, that does take away some of the freedom.

    Think back to the proper origins of these games - LARPing. I've never been part of any kind of RP group, but I know people who were. Without a DM telling you what you were doing there, you'd just be aimlessly sitting around waiting to get attacked.

    Someone before mentioned cut scenes, and that's not necessarily a bad idea, as long as it adds to the story and the voice acting (if any) is done well. It's more interesting to watch a scene played out than it is to read a huge page of text.

    Lore is important to me, because I want to know WHY I'm fighting, rather than just blindly killing stuff because the loot is good. I know a lot of people don't care, and that's fair enough too.

    If you can build lore into a mission-driven storyline, then great - the people who care get the info and the people who don't can ignore it. Everybody wins!

  • lorechaserlorechaser Austin, TXPosts: 124Member
    Very nice article.  I enjoy the lore, but not enough to read all the books in obscure places and fight about it on message boards.

    I understand that sometimes, stuff gets missed, stuff gets changed.  And the alternative is a bland and boring MMO like RF Online, where there's a tiny backstory that devolves in to "Kill the other players."

    Who am I?
    @Lorechaser on CoH
    Badjuju, Splinterhoof, Plainsrunner on WoW (Moonrunner)
    Shyy'rissk on SWG (Flurry)
    ClockworkSoldier, HE Pierce, Letnev on Planetside
    Gyshe, Crucible, Terrakal on DDO
    And many more.

  • hobodactylhobodactyl Lordly Land, IAPosts: 23Member Common
    Cool article! Interesting and funny, and I'm glad you added the bonus :)

  • kraidenkraiden Staff Writer Edgewater, NJPosts: 638Member Uncommon

    image I am not worthy to write in your presance sir.

    What a brilliant editorial. granted you would have to be about 30+ to know most of the referances..

    you pose a good question. In my honest opinion, I myself nor do any of my friends whom I have jumped from game to game with over the past 15 years we have been online gaming, have ever cared about the plot, or the story. As long as the FEEL is there. For instance, I am more impacted that the horde, a band of thugish grutal brutes, now have a pretty race or elegant blonde haired prance happy elves more than a recont... just like I was unhappy in daoc that albion gained a "monster" race in the half ogre, when all the rest of their population was human, while in midgard we got traped with a Snow Elf. It ruined the feel of the realm.

    but think about it. Its all about money. For the most part people are not playing horde and this is causing imbalances. People do not like to play ugly races (how many tauren and orc females do you see really) and in human and Night Elf you get these... and you also get "cute" charachters in the gnome and Dwarf. To counter? Add the most "beautiful" looking race in the game to the horde and introduce an ugly race to the alliance. Trust me there will be no shortage to the number of teenage boys who roll a blood elven Ice/arcane mage and will spam /dance to see the britny spears toxic dance, or who roll a hunter using a bow insted of a gun and call him Leegoliez/legoolis/legoliss

    Good editorial, glad you wrote it, and for the record, I loved Electric Superman its the only time I actually subscribed to and read the comic EVER in my 20 years of reading comic books.

  • kattdoodkattdood San Francisco, CAPosts: 8Member

    real history gets rewritten all the time. why can't fiction? if rewriting lore gives the game consistency to future content, then it only helps the game.

    For me, it's more about presentation than story. I agree that AC2 had one of the more immersive backstory and presentation. COH/COV is probably the best right now when it comes to delivering great stories to the players. You read about pernicious deeds by imminent villains rather than, "Oh will you fetch me this pie?" from some random farmer. Not only that, but they spent time to provide info on every important NPC contacts so who know who you're working for and why.

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