Interesting post, about the loss of epic.

Battlechicken makes some excellent points over on her blog about why she and her husband are leaving SWTOR. Here at Double Cluepon, we already knew a great deal of what she was talking about. But having an MMO Player be so clear and direct with feedback…well, it’s always good to get some validation.

As readers of this blog know, Emerald Kingdom plans for content in a very different way from usual MMO’s. We plan for linear, non repeating stories. This is made possible by how we’re implementing our underlying systems. But one of the points she made really struck me hard:

I realize there are limits, but I wanted there to be some recognition that my story had happened.

With that comment, my brain got moving. I won’t say how, or in what direction. But what I will say is, this is something I feel it’s fair for a player to ask for. While player notability is one thing, when it comes to chronicling the major events of the world, I think in order to have a vibrant and immersive world, the world should behave as though you exist. It should behave as though you have performed actions. This should of course, vary in degrees and scale up. But it’s definitely something I have held out as a standard to design to.

What are your thoughts?

  6 comments for “Interesting post, about the loss of epic.

  1. Mia
    August 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    ZOMGOSH, YES PLEASE!

    I have no idea how you would implement that, but it would be amazing.

  2. August 6, 2012 at 9:31 am


    Mia:

    I have no idea how you would implement that, but it would be amazing.

    Well, believe it or not, it should not be a huge big deal. =)

  3. Michael
    August 6, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I think the desire to have recognition for your achievements is something very basic to human nature. Being an avid table-top RPG gamer via Dungeon’s & Dragons (and it’s various competitors on Tolkien-esque fantasy worlds), RIFTS, Shadowrun, White Wolf’s multiple games in World of Darkness, as well as various online games that mirror WoW, I’ve always enjoyed being plunged into a unique fantasy world where my actions have consequences. In a table top game (and even more so in a LARP game) what a player character does gains that recognition by their interaction with the Storyteller (GM, DM, aka. God) and other players. And among your group of friends, you get to rehash how things have gone from previous scenarios.

    We get to tell those stories and make ourselves into a more grandiose version, often to the accolades of our friends (more often to their laughter and derision for our terrible ending and hilarious failures). But they are OUR stories to tell, and we enjoy that they are unique.

    Video games rarely give us that chance to truly have a unique story. We immerse ourselves into a preset fantasy world, some with far more unique interactions than others. MMOs, by their nature, are kind of static. Playthrough for story will have variations based on geography, class, race, and game version. Races in WoW all start out in the same basic areas no matter what their class. Undead start out in the Undead area, Human in the human kingdoms, etc etc. Same for the relatively new Rift MMO. I haven’t played SWOTOR, so no comment their. Also, once you get to a certain level (ie, level cap) the game becomes about raiding, and if there are any quests they are always the same. The story can be fun, through the progression of leveling and turning in quests, but eventually it becomes a game that no longer is about story unless you bring it to the game yourself.

    I played with one of your artists, Fusspot, on WoW when it was first released, and we actively chose to play on an RP Server, thinking there would be a lot of people who want to delve into the character development of playing online. But I found out pretty quickly that one, you need to be able to type pretty damn fast, and two, you have to put that extra effort into making a unique story.

    Even in a table-top, there are times when we go on tangents and goof off, but we have a storyteller their to bring us back to what is actively happening in our world at that moment. If you can bring that element into the world. Where our adventure has some unique aspect completely different from that other group or individual, and we get a chance to share that… that would be pretty damn impressive.

  4. Ken
    August 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I think this is a good point for me to comment on, both from a player’s point of view and, to some small extent, a designer’s point of view.

    First, as a player. I’ve played my fair share of MMOs — WoW, FFXI, LotRO, and some significant number of free-to-play ones, to name a few — and a plethora of other console and PC games. There really is something to be said for decisions having a real and tangible effect, even if they don’t last forever. Decisions should affect the story, especially if you’re wanting your game to be story-based. After all, if everyone plays through the same story, you may as well make a movie. (I realize this is a statement of gross over-assumption, but I’m sure you understand what I mean.)

    In any case, it’s a matter of things feeling like they revolve around you, the player, and that greatly helps to make a game truly immersive. And once you have someone immersed in a game, they’ll enjoy it a lot more. As an example, the end of Saints Row the Third — while I won’t spoil it — involved an extremely difficult decision which resulted in entirely different outcomes depending on the choice the player made. It really made the ending one of the best things I’ve experienced in a game in a long time.

    As a designer and tinkerer, I run some events that involve typically simple, somewhat cheesy storylines. Most of the time they aren’t wonderfully thought out, as the events only last a few hours and are more focused on the game, but they do hook people a little bit.

    Anyway, I once presented the players with the option of attacking or defending the home location of some of the major characters, knowing that their choice would determine how the story unfolded from there. While the players eventually chose to defend the location, it took at least five minutes for them to decide. Even in a virtual world, with characters that don’t really exist, people felt that their decision was important, and that what they did was going to have a somewhat tangible outcome. That sense of control absolutely made all the difference.

    So all in all, I guess what I’m saying is this. In story-driven universes, it’s good for a character to be a part of the world, but even better for the character to be able to influence or change the world. And it’d be fantastic if you were able to make that happen.

  5. August 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

    What games need to realize is end game is not just about forcing us to group with other people to do raids/operations/scenarios/pvp, it’s about letting us continue our character’s story and how it impacts the universe. I liked her description of the abrupt departure from her storyline in the cited post.

    We’re hamsters on the wheel in the real world. In a game for good or evil, I want my character and her decisions to matter.

  6. August 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm


    Laura:

    We’re hamsters on the wheel in the real world. In a game for good or evil, I want my character and her decisions to matter.

    Indeed. I can definitely tell you: decisions will matter in Emerald Kingdom. You might even say, it’s a core feature. =)

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