Aggro Me: What's the Story?
What's the Story?
This isn't really a criticism of EQII per se, just more of a comment on the ideal game I would like play.
I realize an MMO is not a single player RPG. It's different in many aspects. And you can't have a Final Fantasy type story where you work towards defeating one villainous enemy and then the credits roll. But I feel that MMO's should definitely still have a story line. And it should be a story that advances somehow as the game goes on.
Now, I know there are some players who are steeped in EQ lore (and I'm sure the devs are too). So they might like the obscure and cryptic hints to some overarching story in EQII. But what about the rest of us? Most players I've informally interviewed (and myself) think the story is something like this:
1. Qeynos and Freeport are "kind of" at war.
2. There are factions in the DoF struggling for control of the city.
3. There's something going on with Drakotas/Dragons.
4. The world was shattered and there is some rebuilding going on.
That is by no means a valid or compelling story. Well, it could be if it was more clearly defined and if it actually advanced. I read a lot more of the NPC dialogue then I used to, so it's not like I'm completely oblivious.
How has the story advanced since launch? Well, new lands have been discovered and some griffon towers have been built. That speaks to number 4 on my story list. Also, if you do the prismatic and certain other quests, you get some filler on issue 3.
So what would I like? I want a more clearly defined story arc that advances somehow with each Live Update or two. How could it be more clearly defined? Every single quest you do should refer somehow to the "main story." Even if some are side-stories, they should all tie back in to the main event somehow. Drive that story into your players as much as you can and dialogue with NPC's is the only way to do really do it. You can't rely on players to read every book from every book quest or pick up on obscure hints. Another option is to add in some of ideas I had for "pushing" lore a very long time ago. I've complained about EQII being made too easy but this is one area where I feel it's way too difficult for new or casual players: understanding of the lore and story of the game. The genre is fantasy, not mystery.
Then, that story line should be consistently advanced with events like the Griffon Towers event. For example, sure the Plague event was cool, or at least interesting. But can any normal player tie that event into the main story of EQII, if it even had anything to do with it?
I am singling out EQII here, but this is a problem endemic to many MMO's. I really feel that a compelling and dynamic storyline could have a huge impact on player retention and subscription.
I started a thread on this topic a few days ago so feel free to check that out. Or please comment here if you have any ideas on this issue.