Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That was very welcome, but you need to pay attention during the cinematics

GDC10 (Game Developer Conference 2010) was last week and one of the tidbits to come out was a summation of a 45-min hands-on play session of SWTOR by Massively.com. Obviously Shawn Schuster likes what he saw, but what I took away from his summation was the sentence I chose for this blog entry.
That was very welcome, but you need to pay attention during the cinematics.
I wish I could find the quote now, but a few months back (or perhaps it was many months, I simply don't recall) one of the Blizzard developers spoke candidly about what they've learned over time about quest development. Essentially he said it took them a while to figure out people didn't want to read a lot of crap. That what people really wanted was to get their quest and then go about completing it. I couldn't agree more.

SWTOR is going to be completely voice-over though. And I've been worried that those voice overs would force you to engage in a "conversation" with each NPC quest giver before you can actually just play and it sounds from Shawn's article that that is indeed the case.
Let me remind you, this is not on one or two quests, this is every quest. The voice acting I experienced by a half-dozen voices was done very well. There was never a point where I felt it was done cheaply or felt awkward, as I regularly encounter in other games with voice work.
That sort of thing is fine in an RPG, but in an MMO I can see it getting old very quickly. In an RPG you will spend about 30-40 hours or so. In an MMO you can log thousands of hours over a few years. You really think that I'm not going to become annoyed after having to pause and work through a conversation with various NPCs after a couple weeks in the game? I'm all for story. I'm not all for inconvenience or annoyance.