The Daily Grind: Which MMO’s lore confuses the heck out of you?

    
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The Daily Grind: Which MMO’s lore confuses the heck out of you?

Fantasy authors (aspiring and published) are renowned for their tendency to create elaborate and often labyrinthian backstories and world histories. And while this lore may be completely comprehensible to them, the audience needs it spelled out clearly and in an understandable fashion to get on board the lore train.

Listen, ain’t none of us like to look stupid, but sometimes MMORPGs have that effect when it comes to the lore. Some people can grok it easier while others throw their hands up at the finer details and just go with the general plot flow. I don’t think it’s all the fault of the players, either, what with the continual expansion of these games’ stories and the many retcons that happen in them.

So in this judgment-free zone that’s full of nothing but judgment, what MMO’s lore confuses you? I’ll admit that after a certain point, I stopped trying to figure out World of Warcraft’s shifting backstory, as it is fairly dull and all types of convoluted. What about you?

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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Eboni

I have no flipping clue what’s going on in Rift. I read someone’s cliff notes and I’m still kinda confused.

Also, Archeage. There are few bits of lore in some of the outfit descriptions that seem like it’s pretty cool, though. But I don’t know what’s going on in that game either.

kjempff
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kjempff

Not sure if this is me missing lore or that I can’t find the logic in it but..
In Warframe, you control a warframe remotely right? Then how can you jump out of that warframe as an operator? You (the player) is the operator? Are you(operator) inside the warframe at all times? If so how can you die in missions .. And why aren’t you the operator while on your ship.
Who are the Tenno? Machine or man ?
Rank 20 in Warframe and all this is still a logic mystery to me.

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Anton Mochalin

Seems like you didn’t pay much attention to story when doing The War Within because that quest is all about these questions being answered. As I said in another comment the best way to learn a videogame’s lore is watching a YouTube video, try that.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You have a Star Trek Online picture shown here in this article, so I’m going to mention something about the lore there :D

While it doesn’t confuse me because it’s one of the games I’ve spent more time in, I could see how it could be a little bit rattling to someone that is only slightly familiar with it. There is so much deep lore that goes along with Star Trek, and then things change for different reasons. Someone could be forgiven for not understanding how there are about 5 different looks for Klingons.

Some of it has to do with Prime Universe vs. Alternate Universe stuff, other has to do with make-up and technology advancement that they then come up with a story in the lore as to why they look so much different now. That alternate universe stuff gets some people, though if they are familiar with comic book worlds they should be able to catch on to it fairly quickly.

Star Trek Online is its own universe that borrows bits and pieces from all the different ones out there, crossovers and various things that happen. There was a point where it was easier to follow, some of the stuff now jumps around a bit because of old stories that no longer are part of the game so the stuff connects weird now.

That sort of reminds me of Warframe. When the game came out and slowly released new stuff to the existing players, it all made sense to them as it came a bit at a time. They had done all the old content when new content was added. Now a new player going into it has this huge open world in front of them that has very little direction (more than it used to, but still very little) and it can be overwhelming for them figuring out what to do. That’s more game wise, but the lore can be confusing as well to people.

Warframe has some really amazing stories that fit together, and then some others that seem like totally unrelated people made them who hadn’t even looked at the rest of the story in the game so far. Right now there is this weird radio thing going on in the game where someone was clearly a fan of the old classic “The Warriors” movie and it pulls me out of the game universe watching it. They’re usually so good at coming up with their own stuff that has no relation to something else, and then someone clearly watched The Warriors and copied the famous radio girl from it and it just distracts me and takes me out of the lore.

Warframe’s lore is in bits and pieces all over the place and you don’t even know what’s going on for most of it until playing quite a long time. You think you know what’s going on, then it gets changed up, then it gets changed up again.

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Anstalt

Some of WARs lore confused me.

In particular, I cannot understand why that game decided to turn orcs and goblins into ape-like bumbling idiots, the butt of every joke. Before then, orcs had always been hyper-aggressive, overly muscled humanoids who were a menace to everyone. It was only their aggressiveness that prevented them achieving superiority. Lots of in-fighting would prevent much coordination and keep numbers vaguely under control, and their aggressiveness and impulsiveness is what prevented their tech advancing – they’d just bodge something together and hope for the best because thats the quickest way to the action!

Games Workshop’s decision to turn them into idiots really irritated me and has continued to do so in the following games that kept up this trait. I love my orcs, and Warhammer/40k orcs/orks are the best in the business…..or at least, they used to be before being turned into a joke.

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Oleg Chebeneev

+1 to RIFT comments. I was like “wtf is dat shit” when trying to comprehand it.

Nephele
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Nephele

I can’t really think of a game whose lore confused me at launch, but coming to games well after their launch can be confusing as heck.

Examples:

Vanilla WoW’s lore was pretty straightforward and easy to follow. But I stopped playing (for non-lore reasons) early on. Listening to people talk about the story and lore of the game now, I’m completely lost. I guess you had to be there when it happened.

RIFT’s lore sort of made sense when it launched, but wasn’t leveraged really at all anywhere in the game (which is part of why I stopped playing that). Then, as expansions continued to happen, now it just feels like a weird hodgepodge of half-finished storylines to me.

GW2 also had pretty believable lore when it launched. In fact, I liked the way they set their story and lore up, and was looking forward to seeing it develop. But, alas, I ended up leaving that game (again, for non-lore reasons), and now when I try to make sense of what’s going on in Tyria, I just can’t. I wasn’t there when stuff happened, I don’t know the references, and it all just feels very weird to me.

I could cite plenty of other games that this has happened to as well, but I think this problem is actually more prevalent (for me) than the base lore not making sense. The base lore of any game world is usually fine. It’s the cumulative effect of all the expansions and additions that causes it to cross my threshold of disbelief.

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Fervor Bliss

My fave quest giver is the Deputy on the roof of the police station, having a PTSD moment and talks about how he misses the dogs over his dead father.

The EQ2 wall of text quest givers only puzzled about how you could write so much and I care so little. Still, EQ2 is a great game. Amazon buy Daybreak already.

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Barnoc N'Draak

My starting assumption is that for most games lore is an internally inconsistent Hodgepodge until proven otherwise.

Games that actually have solid lore end up contorting themselves into knots in order to not violate it, or end up handwaving it so they can actually do something fun.

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agemyth 😩

The lore of FF14 is pretty straightforward until I see how they execute upon that fiction in the live game and try to remember that “story” is one of the most common things I see fans of the game praise about it. Maybe its the anime localization that always baffles me in FF games. Feels like I’ll never get over that.

WoW is getting a lot of votes, understandably, but I always felt it was so cookie-cutter comic book fantasy. Super flat characterization and supervillains whose goals are all just “I will destroy everything” or “I want to kill/convert the living”. They occasionally stumble into characters that people find sympathetic or endearing, but the lore and world building have always been basic.

Wakfu and Glitch always confused me with how well done and entertaining the little bits I opted into were. The premise of the worlds seemed cool and the design of everything was inspired. I only ever had a surface level look at it, but these “cutesy” oft overlooked games seemed to be punching above their weight.

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Stormwaltz

I love original lore, but for some reason I found the background of Rift absolutely impenetrable.

The best I could ever get was that there was a tech-fantasy side and a high-fantasy side, they hated other, but there were also gods trying to end the world, so the two sides sometimes had to cooperate. Beyond that, it was a barrage of names and concepts that I was never able to wrap my head around.