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Reader Comments (42)

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 11:03AM Birk said

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To me, not having well executed lore in a game is a recipe for a hollow gameworld. There are only so many "snow zones, swamp zones, desert zones, tundra zones, grassland zones, and death zones" that can exist within a game; this is just fine. But without any suitable background there is no joy to exploring the region.

Don't get me wrong, I don't need the lore in a BOOK. Or on a Wiki. It can be a completely newly imagined zone, for that matter. But it is crucial to me that if there is no pre-existing lore in a place, that they introduce me to it as it develops, or even make me part of it.

Games like LOTRO are obvious with their lore; how could they not be? The setting and mood are the reason most people play the game.

Games like Morrowind, on the other hand, pull you into the lore from your outside perspective. You become acquainted with it if you seek it, which is what made that game so bloody amazing in my opinion.

Actually, my character was killed many times trying to shoplift rare books from that bookstore in Vivec. The lore was -that- good. And, in turn, I played that game for years.

-Birk

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 11:07AM Carefulwiththatpoptart said

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Lore, what is it good for

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 11:12PM Solp said

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Seems everyone missed the joke. :(
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Posted: Nov 14th 2010 11:31AM alzeer said

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lore is one of the main reasons i pickup mmo
& that is why :ffxi , wow and gw are my favorite mmos

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 11:44AM Liltawen said

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What interests me about MMOs is that they are a virtual environment and that is the creation of Lore. Otherwise it's just an artificial simulation of this world and what is the point of that? Lore is what makes going into these places interesting. It is like you say: it gives you a reason to kill 10 rats. If you don't have one it's just a grind.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:04PM Higurashi said

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I don't really care about lore. As long as the world is interesting to explore, that's all I ask. If there is documentation for additional backstory that's great, but make it optional to read. I don't want it crammed down my throat via quests.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:12PM Dumac said

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When the lore is too simple, i just get the feeling its only there for my benefit, like its supposed to trick me into doing what the developer wants me to do, that just kills it for me.

So i want lots of lore even if i don't always make the effort to learn more about it, just that its there is comforting. I can read about it or leave it to my imagination/interpretation, but i don't want to imagine stuff that isn't there, that's just crazy.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:41PM Valentina said

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I definitely prefer a game has extensive lore. I don't like it to be too simple and not fleshed out, especially if I'm playing a game that's supposed to be some type of RPG, which most MMO's aim to be and fail at.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:46PM Jeromai said

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Without lore, we would be destroying 10 green cubes and 5 blue spheres in return for 5000xp in a grey featureless expanse. I much prefer to imagine myself in a world of sword and sorcery being a hero saving orphans or fighting off alien spaceships bent on universal domination, thank you. The more lore the merrier. Bonus geek points if it's recognizable lore, like Tolkien or Warhammer 40k.

Of course, the more detailed you get, you run the risk of the lore turning a given player off - WoW or FFXI lore do very little for me personally. Others didn't think much of Aion or WAR's treatment of the Warhammer universe, fer example. But we still gotta have it for the flavor.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:52PM Unverfied B said

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I do like rich lore... but not as ingame walls of text (like quest texts).

I would prefer game designers to follow the "Show, don't tell" idea and give that lore via actual interaction, keeping the pages of text to books and other external material.

Sadly currently no MMO gets that right... maybe SWTOR if we're lucky, at least they got the idea right in their last (SP) RPGs.

Posted: Nov 15th 2010 2:25PM J Brad Hicks said

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Thank you, that was the point I was about to make. I want the game to have deep lore, a fully fleshed out history and politics and culture and technology and all of the stuff that goes into fantasy or science fiction world-building.

And just as when I'm reading science fiction or fantasy, I want it shown, not told. No giant blocks of exposition, not in game and certainly not (even worse!) in option $15 novels; I want it obvious to see as I wander around in the world, I wanted it reflected in snippets of conversations among NPCs that I overhear as I go buy, l want it revealed as small bits of text or small bits of art that add up, once you've seen them all, as being clues as to what has gone before, I want all the art assets to the game to look like they came from the same world and the "age" of those art assets to be reflected in their current state of repair and their architecture (as in how many things, in different styles, have obviously been added onto them since the original simple structure or item was built).

I want the game world to feel real. I want it to feel lived in. I want to feel like what happens to people in the game world matters to them and emotionally resonates with me.

I do not want to get critically hit by a wall of text for 9001 hit points of damage.
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Posted: Nov 14th 2010 12:53PM Scarecrowe said

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Personally, I don't get much out of it. And in some MMOs, I even find it distracting with how it's been attempted to be integrated. I am much more interested in good solid (but challenging) gameplay. For me, lore is just whatever you put on the icing on the cake to write "happy birthday."

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 1:07PM Thac0 said

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Why is this picture so much cooler looking than the game? .... I like lore.. EvE has great lore... but thats not enough to keep me in game.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 2:10PM lizardbones said

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I like lore in the game the way I like it in my movies and books. Give it to me as action - things to do. I don't have the patience to read a bunch of boring stuff telling me why to kill some mob, explain it with the scenery and the other actors around the mob. Have the activities involved in the game bring forth the explanations of who and why.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 2:53PM Valdamar said

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Like most people here I love deep and well constructed lore, but I don't want it dumped on me in large chunks of text - I want the Devs to be a lot more imaginative and parcel out the lore in smaller chunks while I'm questing.

Having books of history in the game, or historian NPCs in a library that can reveal lore, or even publishing out-of-game novels, can work if the devs want to dump large chunks of historic lore on to you. Really though I'd rather it was parcelled out in smaller bursts of information - e.g. plaques on statues can carry small pieces of information (like in CoH), or scraps of paper found in treasure chests, or NPCs could have a chat option offering to let you know more about the background to a quest if you wanted to (i.e. it would be optional for the TL;DR crowd). I like how CoH's NPCs have an "about" option so you can read about each contact and their history/exploits, and which famous events in lore they were part of.

You could also combine EverQuest 2's collection quests with finding scraps of pages to construct a lore book - a bit like WoW's book quests but without the grind - i.e. make the pages spawn only in a certain chest and always be there, so that you'd find each page only once as you explore the world.

But really if the lore of a game is truly deep and the Devs are truly skilled then lore is not thrust into your face every 5mins in long chunks of text, but it does inform every decision the devs make about the world and its advancing storylines - and those who care about the lore like me can piece it together as we play from smaller clues and hints to build the rich tapestry of a more believable and immersive world.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 4:23PM MewmewGrrl said

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When done right, I love it. The story is a big part of the game. If a game does things right, I'll read and enjoy every last word written and it really brings the level of fun up. However years of badly translated Asian MMOs have often made me skip a lot of text in many games.

Despite it's problems, I thought Allods had a good translation and I read everything they had for quest text. I also read all of the text for Zentia - it's really got so much done right and has a lot to the story and reasoning behind a lot of things.

One thing that always annoys me is that no matter what game it is, no matter how important what I'm doing is, there is always someone who wants me to both pick flowers for him to give to a girl, and then deliver them too. As one who likes to complete everything, I always do it, but it's begrudgingly done and I'm always rolling my eyes as I do it. Personally if I got to help design an MMO, I'd do a tongue in cheek version of the flower picking quest :D One you'd groan when you started, but ended up being very different than it appeared.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 5:29PM Randomessa said

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I play MMOs for the story, so lore is of the utmost importance for me. Walls of text, cutscenes, flyovers, voiced quips (even unvoiced ones; Guild Wars henchmen have distinct personalities!) - I want it all, or I lose interest almost immediately.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 9:18PM Addfwyn said

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Yes, as long as it is well-written, which is often to the ire of my friends in my guilds in games like WoW or Aion. I'm the guy who always stops to read the quest text when everyone else is already running to where their quest tracker tells them to go. Annoys them to no end, but that's why I always had to play games like Borderlands single player. I just hate being rushed through what I consider the best part of games.

Many an hour I have spent on sites like wowwiki, reading about the backstory of the warcraft universe. Nevermind the countless hours spent reading lord of the rings and all the appendices.

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 9:18PM alinos said

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haha true only reason i want to play lich king is to kill arthas, but given that it's a raid id never complete bugger that

Posted: Nov 14th 2010 10:22PM DancingCow said

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IMO, what's needed is what several developers have been promising for years now - lore integrated into gameplay.

It needs to be a spice on the main-meal, not an optional side-salad.

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