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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Jan 20th 2012 7:32PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's easiest to handle in City of Heroes, if you avoid referencing too many specifics of a particular story arc, there's no problem with saying "Yeah, me too..." when someone talks about beating up on of the big bads (or big goods) After all, that's how it works in the comics - enemies get defeated, then show up in someone else's comic book a few weeks later good as new and ready to do it all again!

And there's a wonderful theory I heard once about Fallen Earth - that none of the clones are the Hero of the Dam - it's a false memory we all share due to sharing some of the DNA of the one clone who did save the Dam.

I think the problem is exacerbated with TOR in particular because the game is so focused on a very specific story, with very specific, clearly
defined companions. If anyone comes up with a good rational for there being half a dozen Vettes standing around the quest hubs I'd love to hear it. Giving an option to at least change the display name of your companions would have helped out there.

And side quests help. If I want to feel like just another starfleet officer in STO I can just wander off to a sector and do some random missions. It's even theoretically possible that multiple rapid promotions were made following the Borg attack in the tutorial (if you shrug off the fine details) given the high body count that encounters with the Borg tend to result in.

Posted: Jan 20th 2012 8:43PM hereafter said

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@(Unverified)

Fortunately with TOR, they've provided multiple skins for companions and there are enough different companions that the sameness rapidly decreases with level. Furthermore, you won't actually see a name hovering over other companion's heads. I think those together make the suspension of disbelief easier.

That said, I can see how the companion system as a whole could be restrictive to roleplayers. Every Jedi Knight having the same set of traveling buddies probably requires some interesting RP gymnastics to get around, assuming they're not just ignored or marginalized.
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Posted: Jan 20th 2012 7:58PM Irem said

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In most games I've RPed in the "it happened, it just wasn't you" and "it happened, and we were all there" solutions were the most common. Most of the characters of level to be in Northrend on my WoW RP server were part of the siege on Icecrown Citadel, even though none of us claimed to have been the group that actually made it to the top to slay Arthas.

That worked out well in two ways: first, it gave us all something our characters had lived with that made for great common ground to use in RP; if you met someone else who had clearly been to Northrend, there was a war veterans' camaraderie that could be played with. There was plenty of room to have been at the Wrathgate or to have actually entered the citadel during the final push. The Forsaken in your example would probably never have expected to strike the final blow against Arthas personally anyway, so it allows for that sense of closure because none of us were in Dalaran twiddling our thumbs and waiting for Tirion to come back and go "Hay he's dead guys. :D"

Second, it added depth to the story instead of forcing us to ignore it. Things that are specific to one character yet have a huge impact on the story often HAVE to be handwaved in some fashion, because the story simply won't go forward if the "main character" role meant for the PC isn't filled in some way. This usually leads to players inventing vague in-universe rumors to explain how characters are able to know things that are integral to the world, and obviously part of everyday life, but have no explanation outside of "because you discovered it!" There may be a "hero," but god only knows who he or she is. When there's enough room for huge numbers of characters to have been involved in a set plot point, though, we're able to reach kind of a happy medium: the story framework is presented to us by the game, but players are able to expand on it in ways the developers usually can't. The questlines in Icecrown Citadel became fodder for countless stories about the horrors of a brutal war in which soldiers have to be constantly thrown at an enemy that never tires. Lives are lost and people are changed. The best developer-created stories offer us room to breathe and a springboard to -aid- player-created stories, and they can work wonderfully for that.

Posted: Jan 20th 2012 8:37PM hereafter said

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I'm glad you wrote this because it's helped explain to me how RPers interact with the provided stories in game. I was discussing this topic in the comments of another site's review of TOR and I had to stop because I realized I didn't really know how they got around story hurdles in themparks. You confirmed my suspicions though: usually just some combination of mental modification or ignoring. Seems to me that any decent RPer could work around such things if they wanted to.

Posted: Jan 20th 2012 9:16PM (Unverified) said

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Sorry but TOR makes me feel 10 times more epic than WOW...if you don't feel that then I'm assuming your a hater!!

Posted: Jan 20th 2012 9:29PM JuliusSeizure said

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@(Unverified)

What does that have to do with the topic? Try reading an article before jumping to conclusions about it seeming to criticise something you love. Also, tastes differ, fact of life.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 2:55PM (Unverified) said

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@JuliusSeizure How does it not?? He's talking about a game making you feel like a champion and he mentioned TOR and WOW and I'm saying TOR does a far better job!!
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 5:33PM (Unverified) said

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@(Unverified)

Ah, no. He's talking about storylines in MMOs in general, and using WoW and TOR as examples. TOR may make -you- feel more heroic, and that's fine. Enjoy that as much as you want, as anyone should.

But when you step back, and see that dozens of other players are doing the same thing, it tends to bother some people. If you're not bothered, and you enjoy your game just fine the way it is, you really have no reason to comment here, much less defend your favorite game from an attack that simply isn't there. This is about storylines, and how MMOs present them, not bashing your favorite game. Don't take it so personal.
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Posted: Jan 20th 2012 9:26PM Joaquin Crowe said

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It just may be that the themepark model is not the optimal storytelling mode for a virtual world.

It just may be that stories may have to be created even more craftily and more dynamically than is currently done.

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:51PM h4ngedm4n said

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@Joaquin Crowe
Pretty much this. Taking down some storyline centric boss is about as unique as being one of many people riding that roller coaster. With respect to the article, I think most just use the 4th option, ignore this inconsistency.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 5:14AM WhereisHinton said

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I'd say the best way to do this for an mmo... is have several storylines that have nothing to do with the player... but have them witness them and take part of them as an insignificant outsider... For instance just have a single player RPG campaign where a group of wanderers meet up and gather... and as a player just coincidentally watch as these events unfold.

That rewards players with outstanding storytelling and since they aren't actually affecting things those kind of quests should be for main scenarios.

Quests like crafting and selling to an NPC or fetching something or killing sewer rats (like you would in single player RPGs) becomes the task that is asked of the immediate moment... those are ok because the player (roleplayer) understands that that person needs help... unless their dialogue specifically said that this event was unique and singular... then... iono... Lol

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:05AM LeBouc said

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As an Eve player and occasional roleplayer on there, I cannot help but note that this kind of problem you describe

just. cannot. happen.

on a single-shard sandbox MMO

but I guess most people needs a human avatar in their game to role-play

Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:24AM Archintyeron said

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@LeBouc
Play an Epic Arc storyline, and you will see this happening. It just happen a lot less often than a themepark MMO.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 6:56PM h4ngedm4n said

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@LeBouc
I like EVE overall, but in addition to Archintyeron's comments on the epic mission arcs, the article's story discussion can be applied to the entire EVE mission system in general. Many identical instances of the mission rats are simultaneously active, based upon the many different players accepting the missions.
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Posted: Jan 21st 2012 10:11AM Space Cobra said

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Pretty much what I do, Eliot, given my whim and want at the time.

I'll either ignore it, or I will just assume it happened to lots of people and I was somewhere else in the crowd....

...but my "go-to" method is your second approach: To just say I had a similar event happen to me, maybe even going up against the same person (if he lived).

But I do have a "bit of twist" to add and I'll just reference STO because I don't remember your class/story in TOR.

If I do a mission/quest that is standard in the game; one that all have access to, say the "Doomsday machine", I may change the details up on that: You mention "details" in your third method, but that is not what I meant. I have one character I use for comedy in STO and I fill out his Captain's Log on when I can. When writing about the adventure, I create new details, in this case, in a comical bent. This could change the quest, but it fits with what I am doing : humor and parody. So, instead of actively destroying the Doomsday Machine, I might have been trying to slip by it unseen, it saw me, and then I accidentally tripped over the fire controls and got lucky and destroyed it.

You can even change perspectives on it and rationale (but now I am entering what you are talking about). I do sort of introduce "forced changes". I think one example is my Companions, I simply call them by a different, yet similar name. So instead of "Vette", I may think of her as "Mette" or even "Bette". Instead of Corso Riggs, I may just change it to a nickname, like "Coarsy" or "Coarse". I may just refer to him as "Riggs" or I may say he is "Rorso Ciggs" or "Roscoe Chiggs" or something like that. Really, in dialogues, I have yet to hear actual names used (or maybe I have?) but it is easy to ignore (for me).

(Note : I really need to update my STO logs, but they can be such a chore; I am way behind!)

Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 5:31AM molotovzav said

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I tend to like games where most of the population is attached to their character and you sort of naturally rp because you're attached , and they don't usually call it a toon. I did not find this community is SWTOR

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