1. #1
    Banned Trassk's Avatar
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    Trying to find the winning formula between lore characters and player

    I've been having a discussion with a friend, about the way certain recent lore events have taken place in wow, and in contrast to how it would work in the old days like in wc3.

    Back in WC3, in the old RTS format, the lore character was the player. You played the game from the perspective of the lore character. You played Arthas as he became a deathknight and slaughtered people across the land. You played as Thrall fighting humans to free his people. You played Grom as he killed night elves, and the story developed along with these lore characters. There was no mysterious 'other character with stupid name' fighting alongside Thrall or Grom or Jaina, it was just them. Just like when we played console games like lara croft or chris from res evil, we are that character as we play along there story.

    Now comes wow. No longer are we seeing the story from a lore characters perspective. We're seeing it from the perspective of a made up avatar we created in an intro screen, and he/she, a character who has no ties to the story or having done anything in the lore, suddenly becomes the guy or girl who does everything, and yet remains just another random nobody.

    For example. The recent 5.2 patch and dom offensive quest chains. We the player get given a letter by chen storystout to come and see to Vol'jin, who after we help cure him, vol'jin entrusts us, the random character with the stupid name, to find Thrall and tell him whats happened. Thrall travels to the echo isles with us, where you expect to see him deal with kor'kohn, and yet its the random guy whos not even meant to be part of the story doing the killing?
    And after we take down the mini boss there, Thrall, like vol'jin, regards our character as a friend, and we just go back to whatever we're meant to be doing.

    how does this in any way make for convincing and progressive story? The character we play as isn't a hero like Thrall, Vol'jin or Varian. He isn't something the lore writers created as part of the story. He's an avatar of the player playing him. He doesn't have a voice.

    And this is the bigger problem. The player wants to feel like the main hero and that the story can't progress without them, so much so they get frustrated with a genuine lore character does anything in the story. Thrall fighting deathwing, Tirion fighting the lich king, escorting lore characters around on a quest. To the player, they are the lore characters, just like when playing any other game, like playing gods of war or tomb raider or final fantasy, they are the hero in that, so they feel the same way about there made up avatar in wow.

    Yet that can't work right in terms of functionality. We are not lore characters, we're just observing the story.

    so what blizzard attempts to do is strike a middle ground. they need to involve the lore characters (the actual lore characters), yet make the player feel like there part of there story. And sometimes blizzard gets it right on, while many other times, they go way off base. Examples like fighting alongside sylvanas or Jaina against the lich king, this seems spot on, because either character is doing something important while we deal with the lich kings minions.
    but then examples like 'watch this event happen mortal while something incredible happens', doesn't fill the player with purpose, and something like the 'horde is family' quest, of the divine bell quest, we are either involved to little, or so much that the lore character is almost disregarded.

    What blizzard needs to focus on, is making the lore flow in every eventuality, so the lore characters are doing something important, and the player gets to feel like there doing something important to. nobody wants to feel like robin instead of batman, but if they involve lore characters, if the player does to much, they get cocky and think the story is about them.

  2. #2
    We're definitely treated like heros, at least in the latter expansions. We're introduced as veterans of several compaigns. My favorite example is the Alliance intro in Borean Tundra, where the recruiter pulls you to the front of the line because he's heard of your exploits in Outland.

    It's a fine line blizzard has to walk because of the nature of an MMO. You can't be THE guy that helped Tirion kill the lich king because millions of other players play the game too. But at the same time, you are heroes and they try to make you feel heroic. Have the npcs do too much, and people complain. Have them do nothing, and people complain.

    I think they've gotten better about it. Lore charactesr make appearances in important boss fights, such as Malfurion and Co on heroic rag, Thrall and the Aspects for Deathwing, the Keepers for Yogg, etc. They're doing a better job since Illidan onward of working lore characters into the action, and the only instance that kind of annoyed me was LK, because he was just toying with us the whole time and could, and did, kill us instantly at a whim and then Tirion wins the game FOR us by breaking Frostmourne. At least in Dragon Soul we were doing the very critical job of buying Thrall and company time to recharge the dragon soul.

    I think a lot of what we do lorewise is either attributed to nameless heroes of the horde/alliance, or in some cases shifted more onto the npc factions and heroes we meet. We also see more of the lore characers lately. Jaina is active in the purging of dalaran even if she's not holding our hands, in the Lion's Landing scenario we get to fight alongside several alliance npcs we've met in quests. (I assume the horde version mirrors this) etc.

    They're not doing a perfect job but I think they've gotten better at walking that line.

    Sometimes they have the npc do too much, but occasional spectacles to show how powerful/awesome/badass a lore character is is good too, as long as we don't get Uldum style cutscenes everywhere.

    In either case I think they've really improved on this front since Vanilla.

  3. #3
    Over 9000! apepi's Avatar
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    We as players play the 'adventurer' in blizzard lore. We not necessarily run things but we are the people who do things. While in the lore books the main characters are almost doing everything it is us that allow that. We as players are the solders, we are the inventors, we are the army, we are the wanders, we are the heroes and we are the ones getting saved. While I would like this game to be more rpgish(like the star wars one, man the game sucked but the story was great!) it is what it is.

    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
    Time...line? Time isn't made out of lines. It is made out of circles. That is why clocks are round. ~ Caboose

  4. #4
    The way I see our characters is something in between a common soldier, and a main hero. I'll use a few examples.

    Our warriors are no Varian Wrynn or Garrosh Hellscream. But we're above and beyond random footman 45 and miscellaneous grunt 632. Our mages are no Jaina, but not average sorceress units. Our paladins not Uther but above the norm.

    To use DCUO as an example, we're not Superman or Batman, but we ARE superheroes.

  5. #5
    Banned Trassk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florena View Post
    The way I see our characters is something in between a common soldier, and a main hero. I'll use a few examples.

    Our warriors are no Varian Wrynn or Garrosh Hellscream. But we're above and beyond random footman 45 and miscellaneous grunt 632. Our mages are no Jaina, but not average sorceress units. Our paladins not Uther but above the norm.

    To use DCUO as an example, we're not Superman or Batman, but we ARE superheroes.
    Yes, its true we are made to feel like this. But something that bothers me really about the story is how, often, the story feels augmented or even sacrificed for the sake of our players avatar.
    If i'm reading the book, I want to read about the hero of the story doing damage or there involvement in it. I want it to feel that same way, but wow disappoints. because we see so little of the lore characters as it is, and when we do, they get ripped on by the other players for getting involved, or do so little the players rip on them for doing so little.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    Yes, its true we are made to feel like this. But something that bothers me really about the story is how, often, the story feels augmented or even sacrificed for the sake of our players avatar.
    If i'm reading the book, I want to read about the hero of the story doing damage or there involvement in it. I want it to feel that same way, but wow disappoints. because we see so little of the lore characters as it is, and when we do, they get ripped on by the other players for getting involved, or do so little the players rip on them for doing so little.
    That's just the price of being an MMO: Gameplay comes before story. It's unfortunate, but just the way it is.

  7. #7
    Banned Trassk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florena View Post
    That's just the price of being an MMO: Gameplay comes before story. It's unfortunate, but just the way it is.
    which people don't seem to understand, this is the leading cause of why the lore is beginning to feel convoluted. It no longer has WC3 lore to fall back on, and all the new lore in wow is revolved around the player more then the lore characters.

  8. #8
    The Lightbringer Skytotem's Avatar
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    In my opinion it was a mistake to ever put us on first-name friendly basis's with the major lore characters. Generals and Overlords sure, but palling around with Thrall and whoever? That feels weird to me.

    Then again a lot of people don't like being the faceless mass of mercenaries or whatever, so there probably isn't a clean solution, Blizz will never please EVERYBODY.
    You are now future Jack Noir.

    Presently, you are trapped in a single moment, which increasingly feels like an eternity. Your boredom is surpassed only by your all consuming rage and contempt for existence itself.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    which people don't seem to understand, this is the leading cause of why the lore is beginning to feel convoluted. It no longer has WC3 lore to fall back on, and all the new lore in wow is revolved around the player more then the lore characters.
    Don't blame* rather the game mechanics or anything to that nature. Developers don't care much beyond their faves.

  10. #10
    I always thought it was a positive when our quest npc fight with us. Rather than them being lazy or scared to do the work. I would like to see more of that.

  11. #11
    Scarab Lord Taftvalue's Avatar
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    Bah, my warlock (and mage) is as power hungry as you can get, and he certainly is stronger than Jaina or any other mortal sorcerer!
    Last edited by Taftvalue; 2013-01-30 at 05:22 AM.
    You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.
    Tell them only that the Lich King is dead and that World of Warcraft died with him.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam the Wiser View Post
    I always thought it was a positive when our quest npc fight with us. Rather than them being lazy or scared to do the work. I would like to see more of that.
    Feralas Sentinel ftw. The best example of a Night Elf Sentinel in game. Pity she hasn't a name and is only joining you for the briefest of moments throughout the leveling process

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    I've been having a discussion with a friend, about the way certain recent lore events have taken place in wow, and in contrast to how it would work in the old days like in wc3.

    Back in WC3, in the old RTS format, the lore character was the player. You played the game from the perspective of the lore character. You played Arthas as he became a deathknight and slaughtered people across the land. You played as Thrall fighting humans to free his people. You played Grom as he killed night elves, and the story developed along with these lore characters. There was no mysterious 'other character with stupid name' fighting alongside Thrall or Grom or Jaina, it was just them. Just like when we played console games like lara croft or chris from res evil, we are that character as we play along there story.

    Now comes wow. No longer are we seeing the story from a lore characters perspective. We're seeing it from the perspective of a made up avatar we created in an intro screen, and he/she, a character who has no ties to the story or having done anything in the lore, suddenly becomes the guy or girl who does everything, and yet remains just another random nobody.

    For example. The recent 5.2 patch and dom offensive quest chains. We the player get given a letter by chen storystout to come and see to Vol'jin, who after we help cure him, vol'jin entrusts us, the random character with the stupid name, to find Thrall and tell him whats happened. Thrall travels to the echo isles with us, where you expect to see him deal with kor'kohn, and yet its the random guy whos not even meant to be part of the story doing the killing?
    And after we take down the mini boss there, Thrall, like vol'jin, regards our character as a friend, and we just go back to whatever we're meant to be doing.

    how does this in any way make for convincing and progressive story? The character we play as isn't a hero like Thrall, Vol'jin or Varian. He isn't something the lore writers created as part of the story. He's an avatar of the player playing him. He doesn't have a voice.

    And this is the bigger problem. The player wants to feel like the main hero and that the story can't progress without them, so much so they get frustrated with a genuine lore character does anything in the story. Thrall fighting deathwing, Tirion fighting the lich king, escorting lore characters around on a quest. To the player, they are the lore characters, just like when playing any other game, like playing gods of war or tomb raider or final fantasy, they are the hero in that, so they feel the same way about there made up avatar in wow.

    Yet that can't work right in terms of functionality. We are not lore characters, we're just observing the story.

    so what blizzard attempts to do is strike a middle ground. they need to involve the lore characters (the actual lore characters), yet make the player feel like there part of there story. And sometimes blizzard gets it right on, while many other times, they go way off base. Examples like fighting alongside sylvanas or Jaina against the lich king, this seems spot on, because either character is doing something important while we deal with the lich kings minions.
    but then examples like 'watch this event happen mortal while something incredible happens', doesn't fill the player with purpose, and something like the 'horde is family' quest, of the divine bell quest, we are either involved to little, or so much that the lore character is almost disregarded.

    What blizzard needs to focus on, is making the lore flow in every eventuality, so the lore characters are doing something important, and the player gets to feel like there doing something important to. nobody wants to feel like robin instead of batman, but if they involve lore characters, if the player does to much, they get cocky and think the story is about them.
    Speak for yourself. My charachter is a hero. He's taken down Kael, Vash, and Illidan, stopped the assault on the sunwell, marched on icecrown and took down the lich king and his minions, Stopped C'thun and Yogg'saron, stopped Nefarion and Onyxia repeatedly, took down ragnoros the firelord, and helped stop deathwing himself. At this point, not only do i think it's appropriate that they treat me as friends, they could maybe kick in some gold a month toward my retirement seeing as how i continue to pull their asses out of the fire.

  14. #14
    Scarab Lord Taftvalue's Avatar
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    I actually like that the focus has shifted towards the players' characters, I mean we did all the shit, we saved the world back then in BC, remember? I actually felt screwed over troughout Wrath and Cata! Nobody payed us respect for saving their asses so many times. I mean WE killed (not really, we sent him back, but still) Kil'Jaeden and thus saving the world, WE killed the Lich King (with a little help of an op sword) and Malygos and many other threats, what have our so called leaders / lore figures done in the meantime? That's right they were covering behind their thrones and let us do the work.

    ---------- Post added 2013-01-30 at 06:28 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sivick View Post
    Speak for yourself. My charachter is a hero. He's taken down Kael, Vash, and Illidan, stopped the assault on the sunwell, marched on icecrown and took down the lich king and his minions, Stopped C'thun and Yogg'saron, stopped Nefarion and Onyxia repeatedly, took down ragnoros the firelord, and helped stop deathwing himself. At this point, not only do i think it's appropriate that they treat me as friends, they could maybe kick in some gold a month toward my retirement seeing as how i continue to pull their asses out of the fire.
    my thougts exactly.
    Last edited by Taftvalue; 2013-01-30 at 05:29 AM.
    You kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.
    Tell them only that the Lich King is dead and that World of Warcraft died with him.

  15. #15
    The Lightbringer Skytotem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam the Wiser View Post
    I always thought it was a positive when our quest npc fight with us. Rather than them being lazy or scared to do the work. I would like to see more of that.
    I like it too, I just don't like being "THE ONE TRUE HERO!" cause it feels dumb cause a million other people did the same dang thing.
    You are now future Jack Noir.

    Presently, you are trapped in a single moment, which increasingly feels like an eternity. Your boredom is surpassed only by your all consuming rage and contempt for existence itself.

  16. #16
    I honestly feel that WoW does a better job with lore the WC3 in some places. I think ICC and most of the Operation Shieldwall quests do a great job incorporating dialogue, monologues, cutscenes, quest text, chat text, mail, and visual setpieces. WC3 had 2-3 short cutscenes a mission and that was it.

    I do agree that I do feel shoehorned into some quests. When Jaina pleaded to me, a warlock, for dalaran to stay neutral because they helped regulate and control magic I laughed.

  17. #17
    Herald of the Titans Haidaes's Avatar
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    It might sound silly, but when ever I try to immerse myself in the story of wow I think of my character as part of a group of mixed races and classes, sometimes even factions, that work for their own goals. I mostly pretend in my mind that this group is neutrally affiliated (Knights of the Ebon Blade, Argent Crusade, Cenarion Circle, Dalaran) and just tags along for some greater good and is therefore forced to take part in certain events. Through that I try to make sense of the ridiculous A-H- war plot, especially during times of certain annihilation were working together would be the only sensable choice. The people I play with during raids are mostly injected into this group construct as are my alts to allow me at least a basic level of immersion while playing the game. Ofc I completly disregard everyone else in the world and pretend they are mere soldirs, which in all honesty they are during 95% of the quests.

    Well storytelling has never been a big feature of mmo's and there is really no way around it. I personally have no problems to follow people like Tirion, Akama, Thrall, Jaina or Kalecgos around and have them do the major lore parts. For me its worse to be regarded as the "hero with stupid name" like we never met before than the lore heroes taking credit for certain actions. Like Guardtalk in Skyrim, one moment you are the well known savior, the next you are some random ass no wants to talk to. I don't see any way around that though, how would one fix that even ? SWTOR had a few nice concepts in this regard, as long as your friends you happened to play with were not the same class as you, but as soon as the cutscene ends you are back in the immersion void of an mmo, because not everyone can be the archmage (well in wow you can because it holds a diffrent meaning here), a member of the siith council, the one guy that claimed the legendary weapons of the final lore boss.

    All you can do is pretend really, which is quite poor considering this is a visual game and I'm no longer 6 years old. I guess some of the asian mmo's are bit better in this regard. Some of them, while having a shitty story and telling, allow for players rise and make a difference with political systems. Back when I played Lineage 2 there were a few people that held the biggest casle in the game and whenever they did you knew taxes in all the smaler cities would go up because guy x who was kind "ruler" has been replaced with guy y who wants a few extra coins for his guilds pockets. Systems like these though often come already at the expanse of having no ongoing lore and in all honesty I'd rather take wows lore than no lore at all and keep pretending...

  18. #18
    The Lightbringer Skytotem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cortelas View Post
    I honestly feel that WoW does a better job with lore the WC3 in some places. I think ICC and most of the Operation Shieldwall quests do a great job incorporating dialogue, monologues, cutscenes, quest text, chat text, mail, and visual setpieces. WC3 had 2-3 short cutscenes a mission and that was it.

    I do agree that I do feel shoehorned into some quests. When Jaina pleaded to me, a warlock, for dalaran to stay neutral because they helped regulate and control magic I laughed.
    Could you elaborate on what you liked about Icecrown citadel? That strikes me as odd.
    You are now future Jack Noir.

    Presently, you are trapped in a single moment, which increasingly feels like an eternity. Your boredom is surpassed only by your all consuming rage and contempt for existence itself.

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