I’m a sucker for a good story, and I have been for as long as I can remember. It started when I was very young, watching Disney movies on my VCR. I would watch the same one over and over again, there was a certain magic about them that I just couldn’t describe. As I grew older, and started to read, I realized that the magic was in the story. The characters were loveable, the worlds were amazing, and the plots were captivating to the very end.
Video games were simply the next step, allowing me to take part in the story myself, play the lead role, and join in the adventure. Of course, I could never shape the story, and I had no control over the outcome. Dungeons and Dragons (the pen and paper version) was a godsend for me after playing so many Final Fantasy games. I not only shaped the story, but I created the characters and the worlds in which they lived too. I played D&D for many years, but nothing could have prepared me for my first MMO.
Lineage 2 – the game that changed my life forever – was my first MMO experience. It’s funny when I look back, because even though the point I will come to make later in this article revolves around the lack of storyline in today’s MMORPGs, Lineage 2 also had none. Instead, we made our own story. Our characters may as well have been real people – they had friends and enemies, strengths and weaknesses – but most importantly, they had a story. My friend and I, who played Lineage 2 together, have since written a book (three actually) on our adventures playing as these characters. It really was the most important part of the entire game for us, and still remains that way now.
The problem now though, is that the MMORPG scene has changed drastically since that time. Back then the whole ‘online world’ idea was still quite new, and as such, people respected it a great deal more. Now days, people don’t create stories in an MMORPG, they rush to the finish as fast as possible, and try endlessly to kill each other for no apparent reason at all. People can’t create their own stories anymore even when they want to; there are too many distractions to break the immersion. We need to take a step back, we need to look at the past – we need a storyline.
We need developers to make an MMORPG that has a solid and involving storyline, one that develops with further updates and patches. Sure, WoW does this quite well, but we need to start seeing it in the F2P area quite a lot more. Free MMORPGs like Shaiya and Last Chaos are perfect examples of games that while they include a back-story, don’t continue it as the game progresses. We need quests that make sense, missions that make a difference, and weapons that have been passed down through generations. We need a reason to play these games again other than simply becoming the best. I’m tired of endlessly trying to achieve that goal; I want to start playing games again that allow me to escape to another place, another time – and another world. I want games that have a story.
By, Cody ‘Neramaar’ Hargreaves