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  1. #1

    Story in MMORPGs

    Hello,
    My name is Yumä, I’m a researcher at University of Chicago. I’m currently working on a project involving game narratives in MMORPGs. I’m interested in how players relate to stories in on-line games, especially through their character’s personal story.

    I’m posting questions here in hopes of getting more insight through player feedback about their experiences in MMORPGs. There are 9 questions, most of which focus on character and story. Feel free to answer all, some, or even one of the questions. Keep in mind your answers may be used in my project, and are always kept anonymous through screen names (which I will change if included in the project to protect your identity). I would greatly appreciate getting only serious responses. Thank you for reading this, and thank you to those who choose to respond. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here and I will gladly respond to them. Feel free to post about World of Warcraft, or any other MMORPG experience you feel is relevant.

    1) What is your age? Gender?

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?

  2. #2
    If you deign to use my answers... feel free to call me The Madgod, Archilios, or Morzath. Whichever sounds the coolest / is the most appropriate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    19, male.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    I've found that being able to really get into a game's story is rather important to me as a player and I find myself disliking games that lack story, or have story but it is rather badly written compared to games that do have an excellent story, even if gameplay is well-polished and enjoyable for both titles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    Both. I feel plotlines and the characters within such are both equally important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    A mix of both, depending on what character you're talking about. Some of my characters are definitely not like me, while others take a little from a part of my personality. Others a little more than that... but I wouldn't really say that my characters are basically Warcraft versions of myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    Really, it's a mix of both. While as a writer I have the ability to choose what my character does within the general plotline as the game progresses, I also do have to have my character change as his or her environment changes. Even if a character of mine just decides to settle down, he or she's still going to hear about the general goings-on, but in terms of actual progression of my character, it's mostly in my control, unless I have him or her go into a situation which changes them. As an old acting teacher said: "acting is reacting." If a character goes into a situation, the best you can do is have them react to that situation the way you wrote them to, and if they change, then that's what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    It's dependent on the character, but in terms of actual story, it's never actually killing a named NPC. As a roleplayer, that's a very taboo subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    Personal story is more often than not actually player-created, or using the general timeline as a base. It's never really the specific quests.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    Roleplayers (or at least the legitimately good ones) don't even consider the quests we do to actually be part of our characters' story. If everyone can claim they were the chosen one of Aessina in Hyjal and saved the mountain from the forces of Ragnaros, it wouldn't make sense. Roleplayers take an "all or nothing" approach to both this and the killing of named NPC's (I.E., instance bosses). I like to explain the quests as current events... things that are happening in the world, but we're not a direct, major part of them. We can surely help, yes. But it's more like we're part of the faceless army rather than the hero standing on top a mountain made from the corpses of his enemies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    That's a tough question. Is it possible what you mean by individual and group story?

    If you're referring to the difference between one of my characters and the faction he or she is in, then think of the difference between the story of your life and the story of the country you live in. It's basically like that... It's but one story among hundreds.
    Last edited by The Mister Madgod; 2012-11-12 at 07:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the response! I really appreciate it. Anything and everything is helpful.

  4. #4
    Herald of the Titans Mehman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    16, male
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    Depends on the game. FPS' I couldn't care more about story, they're more for dumb fun imo, but RPG's I do delve into the story and I enjoy it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    Depends on the situation. I like to have a rough idea of everything, meaning the bigger events and more important lore characters. However some times if I play a game for a long time I might dig deeper, getting a more complete idea of the lore of the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    I view my characters as an extention of me. I usually take a part of myself I like, then create a character around that, leaving out bits I don't like.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    I determine the route my character goes, just as it would be me who determines where I went if it were real life. The game helps shove me in the right direction, but in the end it's me who decided to start the journey.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    My characters goal (in most games) is to save the world, be it by beating up the god of chaos, or by beating up the town jester doesn't matter. In the few exceptions where this doesn't apply, my goal is usually to mess about in the world and annoy civilians (Assassins Creed mostly)
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    A personal story in MMORPGs don't really fit with the main story as EVERYONE does everything. Everyone killed X mob in Y instance while collecting Z item from him. Doesn't fit if you ask me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    It ruins the immersion slightly, knowing that there are people who did the same heroic feat as me before me, and there will be people who do it after me as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    My characters story can heavily influence a games story, as it does in most single player games.


  5. #5
    Thanks Mehman! As a side note, love the brony theme!

  6. #6
    Role-player Nonfictionless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    22, Male

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    For the most part it's more the setting and structure of a game's story that makes it for me. I just like to create characters in that world not in their plot lines. Sure a good main story is also good but if it's a world I can imagine in my head I can usually get into the game from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    Usually groups. Like for instance in WoW, the few factions that deal with the Light and the Shadow are much more interesting to me than their leaders or heroes. Mainly because I don't have to stick to the, often, strict views those heroes/leaders have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    No my characters aren't me, but they aren't wholly not me either. I like to pick a virtue or a vice (sometimes 2 or 3) I see in myself and then build a character around it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    I like to think it's all something I determine as I pick and chose the events and places (and times) my characters will go through in the bigger plot line of WoW.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    It's different for each of my characters but it's never just beat this big bad guy. For at least two it's a quest for knowledge, one protecting friends, another simply enjoying nature, one was in search of family but is now unclear where to head now that she has found it, A few are revenge and one has left that behind and now seeks to spread what he has learned from it. And my last guy just likes being a Blacksmith.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    I can't really say as I don't RP in-game. Well haven't yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    Basically what madgod said here. It's all or nothing and to make it work with so many people it's nothing. So we fill the void were the mass of nameless NPCs stand in lore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    Just a small part of the larger story.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Nonfictionless View Post
    I can't really say as I don't RP in-game. Well haven't yet.
    Entirely off topic, but we should continue leveling those gais sometime this weekend.

  8. #8
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    23, Female.

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    Very. I like my games like my books--I want to be pulled into the story, to have that suspension of disbelief, and unlike in a book, feel for a little while like I am that epic hero.

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    I think all of those are important. A game too focused on individual characters will seem very small, one too focused on bigger groups will seem too large and distant. I believe in a balance.

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    In a good game, I do view my character as myself. Skyrim is a good example... crouching around, hugging trees or brush, with a bow out, hunting deer. I don't feel like I'm controlling a character I've created--I feel like I am that character on the hunt.

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    I feel like that depends on the game, and how linear, constrained, or on the opposite side of it, expansive and freely you can choose where you go to quest and level. As well as what happens when you level.

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    To survive, for every single game. The rest depend on the game. Something like WoW or Baldur's Gate the goal is definately defeat that last big baddy. Elder Scrolls games, on the other hand, my character's goal was more of self-improvement and exploration.

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    I don't think many MMORPGs have personal stories. Not as an actual feature of the game. I mean they try, but it doesn't feel so personal when everybody is saving the last uncorrupted dragon egg from Deathwing, and you see them doing it. But that doesn't stop me from making up a personal story for my characters in games like that... but I tend to keep it to myself, since so many people hate RPing.

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    It ruins the illusion.

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    Another "depends on the game" answer from me. Depending on how it is executed, both questions could go so many ways.

  9. #9
    Thanks for all the responses! All of them have been great, and I really appreciate it.

  10. #10
    Mechagnome Mengucekli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    Hi! My age is 26 and i am a male. Call me Meng if you will

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    It is very important, because i like good stories. I like to read a lot, and gaming feels like a much better version of reading a novel, where you interact with the stuff much more than just reading. Story also makes games interesting, it gives the feeling of "development" so you don't feel like you are playing yet again to beat the high score, but you imagine that you are interacting and changing the world you are in. Of course that lowers the replayability potential of a game, but it adds a lot to the atmosphere and feeling of a game. Imagine playing tetris for 10 years. What did you achieve?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    I must say that quite depends on the game/situation. For example in WoW, i am more interested in major events like Gates of Ahn'Qiraj or Sunwell, 40 man raids and stuff.. But then again i am dying to learn what happened to Turalyon

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    I used to view it as myself, but that was a long time ago. I am playing for 7 years now, and i feel less attached to my character. IT might be that i changed a lot myself too. I was a teen back than, now i am a grown up man with a job and responsibilities. Changes mentality i guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    I think it a mix of the both I know i am answering your questions in an evasive manner but it is hard to decide which is which. If you do not put effort in your character, it is impossible to progress. But if you devote yourself, then there is a chance that you still can't progress accordingly, reasons vary from underskilled friends/guildmates to game itself being harder than your skill cap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    My character's ultimate goal is to be the instrument of my fun. My ultimate goal with playing video games is to have fun. It exist only to let me reach that goal, nothnig else. I can have fun without even getting in a dungeon/raid or see final boss, but i had also great times while i was going for the 'best'. Matters little, it all boils down to who i am currently playing the game with. It is an mmo after all, not a single player.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?

    It is nice to have a side quest now and then, and have things your way. Rogue class quests were fine, for example, i leveled one rogue solely for that. I also miss the 'warrior island' of vanilla wow

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    Well that breaks the 'personal' feeling of it, that's for sure. But not such a huge game breaker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    [/QUOTE]

    I feel like mmos lack that a relation a lot. I feel like i am just a nobody passing by, and despite the fact that i (by 'i' i mean the player) do all the hard work, i never get the credit or the mention, and it is something like i kill the Lich King but Trion gets a statue in Dalaran Maybe a wall of honor, a place where your name is mentioned among the legends would be fine, like a memorial. So you could get your newbie friend there, let him watch the LK ending video, and see the names of people that are in his friend list (in this example, you) in the video or on some wall would be perfect. It would feel good that despite the low credits you get, you leave a mark in the game world.


    Well that's all for now, i hope i was useful for your work. I wish you a good study!

  11. #11
    Thanks for the response Meng!

  12. #12
    This is still open to new responses if anyone is interested! Thanks to all who have posted so far.

  13. #13
    I'm gonna use my WoW characters exclusively in this since they're the characters through the different MMOs I've played that I feel the strongest connection to. Also, it's Samania. Always Samania xD Not worried about being anonymous here! Also also, I'm not really much of a role player, at least not outwardly. I think a lot about my characters in my mind, and even write about them quite often, but I have trouble acting these things out (nerves, mostly.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    21, Female
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    Extremely. I love feeling like I'm playing through a story, and like I'm both experiencing things first hand as well as influencing them as it happens. My favorite games are also games that feel like a playable story. I also feel much more invested in a game if there is a story that is interesting and that I can care about.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    A combination of the two, mostly. I'm very into character development, but I also enjoy seeing how a character reacts within a larger event, and I'm very into character interaction. If I have to choose though, I would prefer a story that tells me all about one character than one that only talks about an event.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    I have two different characters that I view very differently, and they both take different things from who I am and exaggerate them in a way. They're definitely different from me, but they came from me. Basically, both my druid and my warlock are me, but they're two very different sides of me, and they have their own personalities and lives outside of me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    I think I determine my character's progress. I mean, there are things I would love to see my characters do that would fit who they are, but I can only work with what the game gives me. I just try to manipulate what I'm given to make my characters happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    This depends on the character. For my warlock, it's pretty much destroying everything on site. However, she would love to destroy all the filthy orcs inside her beautiful Undercity, but since the game won't allow me to do that...So for her it's iffy. She's pretty much just a "point me at it, and I'll shoot it," but her ultimate goal is to have the undead on top of all, soooo....
    For my druid, it's helping her friends above all else and do what she can to save the world, so yeah, she matches the end-game goal. She does want to eradicate violence, but she realizes that's not currently possible, so she's just going to help kill the bad guys.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    For my warlock, it works. She's a destructive force of power, and the game allows her to do just that. The only time I feel a separation is when it's required for her to help people she would rather light on fire. Luckily, since her story is happening in my mind and my notebooks, I can just justify this in different ways in my mind.
    For my druid, it's the opposite. She just wants to heal people, and she does not like killing things. She does what's necessary for the greater good, however, and the game does allow for this.
    I think the main issue with most MMORPGs is that while there is some flexibility, there isn't much allowance for characters who want to go to one extreme or the other. (If there is an MMO like this out there and I haven't found it yet, please someone let me know!) Being able to level a character that only heals others and runs errands for people would be awesome, as would playing a character that just wants to destroy EVERYTHING. MMOs seem to push you into a certain amount of neutrality, and going against this is difficult.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    That just makes the world feel more real to me. Everyone having their own thoughts and feelings and their own wants from the game makes it feel like a real world, populated by real people. This helps my connection to my characters, since it makes me feel like they're in a real world, and it's fun to think about how their actions are going to affect others.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yuma8244 View Post
    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    When it comes to my characters' stories, I sometimes have to do things that they may not want to do in order to experience the story, so it does take a certain amount of manipulation in my own mind in order to make that work. When it comes to any game, I just try to take what's happening in the game, think about the different options my character has, and react accordingly. It can be difficult at times, but that's the beauty of imagination, it can be manipulated at will xD. As far as the group/individual dynamic, I personally love thinking about how the individuals affect the group dynamic. My character is just one part of a group, but her actions can still have a large impact. I think a good story involves both of these. So while there is a difference, and being involved in a group does require some changes in the individual, the two work together very strongly.
    You know nothing of the crunch!

  14. #14
    Might be a bit late but better late then never. Allso forgive me if theres some bad english in here as it's not my first language.

    1) What is your age? Gender?

    19 male

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?

    To be quite frank I belive that the story is everything for it to be a good game. A good story can make you overlook other flaws in the game but bad story can never be covered up by good gameplay.

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?

    I usualy find myself having a "favorite" someone that you feel you get a much better connection with than any of the other and thus you care more for that character then all others.

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?

    Yes I do, All characters that I have ever been serious about have in some way been built on one of my own traits. For some reason they all turn out to be paranoid nutcases... hmm

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?

    Hmm that's a tough one... I would honestly have to say that it depends on how the game allows me to make choices in it and what those choices might be. Though as I only have any real experience with any other MMORPGs then WoW and you aren't really allowed to do any choices in it that does any real difference to the game. So in WoW I would have to say that I myself decide how my character evolves.

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?

    I have mostly just experience of WoW as an MMORPG, in there I only find raiding and such to be a secondary objective and mostly focus on my own stuff with a few friends.

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?

    I did play a bit of the Star wars MMORPG from Bioware when it was on beta testing and compared to WoW they had done it so it feels ALOT more personal then WoW. They were able to fit it much better into the game and your own character than WoW ever have done for me, for instance I am mostly attracted to the dark side and then being forced to run around growing crops for some furry panda that I would rather set ablaze just makes me facepalm.

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?

    I usualy never think about it except when theres some other peep whos doing the quest right next to me, but it do take away part of the greatness about it all knowing that thoushand after thoushand of other peeps that looks exactly like you and have done exactly the same and wich you encounter every minute of the game. Hence why I kinda enjoy single player Role Playing games since there stuff changes more after your own personal actions.

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?

    Often I don't like it when I am forced to adjust my character in ways that would be quite impossible in my own mind but is needed for me to play the game and experience it with other peeps. But you don't really have a choice in MMORPG so it's just to follow the stream and make the best of it all. But something to be noted is that I don't perform much RP in MMORPG online, I rather have like on this site that you can be more flexible with everything and not be tied down like you would be in ingame-

  15. #15
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    1) What is your age? Gender?
    20, female

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    Fairly important. I like to have a reason for doing the things I'm doing. Killing things just to kill things is fun to a point but when there is some greater goal to be reached, that is what I like. I have always had an active imagination and find it fun and interesting to imagine sub-stories within the main. If the game was truly exceptional I could probably forgive a shallow story or an altogether crappy story, but a lot of times that's what will keep my interest.

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    Little bit of both. I like individual characters and the groups associated with those characters, and the big events they take part in.

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    Absolute separate entity. My ingame character actually has no character to it - I play a female blood elf warrior, but there is no imagined personality or backstory to it. Definitely not representative of me at all. The characters I actually roleplay, however.. sill not me. My oldest might have some vague similarities to me in personality but it is faint at best and not intentional, only the effects of time.. I would never create a character and intentionally base it on myself. That would be an exceptionally lame character, and uncreative to boot.

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    The game. It offers a set of choices. Yes, I have the choice to do or not to do something, but regardless of that, the game has a predetermined outcome. Regardless of whether or not I ever kill the final boss of the expansion, the NPCs in the next one hail my character as a hero. Keep in mind, however, that I do not roleplay ingame..

    If you mean the characters not strictly in the game, I do. Always.

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    Again, ingame character has no personality and no goal. Actual roleplayed characters all have goals. Yes. With my oldest one in mind, definitely. Take the current expansion.. My oldest does not care one lick about the Sha. At all. Doesn't care one bit. She'd rather be plaguebombing the shit out of everything west of Hillsbrad and south of the Plaguelands. For fun.

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    Mixed feelings. The quest involvement is good, but the fact that none of what we do is really cannon as we do it kind of kills it for me..

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    That's a game mechanic. It's fine. I don't care.

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    Again, ingame character has no story. Other characters that I play, intimately involved. The lore of the game always directly impacts who they are as a character.

  16. #16
    I am Murloc! Luko's Avatar
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    1) What is your age? Gender?
    28 (In a few days) Male

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    In an MMO? Not really. To me, the setting and feel of a living world should certainly be there, but adding too much of a story creates too many boundaries and limitations for future development of gameplay and class choices, which in my opinion is far more important and vital.

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    Groups, definitely. For example, in GW2 I had absolutely no intention of creating a Charr character as their visual appearance was a big turn off, however after learning a little about their legions and their race and armies as a whole, I was immediately hooked. Feeling like I had the chance to be a part of that was an immediate draw and almost every character I've made since has been a Charr.

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    As myself? Almost never. I've been known to "write" backstories in my head as I create characters in games like these. Different appearance options will spark into interest and weave the character for me as I'm making them and changing my mind. This also helps in the naming process. More to the point, they're always separate entities. I have no interest in entering myself personally into these worlds, but instead watching and experience the character I've created grow.

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    This is all me. The game is just a world and presents us with opportunities. Its up to us to grab those opportunities by the throat and take them along with us. Its so very often that I'll run into a player in WoW who's never even attempted to experience huge parts of the world, game, activities etc. It makes me a little sad that someone could spend so much time with something and have absolutely no desire to experience it to its fullest, but to each their own.

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    I could go into vivid detail with this one, but to make it simple: Power. Not in some evil tyrannous kind of way, but to gain strength. To better himself.

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    I'm not a fan. I couldn't play through SWTOR again (as an example) if you paid me to do so. There's a HUGE difference between a game having a story and a game shoving it down your throat. There's almost no room left for personal creation when you're basically designing the face that's going to star in a pre-mapped choose your own adventure title.

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    It doesn't bother me, so much. I don't like the idea of overly developed personal story in the first place, but if its subtle (something like GW2) its tolerable. Again, I'm not bothered by the idea that other people are experiencing it as well.

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    If I was trying to make this connection... it'd seem pretty silly. For example: "Hey! Slayer of Deathwing! We really appreciate you taking your time out to kill the force of evil that was threatening our entire existence... uh.. again... anyway I was wondering if you could go to the market for me. I'm a little busy standing here asking people to go to the market for me."

    Yet again, another reason I dont' think storytelling on the part of the developer should have a very large place in MMOs. I found the niche of FFXI to be pretty perfect. Have enjoyable story when you wanted to have it. Very sparingly. For the most part, simply leave the game open to total character development and progression. This left entire cities welcoming players to RP. There were guilds full of people who did nothing but roleplay in huge groups, just telling the story of their character. Good times. You'd really have to throw on the blinders on and ignore the rest of the world around you to get a full, individual, character building experience out of it.

    (Disclaimer. I'm really tired after a bad day and have trailed off immensely. I'll re read this tomorrow to make sure its not total, incomprehensible garbage.)

    ---------- Post added 2012-11-19 at 10:17 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Synaxis View Post
    My oldest does not care one lick about the Sha. At all. Doesn't care one bit. She'd rather be plaguebombing the shit out of everything west of Hillsbrad and south of the Plaguelands. For fun.
    .
    I like you.
    Listen kiddos, trust Handsome Jack. You want every part of this insanity.
    So many people are gonna die.

    Formerly Ryngo Blackratchet

  17. #17
    1) What is your age? Gender?
    I'm a male, and I'm 22.

    2) How important is a game’s story to you? Why?
    Seeing as the focus of this questionnaire is story in MMORPGs, I'll focus this answer on that. Personally, I don't find them important. In fact, I find them to be the opposite. I believe that when an MMORPG is driven in a certain direction by a story, it diminishes the potential for creativity. Story elements that work in a single player video game don't always work for MMORPGs, as those elements tend to focus on the player, making them stand out from the rest of the denizens of that universe. When that is applied to an MMO, then hundreds to millions of players are lifted onto that same pedestal, and the value of each character diminishes as a whole.

    What should be included in an MMORPGs story is it's background. Lore should be introduced to make the game feel believable and alive.

    I think the most important part of an MMORPG's story, however, are the stories that are crafted by the players experiences. Runescape and EVE come to mind in this regard. Most of the stories you hear coming out of those games are things that players did, like a player faction controlling the market or taking over friendly territory. This, to me, is much more important than the stories players are forced to explore by developers.

    3) Within a game’s story, are you more interested in individual characters, or in bigger events and groups?
    I'm very interested of what comes from events caused by groups of players, be it all out war or community projects.

    4) In regards to your own character, do you identify with them? In other words, do you view your character as yourself? Or do you view your character as a separate entity which you created?
    I don't view my character as myself, but as an extension of myself. I don't role play, but I like to make decisions that seem reasonable given the environment. for example, my character name is usually something that sounds fitting for its race, and my skills/weapons/etc reflect the personality I feel he would have.

    5) Do you view your character’s progression as something you create/determine, or something the game itself creates/determines?
    Even when progression is the only option, I try to feel like it's something I 'create'. Like with WoW, while I leveled I didn't see it as a means to an end. I saw it as an opportunity to adventure and explore, with new gear, levels, and skills being rewards that just happen to come my way.

    6) What do you view as your character’s ultimate goal? Is it different from the goal of defeating the final dungeon or raid boss?
    In terms of MMORPGs, I view my character's ultimate goal is to live in the universe he was created in. Whether that means being forced to fight giant monsters or to live the life of a crafter/merchant, I don't treat MMORPGs like there's an end goal that I must reach.

    7) How effective do you find personal story in MMORPGs (usually done through personal instances/quests)? Do you find it disjointed from the rest of the game, or do you feel it fits well with the rest of the game?
    I don't feel personal stories in MMORPGs work well when they're an actual implemented feature. It forces your character to have a certain personality and to always be the hero, or doing whatever is expected. Personal stories to me should be ones players craft for themselves.

    8) How do you view the idea that many other players are also playing through the same personal story?
    Like I said in my lengthy answer to 2), I feel like personal stories (ones that are "forced", i.e., actual features in the game that you may/may not be required to experience) diminish the value of one's character.

    9) How do you view your character’s personal story in relation to the larger stories in the game, or the lore of the game? Do you see a difference between individual story and group story in the game?
    In an ideal MMORPG, your player's personal story could be as insignificant as a blacksmith, or as significant as a legendary blacksmith known for being the most skilled craftsmen in the game. When a personal story is given to you by the developers, you have no choice but to view it as however important they want you to view it. A player's story should have the potential to be the most insignificant to the most significant one in the game.

  18. #18
    Awesome responses everyone, I really appreciate it!

  19. #19
    I am Murloc! Luko's Avatar
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    Yeah, shame it didn't pick up more. Its been an extremely interesting and varying read so far. Kinda silly that the 15ish replies would have been 1500 in the same window of time if the thread was about racism or womens rights. Can only imagine how many drive-by posters viewed this as homework.

    Anyway, good questions.
    Listen kiddos, trust Handsome Jack. You want every part of this insanity.
    So many people are gonna die.

    Formerly Ryngo Blackratchet

  20. #20
    I'll be checking on the thread and keeping it open to new responses at least through December, so new posts are definitely welcome! And for those with limited time you are still welcome to only answer one or a few of the questions as you see fit.

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