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A lesson for the UO EM team & the Devs

Discussion in 'UO Spiels N Rants' started by iamSnippa, May 1, 2012.

  1. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    A few questions I have (for people who are NOT EMs):
    Have you read every "The Awakening" article? Have you read them all the way through? Have you read any of them at all?
    Personally, I actually did read the first 2, and I wish I hadn't. I have not read one since, and I do not plan to read any more as long as they continue to be in the form of massive walls of text.

    I do understand that the EM team has worked very hard on this whole event arc thing they're doing. Unfortunately, due to the way it is being done, there are many of us who are completely ignoring it.

    In a semi-recent article in Game Informer magazine (issue 228:Rift Turns One), this issue was discussed between the writer/interviewer Adam Biessener and Rift's game director Scott Hartsman.

    The man has a great point, and the EM team could learn from that.

    So, here's a thought for the EM team - and I hope the Dev team is paying attention as well.
    Aside from the whole Awakening series, there is a little something you can do, create several static characters for your stories to build around - characters that are not controlled by an EM, but the stories you write are entirely around these characters. If you must, continue switching up your event types every week, but keep bringing the characters back and building on their stories, little by little (and I really do mean little). I have been to a few EM events and I can tell you that the time it takes for an EM event to go from beginning to end, just isn't worth sticking around for, not even for the event items - if it were something on TV, I would change the channel. Keep it short and sweet. Oh, and some excitement wouldn't hurt either.
     
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  2. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    You may or may not like the new fiction. Or, for that matter, any piece of fiction, for UO or not for UO, or new or old. That is a personal choice. I'm not saying anything about whether I like it or dislike it.

    But you cannot reasonably call it a "massive wall of text."

    As a test I copied and pasted the new fiction into a word processing program and did a word count. 671 words. Your post is 420, which isn't much smaller. Lynk's Stratics article on the Sampire template is over 1,800 words.

    No fictional work should be criticized based solely on its length. By itself, devoid of assessment of a piece's other virtues or detriments, such a criticism says more about our attention span than it does about their work, and I suspect they'll quite-properly react as such. To paraphrase something Roger Ebert has written about movies, good fiction is almost always too short or just the right length, and bad fiction almost always too long, but either way length by itself is a very bad reason to criticize it. It's never about length, it's about whether it's worth the journey. Now, it may well be that you would like longer fiction that was more to your liking, but you have not said so. You have offered criticisms based solely on length. Come on now.

    You also appear to not like the EM events. No one can force you to like the events, but it's a matter at least in large part of personal taste. Be aware that dozens to hundreds, depending on the shard you play, disagree with your assessment, attend consistently, appear to enjoy themselves regardless and irrespective of whether or not they get items, interact with the characters, show interest in the story, etc. If you do not like them, do not go. If you feel you cannot like your shard's EM's events, but hypothetically would like EM events in general, there are other shards to choose from. If you feel you cannot like any EM event, they are easy enough to not attend as there's other things to do. Some of which are even story arc-related and involve non-EM controlled static characters.

    -Galen's player
     
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  3. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    First off, if you thought this thread was about my like or dislike for the fiction, you are sorely mistaken. I wish I could get to the point of liking or disliking the fiction, but the fact is, I cannot because the wall of text bores me to death. I am not interested in reading that much in one sitting about an event in a game unless it grabs my attention from the very beginning, which none of these walls of text have done. I gave the first 2 a shot, just to see if there was anything interesting involved... half way through each time I became bored of the story and by the end I learned nothing exciting or even slightly interesting.

    As far as the EM events go, I have found them to be insanely boring and long, as I said; were this on TV, I would change the channel... I have other complaints about them but they are unrelated to the current topic.

    Why you bring up Lynk's article kinda boggles my mind. It is an interesting well thought out article that teaches you some valuable information. How you can compare it's 1,800 words to the 671 +/- words in each of "The Awakening" articles which are meant for entertainment value (and fall short) is beyond me.
     
  4. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    I was playing by your rules. If one is a "massive wall of text" the other is a "massive wall of text" of 3 times the size.

    You offered a criticism based solely on length.

    If the fiction sucks, or if it doesn't suck in objective terms but you don't like it, then 600 words may as well be 2,400, but either way it isn't about length.

    It's about quality or the reader's perception of quality. Criticisms based solely on length are what boggle my mind.

    I would like to think that surely there's something else we react to, for good or ill, besides length.

    This is not a hard concept to understand. Subjective length is in a ratio with quality, or perception/tastes. Either way it isn't about length by itself.

    -Galen's player
     
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  5. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Were these quotes referring to text in game? Or accompanying, optional, supporting fiction? Those are two totally different situations. Works of fiction tend to be 'walls of text', short stories, or longer ones in books. You don't have to read them to participate in the event.
     
  6. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Let me make this simple for you.
    It is not about it being sucky or not.
    It is about it being too long to read, BORING (which I do not qualify as good or bad - though many younger people do consider boring bad), and lacking valuable information.
     
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  7. Alouenikah

    Alouenikah Caretaker of Sudiva
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    EDIT: Haha, you ninja'd me! Please disregard this post.
     
  8. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    For the purpose of this thread, the quotes were referring mainly toward the fiction that has been posted on UOHerald. However I decided to address EM events at the same time - they may not be walls of text in game, but the events are far too long and lack the entertainment value that I believe they were meant to have.
     
  9. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    I meant the quotes in your OP from Scott Hartsman
     
  10. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Ah, they were not clear. It appears he was speaking in general.
     
  11. Ashlynn_L

    Ashlynn_L Lore Master
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    I like the stories and I imagine many others do as well so I don't think they should be done away with if that is what is being suggested. Afterall, they are not vital to participation in the event and they do enhance the sense of immersion for many people.

    But iamSnippa does touch on a hotly debated point in some circles and that is the attention span of your average interweb user. It's short, like really short. While some people might not have the time to read the stories (or may just not be the reading type), many users have goldfish-length attention spans. Websites and news articles (and their bylines) are often designed/written with such short spans in mind. The same is also true of writing about stuff too. That's why microblogging services such as twitter are very popular. One theory for why it's particularly noticeable amongst internet users is because instant gratification is easier to come by on the web so many people get into that mindset.

    Just to add, I am not being critical of anyone who doesn't have the time or inclination to read something, or simply has a short attention span. It is just a fact of life.


    TL DR: The attention span of many people is short. =P
     
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  12. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Thank you for contributing Ashlynn.
    I am not suggesting the stories be done away with completely, infact, if it were done properly they could increase the overall length of the entire by anywhere from 3 times to possibly 10 times the length of the original stories that were posted. Having it done in a way that is easier for the reader to digest, they could very easily deliver more story to us. The problem then lies in the quality of the shorter stories that they would have to produce in greater quantity, it can be done, but is the EM team up to the task?
    What I would suggest is having the shorter stories told not only on the website (for archival purposes) but in game as well. Though currently, I am not sure exactly how those stories would be delivered ingame.
     
  13. Nimuaq

    Nimuaq Lore Master
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    I don't think the current stories are too long or boring, but for the attention span part, they can do what they were doing 10 years ago: add screenshots to the stories:


    Image6.png

    Note: thanks to Heimlich, Treasure Seeker and Orel of Europa.
     
  14. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    This particular episode seemed odd to me, almost as if by a different author. Whether an arc related Tale, or forum post, many seem 'run-on' if long in length, There's many reasons that they could lose a reader's focus and especially harder to write for non-professionals. I'm with Galen's player on this one
     
  15. G.v.P

    G.v.P Stratics Legend
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    "Wall of text" also refers to the usual block format of text as displayed by an Internet browser, as indentations are usually rare and until recently weren't that graceful. Another reason why you can't call the posts a "wall of text."

    I am going to call Kai or whomever out though for using &nbsp; to indent, haha. Is there any reason not to use <div style="text-indent: 10px;"></div> at this point?
     
  16. Ludes

    Ludes Babbling Loonie
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    This post reminds me of the way I am always nagging my kids to read.

    Sadly reading for enjoyment seems to be a dying pastime.
    I can't believe 671 words is too long and too boring to read.
     
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  17. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    altho confusing in plot, I personally liked it, and was sad when it ran out of 'words'.
     
  18. nynyve

    nynyve Guest

    I never read the game fiction. Ever. First I do not like the way they are written, so I find the fiction stressful to read. In 12 years of the game, I haven't enjoyed a single ingame event introduced by the devs.
    Frankly if we need to know about an upcoming event, I would rather be told in plain clear English.
     
  19. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Snippa, can you give some more examples of how you would picture events unfolding if the event-related fiction was centered around static characters that are not controlled by the EMs? Maybe just make up a couple of hypothetical static characters and then outline a totally hypothetical series of events that would develop around them and that could be modified on each shard. That might make it a little easier to understand where you're going with all this.
     
  20. Landicine

    Landicine Seasoned Veteran
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    I actually find this more interesting than the debate on whether the fiction is boring and long or not. That seems entirely subjective. I will read thousands of pages by one writer and avoid short stories by another like the plague. However, I am curious about EM event length. My shard seems to be somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes. Is it that much longer on other shards? If that time is correct, is that really too much? For handy reference, I put a completely random table of times for comparison:

    Longest Performed Opera - 805 minutes
    Average Night's Sleep - 390 minutes
    Football Game - 185 minutes
    Baseball Game - 175 minutes
    Feature Film - 80-210 minutes
    EM Event - 30-90 minutes
    Television Drama - 44 minutes
    New York Average Commute - 20 minutes
    Nationwide Average Commute - 24 minutes
    Television Sitcom - 22 minutes
    Average YouTube Clip - 4 minutes
     
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  21. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
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    The thing about fiction is this: Some people won't read it all the way through. Others will. If it's written short, it's usually incomplete and pointless, so it wouldn't please either those who wouldn't read the longer version or those who would read the longer version. Thus, might as well write it properly.

    I'm not saying everything has to be a long story to get a point across, but if someone's not willing to read 1500 words, they're not going to read 500 words, and those 500 words would have to be so powerfully descriptive that the audience that would understand it in the first place would be so low that it wouldn't behoove writing it in the first place.

    Thus... let the fiction writers write fiction that is compelling and makes sense. If you're bored by it, ask someone to sum it up for you.
     
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  22. OvenBird

    OvenBird Journeyman
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    Tl;dr.

    Jk. But as has been said, if you want more compelling fiction, ask for that. A lot can be said in a few words, but a ton can be said in a few more. The writer here has to make reference to certain aspects of mise en sen for reasons of immediacy (which sounds backwards, but the writer can't just give action and divulge the details later; the writer her has no later). With more detail you forfeit word economy. That and they have to hint and show, not tell, so people can discover the good stuff on their own. Screenshots are fun, they don't harm anything, though they're kind of a pain if the EM has to stage every key interaction. Still, I'd enjoy them and I've been reading all the new lore too.

    As for EM events, they run into an interesting problem as well. Game time goes much faster than RL time, and yet EM events take place in RL time. It's not like a movie, where we can jump cut to everyone in place on the next battlefield. They're trying to also make bosses that take a certain time to kill, and that are both challenging and possible. Also, relying on lore outside of the game helps the events move along, but it leaves everyone else out of the loop in game. You know, "Who are we fighting?" So it's a give and take. I think the EM's have been improving, well my local one has.
     
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  23. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    Ok, so from what I've gathered, you just don't have the attention span for either the short stories or the events. From what I've read you want the stories to be even shorter and wish for events to be shorter.
    Personally the stories are fine and are usually a good read. Pictures would be nice but I wouldn't say are needed. If you just want the bullet points of what the story says there are usually many people who can give you the basic rundown.
     
  24. Bob the Merchant

    Bob the Merchant Adventurer

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    With the modern age of twitter and whatnot, if it is over 14 words it is too much for some people.

    In essence, my post would even be considered a TL;DR.

    *sighs*

    Welcome to the digital age of ADHD.
     
  25. Meatbread

    Meatbread Journeyman

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    Am I seriously watching someone complain because an EM took fifteen minutes to whip out a few paragraphs of supporting fiction? Really? Don't read it if you don't like it.
     
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  26. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Reedink iz hurd.
     
  27. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    See, you say it's not about being sucky or not, then you in essence say that it sucks. (Fiction that's boring, too long relative to its real or perceived quality or worth --a critical distinction with being too long, period!--, etc., is kind of the definition of sucky fuction.)

    It's fine to say either the fiction is bad or that you do not like it.

    But you didn't do that at first. You flatly said it was too long, a "wall of text," in which case it's sad how a 700 or so word piece of fiction is suddenly too long for us, as a culture. My impression at first was that you would think any fiction that was that long was merely a wall of text, even if it were really good.

    I am glad to see that you argument was more complex than that; it gives me hope.

    For awhile I was also thinking maybe you were another of those who challenges the idea that a game should have lore or fiction at all, in which case I'd point out that UO would be a very empty experience without it.

    Regarding a sub-issue which you also raise, and that is the issue of stuff happening in-game versus stuff that is only written about? It's always a fine line, for RPers and for official fiction as well. There is no good solution, really. Both are clearly needed. It's a matter of doing either or both as well as you can and hoping you get the balance right.

    -Galen's player
     
  28. LordDrago

    LordDrago Certifiable
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    I guess I might as well make a nomination for new UO fiction writer:

    drs.jpg

    Seriously though, for what it was, the fiction was not terrible. And has been mentioned, at least there is some fiction.
     
  29. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Gotta love when the trolls come out to play.

    On to a serious question...
    Basically the EMs would control support characters, like they have done in some previous events though, in those events they were also controlling the main characters. The static characters would remain in game and would be able to be interacted with by players. As far as the whole story goes on the website; that could be addressed by giving lines (scripts I guess you could say) to the main static characters and the npc and pc support characters, as well as using the character profiles for background character background. Instead of veiwing one massive chunk of text at a time, the player would be introduced to smaller parts of the story through the characters in game. This can be achieved either through player to character dialogue (commands I suppose - which I feel are out of date and are overly used in current EM events), a gump like the quest gump (better idea imo), or some other means.

    As far as actually getting the player to find and get started on each chunk of the story, that can be done through town criers, one of the npcs themselves sitting in one of the towns, or just a very short piece of the story on the website that lets the players know where to go if they wish to find out more of the story.
    As the events unfold, the information provided by the npcs would obviously change as well as information about those characters described by support characters. You kinda have to look at it as if you were writing a script for a show on TV. You have your main character(s), support character(s), and whatever story you're trying to push through, put those characters in game, make them interactive, and go from there.

    I mean, I'm not really going to give you guys a template on how to create characters and their stories, you guys are already doing a decent job, it just needs to be easier to digest.

    For the trolls... it isn't about my attention span. I could very easily sit and read every single word written... but I don't want to because it is a long an uninteresting read. I have better, more interesting, and productive things I can do with my time. Time is extremely valuable and everyone wants a little piece of your time, how much they get depends on what they have to offer you. Unfortunately, these 671 +/- word articles that I do not find interesting are not worth my time. Obviously for some of you they are. However I know people who haven't bothered to read even the first story, and that is why I wrote this thread up.
     
  30. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
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    Snippa does raise an interesting point.
    If you enjoy reading, then you'll likely enjoy reading the fiction posted.

    The thing is, presenting the story in text is a dissimilar medium to the game itself.
    The game is an interactive medium, whereas words on a page aren't (especially when they're tied to an established setting, which leaves little room for imagination).

    The Ricardo Trial is a good example of presenting a story within the game.
     
  31. TBH

    TBH Adventurer
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    Another idea to augment the OP's idea. Instead of telling us about everything that has happen up until now, give us the option to play it out in game. For example, the story could be so&so walked here, talked to dude, took dude by boat to there, dug for treasure there, found an amazing weapon that has a specific purpose, sailed dude back, talked to another dude to identify the use of the amazing weapon etc. OR you could actually play all that out and tell 100 of your friends how to get this amazing weapon and learn about the story line at the same time.

    When an EM starts their event with 45 minutes of random banter, they have forgotten that this is a video game that people play and not a kindle. If the EM is so inclined to fill in the gaps of the story line, do so after the event. Those that really enjoy it will stick around and praise your creativity while the rest of us will be using our shiny new weapon to bash each other. And yes, every EM event should have an interesting item, not static deco or useless clothing, interesting!
     
  32. Lady CaT

    Lady CaT Seasoned Veteran
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    I got bored half way through your rant and moved on.
     
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  33. LordDrago

    LordDrago Certifiable
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    I actually like the idea of npc's in game that tell the story via interaction with our characters. I do not think it is more efficient to be honest...i mean if time is a factor for you, i think reading the post is a lot faster than running to 5 different npcs, entering trigger words and reading sentence by sentence.

    As far as the EM events? I have sound some action oriented, some RP oriented, and most a combination of the two. Which, IMHO, is about right.
     
  34. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    That's why I said that method is outdated, I don't care for trigger words either, especially when people just run up and say each trigger word (in em events the last word was used as the trigger in the events I attended), not even reading the story until they have their next destination or their reward. For the weekly events that use this method when there are 30 - 100 people all gathered into one area can make it extremely difficult to even follow that small story line (journal being spammed & whatnot).

    The beauty of it Drago is that due to the manner in which they would be telling the story, in a sense, yes it would be less efficient time wise to read the entirety of the story, but the entertainment value and thus the value of the story as a whole could go up - if it were done correctly. As I said in a previous post, they could easily deliver a much larger story to us - as long as it was done in a more digestible way and a more interactive way.
     
  35. Raptor85

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    I've read some of the fiction, not all of it. Length doesn't really have much to do with the reason I tend not to finish it...nothing really against the EM team as I do understant that they're not professional writers but TBH the fiction as written just really isn't that interesting. Combine that with the fact that any of the fiction will invariably be completely forgotten to move on and start a brand new and completely unrelated story arc 1 month from now and I find myself not really wanting to read it. I would honestly prefer the fiction have a little more time put into it, even if it does make it a lot longer, because then it would at least be interesting to read. As is now all it's really just a slightly wordy announcement of an ingame event.

    An example of good event fiction would be stuff like used to be in "Dungeon" magazine. The stories in there were always designed to be used as the basis for campaigns in D&D games so they'd have story, descriptions of everything/everyone/everywhere, and different ways to take the story depending on what the players do. The interesting thing is, for the most part a lot of the storys (not all but many!) were SO WELL WRITTEN that when reading them to plan a game you'd find yourself really wanting to read on to learn what happens, they pull you in quite well. Some of them are actually so memorable I can actually recall the entire story arc still from memory!

    I'm glad to even have event fiction but it would be awesome if EM's or whoever writes it could check out stuff like this, as it really applys well to stuff like UO. Just the things to avoid, how to structure the story, pulling the player in and making them feel a connection to the story...in stuff like this it's important else it just feels like a drag to read.
     
  36. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    Blef... must we encourage people who can't read like 5 paragraphs?
     
  37. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Since this thread has been moved into the spiels and rants forum...
    I'd like to say how I just love the fact that trolls were allowed to post in this thread without so much as a warning.
    Also, my rants don't get moved. They get locked or deleted and in some cases I get a warning. This thread was not a rant, it was a lesson, as can be seen in the title of the thread as well as how the original post was written. Those who have actually contributed to this were not ranting either. The only ranters involved in this thread are the trolls, and this is precisely why I made the other thread which Petra ended up locking. This crap is getting out of hand.
     
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  38. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Your 'lesson' is skewed by taking the quotes you used out of context. Players don't want to read walls of text - true, when they're PLAYING. You took quotes relating to in game activities and tried to apply them to out of game FICTION.
    Fiction is supporting literature for developing the story line. You don't have to read it if you find it that distasteful.
     
  39. iamSnippa

    iamSnippa Journeyman

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    Oh I'm sorry, did you speak with Mr. Hartsman yourself to come to that conclusion? Did you actually read the article itself? Please direct me to where in the article it clearly states that the man was ONLY speaking of walls of text inside the game and how what he said cannot apply elsewhere.

    I should have known you would get involved in this discussion in such a destructive way.
    It's no wonder the UO Devs are starting to look elsewhere for unbiased views on the game like Twitter, Facebook, and other forums, anything constructive here just gets shot down by the mods.
     
    darkvulf and TBH like this.
  40. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

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    The developers aren't looking elsewhere for unbiased views on the game.
    They're using alternative mediums to reach alternative audiences; a broader range of communication. Some people don't use Twitter, some don't use Facebook, some don't use forums.

    All this really demonstrates is the perfectly normal tendency for a person to read what they want from any given ambiguous situation.

    On a related note; you appear to be finding yourself at odds with the moderators somewhat.
    More often than not, when an individual is undergoing some incompatibility with an established norm, the error tends not to lie with the latter.
     
  41. OvenBird

    OvenBird Journeyman
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    The last event on Atlantic I saw this happening. There was a a group that ran up, word word word, and took off to fight Jimmy Nardello. They were there for the EM rares. Then there was another group that sat back and went through the cycle again, gaining the story line. I understand if you dont want to be bogged down by the lore, you move on. But if you do want the lore, fighting without direction makes fighting seem pointless. For some, killing monsters is everything and the back story is forgettable. For others it's the story that makes us want to kill creatures, and without that it's aimless. Having the interactive NPCs does allow us to take our time, or jump into the fray and maybe they're outdated but they do serve both sides of the game.

    Maybe if these NPCs were in game a bit earlier, maybe the day before the event, you could get a jump start on the event by knowing where to look, then you wouldn't have to fight the mobs to get to the...well, mob. In UO there's only really one choice: the EM's can cater to RP's and people who enjoy the fiction, and non-RP's can just ignore it and fight their fights. Unfortunately, if UO catered to people who didn't enjoy the fiction, then all fiction would be an afterthought, and chars driven by plot would quit.