I think I’ve set a bit of a trap for myself with this post topic for my International Picture Posting Month series. I chose five fairly off-the-cuff topics to group my pictures around. This one speaks to one of my core loves of gaming of any kind, playing through stories in a more interactive manner than book-reading or TV can offer. Despite this it also basically could step all over one of my basic rules for the blog. So for once I’ll put a split into the post and recommend that players continue to read with the warning that there will be some visual spoilers for plots after the break.
Just for clarity this isn’t a list of the very best storytelling moments in each game, but rather a selection of a few of my personal favourites. I’d love to hear of your favourite moments in the comments.
1. The Secret World, City of the Sun God zone arc
Let’s just say that Funcom win the entire theme for this, storytelling moments in MMORPGs, but I don’t want to just show ten different TSW screenshots. Looking through my 1700+ screenshots from the game I was reminded how much I *loved* the overall story arc for the second Egypt zone, City of the Sun God.
In particular the way the guardian spirits talk to one another and you; the way this reveals a deeper story as you progress through the zones missions is to me a thing of beauty.
2. SWTOR, Knights of the Fallen Empire: a comic moment
I have been really impressed with the renewed emphasis on interactive storytelling in the new SWTOR expansion. There are plenty of moments and screenshots I could include but I think one of the lighter moments amidst a lot of strife and danger really shone out as a nice comic interlude.
3.Warlords of Draenor (WoW), Draenei in the spotlight
I did enjoy my first play-through of the main Warlords of Draenor leveling content, in particular because we got to see a lot of Draenei in action again – the most limelight this Alliance race has had since their debut in the Burning Crusade. There were some memorable characters particularly near the start in Shadowmoon Valley and of course we have the indomitable Yrel as a starring character throughout the expansion. This screenshot shows a dungeon however where we see Draenei and the dangers they face.
4. Mists of Pandaria (WoW), The Grummel quest chain
The Mists of Pandaria was also a rich expansion from a story-perspective. There was certainly plenty of drama in the leveling zones and the post-cap content added afterwards. The expansion had some truly memorable characters, including the lovable money-obsessed Grummels centered in the Kun-Lai Summit zone. I particularly liked the One Keg/Burlap Waystation quests that focus on Grummels and their trade caravans.
5. Wildstar, Eldan secrets
Although I’m still only half-way through the leveling content in Wildstar, I have been impressed with the slowly unfolding story of the ancient Eldan. Early on as an Exile player you are faced with the somewhat terrifying Annihilator in eastern Algoroc. Although (thankfully) you do not have to face this titanic robot in direct combat, you do a number of missions relating to the Exile’s efforts to neutralise the threat it represents.
6. Everquest 2, Shades of Drinal timeline
The Drinal signature questline is a particularly enjoyable and ‘epic’ chain of quests in one of Everquest 2’s more recent expansions (Chains of Eternity). I really enjoyed the gravitas of the events happening in these quests and the many and varied locales you visit to complete them.
7, 8. TSW, Tokyo’s best
The Secret World’s most recent zones, set in Tokyo, are full of memorable missions and characters. But the game shines in particular for its many puzzle-filled investigation missions. One such mission even featured a series of origami figures as depicted in-game in photos and an origami folding manual.
By taking carefully cropped screenshots and printing them my rather dextrous husband was able to re-create these figures. Google Translate’s smart phone app enable us to translate the revealed sequences of Japanese pictograms. I think this was the most satisfying mission I’ve ever completed in any MMORPG.
9. Final Fantasy 14, Goblin hijinks
I would say the strength of Final Fantasy 14’s storytelling is in the charming characterisation of its many NPCs. The goblin Brayflox Alltalks is one such character, here taking a cameo role in the dungeon Brayflox’s Longstop.