Aggro Me: More Lore
I think we would all like any MMO to have more of a story than just acquiring loot and slaying monsters for no reason. And I know there is a ton of lore surrounding EQ and EQII. But the problem is how to convey that lore to the players and immerse them in the game world.
Here are some means you can do so:
Out of Game: Information is provided on forums or in guides outside of the game. But I doubt the majority of players read it (even though Vhalen's posts are very interesting).
Visual: The art of zones and of mobs paints a picture of the world's lore and history.
Events: Events provide a storyline of sorts. Names: The names of places, mobs and items provide some sense of the world.
NPC Text: This is a major one. The text from NPC's can give players a good amount of lore. The problem is that not all players read it.
Quests: The actual requirements and text in your journal can provide lore even if you didn't read the NPC text.
I'm sure there are other means but I can't think of any right now.
Back in my very first month of blogging, I suggested adding flavor text to items, mob descriptions and the zone loading screens. I thought this was a good idea and it never really left my mind. That's why when I was on a raid the other night scanning some of the myriad of buffs on me I got very excited when I saw the following Warlock spell:
Aspect of Night An augmentation that increases the power pool and noxious resistance for the warlock's group. The noxious resist protects more against poison than disease.
"Revel in the darkness! Hold the night close to your heart, and shut out the light!" - Lord Grimrot
Wow, that's exactly what I was talking about. I'm not saying they used my idea, I never mentioned doing it on spells. And flavor text is obviously not on all spells - that's the only one I've ever seen it on. But it shows that adding flavor text to spells is certainly something SOE can do and actually has done. So I don't see why every spell in the game can't have flavor text. It would add a lot of lore to the game in a fun and painless way. I wrote up an example for each class because it's enjoyable to write this stuff.
An impairment that deals instant heat damage to the enemy's allies when the enemy is slain.
"If your heart is holy, you need not fear," said Vokrin tenderly. The flames from the heretics' corpses seemed to bow in response.
One Hundred Hand Slap
Launches a flurry of attacks that cause high damage to the enemy. If any one attack misses the series stops at that attack.
Rascan thought he was quite the fighter with his fifteen hand slap. But he soon learned from the Master that he was still a mere apprentice. He learned that lesson one hundred times.
Deals a difficult to resist medium amount of mental damage to all enemies in an encounter.
As Tera sang on, the sighs of contentment in the tavern turned to screams of woe. Yet somehow, the screams blended with the melody in perfect harmony. And still Tera sang.
Wisdom of Zephyl
Increases the attack speed of the group.
"Be as light and quick as the Mantis in your movements. Victory goes to he who strikes first and most often." -Master Zephyl
Display of Devotion
Wards a target group member, and increases the paladin's hate generation.
It is the duty of a true Paladin to protect those in need, even at the cost of one's own safety.
Summons an inhabitant of the Plane of Earth to do the Conjurer's bidding.
"The boundaries of the Planes are not immutable. They are merely guidelines." -Klicknik the Conjuror
Wards a target group member and grants a chance to lifetap foes.
The Shadownight Marcase had made so many deals with the darker powers that all his humanity had long since been bargained away. He found that to be a benefit in his "activities."
Increases hate towards the berserker and interrupts enemies.
The fierce battle cry of Zarv the Bezerker struck such fear into the hearts of her enemies that they welcomed the death blow as a release.
"Dig deep, you heroes. We stand here and we die or prevail. There is no other option. Dig deep, my brave companions!" -Lord Valemus Slows the target's attack rate and movement rate. Increases the target's armor class.
Zumaik's Wincing Posture
Coerces target to perform an action.
"Free will is the true illusion. It is a clay that can be molded to one's liking and then broken." -Archlord Zumaik
The illusionist summons a replica illusion that inherits some of the illusionist's spells. Although not as powerful as the illusionist's spell damage, the illusionary replica retains the power of their control spells.
"How does one man expect to face all of us alone?" laughed the bandits. Bellirin simply smiled.
Deals instant poison damage to an enemy and returns a portion of this damage as power replenishment to the warlock.
As his enemies grew weaker, Kraylith seemed to grow even stronger.
Deals instant heat damage to the targeted enemy.
"The evil ones wish to scare us with the power of the darkness. But there is strength too in the light." -From The Teachings of Al'Cenari.
Quickly deals disease damage over time to the enemy.
"Death awaits every living creature. I merely speed the proceedings." - Nylph the Dark.
Beg for Mercy
Lowers hate on the target.
The knight grinned at the Brigand's debasement. The same grin remained fixed on his face for eternity when the dagger plunged through his heart the moment his back was turned.
Mesmerizes the target.
"Light sweetness surrounds,
Sleep's gift comes easy."
- From The Ballads of Bria.
High damage attack that generates extra hate.
It wasn't so much the cut to his leg that incensed the Warlock Yreth. It was the style it which it was delivered. Even in the midst of this fierce melee, that blasted rogue had to be flashy.
A ranged arrow attack that does not require line of sight.
The archery contest had just ended when suddenly an arrow split through the others to the dead center of the target. The archers looked about to see who had delivered such a magnificent strike. Phyn crested the hill far behind them, holding his bow and grinning.
Spirit of the Oak
A group augmentation that increases the physical and magical damage resistance of the warden's group.
"Even here, even in this desperate wasteland of rock and lava where nothing could grow, Rowyl called to the forest. With a rustling breeze which smelled of life, it answered." - From The Journey of Rowyl.
Reduces the target's hate towards the scout.
"The careful strategem of the Lizardmen was perfect. But Greth had a way of making even the best of plans work to his own advantage." -From Greth: Business or Pleasure?
Blaze of Faith
Deals instant divine damage to the target and nearby encounter members.
"Lesser men laugh at Faith. They say it is a concept, a dream, a child's philosophy. But it is also a Sword." -From Pinzarn's Faith Everlasting.
Forces target to flee in fear. The fear effect has a chance to break each time the target is attacked or cast upon.
"Men place so much stock in their young Gods. But there are older Powers whose names make even the Gods tremble." -From The Speakings of Turgur.
An impairment that decreases the attack speed of the enemy and surrounding encounter members.
"I'll get right on it..."
Cures elemental and noxious impairments on the fury's group.
"Someday perhaps you'll spread your vile poison through every creature in Norrath. Someday perhaps all will falter before your dark might. But not while I still stand." - Liara Vell from Great Battles: A Study.
Okay, so those were just examples. To be more effective, the flavor text would optimally convey more lore than I provided. I just don't know that much (which kind of proves my point considering how much I play) and I didn't feel like looking any up. When the spell list provided a name (i.e. Al'Cenari) I used that. Otherwise, I just made one up. But flavor text like mine could easily be tweaked to revolve around famous battles or events in the history of Norrath.
I'm sure the people at SOE know plenty of lore and are more qualified to write this stuff then me. So I hope they do it. If I started playing and there was flavor text like this on the spells, it would actually make a difference in how much I liked the game. Maybe that's just me.
I'm going out of town for a long weekend so no post till Monday.