130: Rhapsody

Rhapsody

"Despite the changes, the basic storyline would always remain the same; Troy would always fall, and Odysseus would always make it home, just like Master Chief always saves the world, and Lord British always survives for another sequel. Little bits of each tale would contain similarities in structure - formulas - which not only allowed bards to more easily memorize long stories, but likely also allowed the audience to more easily understand who and what was being referred to."

Michael Fiegel traces the formulaic nature of today's game narratives to the epic poetry of centuries past.

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You've cracked the code! People will look back on this article as the downfall of RPG superiority! I'm starting to make mine right now! :)

I think there's at least some level of stating the bleedin' obvious in noticing that RPG questgivers will tell you, well, what they want you to go and do. It's probably worth noting that if people didn't tell you the quest parameters then people would be disinclined to actually do the damn quest, preferring to go and play games that weren't so wilfully obfusticated.

GloatingSwine:
I think there's at least some level of stating the bleedin' obvious in noticing that RPG questgivers will tell you, well, what they want you to go and do. It's probably worth noting that if people didn't tell you the quest parameters then people would be disinclined to actually do the damn quest, preferring to go and play games that weren't so wilfully obfusticated.

Agreed, although there are plenty of people who will do the damn quest without actually reading the quest text too, relying on the summary or quest tracker to show them what to do.

I think the overall formulaic nature of quests becomes much more apparent when you compare hundreds or even thousands of them. Plow through a bunch in a row and it becomes clear that they all sound somewhat alike. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

Unfortunately I was not afforded enough space to provide one-thousand examples in this article. :)

aeonite:

I think the overall formulaic nature of quests becomes much more apparent when you compare hundreds or even thousands of them. Plow through a bunch in a row and it becomes clear that they all sound somewhat alike. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

In the case of MMORPGs I think that's somewhat inevitable. The biggest and most significant is the sheer number of quests that have to be written for a sizable MMO. If you have to write three million of the buggers, the amount of time available to craft each one into a beautiful and unique snowflake is somewhat limited, so developers will stick with the Good Tricks, the quests that are simple to write and simple enough for players to get and progress with.

I got a chuckle out of your choice of collection quest for WoW.

World of Warcraft: not only do we have quests where you collect crap for random NPCs, we have quests where you collect poop for a random NPC.

The worst part is that that's not the only poop-related quest in the game.

I think Figel's problem in this article is that he praises the 'formula' - comparing it to epics tales written thousands of years ago. Yet there's a strict difference between sweet, recurring poetic themes between games to demonstrate the wonders of the English language and its flexibility, to down-right ripping off quests.

Melaisis:
I think Figel's problem in this article is that he praises the 'formula' - comparing it to epics tales written thousands of years ago. Yet there's a strict difference between sweet, recurring poetic themes between games to demonstrate the wonders of the English language and its flexibility, to down-right ripping off quests.

I don't think it's such a black and white issue as you suggest. I think it's a huge fluffy gray area, with a thin dark border and a tiny white nougat center. Like a candy bar.

QuestBar. Now contains 25% more Wolf.

Inspiring article. Thank god for people who look past the superficial.

 

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