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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

rethrox's Avatar


rethrox
12.29.2013 , 11:20 AM | #81
Quote: Originally Posted by DarthDymond View Post
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.
This ^^^^^ all of this, i agree!
If they do more Oricron type content on how they mixed it with story and dailies will work great. With more space maps for gsf to boot. One thing I think they should add to the formula is new companions with the story arcs for the planets. They do not need to add on existing companion stories, for example: the quest givers for each faction on the planet of Oricron could be the end result companion, that you could earn through max rep. Then after that is done, he or she would have more missions to do with affliction, even 3 small missions going out with a new companion would be fun, even if it would take you to other planets. This way they could use the current voice actor for more content, and people could have an option for a new companion, which IMO brings a fresh touch to the game. I know playing with Treek and HK was fun, even on classes I had already ran through the story.

markcymru's Avatar


markcymru
12.29.2013 , 11:21 AM | #82
The principle behind the original levels 1-50 is that you have 8 class-oriented stories each leading towards its own conclusion at level 50. So there’s a ton of re-playability – you level one character in a particular class, and when you finish that class story, you go back and create another character in a different class and level that character. Et cetera, until you’ve done all 8. And that takes quite a while for most people, so it’s actually still fun to go back and re-play any class again, aided by the fact that you could go down the alternative AC so that it would feel different.

Then we came to RotHC, where the principle is that there are no class-specific story differences in going from levels 51 to 55. Like many players, I’m finding the repeatability to be very low. Frankly, it gets tiresome fast. In other words, not nearly as much re-playability as the 1-50 levels.

We’ve been assuming that the next expansion has to be for levels 56-60… and that means that you’re stuck with taking forward only the character(s) that you levelled to 55 on Makeb. Two problems with that: (1) in effect, you have to choose at level 50 which character you’re going to stay with for all future levels in that faction, and (2) since it doesn’t take too long to play one character through 5 levels to finish the story arc, new planets have to come pretty fast. The alternative, if you’d rather take a different character through 56-60, is that you have to tediously take that second character through the same story on Makeb first. However way you slice it, players who are here for the story are faced with a lot of boring over-and-over-again activity if they want to keep on playing.

But there’s a different possibility. What if the next expansion was also from 51to 55? Unlike from 1-50, the story line would not be a parallel class-based arc, but a parallel faction-based arc. Players could then take a different character through that new 51-55 arc. After BioWare has released 4 of these 51-55 story arcs, they could start on 56-60.

To make things more interesting, the new 51-55 story arc could sometimes not be about the war per se, but be a ‘personal’ story based around romance. Like Casablanca (lol) – and don’t worry, there would still be lots of rescuing/betrayal/fighting/DS or LS choices/etc !
“The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.” — Lewis's Law

rethrox's Avatar


rethrox
12.29.2013 , 11:31 AM | #83
Quote: Originally Posted by markcymru View Post
The principle behind the original levels 1-50 is that you have 8 class-oriented stories each leading towards its own conclusion at level 50. So there’s a ton of re-playability – you level one character in a particular class, and when you finish that class story, you go back and create another character in a different class and level that character. Et cetera, until you’ve done all 8. And that takes quite a while for most people, so it’s actually still fun to go back and re-play any class again, aided by the fact that you could go down the alternative AC so that it would feel different.

Then we came to RotHC, where the principle is that there are no class-specific story differences in going from levels 51 to 55. Like many players, I’m finding the repeatability to be very low. Frankly, it gets tiresome fast. In other words, not nearly as much re-playability as the 1-50 levels.

We’ve been assuming that the next expansion has to be for levels 56-60… and that means that you’re stuck with taking forward only the character(s) that you levelled to 55 on Makeb. Two problems with that: (1) in effect, you have to choose at level 50 which character you’re going to stay with for all future levels in that faction, and (2) since it doesn’t take too long to play one character through 5 levels to finish the story arc, new planets have to come pretty fast. The alternative, if you’d rather take a different character through 56-60, is that you have to tediously take that second character through the same story on Makeb first. However way you slice it, players who are here for the story are faced with a lot of boring over-and-over-again activity if they want to keep on playing.

But there’s a different possibility. What if the next expansion was also from 51to 55? Unlike from 1-50, the story line would not be a parallel class-based arc, but a parallel faction-based arc. Players could then take a different character through that new 51-55 arc. After BioWare has released 4 of these 51-55 story arcs, they could start on 56-60.

To make things more interesting, the new 51-55 story arc could sometimes not be about the war per se, but be a ‘personal’ story based around romance. Like Casablanca (lol) – and don’t worry, there would still be lots of rescuing/betrayal/fighting/DS or LS choices/etc !
They could try it. I know I have played makeb only one time on each side(pub,imp), and that was enough. Its a borefest unless you stealth. CZ is good enough with BH and Sec X. I liked how they gave higher level gear out at 55 with oricron, you get a guildy or a friend to help you run the stories, your geard, like it was at 50 before makeb. I still think they should just make more Oricron type updates, More ways to level is fun, kind of like you sugest.

tekhiun's Avatar


tekhiun
12.29.2013 , 03:49 PM | #84
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.
This one makes more sense OP, sorry.
Star Wars: Attack of the Cartel.

Damask_Rose's Avatar


Damask_Rose
12.29.2013 , 04:05 PM | #85
The problem with Oricon is that if you aren't a raider there is only about one hour of content and then it's just the same old daily grind that we already have plenty of. Having the story end mid way through for soloers was bad form and I hope they never do that again. I did it once and felt like I was given the bird and haven't bothered bringing a second character through.

Please let me change Theron's clothes!

And fix Vector & Scourge's clothing issues too!

Khyle's Avatar


Khyle
12.29.2013 , 07:29 PM | #86
Quote: Originally Posted by Damask_Rose View Post
The problem with Oricon is that if you aren't a raider there is only about one hour of content and then it's just the same old daily grind that we already have plenty of. Having the story end mid way through for soloers was bad form and I hope they never do that again. I did it once and felt like I was given the bird and haven't bothered bringing a second character through.
Totally agreed, the storyline was enjoyable but when I saw I needed to complete operations to know the ending I felt as if I was being given the middle finger.

I'm not saying "don't make more Ops", but after 2 years of game's life they should have got the idea in their heads that if we don't want to do operations we just are not going to do so, just give up on that losing fight. Putting the end of a initially soloable storyline gated behind raids and forcing solo players to watch it on youtube is only going to piss them off. Mixing solo quests with flashpoints or heroics (Seeker Droid, Microbinoculars, HK-51, etc) is one thing, doing so with raids is entirely another matter.
"You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim's spared... because she smiled, cos he's got freckles, cos they begged. And that's how you live with yourself, that's how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction… you happen to be kind."

Andryah's Avatar


Andryah
12.29.2013 , 07:40 PM | #87
Quote: Originally Posted by JMCA View Post
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.
I largely agree with your earlier analysis and posts in this thread. The thing is, deep story in classic Bioware Fashion is largely poor ROI for an MMO audience. Sure.. some people drool for it, but for a broad appeal MMO audience, (and clearly they are targeting broad appeal audiences with this MMO), you need to continue to add story content as you expand the game, but the return on investment is much more compelling from a total business standpoint by making story arcs faction based rather then class based. I know people don't like to hear that, but unless/until this game is running at classic WoW sized run rates, from a commercial standpoint.. I would do exactly what they are doing. It will turn some players off (the people who really only crave deep Bioware style story), but it won't turn off the broader audience.
--------------------- Don't bother. I'm Not Here. ---------------------

Pietrastor's Avatar


Pietrastor
12.29.2013 , 07:41 PM | #88
Quote: Originally Posted by Khyle View Post
Totally agreed, the storyline was enjoyable but when I saw I needed to complete operations to know the ending I felt as if I was being given the middle finger.

I'm not saying "don't make more Ops", but after 2 years of game's life they should have got the idea in their heads that if we don't want to do operations we just are not going to do so, just give up on that losing fight. Putting the end of a initially soloable storyline gated behind raids and forcing solo players to watch it on youtube is only going to piss them off. Mixing solo quests with flashpoints or heroics (Seeker Droid, Microbinoculars, HK-51, etc) is one thing, doing so with raids is entirely another matter.
But at the same time Fortress/Palace are the first ops with actual strong story context so I'm a bit conflicted here. In any case, Oricon should be the at the LOW-end of acceptable amount of story content in future updates, not th other way. Section X, Black Hole or Czerka feel like pure grind with their 2/3 cutscenes in total. If every update was like Ilum/Oricon (yes I know Ilum wasn't an update), then it would actually feel like the episodes of a TV series in MMO format they were aiming for.

Mowermanx's Avatar


Mowermanx
12.29.2013 , 08:42 PM | #89
Quote: Originally Posted by markcymru View Post
The principle behind the original levels 1-50 is that you have 8 class-oriented stories each leading towards its own conclusion at level 50. So there’s a ton of re-playability – you level one character in a particular class, and when you finish that class story, you go back and create another character in a different class and level that character. Et cetera, until you’ve done all 8. And that takes quite a while for most people, so it’s actually still fun to go back and re-play any class again, aided by the fact that you could go down the alternative AC so that it would feel different.

Then we came to RotHC, where the principle is that there are no class-specific story differences in going from levels 51 to 55. Like many players, I’m finding the repeatability to be very low. Frankly, it gets tiresome fast. In other words, not nearly as much re-playability as the 1-50 levels.

We’ve been assuming that the next expansion has to be for levels 56-60… and that means that you’re stuck with taking forward only the character(s) that you levelled to 55 on Makeb. Two problems with that: (1) in effect, you have to choose at level 50 which character you’re going to stay with for all future levels in that faction, and (2) since it doesn’t take too long to play one character through 5 levels to finish the story arc, new planets have to come pretty fast. The alternative, if you’d rather take a different character through 56-60, is that you have to tediously take that second character through the same story on Makeb first. However way you slice it, players who are here for the story are faced with a lot of boring over-and-over-again activity if they want to keep on playing.

But there’s a different possibility. What if the next expansion was also from 51to 55? Unlike from 1-50, the story line would not be a parallel class-based arc, but a parallel faction-based arc. Players could then take a different character through that new 51-55 arc. After BioWare has released 4 of these 51-55 story arcs, they could start on 56-60.

To make things more interesting, the new 51-55 story arc could sometimes not be about the war per se, but be a ‘personal’ story based around romance. Like Casablanca (lol) – and don’t worry, there would still be lots of rescuing/betrayal/fighting/DS or LS choices/etc !
A lot of people are hitting 55 before makeb, either on corellia or ilum, and that is without pvp, space or any double xp, so you could do what you suggest quite easily anyway

Marb's Avatar


Marb
12.30.2013 , 12:10 AM | #90
Quote: Originally Posted by Tsillah View Post
Don't really see the point there though. On my server 16 man raids are all the rage. Everybody wants their commendations and 16 man pugs are of remarkable acceptable quality most of the time and there are groups forming on the fleet regularly.

What you suggest doesn't work for another reason in my view. Role definition is part of building mechanics. If 16 dps could run an ops, what will that do to mechanics? Without having healers the damage output of bosses cannot be too high or people would be constantly wiping, worsened by the fact that there would be no tanks possibly.

In effect this would make bosses high HP/defense monsters that just take a while to take down. And what if the damage output is low for such bosses? People will bring in a tank and a healer and run 16 man content with as few people as possible to maximise loot and then you still don't have the grouping you want. In the end the enrage timers would have to go because you can't set a dps standard for a boss fight since a group of tanks or healers should be able to run it too.

There is a game out that has that. It's called GW2 and they added a generic dodge mechanic so people can dodge instakill circles and unlimited combat ressing to deal with the damage. Honestly, I played it and it bored me to death.

If you want role neutral operations, you'd have to come up with some completely new concept. Not saying it's not possible but it would be hard to put into an existing game without it becoming boring or silly.
Yea it's just an idea. I was trying to outline how "operation" could just mean "lots of players group up to take on bosses" outside of strict role designed content with weekly lockouts like we have now for story mode. At an entry tier, getting players to group together to do things would be a first step, with subsequent difficulty tiers being designed for the classic role setup balanced for 8/16players.

Something like scenarios from WoW but on a larger scale and flexible group sizes acting as the story/introduction. Some players play half way through the oricon story only to have it gated behind an operation, which even at present, doesn't attract as much participation as it should. Many players avoid raid content for a variety of reasons, and due to the way the game is designed, miss out on some story beats. One way to make raid content a better use of development time would be to try to increase the proportion of the population that participate by redefining what "operation" means in swtor at the story mode entry point.
Harbinger