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Reader Comments (5)

Posted: Jul 25th 2008 11:40PM (Unverified) said

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Cage hit the nail on the head. I'd bet that at least 9 out 10 of all MMORPG players never actually read the quests and/or ever get emotionally involved in any of the game's stories. The number one problem is practically always the lack of a good or at least intriguing story. The stories are always generic and always end in the player having to kill, collect or explore something. Worse still, all the characters in the stories and quests are all emotionless, expressionless NPCs.

I think breaking from the linear quest model would force players to think about each quest. Maybe game designers should reward players just for making decisions, whether their decision is to complete the quest directly or find a way around it. Opening up new possibilities for the player throughout the game would keep the player engaged. Also, incorporating more intelligent, more true to life NPCs would really help. Like implementing that face scanning technology to record real actor's performances would really help. And of course, telling a good story through the game.

Posted: Jul 26th 2008 1:53AM PhoenixFhire said

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I agree with this. It does get rather tedious grinding missions away. I've tried several MMOs and the only ones I've ever stuck to were those which triggered some kind of emotion (I swear, I almost had a heart attack once when I was playing UO because I was about to die in the middle of no where).

EVE Online does play on emotions quite well. The missions ingame and even the short stories and chronicles out-of-game make you want to fight for/against a side. If you love democracy and freedom, taking out the brutal Caldari State and the fanatical Amarrians make you feel good. The game's fictions draws you in and makes you feel as if you really are a citizen of the universe. Even the alliance wars provoke such strong feelings.

Posted: Jul 26th 2008 6:29AM (Unverified) said

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Final Fantasy comes to mind.

Though the gameplay can be described as grindish, because of the great story telling, ffX ff7 for example, you really become attached to the characters.

I find myself wanting to keep playing thru the game to discover what happens to the characters, how the story develops.

Cut scenes were all really well done as well.

If they can translate that into a mmo setting, it will be awesome.

Posted: Jul 26th 2008 6:37AM (Unverified) said

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"So maybe developers do need to instill a sense of danger, a sense of importance and meaning to the leveling experience"...

This is ever so simple to solve (at least in principle) that it hurts my brain:

Make each new level a different gameplay experience compared to the last one.
A slight boost to hit points, damage, attributes, and what ever, at each level is meaningless as it doesn't alter the gameplay (because the next monster is just comparatively stronger).

On the other hand, if levels translates to genuine new abilities that makes the player more 'able', gives him more tactical choices and makes for a slightly more challenging gameplay - i.e. new things to learn - then levelling would automatically become meaningfull.

Play to learn.
That's the singlemost effective way to create emotional value in a game.

Posted: Jul 26th 2008 3:01PM arnavdesai said

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I agree with you and would like to give an RPG like Mass Effect as an example. I think AoC tried to do it at a certain level with the story arch between 1-20 and I liked it a lot giving me a sense of mystery and events unfolding in time. Of course, once I got out it was the same old routine. The funny thing is that they had this arch for a longer time and people complained about it(alpha testers)
I think that MMORPGs do have a definite possibility of invoking emotions in their players but its very very hard to do because players are looking at the min/max equation always(minimal time spent in maximizing character). I think generally the story archs are so broad that even though you are the main character you feel you have no purpose in the game. I think a good mixture of solo(optional of course) & multiplayer archs can be useful and will help every player feel engaged.
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