Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Random Shots: There Is No Story, Only Zuul

  • I was not going to write anything in response to Darren's post over at The Common Sense Gamer because I figured he was just being his curmudgeonly self. But then when Tobold took up the same topic, I could not just let the thing lie.

  • Way to miss the point, guys.

  • You and your ilk are so set in your MMOing ways that you genuinely accept that there is no solution to the quest problem. The fact that people are clicking through quests is not a sign that no one wants stories in their MMOs. Blocks of text are just archaic ways to tell stories in a video game.

  • I remember back when Wrath of the Lich King came out. Various bloggers declared that they would turn the Instant Quest Text option off so that they would take the time to savor the stories the game wanted to tell. And yet now we're cynically proclaiming that story is so inconsequential that we may as well skip the text altogether and just hand out quest blurbs that say "Kill ten rats", "Collect ten rat tails", or "Click the Glowing Thing" and that's all gamers need to keep grinding away.

  • Games like The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 are banking on the fact that people really will play for the story if you tell it the right way. And I think we should applaud them for the effort, not complain about how they are missing the point. Year in and year out, we complain about how there is not innovation in MMOs. Everyone is making a WoW clone and we're bored before we've even played it. But as soon as a developer puts one foot outside of our comfortable bounds, we tell them that they don't understand MMOs and it will never work. Shame on us.

  • By the way, Zubon has already said all this much better and more succinctly over at Kill Ten Rats. I just want you to hide the link way down here at the bottom so you'd have to read everything before clicking away.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. That is such an awesome title to a post!

  2. I'm glad you posted this, so now I don't need to. Seems to me that a lot of MMO bloggers need to take a break and recharge, doesn't it?

  3. Hear hear!

    It is so frustrating to see the MMO community whine constantly that no-one is innovating, and then get their undergarments in a bunch as soon as some big budget MMOs come along that are moving away from the current design standards.

    The major point of contention from naysayers seems to be that by focusing on narrative, the designs of GW II and ToR are moving away from current MMO design in the direction of single player RPGs. By doing so, NCsoft and Bioware are dooming themselves to failure. Which is a completely logical conclusion, because we all know that the last big budget MMO to push the genre away from forced grouping and contentless grinding was an abysmal failure. Does anyone even remember World of Warcraft these days?

  4. @ Jayedub - Thanks. I certainly try.

    @ Blue Kae - Don't let me stop you. You always have an interesting take on the topics of the day.

    But yeah, a lot of MMO bloggers are super-burned out. I don't think they even realize that it's them and not the games.

    @ Yeebo - The image I have is a bunch of bloggers sitting around the rest home talking about who much better thing were in their day. Which is sad since MMOs were the cutting edge of gaming once upon a time.