Banath talks story. No, he won’t spoil anything… Enjoy 😉
Tell the untold Tale
Hello all, welcome back to a new episode of Casual Thursday. I have been long waiting to write this specific episode, because it is an important one. This week I want to tackle that specific item that will make Star Wars the Old Republic stands out of the crowd from its MMO counterparts. I’m referring to the element of story. I will not talk about what the story will hold, since we don’t know that, but I will address the why. Why it is so important, at least to me, to have an engaging story.
Now before you shout at me with the “World of Warcraft has story”-rhetoric, let me explain what I mean with story in this context. World of Warcraft has a world story and stories that are not yours. You are assigned to someone else and his or her issues. You have no personal stake in the story. Besides saving the world and you can’t even do it by yourself.
Like I stated in a previous Casual Thursday, this is something very important to me. This makes me keep playing a game. If a story is non-existent or extremely boring I wont play it. Any action needs context and the story provides you that most needed context. Your own position affects story, and even your decisions have an effect. Like the talk we have seen several times by now between the Sith Warrior and the Imperial Captain of the ship. To be able to make such a decision, what reminds me of the decision you had to make in Mass Effect between Alenko and Williams. There is sometimes a simple right answer, or wrong answer of course. And at other moments you will likely face a decision where you will be conflicted about. Left or right won’t make a difference, there is no ‘right’ decision.
And even if you think you have made the right decision, or at least the decision you wanted, it will have a direct effect on the quest itself. Now that’s something I like. It’s frustrating to not know what effect your decision will have, but it gives you, yep there it comes, immersion. It “demands” your attention. And that is also what lacked in the trials that I played of other MMO’s. Especially World of Warcraft. It was just kill me another couple of boars, cause some fake plague has swept across the area. For the 50th time. Even in Lord of the Rings Online where the story has been more important and you even interact with important segments of the story, you are still a side note.
“No more!” according to Bioware. They are trying to bring their schtick that they have developed since the beginning of the company. Since Baldur’s Gate Bioware has been adamant on good story. And for me, even though I never got really into Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age: Origins, it was never the fault of the story. Jade Empire with its unexpected twist at the near end. Knights of the Old Republic’s pivotal moment where we realize we were Revan all the time. I want such a moment again in the story. Maybe not those precise moments, but something that comes close. Cause let’s be honest, two hundred hours of story for one character is a lot.
Only The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion reached for a single player only game, and it’s sequel The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim will top (FYI, Skyrim allegedly will have 200-300 hours of gameplay in the game, and that’s one full playthrough). However, what Oblivion and Skyrim miss, in comparision with Star Wars the Old Republic, is that SWTOR has different stories you can follow, by choosing different characters. Bethesda’s game will probably have “one” story. To clarify, there are of course long side quests, but I meant that when you have played everything once, you cannot experience anything new besides making a different character with no real difference in the setting and angle. (if I didn’t clarify this enough, let me know).
What Bioware must bring to their A-game story though, is something that makes me want to play the game. Revan. I want to freaking know what the hell happened to one of the most interesting Expanded Universe-characters that has been invented. Following a certain story and attachment to such characters is also the reason why I play games.
If the story is boring, the rest of the game really has to be so exceedingly good that I won’t be bothered by it. It is why I have difficulty to like the Call of Duty series after Modern Warfare. The story after the original Modern Warfare went so over the top, so incredibly Hollywood, that I played it rather to get it over with, than that I actually honestly was interested in it. I think, no I know, that the multiplayer is of high quality (even though I could talk for hours, why it has a lot of issues), but it gets quite boring fast.
Also, the universe that Bioware has created with the “Old Republic” timeline (I include in a way Knights of the Old Republic) is filled with the possibilities of different stories that I cannot wait to see that Bioware has in store. Not just Revan and his background, but also the “Infinite Empire” needs, in my eyes, a lot more explanation. And it could also provide a lot of interesting quests and storylines that will put you in your seat. Also the reason why Revan went into flight to the Unknown Regions. Who the Emperor is and where he comes from, or at least some mentioning. Because I believe that Revan is not the Emperor. The canon after all was that Revan went off as a lightsided Jedi. It would be weird if Revan than returned once again to the dark side of the Force. But that’s only one side of the story, what about me? Revan isn’t going to be the most important story in the game that you will play in only a couple of weeks. It will be focused on you. It is your personal story develops across planets, conflicts, trouble and despair. That will be something even more worth while. I don’t want to spoil personal story, so I won’t delve into that.
Well, let’s return to gameplay and story. Not just in your solo experience during the beginning and middle game, Bioware has pushed it forward in the end game (which WoW also had) and also in non-end game instances. Just look back at the Alderaan mission played by the Republic. Story is also being put in multiplayer context. That is not something that I have seen before. Your choices might not only have an effect on you, but also on what way the mission, i.e. operation, will go. Again. To have three others that can overtake your choice, because of the dice that falls, makes the game a difficult one to predict how the story will go in that particular instance. Your choice can come up, either because you had the highest roll or that the one who won, chose the same. But it can go the third road as well. Well, then you are screwed… the one who wins choses something you don’t want at all.
Like I said, story is the most important reason I will play this game. It has a lot of the draw that Knights of the Old Republic had, it is Bioware’s highmark. And it always had my attention. Even if this game would fail, I know Bioware will always have great story. (I for one cannot wait the final installment in the Mass Effect trilogy). Anyways, hopefully this side note will spark some discussion among the readers in what way you guys and gals want to see in the storyline.
Thank you for reading and as always,
May the Force be with you.