Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
1
Writing for Massively Multiplayer
Online Games
Steve Danuser and Tracy A. Seamster
1.1 Introduction
Writing for massively multiplayer online games (commonly referred to as MMOs or
MMOGs, or as MMORPGs when the term “role-playing” gets thrown in the mix)
requires most of the same talents and disciplines as writing for any other type of
game. Since we are, when all is said and done, talking about making a game, the
goal of your writing should be to bring fun and enjoyment to the player regardless of
whether the tone is joyous, scary, or anywhere in between. There are, however, some
aspects of MMOs that require unique approaches to story planning and dialogue
writing that are worth consideration.
Before we delve too deeply into the particulars, it's worth noting that calling
a game an MMO refers more to its player interaction model than to its genre or
style. You can have a fantasy adventure like World of Warcraft , a sci-fi setting like
Ta b u l a R a s a , a shooter like PlanetSide , or even a freeform social space like Second Life .
The common element is a persistent world in which thousands of players interact
together. Since this topic is focused on writing, this chapter will assume that we're
discussing an MMO with at least some degree of directed storytelling and character
dialogue.
Various companies use writers in different ways. Some MMOs may hire freelance
writers; others have full-time writers on staff. Still other companies do not have a
separate job title for writers, lumping them under the catch-all umbrella of “game
designer.” Titles are not that important, of course, as long as the writer's talents are
recognized and utilized effectively. When in the course of this chapter we refer to
“the writer,” we mean anyone who is tasked with writing copy for an MMO as part
or the sum of their contribution to the project.
 
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