The Weekly Raid: How Important Is Lore In MMORPGs?

With the latest expansion for World of Warcraft set to launch next week, the internet busy digesting the lore cinematic Blizzard has put out. Of particular interest on the web is the direction the writers have taken Sylvanas. The latest lore video has ordering the destruction of the Teldrassil tree.

Many were outraged that such a storied figure in the Warcraft universe would carry out such a blatantly evil act. But as the trailer shows, her impulsive act earned the ire of her fellow Horde peers. Fans accused Blizzard of turning Sylvanas into a one dimensional, evil character but my interpretation was starkly different. If anything, her acting out on such an emotional outburst adds more depth to the character. Often the heads of the factions are shown as flawless logicians. A bit of impulsive decision making is a welcomed addition.

Whatever your opinion on the Sylvanas matter, the discussion it has stirred shows that many players are still invested heavily in the lore. That brings us to this weeks discussion. How important is lore in a MMORPG? Different MMORPGs take different approaches to lore, with themepark games placing it front and center while sandbox titles like Eve Online or Runescape blending lore into the background. Each approach has its success stories and its failure, but we'd like to know what you think. Do you prefer a strong story-focused 'main' quest line, or do you prefer the sandbox approach of dispersing bits of lore throughout the world in a more indirect fashion?

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.