Thursday, September 17

Writers should get over themselves

This article should prove an interesting read.

One of the most effective and perhaps underused narrative tools, Seamster says, is actually worldbuilding and population. The creatures wandering the wilds, road signs, even an overturned cart, they all speak to the story of an environment.
Seamster argued that soap operas would actually be a good model to follow, as their easily-accessible ongoing storylines continually draw in new viewers.
"Everyone is special" is another way of saying no-one is, after all. Danuser argued that this issue is additionally complicated by the importance and draw of player stories, tales that arise from the community itself.
Seeing some echo's of our own discussions in there?
There's more though.


  1. I like the Soap Opera comparison especially.
    Most MMORPG's today aren't Soap Opera's (Guild Drama notwithstanding) but cassette tapes.

    Remember your old cassette tapes? Filled with radio recordings, or vinyl tracks copied for in the car? After a while you know the first 5 songs by heart, but the last track on the second side you hardly ever got to hear unless you were compulsively never rewinding to start.

  2. Interesting analogy about the cassette tapes. My mother made once an interesting observation that sort of stuck with me. She said she didn't like her CD player not so much, because everytime she switched on the stereo set it would play from song 1. Cassette's were much better in her eyes since they continued where you left off. Trying to explain to here you can select and skip songs was of course utterly lost on her.

    It also made wonder why it is actually like that. The CD player in my car continuous where I left off, so why not the same with the player in my house?

    But your point is valid. Even if you used an invalid analogy for me *grin*. The Soap Opera idea is pretty good. That would allow frequent introductions of new flimsy stories. I think the essential part is that the stories are flimsy. If I want great prose I will read a book.

    I think would be great if NPCs (and quests) come and go as time goes on. Maybe even the epic loot will get lost over time. It would make the world more alive. This month the dungeon of Rlebidi has a new cult, but after a while it desolves, and becomes an abandonned area. Until "somebody" digs up a grave and the ghosts of the cult take control. The options are endless.

    It is a little bit like my visit to Tawar Galan in Vanguard after I was gone for a year. It was a great dynamic feel that it had turned into a ghost town. Changing environments would definitely keep players around longer. But it is of course a lot of work for the devs.

  3. I think both my own experiences and your mother's are equally valid. It's the same principle, different application. The Soap Series approach is another take on what I talked about months ago with periodic content, or server cycles. And one that's probably more feasible.

    The biggest issue to tackle would be level disparacy. Tawar Galan is a newbie area, it'd be great to breathe new life into it periodically, in such a way that for those for whom it is not their starting area do get a bite of the background. But you don't want to kill it as a newbie area either.