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Well, <character>, it's been nice meeting you.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore
Well, <character>, it's been nice meeting you.

Lethality's Avatar


Lethality
02.19.2012 , 02:28 PM | #61
Ok, I seem to be rambling in the last post... To put it as simply as I can:

Your character in an MMORPG should feel heroic because of the heroic actions he takes in the epic tales being told. The tale itself should NOT be about your character specifically.
Interested in a Mac version of TOR? Show your support here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=683591

LyriaFrost's Avatar


LyriaFrost
02.19.2012 , 02:57 PM | #62
Quote: Originally Posted by Lethality View Post
I am saying quite specifically that your character in an MMO doesn't need to be and shouldn't be the explicit "hero". Especially in the spoon-fed sense they try to do in TOR and single player games. You cannot, EVER, be the main antagonist in the storyline of a multiplayer game.
See, I disagree with this. FORCING the players into a subserviant/background role isn't the best way to go about it either. Sure, you were THERE, but your being there didn't matter. You were "the sidekick" that came along, but never really did anything of note, rather than being the hero who DID stop the Big Bad, etc.

Within the confines of a multiplayer game, what it allows is for the story to unfold -- the same way it does in other MMOs where the character ISN'T the main hero/villain -- with you being center-stage and being PART of it, rather than being an extra.

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Such constraints then fail in the attempt because it actually closes off the world and opportunities more than it should... there is too much care and concern about the player being the hero. It cannot happen explicity, and should be done implicitly, as Blizzard does in WoW.

In WoW, your character is absolutely the hero... you are part of the story of every major event that happens in the game, but you don't need digital actors to read it to you - it's done through demonstration - through action.
Actually no, you're not. You're not "part of every major event that happens". Because the game-world will unfold however they want it to, regardless of what you do. The same way with ANY game-world. What you do has zero influence on what happens. You're a bit-player, written into the sidelines of the story ala "and The Great Hero Thagarash smote the mighty demon, and there were some other people along with him, but they're unimportant".

Now, they may have changed it since last I played WoW (pre-BC), but it was always the Big Names doing all the heavy lifting and such in the various stories, never the PC. It was never "YOU stopped the Big Bad", it was "and then Thrall smote him", or "and then Jaina Proudmoore stopped the attack", etc. You were just along for the ride.

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As such, I am free to fill in the gaps with my imagination, thereby truly attaching to my character, as opposed to the faceless protagonist given to us here, and set forth on the rails that we can't truly deviate from.
You think other games don't run on rails too? At least in TOR you have SOME control over where things go, via choices. It's still mostly on rails, yes, but so is every MMO. You have no choice how the story plays out. It will happen exactly as the writers say it will. The quest to stop the big evil lich guy? It will end with him being defeated. Period. Just like every other big bad guy. The difference is, in TOR YOU are the one who stopped him. Not the Big Name NPCs who step in at the last moment and do the job for you, according to the lore.

And I'm perfectly free to fill in all sorts of things with my imagination in this game, too.

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In the MMO space, your character NEEDs to be a cog in the machine, not the hero. But he can still be completely heroic. You shouldn't expect to influence the story in any way, but be a part of the epic tale that is being told. And above all you should have very little personal story at all, because it takes away from what your character can truly be.
Again, I disagree. Quite strongly, in fact, with your idea that the character "shouldn't expect to influence the story". If you have no influence, why are you even here? What is your purpose? Why do your actions matter? You could just as soon throw your weapon down, go home, and watch TV while eating chips if your actions have no impact on the story at all.

You say that impacting the story "takes away" from your character? I say NOT impacting the story takes away from it. If you have no influence on the outcome, your actions didn't matter. Therefore anything your character DOES doesn't matter. You've been written out of the story entirely. Not even "Heroic Extra #27". You simply don't matter.

If I have a choice between that and the story focusing around my PC, which MIGHT limit a couple of my choices here and there? I'll take the latter, thanks. I can use my imagination to blur some lines here and there, and smudge some details. But when the story says "the big evil dragon was defeated by <insert NPC name>", there's nothing you can do to write yourself into that story.

Quote: Originally Posted by Lethality View Post
Ok, I seem to be rambling in the last post...
Don't worry about it, I ramble all the time.
Weave maid such progress, but knot without accost. In deed, won wonders weather two take a fence. Each thyme oui real lion a computer, wheel ooze a bit of hours elves. Two much technology may knot bee sew suite, and we joust can't real eye two much on spell Czech. Sea the problem hear?

Selenial's Avatar


Selenial
02.19.2012 , 03:16 PM | #63
Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
Well, figure a generation every 25 years (or so, considering that apparently in SW they consider 60 or so to be "ancient", judging by other quests), that's 52 generations seperating you from Kallig.

Ghengis Khan lived less than 900 years ago, and something like 8% (just checked the study on it, it's 8%, not 20%) of all of asia's population is "descended" from him. For someone who lived 1300 years ago, you could have literally millions of people "descended" from him roaming the galaxy at any given time, assuming he was fairly active.
My calculations were waayyyyy off... Lol, tbh tho i reckon a generation would be 30-35 yrs, but nice goin :P However if they were sold into slavery, many would have been killed
The Mandalorian Wars were a series of massacres that masked another war, a war of conversion. Culminating in a final atrocity that no Jedi could walk away fromů save one.
Zarys Sorcerer Cathinka Seeliara Sage
Force In Balance - The Harbinger

LyriaFrost's Avatar


LyriaFrost
02.19.2012 , 03:37 PM | #64
Quote: Originally Posted by Selenial View Post
My calculations were waayyyyy off... Lol, tbh tho i reckon a generation would be 30-35 yrs, but nice goin :P However if they were sold into slavery, many would have been killed
Well, even at 35 years per generation, that's still 37 generations.

It wouldn't take someone CLOSE to him being sold into slavery, either. It could be his great great great great great, etc, grandchild, down in generation 32, 33, 34, etc. When you're going back that many generations, the tree is (hopefully) pretty broad. Unless it's a family stick, then you're in trouble.
Weave maid such progress, but knot without accost. In deed, won wonders weather two take a fence. Each thyme oui real lion a computer, wheel ooze a bit of hours elves. Two much technology may knot bee sew suite, and we joust can't real eye two much on spell Czech. Sea the problem hear?

Idunhavaname's Avatar


Idunhavaname
02.19.2012 , 03:43 PM | #65
OP actually have a point. The character you are playing is not YOUR character but BioWare's. In the end, you did the exact same thing as everyone else so the advertisement is a bit misleading (no surprises there since its EA).
.

RIP orange pixel

Lethality's Avatar


Lethality
02.19.2012 , 06:56 PM | #66
Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
See, I disagree with this. FORCING the players into a subserviant/background role isn't the best way to go about it either. Sure, you were THERE, but your being there didn't matter. You were "the sidekick" that came along, but never really did anything of note, rather than being the hero who DID stop the Big Bad, etc.
I don't look at it like that... I was an instrumental member of the team that killed Illidan, The Lich King and Deathwing (and maybe soon a giant Panda). In the continuity of the story in my mind, I was part of all of that even though it wasn't _about_ me. I wasn't the sidekick... I was the unexpected reluctant hero that rose up to the greatest challenges facing the entire world!

Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
Within the confines of a multiplayer game, what it allows is for the story to unfold -- the same way it does in other MMOs where the character ISN'T the main hero/villain -- with you being center-stage and being PART of it, rather than being an extra.
But you aren't truly center stage in the game that everyone else is playing - a key difference from what single player games give to players.

Yes, you are central in your story, but that is a fraction of what the world story which everyone is participating in. I think this is a big mis-step in trying to bring "story" to MMOs. The "big story" can't be about the player, it has to be about the game

Also as I said, I think bu game designers resorting to the old "make every player the hero!" they are pandering too much to the "game" side of things and not enough to the "world" side of things, and are missing out on some real opportunities for innovation in gameplay.


Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
Actually no, you're not. You're not "part of every major event that happens". Because the game-world will unfold however they want it to, regardless of what you do.
That's GREAT though, because the tale actually being told is EPIC! Why would I need to influence it if it's a great story? I mean, would you want to play a game about the Fellowship of the Ring that had Gollum throw Frodo into Mount Doom instead?

Hell no! But being along for that journey and getting to experience that tale and yes, be a part of it - as written - is awesome!

But surely you see the problem with this in the context of a multiplayer game - you cannot have those big decisions be so different. The story has to be the story for everyone, due to continuity. So why even try? It weakens the entire effort.


Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
You think other games don't run on rails too? At least in TOR you have SOME control over where things go, via choices. It's still mostly on rails, yes, but so is every MMO. You have no choice how the story plays out. It will happen exactly as the writers say it will. The quest to stop the big evil lich guy? It will end with him being defeated. Period. Just like every other big bad guy. The difference is, in TOR YOU are the one who stopped him. Not the Big Name NPCs who step in at the last moment and do the job for you, according to the lore.
I think this is a key difference between our perspectives. I don't see how, in a multiplayer game, you can have it any other way. You cannot have different outcomes on a per-player basis for the big bads, or world story arcs. Taris can't be restored for one player, but not another, etc.

Yes, you're individual story can change, but those choices have little affect on anything at all here in TOR, or even your character! Honeslty, the choices only give you morality alignment one way or another, and even that has been lackluster... a few pieces of gear here and there. No abilities, no appearance, nothing! Hardly game-changing story decisions1


Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
Again, I disagree. Quite strongly, in fact, with your idea that the character "shouldn't expect to influence the story". If you have no influence, why are you even here? What is your purpose? Why do your actions matter? You could just as soon throw your weapon down, go home, and watch TV while eating chips if your actions have no impact on the story at all.
I've covered this above, but the mere act of my particiption of the story is the influence. "Without me" big bad X wouldn't have been defeated. I participated, and influenced the story....etc.

Quote: Originally Posted by LyriaFrost View Post
You say that impacting the story "takes away" from your character? I say NOT impacting the story takes away from it. If you have no influence on the outcome, your actions didn't matter. Therefore anything your character DOES doesn't matter. You've been written out of the story entirely. Not even "Heroic Extra #27". You simply don't matter.
The impact doesn't take away from it, the STORY ITSELF takes away from my character... because when it's presented as explicitly as it is in TOR, without any real influence or impact anyway, it's just suffocating and linear.
Interested in a Mac version of TOR? Show your support here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=683591

KitsuneWard's Avatar


KitsuneWard
02.19.2012 , 07:16 PM | #67
I don't entirely agree with that. What makes you think that 'you' killed Vancleef? Thousands of players did it. If you rp'd with someone and said, "I did it, with four of my buddies' you'd be called out pretty quick I'd think.

Lethality's Avatar


Lethality
02.19.2012 , 07:22 PM | #68
Quote: Originally Posted by KitsuneWard View Post
I don't entirely agree with that. What makes you think that 'you' killed Vancleef? Thousands of players did it. If you rp'd with someone and said, "I did it, with four of my buddies' you'd be called out pretty quick I'd think.
But in the continuity of the grand story being told, "you" participated in his defeat. Even if you did it 4 times to gather different loot, it still only counts as a "VanCleef defeat" in the continuity.

It's not an RP thing at all. It's being an integral part of every story already being told! I don't need to create one, I don't need to influence one, I don't need it to be explicitly about me, and I don't need digital actors reading it to me! The heroism is created by my character's actions, and that's all that's needed.
Interested in a Mac version of TOR? Show your support here: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=683591

LyriaFrost's Avatar


LyriaFrost
02.19.2012 , 08:03 PM | #69
Quote: Originally Posted by Lethality View Post
I don't look at it like that... I was an instrumental member of the team that killed Illidan, The Lich King and Deathwing (and maybe soon a giant Panda). In the continuity of the story in my mind, I was part of all of that even though it wasn't _about_ me. I wasn't the sidekick... I was the unexpected reluctant hero that rose up to the greatest challenges facing the entire world!
Except that you weren't. By your own argument, you SHOULD NOT be one of the people who was "instrumental" in defeating the big bad, because that means you're directly influencing the story. Something that you say a PC in an MMO should NEVER DO. You see my point?

Here's the thing. The TOR storyline, due to the nature of how it's portrayed, FEELS different than other MMO stories. Because it pulls you into the narrative, and makes it about you. If it were just text-based quests, with no interaction, no dialogue options, etc? It would be just like every other MMO out there. Or, to flip it around, if WoW were done with cutscenes for the quests, it would push YOU to the forefront, because as you say, YOU are the one going out and doing these things. YOU were the one who was "instrumental" in taking down the big bads.

Yet you feel TOR is "horribly wrong" for doing the exact same thing that other games do, just in a different format. This is why I'm having a hard time with your argument. You seem to be arguing two different things at the same time. You want to be "just a cog in the machine", but at the same time you want to feel like you're an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT cog, one who was, again, "instrumental" in defeating the big enemies of the game.

You can't have it both ways.

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But you aren't truly center stage in the game that everyone else is playing - a key difference from what single player games give to players.
Just like you weren't "instrumental" in defeating any of the big enemies in WoW, right? You were just one of thousands who did the exact same thing, so your own personal accomplishment is meaningless, right? You're just a cog in the machine. Except you don't want to feel that way. You want to feel like you were important, and relevant to the story, by your own admission.

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Yes, you are central in your story, but that is a fraction of what the world story which everyone is participating in. I think this is a big mis-step in trying to bring "story" to MMOs. The "big story" can't be about the player, it has to be about the game
And each character's story is only a fraction of the world's story. There is all sorts of stuff going on in the universe. Each character FEELS like they're at the center of it, because the story is told in such a way as to draw you into it and put you at the center of events.

Let me address the bolded part of your quote.

You say it can't be about the player. Yet quests in EVERY SINGLE MMO are written from the standpoint that YOU are the one going out to defeat the big enemy. YOU are the one that will succeed, where countless others have failed. YOU are the hero of the story, because it's a quest given to YOU. In a single-player game, this is easily accomplished, since you're the only one playing it.

However, MMOs use the same basic concept of giving a quest to a player, and having them go off and do it. And the quests are set up so that you arrive there in time to stop the evil bad guy from performing his world-ending ritual, or killing the princess, or laying waste to the countryside. YOU are the one that stops him. Not the thousands of other players in the game-world. YOU.

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Also as I said, I think bu game designers resorting to the old "make every player the hero!" they are pandering too much to the "game" side of things and not enough to the "world" side of things, and are missing out on some real opportunities for innovation in gameplay.
You can't have quests that involve any sort of threat to anything without putting PCs in place as the heroes. If you want a game where everyone is just a nameless peon existing in the world, you'd have to make a game where there are no big threats. No major quests. No giant enemies to be defeated. Your quest for today? Go down to the market and pick up some milk. The optional part of it: do you give the homeless guy change, or not? Dun dun DUN! Character development choice!

MMOs, and games in general, are about playing something that you are not. I'm not a galaxy-traveling bounty hunter who guns people down and rakes in giant paychecks for kicking ***. Yet my character is. And I enjoy the fact that my character gets a reputation, and DOES become one of the "big name" bounty hunters in the game-universe, AS IT PERTAINS TO ME. That last bit is the important part. And it refers back to your original point.

See, in your mind, you say you were instrumental in defeating the big named bosses. But you weren't. Not really. They would just sit there waiting until people entered the instance and hacked their way to them. They won't go about their nefarious plots when no PCs are around to interact with. That's the nature of a game. But what makes for a good game, and a good story, is if it draws you into it, and makes you part of the story. It doesn't HAVE to make you "the big hero", but the PC must be at least integral -- there's that word again -- to the culmination of the story, otherwise their presence is completely pointless.

Do you know the concept of "Chekhov's Gun"? It's the story concept where you show a somewhat irrelevant item (in this case, the PC) early on in the story, such as a gun hanging on a wall, and by the end of the story, that item becomes integral to the story (the PC's actions are essential in defeating the big bad). You cannot write a story in which the player is going to participate if the player is not going to be important. Otherwise their presence is rendered moot, and you should simply write them out of the story.

It would be akin to the scene in Star Wars where Luke is getting blasted by force lightning, and Vader decides to toss the emporor down the shaft. Except this time, you have a random republic guy (the PC) standing nearby, watching, and the camera keeps panning to him. He's irrelevant to the story; the other characters don't interact with him, and he doesn't do anything. But he's there. That seems to be half of your argument about what the PC's role should be in the world.

Let me ask you this. I'll make a game where you're just "an average joe" character. You aren't really involved in any of the plots. You're not influencing important events. You're just a nameless cog in the machine, as you said you wanted to be. The big named guys that get taken down? You didn't do anything to facilitate that. You were THERE, but only so far as you were one of the background characters who watched The Heroes take them down. Maybe you cheered. Maybe you were one of the guys in the Army of Men behind Aragorn when he gave his rousing speech, and said "For Frodo" and charged the lines of Mordor. But you weren't important. You were just a replaceable body.

Would you honestly want to play that game? Would you feel like you ACCOMPLISHED something, after spending days of play-time, to find out that at the end of the giant quest, you had to stand back and watch a cut-scene of NPCs beating the big bad guys? I wouldn't.

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That's GREAT though, because the tale actually being told is EPIC! Why would I need to influence it if it's a great story? I mean, would you want to play a game about the Fellowship of the Ring that had Gollum throw Frodo into Mount Doom instead?
See above. And see my first response. You keep vascillating back and forth between "I don't want to influence the story" and "I want to be at the heart of things, and think that I was instrumental in the outcome".

Which is it? You can't have both.

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Hell no! But being along for that journey and getting to experience that tale and yes, be a part of it - as written - is awesome!

But surely you see the problem with this in the context of a multiplayer game - you cannot have those big decisions be so different. The story has to be the story for everyone, due to continuity. So why even try? It weakens the entire effort.
So why bother writing quests, then? Okay, your quest is to go kill 10 wolves. That's all. Why should the devs write ANY quest that involves major events, since players shouldn't be allowed to influence them?

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I think this is a key difference between our perspectives. I don't see how, in a multiplayer game, you can have it any other way. You cannot have different outcomes on a per-player basis for the big bads, or world story arcs. Taris can't be restored for one player, but not another, etc.
Of course not. But that's where the players' imagination comes in. Surely you don't think that you ALONE defeated all those big named mobs in WoW, right? Of course you didn't. You're one of tens of thousands who did. But, again, you FEEL like you were "instrumental" in their defeat. Because for your own narrative, you WERE. The quest was given to YOU, and you accomplished it. When you came back, the NPC said "WOW! You did it! Oh my GOD! You're an amazing hero!"

Would you rather they said "Meh, get in line, rewards are given out at window 2. Congrats, here's your sticker."?

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Yes, you're individual story can change, but those choices have little affect on anything at all here in TOR, or even your character! Honeslty, the choices only give you morality alignment one way or another, and even that has been lackluster... a few pieces of gear here and there. No abilities, no appearance, nothing! Hardly game-changing story decisions1
As opposed to...? Personally, some of the decisions my characters have made HAVE affected the game world -- from MY perspective, within the context of my narrative. Just like defeating the big bad monsters in other MMOs changes the game world for YOUR narrative. I mean, we BOTH didn't stop Doctor Deathcannon's giant evil ray of doom, when he was threating to blow up the moon, right? It's not like he did that five million times, and got stopped over and over again. That would be silly.

For the narrative of you, and the group you were with, this was the ONE time he did it. And you stopped him. Within the context of your game, the world has changed. Doctor Deathcannon was defeated. Huzzah! Beer and cheese fries for all! But the game, as a GAME, hasn't changed.

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I've covered this above, but the mere act of my particiption of the story is the influence. "Without me" big bad X wouldn't have been defeated. I participated, and influenced the story....etc.
Which is, not to belabor the point (too late!), something that you've repeatedly said that the PCs should NEVER DO. The PCs should NOT be able to influence the story. It should NEVER be about the PCs accomplishing a goal that was important to the world. Because that would push the PCs to center-stage. Something that you've claimed should never happen.

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The impact doesn't take away from it, the STORY ITSELF takes away from my character... because when it's presented as explicitly as it is in TOR, without any real influence or impact anyway, it's just suffocating and linear.
It's just like every other MMO out there. Hate to break it to you, but the story in WoW, that you felt was so liberating? It's run on rails too. Same for LOTRO, CoH, DCU, Aion, EQ, etc, etc, etc.

The reason TOR feels different? Cutscenes. Dialogue choices. If the quests were written in the "standard" MMO format, where you click on an NPC, a text window pops up, you read (or not) the quest, and go off to do it, TOR would feel the same as every other MMO out there.

The cutscenes are what make it feel more like a story you're interacting with. It's the same basic story concept that every MMO has. Hero rises from nothing, becomes a great power within the world. Yadda yadda.

The other games just don't drive it home in the same sort of personal way that TOR does, via the cutscenes and voiced dialogue.

(yet another novella, sheesh)

TL;DR version: I don't agree, nanny nanny boo boo.
Weave maid such progress, but knot without accost. In deed, won wonders weather two take a fence. Each thyme oui real lion a computer, wheel ooze a bit of hours elves. Two much technology may knot bee sew suite, and we joust can't real eye two much on spell Czech. Sea the problem hear?

Aeramen's Avatar


Aeramen
02.20.2012 , 02:55 AM | #70
Go through the motions, then ignore them. None of my characters' backstories are anything like their starting zones would offer, and hell's bells, I'm not about to tag myself as a "Jedi Master" or anything to that effect. Quest content is one thing. Roleplaying is another.