Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Not about OpenMW? Just about Morrowind in general? Have some random babble? Kindly direct it here.
DocClox
Posts: 101
Joined: 10 May 2015, 13:26

Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by DocClox » 30 May 2015, 14:22

Spoilers on account of MW main quest discussion:
Spoiler: Show
Last edited by DocClox on 01 Jun 2015, 17:47, edited 1 time in total.

Chris
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Joined: 04 Sep 2011, 08:33

Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by Chris » 30 May 2015, 22:29

DocClox wrote:So for me, "I'm the Nerevarine?" was more or less comparable with "What do you mean, my dad was some dead evil god?" I suppose if you argue that the opening video should have given less away then I'd be hard put to disagree, although I'd call that an error in presentation rather than a flaw in the story, personally :)
I suppose presentation does play a part in it, but genre savvyness should clue players in that something's up with you once they start talking about the Nerevarine and how you were sent to fulfill it the prophecies. It'd be one thing if the game was effective at better masking or instilling doubt about your role in everything that's going on, but it doesn't (and I'm not sure it could; the concept of a foreigner being ingratiated into a backwater society to appear to be some prophecied hero/savior in an attempt to control said society, only for said person to turn out to actually be said hero/savior and work against the people who put him up, is a familiar trope too).

Ironically, I find Oblivion better subverts genre stereotypes in making you not the chosen one destined to save the world. It turns out that Martin's the savior, that he goes through growth from being a lowly priest of Akatosh to becoming a war leader and Emperor, and ultimately turning into an Avatar of Akatosh to fend off Dagon's invasion. He was the hero, and you were the trusty sidekick that helped him achieve his station. Double ironically, that's one of the things people dislike Oblivion's story for, that it didn't conform to standard fantasy tropes of you being the chosen hero (then turn around and say it was a poor game because it was all just generic fantasy).
So, let's try a thought experiment. In our heads, let's butcher Morrowind and trim out all that extraneous detail. In this new game you get off at Seyda Neen, buy supplies from Arille, maybe grind some mudcrabs until you can afford the fee for the silt strider which is now the only means of reaching Balmora. When you get to Balmora you find Caius and he sends you to Hasaphat Ass at the fighter's guild. No factions are joinable the only quests are those that advance the main quest, areas not needed for the MQ are unavailable - the world only exists in small areas linked by fast travel - much as in Dragon Age. In effect, we're going to force the player to speedrun Dagoth Ur.

Now: has the story improved as a result of this treatment?
Not if you don't change the story, no it won't be improved. But if you add in more events, say the damaging or destruction of various cities, the loss of life with cities full of innocent people and important characters getting killed or infected with corprus and turned into corprus beasts as Dagoth Ur's power grows and the Ghostfence fails, then the story does improve as it better relates the danger and Dagoth's growing destructive power, thereby making your victory against him that much more potent.
I know modern creative writing teaches that the art of good storytelling is to omit every extraneous detail but personally I think that's because most of these people are taling about writing for television or film where you have a limited amount of time and need to pack as much in as you can.
No, that's a general principle in story writing. Even in books you don't want to include extraneous details because people tend to get bored or frustrated if their time is wasted with unimportant stuff while they're waiting to get back to the things that are relevant. What is relevant is not always a well-defined metric, but the author should have a reason for including some detail (Tolkien was obsessed with world building, so things like Tom Bombadil and Treebeard talking about the Entwives served the purpose of fleshing out the world; though not everyone agrees they were relevant, and such people find the books less enjoyable because of it).
Does all world history and lore necessarily have to be in a separate bracket from the story? There is plenty of unrelated lore in the game, certainly. But the War of the First Council and the consequence of those events as they echo down the centuries is fundamental to the MQ and to the game.
But if you follow that logic, then the whole of Skyrim is just another chapter in Oblivion's story. The events in Skyrim wouldn't be happening if not for Oblivion's story being about the fall of the Septim dynasty, the end of the Imperial's divine rule, which seeded the return of the Aldmeri Dominion and the Great War, which is the reason behind the civil war (and the civil war is one of the causes behind Alduin's return). Where does it end?

DocClox
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Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by DocClox » 30 May 2015, 23:43

Spoilering to avoid revealing details of the MW main quest...
Spoiler: Show
Last edited by DocClox on 01 Jun 2015, 17:47, edited 1 time in total.

Chris
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Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by Chris » 31 May 2015, 14:33

DocClox wrote:
Chris wrote:Not if you don't change the story, no it won't be improved. But if you add in more events, say the damaging or destruction of various cities, the loss of life with cities full of innocent people and important characters getting killed or infected with corprus and turned into corprus beasts as Dagoth Ur's power grows and the Ghostfence fails, then the story does improve as it better relates the danger and Dagoth's growing destructive power, thereby making your victory against him that much more potent.
But, and forgive me if I'm misrepresenting your position here, but your whole argument so far seems to have been that the presence of extraneous elements not linked to the MQ distracts from the story.
No, what I'm saying is that the extra non-MQ-related elements, in conjunction with it being an open world game, prohibits the MQ story from being as good as it can be. It can't, for instance, make Dagoth Ur a real threat because he can't do anything that impacts the world around him. He can't attack and have a real effect on the Tribunal Temple or the Imperial Cult because the player can currently be going through (or plan to go through) the quest lines, he can't attack and have an effect on various settlements because the player may still have quests there, etc. It can't have the various guilds actually help move against him because the player's potential presence in those guilds would complicate the ways they should interact (the guilds should react differently if you're already the guild figure head, or just a lowly initiate, or completely unaffiliated, or in a rival guild, or head of a rival guild; and they shouldn't worry about their usual tasks like picking flowers or bullying rivals if you're currently readying them all up to battle the Sixth House).

This is, again, why I think TES just needs to stop with these constant end-of-the-world-scenario MQs. You just can't have them affecting the world like they should in an open world game, without wasting a ton of resources on designing interactions that could otherwise be put towards better quests and quest lines.
No, that's a general principle in story writing. Even in books you don't want to include extraneous details because people tend to get bored or frustrated if their time is wasted with unimportant stuff while they're waiting to get back to the things that are relevant.
I'd take your point if Morrowind was a boring game bogged down in tedious irrelevancies, but it isn't.
Right, there's much more to Morrowind than it's MQ, and there's more to games than the story. So just because the game's stories aren't as good as they could otherwise be, that doesn't mean the game can't still provide an enjoyable player-driven experience.
So then, are you saying that LOTR would have been a better story if Tom Bombadil was cut from the book? Or are you saying that it's better to always cater to the lowest common denominator?
I'm saying that an author should tell the story they want to tell, and only include the details necessary to tell it. Tolkien obviously thought Bombadil was (at least at one point) necessary, in either establishing something about the world that he thought the reader needed to know, or to move the action along, or whatever (FWIW, I've never read the books, so I don't exactly know what Bombadil offered to the story, or whether I would find it better without him).
On the other hand the War of the First Council and it's consequences and eventual resolution; that tale is told in Morrowind.
Only because it was the first game of the series to introduce that lore (an interesting factoid is that the Tribunal and the lore surrounding them didn't exist before Morrowind said they did). Morrowind had to tell it to give context to the MQ, but it's still background information to the MQ story.

DocClox
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Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by DocClox » 01 Jun 2015, 12:22

In depth discussion of the Morrowind main quest follows:
Spoiler: Show
Last edited by DocClox on 01 Jun 2015, 17:45, edited 2 times in total.

Tinker
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Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by Tinker » 01 Jun 2015, 15:44

I have been following this thread for some, there are some interesting viewpoints, the biggest problem I have is it is somewhat of a spoiler for those who have not played the main quest.

I first started with MW the month it came out. I had played P&P rpg's for years and several crpg's but was disillusioned by the Wizards of the Coast convoluted rules and many crpg's were going a similar if not the same route, admittedly most of the calculations were done for you but it still left an awkward levelling up process and some strange balancing problems, a lot caused by just having one denomination of money. Crpg's were even less flexible than DM run games, the trend was well set for combat being the only thing of interest while I was looking for fulfilment through less combat.

MW offered two plus points, an open ended free style game and a different levelling system based more on actions with skills than on a vague predetermined experience points. In my mind from first starting to play it was infinitely better than anything else on offer at the time. I knew nothing of the Elder Scrolls lore or the game worlds backstory, and much preferred it that way, discovering the lore and the world is all part of my story as the character I play especially as it was free style playing.

My method of playing seems to be different to most peoples. I create one character only, I play with that character until they die or it seems there is no content left to discover, I also do not use save games other than to pause while sleeping or working in the real world. I do make an exception if I do something silly on the first day, which I did do, I went in the smugglers cave with no armour and just the dagger from the Customs office, I also had not studied the mechanics of fighting.

I restarted and made the same character and took thing carefully from then on, I was not happy that some skills were already to high but I created a backstory for my character that made it possible, though really I think that skills should be more like 15 for major and 10 for minor and base attributes should generally be about 10 points lower at the start. It took me a while to check out Seyda Neen then I headed to Caius, I had a quest to see him, I got some advice about getting work and training and some money and was told to come back later. At this point I thought that being an open ended game everything so far had been tutorial and I was now free to play, so I did. I kept the character alive for almost 4 years, I never went back to Caius, I had no idea there was a main quest, but with a few hours play every day I built my own story of an adventurer in MW. Possibly some of the quests I did were part of the main quest, I do not know, but even without following any programmed story I enjoyed the game enough to be ready to start again with OpenMW.

Perhaps there should have been more hints to get me to follow the main quest, but why? I had enough fun without doing it, and with mods like morrowind crafting there is even less need to follow the main quest and whole new stories to created of the best carpenter in Vvardenfell.
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DocClox
Posts: 101
Joined: 10 May 2015, 13:26

Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by DocClox » 01 Jun 2015, 17:42

[edit]

I meant to edit a previous post with spoiler tags and for some reason I ended up posting a reply with the content spoilered.

Not my day in that respect...

[edit]

Spoiler tags applied.

Chris
Posts: 1574
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Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by Chris » 02 Jun 2015, 01:24

Spoiler: Show

DocClox
Posts: 101
Joined: 10 May 2015, 13:26

Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by DocClox » 02 Jun 2015, 12:39

Spoilers follow for the Morrowind main quest:
Spoiler: Show

Chris
Posts: 1574
Joined: 04 Sep 2011, 08:33

Re: Mod: Levelling Just Happens

Post by Chris » 02 Jun 2015, 19:27

Spoiler: Show

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