Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

The Importance of Story and Lore in the MMORPG

ConsuetudoConsuetudo Member UncommonPosts: 191
edited February 15 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
Story = The narrative your character experiences, either mandated by developers or created by you 
Lore = Background information about the game world that you do not personally experience but which gives flavor to your story

I do not believe that story should be important compared to lore, yet developers seem to disagree with me. From voiceovers to heavily instanced story missions etc, MMORPGs increasingly resemble single player games with their emphasis on "story-driven gameplay." 

I'm going through vanilla WoW again, and there is a story there, but it's completely optional and only matters if you want to pay attention. You can toggle slow quest text for example, but you can also have it appear instantly and not care. There is, however, tons of awesome lore that is all pervading.

I think at the heart of the MMO should be multiplayer gameplay and lore (not story). When I was younger, I was rather antisocial and played MMOs as if they were solo games, but they aren't. The experience is vastly more rewarding when you are social and encouraged to be social. I think that the focus on story takes away from the potential for player-created stories with friends. 
Post edited by Consuetudo on
pantarokjempffAlBQuirky
«13456789

Comments

  • AmatheAmathe Member EpicPosts: 3,665
    I enjoy the story when I play alone.

    But when grouped, more often then not the focus is on go go go, click through, click through, hurry hurry. There is no way to enjoy a story under those conditions.

    Every story in a group setting is the same. Group of people go into some enclosed space, hurried through, avoided colored circles and got loots. 
    SovrathcjmarshAlBQuirkyTsiya

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 11,259
    Amathe said:
    I enjoy the story when I play alone.

    But when grouped, more often then not the focus is on go go go, click through, click through, hurry hurry. There is no way to enjoy a story under those conditions.

    Every story in a group setting is the same. Group of people go into some enclosed space, hurried through, avoided colored circles and got loots. 
    That annoyed me to no end in SWTOR. There was a lot of pressure in group instances to click through cut scenes as fast as possible making you miss what story there was in there. I wished there had been at least a way of seeing all the cut scenes after the run.

    If you enjoy the stories what this did is made group content - which I agree that it is the purpose of MMORPGS - a pain in the butt making you feel like you were missing out on a lot of flavor and context. This more than anything else discouraged grouping.

    And yes, I want there to be well written deep context and lore told throughout the game. That to me feels a whole lot more enjoyable than "go kill 1000 things 'cause that's how you level." That's the difference between an MMORPG that feels like a world and one that feels like just a game that could be happening anywhere for any old gamey reason.
    cjmarshKyleranAlBQuirkyConstantineMerusSteelhelm
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • SubilacSubilac Member UncommonPosts: 47
    Every game I've played is click, click, click, ignore story. However, for me Runescape has the best quests of any game. Runescape's quests are no joke, and you have no choice but to get involved in the storyline. 
    KyleranAlBQuirky
  • sunandshadowsunandshadow Member RarePosts: 1,864
    I don't want to play an MMO without a good story.  That's just me though. >.>

    But seriously, without story, you can't have NPCs that are anything but robots.  Without story or NPCs you can't have any NPC cultures, history, non-human biology, or other lore.  Without all that your 'virtual world' is just a sandbox.  We have several sandboxes already, how different can a new one be when the only variance is the appearance of the plants and what exactly you can craft?
    AlBQuirky
    I want to help design and develop a PvE-focused, solo-friendly, sandpark MMO which combines crafting, monster hunting, and story.  So PM me if you are starting one.
  • cjmarshcjmarsh Member UncommonPosts: 299
    I think a part of the reason developers consider the story so important is because it contributes to the background and vibrancy of the world itself. Most might not care what the quest text says but a lot of players will enjoy seeing a story about a prominent NPC early in the leveling process, then following along with that NPC's story throughout, until finally seeing them in a piece of end-game content. This is something that takes relatively little development time but can really help tie the world together for the players that are interested in lore.

    The problem with moderns MMORPGs is that the story writing is generally pretty awful. Filled with tropes and cliches (which can sometimes work, don't get me wrong) the story in most MMOs often isn't worth reading, even if you're interested in storylines and deeper lore. When it becomes a chore, and is just something to skip through, it misses the point and reason for existing in the first place. I should also point out that we as gamers have come a long way as well and our standards for a good storyline have increased a lot since WoW.
    Leiloni
  • MendelMendel Member RarePosts: 2,428
    Story is difficult to put into an MMORPG in the first place.

    • Almost all MMORPGs build story into the quests, as you pointed out.  Since the quests are almost without exception built for individuals to complete, these tend to end up as single player quests that everyone can do, with pretty much an unlimited time limit and, many times, frequently repeatable.  Exactly how many lost cats does Mrs. Hemsworth have?
    • There could be group-oriented quests that require a complete group to accept.  Quests of this nature could implement a story as well.  That most games don't is somewhat of a mystery to me, as the current flavor of the upcoming games is 'group-oriented'.
    • A third possibility for introducing story into a game is through periodic events.  AC1 attempted to do this with monthly events.  I don't know that other games really attempted this.  It appeared to be a lot of work for the developers.
    • Another idea for story is the GM event.  Many games attempted these, but I'm not aware of any events that were satisfying for the majority of the players.  These too required a lot of work for the developers, and many games appeared to have no tools or mechanisms to support these efforts.
    • Finally, story comes to MMORPGs via expansions.  Each new expansion tells a new story of the world, with major events changing the world (sometimes drastically).  The actual story tends to be a non-participatory event that happens followed by a bunch of new single-player quests.
    I'd like to see a bit more mechanics above the single player mode, as that tends to encourage solo play.  Group-oriented quests are perhaps the most viable method to improve the game's story, but pretty much need to consider things such as concurrency (who has this quest), synchronization (who's on what step of the quest), duration (how long does the quest take), and frequency (lockout and/or initiation timers).  Something like LDoN missions from EQ1 are a good possibility that could be used for group-focused stories.

    The third and fourth require significant commitment from the developers, to develop tools or hire personnel to run the events fairly.  These have more promise, but I don't know of any company willing to take the steps necessary to enact these on a regular basis.  In my aborted game idea from 2002, I had wanted to build an RTS-like interface into the game (server-side) to allow staff to control creatures and script events in the game dynamically.

    I expect expansions will continue to be the mechanism to deliver the broad-sweeping stories to the game world, even if all the 'story' happens off-camera.  They are probably the easiest to monetize, and accommodates all business models.




    AlBQuirky

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • KnightFalzKnightFalz Member UncommonPosts: 491
    Grouping has never been at the heart of my MMORPG play,  and as time goes on I find my style of play to be increasingly more accommodated. I believe that in the future player choice of activity will be at the heart of MMORPGs, rather than mandatory grouping.
  • ikcinikcin Member RarePosts: 1,595
    edited February 13

    I do not think the MMORPG needs a story or NPCs. It needs good rules for multiplayer gameplay, and immersive lore for the RPG part. And RPG does not mean solo playing. There are not many real MMORPGs actually. Probably will be created more some day, when the developers stop to copy and paste parts of old games. 

    Now the devs invest big efforts in the story and the solo quests, because they do not make MMOs. They make solo games with few multiplayer patches like dungeons and arenas. Even open worlds like BDO are structured as singleplayer games.

    Again, I will give as example the old L2. Still millions of players play it on private servers, so it is a proven game in time. It has a good lore, but actually does not have personal story and the quests are not important. This is the basis, the fundament of the real MMORPG. Sad in the past years there is nothing build on that foundation.

    In the multiplayer game the personal story is something you create, playing with the other players.


    Post edited by ikcin on
    deniterConsuetudoAlBQuirky
  • WizardryWizardry Member EpicPosts: 14,361
    Well i like a pre rendered story in a single player game,best i have ever seen was the story behind FFX,with Yuna and the clan.

    As to a mmorpg,i want the LORE and not so much a story to tell,the story should be our own that we develop by playing in the world with other real players.I don't want soooo much that it becomes a mess with LORE flying all over the place but a nice neat tidy package that holds true throughout the entire game.
    Example,i felt EQ2 lacked the story/Lore,yeah there is Antonia Bayle,there are many languages but i never once got the feeling i was part of any culture within the world.This is why linear questing is so bad,the entire focus becomes a player with blinkers on vee lining directly to each "?"over npc heads.

    On the flip side,in FFXI my fave game,the LORE was supported FOREVER,throughout the game.Example everyone is against the Beast hordes,even the Beastmaster class can't charm them ,everything except the Beastmen.The Beastmen reside all over the world,they have strongholds/castles and the game even uses an invasion by the Beastmen tribes onto cities that players defend and it is like that all over the game.

    So i want to see a noticeable LORE structure behind the races and the world.Quests should be for fame and fortune,to honor your realm and NOT to manufacture xp gains.Quests can support the fight against the enemy hordes and bring players together to fight them off.

    I also do not like developers that feel the need to tel me the story,if i can't see the LORE and the background inside of the game,you did a crap job with the game design.
    ConsuetudoAlBQuirky

    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member EpicPosts: 7,313
    One thing I didn't like about GW2 HoT & PoF, areas of the game blocked until you get to that part of the story.  I prefer the earlier GW2 when you could create a character and if you knew your way around or just wanted to explore you could go nearly anywhere, yes you got one shotted by high level mobs but it was fun and other players would help you out.  Same for ESO, just make a character and all the stories lines are a suggestion, you could just go off and do what you want.

    I do enjoy good stories in games.
    AlBQuirky
    “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”  ― Haruki Murakami
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 6,103
    I dont ever read quest text or lore...Too much time and its boring.
  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 1,805
    Story matters more in singleplayer game and with mmorpg trying to appeal more and more to singleplayer gamers devs have put more efforts in voice-over and instanced story missions. I don't believe those improvements made the game any worse, after all the good parts of swtor was those sections.

    The problem is the change to leveling with the removal of much of multiplayer content and make it more and more about soloing up to level cap. The quick and simple path to level cap is what "ruins" mmorpg.
    AlBQuirky
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member UncommonPosts: 679
    The cut theme in dungeons is really annoying.  You get people want to skip vs the people want to watch.

    I don't personaly care how story driven the content is.  I hope all content is segregated so people want to solo or people only want to group won't be forced to do it.
    AlBQuirky
  • ScotScot Member EpicPosts: 8,932
    Because of the pressure groups put on story it might be better to concentrate story on solo play, or give people a review option on all the story they have taken part in.
    KyleranAlBQuirky

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • KabulozoKabulozo Member UncommonPosts: 732
    edited February 13
    It is only important to set the world because i don't play a mmo for a cinematic story i have single player games for that.
    Post edited by Kabulozo on
    AlBQuirky
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,122
    I strongly dislike stories in my computer games, but I particularly dislike them in MMORPGs. 

    Suspension of disbelief - I am unable to do this with stories in computer games. The story might be really great, but it NEVER matches up with my actions as a player. Literally never. I have the story telling me one thing, but my actions are telling me something else. This results in a really jarring experience, it invalidates the story and just ends up wasting my time. I am unable to suspend my disbelief and enjoy two opposing things at the same time. 


    Poor Writing - I am a fairly prolific reader, probably read one book a week for pleasure and almost exclusively read fantasy and sci-fi. Due to this, I cannot accept the poor writing that you get in computer games. It's just really awful guys. SW:TOR is often praised for it's stories, but seriously?! They sucked! The overwhelming majority were just really basic and generic, I just cannot understand how people thought they were good?!


    Time Distortion - The passage of time in a story almost never matches the passage of time in game. The story will be telling me that one thing follows another, but in reality I just spent 3 hours exploring those hills, or farming that dungeon. This is made particularly worse in MMOs where the game world is persistent and thus time is always passing, but the story stays static and time only moves inside the story when I'm actively engaging with the story. 


    Clash With Multiplayer - stories do not work in a multiplayer environment. Stories are told in a linear fashion (questing), so in a multiplayer environment I can only participate in the story with my friends if they are at the exact same point as me. This segregates the community into tiny chunks, preventing multiplayer from happening. Then there is the clash in actions - the story being told is usually personal, making you the hero or asking you to do specific tasks, yet as soon as I discuss such things with other players you realise you aren't the hero, everyone is, therefore nobody is. Story and multiplayer just never works out well. 




    Despite my strong dislike for stories in computer games, I'm not completely against them. My preference in an MMORPG is to use strong lore to setup the context of the world. For example, putting in lore to explain the sith and the jedi, as well as republic and empire, and giving a strong background for the conflicts is great. But, let us then live that conflict through our own actions, rather than have the conflict dictated to us through cutscenes and poorly written quests. 

    If you do want to have actual stories, rather than background lore, my first requirement is to remove all XP from the quests. I think unlinking story and progression is vital. That way, those participating in the story are definitely there for the story, and not because they've been forced there. Second, it makes the story more accessible to a wider range of people, so grouping up and playing the story with friends is easier. Finally, it means the writers don't have to write 1000 generic stories for quests, they can instead focus on creating just 10 great quest chains with engaging stories. 
    KyleranConsuetudoCryomatrixkjempffAlBQuirkySteelhelm
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 9,083
    Your characters story coupled with the world narrative is the foundation of what makes it a RPG...
    Now that doesn’t mean it has to be canned voiceovers or quest givers with question marks. Player developed story is just fine... 

    But their needs to be a purpose... a backdrop to your activity.  Otherwise you can just play one of those idle adventures games.
    ScotKylerandeniterOctagon7711AlBQuirky

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

  • ScotScot Member EpicPosts: 8,932
    Another thing you could do is just have start and end videos or only one of those. I remember in SWTOR you had videos in the middle of the quest.

    Also how about being able to play the video as soon as you pick up the quest? Eventually you all get together to do the quest but even have all seen it by the time you are ready to start.

     25 Agrees

    You received 25 Agrees. You're posting some good content. Great!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Now Doesn't That Make You Feel All Warm And Fuzzy Inside? :P

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 29,690
    Your characters story coupled with the world narrative is the foundation of what makes it a RPG...
    Now that doesn’t mean it has to be canned voiceovers or quest givers with question marks. Player developed story is just fine... 

    But their needs to be a purpose... a backdrop to your activity.  Otherwise you can just play one of those idle adventures games.
    EVE does an excellent job of this, creating a lore filled universe as a backdrop for interesting  player stories to evolve around. 
    AlBQuirkySteelhelm

    Ten types of internet trolls - Which one are you?

    "I need to finish" - Christian Wolff: The Accountant

    Just trying to live long enough to play a new, released MMORPG, back in EVE until then

    Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

    Don't just play games, inhabit virtual worlds™

    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon





  • deniterdeniter Member RarePosts: 1,225
    Story is important but it has to be told correctly. Voice-overed solo quests and personal instanced quest rooms don't belong to MMORPG.
    AlBQuirky
  • cjmarshcjmarsh Member UncommonPosts: 299
    Scot said:
    Another thing you could do is just have start and end videos or only one of those. I remember in SWTOR you had videos in the middle of the quest.

    Also how about being able to play the video as soon as you pick up the quest? Eventually you all get together to do the quest but even have all seen it by the time you are ready to start.
    SWTOR often has cutscenes in the middle of Flashpoints (dungeons) and what not so it would be tough to just queue them up before-hand and get them over with.

    I think the best kind of story is a subtle one. The movie playing a fake advertisement on the wall describing a little about what the universe is like or the collect-able piece of lore hidden in a nook or cranny with an intriguing and unexpected tale from an individual's perspective. Those kinds of things add up to a whole lot of atmosphere in my experience.
  • FonclFoncl Member UncommonPosts: 296
    I would say a good background story about the world you play in can add a lot to a MMORPG. Explaining things such as why the world is the way it is and how different factions view each other based on past interactions helps create an atmosphere in the game. The Warhammer universe has a great background story about the factions and races for example, which definitely can have an impact on which classes people choose to play and add incentives to do things you wouldn't otherwise do.

    I like a good background story to set the 'tone' for the game world but after that it should be up to the players to create their own story in a MMORPG imo. I don't enjoy forced, scripted story and voice-overs interrupting gameplay.
    AlBQuirky
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,564
    The story can hurt an MMORPG a lot IMO because it detracts from people interacting with one another unless they specifically go out of their way to do so.  It's really easy for people to explore and group up with a game that doesn't use quests much.  That is not the case for games with quests as it's rare quest are made for multiple people.  Even if they are it's still that feeling of everyone doing the exact same thing in the game and having the exact same experience.  

    I love story for single player games.
    ConsuetudoAlBQuirky
  • ConsuetudoConsuetudo Member UncommonPosts: 191
    ikcin said:

    I do not think the MMORPG needs a story or NPCs. It needs good rules for multiplayer gameplay, and immersive lore for the RPG part. And RPG does not mean solo playing. There are not many real MMORPGs actually. Probably will be created more some day, when the developers stop to copy and paste parts of old games. 

    Now the devs invest big efforts in the story and the solo quests, because they do not make MMOs. They make solo games with few multiplayer patches like dungeons and arenas. Even open worlds like BDO are structured as singleplayer games.

    Again, I will give as example the old L2. Still millions of players play it on private servers, so it is a proven game in time. It has a good lore, but actually does not have personal story and the quests are not important. This is the basis, the fundament of the real MMORPG. Sad in the past years there is nothing build on that foundation.

    In the multiplayer game the personal story is something you create, playing with the other players.


    You get it.
  • blorpykinsblorpykins Member RarePosts: 445
    I don't like it when the story is contrary to being in the MMO part of the MMORPG.  If I'm roleplaying a MMO, then I expect to be part of the MMO story.  When the game has a single player story inside a MMO it feels wrong.  This is what I don't like.

    If I can become a unique part of the world story through gameplay and story arcs allow me to integrate my role into the MMO, then I like it.
    ConsuetudoAlBQuirky
Sign In or Register to comment.