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Why Class Stories and Companion Arcs Are Dead

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
Why Class Stories and Companion Arcs Are Dead

Sangrar's Avatar


Sangrar
12.26.2013 , 05:16 PM | #11
Quote: Originally Posted by Phrase View Post
The reason why there won't be anymore story is that the original development team realized two months into launch that 8 single player rpg games shoe-horned into a co-op environment isn't the same thing as an mmo, then promptly abandoned ship.
its an MMORPG, its supposed to have both though, the rp part which is the stories and MMO part which is flashpoints, heroics, ops, warzones, world bosses, and the fact that you can group up with anyone at any time. Besides, they haven't abandoned ship, GSF is proof they did not abandon ship, we have even gotten 2 new companions (before someone starts going "but their not class companions" what would happen if say, only the knight could get HK? The other classes would yell and kick " I want my HK!")
[Bastion]Guildmaster<Galactic Saviors>-War Hero Spaceboomer-55 Commando/Captain Starforce-55 Scoundrel/Darth Caddar-55 Juggernaut/Lord Brakaras-32 Assassin/Master Teckan-38 Sage/Firefighter-27 Powertech/Nightprowler-13 Sniper
refferal link for returning players and free character transfer and free inventory slot

theonetruebleed's Avatar


theonetruebleed
12.26.2013 , 05:18 PM | #12
I hate it when people bring up the death of class stories. It makes me really sad.

I quietly acknowledge that, in all probability, we will never see new class stories, any of the QoL improvements i'd really like to see, nor any of the things the community has asked for, it just breaks my heart a little every time i'm reminded of it. It's hard to watch such a great IP fall on such hard times.

I just keep telling myself that things have to improve, and I am just holding onto that one notion because I really, really love SW.

DarthDymond's Avatar


DarthDymond
12.26.2013 , 05:26 PM | #13
Opportunity Cost is absolutely the reason why we won't see resources devoted to completely separate class stories (with the possible exception if we see a full boxed expansion a couple years down the line, which I doubt is a direction they'll choose to go).
Quote: Originally Posted by JMCA View Post
The purpose of this post is to explain to everyone who is hoping for the Fourth Pillar to come back why it is not going to happen.
[...]
Those high quality story arcs are never coming back.
But that only means the Fourth Pillar is gone if you think meaningful story content can only be delivered in the form of fully separate class & companion stories. Faction-specific storylines obviously have less replayability than individual class stories, but I don't see why so many people act as if EA/BW gave up on Story altogether when they moved in that direction.

In my opinion, Makeb had a better world arc than any other planet in the game, and a story on par with the best of the class storylines. It had a much grander and more cinematic feel throughout and better pacing. How much of this was already plotted out before the initial writing team left, I don't pretend to know, but I do know that we got significant "Fourth Pillar" content in RotHC.

Personally, I hope that future leveling planets (once they raise the cap in a future expansion) will include a small number of class-specific missions interspersed with the main faction quest-line, as well having the lead-in conversation strongly contextualize why each individual character is on that faction quest.

There is a balance that can be struck to increase replay value and the "feel" of playing a different class without having to dump in four times the development costs for unique class quest-lines.
Given the choice whether to rule a corrupt and failing empire or to challenge the fates for another throw, a better throw, against one's destiny, what was a king to do?
But does one ever truly have a choice? One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate, and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
~Kain

JMCA's Avatar


JMCA
12.26.2013 , 05:54 PM | #14
Sure, Makeb was a good story but it isn't the kind of deep story that Bioware games have been for years. That's the quality element I was talking about.

Old school Bioware games weren't just great stories on their own - they were great stories that you could experience in totally different ways each time you played through them.

I did post a compromise between the polarities of Elder Game class stories and Makeb that I'll bring here for you guys to look at

Quote: Originally Posted by JMCA View Post
I think a compromise that work between full class story arcs and an indifferent one that doesn't mention them more than a few lines would be the following:

Overall Story Arc
1
2
3 Communication 1
4
5 Communication 2
6
7 Communication 3
Class Story Mission

At 3, 5, and 7, you get communications from your crew or contacts from your class story regarding evolving matters that are of concern to them. You don't go off to take care of them because of your status at this point and your involvement in the Overall Story Arc. There can be LS/DS choices here in how to handle a tricky situation.

Once you deal with 7, and complete the Overall Story Arc, you get a mission for your class story that was explained by the communications throughout the Overall Story. This would be more impactful, like how you got summons to Darth Zash's ritual, the Uphrates lead, etc. There you deal with whatever the issue or threat was to your class.

It wouldn't be that hard to build intermittent conversations and one mission for the 8 classes, as opposed to designing the entire planet to house several areas for each class to use for their story. The location of the missions could be old or new - I don't think anyone would complain on the Empire side about having to go back to the Dark Council chambers for something huge, or to Tython, etc.

arunav's Avatar


arunav
12.26.2013 , 05:55 PM | #15
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthDymond View Post
Opportunity Cost is absolutely the reason why we won't see resources devoted to completely separate class stories (with the possible exception if we see a full boxed expansion a couple years down the line, which I doubt is a direction they'll choose to go).

But that only means the Fourth Pillar is gone if you think meaningful story content can only be delivered in the form of fully separate class & companion stories. Faction-specific storylines obviously have less replayability than individual class stories, but I don't see why so many people act as if EA/BW gave up on Story altogether when they moved in that direction.

In my opinion, Makeb had a better world arc than any other planet in the game, and a story on par with the best of the class storylines. It had a much grander and more cinematic feel throughout and better pacing. How much of this was already plotted out before the initial writing team left, I don't pretend to know, but I do know that we got significant "Fourth Pillar" content in RotHC.

Personally, I hope that future leveling planets (once they raise the cap in a future expansion) will include a small number of class-specific missions interspersed with the main faction quest-line, as well having the lead-in conversation strongly contextualize why each individual character is on that faction quest.

There is a balance that can be struck to increase replay value and the "feel" of playing a different class without having to dump in four times the development costs for unique class quest-lines.
You must have played a different RotHC. The Republic story was significantly worse with less dialogue than most of the original planets, and the Imperial one was on par, though it didn't make sense for some classes. Both were extremely short for an expansion.

If the entire story were voiced, it may have felt different (the heroics and weekly missions especially, which make up for a significant part of the Makeb arc). But most of the planet was on a terminal.

That said, Makeb looked and still does look amazing. So their trick Cantina tour question isn't entirely without merit - I did enjoy Makeb (once on the Republic side, twice on the Imperial side, leveling every other character with daily missions). It's just a shell of what the other planets felt like playing through, with visuals to try and make up for it.

Lithy's Avatar


Lithy
12.26.2013 , 05:55 PM | #16
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthDymond View Post
In my opinion, Makeb had a better world arc than any other planet in the game, and a story on par with the best of the class storylines. It had a much grander and more cinematic feel throughout and better pacing. How much of this was already plotted out before the initial writing team left, I don't pretend to know, but I do know that we got significant "Fourth Pillar" content in RotHC.
And to me it felt like they took what they had written for the Trooper and Imperial Agents Makeb class stories way back when and then forced the other 6 to fit into that and scraped theirs. So while Makeb felt awesome on my Commando and Sniper, it felt like no one else belonged there and was one of the worst story arcs I'd ever done because it FELT rushed, cobbled together, and not designed with those classes in mind. I hope they don't do that again, I know they will...but I can hope. At the very least I hope the story is actually good and well written for ALL eight classes, and not just two of them.

Not trying to say your opinion is invalid btw. Just saying mine as there is always 2 sides.
Lithíum Hartshotte, Sniper
Exit Area

Tallianna Hartshotte, Gunslinger
Officer of Shadowed

DarthDymond's Avatar


DarthDymond
12.26.2013 , 06:31 PM | #17
Even beyond RotHC, Oricon gives me hope that EA/BW is still putting proper effort into "Fourth Pillar" content for the game. Just looking at how they have been constantly tweaking their approach to Story in their Daily Areas:

Ilum: quests that would otherwise be one-time side quests are made into repeatable Dailies, with full voice-over conversations on each and spread out over a relatively large map, the same as one-time world quests.
  • Nice the first time you play through, but very tedious after that as you're hearing the same voiced dialogue over, and over, and over again, when after a while you probably just want to get the Dailies done.

Black Hole: a voice-over "breadcrumb" quest to get you to the area, most of the Daily Quests are quickly acquired terminal quests, with one voice-over Heroic quest that acts as a finale to the plot to the plot of the area.
  • Quicker and less tedious from a "get your Dailies done" perspective, and the voice-over breadcrumb gives a bit of context to the area with the voice-over Heroic wrapping it up alright, but the individual terminal quests don't have any appreciable story to them at all, and after a couple of times you're probably spacebar-ing through the Heroic.

Section X & CZ-198: a voice-over breadcrumb quest to get you to the area, all of the Dailies are terminal quests, with either a discrete one-time voiced-over questline (Sec.X's HK-51 quest) separate from the Dailies or a wrap-up conversation after you finish the terminal quests once and a pair of associated Flashpoints (CZ-198).
  • Aside from the context the breadcrumb & wrap-up quests give, which kind of give the impression that what you're doing fits into an overall story progression, there is no real story content at all to the Daily quests themselves. The areas themselves are 100% committed to "get your Dailies done quickly" gameplay.

Oricon: voice-over breadcrumb quest to get you to the area, then fully voiced over versions of each quest that advance the story up to two Operations with a wrap-up conversation at the end. After all of the solo and Heroic quests are done, they become terminal quests repeatable without the voice-over interactions.
  • In my opinion, here is where EA/BW got it right. The area feels like a shorter faction-specific questline, helped by the fact that its the culmination of an ongoing plotline. You get a mini world arc that genuinely feels like a part of the game's overall story throughout the first time you play through it, and afterwards you get a manageable-sized area where you can quickly pick up all your Dailies without rehearing the same voice-overs, and complete them in a reasonable amount of time (only complaint is the mob density).

They let the pendulum swing too far away from Story content with Sec.X and CZ-198, and then they corrected it. Oricon actually shows how you can make a Daily area, with all the cost-effective return they're looking for in a replayable grind, that still feels like an integrated part of the game's storyline (without turning any more tedious than dailies always are on subsequent runs).

It's steps like this that makes it seem to me like the Fourth Pillar is still something they're keeping in mind.
Given the choice whether to rule a corrupt and failing empire or to challenge the fates for another throw, a better throw, against one's destiny, what was a king to do?
But does one ever truly have a choice? One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate, and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
~Kain

kEs_Ha's Avatar


kEs_Ha
12.26.2013 , 06:39 PM | #18
I know somoene who went to one of the cantina tours and talked to some of the developers, who said that in the near future we will get some makeeb story arcs but hinted that they already had the voice acting done for future story content and that it would take to long to set up a countionuation. Which means that the voice acting for class continuation is already done it would just take to long to implement it. AND the developers also hinted that its not OUT OF THE QUSTION.! So for the near future we will get makeeb story like planets and exp i only hope they bring back some more kotor planets like manan (the water planet), kashyk, dantoine or telos. i can wait 3-5 years for new class quests, provided the new content in-between is good!

PS: why do people allways have to say we will NEVER GET THIS, WE WILL NEVER GET THAT. Chill bro, nothing worth wile comes that fast

DarthDymond's Avatar


DarthDymond
12.26.2013 , 07:00 PM | #19
Quote: Originally Posted by JMCA View Post
I did post a compromise between the polarities of Elder Game class stories and Makeb that I'll bring here for you guys to look at
Yep, that's the sort of "sweet spot" between reasonable development costs and getting the "feel" of a unique play-through the EA/BW can and should be trying for. Whether it's a variation on the "conversation and final quest" based approach you're talking about or the "integrated but unique" quests I've mentioned elsewhere:
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthDymond View Post
What BioWare really needs is to give the feel of playing a unique character, and there are cost-effective ways to do that without having to create a completely separate quest chain for each class. Honestly, the dialogue in Hutt Cartel did a much better job than I expected it to, but I think adding in a few class-specific quests to an overall faction story arc would go a long way.

Say the Empire is gearing up to attack a Republic stronghold, all the quests leading up to this point could have been the same for the faction (secure a landing zone, defeat the locals, kill an enemy commander, etc.) with class-specific dialogue like we saw in RotHC, but when you get to the 5th or 6th mission, the quest-giver tells you there is a concerted effort going on to set up the attack, and your part is:

Bounty Hunter: We need you to track down and capture a Republic commander who's deserted his post, his security clearance may still be valid and he will know the security procedures in the base.
Imperial Agent: We need you to infiltrate a nearby Republic outpost that is networked into the main base and slice in a virus that will deactivate their automated turrets.
Sith Warrior: We need you to wipe out a Republic squad patrolling near the base, if they're not eliminated they could reinforce the base once our attack begins and flank our forces.
Sith Inquisitor: Something-Something-Darkside

Scatter just a few of these throughout the overall course of a planet's quest chain, especially if one or two involve utilizing or deploying your companions, and BioWare can give the feel of a unique class experience even though 90% of the content is shared between all classes of the faction.
Aside:
Quote: Originally Posted by Lithy View Post
Not trying to say your opinion is invalid btw. Just saying mine as there is always 2 sides.
No worries mate, any time someone is talking about whether a story is "good" or "well written" or whatever it's going to be purely subjective. I actually had to go back and edit in the words "In my opinion" into my post since I usually just take that for granted (which can be a dangerous assumption to make on forums like this)
Given the choice whether to rule a corrupt and failing empire or to challenge the fates for another throw, a better throw, against one's destiny, what was a king to do?
But does one ever truly have a choice? One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate, and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
~Kain

Jrea's Avatar


Jrea
12.26.2013 , 07:11 PM | #20
Good Post.

Personally After finishing a class story I'm done with that character. Mekeb CZ, and everything that has been introduced since the launch is just cheep crap you can find just about anywhere else.

Never underestimate EA's "dead horse beating" and "cash cow milking" skills.