Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Story In My MMO

1st off anyone who has had a slight look at TOR, will have the distinct knowledge that the game will be about story. And like many found this concept very interesting and a nice fresh looks at the MMO as a hole.
BW have so far have reminded us at every conceivable opportunity of such (as if we had time to forget). The concept of geting the RPG in the MMORPG, is a great ambitious move on there part.

Though I have not played anything resembling anything like an RPG in years, as I find mmo's a more fun gene to play in. I think the last single player game I sat down and played was Monkey Island 3. This was only due to the fact I had played 1 & 2 in the Amiga days (ask your dads if you too young).

So for a little over a year now, I have felt that most of what we hear is story, story, story. With every release of info (and I use info loosely) brings 10 questions in its place. It like taken a picture of someone running, then showing a friend and asking him, why do you thing he is running ?
Well thats the kind of info we have received over the 2 years of so since TOR was reviled. Nothing to explain whats going on, just a small snap shot of a moment in time. This does seem to have the great effect to mass speculation. The forums buzzing with activity hopping for a small bit of clarification on the latest subject. In all but a hand full of cases still find themselves wanting.

I have until recently been all for the story in my mmo. What started me wavering was the space combat. I know this is some what belated on this subject, but the thing is the more we see and hear. The same question comes back to my mind to complex me.
I play an mmo for every thing that the mmo world brings me. Story being in very short supply, and a thin scattering of quests along the way to end-game. I though TOR would make the journey a much more enjoyable experience, and I'm sure it will be just that.

But to what expense ?

Space combat, being that of a railed shooter, was the 1st instance I had noticed that story got in the way of the mmo part of the game. Defending the shooter to be a story aspect of that like the movies. Using the definition that Han Solo would not go out and mine an asteroid field, and would just jump from battle to battle, and instantly go from a planet to any other destination he saw fit. May be he did not, well someone had to. Does BW really want us to believe that these thing just appear.
On a personal note, I for 1 would harvest an asteroid field.

Being the hero is part of the story, so we get what fits the story.

The latest snip of info that has past the story over the mmo is the dev video of Designing the Light Side. When they say "if you want to get the complete Jedi experience in TOR" you would have to play both Jedi types. At 1st I was thinking yeah well I play a lot of alts anyway. Then it struck me, end-game! and not everyone likes alts.

This clearly looks like part of the end-game will be re-rolling alts, now for me this is not a problem. Though for players coming from different mmo's like WOW. May have played the same avatar for years, or have 2-3 more alts. Which ever way they did, they did it for themselves, and not to finish off a half complete story. Will end game be so bad that the major pushing point that BW is trying to get across, is that re-rolling a new class would be on par with something we should spend years over like end-game content ?

Also with story so big in TOR, and countless times has it been stated that, the story part of the game took very long to get right. And this is in most part responsible for the length of the game development time. Just thinking about this, on par with WOW dev time, and how many hours more it would have placed on that game. How much time would be left to get the mmo part of the game right ?

Story is all well and good, but the 2 examples I have used, show how story drastically inflicts on the mmo side of TOR. I wonder how many other compromises BW had to come to. Just so the story and you being the hero would inflict on your more fundamental part or your everyday mmo feel ? I an not a BW fan boy by any means, and frankly found some of there games vastly lacking. (most part not being a single player type since Ultima online)
I am however I massively experienced mmo player, with countless mmo's under my belt. I dare say I have played 40+ mmo's and beta tested around the same. Some where lacking on what most would consider passable. Though the fun could be found in most to keep your interest from moving on, against your better judgment.

I just hope that BW takes care, not to push story above every thing we true mmo-ers hold dear. Even if that means, that a type of game play like crafting, does not truly hold the hero aspect of the story they are going for.

I keep my fingers crossed every Friday as the months draw closer to release day, that BW does not make my dream mmo aspirations waver any further than they already are.

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