The game Guild Wars did this well, you had to do story-based Missions to advance further in the game.
I am loving the new 'phasing' devie used to keep areas consistant for players. this is most noticeable around the wrathgate- the area changes once you have completed the chain, but only for people who have completed it.I think after an event as major as that, it would be a shame to still see it as it was.I've only noticed the device used in one other place so far (Argent Vanguard), but it would be nice to see more of it.
I enjoy instanced zones. It threw me off at first as I was leveling my death knight, but it gives you a sense of accomplishment that you're actually getting somewhere with a faction.
That being said, the storyline of WoW has advanced. With the release of The Burning Crusade, it was strongly implied that the dangers of Rend Blackhand and the Black Dragonflight were dealt with, at least temporarily, and with the release of Wrath of the Lich King, clearly Illidan isn't as much of a pressing concern as Arthas. When, and if (and that's a very big if, I personally don't think it'll happen) Warcraft 4 is released, I can only imagine that Illidan and Arthas will both be dead, and new dangers will arise. If, lore-wise, Arthas really does die, I guess you can imagine that your party did it--but if Blizzard designates who did it, it just might ruin the magic for people. I trust them to come up with an interesting way out of the corner they appear to slowly be writing themselves into, but nonetheless I remain curious how they're going to do it.So how would you do it? How do you reconcile a constantly evolving story with a world that remains static by design? Do you feel like Blizzard does it well? What are your favorite examples of storytelling in games?On the part about warcraft 4, where arthas might be dead and how they would pull it off that your party did it, look at the CoT. Your there, helping a NPC accomplish somthing, and it is known trough history that they did not do that alone. They were helped by *i havent played warcraft or read indepth on the history yet* nameless adventurers, and thats you. Now i have done my fair share of quests in icecrown, ive seen the lore and i see a perfect opening for blizzard to make this work lorewise. Im saying that I dont think the raid your in will do it alone, i think we will get help from more then a few well known NPC's *hint hint* wont say the names for spoilers tho ^^My 2 cents.-Mob
I really only play WoW because of the complex universe that is so rich in lore. For me that's a huge motivator, because if you know who Illidan is, you'll be ten times as proud when you finally kill him (or any other boss for that matter).
I love what Blizzard did with the phasing in of the Isle of Quel'danas. There should definitely be more of that in the future.What I would really like to see (and I'm sure could be done) is the following. Each player could quest through level 60. Then, they stop gaining experience. They can do all the level 60 content they want. See how far into the raids they can get, etc. Earn good loots, and earn the achievements. In other words, live the story. Then, after two years or two minutes, they can talk to an npc and move forward in history. There can even be timed events, like the portal opening every several months. At this point they are transfered to a new server where Nefarian is killed, and Illidan is out there whooping it up. Same thing again at level 70, so that when I go back to Tempest Keep at level 80, it's either empty, or inhabited by ghosts, or something. All the old instances could be accessible through the Caverns of Time.Just thinking along these lines brings all sorts of possibilities. I definitely see storytelling as the future of MMO's. The next step, however, is taking it out of Blizzard's hands and into our own. I think Eve Online is doing things along these lines. But imagine a level editor for WoW? Private servers, where each server has a chance to create their own story, would be fantastic. Groups of role players could pick some rules, create a world, and just go. Instead of paying Blizzard $15 a month, part of that could go straight to GM's, who have a very direct link to story progression, but are answerable to the player base. I think the problem right now is compensation. Is there any other reason Blizzard disallows private servers, other than they fear they won't get paid?
I play WoW, or any other graphical MMOG for that matter, to break away from the long tradition of story-based games in my own past. Whether paper- or text-based, all of them contained more plot threads than a Stephen Gaghan film. Yet while those games were intellectually satisfying, the constant wear and tear of keeping up with events for 4 to 6 hours a day, every day, does tend to drag you down eventually. I lasted 5 years in that environment without a single vacation, and even that was considered a long run.The one game where I have found a close example to a true fusion of the advancing-storyline-versus-equal-opportunity is Anarchy Online. In AO, the constant battle over the mineral resources of Rubi-Ka, the fictional planet where the game takes place, has a dynamic that has to constantly adjust to the actions of the players. Yet, with a high respawn rate, the same opportunities In fact, aside from the difficulty rating of tradeskills (Said rating is enormous, and without much use to anyone until around 65% of the level cap.), the plot evolution becomes the most frustrating part of the game.One example would be the effective takeovers of zones by the other side. Could you possibly imagine what would happen if the Horde were to take prominence in Westfall? Or the Alliance take over the Barrens? Exactly. A lot of corpse runs and repair bills for anyone who doesn't have the capacity to watch the virtual scoreboard.Would Blizzard ever do something like this? I'd lay good odds that it'll never happen. In an environment where playability runs hand-in-hand with deity, it would be far too much for the player base as a whole to take. Particularly for a gear-based game, the capability of removing a full suite of quest rewards from the other faction's up-and-comers would be too destabilizing.Case in point. Right now, there is someone reading this who is thinking "LFG Westfall Raid!" and having it be completely serious.
I started the game having never played, nor knowing, anything about Warcraft except it was a mod players used in Counter-Strike.Now I'm an owner of the Ultimate Edition of the Sunwell Trilogy & sometimes spend hours reading about the most boring NPCs imaginable. I mean, there's just a story or explanation for everything. I wish math class was like that.
I mean, there's just a story or explanation for everything. I wish math class was like that.There usually is. You just need to go look for it yourself in the case of math. ;) Like, my calculus teacher handed me an article on the history of the rigor of calculus, specifically with regard to the epsilon-sigma definition of a limit.
It's actually not possible to skip any of the quests in the Death Knight starting zone, except the repeatable quest More Skulls for Brew. This is probably a good thing, as many of the quests give talent points, which is something that you can't replace later.
I think that what Flint Dille tryed to say with “Storytelling in MMO's is the future” was that for example quests that hold a story, will be the future. Not the actual game itself. For example, If you read the quest description of the storyline of any zone you'll find a big chunk of lore. That's the future of storytelling.Also he could've meant that the adventures you have in a MMO are similar (at some point... :P) to what happened in old times, wich may result in you telling your grandsons "I remember the times 25 heroes took down the mighty Arthas..." or something like that. Oh and don't forget the RP realms! ^^
I have found the changes to the storytelling absolutely great. The entire wrath-gate questline, the Sons of Hodir questline and the Baron (Shadow Vault) lines are examples of this. I haven't started a DK yet but hearing about this have made me really curious to see that too :)This is just a small example of how much Blizzard is changing their own MMO into something a lot more advanced as the years progress. They keep inventing new things ahead of other MMO's and that's what is making people come back, or stay.I lived the article (read it all) as well, Flint comes across as very intelligent and indeed has loads of experience. I hope he continues to grace the world with his story-telling!Very nice article! Props on the autor :)-X-
When I played Icewind Dale 2 many years ago, I was told the story of Icewind Dale 1. There, a party of unnamed adventurers had defeated the evil that was there. Who played that party? Well, the players, of course!The same will be done in World of Warcraft.Lady Vashj? A B-character. She's just a minion.Kael'thas? Defeated in Tempest Keep by a group of unnamed adventurers, later killed by adventurers in service by the Shattered Sun Offensive.Illidan? Killed by The Watcher and the old geezer with the help from adventurers.It's the same for every boss. Adventurers, without name, terrorize the evils of Warcraft, and defeat them.So, once "Warcraft 4" appears (something I believe never will happen), You will have access to the stories of the past, being told that "Illidan the betrayer was defeated by his former captor, his former minion, and a band of adventurers". Something like that.Do I mind? Does it ruin my magic? %^&* no. :)
I honestly hope that MMOs move away from static content. i.e. rather than the NPC saying that the murloc Gurgle-Gargle has been harassing travelers and he hangs out at his hut on the beach, code a serious of conditional events that can happen but aren't always happening. The NPCs can then be a way to inform the player of what's currently going on in the zone. There can be a Gurgle-Gargle that actually runs around harassing travelers, and when he's defeated some other event can start happening. The NPCs shut up about gurgle-gargle until he starts back up, in either 4-6 hours or 4-6 days.
Thanks for the kind words about the interview. I don't want to leave the impression that I'm anything but a huge fan of WarCraft and the storytelling in it -- especially given the parameters they're working in. As a player (and a fairly obsessed on right now), I like the fact that I can engage what we'll call the Metastory at any level I want to. I can ignore it and do a lot of hack & slash, or I can go deep in and read the books, the Gadgezan Gazette (maybe not the right name), etc. The other day, my son took me to the grave of a the greatest Paladin ever. He knew all about it. All of the sudden, the world came a little more alive for me -- kind of like driving around L.A. and thinking -- "that's the House where Bugsy Siegel was killed." Mostly, I take in the story ambiently. I sort of get it, but don't focus on it. But I'm intrigued to think there is something deeper. That might change.There are storytelling bumps I think we'll see in MMOG's. I'd like to be able to listen to stories while I'm walking around or riding my griffin. Wave files. Or, I'd listen to the songs done by the minstral from Lions Pride Inn. Or whatever. The thing that's brilliant about the storytelling in Warcraft, given that its real purpose is to support gameplay (which is the purpose of all game storytelling) is that I can look at locations as chapters of the story. My story starts (as an Alliance Warrior) at Northshire Abbey, progresses through childhood in Elwynn Forest and Westfall, adolescence in Redridge and Darkshire, and, if I never go back, I can feel that it is one long procession. I kill Hogger and for all I know, he stays killed. It is only if I replay the event that I know that he re-spawns. So going back to a mission to help somebody else or just for the fun of it is like re-reading a chapter of a book or replaying a level of a game. The fascinaing thing about this in terms of story is that even as I re-approach it, I'm a different character. If I was level 8 when I first had the battle, it was a huge firefight. At level 50, its one hit. Same data, different story. The story and the rush I get is my sense of advancement and mastery.The one interesting thing that doesn't happen in Warcraft (and I think it is very smart for the property, not necessarily for the drama) is that I can't go backwards. My character can't lose levels or equipment or experience the kinds of reverses that you get in literature. But then again, this isn't literature, it is a game and I'd be pretty %^&*ed if my character was permanently dinged after a fight, or really died. Its fairly obvious that the storytelling methods will change with time. The opening Lich King cinematic is a great piece of filmmaking. In 5 years, questgivers will be showing me videos like this. And that will be very cool. Anyway, I think MMOG storytelling and Realverse storytelling are the future and I'm looking forward to doing it.Flint