Cut down on the spoonfed storytelling in MoP.

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01/04/2012 10:07 PMPosted by Lywyn
One thing I think works really well are the cinematics you can ESC out of


I agree. If you want to see the cinematic, then you can see it. If not, you can skip it.

I finished Mt. Hyjal a day or two ago and felt like the story was really strong and well-implemented there. Phasing really helped with that -- it was really easy to pretend, that just for a moment, that I was Mahapa, a bovine heroine, and what I was doing made a difference. Mt. Hyjal is my ideal zone -- excellent music (Nightsong, anyone?), a strong and fast-paced story, and phasing.
Everyone votes to skip, I do not imagine that working unless they change how vote to kick works. Just be that one guy that wants to see the story out of those five people in the instance, they /kick you just because they do not want to watch any more story elements, I remember many people who got vote kicked because they had not seen the into to the TotC 5 man, and since nobody wanted to see it again, they just wanted to collect loot and go it was all to easy to kick people.
I like the idea that just one person/character that hasn't seen it makes you see it again. It still gives you the option to skip it more often as time goes by. A lot of what is scary about it is thinking we will never be able to skip it. Also, what is up with Thrall being in a hurry and yet every 3 seconds you have to talk to him to get him moving again.
I just want you to give us flying mounts everywhere as promised.
That includes Ghostlands, Dark moon faire island and molten front.
01/04/2012 10:48 AMPosted by Fugfug
There is no good or evil, no light, only POWWWARRRR!


^
Is funny stuff lol. Love how he says that
I wonder if you guys have considered a Theater mode. Once unlocking a portion of the lore, players could go to the theater and watch it at there convenience. You could also use this for in game special announcements, leaderboards for pvp and pve content, watching arena/bg matches.

But having a theater would mostly allow for a method for people to go back and view the story that they have unlocked on their own time, allowing for people to skip the content and not drastically alter anyone's play time.
01/04/2012 11:02 AMPosted by Scuzz
All I really want is for Blizzard to remember this is a game first, and a story-telling-medium second. I'm here to play. Watching things happen without my involvement just isn't playing, so why am I here?


It's an MMORPG game. The story-telling is a very, very large part of it, or should be. However, you're right. Watching things happen without player involvement isn't fun. Just reading snippits of story from quest text isn't fun. Being led around by an NPC is neat the first time and aggravating later. Interrupting a dungeon which, let's face it, is almost always done via LFD and doesn't even keep server types together isn't fun - either for those who want to see the story and have it skipped or those who want to skip it and have to sit through it again (HoR anyone?). Unfortunately, at least for me, reading anything by Knaak isn't fun either. It's more like penance.

What the developers really need to keep in mind is that the in-game story needs to be participatory - players need to feel as if they are still doing something while recieving lore, something that matters. In-game story also needs to be avoidable or skippable for those who aren't interested, not because it's a bad thing but because it's too massive of a change. WoW has hidden its story and allowed it to be ignored for so long that it's the norm, now. Importantly, WoW has been designed as top-heavy, tangible reward focused, and dungeon/raid oriented. That is unlikely to change and the minor deviations from it are already part of the upset over MoP. If you can't make the story delivery in a dungeon/raid participatory or fun, keep it out of the dungeons. Those who want to "just play the game" will have dungeons with short, non-disrupting bits of lore. Put lore in the questing but make it engaging, please. Not "here, read this" or "follow me and I'll tell it to you".
To me, what's important with any story line is being consistent. I think that there is a great lack of "updates", so to speak, on the races. Speak to any NPC that has a dialogue upon click, or listen to what they are talking about (when they have a scripted conversation with another NPC) and you'll hear them talk about things that are way back from BC (i.e. ~ the BC races). Sure, I know that updating things like that isn't easy, but it's definitely not "current story line" either. I feel like a new race gets released and the "old" races get forgotten about in regards to a story line. It would be wonderful to see all of the races get their models updated and their story lines brought to current. It would be even better if, when a new expansion is brought in, the races were updated in regards to story when it was applicable. It's sad to see the old raced neglected for the shiny new ones.

EDIT: Personally, I enjoy (for the most part of it) the story that WoW brings. However, the thing that I have a great distaste for is Cutscenes. I don't mind them when they are brief 5-10 second snippets that help illustrate what's going on, or things that the character can't do, etc.... but it's almost more frustrating to be playing a game and have to afk for a cutscene because it's more than a few brief moments.
01/04/2012 10:37 AMPosted by Nethaera
Many players have expressed that they have concerns over too much story having to be found outside the game and not enough in the game, or even not being led to the story in the game and thus missing it. Obviously, this is something we've been trying to correct where we can and trying to find a balance between the two.


*cough* Cairne... *cough*...

Let's stay away from writing out key characters from the story in short paragraphs on the forums...
01/04/2012 10:37 AMPosted by Nethaera
Second, we've heard (as you've stated) that once through, it's not as fun the second time. We've obviously experienced this as well in the past via Culling of Stratholme. As you saw there, we did eventually make it possible to skip this portion of the event, but there are risks involved with that too. For newer players or those that aren't on the front edge of progression, this can cause them to miss out on being able to see this story unless they're with people who are willing to let it play out so they can experience it.


This however, could potentially be rectified by only allowing a 'skip' if all characters have completed the 'RP' part once.
01/05/2012 02:38 AMPosted by Sintestra
First, we've gotten lots of feedback through the years that it's difficult to learn the story of World of Warcraft. Many players have expressed that they have concerns over too much story having to be found outside the game and not enough in the game, or even not being led to the story in the game and thus missing it. Obviously, this is something we've been trying to correct where we can and trying to find a balance between the two. We're aware that Azeroth's history and story is pretty vast and with each new expansion, we're given the opportunity to expand on it even more.

This is why you keep the main, primary canon IN the game. There's nothing wrong with having stories outside the game, but you don't force players to read books outside the game to understand the main story.

Some examples of this are:
King Varian killed Onyxia, the players didn't actually do anything.
Cairne dies to Garrosh in a duel where Miss Grimtotem played a hand with poison.
Rhonin becoming Mary Su...pardon...becoming ruler of Dalaran.

If those were not influential players in the main storyline, it would be fine and dandy to have books about their adventures. But when they start influencing the direction of the main storyline, it's time to put the book aside and put it in the game.


This...so very much this. I don't want to 'have' to read the outside books and stories to understand what's going on in the game. it should be told, in the actual game itself.

Also I don't feel that getting rid of LFR and LFD, (as some have suggested), would make the storytelling any better. If you want everyone to experience a better story...then 'everyone' needs to also see the end of the story. That's why Blizzard made LFR in the first place.

I think we all might be getting a bit sidetracked here. There are parts of it that are skipped, and parts that still will need to be skipped after the twenty-sixth time, but the issue would be a lot more bearable if the story were more compelling. As the OP pointed out, the general point which could have taken five minutes to go over was stretched to 20, mostly so that we could get -even more- Thrall time. (I'll hit on that problem a bit later)

The confusion aspect is also there. Do enough digging and Benedictus's betrayal is as predictable as it comes, but for those who aren't familiar with the books and the cancelled questlines, this point is as foreign as Ivar Bloodfang is to Alliance players running Shadowfang Keep. Even more bizarre was the encounter itself. Why are we walking right into a trap? Why isn't that trap more formidable? I mean, for all intents and purposes, Benedictus has us right where he wants us, and he's going to fight us -alone-?

... and don't even get me started on the cheesy Palpatine line...


Now of course, no complaint is complete without suggestions, so here are mine.

Give the villains better motives.
No, "Power" is not a motive, it's a cheap stand-in for one, and this constant threat of apocalypse is getting stale. The Defias are memorable because their goals were realistic, they were difficult enough, and there was some history behind it. The legion is memorable because they at least had a history, and a leader whose disillusionment and corruption drove him to his new purpose. Kael'thas was memorable because even in his darkest moments, he believed that he was doing to save his people. He gave everything to the task, and was willing to pay any price.

Benedictus? No, he's only going to be memorable as a sad reminder of a character who never got any attention, being turned into a Palpatine clone.


Give the Alliance a story.

I don't mean as a foil to the Horde either. You've given the Horde a purpose, you've given them more territory, and you've given them a largely compelling, sensible questlines. On the other side? We have to play the Horde to figure out what happened to the Worgen. Ashenvale and Stonetalon seem designed to depress the player, and too many of our questlines whisk us off without any closure given whatsoever.

... and it doesn't end there.

Hyjal, and I would argue, the entirety of patch 4.2 seems to have been put in with the singular purpose of handwaving the question of why Malfurion and the Ancients don't seem to care about what's going on in Ashenvale. You even added in a questline, designed completely to chastise the player faction for putting Ashenvale ahead of Hyjal, and recycled old bosses as a stand in. To add insult to injury, a story that was supposed to be about Fandral and the World Tree turns into the elemental bonds questline, ending with... Thrall's wedding? Why is Thrall EVEN THERE!? Oh... that's right, because Ragnaros told him everything that he was planning in the trailer... because that made so much sense from every perspective but the one that insists upon injecting Thrall into the region.

Thrall is the other problem. To explain why, let's revisit this little nugget:

"Put aside your petty differences!"

Excuse me? This coming from the <expletive omitted> who let the Warsong Clan come back into Ashenvale after the Third War and continue to kill my people without even so much as a word of concern? This coming from the <expletive omitted> who appointed the Orcish incarnation of Napoleon Bonaparte to watch the Horde for him?

"Oh Kyalin, you're just going nuts, Thrall is Metzen's author projection."
I see, so Metzen is a jerk who lets his kids vandalize the neighbors' yard, and who appoints his friend's son, who thinks that the world owes him a living, to watch the house so that he can launch bottle rockets at the poor neighbors next door?

Well, I hope not, but the question of Thrall being infallible is not an open and shut case, ESPECIALLY for the Alliance. But are our concerns noted? No, we follow him lockstep and have no choice in the matter, along with very little mention of the reservations that a member of the Alliance should have in working with him. Tyrande even attends his freaking wedding!

In short, the Alliance was forgotten about except when the Horde needed an enemy to fight. It's getting tiresome.


Take your time when releasing new content.

As a company, you developed a reputation of taking a long time to release games, but that was fine because, as customers, we understood that when it finally was released, that it was going to be well worth the wait.

That reputation is in danger, and your subscribership is falling off because of it.

I don't know if this is because of Activision's influence or if Blizzard has just lost its way, but I've read your financial statements, and I pay attention to the segment data. I know that even as Activision usually has higher revenues, Blizzard tends to account for the lion's share of income from operations. If it's Activision, Mr. Kotick should be aware of this, and would do best to realign his strategy with WoW. If not, I'll say it again, take your time.
In terms of the lore itself's weakness and the lack of interesting characters and plots, I'll hold my tongue (fingers, whatever) for another topic, but when it comes to the METHOD of storytelling in WoW...

It's the segregation that's the issue.

When the whole dungeon stops so that a "cutscene" (in essence) can play out, people get bored if they've seen it before.

There are better ways to tell a story in an interactive medium like a video game. Even in an MMO.

One of the major obstacles for smoothing out the flow of the story is that Blizzard has to pause the action to get dialogue in, because otherwise it's almost impossible to hear it over the cacophony of battle sound effects (and obviously people aren't busy reading when they're in combat).

What would really help is a separate slider for voice-over dialogue volume, and or default setting toggle to lower the volume of other in-game sounds when dialogue occurs, so that people interested in the story can hear it WHILE they fight, and not sit through it every single time, waiting impatiently for the battle to start.
Well the way they have the storyline optional in "Well of Eternity" were one can chose to either participate in the storyline or talk to the drake individually and skip it or use the teleporter. It gives everyone the individual option to either see what happened or to go by it and continue on instantly.

The trash mobs in-between the initial next pull and the time it takes for the cut scene to end really doesn't even require a tank or healer to be present but maybe a survival cool down.
Can Thrall maybe get an epic mount?

Seriously, the guy is level 85 and he's still running around in Ghost Wolf form. He doesn't even have it talented.


/agree

That and if for some reason the rest of the players go 80+ yards away just start the next portion. If you would add a little more intelligence to the NPC's it would be a lot less frustrating. There is nothing worse than everyone taking off and Thrall is still sitting back by the first boss.
I'd really prefer it if the story was more in the quests and less in the instances. I know it's probably hard to make an instance interesting without tossing some story in there but it feels like we're sitting more through cutscenes than trash lately.

More epic quests like Wrathgate that you can choose to do on alts (or not) is nice. The majority of the story shouldn't rest on grinding outlets though, or things that are intended to be repeated ad nauseum; it slows down the grind for justice and it makes a lot of players not only tired of but resentful of the game's story. Interacting with the main characters becomes a dreaded hurdle.

It's part of the reason why Oculus wasn't well-liked either, I think (and why CoT's Hyjal is the one thing I won't help people with more than a few times a year). Once you've experienced the story enough times the cutscenes and scripted events become nothing more than unavoidable inconveniences. If dungeons were players they'd be the guy going AFK between each boss/pull/wipe/etc.

At the same time it's hard to realistically ask for content to remain fresh until the moment new content is available; I don't think it's a problem with the content itself. It's interesting content and it's fun to experience. There just comes a point where I value my time more than having that same experience for the umpteenth time.

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