A few days ago, I put aside my Rift mage and woke my level 50 elf rogue from her slumber. I need Planar Attunement, which is account-wide. So I thought I’d quest a bit in Storm Legion.
I’ve lost the Storm Legion story already. You get a letter, talk to an NPC, teleport to Storm Legion, and start questing, and you have no idea what you’re doing. The story, like the gear rewards, is split between two start zones. How are you supposed to follow that?
At least you’re no longer routed (as you were originally) through a hard-to-find Iron Pines portal via a ship that crashed out in the ocean, offering a long swim to get a brief mini-game. I.e. it was unnecessarily complicated.
The quests also waited far too long to give my rogue upgraded expansion-level weapon, so I shard-hopped, ran invasions, and traded for a bow at the adventure dealer, something most players won’t think of. This literally doubled the DPS of my weapon. Kind of a big difference?
I’ve just about quit Storm Legion again, reminded why it took me three tries to get through it the first time.
This morning I’m watching Angry Joe give the same criticism to Destiny as I give to Rift. So here’s today’s kitty headline:
SUPERMAN SAVING THE WORLD: ANGRY JOE RANTS ABOUT IMMERSION (AND CORPORATE GREED DEGRADING ARTISTIC QUALITY AND INTEGRITY)
“Oh sure … Bungie.net is extensive with entries on just about everything you could think of in the game, but the problem is that none of that is in the fucking game! Which means you don’t give a shit about what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Listen, external material should enrich the lore. If I need to leave the game to understand what is going on, that aspect of your game has failed. The campaign mode is pathetic.”
“I don’t remember anyone’s name. None of the alien factions get a proper impressive introduction, or motivations, or personalities of their own.”
We can hope Nightmare Tide will have tighter, more understandable story and lore. There is only one start zone, which is a start. If the prologue on Ember Isle is any indication, however, there will be too many elements fusing into confusion again.
Why did the Ember Isle prologue need three rotating quest givers? It’s prime time to learn more about the Faceless Man, but nothing happened. Meanwhile, I assume we won’t see the Ember Isle priestesses again, which makes this a case of misplaced priorities, spreading the focus too thin, resulting in a lost opportunity to characterize.
You can’t lose any opportunities when you’re trying to tell a story using 1000 words or less. That’s basically a quest chain.
Is it just too hard to develop NPCs into memorable characters? The Ember Isle prologue for Nightmare was an impressive production overall, with interesting quests and worthwhile rewards.
The mermaid, the damsel in distress, was the best character in this quest chain. The mermaid singing was a fabulous special effect. I hope we’ll see the mermaid again, just like I hope we see Nona again in LotRO. I doubt it.
It’s important to remember that MMO players don’t sit down and read a story from start to finish. They play for an hour or two at a time, quit, and start again the next day or next weekend. So the important points bear repeating.
Yes, I’m advocating dumbing down story enough to reinforce the the most important points. Remind the player what’s happening later in a long quest chain. “Tip of the iceberg” storytelling should mean an implication of far more than there actually is in terms of models and pixels, not keeping everything a confusing and murky mystery. (See-Angry Joe review of Destiny.)
One mystery at a time. That should be another golden rule, something that will stick in the player’s head. And then make it a very good mystery.
Trion posted a lore page last week for the third and most mysterious Nightmare Tide zone called Draumheim, which we haven’t seen much in livestreams. This helps to explain who the dragon guy was in the Ember Isle Nightmare prologue.
The concept appears to be that the dream denizens of the city are the dreams of mortals, including the nightmares, which have come to hate their creation and creators. The Draumheim split between happy and nightmare citizens sounds like Monsters Incorporated (the original movie), except there are lots of bad monsters, enough to start taking over.
I know we can look forward to more bad tentacle monsters. They’re already wrangling the kitty during Water Rifts in the live game.