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Dev Discussion #49 - Lore Characters



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    Many individuals prefer to be viewed and treated as a standard character rather than being hailed as a celebrated hero by every possible NPC.

    PvE means: A handful of coins and a bag of boredom.
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    For me I want the lore characters to be there to hear about the deeds happening but I don't want to necessarily always be the hero. It would be great if I could even sometimes miss out on the grand adventure because I was doing something else. Most MMO's you are the great hero and get some sort of title and that can be great but what about the player who wants to be the humble crafter or the laid back adventurer just making enough coin to survive? I would like this to be a possibility. Having the lore characters be more varied to interact with these different aspects would be great too. Maybe there is a master forger who needs help supplying the lore characters with weapons for great battles. A small quest you did as a small town adventurer actually ended up helping the lore characters achieve something without you even knowing. The world should move on around our characters without our characters having to be involved in every great battle. I hate the idea of being in a world that stands still and waits for me. One of the biggest draws to this game for me is that my actions and those of other players will have a real effect on the world around us. When we help a town that was on fire put out the fire then the town doesn't stay on fire forever it looks ridiculous to have an NPC or lore character thank you for saving their town and still have multiple buildings next to wreathed in flame. The outlook of the world should also have an effect on the lore characters personalities. If the world is commerce based with the node system the lore characters should care more about money and merchants, if it is a war area they should be brutes or highly skilled fighters. The lore characters should help make the world feel vast and different. Having a typical band of the smart one, the strong but dumb one, the leader, the loner who just happened to be roped in I really want to avoid these boring overdone teams and have the lore characters be truly their own people with their own motives and interactions.
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    OrbificatorOrbificator Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited March 2023
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?
    For NPCs, I imagine they would mostly be figures of legend/past to begin with. As time goes on and expansions are released, They would become more modern figures that exist within the world we have made.

    How do you like interacting with them?
    Perhaps a Significant Person could leave Sanctus and seek citizenship in one of the player nodes. Players would compete to have them come to their node.

    For more personal interactions, I would like to be recognized as an adventurer. One of many. Unless I was a node mayor or something of the sort.

    Where do you want to see yourself in the story?
    I don't want to become the Hero of Everything. In Elder Scrolls Online, your character is involved in every single major event and saves the world over and over.
    For Ashes, I would like to be an inhabitant of the world just like all the other players. Through certain accomplishments or achievements, some players could come to stand above the rest. Leaders/Former Leaders of nodes, World First Raid/Dungeon teams, and Players who do some other extraordinary things. Perhaps these players could be mentioned by significant lore figures. Prominent Guilds of the current or past eras could also be mentioned.
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    I'm so tired of the 'chosen one' narrative in RPGs. Almost every rpg has this same beaten to death, boring, predictable story. You play as the chosen one, the dovakhein, the savior of the world, according to some ancient prophecy. Why can't I just be a normal person trying to make my way in the world? Because that's the reality of an MMORPG, there's 10,000 other "chosen ones" running around doing the same stuff as you.

    I'm more interested in being a common adventurer trying to make a name for myself and find my own path. I don't want my path to be predetermined for me, like I'm on some amusement park ride. Recognition should not be given at the start of the game, it should have to be earned through your own achievements whether from other Players or NPCs. RPGs feel good when you get to make your own choices that lead to different outcomes, that are meaningful and have an impact on the world. In other words, there should be multiple ways to complete the same quest.
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    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    The number one thing yours truly admires about a good character in lore is depth. Quality of a character is accentuated when we know or come to know over time) things like their former status on Sanctus, their active group affiliations, their biggest failures/successes, whether they have relatives that went with the first wave of settlers, their feelings on Essence and magic, and which god they admire & why.
    How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    If we are to meet an NPC more than once? Then everyone we meet should have a special mini-environ around them; It'd be nice to visit a watch captain in the watch's well-decorated office, a mercenary group in a particularly dirty mercenary camp, or a priest in the remains of what used to be a really, REALLY elaborate shrine. Not a fan of a busy quest-giver just being out in the middle of the street; they could be standing on top of the back of a wagon, guarded or accompanied by other NPCs with other garb from their group/affiliation. If an NPC is in a tent, why not make it either really, REALLY well-decorated, or really, REALLY desperate?

    '2nd wave settler' is one of the VERY few details about the to-be in-game story, thus far. For RP purposes, it'd be nice to have nothing that inherently prevents claiming to have been with the 1st wave, amongst other players (especially once we've had time to loot a variety of NPCs for outfits/accessories!). Anything that comes with the story should relate to us as settlers/reclaimers.

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    I am a sucker for lore. The type that read published books with game lore, spend hours reading the wiki for lore and very much consider what type of character my character is in that particular world. I could write a novel about what I'd prefer, but I'll try to keep it at least semi-short.

    1) I do not want to be the hero. In CRPGs and MMORPGS, the trend is that your character is the awesome well known character of awesomeness. If NPCs start referring to my character like "Heroes! We need to you kill these goats!" then I'll just frown at the writers. I very much prefer being a humble adventurer. Better yet, make it a part of our character sheet to select a chosen title that NPCs can refer to.. Have everyone start as "adventurer" (or something similar) and let people work their way up from there. Keep the titles optional, but if someone wants to use the title "merchant", "trader", "mercenary", "hunter", "knight", "Slayer of Almighty Dragon Sneezers" (after earning them), then copy/paste that into the NPC dialogue. (This is more or less doable depending obviously on how much voice acting you're aiming for.

    2) Keep heroes and villains interesting. Sure, someone might be a traditional anime "I wanna save everyone"-guy/gal, but don't make all "good" npcs into that. Same goes for villains. Don't make them into the traditional murder hobo (TT players will know what I mean), give them some kind of believable reasoning behind their actions. And by all means, do what Blizzard did not dare to and allow the players to pick a side.

    3) Establish lower-ranked re-occurring companions in quest lines. Preferably once that can grow with our own characters. It is always fun to see the same lower ranking NPC appear again. Since AoC is ever changing and alive so to speak, have NPCs remember us if we encounter them at a latter date. I'd love to be like "Oh look, there is Dave the Grunt! Looks like he made it all the way to Sergeant now! Way to go, Dave!"... and have Dave the Grunt remember us as well!
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    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    Assuming we're talking about currently living characters instead of historical ones, I want characters to have real in-world concerns and agendas. If they're trying to make something happen or prevent something from happening, I want those things to have real chances of happening. The more the characters can be integrated into what's happening in the game, the better.

    How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    I want important characters to interact with me in a way that makes sense. If they've just met me, I don't want them to put the fate of the world on my shoulders. They should either be hostile (if I'm part of an opposing faction) or open to developing a relationship. If they want me as an ally, they should provide a series of increasingly difficult quests to help them and provide a way to prove myself. I should only be a "hero" in their eyes if I actually do something important for them.

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    Please don't put a character in two places at once. That breaks the world IMO.
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    SeloSelo Member
    I want main quest and lore npc to be aware there are other players/adventurers
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    Kiwi_Kiwi_ Member
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    So from the way you build the world of Verra, I would like to be able to get to know the past. What happened to the world, gods and goddesses etc
    However I personally think it would be great to only have the things connected to gameplay being something you’re “forced” to get to know, so like religion things etc
    And for the rest to be more of an optional thing you can seek and explore if you’re interested in lore, I think that’d be fitting for the world and the game

    How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    Again here I would prefer things to be more optional for those that want to go for lore, pieces you can explore and discover but are not necessary for those that wanna spend their time on other aspects of the game
    And just like many others here I agree that I don’t think the player being the chosen one/the hero or alike would fit very well. Each player will be just one of thousands and everyone is building and changing the world together so I always found it immersion breaking for NPCs to speak to every new player as if they were the one and only that’s gonna change and safe the world
    I would much rather like some actual achievable things. There’s some games I’ve seen that doing before (even though it wasn’t executed well imo) where an achievable ingame title or alike would cause the NPCs to comment on you walking by for everyone to see. So I’d rather have the NPCs have some kind of interaction or reaction to things the players have actually done and achieved
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    What i dislike in most mmo's is that you can look at first glance if an npc is important or not. Please make it so that we actually have to interact with the npcs to determine if their important (with a few notable exceptions ofcourse)
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    SolvrynSolvryn Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    it would be nice to be able to be a villain

    Or the anti-hero. Never cared about being the hero or the villain.

    I just care about being me. I like WoWs story telling in the books rather than the game. Sorting out peoples bullshit is a boring trope and it never pays enough.

    Warhammer 40k has good storytelling, obv grim dark can’t work for Ashes. But the part where I punch an NPC or PC in the face for being rude can.

    Some people need their skulls turned mugs, it’s not like they use them anyway and drinking mead out of them gives an effective usefulness.

    Yeah, Ill gladly save kids from getting eaten from gnolls, they’re kids after all.

    Two Kingdoms fighting? If they destroy each other enough that the resources can be put towards something productive.

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    SweatycupSweatycup Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited March 2023
    Dev Discussion - Lore Characters
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore? How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion[/quote]

    Character developement as storyline continues. Back in the day in Asherons Call the devs would play the actual storyline characters in events and it is something i have missed since the late 90’s early 00’s. I would hope this is planned instead of just a quest giver/raid boss. Hell, save em for main storyline server events if you can. To be honest im not a person who listens or reads stories ingame. I usually skip all cinematics and quest read-throughs. Only time i really have any idea what is going on through story is when the devs interact and pull you into it. I personally just see myself in any event as a +1 as i will not be a guild leader or top dps with a legendary item/weapon as i understand only a handful of 1000’s of players will access these powerful items. Which is totally fine by me as long as i still get to involve myself somewhere for some one-off lively fun.

    My ideal storyline would be have devs play the characters then park them after event in relative area(s) let the players push the advance and then return live with the players for the next plot twist or storyline. Like others said quests not everyone reads so actually interacting with the players directly automatically doesnt make people like me feel left out of the loop. As well no npc can out play a real person which is why this is a wonderful idea. You get to control the scenario behind the scenes as devs in real-time. What more could people want for “dynamic content”??
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    Arthus DawnbreakerArthus Dawnbreaker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited March 2023
    They should help build the world around us from telling us stories of the past, looks into the past, and what they are dealing with in the world now and what they see into the future

    I want to see character development which means we should deal with the same main characters through out our journey more than once so we can see their characters develop and grow.

    I want some lore main characters to teach us new things like skills like if they are the same class as us.

    I want some to accompany us as guides to help teach us about the world.

    Give the player the chance to learn about the history by giving the player a chance to experience that past.
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    Q: What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    A: I want to see their history and their deeds, i want to know WHY they are important in this world and their current objectives, i want them to have character depth and not necessarily be bound by the 100% good or 100% evil dichotomy, having some under the dichotomy is fine just don't over do it.

    Q: How do you like interacting with them?

    A: Mainly through quests for or against them/their objectives, game mechanics and items related to them.

    Q: Where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    A: Certainly as a fresh out of the gate nameless adventurer with no exquisite or glorious bound by destiny background, almost a blank slate that can walk their own path.
    Aren't we all sinners?
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    SjeldenSjelden Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited March 2023
    Vaknar wrote: »
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore? How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    Where do you want to see yourself in the story
    Single player story driven games are excellent arenas to build that "Hero" story, where you, the player, save the world from impending doom.

    Earlier MMO titles have made attempts to force that "hero" narrative, but in my opinion, the experience always ends up feeling cheap and forced, where the game is unable to build that dramatic hero-moment.

    As such, I see myself as a settler, or a gold rusher, looking to secure a piece of land and make a private fortune, unconstrained from old governments, and thus - distanced from key figures. Following lore clues looking for forgotten treasures, and walking the footsteps of heroes from ancient times, could be awesome.

    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?
    Important characters can be individuals who made an impact, but are no longer with us today.
    But those who are alive and kicking, should be "out of players reach" so to speak, impervious to ridicule.

    How do you like interacting with them?
    Through heresay, stories, and the reading of books, all of which can be found in surprising locations.

    The moment I find myself infront of an iconic figure in any MMO, I am unable to avoid pictureing the droves of players requesting the same audience, and the mile-long queue leading out of the castle courtyard.

    I would prefer to have them operate in the background, veiled in mystic, and out of touch from mere mortals.
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    I generally don't like the whole "oh savior, since the chosen has now arrived we can finaly begin this eppic battle!" stick, while there are 50 odd players swarming the same NPCc...

    It feels like in ashes alle players start equally and therefore, only NPC's should have the status of "Chosen one". So its up to the players to either support them to vanquis the big bad Evil, or to turn the tables and make the chosen one in to a finnal boss fight.

    Some one already mentioned beeing adressd by your titel, and i absolutely agree that it would be awsome. maby go as far as NPC's having different aditudes depending on your titel. Local heros beeing worshiped, while heroes from foreign nodes are being misstrusted?

    And if players start impacting the flow of the story, keep their names (or the names of their guilds) around so we know whom ones the fame or whom to endlessly blame XD.
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    I recently replayed through GW2 as a char character, and I think they built the best system I've ever played for lore in an MMO. I was made to not feel like a hero of the world, but to feel like MY story/experience through the game hit the scale sweet spot. I was just a soldier in a squad rising through the ranks and got promoted as I went through the quest.

    I think ashes should take this approach of big characters passing through our stories as they need to, and organically should with some different dialogue based on character's lvl/archetypes/classes/professions. I want to feel like MY character is interacting with the NPC hero or otherwise.
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    Arya_YesheArya_Yeshe Member
    edited March 2023
    It is quite amazing how often GW2 comes up for being good in this or that.
    As a GW2 player, I am not surprised at all!
    PvE means: A handful of coins and a bag of boredom.
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    So this feels like a loaded question honestly. I want the characters I meet to be cool or interesting. I want to remember the Py'rai ranger I met that was witty and clever. I want to see them and be like "Yes! They are back!". It helps to know why we are doing something so I'm excited to see where your lore goes Intrepid. I want a good reason to care what happens to them and the world around them. I want a good lore reason to kill the boss that's rampaging in the forests. These kinds of thing are important to me. I am ok if our character is just some traveler or adventurer as long as I still have reasons to care about what happens.
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    I don’t like the hero that the narrative centers around. It’s been done too many times.

    I also don’t like cutscenes - it goes too slow - but I also don’t want to miss out on the story. Just let me read the dialogue old-school style.

    Lastly, I like having the flexibility to explore, but please implement some functions to indicate where to go or what to do next for big plot points and other required tasks. Wandering around for hours trying to figure it out doesn’t feel good.
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    AelAel Member
    edited March 2023
    Ohh a lore discussion, I'm jumping in :]

    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    First, I'm considering « important characters » as « characters with a meaningful impact on the lore of the world »

    What I'd love to see is :

    - Characters that become « important » through the development of the story of the server.
    Some foot soldier that survives a harsh fight, picks up Diablo's soulstone and becomes possessed... and becomes more and more important.

    - But also characters that are important and powerful from the start.

    - Characters with their own personality of course, and their own goals (hidden or not) too. Like we have some glorious and noble heroes helping everyone, some sarcastic shaddy dude not caring about anything but his own interest, some mad fanatic devoted to the gods... give them some exaggeretad personnality traits, to make them memorable. B)

    - Characters evolving with the story of the server... and who can switch sides according the the story. :o
    Let's say the players and 5 important NPC have to defeat boss A. Depending of their previous story, 4 out of the 5 NPC could help the players, be missing, or... fight alongside with the boss. >:)
    It would make this great « little streams make big rivers » feeling, and "beware if you don't get involved in the world" feeling which I think fits well with Ashes philosophy.

    - On that regard, it would be fun to have some side quests influencing the main characters. Such as if we fail the quest, the important characters start to follow a darker path. Or loses a hand (oops).

    - It would also be awesome if achieving successfully some quests related to important characters could bring bad consequences for these characters. Like players are aware (or not) that if they achieve quest A, then they would get good rewards but the main character would suffer bad consequences.
    And vice-versa, if the quest is failed, then the players get no reward (or suffer penalties), but the character gets a positive outcome.
    It's a bit wicked but also fun and realistic :D

    - And why not about these quests, being able to pick a side (same as attacking/defending a caravane, but related to important characters). o:)


    How do you like interacting with them ?
    Where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    I liked Bladen's idea quite a lot :
    « So I would say lore characters see us as unimportant at first and through the course of our achievements they start giving us the respect and dialog of what we accomplished. »

    It sounds pretty good. The more a player achieves stuff going, the more recognition they would get from the NPC.

    That aside I'd prefer to cross their path from time to time, but not being treated like the-last-hope-saving-the-world-every-Tuesday.
    "We have two lives, and the second one begins when we set foot on Verra."
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    My two favorite MMO Lore styles have been Warhammer Online and Guild Wars. In both I felt very connected to my characters story arc. Sounds play a big role in setting mood. For those who want to play villain I agree and look forward to the gameplay where you can be a giant monster and attack an enemy village.
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    What do you want to see out of essential characters in the lore? How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    I would like it if important characters had audio and text dialogue, with lip-synced speech. I would like them to be able to move around, pick stuff up, talk to other NPCs, show them making decisions, let them walk around like they are busy, and not just stand in place waiting for me to speak to them all the time.

    not sure if this is the place for it but i want my decision to matter. some games let players worlds be different based on their decision, like giving multiple ways to respond to a conversation or save these people vs those people. If an NPC dies, i want their character model not to be there anymore (replace with gravestone?).

    "where do you want to see yourself in the story": for cinematics from 3rd person pov. maybe 2nd person pov. i would like to see my character's name in books or letters mentioning my deeds, on leaderboards for raids, in your friends list, on guild member list, on homeowner signs, and have the name of the crafter who made the crafted item/weapon stay with the weapon,
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    HonshuHonshu Member
    edited March 2023
    Vaknar wrote: »

    Dev Discussion - Lore Characters
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore? How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    I am of the opinion that player interactions in political environments result in the best and most meaningful stories. I wholly dislike the "themepark" storygame design structure popularized by games such as Final Fantasy XIV, where players essentially are forced to engage with "important characters in the lore." In short, I don't want to see important characters in the lore at all, at least not in any kind of front-facing way. I want the story of my game to be a personal one shaped by my interactions with other players and the environment we find ourselves in.

    To explain my terms a bit, if you played World of Warcraft vanilla, you might very well be interested in the story of how the Scarlet Crusade came to be and the lore behind the characters you fight in their dungeon, the Scarlet Monastery. To learn such details, you might engage yourself with the lore behind that organization by doing quests that reveal information about them, talking to NPCs that tell you about them, or reading bits of literature placed within the dungeon that provide some insight as to them. This is what I call "background detail," the sort of detail that exists and informs the design of the dungeon for the developers, but is not readily discovered by players unless they search that information out.

    The polar opposite, and what I call "front-facing detail," is detail that the players essentially is forced to engage with. Front-facing detail would be any type of "story quest" the player must engage with to progress in the game. An example would be the "main story quest line" in Final Fantasy XIV, which the player is forced to play through in order to unlock higher level content and is linked inseparably to ones' progression in the game.
    I want to see myself in something more like the story of EVE Online where I'm just a random asshole in a space ship trying not to die and banding together with other assholes so we're all better off, over Final Fantasy XIV where I'm the chosen one drawn into an interdimensional conflict, please and thank you.
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    I’m nobody. A cog in the wheel that makes Verras society work. On an individual level I can progress and become famous and powerful but in the end there are higher powers that controls my destiny. I’d like those powers to be written vaguely so we can fill in the blanks with our imagination.

    The more powerful a character gets the less interaction and background I want and vice versa.

    Much love ❤️
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    -T0Mb--T0Mb- Member
    edited March 2023
    What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    I think that important characters should be or have been part of Verra's history and events but are now settled down in starting zones or they can appear into developed nodes as quest givers, artisan trainers or event organizers etc.

    Maybe some characters could be found in some uninhabited places researching things, practising their professions or just simply living their lives in their new homes.

    If an important character is already dead or disappeared from Verra when players start their journeys I would like to find some references to these characters in Verra.

    For example it would be cool to find some journals or art that could tell stories about these important characters. Perhaps some of these things that belonged to them or described these characters could lead into treasure hunting quests that reward players with unique cosmetic items that belonged to these characters back in the days.

    How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    As a player I would like to interact with some important characters only as an adventurer. These important character could send players letters that give quests or invitations to come and meet them.

    I don't like it when players become too important to the story and all NPCs start to worship my character as a hero, champion, commander, king or god etc. Let's just keep this thing humble like some others here have already said before me.

    When I played GW2 I didn't like that players became High Commanders when they reached a certain point in the story. I didn't like it because it was too easy to achieve and everyone else could get that same status too very easily so it didn't feel any special. Old school WoW did great job with this thing and in that time players were just adventurers and only way to get titles was to get rank in PvP.

    I have a suggestion. Maybe player could choose how NPCs would speak to player by using a title that player has got from some achievement. For example NPCs would call player a master blacksmith if the player has become a master blacksmith or NPCs would call player a dragon slayer if the player has killed a world boss level dragon.
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    DizzDizz Member
    *What do you want to see out of important characters in the lore?

    Not sure, I feel old fashioned usually useful than careless innovation. I love Zelda series very much, important characters in every title are relative old fashion or say classic to me but still works very well to make a great story.

    *How do you like interacting with them and where do you want to see yourself in the story?

    I prefer to be just an adventurer in a MMO. If player don’t play an important role to the world or events or important characters, I’d rather not have direct interact to them. An individual player’s choice is nothing more than just a ripple. Maybe if a mayor, guild master, castle owner etc those who holding the big title can held a vote event to represent most of player’s will to decide taking which path. Or maybe by a large event out come like NPC can make alliances with node and the mayor can choice to accept or not. If the citizens don’t like this decision, they can choice to leave the large city and become citizens of other node that against to that NPC to effect the story direction.
    A casual follower from TW.

    ↓Good youtube channel to learn things about creating games.↓
    Masahiro Sakurai on Creating Games:
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    I just wanna see cool characters do stuff that earns my respect. Characters I could follow or fear. Or trust to help in dire circumstances. Characters I can learn from. Characters that can push the story forward.

    And some less serious characters too. Ones that just know how to make life interesting or pleasant in different ways.

    Even if we're not interacting with them directly, they need to inspire some action, whether through love or hate or intrigue or admiration or loyalty or whatever. Honestly, I said they should push the story forward, but I think that might be the least important part. They should push players to push the story forward. And not just as quest givers making all kinds of requests.

    I guess I'm tryna say, they need some agency, to show their personality through action. But they shouldn't be the main characters who do everything while we just watch. I'd rather they be peers to the players. Allies, rivals, enemies, friends, colleagues, etc. And yeah, there can still be leaders and masters who are clearly on another level, but they should still feel approachable, and we should have some opportunities to play a part in their story, just as they will obviously impact our stories.
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