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Thread: How would you rate aspects of Rift's lore?

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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    Default How would you rate aspects of Rift's lore?

    Please write whatever you feel comfortable writing about each of these aspects, or even other things What's good, what's bad, what do you think could be done to improve it, what parts did you especially like or dislike in the game, etc.

    Characters

    Locations

    History

    Questlines

    Storylines

    Atmosphere/Immersion

    Complexity

    Hints of future content and events

    Presentation in-game


    I'll type up my own opinions later on, to keep the thread 'clean'. Thanks!
    Last edited by Maeloda; 08-17-2011 at 01:11 PM.

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    Shadowlander Antisthenes's Avatar
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    I feel like skipping the itemised list and going to what I truly like about what Trion has done and contrast it to something else. Why? Because I'm a goose-stepping, literary elitist.

    A problem with stories in other games is that the characters we play are often not the true protagonist. In so many ways and often as a product of either lazy or uncreative writing, the player character is the tool of a larger, vastly more powerful collective. It's a very fine line and one that really probably can't be appreciated unless you step out and view the story in the aggregate, but to me, it's a big deal.

    The best example of this horrible practice I can think of off the top of my head is what a lot of World of Warcraft has become. You (the player character) are acting at the behest of vastly more important beings, Varian Wrynn, Garrosh Hellscream, a big damn bunch of dragons, etc. People, beings and groups that should be completely capable of handling their own business but, for whatever reason, command you to do it for them.

    Rift's narrative is vastly different. While the Ascended are certainly superhuman (immortality's funny like that), they are still restrained by the nature of mortal, limited minds. What's more, the people telling you as the character where to go and what to do are, at most impressive, like you but maybe a little more "in the loop". In fact, the only vast, limitless beings that heavily influence the storyline in an arguably direct fashion are the gods of the Blood Storm. Even the Vigil acts in absentia through their messengers.

    To me, a story about mortal (in the sense that all Ascended were once mortal), limited beings combating an almost inconceivably vast and powerful enemy is compelling. A story about mortal, limited beings being told by vast, powerful entities to go off and kill other vast, powerful entities lacks the same pizzazz.

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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    That's ok, I just gave the list as a guideline.

    And I'm in full agreement there. While Rift's quest text seems to lack character and a compelling quality, the overall feeling (once figured out by the player, because sadly it does NOT give a great first impression) is better than WoW's, where I felt like a shiny peon.

    In Rift, I do feel that way in large raid rifts, but in the actual story, I don't. Lore characters are not just sitting on their thrones all the time, but are involved in events, in-game scenes fighting alongside you, and venturing out to several lands on assignment. It's not perfect, but it is a little more enjoyable and fair feeling.

    WoW's lore characters have become superbeings that have no depth in the least (even with novels dedicated to them), but at least Rift's characters keep showing hints that we'll keep discovering something new about them in a future content. In contrast, Varian and Garrosh (and most others) feel stagnant, even with the Cataclysm 'upheaval'.

    (I'm thinking Cyril needs some content at some point soon, imo)

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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    Bump, just one bump, hehe

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    Ascendant Sinndel's Avatar
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    Characters: Assuming you meant NPC's I rate them 2/10. They are boring and generic, very few have any personality, and when they die, I don't care, cuz they respawn 2 seconds later. For the most part, the faction leaders have such terrible dialogue that reminds me of every hypothetical tough guy "I'd totally beat you up if it weren't for ____________". And in the latests developments in the story, all the agression and hostility is gone entirely. We're at war, but our faction leaders aren't, and you best remember that!!! Aside from that, they don't move around or do anything. Cyril has like 126 million HP but did you see him fighting greenscale? I didn't. I saw him sitting on his *** in sanctum where he always is.

    Locations: 5/10. A little small, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I like the terrain and maps. Castles seem a little hollow, like, there's walls and towers, but where the actual castle? People lived in this before the shade? I don't believe you! I'd like some bigger cities, or at least ruins of cities, that look like people lived there. Like Ardenburgh in the guardian starter zone. Why can I run around in stillmoor and not find ardenburgh? I like the floorplan of each zone, even the starter zones. And I like the diversity.

    History: 8/10. Good lore in the history, took a few points away due to the fact that my character doesn't fit in with that history. For example, every guardian PC saved Ardenburgh, every defiant PC went through the failsafe, even though NPC's make it perfectly clear you're the only one who did that. Essentially PC background was designed for a single player RPG, and not an MMO. Other than that, and a few little plot holes I can self adjust, I like rifts lore.

    Questlines: 1/10. Kill x of mob A kill y of mob B, turn in, kill 1 x mob C, turn in, goto next hub to deliver THIS PIZZA!!!! Ugh.

    Storylines: What storylines? Ehm, no comment.

    Atmosphere/Immersion: Full on 0/10. For reasons mentioned above.

    Complexity: Games pretty intuitive. I don't know if that's good or bad. I like the soul system, because it makes me think about my choices. 9/10 if you're a casual player who like intuitive things. 1/10 if you're "that guy" who constantly complains that things get easier.

    Hints of future content and events: 5/10 I don't like how everything comes from players and fansites and youtube submissions. Would like developer comments without having to goto PAX.
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    If I had time Id probably give a more detailed answer but to summarise, for me rift does an excelent job with its storytelling and lore.

    It balances mystery and discovery well and gets into the personality of its characters without them completely stealing the show. The effort they have put in to even tying game mechanics such as roles into the lore is something Im a big fan off as it personalises and characterises your avatar even more in the world.

    Perhaps even more importantly they have done an brilliant job of making your avatar front and center of the action. Your character is important in the story.

    The only real critism I have about their storytelling is accessability. There is alot to learn about the history of the game and lore on the zones and events but often you really have to dig to get it. Im not sure how they could improve on this but getting that hook in at the begining and making it more easy for people to learn about the zones would be helpful even if it was in the form of an ingame codex or books that players pick up along the way.

    Perhaps more flavor NPCs who dont give quests but instead can give players info on areas or things. Asking locals is always a good way to learn local knowledge right? Infact Id really like this idea. It could put things really well into context.

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    I mostly just want boss monsters to stop calling us mortals.

    We're very clearly not. I don't know whether that's ignorance on their part, the monster attempting to insult us, or the writing just being stuck in the habit and not remembering sometimes..

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    Ascendant Sinndel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terram View Post
    I mostly just want boss monsters to stop calling us mortals.

    We're very clearly not. I don't know whether that's ignorance on their part, the monster attempting to insult us, or the writing just being stuck in the habit and not remembering sometimes..
    There's alot of NPC's who don't seem to understand the ascended. Like the fight club master, Tank Dooks, in scarwood, who is constantly suprised that I, a champion of the gods, beat up some random hood.

    I prefer the Dragonian that calls me a scrub. At least he gets it.
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    Character wise I would just love to see different clothing/armor options, all of it seems to be the same, I look at the NPC's and love some of their clothing and hair styles as well.
    Last edited by Mythue; 08-22-2011 at 08:09 AM.

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    Shadowlander Antisthenes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinndel View Post
    I prefer the Dragonian that calls me a scrub. At least he gets it.
    I love that guy! All NPC's should have his attitude.

    "Sure, you're the chosen of the very gods who created this world, but what have you done for me today?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Terram View Post
    I mostly just want boss monsters to stop calling us mortals.

    We're very clearly not. I don't know whether that's ignorance on their part, the monster attempting to insult us, or the writing just being stuck in the habit and not remembering sometimes..
    At one point or another, all Ascended were mortals. There's an argument to be made that immortality isn't completely defined just by the lifespan, but by the perspective on existence that comes from said immortality. Given that Ascended are still very much beings hardwired for being mortal and with very limited experience being immortal (as far as time spent being immortal goes), I'd say a truly immortal being has some reason for calling us mortals.
    Last edited by Antisthenes; 08-22-2011 at 09:26 AM.

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    RIFT Community Ambassador Talila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maeloda View Post

    (I'm thinking Cyril needs some content at some point soon, imo)
    And a new haircut. Geezers, all that time in sanctum and he can't even get to a hairdresser?
    Aaaand Shyla desperately needs pants.

    But I agree on the content for Cyril front. I lack something that makes me feel like "Yeah! That's my leader!" you know. Proud and such.
    When he was being mocked in that cage-thing during alsbeths little egotrip, I didn't really feel like wanting to cheer on him. Asha Catari is much cooler than Cyril.
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    Plane Walker Xerokine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talila View Post
    Asha Catari is much cooler than Cyril.
    Cyril is in the unfortunate position of having an amazingly cool backstory and a rather luke-warm presence in the game itself. If you read about his history, it's fairly amazing. A living legend, a giant of a man, whose mere presence gave Zareph's 'rebellion' legitimacy. He's known as 'The Greatsword', Champion of the Vigil, and single-handedly fought against Aedraxis and his dragon-knights, forcing the fallen prince to throw an entire army of skeleton at Cyril just to escape.
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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerokine View Post
    Cyril is in the unfortunate position of having an amazingly cool backstory and a rather luke-warm presence in the game itself. If you read about his history, it's fairly amazing. A living legend, a giant of a man, whose mere presence gave Zareph's 'rebellion' legitimacy. He's known as 'The Greatsword', Champion of the Vigil, and single-handedly fought against Aedraxis and his dragon-knights, forcing the fallen prince to throw an entire army of skeleton at Cyril just to escape.
    Eh, him just being "Awesome hero that is awesome and strong and loved." isn't much for depth, and I've read the backstory months ago.

    Then again, Captaincursor seems to love the "Awesome people are awesome!" idea in fantasy stories ;), from how he's described the Guardians before.

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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    This post is mostly in response to Sinndel, since that one was fully laid out. I'll make a later response to the rest of you , and I welcome others to chime in!

    Characters: Sinndel, I'm in mostly agreement, and it bothers me. I DO like some characters though! Just that the majority don't really interest me at all, save for my passion for lore and storytelling that drives me forward to find out more. Characterization is also... barely there, most of the time. Most of the time, a major character's tone and behavior they are being written as SHOWING (not be described as having, but how their dialogue actually is presented), could be interchanged with most other characters. Heck, even Scotty, who was well liked otherwise, is the most bland and boring character I know of. "Hi. I'm Scotty. I go to this school. Oh, my dad was important. I want to be a Runeguard." Wha?

    I do like some of it though, and your examples are good. There needs to be variation in behaviour and interesting things that NPCs say and do, because really, we're dealing with 2/3s of questhubs being just about the same thing, with the same people. Weird. I give 2/5, higher than Sinndel.

    Locations: Yeah I'd have to give a 2.5/5 as well. There's some truly awesome locations, but also a good many generic and weirdly placed things as well. Basically they make for a nice screenshot, but nothing to make you feel like the overall land is believable and even interesting. The Keeps we keep seeing in lower levels are a good example that you gave. On the other hand, I like the 'feel' of a lot of places, especially in IPP, Gloamwood, and parts of Droughtlands and Shimmersand. Still, most of the zone maps have a very badly disguised "place object x in area y, to fill in that part of the map with something" look, and as a designer, you're supposed to AVOID that at all costs! I'm skeptical yet also optimistic about Ember Isle, from what I've seen. Hmmm...

    History: I have to give a 4.5/5 as well! I LOVE a lot of the history of Rift! Even though there was some issues with it in the transition from Heroes to Planes of Telara, the writings are very nice. At worst they can be fanfictiony, but at least *good* fanfiction. At best, they feel like I world I just want to explore and discover things in. I find myself really enjoying discussing lore here, and that's a really good sign. I've only had a limited want of that in WoW, I'm not interested in TERA or TOR, and I only have a well sustained interest in TSW and GW2's lore (though GW2 is starting to win me over thanks to lore writer interviews). The fact that Trion can keep me interested, is a testament to the lore framework they created. But... implementation doesn't nearly match that for the most part.

    Questlines: I don't agree. I'd give it a more 2.5/5, with it being 3-3.5/5 at its best, and 2/5 at its worst. I at least feel more like I'm 'entering enemy territory' with these kill 10s, and I never felt that in WoW. Anyway, I gave it a higher score because when Trion DOES implement an involving questline with voice acted characters, big challenges, and core lore involvement, I take notice and rather enjoy it. Sadly, perhaps 3/4 of the quests are not that.
    Basically, I hate being tasked to kill 14 dragonkin, because I'm going to do that already. But I love entering the old Ethian Collosium, having NPCs talk, and engaging in a 'Battle Royale' (quest) in Droughtlands. Remove the former and add the rewards I'd get from that, to the rewards for the latter. Again Trion, I'll *kill those mobs anyway because they are clearly in the way*. Stop tasking me with pointless stuff, because that clearly is not the way that MMOs will want to head in the coming years. You'll be 'conservative', wayyyy before your time, when it comes to immersion.

    Storylines: Shh you, they exist ;). I'd give it a 3/5. I think the storylines themselves are nearly as good as the actual lore. The problem is when they distract you with, again, pointless tasks. When you seperate the storylines from the gameplay, its rather good - the fall of Hylas is interesting, Alsbeth has a nice backstory, and the Convocation is a good mystery, and Crucia is being rescued, etc. too bad 9/10 of the game doesn't care, and would rather you kill lackeys and collect trinkets ;)

    (HOWEVER, I will reserve a more final judgement on this when Chronicles hit. They may sway my opinion a lot, or disappoint me and leave me shrugging. We'll see lol ;))

    Atmosphere/Immersion: 3/10 It's sad but, except when storming an area with a couple other (RPing) players, or intentionally pushing myself into a story questline, or in the middle of the rare but pretty neat in-game scene, this game has less immersion than WoW. Why? Because even though invasions created a 'living, breathing' game experience, it didn't bring a living, breathing world. Trion seems to think that if you make a great game, many will come and stay. NO. When you make a great game, people will come. When you make a great world, people will stay. Make both, and you have success. It's been mentioned before the places that actually have great immersion in Rift, so Trion better know by now haha ;)

    Complexity: I meant how complex the lore is, if it intertwines within itself, or it just says 'these guys are bad, go get them durdurr'. I'd put Rift right in the middle 2.5/5. It CAN be complex if one puts the effort forth, but the 'right in front of your face' complexity is rather simple. Basically, you good, them bad. 6 dragons and cults. Time travel. Factions are both good and bad. Kill dragons and find a way. Won't find much political and social nuances, but its still better than a good many MMOs. I think we'll find all of TOR, TSW, and GW2 to be more complicated in several ways though.

    Hints of Future Content: I meant more in terms of how the launch and patches, how the lore in them hint at later content, not what the devs say themselves. In terms of this, I'd put it at a 3/5.
    The good - it is clear that the majority of racial homelands are not in the launch game because we will be visiting them in later content. That's cool. There ARE hints of another continent, and other lands on this continent, etc.
    The bad - we see VERY little on how the planes actually operate. This makes them more boring than they should be...
    We also have no idea how the game will continue once the 6 dragons are 'dead'. While this may be neat to hide, it also gives early players the impression that Trion is just going off the cuff and doesn't really know what to do a year from now.

    So if I average these up, I come up with: 23/40 or 2.5/5. I'm hoping things like Chronicles will bring things up to a 3/5 level, but it will take some good changes to things to make me think of it as a 4/5. I don't think it could ever be a 4.5-5/5 for me though, mostly because of thematic and genre personal preferences.

    (PS I do agree that the devs need to step up to the plate and actually give players tidbits of info that keep us not just interested in 'OMG new raid! another raid!' but rather where the game direction will be headed. Yes, players are interested in where a game's story is going (even if they don't read quest texts) and what the characters will do. Basically, they are interested if the game's story will be 'worth it' if they stick around, or if you're just following a formula and making us just enter the planes for only raids and kill the dragons there, and then no one knows. That's actually far less epic than it sounds.)

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    Ascendant Maeloda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutinz View Post
    If I had time Id probably give a more detailed answer but to summarise, for me rift does an excelent job with its storytelling and lore.

    It balances mystery and discovery well and gets into the personality of its characters without them completely stealing the show. The effort they have put in to even tying game mechanics such as roles into the lore is something Im a big fan off as it personalises and characterises your avatar even more in the world.

    Perhaps even more importantly they have done an brilliant job of making your avatar front and center of the action. Your character is important in the story.

    The only real critism I have about their storytelling is accessability. There is alot to learn about the history of the game and lore on the zones and events but often you really have to dig to get it. Im not sure how they could improve on this but getting that hook in at the begining and making it more easy for people to learn about the zones would be helpful even if it was in the form of an ingame codex or books that players pick up along the way.

    Perhaps more flavor NPCs who dont give quests but instead can give players info on areas or things. Asking locals is always a good way to learn local knowledge right? Infact Id really like this idea. It could put things really well into context.
    Rift's big problem (when it comes to immersion and storytelling, both of which are VERY important in MMOs, despite some designers', etc's wishes) is that it isn't accessible. The Lv 1-6 stuff is ok, but then it just drops off into a pit.

    If you work at it, you can find great lore in Rift. If you don't, then you'll just give up on it and call it a WoW/fantasy genre clone. I find that disappointing. However, I'm not disappointed in the actual lore out there. I'm looking at GW2 and TOR to be wonderful in this department though, yet I just want Trion to step up in one of the major factors that draw people to these games.

    I guess my previous comment is incorrect though - 'Hooks' (rifts, stable launch, etc) draw a player in, gameplay keeps them there, and immersion has them devoted. If you just have a hook, people will leave fairly shortly. If you have a hook and great gameplay, they will stay until the next big thing. If you have a hood, AND great gameplay, AND great immersion, they will stick with you until they just can't. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mythue View Post
    Character wise I would just love to see different clothing/armor options, all of it seems to be the same, I look at the NPC's and love some of their clothing and hair styles as well.
    Yeah I hate this. Recycling of item models, NPCs, voices, environmental assets, animations, etc all give a cheaper feeling to the game than it should have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Antisthenes View Post
    I love that guy! All NPC's should have his attitude.

    "Sure, you're the chosen of the very gods who created this world, but what have you done for me today?"
    Ohhh yeah. He really stood out to me. It's a great thing that good characterization does ;). No Trion, not everyone needs to treat me like the cat's pajamas. If you're going to make me be an adventurer in the world instead of its constant savior, have the characters have accordingly. "What have you done for ME lately?" indeed ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Talila View Post
    And a new haircut. Geezers, all that time in sanctum and he can't even get to a hairdresser?
    Aaaand Shyla desperately needs pants.

    But I agree on the content for Cyril front. I lack something that makes me feel like "Yeah! That's my leader!" you know. Proud and such.
    When he was being mocked in that cage-thing during alsbeths little egotrip, I didn't really feel like wanting to cheer on him. Asha Catari is much cooler than Cyril.
    Cyril looks fine, but Trion should never buff up his and Asha's sizes for an event ever again. They look ridiculous, and we look like ants. wtf...
    But Shyla needs a total model redo. She looks like a..well, I can't even say the word here. It's really sad, and they somehow want me to relate to her and her 'plight' while she is sooo skimpily dressed, even compared to her own people. hahaha

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