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Dev Discussion #49 - Lore Characters



  • KilionKilion Member
    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?

    1. Lore characters

    Given the structure of an MMORPG I think NPCs are the best option to tell the story of a world. They are present 24/7 in the world and they can be written to be more consistent than players who tend to play for variety.

    These characters should be well established in the world by the time a new player enters the game and out of their reach. They are already driving the world to some extend. A new player might part of an expedition that was formed under the order of a lore character or one of the pioneers sent out to secure a first Node from which we will reconquer Verra. To me this is key, someone who is already invested in the world provides a hook for present events that provide a greater theme to quests etc. They are the red thread.

    2. We, the players

    Like I mentioned above players should start out no different from the average NPC, simple peasants with the eager will to help the cause of a lore character and/or some big established faction.

    It would be interesting if players could choose a loose affiliation with different factions or a background so to speak, like "admirer" could provide us with a more quests from lore characters, "zealot" could provide us with a special story arc around religion, "recruit/explorer" could be about conquering Verra having access to story archs that want you to discover new locations, slay new things and loot unique stuff. These background shouldn't be excluding others players who do not have them from doing these story archs, but shift the timing. An explorer might learn of the discovery of a new dungeon earlier than a zealot (provided that story archs have to be discovered by going to a place - the background would basically allow a character to know about specific story archs that take place further away).

    3. Interaction

    I think it is absolutely important that to the lore characters the player always remains part of some group instead of being lifted to the Marvel level of "You are the only person who can save the time and space of all the undiscovered universes, the quintillion of lives in them, the laws of physics, life and existence itself" to the point where logging out for the day just breaks the immersion completely. No, in the beginning the player is completely unrecognized by the lore characters, working for people who were ordered by other people who the lore characters told to do something. Or the lore characters start out as just as irrelevant as we do and we work our ways up together, however even in that case it is not the player specifically, it is always we as part of a group. When reaching max level, we might be recruited as an elite soldier on an elite mission, but we are not going alone, we - again - will be part of a unit, a squad. Our group, as which we then might be recognizable to the lore characters.
    Player should be helping pushing forward different lore characters ambitions instead of being the ones who are the sole source of lore in the game.

    I think the earlier WoW games actually were doing quite well in that regards, we weren't the "champion" or something, we were warriors of the Horde or Alliance setting foot on e.g. Northrend, scouting for our faction, establishing new alliances with the inhabitants, clearing out the paths for our champions - the lore characters - to walk and accompany them into the belly of the beast. Even boss fights were written around the story arc of characters. I'll mention the character Saurfang, an established figure in the lore even before WoW started, even though he was of very little importance in the beginning. However, he gradually progressed during the events of the two expansions, returned to be more active in line with his pre-game lore, provided us with quests that not only gave us an understanding about who he is within the Horde, but also about his past. He had a son, who he had kept safe for basically all the times until he grew up trained him to become a great warrior. He did succeed to see his son grow up to be exactly that and both were sent on a new mission in the second expansion. There, his son died in a siege battle against the Lich King army. In the final dungeon, the players attack the Lich Kings citadel together with various lore characters of their faction and one of the boss fights actually confronts us - and Saurfang - with the reanimated corpse of his son. After the battle Saurfang picks up the body of his son and leaves for their homeworld to give him a proper burial. His lore continues beyond that, but this should be enough to describe what I hope to see lore characters and players do in a story driven environment.
    1. Be embedded in the world through prior merit or knowledge of the world the player yet has to acquire
    2. Introduce us to the world (guidance)
    3. Point us towards the next challenges (training)
    4. Do missions themselves that drive their story on which we accompany them (progression & change)
    5. Some may die in an epic final fight when we finally are fighting alongside them, not just under them. Some may die or vanish to establish new story lines. In such cases it is a nice touch to have them be remembered in some way, e.g. a new statue or portrait in an important place (legacy)
    The answer is probably >>> HERE <<<
  • GilgameshGilgamesh Member, Leader of Men, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I've played Lost Ark, BDO, New World, World of Warcraft, ESO, and Archeage.

    For the game's lore, two of these games stick out for me. Lost Ark and World of Warcraft. I've thought through why and I think it is because, in both of those games, the villains are created to be a giant spectacle. Brelshaza is a giant goat lady with very feminine facial features, the contrast this creates makes her look very eerie and demonic. Deathwing the giant dragon, who doesn't like this in a high fantasy game? In Ashes we've just seen a regular human with red eyes. VERY boring! For the lore to land there needs to be something interesting at first to function as a hook for people's interest. I am aware that this is very difficult because there is no pre-established lore and zero world-building for Ashes but I think there are things you can do to make it easier for you.
  • SolvrynSolvryn Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »

    Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

    Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

    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

    Well each server is different so I would hope that the main NPC antagonists, protagonists, and anti-heroes follow their own past and we're there to witness it.
  • Ace1234Ace1234 Member

    Hey, thanks, I appreciate you taking the time to read it and respond, it took me a while to put that post together.

    I'll have to read through yours and think on it.
  • Austrinaut wrote: »
    Alright so hear me out, lore characters are cool, npc's are cool, but the way quests are designed is player driven storylines. So, players and groups of players should be the focus, with lore characters sort of filling in narrative gaps rather than going off on a monologue when you click on them, then you gain a quest.

    Take that Ghosty guy from the stream. Rather than interacting directly, it would be suuuper cool if he joined you for key moments of the questline and talked as you go. Or pops in to monologue as you fight some mobs in a lighter area. Interacting in a way that adds to the experience rather than dictating the experience.

    This is exactly how Guild Wars 2 is, in certain dungeons the lore characters will help you even fighting the boss and saving your party from demise
    PvE means: A handful of coins and a bag of boredom.
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