Game Development Reference
Figure 1.1. The sleeping prismatic dragon Kerafyrm in the Sleeper's Tomb dungeon in
The beauty of all this is that the story got across to the players whether they paid
attention to the writing along the way or not.
1.6 Pitfalls: When the Story Doesn't Get Through
Sometimes you visualize a story so clearly in your mind that it doesn't occur to you
that every player won't be seeing the game through the same camera you have in your
head. The free-flowing nature of MMOs means that players aren't on rails, giving
them the freedom to veer away from your best-laid plans.
An example of this can be found in The Fallen Dynasty adventure pack for
EverQuest II . I implemented a quest called “The Pirate's Bride,” in which the player
is trying to find out how pirates found the location of a remote island. When investi-
gating suspicious behavior among the local villagers, the player observes that a young
lady strolls down to the shore every night and throws a bottle into the sea.
Sounds great, right? On paper that's a reasonable way to visually demonstrate to
the player that something fishy is going on. The trouble is, I couldn't control what
the player's camera saw, nor could I control at what in-game time of day the player
took the quest to observe the NPC. Because of this loss of control, I couldn't be sure
the storyline was being conveyed in the way I had intended.
I tuned the quest to have the guilty villager make her trip more frequently, which
addressed the gameplay fault of forcing the player to wait for a certain time of day to