Game Lore 2.0

WoW Map

Games could learn a lot from Web 2.0.

Ars Technica had an interesting story today about Grand Theft Auto 4 you can check out here.

To summarize, here’s how it works. In GTA3 and the upcoming GTA4, when you’re in your car you can listen to the radio. Here’s what’s awesome though, it’s not muzak. It’s not elevator music. It’s actually music you’ve heard before, enjoy, and might actually own. If you play GTA3 or GTA4 on your PC then it gets even better, as one of the radio stations becomes your MP3 directory. So yes, you can steal cars and cause havoc to your own soundtrack. I personally prefer the Benny Hill theme song. The big news is this. In GTA4, if you hear a song you like, you can hit a button and it’ll link you to a site hosted by where you can buy a DRM free MP3 of the song. This kind of feature is amazing, and it made me think of how you could apply this to game lore.

Obviously with game lore you want immersion. In other words, you don’t want to be involuntarily reminded you’re just playing a game. So we’d have to be subtle.

What if there was a way to look up lore on the fly? Say, when you saw Thrall you could right click on him and choose “Lore” in a pop up menu that would link you to a website listing his whole back story, books he had appeared in, and links to buy those books?

What if we could not only apply this concept to characters, but to places as well?

Even better, what if we could overlay or own guides in WoW? Similar to the way people can overlay their own information on Google maps for others to see (“Best Coffee Shops in Los Angeles”, etc).

Imagine something like, “Loregy’s Lore Guide of the Eastern Kingdoms”. You download it, log onto WoW, and there on your world map would be the option to turn on Loregy’s selected points of interest and why you might be interested in checking them out.

Not into lore? How about a guide to the best world PVP ambush spots laid right on the world map? Or an overlay map showing you the best route to take in a battleground. Premades could even require everyone to have the same overlays installed. Heck, how great would it be if you could look up someone in the armory simply by right clicking on their character and selecting “Armory” from a pop up menu?

While it’s doubtful something this advanced could find it’s way into way, there are plenty of “Next Gen” mmo’s on the horizon, including one made by Blizzard itself.

Something to think about.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dangablad April - 2008 at 9:51 am

Some of this is already on the way (not the lore, but other things)

For example, most of what you already see on the Armory is available through the “Inspect” option (which now applies to Horde and Alliance)

You can already download mods like Cartographer and Atlas Loot, which turn the map into a veritable smorgasbord of options. Atlas gives a detailed map of every dungeon.

Would I like to see something like that applied to Lore? Hellz yeah! Am I the amazing add-on writer who can do it? I wish!

On another note of immersion, what is your opinion of the new lorelol going on with the induction of 2.4. I am speaking of Kael’thas being present in two places at the same time. Nothing screams “Hey! You’re playing a game!” than fighting Kael’thas in the Eye one day, and in Magister’s Terrace the same afternoon.

The big annoyance is, the whole thing could have been easily remedied by having some lieutenant of Kael’thas take over the work at The Eye. But… lorelol won out in this case.

I also have yet to check and Silvermoon to see if the “twin” paradox is applying itself to Lady Liadrin too.

2 Cocles April - 2008 at 4:09 pm

That’s the thing though, a web 2.0 setup means that it wouldn’t matter whether you know how to program.

The functionality would already be built in.

If you, Dangablad, wanted to see your world map with all of the “lore points of interest” carefully marked, then you could easily do that yourself. Then, even better, you could distribute those notations to anyone else who wanted to to see it.

Now imagine if when you clicked on one of these “points of interest” it would load up the WoWWiki page on your browser explaining what was so special about that “point of interest”. (That WoWWiki page, by the way, also having been written by people like you and me.)

A heavy duty addon could act as an engine for all this, but I’m talking about this functionality already being built into the game.

As far as Kael’thas is concerned, it’s a bit of a toss up. I enjoyed the official blue post stating that asking this question is like asking, “Why is the character who dies on page nine still alive on page two?”

Each individual zone has it’s own time-line. In real life, you might go from level 60 to 70 in a few days, but in game, the quests you did in Terrokar forest took place weeks after the quests you did in Hellfire Peninsula.

So, yes, when you go back to previous zones, you are in effect going back in time within the game.

Unfortunately it’s difficult for a lot players to understand this. Heck, look at all the confusion over the Revantusk trolls.

I get what your’re saying though, since Blizzard DID handle this differently with the Blasted Lands. And note that I don’t say Kazzak. It’s not he alone that changed; the entire zone’s time-line was shoved forward, the dark portal, and Kazzak along with it.

If you were to appropriately do this with Tempest Keep, you would need to do this with the whole surrounding zone. Sure, we could just be cheap and swap out Kael, but that justl feels… cheap. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Personally, I would rather leave Netherstorm the way it is, simply because I don’t want to lose the fantastic amount of immersion it gives players who are entering it for the very first time. Netherstorm as it is has a GREAT story.

In other words, “first impressions > retcon.”

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