Guess who’s back. I gave Star Wars: The Old Republic a lot of grief over the course of 2018 for the fact that its server merges outright demolished the game’s RP servers. This may be understandable, all things considered, but it still had a pretty huge effect upon the game’s RP community, and while you could argue it was more a reflection of the state of the game than it was an active snub, it still wound up being one. But people who have paid attention to my writings over the years know that I’ve long advocated Final Fantasy XIV as a great place to roleplay, despite the fact that the game has never had official roleplaying servers. (It does have two unofficial servers that everyone is well aware of, though.) And so now that I’m bringing this back, it seems like this is a great time to start by establishing a foundation. What makes a game good for roleplaying in the first place? A robust setup for character expression It’s really … [Read more...] about Storyboard: What makes an MMORPG a good home for roleplaying?
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All right, this is new for me because most of my titles do not contain dirty lies right in the question used to kick off the column. But that question is inherently a filthy, filthy lie because the answer is obvious. Of course you can diverge from lore. You can do anything you want. If you want to say your World of Warcraft character is the man-love baby of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Eleventh Doctor who was raised simultaneously by Pinkie Pie and Iron Man, you can do it. A much better question is whether or not you should. But asking that as the title would have meant not getting to make you all picture that WoW character in the first paragraph, so swings and roundabouts. Horrible mental images aside, diverging from the written lore in an MMO is one of those things that you’re almost inevitably going to wind up doing over enough time spent roleplaying, but it can also be one of the biggest ways to alienate yourself from other players. … [Read more...] about Storyboard: Can you diverge from lore in MMORPG roleplaying?
I’m going to let you in on a very big and also very obnoxious secret. All right? No one is going to like hearing it, no one even likes saying it. We’ve all collectively agreed that instead of talking about it, we’ll just have some of us know this fact and some people think the inverse is true, and the former group will be happier than the latter when it comes to roleplaying. But it’s all based on fake ideas. Ready for it? Character motivation is malarkey. Oh, sure, it’s important. It informs a bunch of what you’re doing with a character when you roleplay, yeah. Saying otherwise would just be lying. But every time I see people citing character motivation as a reason for not engaging in a plot I mentally (and often audibly) sigh. The same goes for no-selling a conflict with character powers, using character history to horribly derail plots, and otherwise using cheap ways of getting out of stories instead of, you know, engaging with them. See, … [Read more...] about Storyboard: Stop whining and accept your MMO plotline
Let’s take a trip back to the dewy slopes of June 2006, when Chris Metzen addressed the question of how the lore of the Draenei deviated from the lore that had already been laid out. See, in Warcraft III, the history of the Burning Legion had been established to include Sargeras being corrupted by the already demonic Eredar, whereas the lore laid down for the Draenei involved Sargeras showing up and corrupting the Eredar. A lot of people were very upset that this changed the existing lore back at the time. Except it really didn’t matter much at all because it had no bearing on World of Warcraft up to that point whatsoever. Learning that things had happened in a slightly different order didn’t change anyone’s motivation. No one had actually been around for those events. It was all just moving imaginary pieces around the chessboard. The discontent was based almost entirely on the fact that yes, the lore had been changed. But it was a change that didn’t … [Read more...] about Storyboard: Never forget that all MMO lore is made up
When I first caught wind of today’s the Star Wars: The Old Republic update, I immediately thought, “Oh, another dev blog.” Don’t get me wrong, because I do enjoy these dev blogs quite a bit…but I usually find these types of updates moderate in terms of content and more subdued, so I never expect to get too pumped up. This dev blog by Paul Marino on Cinematic Design is a little different though, because admittedly I have a personal interest. First of all, the main draw of this game is the story, and you can’t tell a good story without getting your audience emotionally involved. There’s also the matter of choice in SWTOR, and obviously the cinematic decisions for, say, a light-sided action versus a dark-sided one would be completely different. Hence, I’m very curious for any insight from the team behind the magic. Second of all, somehow reading this article brought to mind several of the independent comic projects I’ve had to … [Read more...] about Cinematically Yours