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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:17 am 
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I know some cite "vagueness" of story and puzzles as one of Myst 1's weaknesses. However, part of me feels like there should be less storyline in MORE, provided there is more room to explore and just interact casually. By heaving large storyline events onto the players, I think people either got so anxious they can't stand the complexity, or they were gravely disappointed (i.e. their expectations for their own personal story of D'ni were wrong). Perhaps both.

As an aside, on one extreme, you have Second Life, with complete freedom and no central story. On the other extreme, you have a simple weekly show on TV. Games fall somewhere within the scale and "balance" game play with cut scenes or what have you. It seems like video games and movies ever merge as time moves on, becoming a linear movie with occasional button mashing. Perhaps you might argue that Myst was one long playable cut scene. Maybe technically speaking, but it didn't feel that way to me, because of its nonlinearity.

Rather than having "chunked" episodes, perhaps story should "trickle" out more. And perhaps not every development should be of huge consequence. That way, we aren't exhausted and hey, not everything has to be a big deal, eh? I think we need more Cool and less OMG!!!1 There is only so much supply of OMG!!!1, is there not?

I just finished playing through RealMyst after many years, and I have to say: total classic. There was less storyline and more MYSTery. Like a book doesn't explicitly give you the exact picture, there were moments where my imagination fueled my exploration more than my desire for a hit of that delicious OMG!!!1. Yes, it was sometimes quiet and lonely. In those quiet moments were long, drawn stretches of intense imagination, though. Perhaps this was even more so for the original Myst that didn't even allow free movement in three dimensions. I felt a little better when left asking, "Oh, wow, I wonder...what in the world..." Sometimes, playing Myst, I didn't get an answer. Maybe it was better that way.

What do you think?

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Last edited by magaio on Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:53 am 
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I'm pretty sure that the episodes were GameTap's idea and whenever Cyan does start up with their own content again they'll be history. ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:14 am 
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Oh, really? I never knew to what extent GameTap moulded the delivery of content. I personally hope the "tradition" of episodic or very linear content won't be carried over. 8)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:38 am 
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The episodes were part of the reason MOUL failed as far as I'm concerned. It was a terrible way to deliver the content.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:41 am 
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As someone who has been with the series since the very beginning, I've gotta say it.

Think back to the Mudpie days. The original dream of the game was to meet online, yes, but the true goal was to do one thing. Explore D'ni.

We all had our hopes up with learning about their history and climbing the Great Shaft, and so much more.

That is what I feel is the true spirit of Uru. D'ni, and the community.

I was never into this hocus pocus Bahro storyline. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:50 am 
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Gehn123 wrote:
As someone who has been with the series since the very beginning, I've gotta say it.

Think back to the Mudpie days. The original dream of the game was to meet online, yes, but the true goal was to do one thing. Explore D'ni.

We all had our hopes up with learning about their history and climbing the Great Shaft, and so much more.

That is what I feel is the true spirit of Uru. D'ni, and the community.

I was never into this hocus pocus Bahro storyline. :wink:


Good 'ole DIRT and MUDPIE! :)

I think that the storyline was never meant to be the focus of Uru, it was meant to be there in the background but used as a way to open new areas and get people to interact with one another.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:58 am 
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As Paradox said in his blog,

Quote:
"The best solution is to start from the beginning. Possibly even before Prologue, before UbiSoft forced a single-player game, before there were multiple Bahro doors… I’d like to see what Cyan intended from the beginning. This poses issues for the Guilds, especially the Guild of Writers, but there is likely a fairly easy way to make it acceptable. The DRC offering classes in the Art? Yeesha offering us her knowledge and skill?"


I agree more with this as time goes on. A full-on scrap may be too harsh, but there should be a good way to discontiue this Bahro craziness. Well, call me heartless, but I just don't care much about the Bahro and their plight.

Also, Paradox said that you shouldn't do episodic content within a realistic setting. Well, I'm almost of the mind that you shouldn't do episodic content within any setting in an online game. Also, not everything new needs to be announced. And finally, the environment should be made as rich as possible, allowing breadth for casual players to just explore and kill some time. Rich, meaning that it has unexpected and pleasantly surprising depth in as much as possible. Old writings to translate, various gizmos, carvings, tracks, spots, etc.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:13 am 
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Myst's storyline was vague?

I felt that Uru's storyline was considerably more vague, up to a certain point when suddenly it starts moving along and things make sense (if you know how to interpret them, that is). I felt both are presented quite well.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:52 am 
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Less Storyline? No. Not how I feel.

But there is much to be said for the story being implicit in the world itself. That's part of what made Myst so effective.

In Myst we SAW what Sirrus and Achenar had been doing; their rooms told us more about who they were than anything they said.

In Riven we had many details embedded in the world that conveyed who Gehn was, his abuse of power, and the way he brutally imposed D'ni technology and ideas onto a culture that was very different from his.

In Uru, we see things that are tied to the novels, like the cleft, and the whole city, really, has a feeling of history to it. Areas like the bahro slave caves in Teledahn and the vault in Kadish Tolesa tell us a great deal about the D'ni without us even needing to hear Yeesha's commentary.

It's one of the rules of cinema and it applies to games well, too. Where possible, show, don't tell.

When images convey story, it is preferable. When actions and events convey story, that too is good.

Many of the most exciting moments in MO:UL's stories were where we saw something happen. Not just words, something actually happening, like the Bahro around Kerath's Arch.

I don't think everything should be an OMG! moment but it's great when there are some of those moments mixed in, and when there's been legitimate buildup to them and suspense and a sense of expectation leading to them to make them that much more powerful when they do appear.

It's also great when characters are doing something instead of just talking to us. A person's actions and behavior tell us more about who they really are than anything they say. How to convey actions in the medium of Uru? I don't know, but people should be doing things in the story and not just chatting with explorers.

Peculiarly, in Uru, actions have often been communicated through text dialogue like everything else. We're told Doug Sharper killed a Bahro but we never saw him do it.

That's sometimes a necessary weakness given limitations of the game - actually showing any new action or event requires effort and expense on the part of artists and programmers; text-messaging the story is cheaper and easier but less fulfilling.

What people say is far less impactful than what they do. "Do as I say, not as I do" is generally ineffective. People primarily learn from, remember, and are impacted by actions rather than words.

St. Francis of Assisi once famously said of his faith, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

He knew that helping people, loving people, and continually living a life of exemplary actions, was far more effective in glorifying God than preaching at people.

Again, the classic saying, "actions speak louder than words" applies.

So, I guess what I'm basically trying to say is I'd like to have a story told through what is seen in the worlds, tangible events that take place, and the actions of the characters.

That would be more engaging, exciting, memorable. It also is a great way to tell a story that crosses language barriers.

Ideally, there would be much more going on than chatlogs, and that visceral kind of storytelling would be more common, however Cyan (as I said) finds it easier and more affordable to say stuff through chatlogs.

I confess that I do the same; while in my video "Duel 2030" there is virtually no dialogue, in "Traveler's Enigma" there are a lot of books and documents scattered around.

Granted, I show stuff - there are places to explore and puzzles that you can interact with and video cutscenes and media clips and audio - but the majority of the story is in text documents scattered through the gameworld (some of it digital text on electronic devices)

I confess also that my puzzles are, unlike Riven's, tacked on and don't feel anywhere near seamlessly integrated into the gameworld. Puzzles for the sake of puzzles - reasonably interesting ones, but still...

But even Myst and Riven, brilliant as they are, have text journals, and some of the puzzles we've seen in official Myst games have felt a bit arbitrary, leaving you wondering from a practical standpoint - why anyone, really, would ever have built the machinery/device of the puzzle in the first place.

Like the mazerunner in Myst - couldn't there have been an easier, more practical way to protect a linking book than building a huge freaking underground maze?

But of course game designers sometimes do stuff because it's fun and interesting, regardless of realism.

Anyway...

I think the Bahro thing has been a bit overdone. It's not a bad story, mind you, but it wasn't why we came to the cavern.

One of the nice things about the UCC situation is that players will tell their own stories and they will be very diverse, and that we'll have all of those stories plus any story Cyan decides to tell.

I'd like to see variety in Cyan's stories. I like the idea of mini-arcs, that is, tell stories that last one or two months, one after another, each covering a new subject in-cavern, a different aspect of the Myst mythos. Integrate visual content into the story, and the story into the worlds, and make it a story where something significant is happening from time to time. Not everything should be a momentous OMG! moment, but we should have them now and then. Let the Bahro and Yeesha be a part of the story but not dominate it to the point of crowding out all the other subjects we'd like to see covered.

Start fresh with new stories but without erasing or retconning what's already been done. Just say, it happened, but it's not all that relevant to the new story which is being told now. And just move on with fresh stories.

New stories that new players can quickly jump into without needing to know all the past stuff, but which does not require Uru veterans to be told, "Sorry, but the last few years of story never happened."

I want to see us move on to something new without actually erasing the past.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:54 am 
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matthornb wrote:
But there is much to be said for the story being implicit in the world itself. That's part of what made Myst so effective.

And putting a focus on drama between the DRC and whoever "gives" them "funding" undercuts that, I always felt (during the GameTap beta I know I said a few things about the really rather wretched way the soap opera "storyline" unfolded).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:19 am 
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As I said before,the storyline is needed,and it's base is good.It just wasn't told well in MOUL.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:44 am 
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I think there's a happy medium for storyline in Uru. I wouldn't go as far to say as it should be scrapped completely, because then we'd be loosing out rather than gaining. While I think the story was ruined in MOUL because of yes, the episodes and also because of whoever it was that created the whole bahro war idea, I still think that story should continue - hence the point of a reset back to Prologue or sometime around there. Or at least back to the beginning of MOUL.

The medium I think we're looking for is between Cyan giving us a steady flow of storyline but enough to allow us to shape the game and so they carry it on around our collective wishes - which, I think is what they were aiming fo had GameTap not stepped in and interfiered. :roll:

Hopefully, now things are back in Cyan's hands, we can eventually see a rejuviated, less-far fetched story, that we can all (well, most of us) be content with.

TG

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:21 am 
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magaio, you can't create "mystery" without a storyline. A group of puzzles or a bunch of players milling around talking to each other don't create mystery. Mystery is created in a storyline. The number 1 weakness of MOUL, in my mind, was the severe lack of a storyline. Sure it was fun to see the new areas and solve the new puzzles as they were released monthly, but that quickly wore off and left me with a empty feeling and asking "what is going on here?" and "why am I doing what I am doing?".

The real problem of an online adventure game is how do you create a good story that is as fresh and new to the person who has been playing the game for 5 years and is just as interesting to a player that joins the game 5 years into it. There have been many forum threads on this subject. In my mind, only a customized, semi-private, episodic release of the game and its story will work for an adventure game. Yes, there needs to be a common area (the D'ni cavern city) where players from all levels of experience and meet and play and get hints on what to do next from more experienced higher level players. However, in order for the newbie to get the entire MYSTery experience, the same as the long time player has received, the newbie (and maybe other newbies of the same joining month) must start at the beginning of the story and proceed up the episodes or levels at their own pace. Joining the story at its midpoint is not only confusing it is also frustrating, especially when other players are talking about past events that you haven't seen.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:28 am 
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The stranger wrote:
As I said before,the storyline is needed,and it's base is good.It just wasn't told well in MOUL.

There were good and less good parts to MOUL, as I saw it (although I was there for the beta - different from the grand release, I hope).

Good: Story characters taking initiative, consequences for that as well.
Not so good: Pushy characters (investors) who don't serve any real purpose other than to tie it somehow to the "OOC" world (I think some people know what I mean here) and get on everybody's nerves :roll: (Also what was up with talking about "funding problems" when GameTap had Uru going? That didn't seem quite brilliant.)

Buddy wrote:
magaio, you can't create "mystery" without a storyline. A group of puzzles or a bunch of players milling around talking to each other don't create mystery. Mystery is created in a storyline. The number 1 weakness of MOUL, in my mind, was the severe lack of a storyline. Sure it was fun to see the new areas and solve the new puzzles as they were released monthly, but that quickly wore off and left me with a empty feeling and asking "what is going on here?" and "why am I doing what I am doing?".

I wasn't around during MOUL's proper release, so I'll take your word on it (that, and the fact that this was the case during MOUL's beta, as well).

I would contrast MOUL with the original "classic" Ages of Uru where there was a story in them stones - and everywhere else, come to think of it. Not just in the cutscenes but also in journals and the like.

There is one thing about Uru that is strange when compared to the classic Myst games. Without significant spoilers: classic Myst games trap you in strange places and you have to solve a puzzle. Boxed Uru seems to have you coming to some place, drawn there spiritually; you get minimal help from an organization that clearly has been to some parts but not others. In MOUL it's even crazier; everybody's milling about and it's basically a cleaner Pyst. Classic Ages, by some trick of the Art, are found in an unspoiled state by everybody when they start them, so I guess they're "instanced." City and DRC-found Ages that can be visited by groups, on the other hand, wouldn't be expected to work the same way. The lake pellets trick was a clever way of making everybody grind out the same puzzle so that there is, by some group effort, a "rebuilding." I think the community Age building prospect is the best; if we could move Ages past the GoM and into the game while maintaining the illusion that players are actively helping solve puzzles and safety-check that Age for the first time, some of the magic of "rebuilding D'ni" will come to life.

I'm actually not sure how easy it has been for Cyan to modify current ages to change things in the Ages (maps) to fit storyline developments. I know there were some bugs with one of the small new ages when it was released during beta testing, although it introduced a new type of collective problem solving.

This is possibly relevant because Cyan (and the GoW) might be forced to fudge some things in the implementation of community puzzle solving to avoid wrecking the classic Ages. Ideally, you'd think any size group of people should be able to visit any age; of course size or safety constraints on some Ages serve as a nice fire marshal's capacity limit to avoid wrecking the classic Ages. Theory aside, I wonder if there's some structural limit that leaves larger groups unable to visit smaller ages (aside from the weirdness about each new player having to invite people to their version of the Ages, or however that worked out).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:55 am 
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Ed oscuro: I agree about the good and bad.Maybe,if we would get a journal from cate or something (when cyan worlds will start working on it) than it will be better and will tie better with the story.

I think the bahro story was fine,but the spotlight was on their magic in cyan worlds' latest content.And that was the problem.For example,look at teledahn.It was full of d'ni machies,d'ni history.It was more fun.There was bahro magic,but less.And look at the pods.You go to the pod,go through magic portal and arrive in a bahro cave.If they ever have the money to do it,I would be happy if they expand any other "small-and-more-magic'" to have some things which will keep our mind away from that.

And as for the real ime story- too fast.Episodes done no good.I wish they would they it more slowly,do the bahro magic things less often and return to the way prologe was: DRC are DRC ("please don't use unapproved books.thank you"),yeesha is yeesha ("the journey will begin,and the uru will rise!") and the bahro are the bahro ("screeeeeeeeeeeeetch!" :wink: you know...mysterious beasts...).In other words keep the DRC a company and yeesha and bahro mysterious.

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