Crime and Blogishment

I should be locked up. Put away. Throw away the key and forget I exist. I have committed a heinous act and should be duly punished. Break out the chains and whips (wow that went to a new place entirely), the manacles and handcuffs, I’ve done wrong. I’ve been a very bad chair.

My crime? Criminal neglect of an imaginary crowd. The punishment? A new blog post.

“Stooge!”

“Jailbird!”

“Jerkface!”

Those, along with other juvenile and idiotic, insults lance out from my imaginary crowd as I’m rolled in chair manacles before this illusory gang of people.

I raise my hands (at least as much as I’m able to with these cuffs). The crowd quiets. Not a single pip is heard. Awkward coughing as I search for words.

Where have I been? Well I’ve been a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Basically I’ve been beta testing Star Wars: The Old Republic like mad. Before you haul up the nerd flag, its been semi-productive. ¬†Over the course of the weekend I’ve come to three conclusions.

1. The game is amazing.

2. Story, voice acting, and music are superb.

3. I’ve stumbled on a truth about videogame writing.

So there, it’s all been for research. Right? Right? Ugh nope. Bluff’s been called. Aside from being super fun and immersive I’ve learned something about dialogue writing and its place in videogames.

In a story driven RPG/MMORPG like The Old Republic, where multiple classes will be doing similar things, dialogue is essential to drive across that feeling of immersion and sympathy with your character. The writers for this game have simply done an astounding job. They have made it so you feel at one with your character in a way that I have seldom encountered.

The problem with writing for a game like this is that thousands of people will be doing the same “quest” over and over again, ad nauseam. They needed to design it in such a way that the dialogue was at once both vague and personal. How do I mean?

They needed to make it so that each line of dialogue, as spoken by expensive voice actors (who they wanted to get the most from while paying the least) applied to you in a way that made you feel connected but also applied to everyone equally in such a way.

The wide difference in class story quests and the addition of moral choices throws a wrench into the system and makes it a convoluted mess of amazingness. One person could be trying for the whole, “I am the utter incarnation of evil,” while another could be attempting to be a paragon of virtue, but the dialogue response needed to make each feel as if their choice mattered.

The complications inherent in writing for this thing are absolutely astounding and I would say the writers have pulled it off extremely well. I stand in awe of their skills and once more my chosen course is affirmed.

I wish to stand with these intrepid men and women as they forge a new course for writing.

Also extremely good news. This site will soon be getting pictures! So those of you who don’t enjoy my wordy bits can have images to drool over.

Anyway thanks for reading.


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