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 Post subject: An interesting read
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 236
So, today's "15 Minutes" article on WoW Insider was about Liz Danforth. I did a bit of a doubletake at that name, it rang a bell but I didn't know which one. So, while I normally never read the "15 Minutes" bits, I read this one to find out why that name hit a bell. Turns out she's a long time gaming insider across all spectrums of gaming. PnP to computer, arts and development.

So, to the point. Inside the article she mentions a blog post she wrote in April about her feelings about Cata (she's not fond of it). I went along and read it. It's a combined blog on Cata, and on DA2 (Mostly about DA2). The bit on DA2 I find on the mark, but the Cata stuff is bullseye. It really hits the mark, then fires another arrow and splits it in twain. Take a look. ... nd-heroes/

 Post subject: Re: An interesting read
PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:49 pm
Posts: 22
I admit, I've skimmed through the article a bit fast, since I haven't played either Dragon Age games yet and want to avoid spoilers. Some of the stuff about Wow is pretty spot on I must say, especially the comments about cutscene. I'm just glad I wasn't the only one who felt offended when the game forced a /cower emote on my character. I always say that the true naration in a multiplayer game comes from the interaction between players. This can either be roleplay or normal human interaction, but it's the true story behind the game. Trying to force a storyline through cutscenes and single player narrative tools will not work in an mmo setting. Rather, giving players the tools to create their own stories will almost always prove successful.

Let's look at the original Star Wars: Galaxies as an example. This game is often praised for the quality of it's rp community, and that was due to the tools provided. Players could craft almost anything, build entire towns if they wanted. The in game quests were almost non-existant. The same can be said for Minecraft. It's a gigantic sandbox were players are left using their imagination and creativity to make the stories they want.

Modern design philosophies are all about getting the player hooked to a story and guiding them through it. This is very much the Cataclysm mentality. Just look at how questlines flow naturally. You rarely have more then 4 or 5 quests in your log at once, you can't skip any of them and it all follows some sort of progression. In short, it's done exactly as if it were a single player game. It's fun the first time, especially when soloing, but try to level through the new content with a friend along. My personnal experience was that it wasn't as engaging as leveling through BC content. I feel like the game is doing all the rp for me at this point, and why should I even bother to bring my own take to it? Uldum in particular was painful in this area, but other zones are guilty of it as well.

On the quest design side, I think the goal is there. Simply cut down on cutscenes and they have an amazing mmo. What WoW needs at this point is more customisation, and tools to help players truly make the world their own. Transmogrification is a great step in that direction. Guild housing, or player housing would be even better. RP locations are good too. There's a reason why alliance often gets more random rp then horde, and that is the Stormwind Taverns. Give players a big room with booze vendors and seats they can actually sit on, and they'll work wonders with it. I think it can be hard for professionnal developpers to realize that in certain situations, the players will tell better stories then they will, but it's the nature of multiplayer narrative gaming.

Sorry if I derailed the thread a bit, but I read the article and I felt like ranting a bit about narrative level design.

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