Storytelling in an MMO -- Success of the Lich King

Over the past year, a span that has included games like Dragon Age, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2, I can say without equivocation or sense of shame that the best video game story I have experienced is World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

You may now vomit.

In just over 12 months since the release of Blizzard’s second expansion, the quiet and too rarely discussed reality is that a phenomenal story has unfolded that is only now beginning to reach its epic climax with the final major content push before World of WarCraft: Cataclysm destroys and reshapes the world of Azeroth.

As they did with Burning Crusade’s Illidan Stormrage — the big baddie for expansion one — they have held the final confrontation with once Prince Arthas now Lich King as the final act before moving on. The difference is that for the year leading up to the ultimate showdown, they have constantly crafted skirmish after skirmish that forwarded a grand story in a way that no MMO ever has, and with skill that absolutely rivals a game like Dragon Age.

Opening scene — you stand upon the parapet of the Ebon Blade, a mighty necropolis floating high above the terrorized town of Hearthglen. Before you, the Lich King himself. You are a minion of evil driving toward a confrontation with the Argent Dawn at Light’s Hope Chapel that may open the door for an all out invasion of Azeroth.

This is not some high level encounter. This is how the Death Knight story line opens. This is the starting area, and in as many ways it is the opening teaser of a grand tale. Within a scant three or four hours you will see a town slowly destroyed and razed, you will engage in a titanic battle, you will see the rise of a new champion against the treachery of the Lich King himself and you will be given a meaningful reason to drive toward the story laid before you.

If you are among the gamers who look condescendingly down your noses at MMOs as empty-calorie time sinks, or even if you played and abandoned WoW prior to the Wrath of the Lich King, mine may seem like the bold declarations of a hopeless fan. While I cannot dispute the latter, I can tell you that historically I have agreed that the weakest part of the genre was the inability of these games to tell a coherent story that a plurality of gamers would be able to enjoy to any kind of conclusion.

In the final analysis, the past year’s work of Blizzard in constructing, improving and maintaining World of WarCraft’s second expansion might be seen as a sea change in how MMOs can and should be crafted.

In the last expansion, The Burning Crusade, the overarching story was the impenetrable realm of lore that only the truly obsessed could parse, and for most of us it was just a matter of clicking the little exclamation points over heads and finding out how many Burning Legion livers we were to extricate from the corpses of possessed orcs. Instance and dungeon runs were loot dispensers, and I doubt seriously that many people came out of Botanica or Shadow Labyrinth with much in the way of a sense of wonder. At least I never did.

For me, the experience of Lich King has been very different. This expansion has provided an omnipresent enemy with a strong story line that walks with you through every zone. Time and again your quests are directly tied into to the fate of Arthas and those he betrayed across the frozen continent of Northrend. It is the culmination of something that began more than a decade ago in Warcraft III, and now as it begins its final climactic act, I have to admit that I’m more engaged with this game’s story than I have been with any in years.

This is not just because I’m a WoW fan or because I have read lore literature extensively — I have not. It’s because time after time The Lich King himself has been involved in my quests, appeared to thwart the efforts I had made, spoke in my mind and taken the battlefield to directly impact the story. Those who last November followed the Wrathgate questline that was almost universally accessible for Lich King players saw what was possible in MMO story telling, and it is extremely gratifying to watch Blizzard continue down that path.

For me, at least, the Lich King himself has become the Darth Vader of video gaming. A bad guy on a grand scale, with more than a few parallels to be made. He should be counted among the industry’s best and most lasting villains, and I am connected to him precisely because we have had so very many encounters.

Blizzard’s trailer for this final content push is, to me, an epic representation of where the story has taken me — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta6Dd.... What is unusual for the MMOs I have played, is that even as a relatively casual player, what I see here makes sense and it seems like content I will actually get to play, not because I will invest endless days into the effort, but because they have made it accessible and fun to reach.

Though the release of this last act is staggered, and the reality is that no one will finally face down Arthas until the snows melts under the spring time sun of 2010, I spent last night delving into the first scenes of this third act, and though I tread dangerously close to spoiler territory here, I can tell you that I delved into a realm of evil, that I raced through a cavern as it collapsed around me, that I followed a hero into battle only to have victory snatched from our grasp, that I encountered yet again the primary evil of this story and that as we eventually ran for our lives I compared what was happening on my screen less to other games and more to my favorite films and shows.

Dismiss the game mechanics of an MMO all you want. I can’t argue coherently with that, but do not hold onto the dismissed illusion that these games can’t tell great stories. On that point, you would be hopelessly wrong.

Comments

Gravey wrote:
"...that 20 minutes later reset for the next group". For every epic storyline out there, it seems to me the "hero" is just one of thousands of deliverymen/exterminators running around doing busywork while the story happens to them.

It's a good deal better now since Lich King - because of the Phasing tech, when you finish certain quests you not only make a permanent difference to the world but all the other guys running the same quest you just did are phased OUT so you don't encounter them any more.

The best example I think is the keep in dragonblight. It starts out more or less empty and you need to perform a rescue mission into the besieged village nearby to rescue the civilians. When you do, they get added to the keep permanently (as the blacksmith, innkeeper, etc).

Once you've finished that, then you'll never again see anyone else running that same quest (or encounter those same NPC's waiting for rescue) while logged in with that character.

---

The only thing that still bugs me a little about all this is that the conclusion of the story is buried deep within an end-game raid - something i'll probably never get to see first hand (both because I'm in an extremely casual guild and because i detest the whole raiding thing anyway).

I haven't had a chance to look at the 5-mans yet, but I would hope that we 'casuals' win some sort of victory against the LK (given he's been doggedly pursuing us 'personally' throughout the expansion). Even if we don't get to kill him ourselves, there should be some sort of satisfying conclusion to the story for those who play solo or in small groups.

Elysium wrote:
Scripted events at every stage of quests. Engagement in large scale lore battles. Phasing technology that allowed the world to change dramatically. Constant interaction with your primary villain.

You just described what lord of the rings offered from Day one, perhaps because WoW existed, but mostly because Turbine was there doing it with AC first. The lore monkey in WoW is eaten, freshly pulverized with his own limbs recently removed from his body, by the gorilla that is Tolkien. All the tongue-in-cheek, cross-genre spoofing of WoW left me feeling like if I'm going fantasy, I'm going the wrong direction into the highly derivative. Perhaps for non-lotr fans this is ok, but when I see a halfling, I think Hobbit. When I see a wraith, I think Nazgul. It's heartening to hear that things are growing in on the story side of WoW, and the latest Skirmish system in LotRo certainly aims to snag the instanced-based, pick-up and play gamer (perhaps to try to snag some of the C.O.D. success?), but I still feel that the story in lord of the rings is deeper and more engaging.

PyromanFO wrote:
Honestly, I wish I could experience this as a single player game somehow.

This... oh this.

Blizzard can do amazing things, and the fact that WoW can be, dare I say, compelling despite its archaic MMO gameplay is truly something to marvel at.

If they could only give me the story and the world within the context of a game that's fun to actually play, I'm afraid I would never look away.

Video games are an interactive medium, how the story is delivered interactively is absolutely valid context when discussing RPGs of any stripe.

1 -- Sure I can. I can stand up and say without reservation that the story behind WotLK is more thoroughly constructed and deep than what I've seen so far in Dragon Age. I'll address that further down below, so for now just bristle at my stubborn thick-headedness.

2 -- Ok, so if I can't I'm not sure that changes anything. The argument seems to be that since DA provides this football shaped pathway through the story, it is fundamentally more superior. I'm saying the choice in delivery structure isn't relevant alone. How that story is handled within that structure is. If WotLK had a great story but failed to deliver it properly in its interactive medium then you'd have a point. Your statement as read seems to state that, for example, DA is automatically better than Bioshock or Uncharted simply because it offers the illusion of choices.

You can't throw Dragon age on the table as a point of comparison and then yank it back when it doesn't suit your argument anymore.

I didn't. I said your approach to the argument of mechanics is flawed. I think I demonstrated above how this is true. I will take my point and put it in my pile.

If you want to define the storytelling you're lauding simply by the story told and ignore the video game context, I wouldn't begin to argue with that. You haven't finished Dragon Age and I sure as heck won't likely ever see the Lich King story unless Sam Raimi directs a movie about it.

What is really wrong with talking about story in this context? I've never been a convert into the medium discussion of narrative that says, for example, you can't compare a game story to a movie story because of the cavern between passive and active participation. If this is true then you can't even compare games between genres, or down that slope you can't even compare stories from different teams. The reductive approach fails because you keep having to get a sharper and sharper knife to refine the argument.

I would, however, concede the point that much of this can be chalked up to personal taste. I don't offer my opinion as an objective point, but a subjective one. I'm saying, ultimately, that WotLK deserves to be spoken in the same breath with the great storytelling games out there right now.

I'm not sure why this causes such discord?

Saxtus, if I were a LOTRO player, I'm sure I'd be making the same argument about them. While I rarely shy from making statements with a minimum of facts, I just don't know enough about LOTRO to speak intelligently. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out you are entirely accurate, however.

I haven't had a chance to look at the 5-mans yet, but I would hope that we 'casuals' win some sort of victory against the LK (given he's been doggedly pursuing us 'personally' throughout the expansion). Even if we don't get to kill him ourselves, there should be some sort of satisfying conclusion to the story for those who play solo or in small groups.

My understanding is that your wish will be fulfilled in part because of how easy it now is to get geared up and also because the new mechanics for getting involved in say a 10-man raid are trivially easy. There will still be extraordinarily hard modes for those who want to invest the time, but I believe even relatively casual players will get resolution. Heck I felt immersed in lore during my 5-man last night, and I hadn't played that character for months.

stevenmack wrote:
The best example I think is the keep in dragonblight. It starts out more or less empty and you need to perform a rescue mission into the besieged village nearby to rescue the civilians. When you do, they get added to the keep permanently (as the blacksmith, innkeeper, etc).

Once you've finished that, then you'll never again see anyone else running that same quest (or encounter those same NPC's waiting for rescue) while logged in with that character.

But isn't that essentially the same thing? Contrast that with EVE (a game I've no experience with), where whatever player-driven changes occur, happen to everyone forever. But I'm afraid I'm going to start talking out of my ass (start?), so I'll defer to Certis' post on the previous page:

Certis wrote:
Video games are an interactive medium, how the story is delivered interactively is absolutely valid context when discussing RPGs of any stripe. You can't throw Dragon age on the table as a point of comparison and then yank it back when it doesn't suit your argument anymore. Player choice and pacing of the storytelling is either relevant or it isn't. If you don't feel like it is, then this may be one of the few times we actually approach gaming differently.


If they could only give me the story and the world within the context of a game that's fun to actually play, I'm afraid I would never look away.

My sister-in-law used to say something very similar. It turned out she was playing the game "wrong." She started on a very complicated class and was intent on leveling her character in a support role.

I'm not burning up Dragon Age as quickly as I initially was but I can say with certainty that if all you tried to do was heal the enemy to death, you wouldn't get very far.

You're backpeddling Elysium. You went from stating that the story and immersive options available to you are superior in Lich King compared to Dragon Age (in your article), to stating that the setting and gameplay make for an enhanced experienced (defending your stance in the thread.) I'm calling you out sir!

Elysium wrote:
The key is that Blizzard is strong enough at developing content and suspension of disbelief to overcome the mechanical shortcomings of the genre.

I think that's one of the reasons I appreciate it more. It is at the forefront of world building in a way that, I'm sorry, Dragon Age just isn't.

WoW does have addictive gameplay and a fantastic setting. Those are strengths of WoW, and of many MMOs. But you're trying to play the Story Superiority card here, and that's why you're getting flak. You've enjoyed WoW for a long time, and it's inventing new ways to tell a story. Yay! That's something to celebrate. In no way do I want to demean the enjoyment you got from the game and your experience in Northrend. But in your enthusiasm I think you went over a rational line. The way a story is delivered, and how you interact with the world is a crucial part of story telling. Being able to shape the outcome of something with your decisions does matter. WoW is no longer a passive storytelling experience, but it has a ways to go before it can match single player games in terms of interaction with a world, and the story to be told.

Elysium wrote:
Over the past year, a span that has included games like Dragon Age, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2, I can say without equivocation or sense of shame that the best video game story I have experienced is World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

You may now vomit.


That's as far as I made it. Sorry.

Leeroyyyyyyyyyyyyy Jenkiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins!

1 -- Sure I can. I can stand up and say without reservation that the story behind WotLK is more thoroughly constructed and deep than what I've seen so far in Dragon Age.

Maybe in breadth, but just because there's enough lore packed in there to sink a battleship doesn't suddenly mean the story is better.
Your statement as read seems to state that, for example, DA is automatically better than Bioshock or Uncharted simply because it offers the illusion of choices.

I'll refine that a little. DA is automatically a better RPG than Lich King because it offers actual choices with outcomes that have strong variation. It has NPCs that follow and grow with you. It interweaves stories from wholly different areas and quests and changes them based on your decisions. I think you're over-emphasizing narrative and downplaying story on a smaller scale, because my experience has been that what makes game story worthwhile and well paced are all the little touches, not the sweeping gestures.
I didn't. I said your approach to the argument of mechanics is flawed. I think I demonstrated above how this is true. I will take my point and put it in my pile.

Well then I'll make my own scoreboard too. Hey look, I just got five more points!
What is really wrong with talking about story in this context? I've never been a convert into the medium discussion of narrative that says, for example, you can't compare a game story to a movie story because of the cavern between passive and active participation. If this is true then you can't even compare games between genres, or down that slope you can't even compare stories from different teams. The reductive approach fails because you keep having to get a sharper and sharper knife to refine the argument.

You're invoking slippery slope? Really? *insert further derisive, annoying comments here later*

I would, however, concede the point that much of this can be chalked up to personal taste. I don't offer my opinion as an objective point, but a subjective one. I'm saying, ultimately, that WotLK deserves to be spoken in the same breath with the great storytelling games out there right now.

I'm not sure why this causes such discord?


Because you're pointing to a game in a genre that is chronically behind when it comes to great storytelling and comparing it to one of the best examples we've seen this year. If you hold it up and look at it from certain angles, I think you're onto something. The only issue I really have is that the whole argument has to be redefined before you can make a strong case for it. I don't think the MMO genre has transcended its limitations yet, I think its just learning to work within them better.

Graahrrr, I'm a scary lich!

Depending on how you play the game, there is a large variation between one player's WoW experiences and another's. Personally I have not really felt that involved in the WotLK storyline. So sometimes Arthas would appear during a quest, honestly it seemed kind of like a token bone that players were supposed to eat up, but nothing in the game ever made me care about Arthas.

Personally though, overall I'm not that interested in story when it comes to WoW or any other MMO. I don't feel like I'm playing a hero in part of some epic storyline, and honestly I don't really crave that in these games anyway, I prefer to be just a random adventurer scrapping along and exploring and gathering a few coins along the way - which is really more in line with the way these games are played on a daily basis anyway. The storylines and epic characters are nice to add background and depth to the world you're in, but that's as far as my interest in such things usually goes.

You're backpeddling Elysium. You went from stating that the story and immersive options available to you are superior in Lich King compared to Dragon Age (in your article),

"The difference is that for the year leading up to the ultimate showdown, they have constantly crafted skirmish after skirmish that forwarded a grand story in a way that no MMO ever has, and with skill that absolutely rivals a game like Dragon Age."

This was the only place in the actual article where I made a direct comparison. It is the thesis of the article, and it is a statement I stand firmly behind. I don't think I've backpeddaled off this point.

I can't be held responsible for what you may have read into that statement -- he said, deftly.

Gravey wrote:

But isn't that essentially the same thing? Contrast that with EVE (a game I've no experience with), where whatever player-driven changes occur, happen to everyone forever.

Kind of, but it makes a world of difference when you finish the quest your working on and you don't see the 'unique' npc suddenly respawn behind you and the next guy turns up to whack him on the head. It's still early days - they were really only testing the waters with it in lich king - it will be interesting to see how it evolves in cataclysm.

I'm not sure EVE is a good comparison though as (correct me if im wrong - haven't played it either ) there's really no storyline there at all outside of what is generated by the players - its more of a sim than an RPG so they don't need to worry quite so much about the kind of chaos that it generates.

Rallick wrote:
Thanks. Thanks a lot. I was happily out of WoW, unsubscribed, and thought I had it all behind me... Now you're making me want to play again, you bastard. Like I didn't have enough games to be playing. Damn you, sir, damn you to heck!

Just because you can write a good article and co-run my favourite website, you think you can just drag me kicking and screaming back into the fold? Is that what you think? You may just be right too. Curses!

This. In spades.

Damnit! Now I need to go cut up my credit card, before I do something stupid.

Filthy Skimmer

Over the past year, a span that has included games like Dragon Age, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2, I can say without equivocation or sense of shame that the best video game story I have experienced is World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

You may now vomit.

It's the first sentence!!!

I'm on to your game Elysium. You have some sort of wager with Rabbit and the other Writers that you can have the top 5 commented on articles at GWJ, don't you. You had written this great piece on the wonderful advancements of Storytelling in WoW, and then you strategically inserted over-the-top statements to get a response. I'm on to you sir. The DLC article and that MMO article you did may have some competition if you keep this up =)

I too feel the frightening pull of WoW, I call that I have been able to resist for years now...

Once more into the breach, eh. Let us to battle, partner.

Maybe in breadth, but just because there's enough lore packed in there to sink a battleship doesn't suddenly mean the story is better.

Bob and weave. Bob and weave.

Lore often gets in the way of these stories. I argued early that battleship sank in Burning Crusade. I am saying the story of Arthas is strong and equal to any other I see right now.

DA is automatically a better RPG than Lich King because it offers actual choices with outcomes that have strong variation.

That's not a point I'd necessarily argue against. I think I've conceded a number of times that mechanically WotLK does not equal DA. I'm talking strictly narrative.

I think you're over-emphasizing narrative and downplaying story on a smaller scale, because my experience has been that what makes game story worthwhile and well paced are all the little touches, not the sweeping gestures.

Not true, exactly. I'm saying that I am as engaged by WotLK's story at all phases of the game as I am Dragon Age. That I am receptive to the MMO model makes that possible. I am not saying you would have the same experience. You would not. You'd whine. Endlessly. Then you'd grab some trophy and proclaim yourself victor of this argument.

It would be really quite annoying. I'm frankly surprised you haven't done it yet.

Back to the point. The Lich King story is exceedingly well paced. It is not delivered, however, in the same time frame as Dragon Age. This does not make either one better or worse, just delivered differently.

Well then I'll make my own scoreboard too. Hey look, I just got five more points!

I just kicked sand on your scoreboard.

Because you're pointing to a game in a genre that is chronically behind when it comes to great storytelling and comparing it to one of the best examples we've seen this year.

Point I agree with you on: Genre is chronically behind on storytelling.

Point I don't agree with you on: that fact has any bearing on WotLK.

Hooray, Dragon Age tells a pretty good story -- see I can minimalize my concessions too. That fact is indisputable. What I don't quite understand is how the fact that WotLK is telling an equally good story in a totally different manner is unacceptable. I think at times they do an even better job, at least in part because the conclusion of a decade long tale is more meaningful for me.

The only issue I really have is that the whole argument has to be redefined before you can make a strong case for it. I don't think the MMO genre has transcended its limitations yet, I think its just learning to work within them better.

Except that you're looking through it entirely through the lens of MMO derision. This is not unlike me pronouncing from on high that Dragon Age is fundamentally better than any JRPG story ever made. I don't think the argument has to be redefined -- for me it's as easy as putting them next to each other and going, "yup, that story is just as good as that one". That's where I'm at.

Which is why I'm not actually trying to change your mind here. I understand clearly where you are coming from. I just think it's an interesting discussion to have, because until now few MMO stories have been able to make a meaningful case for quality.

It really does come down to classifications and qualifications. We're out of gas on this one.

Which is why I'm not actually trying to change your mind here. I understand clearly where you are coming from. I just think it's an interesting discussion to have, because until now few MMO stories have been able to make a meaningful case for quality.

On this, we are in full agreement.

IMAGE(http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/9375/hug1.jpg)

It's the first sentence!!!

Yeah. Okay, that one too.

Here's the thing. I'm arguing on two fronts. I think Certis et al would find it totally disingenuous if I just dropped the "hey, it's my opinion, nyah nyah." argument, so I am tempering the broader comparative discussion to give the illusion of some kind of objective.

I stand behind the statements in the article. For me, it's the best story I've experienced.

That doesn't exist without the knowledge that others are going to need convincing, and what I'm trying not to do is say "it was the best for me, so that means it's the best for you too." To that end, I am moderating the tone to say that outside of my personal opinion I think WotLK deserves to be discussed in the same breath as the rest of the great stories out there.

If that seems like equivocation then that's fine, but I'm comfortable in squaring those positions.

I'm on to your game Elysium. You have some sort of wager with Rabbit and the other Writers that you can have the top 5 commented on articles at GWJ, don't you. You had written this great piece on the wonderful advancements of Storytelling in WoW, and then you strategically inserted over-the-top statements to get a response. I'm on to you sir. The DLC article and that MMO article you did may have some competition if you keep this up =)

I realize you are poking some well deserved and friendly fun at me here, but there is a grain of truth. About me 1) I love the discussions that come from these things. 2) I think it's more interesting to have a point that people can take strong but reasonable positions on that can be diametrically opposed to me. 3) My basic personality is one of speak first and then come up with a good defense later.

Also, I assure you this is a much better article than the one I had written and ready to post for today "My Conservative Gaming Ideology -- The Glenn Beck of Games Writing" ... true story. It was _terrible_.

Elysium wrote:
Also, I assure you this is a much better article than the one I had written and ready to post for today "My Conservative Gaming Ideology -- The Glenn Beck of Games Writing" ... true story. It was _terrible_.

But strangely compelling, I'm sure.

The Lich King article was great, and it got me jonesing for Northrend after a year long absence from WoW. If I pick up Lich King, I'm using the Amazon search bar on the side panel ;-).

Aww, Bear Hugs for everybody.

Except Pyro. The hell with that vagabond.

they have constantly crafted skirmish after skirmish that forwarded a grand story in a way that no MMO ever has

I have to disagree. The still ongoing Final Fantasy XI Online does this. The epic "Crystal War" is the main storyline running through the game and in every expansion since 2002, a full two years before World of Warcraft was launched.

Blizzard and successful Japanese game developers do share common design practices in regards to a franchise related story. They involve and reward the players with panels and events, stay true to the spirit and lore of the core franchise (e.g. a Warcraft orc is always a Warcraft orc, a Chocobo is always a Chocobo) and , above all else, have a well crafted story along with well crafted game design. Cultural game preferences by region will always be different but good games find their way across borders.

Crap. I can't believe I didn't think of using this line before.

"Hunger is the best sauce in the world...of warcraft." Glad the storyline tastes good Elysium

Being the total WoW addict that I am I really want to agree with you Elysium. The story in WotLK is far superior to that in both the original game and BC, but I think you're making it out to be more than it is in reality.

Arthas' story is completely epic, but it all happened in Warcraft3+expansion. It's Warcraft 3 that has an excellent story while WoW is simply riding on its coat-tails, because realistically what story progression has there been since arriving in Northrend? Very little. It mostly features Arthas occasionally appearing to give a speech then returning to whence he came. A big deal was made about Ulduar in WotLK, but the entire place has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Arthas or his story.

The implementation of the antogonist presentation is far superior in WotLK than in BC however. By the end of BC Illidan was that guy we killed 2 or 3 patches ago and actually the real one we were after was some guy named Kil'jaeden who we're told is a real bad guy. Arthas has been present throughout a lot of WotLK, but it has usually been to present us with the next thing we're meant to kill.

So while I agree that WotLK is the pinnacle of WoW story-telling so far and that there are moments in which it shines, as a whole I still feel it's lacking and not so deserving of the praise you give it.

Elysium wrote:
Aww, Bear Hugs for everybody.

Except Pyro. The hell with that vagabond.

Ooh the SMB Wii comment cut deep, didn't it? Yup, that's going on the trophy shelf.

Before you can respond to this though, you must collect 12 donkey rectums.

You'll have to forgive the lack of responses so far, collecting donkey rectums is quite time-consuming and much more involved than it might at first seem.

3. I won't believe your lies, demon!

Bullion Cube wrote:
I bet your excited!

I'd bet my excited against Elysium's excited any day.

If we want to argue about which would make a better encyclopedia, or which would make a better trilogy of 3-hour movies presented in mind-numbingly uncut, 6-hours-each format, then WoW might win on either. If we want to talk about games--or indeed about the story the player weaves in experiencing the game--then I have to agree with Certis.

I don't know which would be better in semaphore, but I bet it's the one with less grinding. I don't have the arm strength or patience to flag out months of playtime.

PyromanFO wrote:
Before you can respond to this though, you must collect 12 donkey rectums.

Collecting ass asses? Interesting.

I was chatting with Pyro, and he thought I should post this:

me: I'm surprised nobody's pulled out JRPGs yet, what with his newfound love of grinding and static, immutable stories.