Game Mechanics Vs. Lore

All too often I find myself debating lore with people from one of two camps. In one camp we have the lore-nut, “All other game elements must curtail to Lore!” brigade. With the other camp, it’s the game-mechanics, lorelol, “all I want to do is click on things, lore is irrelevant” group.

To the lore extremists, I have to remind them that this is not a book, it’s a game. Lore, mechanics, platform, at the end of the day what is it? It’s a game and that is what everything else must curtail to.

To the “lorelol” gamers, I remind them that it isn’t the early 80’s anymore. Even Mario had a princess to save. Most often though, these are just PVP’ers stating, “Story is irrelevant; I just like pvping with my friends!” Indeed. But what do think dictates the type of weapons available to you? Lore does not just dictate story, it also dictates the visuals, the graphics you love so much and can’t get enough of. If there wasn’t lore, you’d be a white 3D rectangle firing white squares at a black 3D rectangle.

In today’s modern games, mechanics and lore go hand-in-hand. They serve each other to achieve the same goal of making the game fun. That is the key word, and we must always remember that.

Stan, “Anyone know if that new game is fun?”
Greg, “It’s not supposed to be fun, noob. It’s supposed to have realistic physics and no plot holes.”
Nathan, “Funlol!”

So how does all this mention of game mechanics pertain to us? When discussing game lore, we must not forget that it’s only half of a much greater whole. These aren’t books we’re discussing most of the time, and by keeping game mechanics in mind, subjects such as “future lore”, “upcoming patches”, and “why some things are done in a particular way” will be much easier to figure out.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dangablad November - 2007 at 6:16 am

I like the logic, and it strikes me as one of the main reasons why I like to speculate lore in WoW (only game I play, so only game I can speculate for). Making up stories is one thing. Making up stories in such a way as it won’t break the game is completely different.

I especially like (after reading the lore) the reasons why shaman are allowed for Draenei and paladins to Blood Elves.

Why does a race that so obviously worships the light allow shamans? Because Velen befriended and accepted a broken shaman into the ranks of the Draenei.

Why does a race that is horribly addicted to magic allow paladins? Because they have enslaved a naaru and are not serving the light, but rather the light is serving them.

(Yes, my guild has killed the paladin leader holding the naaru hostage. Yes, she was a blast and a half. Yes, there did need to be some kind of event in Silvermoon after said assassination occurred.)

My best example of how the game mechanics have helped the lore progress in a way people never thought possible, and my “thumbs up” to the devs and lore writers that made it happen so smoothly.

2 Cocles November - 2007 at 4:36 pm

Right, and you can imagine how that happened with Chris Metzen.

Rob, “Alright so it’s settled, for balance reasons we’re giving the Alliance Shaman, and the Horde Paladins. Chris, We need you to figure out, ‘Why.'”

Chris, “I’m on it.”

In 2006, Time Magazine listed Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s VP of Lead Design, as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” which he definitely deserved. The title however should have been shared between him and Chris Metzen. The Lore Masters really need more credit tossed their way.

3 Dangablad November - 2007 at 5:05 pm

Right, I agree totally.

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