[MUD-Dev] RE:

Freeman Freeman
Mon Nov 26 09:56:25 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


> From: Lee Sheldon [mailto:linearno at gte.net]

>   a) There AREN'T any "storied" online games among the major
>   commercial offerings.  There are games that flirt with story,
>   then shy away like schoolgirls at their first dance, but there
>   aren't any "storied" games.

Nor is there much of any demand for storied games.  The "demand" is
for what little story exists to, as Dave put it, "Shut up and go
away".

>   b) The attempts were made by non-professional storytellers.

There are no professional storytellers in this medium.

>   c) The customers say "So what?" and "Go away." because THE
>   STORIES ARE SO BAD.

Speaking as an avid gamer, I can tell you that I don't care whether
the story is good.  None of the people I know care whether the story
is good.  The story is fake, contrived, regardless of how well
"written" it is, whereas the things we *do* in-game are not.

>> People don't want the games to tell them stories, they want them
>> to be stories.  And since we've never had a single valid
>> professional attempt at a "storied" game, then this is of course
>> the obvious conclusion.

*boggle*

> The MMO industry (what's left of it) wants it to be true.  The MMO
> industry (what's left of it) needs it to be true.  Because the MMO
> industry (what's left of it) doesn't know how to deliver anything
> else.

It sounds to me like you're the one who wants something to be true
to badly,that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, you dismiss
said evidence as "invalid".

> Maybe SW:G will will be the first.  Sims Online sure won't.  But
> one of these days an attempt at a real "storied" game will be made
> by a crew with a somewhat less insular vision, shall we say, and
> it will leave all the others in the dust.

Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt and carry me away.

I think Dave nailed it.  People don't want games to *tell* stories,
they want games to *be* stories.  That's my opinion because it's
what *I* want, as a gamer.  That's the demand that I perceive - and
one we have a realistic shot at meeting.

And that's not my opinion on account of how lazy and stupid I am,
which is what I infer from your post.

> Man, oh man, when you can point to an online game that has 1/100th
> the audience of Titantic because so many people want to tell their
> own stories, you will have some right to make a statement this
> self-serving and misguided.  The numbers don't support the thesis.

We're not making movies.

> The history of our culture does not support the thesis.  The
> psychological makeup of human beings does not support the thesis.
> But throw that all out the window, and continue to insist that
> people want to tell their own stories, and THEREFORE we shouldn't
> try to tell them any of our own.  One does not preclude the other!

Absolutely.  The movies and novels aren't going anywhere.

>  But it hasn't done it yet.  Apparently this industry > hasn't the
>  imagination to do it.

Revise the above: I don't hold this opinion because I am lazy,
stupid, *or* unimaginative.

>  So it says it can't be done, and > even worse, that the hundreds
>  of millions of people who have > responded to stories told to
>  them over the centuries don't want it > either.

Oh no, I agree, gamers want to be told stories.  When they do, they
go to the movies.  Some of them also read novels.

> Because it is too arrogant and ignorant to try.

Neither lazy, stupid, unimaginative nor arrogant.

But I do disagree that it is something we should be trying.

And I don't think it's a good idea to attempt to do both (tell
stories AND allow the gameplay itself to be the story), because the
attempt to tell Our story will stomp on the players' story.  Their
story is more important, else they'd have gone rented Titanic again.

> If all it does is provide the same levels and loot structure (I
> have hopes it won't) as its predecessors, after the initial rush,
> it will settle in just like the others.  And even if it doubles
> the market, that will be as a grain of sand in the desert.

You seem to be under the impression that EITHER games must tell
stories, OR they must be level-n-loot treadmills.  You're completely
ignoring the premise of games *as* stories.

Game-as-story doesn't dictate any one particular mechanic, let alone
a singular mechanic that dominates gameplay to the extent that
level-n-loot systems do.
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