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An MMO Does Not Need a Good Story

donjndonjn Member UncommonPosts: 816
Remember when Star Wars The Old Republic first came out? You were excited and ready to tackle your first instance with a group. Half way through the instance there is a cut scene with dialogs and because its your first time you want to hear it all but of course the people who you were doing this with skip it and are pissed that you are holding the group up? Or how about how in an MMO you are told over and over that you are "the special one" like in Word of Warcraft's Legion or in Elder Scrolls Online? Yes you are "the one" along with a million plus other souls.

Today I would like to make an argument that MMOs do not need a good story, or any story really. I think a good story should be reserved for a single player game. I will gladly take a great "world" over a great "story" any day of the week.

Think back to the days of Ultima Online. It was a world. It was a living, breathing world. The world was the story. The same held true for vanilla World of Warcraft. You are just another character along with many others, setting out into the world for good cause or bad, living off the land. Some zones had small stories, but there was not (nor did there need to be) this large, overarching story.

When did MMOs become more about the story? I am thinking this started happening sometime between 2007-2008. Right about the time Lord of the Rings Online came out and right before Wrath of the Lich King came out. I think MMO fans started asking for more lore and more story. Ten years later and look what we have. In WoW we have millions of players running around with the Ashbringer.

I say give me an amazing world with good gameplay. The story should be secondary in an MMO.
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Comments

  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,244
    Depends on the game to be honest. Some types of games are better served with a solid story line. Or at least a good story in a quest. Like Heritage quests. 
    Some games are meant for you to create a story line of your own. 
    Really just depends on what you are looking for in a game. 
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  • donjndonjn Member UncommonPosts: 816
    Depends on the game to be honest. Some types of games are better served with a solid story line. Or at least a good story in a quest. Like Heritage quests. 
    Some games are meant for you to create a story line of your own. 
    Really just depends on what you are looking for in a game. 
    Yeah i thought about this after I wrote it. An MMO sandbox for example needs no story at all.
    blueturtle13
  • 45074507 Member UncommonPosts: 351
    The world should have a good story, but IMO a single player story is completely unnecessary for an MMO.
    delete5230AlBQuirky
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 2,736
    Sandbox MMOs should do lore in the fact the world has a backstory. You run around the world, pick up books, and they teach you about the events leading up to the game. If you want to get REALLY fancy you can even have some the major war between players etc. adopted into the official game lore and populate the world with books and references to them.

    But a sandbox should have no overarching narrative beyond the ones the players create themselves.
  • jerkbeastjerkbeast Member UncommonPosts: 253
    I think there needs to be a story, but not one where you are the central character because I agree....me turning in a quest, and being told I'm the only way they survived....and then someone else doing the same thing is silly. I think a system where there is a story like....a war is going on, and you're just a cog in the war machine as opposed to the engine makes sense. I think there has to be some story just for the sake of motivation. 

    I also think players should be able to set up a quest giver with basic quests.....like when you're higher level, and you want to gather materials you should be able to set up an NPC with a quest offering gold or (if you're a smith) an item as a reward. You could limit the number of times the quest could be completed a day, or an hour based on how much you're willing to spend. There would eventually organically be an area where people put their quest givers, and people would go there for things to do. (yeah that was a bit off topic sorry...just popped into my head)

    Basically I think there should be a basic story, and then players can add to the story if they want, or just make random quests happen.



    donjn
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,412
    DMKano said:
    As a non-lore and non-story guy in MMOs - I agree 100%.

    I really enjoy stories in single player games - because as an only player being treated by NPCs in a singular fashion - it makes sense.

    Being treated like I am the only player who exists in MMOs by NPCs - this really bothers me, like dude I just killed the goblin king, and retrieved your armor - and you are telling the guy standing next to me to do the same damn thing? 

    Hello?

    Yeah MMO NPC interactions and stories are a damn joke - since everything respawns, you can't make any mark on the game world because it would ruin it for "other players" - so everything is meaningless - the stories are junk since nothing matters - it all resets and respawns and it's a big circle jerk.

    So yeah - I don't need any story in MMOs.


    While I have no problem with being treated like I'm the only player (as that is what is intended) I will agree that mmorpg's don't require "story".

    I do like the idea of lore and why the world is the way it is but there is a show don't tell rule for good writing and I think that should be applied to video games as well.


    AlBQuirkyRobsolf
  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,179
    In my first mmo, Everquest, I knew there were some story elements out there somewhere. I just never cared what they were. I was more interested in surviving, leveling, and upgrading my items. That took all my time, to the point that I completed my original epic without ever even knowing what that story was. I was also in a half dozen ring wars and all I knew was that dwarves and giants dislike one another. 

    So I get where the OP is coming from. But as the years have passed, there have been games where the story really made the game. The Secret World has fantastic stories. SWTOR has good stories, but you are right that other people kind of screw up your enjoyment of them. WoW has some good stories too. There are others. So I am not ready to kick stories entirely to the curb just yet. It's on a case by case basis.
    Tindale111cheyaneRobsolf

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  • SephirosoSephiroso Member RarePosts: 2,019
    Eldurian said:


    But a sandbox should have no overarching narrative beyond the ones the players create themselves.
    Not sure if i agree with this. Just because a sandbox mmo has some overarching narrative that the devs create doesn't mean it lessens the impact players have on the world. The name of the game in Sandbox has always been player choice. Which means players could choose not to participate in it, or sabotage those that do.

    Why can't the npcs have their own motivations/actions(via overarching narrative the devs push) just because its a sandbox? Why must the players be the ones to determine that alone?

    All that being said, i don't really see much of a difference between having a narrative being pushed in a themepark vs sandbox. Like, the narrative with the legion invading Azeroth in WoW. You could easily have the same narrative be pushed in a sandbox mmorpg. Legion invades sandbox mmorpg lands wanting to take it over. The difference is in players have a choice. They can band together to fight off the legion or they can join the legion and turn on their homeland.

    But just the fact that a overarching narrative exists? I don't see why it doesn't belong in sandbox's anymore than it does in themepark.
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  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 13,032
    If you remove story you remove lore, you might as well call them MMORPG's, you will have killed off what makes MMOs more than just Massive Multiplayer.

    Take Conan Exiles, not your typical questing MMO, they have hidden lore because it adds flavour and mystery. Otherwise the MMORPG becomes a blank canvass, with all the colour washed out of it.
    Torvalcheyane

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  • seldinseldin Member UncommonPosts: 189
    Even though I think a majority of the posts seem to be on the sandbox "no Story" camp, I seem to think that most players want a story.  I know that it seems that sandbox players seem to be a more active vocal group on the forums.  Seems to me that most of the mmos that have been able to survive over the years long term have been the themepark or at least have some kind of story.  The sandbox games that everyone keeps screaming about keep coming and going but the likes of WoW, eq, eq2, lotro, D&D, neverwinter, etc keep chugging along.  I think in this day and age if you don't have some kind of story to keep a player engaged you just don't make it very long.  Heck, it has been awhile but I think even Eve has a "story".  I know I am stretching the word story a bit but the have missions and such and a background that you can read and do with the corporations and such.  Sadly everyone wants something a little different and there is just too many chooses and  more.  Developers and just trying to jump on the current "it" bandwagon.
  • donjndonjn Member UncommonPosts: 816
    Scot said:
    If you remove story you remove lore, you might as well call them MMORPG's, you will have killed off what makes MMOs more than just Massive Multiplayer.

    Take Conan Exiles, not your typical questing MMO, they have hidden lore because it adds flavour and mystery. Otherwise the MMORPG becomes a blank canvass, with all the colour washed out of it.
    The word RPG does equal story. RPG is you playing a role. People did that fine in Ultima Online which had no story.
    Eldurian
  • donjndonjn Member UncommonPosts: 816
    I think more players want a story in MMOs because MMOs are more mainstream now then they were before. MMO makers have been targeting single player gamers for years.
    AlBQuirky
  • SephirosoSephiroso Member RarePosts: 2,019
    donjn said:
    Scot said:
    If you remove story you remove lore, you might as well call them MMORPG's, you will have killed off what makes MMOs more than just Massive Multiplayer.

    Take Conan Exiles, not your typical questing MMO, they have hidden lore because it adds flavour and mystery. Otherwise the MMORPG becomes a blank canvass, with all the colour washed out of it.
    The word RPG does equal story. RPG is you playing a role. People did that fine in Ultima Online which had no story.
    Hmm, not sure if i agree with this, but even if i disagree with it it isn't that much. Playing a role does not require having a story. I can "role play" with my non existent girlfriend that i'm a wizard and i put on my wizard robe and hat before we initiate sexy times so i can cast level 3 Patronous Excito...but does that really mean we're acting out some story?

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  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 4,098
    Scot said:
    If you remove story you remove lore, you might as well call them MMORPG's, you will have killed off what makes MMOs more than just Massive Multiplayer.

    Take Conan Exiles, not your typical questing MMO, they have hidden lore because it adds flavour and mystery. Otherwise the MMORPG becomes a blank canvass, with all the colour washed out of it.
    Story that you are the one is different than lore or world story. Having quest tells you what is going on in the village vs. You the only one who can save us and so can everyone else.  
    AlBQuirky
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 2,736
    Sephiroso said:
    Eldurian said:


    But a sandbox should have no overarching narrative beyond the ones the players create themselves.
    Not sure if i agree with this. Just because a sandbox mmo has some overarching narrative that the devs create doesn't mean it lessens the impact players have on the world. The name of the game in Sandbox has always been player choice. Which means players could choose not to participate in it, or sabotage those that do.

    Why can't the npcs have their own motivations/actions(via overarching narrative the devs push) just because its a sandbox? Why must the players be the ones to determine that alone?

    All that being said, i don't really see much of a difference between having a narrative being pushed in a themepark vs sandbox. Like, the narrative with the legion invading Azeroth in WoW. You could easily have the same narrative be pushed in a sandbox mmorpg. Legion invades sandbox mmorpg lands wanting to take it over. The difference is in players have a choice. They can band together to fight off the legion or they can join the legion and turn on their homeland.

    But just the fact that a overarching narrative exists? I don't see why it doesn't belong in sandbox's anymore than it does in themepark.
    If there is an overarching storyline that is extremely adaptable to the actions of the players then it belongs in a sandbox. It also needs to be a one and done thing most likely unless you can create a good reason for the same event to recur over and over and over and over even after the players resolved in the first time.

    Creating such a mechanic in any compelling fashion seems like it would be a massive resource drain on the development team.

    So I guess they could do it. But should they do it? I'd say probably not.
  • TEKK3NTEKK3N Member RarePosts: 1,109
    A MMORPG doesn't need a Story (Quests) it only need some good Lore.

    Take the Elders Scroll franchise, In Skyrim I read all quests, in ESO I skip (spacebar) all quests.
    A single player RPG is all about Story, a MMORPG is about player interaction.

    iixviiiixEldurianAlBQuirky
  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,589
    edited June 2018
    It also doesn't need any NPCs or weapons, houses, mounts of any kind or pets or Magic, crafting...

    In my opinion all those things help,  are nice and make a better game.
    TorvalSteelhelmAlBQuirkyvandal5627
    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 2,119
    TEKK3N said:
    A MMORPG doesn't need a Story (Quests) it only need some good Lore.

    Take the Elders Scroll franchise, In Skyrim I read all quests, in ESO I skip (spacebar) all quests.
    A single player RPG is all about Story, a MMORPG is about player interaction.

    Agree , too much quests in MMORPG is waste of money as you have to make contents base on them and most of them are one shot . I rather prefer an MMORPG that build base on the lore than base on the quests .
  • RnjypsyRnjypsy Member UncommonPosts: 64
    iixviiiix said:
    TEKK3N said:
    A MMORPG doesn't need a Story (Quests) it only need some good Lore.

    Take the Elders Scroll franchise, In Skyrim I read all quests, in ESO I skip (spacebar) all quests.
    A single player RPG is all about Story, a MMORPG is about player interaction.

    Agree , too much quests in MMORPG is waste of money as you have to make contents base on them and most of them are one shot . I rather prefer an MMORPG that build base on the lore than base on the quests .
    ESO is a good example of a game that offers both a reasonably good single player experience and the opportunity for player interaction.  Skip that dialogue all you want, some of us appreciate it and read it!
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 14,311
    edited June 2018
    The personal "you are the special hero" story quests are indeed a narrative oddity in MMORPGs that seem borrowed and shoehorned from single player games. Group event stories as seen in some Rift and GW2 events fit the genre a whole lot better because they are designed with a group response in mind which only makes sense in group games.

    Having said that, as odd as they seem in MMOs especially when there are 20 others on screen that you know are doing the same individual story you're doing, it's still a hell of a lot better than the extreme sandbox alternative with no story nor lore where it's just a bunch of trolls having a yuck over their penis towers.

    If a game doesn't have a good story and lore to enjoy, I just won't go anywhere near it.


    TEKK3NAlBQuirky
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  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 6,283
    I love a good story but AI is the future.

    I really would of liked to have seen Storybricks and EQ come to fruition. If it would have worked as advertised it would have been pretty cool.

    Here's hoping for what the future will bring ;)

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • MightyUncleanMightyUnclean Member EpicPosts: 3,297
    I agree that a good story isn't a necessity.  I loved Asheron's Call 2, for instance, and that had very little story in-game.  Unfortunately, the majority of MMORPG players don't seem to agree with me.  Story-light games tend to tank, quickly.
  • XodicXodic Member EpicPosts: 1,134
    edited June 2018
    EQ had a great story. What EQ did was magical, the way the story overlapped and provided real  in-game clues to certain quests, spawns, and items.

    Hell, people today still believe that Mayong Mistmoore spawns on Halloween. The story provided so much insight into actual game world plots and activities that people were always coming up with theories on how spawns and mechanics worked. Some of them were right, most of them were wrong, but through story telling it made people aware that some lore has great meaning other than setting up a scenario for why you're killing an (x) amount of turtles.

    Now-a-days it's just blah blah blah (insert meaningless text here), go kill that. This is the trade off most of you begged for. You don't want meaning, you don't want to think about it, you don't want mystery or uncertainty, you just want your purple pants for gently rolling your grinning face across the keyboard.

    @Kilsin
    @Aradune

    Please bring this magic back.
    AlBQuirky
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 21,988
    You could argue that an MMORPG doesn't need a good version of any particular feature.  It does need to have a good version of some feature, however--and preferably a lot of good features.  And like all other features, if you're going to have a story, it's better to have a good story than a bad one.
    TorvalRobsolf
  • XodicXodic Member EpicPosts: 1,134
    Quizzical said:
    You could argue that an MMORPG doesn't need a good version of any particular feature.  It does need to have a good version of some feature, however--and preferably a lot of good features.  And like all other features, if you're going to have a story, it's better to have a good story than a bad one.
    I'm not sure if you're talking about MMOs, or MMORPGs, but an MMORPG must certainly have an epic story that makes you want to follow it instead of clicking next, next, next. Any RPG is worthless without story building.
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