The Daily Grind: Are MMORPGs better off without stories?

    
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Last week, Massively OP community veteran BalsBigBrother pointed out — rightly! — that while Trove is amusing, it’s very much lacking in prepared story or even lore, which could be a turn-off to gamers seeking that from their online games.

The topic dovetails nicely with one of the key mainstream gaming conversations from last week on whether video games are even a good medium for storytelling to begin with. “The best interactive stories are still worse than even middling books and films,” The Atlantic declared last week, setting off gamers everwhere. “To use games to tell stories is a fine goal, but it’s also an unambitious one.”

“To dream of the Holodeck is just to dream a complicated dream of the novel. If there is a future of games, let alone a future in which they discover their potential as a defining medium of an era, it will be one in which games abandon the dream of becoming narrative media and pursue the one they are already so good at: taking the tidy, ordinary world apart and putting it back together again in surprising, ghastly new ways.”

Yeah. So. I can think of terrible examples of storytelling in games as well as excellent examples. I’m sure you can too. But I have yet to watch a movie that provided me a sandbox to tell my own stories, so there’s that. What do you think? Should video games stop shooting for narrative elegance? Are MMORPGs better off without stories?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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