The Daily Grind: Do you make a point of watching or skipping MMO cutscenes?

    
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During this week’s podcast, Justin jokes about how Final Fantasy XIV literally has an interface pop-up to warn you before it deluges you with an extremely long series of cutscenes, on the order of half an hour of basically watching the game rather than playing it. That cracked me up because I admit I am not much of a cutscene-watcher to begin with. My instinct is to click through them in a lot of MMORPGs, especially when I’ve seen them before, but even sometimes when I haven’t. So let’s just say that while I appreciate that FFXIV reminds us to take a potty break before it goes all exposition monster on us, I probably still wouldn’t watch it.

Howsabout you? Do you still watch MMORPG cutscenes? Did you ever? If you skip them, do you do it out of habit or lack of time or anti-story principle?

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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Malcolm Swoboda

If I’ve never seen them before, then watch.
If I’ve seen them before, but I know there’s differences, then probably watch.
If I’ve seen them before, but its been so long that I want a refresher, then probably watch, or maybe not if I’m with a group. (Example: Hell dungeons in TSW)
If I’ve seen them before several times, then finally skip, but I’m okay if in a group another wants to watch.
If I’ve seen them a load of times, then finally skip and impatient about it.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I love cut scenes. I live for, well I live for cats, but I really enjoy cut scenes. Lore and story in MMORPGs is such an important factor for me and a major decision making reason behind which game I will play at any given moment.

That said, 30 minutes is a bit much even for me. When I log onto a game it’s because I have time to play and want to spend that time mostly interacting and not sitting back. A cut scene this long sounds more like something I’d rather watch when outside of the game than to eat up a quarter to half of my game playing session all at once in this long stretch watching and not interacting.

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rafael12104

I tend to watch them quite a few times before I decide to skip them. Even then, certain cut scenes deserve to be watched from time to time because they are so good.

So, it is situational really. But, after a few 100 times through and area, dungeon, or content, skipping becomes automatic.

Purewitz
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Purewitz

Alway watch first and second time through. If I’ve done the story multiple times, then I skip it. The number one reason why I choose the MMOs that I play is the story, then the world/worlds, then gameplay, then exploration, then community.

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Bobuliss

I always watch cutscenes the first time through, because I love learning the lore of the game. After that, it’s just a nuisance.

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Sorenthaz

I try to, but in FFXIV it’s the most annoying thing ever when they have stupid long cutscenes in the middle of group content. In that one dungeon that ends with fighting Von Whatshisface and Ultima Weapon, I was spending the entire time watching the cutscenes and never once did a lick of fighting. That’s a little too much imo, even if it’s nice to see the story stuff they packed into it.

Specus
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Specus

I agree with you here. I’m a big cutscene watcher, but I always felt uncomfortable watching the FFXIV:ARR cutscenes during the group content, knowing that most of the people in there with me have already seen them (probably several times). FFXIV makes them available for watching later, so many times I’d skip them, then come back to them on my own time. Luckily, most of the time, people were cool about it and let me finish without grief.

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Pandaclysm

You try to enjoy the entirety of a game. You can’t write a story everyone will enjoy and FFXIV’s is no exception. I’m caught up with the MSQ and I think the story is dry. I love the FF series but this is just effortless. The game itself is fun and engaging but the story? It’s only worth following in case people are talking about it which I never see even from the RP’ers.

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Robert Mann

It depends. Is this the first time, or is it one of those rare cutscenes that are interesting and not in the middle of group content where I’d hold everyone up? Then yes.

However, if the cutscene isn’t very interesting then I shut it down after that first time, and if it is interfering with group content it is gone. This is… 99.99% of all cutscenes.

Simply put, the writing in MMOs generally isn’t up to snuff to where the cutscenes can hold my interest. For story, I read a book, watch something that probably didn’t get made in the U.S.A., or otherwise go outside the MMO scene (and it isn’t that many games that are both story heavy and fun otherwise…)

This should be one way in which themeparks can shine. It has not been, however, something they have invested in. Which, in turn, creates this odd feedback loop: Devs don’t work on good story, because players don’t read the story, because the devs never worked on good story before and thus the players who would care don’t.

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luxundae

I watch! I play MMOs for the world building more than anything else, I think, and the cut scenes are often major parts of that world building. There’s a world of difference between a WoW cutscene and a TSW cutscene, but both are still important ways to build up their respective worlds and overarching narratives.

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Avaera

I really like cutscenes that provide context for the gameplay you’re about to experience, so I’m more than happy to watch a cinematic that sets the mood for a new character, a new area, or some other new content you’re about to embark on. I think that’s a good way of conveying the commonly known history, setting, and feel of a place you’re about to explore, before you actually start to play within it.

On the other hand, I have a pretty intense dislike of cutscenes that are forced on you in the midst of playing, turning in quests, or during group content. There are few things more annoying than losing complete control of your avatar while events happen without your input, and I’m definitely prone to skip them if I can. I’m not that big on single-player narratives being the focus of my MMOs anyway, and anything pre-scripted is usually generic enough that you can pick up the details from NPC interactions anyway.

Besides, those kind of mid-gameplay cutscenes are basically developer stuns on your character – and like all loss-of-control stuns, should be incredibly limited!