Howto resolve lore based player activity in MMORPG if the character is not "the hero" of a crisis (r

KenFisherKenFisher Northwest, INMember UncommonPosts: 5,035

We've all seen application of single player RPG themes where the character is pushed through a storyline that leads them to eventually defeat the ultimate bad guy.  For me I find that somewhat silly in an MMORPG environment.  It just feels odd with thousands of players running around and each is "the one" who needs to banish evil in the world.

 

Feel free to pick any or all of the following:

 

Should "the hero" storyline be avoided?

Is it impossible to avoid "the hero" storyline and still be a themepark game?

How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?

How have other games addressed avoiding "the hero" storyline?

Have other games that ovoided "the hero" storyline done a good job at setting up an alternative?


Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.

Comments

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAMember CommonPosts: 10,910

    I think it's the scope of the player's impact that would have to be limited in order to avoid the 'hero' storyline. For instance, killing the single biggest bad guy ever to threaten the entire world is nonsensical when you have to do it 50-ish times. However, killing the leader of a bandit group so the group doesn't attack a town can be done many times as the group will probably pick a new leader and resume their evil ways. This scenario would make even more sense if the leader's name changed each time a new one was elected.

    I have no idea how any existing games have avoided the 'hero' storyline. I'm pretty sure none of the games that have end game raiding avoid it.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAMember LegendaryPosts: 22,692

    I suppose it depends on the game.

    Though I've dabbled in the main storyline for LOTRO, I have backstories for all my characters and I pretty much ignore beingg "the hero" and instead I'm just a bloke who drops in and out of the main adventure while I travel middle earth seeking closure to my own agenda.

    I also have a female warden who is a bit fo a hippy. Or valkerie wannabe I can't quite decide.

    that's all I've got.




  • KenFisherKenFisher Northwest, INMember UncommonPosts: 5,035

    Originally posted by lizardbones



    I have no idea how any existing games have avoided the 'hero' storyline. I'm pretty sure none of the games that have end game raiding avoid it.


    That's an interesting point.  Eventually endgame can come down to "hero" vs. "boss bad guy".

     

    THX!


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCMember UncommonPosts: 6,591

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

    We've all seen application of single player RPG themes where the character is pushed through a storyline that leads them to eventually defeat the ultimate bad guy.  For me I find that somewhat silly in an MMORPG environment.  It just feels odd with thousands of players running around and each is "the one" who needs to banish evil in the world.
     
    Feel free to pick any or all of the following:
     
    Should "the hero" storyline be avoided?
    Is it impossible to avoid "the hero" storyline and still be a themepark game?
    How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?
    How have other games addressed avoiding "the hero" storyline?
    Have other games that ovoided "the hero" storyline done a good job at setting up an alternative?

    No you are confused. Players are only heroes in the sence, that (In Warcraft Lore terms) a person like Uther the Lightbringer was a hero during the second war. that doesnt mean he soloed everything. It just means, leaders get most of the credit.

     

    How this apply to us, our Characters are (Adventures), this is a large group of similar minded lore characters in a single group. But you are the leader of this band of Adventures, which is why you get most of the credit (again back to the example of Uther in Warcraft lore)

     

    Just because from the game screen you see your character as only a single being, doesnt mean its like that from a lore point of view. Most likely from a lore point of view (using Warcraft and WoW again), the World is not to scale with the lore. So for each players there is, there could be 40+ Units for that single player (Just not in a RTS format)

     

    ahhh,, a better way to look at what I am trying to say, is that in WoW, you would be a HERO UNIT, but in WC3 Hero units bring other units to fight with them, even if they dont get credit in lore as the hero. They are still always there with the Hero.

     

    Same thing in WoW(or the MMO), you are the Hero Unit, but your other units arent displayed. they are simply there with you from a lore point of view, not gameplay. Thats why you are the hero. doesnt mean others arent there fighting along side you,,, its just that the leaders often take the credit for the heroism

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  • rpgalonrpgalon canilMember Posts: 430

    the devs of the secret world have already stated many times that you are not a hero, you are just a soldier/agent of your secret society that has just discovered that the world is bigger than you knew...

    I only know some tidbits about the story in the game because of the ARGs, how they are going to tell you that you are just a new toy of the secret society, I don't know yet.

  • GreenzorGreenzor otilioMember Posts: 165

    In MMO games, developers want the content they deliver to be experienced by as many players as possible which clashes with the exclusivity inherent to the epic-ness. All they need to solve this issue is to build the illusion of exclusivity. It's like the story of the tree in the wood. If it falls and there's noone, does it makes any sound? Everyone can have the illusion of being the one since the story driven dialogue takes place privately. It's the easy way of deliver epic-ness.

     


     
  • KenFisherKenFisher Northwest, INMember UncommonPosts: 5,035

    Originally posted by Greenzor

    In MMO games, developers want the content they deliver to be experienced by as many players as possible which clashes with the exclusivity inherent to the epic-ness. All they need to solve this issue is to build the illusion of exclusivity. It's like the story of the tree in the wood. If it falls and there's noone, does it makes any sound? Everyone can have the illusion of being the one since the story driven dialogue takes place privately. It's the easy way of deliver epic-ness.
     

     

    The isolation of instancing.  Very interesting observation.  I have to think that one over.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
  • CaldenforCaldenfor Meredith, NHMember Posts: 133

    Provide a world where the players can create their own fame and play their own story rather than putting them through one.

     

    P.S. Don't think of this in terms of Sandbox or Themepark. Those are bad words. Provide a means for players to find a role and to play it.

  • pharazonicpharazonic LDNMember Posts: 860

    Good writing has a huge part in avoiding this.

     

    I've felt often instead of being so specific, the quest texts should allude to other adventurers or soldiers, or heroes. This concept is very well done in EVE. As the lady in the video says, "You are a demigod, but you are not alone".


    • WoW has become much better in this as well but in Cataclysm, the story driven cutscenes made the concept regress.

    • RIFT that way is also fairly good - you are ONE Ascended. There are many more Ascended besides you. Although the quest texts ought to have made it a little more clearer that yes, other Ascended returned as well.

    • In Aion, even though the main story is fraught with the concept of the "ONE", it's nice to see that you are not the only Daeva character.

    •  

    Ultimately, sandbox games will always have the upper hand on this point. However, just because a game is a themepark does not mean they will fall victim to the inane concept of the sole saviour of the world (who is YOU!)

    I'll go back to Aion: Maybe make a various set of quests and stories to allow the character to be an amnesiac, a newly ascended Daeva, or a young Daeva born in Sanctum/Pandemonium instead of having one story of the "one great Daeva".

    "Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference."

    I need to take this advice more.

  • cali59cali59 B, NYMember Posts: 1,634

    Guild Wars 2 has three main areas of PVE content and I think they each address this issue in different ways.

    First, there's the dungeon story mode (this is separate from the personal story).  For each of the 8 dungeons, there's a story mode you have to do first which deals with trying to put Destiny's Edge (a disbanded group of heroes) back together.  I think this is great because on some level, you'll never be the most important hero in the game.  It's slightly more believable to have every player in the game be the 6th most important person in the world instead of the 1st.

    Second, there's the personal story mode.  Because it's instanced, solo and has branching consequences, it does give the single player RPG feel.  The whole game is based around the idea of banding together to fight these enormous elder dragons.  I don't even know that you're presented as being "the one" as much as just someone who wants to help.  Nobody is going to beat these things alone, and part of your story includes joining one of three organizations who are trying to stop them in different ways.

    Third, there's dynamic events.  To me these are great because they're not like a quest where the NPC might be telling you you're the only one who can save the world.  They're things that are happening nearby and you (and every other player in the area) are just people in the right place at the right time to answer the call for help.  The events in the rest of the world are running all the time without you, this is just one small area where you can make a difference.

    "Gamers will no longer buy the argument that every MMO requires a subscription fee to offset server and bandwidth costs. It's not true – you know it, and they know it." -Jeff Strain, co-founder of ArenaNet, 2007

  • SulaaSulaa nMember UncommonPosts: 1,329

    Well problem is that mmorpg's nowadays don't create world's , they just create linear 'paths' and linear storylines. So until that changed I don't see a way to adress this problem.  Some games try to do just separate player's with instancing as much content as possible but that does not work really good as well - considering big drawbacks of this way.

     

    So until a game make a game world more interesting , make many interesting activities to do in the world and not only running instances to death and gives a players bit of freedom and not linear progress with "completing zones" then non-hero roles will not be attractive.

    Simple give create a game where playing 'good figher' , 'famous blacksmith' or 'skilled mage' is interesting then people will not feel need that they have to be demi-gods killing dragons with their farts.

    But many mmorpg's are very limited on what player can actually do (repeat instances/raids and bg) so that is not viable.

  • GreenzorGreenzor otilioMember Posts: 165

    Originally posted by Sulaa

    Well problem is that mmorpg's nowadays don't create world's , they just create linear 'paths' and linear storylines. So until that changed I don't see a way to adress this problem.  Some games try to do just separate player's with instancing as much content as possible but that does not work really good as well - considering big drawbacks of this way.
     
    So until a game make a game world more interesting , make many interesting activities to do in the world and not only running instances to death and gives a players bit of freedom and not linear progress with "completing zones" then non-hero roles will not be attractive.
    Simple give create a game where playing 'good figher' , 'famous blacksmith' or 'skilled mage' is interesting then people will not feel need that they have to be demi-gods killing dragons with their farts.
    But many mmorpg's are very limited on what player can actually do (repeat instances/raids and bg) so that is not viable.

    I totally agree. Game studios are stuck in old standards. Story driven games are neglecting the potential of the Massive and Rol Playing component of their MMO games leading to the creation of Single Player Worlds seasoned with side mini-games to exploit the interaction between players both in pvp and in pve.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILMember Posts: 6,403

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG
    How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?

     

    Replace it with Trophies.  And yes, I'm serious.

    Pile on the achievements, the "best" gear (and next month's "best gear"), rankings and ratings, prestige items and mounts; anything that lets Bob's character look down his nose at Jim's character and sneer.

    You replace the hero line with the bragging rights line, but it works out exactly the same--without mucking up the lore.  The more trophies, the better.

    MMOs loading up on the status symbols is extraordinarily effective.  Jim's motivated to keep up with the Joneses; Bob's motivated to stay on top in the e-status race.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • TorikTorik London, ONMember UncommonPosts: 2,342

    Originally posted by Icewhite


    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG
    How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?

     

    Replace it with Trophies.  And yes, I'm serious.

    Pile on the achievements, the "best" gear (and next month's "best gear"), rankings and ratings, prestige items and mounts; anything that lets Bob's character look down his nose at Jim's character and sneer.

    You replace the hero line with the bragging rights line, but it works out exactly the same--without mucking up the lore.  The more trophies, the better.

    MMOs loading up on the status symbols is extraordinarily effective.  Jim's motivated to keep up with the Joneses; Bob's motivated to stay on top in the e-status race.

    I actually agree with this line of thinking.  The fact than an NPC tells you that you are a great hero, means nothing.  It is just a game so your 'heroism' is measured in what you have achieved.  It always baffles me why some players are so obsessed with being the 'hero' in the game.  They seem to feel insulted if a 'lesser' player gets access to the same content and is proclaimed the hero by the NPCs.  They seem too lazy to quntify their 'heroism' on a more discrete scale and instead just use an arbitrary system to classify themselves as 'heroes' and others as 'losers'.

    I am a firm adherant to the segregation of storyline and gameplay so to me the fact that there might be thousands of other 'heroes' running around doing the smae content never presents a problem.  I might be a hero inside the story but in actual gameplay I am only as 'heroic' as my actual skill and achievements.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAMember CommonPosts: 10,910


    Originally posted by Icewhite

    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG
    How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?
     
    Replace it with Trophies.  And yes, I'm serious.
    Pile on the achievements, the "best" gear (and next month's "best gear"), rankings and ratings, prestige items and mounts; anything that lets Bob's character look down his nose at Jim's character and sneer.
    You replace the hero line with the bragging rights line, but it works out exactly the same--without mucking up the lore.  The more trophies, the better.
    MMOs loading up on the status symbols is extraordinarily effective.  Jim's motivated to keep up with the Joneses; Bob's motivated to stay on top in the e-status race.



    Don't MMO's already do this for the most part? You're not challenging the monsters to end their menace, you're doing it to get gear.

    Something else that doesn't exist in hero driven games is the consequences of failure. I'm not talking about death penalties but things that happen in the game world. If you fail to stop the flaming zombies, then the town burns down. The town will rebuild of course, but they might not have all their supplies. The flaming zombies will either move on to another town (or forest or mushroom patch).

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • KenFisherKenFisher Northwest, INMember UncommonPosts: 5,035

    Originally posted by Icewhite


    Originally posted by ActionMMORPG
    How can "the hero" storyline be avoided?

     

    Replace it with Trophies.  And yes, I'm serious.

    Pile on the achievements, the "best" gear (and next month's "best gear"), rankings and ratings, prestige items and mounts; anything that lets Bob's character look down his nose at Jim's character and sneer.

    You replace the hero line with the bragging rights line, but it works out exactly the same--without mucking up the lore.  The more trophies, the better.

    MMOs loading up on the status symbols is extraordinarily effective.  Jim's motivated to keep up with the Joneses; Bob's motivated to stay on top in the e-status race.

    I  * LIKE * this.  Something to do, a reason to do it, and it really has nothing to do with being "the one".

    If nothing else, it's a strong improvment over simple grind for XP.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  When I don't understand, I ask.  Such is not intended as criticism.
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