The not getting it award of the week goes to...

| Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Do I even have to say?

I completely disagree with the conclusion. "Playing through a story will always be LESS believable in a single-player RPG, EXACTLY BECAUSE the player really *can* change the world."

Do you find it believable that you save the world?

I find it much more believable that I'm one of the countless grunts fighting in the battlefield. I see other players and NPCs doing their part.

- Gevlon

Yes, apparently it is not believable that in a fantasy game, people do fantastical things. One of the foundations of fantasy in general is how a person does extraordinary things, far beyond what would be expected of anyone. It's not supposed to represent the majority of the population who till fields and get shot in a trench. It's supposed to represent the few who did something bigger than normal. The spy who uncovered the plot, the assassin who killed the general, the lone survivor of the attack which sunk the ship which saved the battle which conquered the seas which won the war.

We're the .00001% of Azeroth. We're not believable and we're not supposed to be. We're different people in a different universe.

But is this any surprise from the person who does not wish to be a hero in a game about heroes, but merely a cog in a machine? It makes me wonder, if he wasn't so full of hate, would people then notice that he is a remarkably boring person?

14 comments:

Ratshag said...

I finds it believable what Gevlon cain't save the world.

thenoisyrogue said...

Klep,

I love ya bro, but the gevlon bashing is getting a bit old. Can you cut it down to just once a week? If you do that then you might hold my interest on it better. As it is now it's just, oh klep is bashing gev again. I wonder what's on channel 3 ...?

Klepsacovic said...

You're free to skip the posts about it. I doubt they're going to change your opinion, so if they fail to entertain you, please, go right ahead and skip them. There's no rule that says you have to read a blog that gets repetitive and boring. I've stopped reading a few like that.

thenoisyrogue said...

My opinion has nothing to do with it. I look at what Gevlon says with a critical eye: some of it I agree with, some of it I don't. So I'm always interested to see other bloggers opinions about him whom I respect. But you're starting to fall into the trap of disagreeing with him for the sake of disagreeing.

Shintar said...

Actually I agree with the second half of Gevlon's comment there. I disagree with the first bit, because like Tobold I think that in a single-player RPG it's perfectly fine to be the special person that saves the world, but in WoW I've always preferred the cog-in-the-machine approach as well. I can see dozens of other people doing the same quests as me right next to me, we can't all be the top ".00001% of Azeroth".

Anonymous said...

Klep,

Just because a game falls into the 'fantasy' genre does not give it carte blanche to do anything extraordinary. In good fantasy worlds, characters have limitations which they must overcome and from which challenges arise and upon which stories are built.

When the player is repeatedly put in the position of saving the world, it can become silly and strain believability. Consider that in Greek mythology -- a very old form of fantasy world -- even Zeus, the father and chief of the pantheon of gods -- wasn't always saving the world; sometimes he just wanted some swan sex.

Klepsacovic said...

@thenoisyrogue: I would agree that I am perhaps harder on him than other bloggers, but I tend to be harsh to the harsh.

@Shintar: You make an excellent point; I'll talk about it more tomorrow.

@Anonymous: My character is currently in the process of gathering materials for a wedding, a little bit earlier I helped write a dirty song about the bride, and not so long ago I was spraying people with anemone scent. My point is that yes, we are repeatedly helping save the world, but at least as often we're engaged in small tasks. We have also had to overcome challenges, which may seem like little from the player side, but for the character were a significant event; such as the original hunter quests of taming beasts and warriors learning to fight at Fray Island. If there is a lacking in story-telling, it is that we so easily ignore the small events, but let's face it, we'd get pretty bored as players if we had to experience every ordeal of our characters.

Nils said...

I disagree almost at every step here. Firstly with Gevlon: In a virtual world players should be able to influence the world at a small scale. That is believable. They should, of course, not safe the universe all the time. Here I agree with him.

Then I disgaree with you: Fantsay means not that there are fantastic people, but that the world is slightly different from our own. Usually the main difference is some kind of magic.

Inquisitor said...

I play a lot of LARP (live-action roleplaying) as well as WoW - and in the larger of those, you might be part of a 'side' of hundreds. Inevitably, only so many of any given group are 'top' or 'special', and you *can't* all kill your own Arthas.

In that environment, one sensible approach is to become, essentially, a cog in the machine. Not to fight it, but to revel in it, and to do it well.

Generally a lot more fun than trying to be pointedly different, frankly. And it makes the times when you *do* get to be a hero a lot more special.

tyra said...

@Nils:

Why not both fantastic people, and a world slightly different? Better yet, why not a world that is crazily different (assuming you can make it fun, interesting, and understandable/relatable)?

It's possible to be both. History has George Washingtons, and it has it's farmer #1000000. Games tend to tell the story of the George's, for obvious reasons. It means that the genre is slanted towards the exciting stories rather than the boring ones, but that has nothing to do with it's believability.
So, as far as single player game goes, it works fine. If you're talking solely MMOs...well, our level of computers/designers can't make and maintain that much content. Suspension of disbelief saves the day.Sure not everyone is George washington, but most people would prefer to kick ass as George rather than Joe the average guy. Joe is boring. Even then, for the people who prefer it, there are games where you fill the roll of Joe, but it isn't necesary by any means.



I still don't see why this bothers people any more than fireballs and dragons. I'm sure everyone has a moment of "oh hey, shouldn't that be like x?", or notice something that doesn't quite match up, but it's more a conversation peice than a gaping hole in plausibility.

Anonymous said...

tyra asks:

"I still don't see why this [player power and the ability to change the world] bothers people any more than fireballs and dragons. ...but it's more a conversation peice than a gaping hole in plausibility."

Let's go back to the 'physics' of the game world. Though magic, dragons and dwarves all exist -- something that is not true in real life -- there are still rules for how things work. Magic is powerful but has limitations, dragons are powerful but not invincible, horde and alliance are relatively balanced antagonistic factions, etc. In other words, wow is weird but (mostly) internally consistent.

Where super-powerful heroes become problematic is when they break the 'physics' or internal consistency of the game. My character has now saved Azeroth from certain destruction dozens of times while major characters from the game's story (eg, Thrall, Grom, Khadgar, Medivh) are often significant for doing so once or twice. Furthermore, the Alliance continues to maintain a large standing army though my character has proved to be more effective in fighting dragons/necromancers/old gods/firelords/godzilla-wannabes/elementals/demons/orcs/Milhouse Manastorm. Wouldn't it be cheaper at this point to fire the army and hire my character full time? There are other examples, but I think these are ok examples of how our characters' incredible power and achievements break the storyline at times.

Klepsacovic said...

There are a few limits on our seemingly uncontained power and usefulness, which we rarely realize. Often we are acting with the assistance of those great heroes: Tirion - Lich King, Alexstrasza - Malygos. At other times we did the final attack alone, but with the needed help of others.

Then there's the problem of reach: we can't be everywhere at once. At the very least the armies are needed to buy time for heroes to save the day.

We're mostly good at killing things or carrying out errands, but we lack the individual power that the lore heroes have. Could any of us fight toe to toe with Deathwing? Hold back the Maelstrom?

Maybe another way to look at it is that we're not really the same character the whole way. One person didn't save Azeroth, Outland, Northrend, then Azeroth again; but perhaps each of those was a separate being, which is why we are not recognized by Alexstrasza as the heroes who helped her kill Malygos and who have previously defeated C'thun. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but a bit of crazy is called for in a game where it appears that all of us have killed Arugal.

I'm reminded of a couple of the Call of Duty games I've played where I save the war multiple times: as a Soviet, an American, and an English soldier. I controlled all three, but obviously they're not the same historical person, even when all three are based loosely on real people.

nightgerbil said...

Idk if its just me, but I enjoy the "you are a grunt, you are a hero, oh nightgerbil we have been expecting you, So hunter we heard alot about you, maybe your half what the stories say..." progression blizz fed in. Its kinda cool and really helps my suspension of disbelief.

Is it sad that I railed long and oh so hard on guild chat when thrall ressed me from the dead and ordered me to kill the fracking ASPECT OF DEATH for him? and I s88t myself and went erm "omg thrall!!" popped lots of cool downs and didnt make a dent before i died crying like a little girl for my mummy and my toy dragon hawk dolly? Then woke to the earthern ring shammy going "Night! night honey it was just a dream... just a dream..."
sometimes I really reall get this game. Or maybe it gets me.

Klepsacovic said...

You got to attack Deathwing? I never got him as a valid target, do I just stood there with Thrall yelling at me (he got really mean) and by the end I felt awful.

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