The Daily Grind: Which MMOs do scripting well?

    
10

In the land between dynamic or reactive content and stock-still NPCs spitting out quest text boxes in MMOs is the creative use of scripting that developers use. Scripting allows for scenes to play out as they are triggered, ranging from small surprises to elaborate setpieces.

Let me tell you, I’ve been very impressed with Elder Scrolls Online’s scripting nearly every time that I play. Seeing NPCs run about, take action, and talk during quests feels fresh and natural in a way that MMOs usually aren’t. Probably my favorite moment was when I was walking by a building and a questgiver crashed down out of a window onto the street to kick off an adventure with me.

Which MMOs do scripting well? As an extra question, what are some of your favorite scripted moments in game?

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!

10
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Stormwaltz

One of the best examples of scripting I saw in ESO was back when I was working on the game… so I have no idea if it shipped with it, or if it’s still in today.

Anna Murchison made a quest where you were looking for pirate treasure with the aid of a pirate ghost. Because it’s an MMG, you want to have many places where the treasure can potentially spawn – it’s best not to have everyone going to the same location (or overlapping locations) to trigger the same final fight, and you want to avoid a quest that can be solved by looking up coordinates in a wiki.

So she spread potential spawns all over the swamp, and only some would be active at a given time. Then she gave the player an item to use. You clicked it, and it would summon the pirate ghost. It would step forward, detect the closest treasure spawn, turn to face it, and point. You’d use that to track down the right location.

Anna always had the most mechanically cool quests.

Reader
Harlow Games

BDO is pretty good with that, I especially like characters that are scripted to leave for the night and close up shop. The dialogue is the main focus of scripting, as most characters stay in place, but there are a set of scripted NPCs that walk about and seemingly interact with things, as well as traveling traders, and a few traveling quest targets, like Anon. Stay in any one place too long though and it gets really repetitive.

GW2, on the other hand, has had great scripting since launch – I remember one of the first previews/walkthroughs of the game showed the way characters chatter, and move about making the world look lively. I love seeing chefs/cooks walking about the kitchen and muttering about things, or random NPCs creeping out other NPCs (the one in DR talking about how she’d kill someone, anyone, for one of her gran’s pies, or something like that – causing the others to slowly back away). It’s nice that in every zone and every hub, NPCs have either a relevant, informative, or entertaining dialogue that adds flavor. I also love the instances in which the scripting has become fully quotable by the community (“By Ogden’s hammer, what savings!”)

Reader
Toy Clown

BDO does that well, in that the NPCs make the world feel a bit more immersive and alive. There are some comical encounters to watch, like the little Shai dressing down a giant behind the Velia storage keeper. There is an extremely heart-breaking scene in the middle of Treant forest where several lumberjacks have corraled a giant tree and were hacking it down. Trina Fort is this massive, immersive battle going on with NPCs, as well as monsters roaming into the gates and getting engaged by them. That battle I found myself getting off my horse and walking through the NPCs, just being amazed at how incredible the scripting was. It’s also entertaining watching the conversations between the people on the streets while waiting for something. You get a glimpse into their lives, like hearing snippets of conversation at the table over in RL, like how they’ve moved into a new home and don’t have furniture yet, seeing a couple flirting, etc. I love the world of BDO. I can get so lost in it.

Mordyjuice
Reader
Mordyjuice

As far as games that aren’t in maintenance mode ESO, as far as games that are on life support SWL.

An honorable mention for SWTOR that hasn’t been given up quite yet by it’s developer.

Snax
Reader
Snax

SWTOR isn’t given up, because it’s currently the only official running SW MMORPG and people are playing it to get their SW fix. Many also don’t know that they can play SWG, others don’t want for various reasons so there isn’t really any reason for SWTOR to be going away anywhere.

Mordyjuice
Reader
Mordyjuice

I don’t believe I sad anything to disagree with anything you’ve said, how ever there was a period of time it almost looked like it was in maintenance mode for a few years.

Snax
Reader
Snax

I don’t see how you managed to turn this is me disagreeing with you, it’s a secret jedi skill maybe…

I only elaborated on why SWTOR is still kicking according to my observations. Yes, it was indeed in an unofficial maintenance mode and right now I can’t say the updates are much fabulous either, but it’s still going and will probably do for another 7-8 years until it’s replaced by a new SW MMORPG and SWTOR gets shut down.

Considering they shut down SWG in favor of SWTOR, I won’t be surprised if they do the same to SWTOR for the next SW MMORPG.

Sixuality
Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Sixuality

There’s a story arc in City of Heroes which makes brilliant use of scripted ambushes. Taking on a villain with time travel powers, you have to fight him several times in a row since every time he’s about to lose he uses his powers to ‘rewind’ the fight – vanishing and then reappearing at full health. It’s really well done.

Reader
Utakata

…scripting is for professional wrestling. >.>

Reader
Harlow Games

I read scripting to mean programmed script to control NPC movements/actions.