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[Column] Neverwinter: Our Story or My Story?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,606MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

One of the features that many players look for in any MMO is the story behind it all, the motivation for being heroic. With Neverwinter, however, the story of the whole seems to take a backseat to the story of one. Find out why we think so and then join the conversation in the comments.

Enter Neverwinter, a game that is based on D&D rules. The roles from which players will choose are not delineated in as simplistic a form as World of Warcraft, Rift or any other game with multiple factions that battle one another as well as growing darkness. D&D does not seem to, by its very nature, force players to choose one group or side over another. There are good and evil character choices to be made within any given race or class as opposed to choosing a representative faction that embodies a multiplicity of different races, all racing to the same goal. 

Read more of Suzie Ford's Neverwinter: Our Story or My Story?

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • DietheDiethe MarikinaPosts: 1Member

    Try to never just say, "My character isn't interested in that adventure." A lot of people mistake this for good roleplaying, because you are asserting your character's personality. Wrong. Good roleplaying should never bring the game to a screeching halt. One of your jobs as a player is to come up with a reason why your character would be interested in a plot. After all, your personality is entirely in your hands, not the DM's. Come up with a reason why the adventure (or the reward) might appeal to you, no matter how esoteric or roundabout the reasoning.

     

    (Source: http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html)

     

    As an RPer I'm sourcing this because it pretty much fits the discussion of Neverwinter's 'storyline', being thrust into D&D game and 'playing your character's role', per se. It applies very much to being in the world of Neverwinter. It isn't much about being part of an overarching storyline of being the hero and saving the world for king and country or for justice or freedom or whatever cheesy crusade good guys always have.

     

    Being in a D&D Game in essense, is being in YOUR story, thrown in different situations and different reasons for being there. You may be that thief who helps people out for gold, offering your services at the same time indirectly helping rebuild Neverwinter. You may be that high-strung 'smite thee' cleric who always helps out the downtrodden at the same time exasperating his glories like a big e-peen. The adventure moves on. You just get thrown in there for different motivations and agenda depending on your character. AND, with the Foundry in the mix, who knows what kinds of silly, evil or even genocidal paths and adventures your characters can go on on the sidelines?

     
  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    if there was no foundry, the story would be far far more important. With the foundry however, a lack of constricting story is far more important.

    Imagine being locked into a deep story that segregates players and then giving everyone the tools to totally wreck it!

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • RaventreeRaventree Yourtown, MNPosts: 456Member
    I'm less concerned about an overall story than I am that each adventure is interesting and fun and I have motivation to work towards a goal.  I find that in a lot of MMOs I run out of steam when it begins to feel like there is no point in working towards something. 

    Currently playing:
    Rift
    Played:
    SWToR, Aion,EQ, Dark Age of Camelot
    World of Warcraft, AoC

  • HighMarshalHighMarshal Huntsville, ALPosts: 287Member Uncommon
    If at any point of 'MY STORY" I get pushed aside by a Trehearne type of character, I swear to the gods that I will hurt someone!
  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    @Diethe: it's a lot easier to rationalize a character's actions in a storyless game than within a story where my paladin is forced to torture a prisoner for information.

    My pet peeve with the whole themepark model of MMOs is that I'm given a character to control  yet I'm a passive and helpless observer to the story - my roleplaying becomes *only* rationalizing why I'm doing the things I'm told to do.  

    I realize some people like the sort of graphic novel feel to a static story, but to me it always feels like the writers are the only people who are actually geting to play the game, I'm just following in their footsteps.

     
     
  • artemisentr4artemisentr4 fresno, CAPosts: 1,431Member Uncommon

    IMO the story is based around the 4 books from R A Salvatore. Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, Charon's Claw and The Last Threshold. We even see Valindra Shadowmantle during the tutorial. But it will be just a background and the stories will be more about the city and helping out.

    If the Foundry takes off as it could. Then it won't matter that much, because you can play through these campains created by other players as much as you want for XP and on level drops and rewards.

    Reading the books will give you the story of what has happend and the current set up for the game world. It should make things a bit more immersive because you know what is going on. We will have to wait and see if they actually do add in a "hero" type of story or not for us to follow. Or stick with the player helping out because the story is unfolding regardless of the players actions.

    “How many people long for that "past, simpler, and better world," I wonder, without ever recognizing the truth that perhaps it was they who were simpler and better, and not the world about them?”
    R.A.Salvatore

  • azzamasinazzamasin Butler, OHPosts: 3,066Member Uncommon

    Although I am not adverse to a good story in a game I am also not opposed to its exclusion either.  My favorite MMO of all time (Asheron's Call) follows a story arch that plays out over the monthly content updates but I also love the fact that most MMO's you are just a player and it is your choice to make and if you want to create a story.

     

    Now I can already tell you my main in NWO at release will be a Drow Great Weapon Fighter and I will play him as a Chaotic Good alighnment like I do all my character (coincidently its my true alignment in real life as well).  I love the fact that D&D has always been about chosing and forging your own destiny and NWO appears to be no different.  I like the fact theres no real story in the game because most story driven MMO's fail to deliver something everyone wants.  Right now in this stage of the MMO lifespan its nice to get away from story driven content.

     

    Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

    Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

    Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!

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  • McGamerMcGamer Fairfield Bay, ARPosts: 1,012Member
    I like how Neverwinter leaves it up to the players to create their own stories. Especially since that will weed out a lot of impatient gamers who want their hand held and shove their character in a linear progression grind. Neverwinter is more of a sandbox in this way which I enjoy.
  • Effin_RabbitEffin_Rabbit Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 773Member Uncommon
    I rather enjoy experiencing the worlds story lines and with that creating my own along the way and becoming a part of that game world. I dont like being the epic-master-hero having everything revolve around my super-avatar, that build just doesnt work with the mmo genre for me.
  • evilastroevilastro EdinburghPosts: 4,270Member
    I think we have had enough story driven MMOs of late. I would prefer that stuff gets left to single player games where it actually makes a difference.  I think more time should be spent focusing on the social elements in MMOs.
  • Shana77Shana77 UtrechtPosts: 207Member
    I just hope that we will get enough tools to create our own stories, that will be far more exciting!
  • AerowynAerowyn BUZZARDS BAY, MAPosts: 7,928Member
    Originally posted by evilastro
    I think we have had enough story driven MMOs of late. I would prefer that stuff gets left to single player games where it actually makes a difference.  I think more time should be spent focusing on the social elements in MMOs.

    i don't mind if a MMO story is there but optional but i agree i don't think story should be the big selling point of any MMO as its the quickest content to burn through generally has little replayability and takes way to long to produce(especially if voiced) and is generally solo oriented... 

    I angered the clerk in a clothing shop today. She asked me what size I was and I said actual, because I am not to scale. I like vending machines 'cause snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at a store, oftentimes, I will drop it... so that it achieves its maximum flavor potential. --Mitch Hedberg

  • jedensuscgjedensuscg Kodiak, AKPosts: 209Member

    The story in Neverwnter is there, both as an overarching theme (the rebuilding of Neverwinter) as well as many story driven quest lines you will undertake.  The main theme permeates many of the games quests and smaller stories. But it is not some main plot that everyone is trying to succeed in, where "you are the only hero that can defeat this evil guy" when you clearly see 10 people behind you wearing an item from said boss.

    What the story in Neverwinter does do however, and is the reason it needs to be there in some form, is it give some guidance and inspiration to Foundry users to create content. Sure you can create anything you want really, make your own story, but having an anchor point in which to base your story around helps alot of people who might otherwise stumble with finding a starting point for their own Foundry story.

    Any more story, and it would feel like you were locked into a set path, and as someone mentioned above, it would be to easy for people to create severely conflicting Foundry quests and just ruin immersion.  However, any less story, and their would be no anchor for Foundry quests to draw from, and again, would lead to many awkard and conflicting themes going on.  Having the story they do have in Neverwinter sets both a timeline, some political elements, and other themes up so that Foundry creators can be "on the same page" if they choose to wrap in current events into their own quests.

    However, as I said, you can still go and create a completely unique setting and story for your quest, but I feel that if you tie in by some small way to what the players are experience in the official content, it will further draw them in.  Even if it is just references or items that hint at current events.  Just going off on a complete tangent, ignoring everything that is happening in Neverwinter and its surrounding lands, draws players out of the game and alienates them and confuses them.

    The key to a good Foundry story, in my opinion, is one that is not only your own creation, but can be sublety put into the the game in a way that it feels believable, like it was always their, a part of Neverwinter all along just waiting to be told, and not some abstract story that does not feel like it should be apart of the world.

     

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  • ashmadaiashmadai Suffern, NYPosts: 1Member

    Having played both Swtor to "completion" on many levels upon release ( War hero rank, max crafting , full Rakata gear etc.) and then moved to GW2 and also "completed" that game too with my 5th lvl 80, 6 full dungeon token armor sets, and Bolt for a sword, I will say both of those stories were wonderful at times as well as complex when needed. However compeling these stories were, i have left them behind now kind of like a good book. What to do now though ? I would rather Neverwinter save the storytelling for the Dm's that craft foundary content, and have in place great gaming systems (aka fun compelling gameplay , and various systems like crafting , companions, pets etc ) than a story I will most likely forget because i stop playing a game. Perhaps I am old school in this sense I dont look to video games to tell me a good story i watch film and read books when i get that twinge. 

    I played the first Neverwinter Beta and all i can say is the combat was lovely and visceral , the activecomponent of the  combat refreshing (even coming to this strait from GW2) . What I have seen cements the idea that Neverwinter will please many.

     
  • TolrocTolroc Wendell, NCPosts: 99Member Uncommon
    Suzie, I wrote a post on the official forums expressing the same sentimens as your article, but it was not as well written. The idea of my character coming to Neverwinter seeking adventure and taking on quests that seems fun and profitable fits more with D & D than having a strong overarching story.
  • comradebabyloncomradebabylon SingaporePosts: 7Member

    If Star Trek Online is any indication, the moment the monetization sets in the Foundry will be broken by grinders, clickies, afk companion quests, while anything with resemblance to story gets downrated and pushed out of the way.

    Eventually the authors will tire. Or maybe form a group to lobby the devs to do something to fix the Foundry. And the devs will, leading to the people who wanted to do nothing but grind calling the Foundry authors some kind of shadow cabal and go into a running ratings war.

    There will be no honor in this war.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,743Member Uncommon
    From what I read today it sounds like Neverwinter is heavily aimed towards the MMO crowd and not as much toward the D&D crowd.....To me that is disappointing as I see D&D type as mroe of a game amd MMO as more entertainment and less challenge.
  • AG-VukAG-Vuk Phoenix, AZPosts: 823Member Uncommon
    If the prior two releases from Cryptic are any indication. Expect a just enough content for a casual player to spend two weeks on. A weeks worth of content will be grindy crap. So it'll total about three weeks worth of content for the " casual " player. I say casual player, because that will be the key wording in Cryptic's defense of their game design and lack of content. "We make games for the casual player " will be the refrain. They will depend on the foundry to be the content filler. Unfortunately it suffers from all the problems it did in CoX. Good luck with this game.

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  • HeroEvermoreHeroEvermore salem, ORPosts: 672Member
    I thought this game was NOT using the DnD ruleset when it came to the numbers in combat....now im just confused.

    Hero Evermore
    Guild Master of Dragonspine since 1982.
    Playing Path of Exile and deeply in love with it.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,762Member Uncommon

    "One of the features that many players look for in any MMO is the story behind it all, the motivation for being heroic."

    Maybe many or even most posters on MMORPG.com do, but in the player base of one of todays easy MMO's? Lore is a dying art, often no more than sketched out with a couple pencil strokes in modern MMO's.

    The fact that NW is doing more lore should be celebrated.

  • itgrowlsitgrowls newport news, VAPosts: 2,951Member
    Originally posted by HeroEvermore
    I thought this game was NOT using the DnD ruleset when it came to the numbers in combat....now im just confused.

    It is it's using 4E and some people hate that ruleset but it's definitively D&D and controlled by WotC make no mistake 

    OP I like more open ended games, for example, in STO in order to fight the borg klingons temporarily will join federation players to battle a common foe.

    It makes things easier and more interesting.

     
  • WickedjellyWickedjelly Yahoo, COPosts: 4,990Member

    I wouldn't min an on going storyline like the one D&D did with some of its module sets. Combining an arc through the slaver modules, giants modules, Temple of Elemental Evil, etc. was actually kind of cool. But that was one available storyline amongst god knows how many others.

    I would rather there be smaller story lines with the possibility of npcs, nemesis, etc. maybe becoming pertinent later on in other story lines or avenues.

    Would be cool to have both some serial and procedural story elements to a degree. Kind of like a Person of Interest story format done D&D style :P

    An ongoing story arc can add depth and meaning to a game as long as the game doesn't rely on that being their main draw and plan on that being the sole focus for players. Least no in the land of mmos far as I'm concerned.

    1. For god's sake mmo gamers, enough with the analogies. They're unnecessary and your comparisons are terrible, dissimilar, and illogical.

    2. To posters feeling the need to state how f2p really isn't f2p: Players understand the concept. You aren't privy to some secret the rest are missing. You're embarrassing yourself.

    3. Yes, Cpt. Obvious, we're not industry experts. Now run along and let the big people use the forums for their purpose.

  • gilgamesh9gilgamesh9 austin, TXPosts: 133Member
    Originally posted by comradebabylon

    If Star Trek Online is any indication, the moment the monetization sets in the Foundry will be broken by grinders, clickies, afk companion quests, while anything with resemblance to story gets downrated and pushed out of the way.

    Eventually the authors will tire. Or maybe form a group to lobby the devs to do something to fix the Foundry. And the devs will, leading to the people who wanted to do nothing but grind calling the Foundry authors some kind of shadow cabal and go into a running ratings war.

    There will be no honor in this war.

    That's what player generated content is for... fixing the crap parts of the game.  If the grind/economy is broken then of course player fixes will dominate.  If that pressure isn't there, then the foundry will remain full of overimportant primadonnas who think their wretched fanfic should be worshipped.

  • gillrmngillrmn ArnhemPosts: 250Member

    There is an amazing storyline. This game is canon so if you already know NW story like me, the game would be half exciting to you.

     

    Let me say there are a lot of events preceding and after the game already known to us. Specifics of story are not known but most events surrounding it are. If the game were made in one second after this post without it existing before, I would already know the fate of Rohini and what she did etc. I would already know many other things like Shards of Selune and what the Shadowhall is doing up in the sky and from whence it came. I would already know why Neverember came to Neverwinter and what is his hidden agenda. I would already know about stuff about General Sabine, about Neverdeath, about why drows and dragonborn are accepted, about where the slaves from North end up, about the Genasi and their elemental lords, about what will happen in Gauntylgyrm etc.

     

    So trust me, look into the storyline after playing through game. The story will be excellent - both game's indiviual story and the canonical campaign story. And very very deep too.

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