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Why was the 'RPG' taken out of 'MMORPG'?

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#41 RedSparrows

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 01:21 PM

I would suggest one can only really appreciate the full extent of lore, immersion et al, or lack thereof, until they've played a character to cap.

 

Yes, I like longer quest text. Does that mean Wildstar's approach is innately doomed? No. Why?

 

As someone says above, you get Tasks and Episode quests - the Episode quests are specifically built around an area, where a small narrative takes place. Environmental cues, NPC conversations, journals and lore cubes are found within. No, it's not a grand, astonishing web of wonderful fiction that will revolutionise MMOs. But there is something there, and it's clearly designed in a certain way, a way I can enjoy.



#42 Caydiem

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:23 PM

As many folks have said, we try to deliver story in a variety of ways outside the actual quest objective, and do our best to use every character of the space we do have in quest text to give you a good understanding of the situation. Some days I may miss the comparatively luxurious quest text boxes of other games where I could ramble on about all manner of things, but I'm very glad for our approach here. It not only makes me very conscious of my word choice, but directs me to follow a solid philosophy of storytelling in games.

 

You've probably heard the phrase "show, don't tell," when it comes to storytelling, particularly in a visual medium. In games, because the audience is an active participant, that gets extended: "Show, don't tell -- but when you can, do, don't just show." If I tell you that the squirg are a threat, as an example, that is less effective than showing you what the squirg do to people. Still more effective is having the squirg affect you, the participant, to truly grasp what they're capable of. We try to bring out the story as much in the world proper as we can rather than relying upon our players to read all the quest text.

 

Now there are situations where we need to convey more than the quest text can reasonably hold and we can't give the players that information through more visual or interactive means. In the cases where more history or information would be helpful, we use the optional conversation options within the quest. You can follow each question -- marked by an ellipsis button -- to learn more about the situation. Not every quest has (or needs!) these, but we do use 'em when we feel it makes sense.

 

I understand the desire to get as much lore as possible, and we want to bring it to you in a variety of ways. For now, check out the conversations in hubs. Look at what intelligent creatures say when you start fighting and killing them. Don't hesitate to click those more info buttons when they show up on quests. Check out the summaries of quests both when they're active and once you've finished 'em. You've recognized that we've got journals and datacubes out there in spades, but there's more. And heck, Scientists get access to even more contextual lore!

 

We've put it out there for folks to find. It's just not all condensed into quest text itself. :)


Edited by Caydiem, 14 April 2014 - 02:24 PM.


#43 Aksu

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:55 PM

As many folks have said, we try to deliver story in a variety of ways outside the actual quest objective, and do our best to use every character of the space we do have in quest text to give you a good understanding of the situation. Some days I may miss the comparatively luxurious quest text boxes of other games where I could ramble on about all manner of things, but I'm very glad for our approach here. It not only makes me very conscious of my word choice, but directs me to follow a solid philosophy of storytelling in games.

 

You've probably heard the phrase "show, don't tell," when it comes to storytelling, particularly in a visual medium. In games, because the audience is an active participant, that gets extended: "Show, don't tell -- but when you can, do, don't just show." If I tell you that the squirg are a threat, as an example, that is less effective than showing you what the squirg do to people. Still more effective is having the squirg affect you, the participant, to truly grasp what they're capable of. We try to bring out the story as much in the world proper as we can rather than relying upon our players to read all the quest text.

 

Now there are situations where we need to convey more than the quest text can reasonably hold and we can't give the players that information through more visual or interactive means. In the cases where more history or information would be helpful, we use the optional conversation options within the quest. You can follow each question -- marked by an ellipsis button -- to learn more about the situation. Not every quest has (or needs!) these, but we do use 'em when we feel it makes sense.

 

I understand the desire to get as much lore as possible, and we want to bring it to you in a variety of ways. For now, check out the conversations in hubs. Look at what intelligent creatures say when you start fighting and killing them. Don't hesitate to click those more info buttons when they show up on quests. Check out the summaries of quests both when they're active and once you've finished 'em. You've recognized that we've got journals and datacubes out there in spades, but there's more. And heck, Scientists get access to even more contextual lore!

 

We've put it out there for folks to find. It's just not all condensed into quest text itself. :)

 

This. x1000.

 

Up until this point, a vast majority of games have relied on a wall of text to bring lore into the game? Why? We live in an era when video games have reached the ability to create living, breathing worlds. And much like in real life, lore is out there. Stories buried in ancient crypts, massive ruins, and artifacts. Stories in this medium should be told as players find those areas, those relics of a forgotten area. And then pieced together in the journal so you can reacquaint yourself with backstory if need be.

 

That's the whole lure of exploration. To find places, things, and people that tell you a story and force you to ask questions. Quite frankly, its time and past time that games stopped spoon feeding their players and gave them a reason to see what's beyond the next hill.

 

Otherwise.... why invest time and energy into a game?

 


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#44 Lemurian

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:09 PM

We've put it out there for folks to find. It's just not all condensed into quest text itself. :)

 

My point exactly. Thank you Caydiem.


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#45 Blindeye

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 04:58 AM

...

We've put it out there for folks to find. It's just not all condensed into quest text itself. :)

It's pretty bad form, and also blatant spin art, to basically tell the OP they're wrong, go on to say how the story is being presented perfectly, and then keep congratulating yourself for doing so well.

Wildstar's writing and storytelling is it's weakest point. It is the main reason I've found that people are turned off from the game.

How about I had to research away from the game to find out that Deadeye was the leader. How about when the Dominion machine asked if I was a fan of Artemis Zin I had no idea who she was? Why are we on Nexus? How long have we been there?

Common knowledge needs to be presented early and clearly in the game. At the moment it's not. You say you "Show don't Tell" but Wildstar doesn't show much or tell much!  The player has to learn by doing even the most basic information. The barest bones plot is given, then players are shunted off to fight enemies they've never heard of, on a planet they don't understand, for a faction they hardley know. Even the '...' extra details is scarse.

The only character presented properly is Queen Myala, but that's because we can rely on assumptions. She's a 'Queen', so we know she's a leader. She immediately has you save plants, so we understand they are nature focused. Then on the Aurin side, if you go there, it's again all about the forest. You're even introduced to her consorts, who's titles, again, let us use assumptions to understand their relationships. But maybe she's easy to understand because she's presented as a two-dimensional character.

Wildstar's lore is very interesting. Telling us through quest text isn't a crime, but pretending like nothing is wrong with the way things are written and presented is ignoring the game's biggest flaw. Polishing this aspect would make Wildstar a near-perfect MMO experience, though I understand it would be a lot of work.

(it would also help if the text wasn't so tiny)



#46 Istanbul

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:18 AM

 

 

 

What?



#47 Grommet

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:18 AM

The key to getting the story in WildStar is to read more and skim less. Every time you click through some text because you are rushing through is a chance that you might be missing something.

 

In short, you have to immerse yourself (which I'm sure some people won't like). Its not like the force feeding (I say that gently) you can get from other games.

 

Edit: I wonder if it isn't almost intentionally that way, so the "rush to 50" crowd - bless their eager little hearts - can just pop through.


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#48 Montee

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 05:30 AM

I agree with Blindeye and I would go further to say their leaning on art to tell the story is bs. I don't think there is any story that connects you to the over arching eldan story within the questing. I believe they didn't write it, so it's not there to give to you beyond the text we already have. This becomes painfully obvious the further you go into the leveling process. You could seriously skip creating the last three zones and put a Lopp at the end of one big zone with kill quest #128 and go in sequence and have the same effect as the last few zones give you. As I stated in another post showing me squirgs on people's head does not making me kill 20 of them for no reason other than the two lines of text provided any more interesting. Also expecting the player to make their own immersion into the game is asking too much. The game itself should provide this not detract from it. This has been brought up for months by numerous individual posts it is not like there are just five us in our nerdy lore uniforms having a pity party. It is a very weak aspect of the game that will kill re playability whether you want to race to fifty or not. The questing is boring, and for the most part uncreative and non immersive, bottom line.



#49 RedSparrows

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:21 AM

Whilst I agree the initial story telling isn't the best, I worked out who Artemis Zin was by her actions, by others' actions around her, by what she said and how she acted. There needs to be improvement, but I like it when it's not all on a plate.



#50 Caydiem

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 09:59 AM

Please understand I'm not saying our approach is perfect. What I am saying, however, is that our approach is a bit different from what you might be used to in other games, and that substantial amounts of text given all at once is not necessarily what makes an RPG. We try to utilize many methods of giving you information on the setting. Not all of them are directed toward you specifically, and not all of them are even text-based, but they are there.

 

I responded because I wanted folks to understand that our lore focus isn't just on quest text, and that we do put a lot of the context into the visuals and staging of areas as well. I know at times we get very used to lore being given to us one big paragraph at a time, and sussing out the bigger picture through pieces here and there isn't always ideal to understanding the whole right away.

 

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?



#51 Nadala

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 10:06 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

For me, it's voice over, cutscenes, and actual actions. I'm going to make every effort to read quest text at launch, because I gave it a go during one of the recent beta weekends and it DID actually convey a lot more plot than I originally thought it would (who knew, right?). But I'll be honest - I am a lazy, lazy creature of habit. Guild Wars 2 and SWTOR were perfect for my lore needs - Guild Wars 2 has almost completely voiced NPCs and conversations that just bring the areas and challenges to life. SWTOR made each mission meaningful and interactive, and made MY character come to life the way *I* chose it.

 

I'm definitely NOT saying add a conversation system. But fully realised voice overs, more episode finale cutscenes, and more NPCs running around the world actually giving a shit and screaming real loud - that's what I notice.



#52 Witchchild

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 10:21 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

I found I got the most lore out of the episodic quest series (like the part of the Exile tutorial when you go down, save the veggies, beat the Boss, then fix the platform .... or the Dominion side where you go through the simulations.  OR the Shiphand - can't talk about that story enough.)  I preferred the quest hubs that didn't send me ranging too far from home, and kept me isolated from tasks and challenges, which meant I could focus on the story I was playing through and wouldn't get distracted. 

 

I usually save datacube type lore for downtime while I'm waiting for a teammate to wrap up whatever they're doing (like vendoring/mailing/banking/etc).  In any other game, I'd probably read through them during crafting downtime, but you've eliminated that possibility by making crafting so interactive. 

 

Just an idea, but you might have a Tomb-Raider/Indiana Jones types puzzle labyrinth/temple that relies on lore knowledge and datacube discoveries to progress.  In doing so, you could have a guide that reiterates important lore facts (and shares more details) for those that don't pick up on all the visual cues elsewhere.


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#53 Lemurian

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 10:25 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

I think there's a few things that break connection to the storylines. Let me see if I can try and distill them down and suggest ways to alleviate it.

Chain the links more clearly-
By which I mean, the connected pieces of the larger story don't always feel connected. For example, Everstar Grove is probably the most solid front to back story I've seen in one of your zones, but there's still a couple points where it doesn't feel like it. You're discovering Elderroot, then helping him, then dealing with the Dominion, but it isn't quite marked as one story all the way through, thus doesn't feel like it. In Deradune, each piece of helping Agent Lex pops up abruptly and doesn't feel connected to the other pieces, even though when you put them all together it's a pretty good story. My solution would be to come up with a title, not unlike Tales From Beyond the Fringe titles, and keep those consistent across the whole line, then each sub line can be a chapter title.

Hunt and Peck
I'm hoping some or all of this was addressed in UI 2.0 because this is something a lot of people pointed out and it was dev acknowledged in CBT. But I still have a really hard time juggling the pages of UI when jumping between parts of the Codex, and the entirely different UI for the Galactic Archive. It should at some point be relatively easy if I'm reading a TFBTF story to click on a linked name and get the data page for that person in case I forgot. Or if I'm working on a questline with Agent Lex, to be able to click something to look up the other story(ies) I did with him. Stories become better when they're easier to connect with other stories and things we did, or if we get hints that there are other stories out there with some of the same characters.

Cutscenes
You guys do a good job keeping them short and sweet and using them as pay off moments at the end of lines, but that doesn't always help the Lost feeling I get with not knowing how big or small what I'm working on is. It might be cool to use some short scene setting cutscenes with subtitles to set the scene for the bigger stories. A {!} over an NPC doesn't really cut it. When I first talk to the Chronicler in Gallow, it might be nice to get a quick scene that shows they're being plagued on all sides by Marauders and they need Judge Kain and you to help clean up the town. Engage me at the start and I'm more motivated.


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#54 Grograman

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 10:28 AM

 

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

 

Voiceover. I love it when the mission continues to talk as I proceed to where it has sent me. Its a great balance between wall of text slowing down progress and not enough information. 

 

Cutscreen. If its that important lets take a minute to really enjoy it and soak it all in. 

 

Quest continuity - Its really hard to tell who I'm doing what for when I have 6 missions and little backstory on any of them. Especially when a number of them are from the same npc. If its the same person then maybe roll the missions together and have multiple objectives rather than two separate quests.



#55 TheDonDude

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:05 AM

Numerous things, using the Steady Traveler shiphand and the Galeras, just outside of Thayd, as successful examples of storytelling.
 
Atmosphere
- The music, lighting, and graphics contribute to the atmosphere of a place.  The Steady Traveler conveys exactly what it needs to through all these things.  It is spooky when needed, claustrophobic as needed, and frantic as needed. Galeras is wide open with large barricades and a bazillion enemies and allies buzzing around in a chaotic mess.
 
Other avenues of text
- More text helps. I don't mean in quest text (since that breaks the guidelines you've listed), but spread out through the mission area.  Reading the logs of the dead in the Steady Traveler provided a lot of insight in what was going on. Galeras has you reading from many people's different points of view on the war.
 
Text you actually have a chance to read
- A lot of times I get additional text tidbits but have no chance to actually read them.  Long journals and the like which would be great to read... buuuut you're getting swarmed by mobs at the same time, or there's a challenge timer ticking down, or you have incoming calls to deal with.  Or, heck, maybe I'm just not in the mood.  The (old) UI makes it frustrating to go back to read those later.  Those are the ones where the text is wasted. The Steady Traveler on the other hand is pretty good at giving you the time to read the tidbits (or if you don't want to read, you can just move on).
 
Gameplay == Lore
- Gameplay to match the story. The Steady Traveler is a spooky horror themed spot.  Thus, you have lots of quiet parts where you only have your dinky flashlight while bad guys jump out of the shadows at you.  It is not a quest where you mow down legions of aliens.  Galeras outside of Thayd, on the other hand, is a war zone action flick, and thus properly *does* have lots of enemies to mow down.  Another success is Hycrest.  You aren't just *told* about how the civilians are all scared and in near revolt.  You *see* it and *act* it by sneaking in, hiding among the population, and making surgical, liberation-style strikes against the Dominion.


#56 TheDonDude

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

Voiceover. I love it when the mission continues to talk as I proceed to where it has sent me. Its a great balance between wall of text slowing down progress and not enough information. 

 

Cutscreen. If its that important lets take a minute to really enjoy it and soak it all in. 

 

Quest continuity - Its really hard to tell who I'm doing what for when I have 6 missions and little backstory on any of them. Especially when a number of them are from the same npc. If its the same person then maybe roll the missions together and have multiple objectives rather than two separate quests.

 

Oooh, yeah, forgot that one.  Any time I'm returning to a quest hub with 6 completed missions, I will never remember which quest-giver gave me what reason to kill which mob for which purpose.  They blend together into Random Guy With Checkmark Over His Head #1, Random Guy With Checkmark Over Her Head #2, etc.

 

The quests where one thing flows into the next are the best.



#57 Lemurian

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:09 AM

Voiceover. I love it when the mission continues to talk as I proceed to where it has sent me. Its a great balance between wall of text slowing down progress and not enough information. 

Just because I realized I wasn't clear, I wasn't asking for VO like this poster was. I have a very low tolerance for extensive VO in an MMO. It may add to a story the first time through, but it is expensive to make and wrecks replay value.


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#58 Yleina

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:10 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

I don't really belong in this thread as I love the approach that was taken to lore. It just fits for me with my vision of my character. But, the moments that I pay the most attention to are those moments when I'm clicking through a quest or walking by NPC's having a chat, and I have to do a double take because "did the NPC just SAY THAT?" One example is the early Dominion quest line where you have to go and find *OMG I CAN'T REMEMBER ANY NAMES RIGHT NOW*, and it is implied that you are supposed to find him out engaging in behaviour inappropriate to the church. I love that even when I'm on autopilot and clicking through things, there are occasionally moments that shock me into paying attention.


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#59 Blindeye

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:14 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

More quest text isn't the answer. But here's some easy throwaway lines that would fix my problems with learning who characters are.
Opening dialogues with Deadeye, anywhere you could throw in "I don't know why they chose me to lead the Exiles, but darn it I won't lead them astray!" Or even a '...' text with "Who are you again?" and "Where are we?" With a more formal introduction. "I guess you're still groggy. We just arrived at Nexus, our new home."
 

Also, Exiles need to know why they're important. A simple "We appreciate you voulenteering to help us settle Nexus. Every single man and woman is needed if we want to make this our new home." It doesn't take much to get this accross, but it needs to be said.

On the Dominion side, the interrogation could be like "Are you a fan of famous Dominion Adventurer and Pop Idol Artemis Zin?" It'd be a leading question, but it introduces the character better than just name dropping. Just more of that kind of thing everywhere.

Another thing is we run into mercenaries and bandits and I don't know who they are or where they came from. A "..." choice of "Who are these doofs?" with a "The Deadstars (or whatever) are interstellar pirates, they must have followed us here the dreks!"

When you want to invest a player in the game, you can't assume they know as much as you, the devs, know. And that's what playtesting is for, and I'll tell you that you're skipping important introductory information. Again, it doesn't need to be a lot of text, but the text you have needs to answer the questions a player will be asking when arriving at a new area, meeting a new character and fighting a new enemy.

I want to reiterate that I love the game, and that's why I think some time needs to be spent patching up it's weakest point: The storytelling. It's worth a few months post-launch as it'll help you keep new players who look for this kind of thing. A lot of those people are my friends who I'm trying to convince to pre-order. We're a very story-centric group.

 



#60 Armstrong

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:19 AM

To steer this in a constructive direction, then, let me pose a question! With the understanding that quest text itself probably will not get longer or more detailed than it currently is (aside from the potential addition of optional questions), how do you feel we could best convey the story of a given situation to you? What works best for you? What do you pay the most attention to?

 

I know it's expensive and hard to make changes to later, but voiceover is pretty much the only thing I pay attention to (I LOVE listening to datacubes).  I'm not a lore focused gamer so reading more than what I need to complete a quest just gets in the way of actually playing the game for me.  Short cinematics are also cool (especially at the end of a quest chain), but they aren't a great medium for conveying the "world story."


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