I was trawling the news sites for any info about WAR (something I do so much more regularly now) and I came across this little interview with the games developers. Most of it is stuff I already knew about the game, and it’s a decent little read.. but then I came across this snippet:
“There seems to be a real depth of narrative in Age Of Reckoning that’s perhaps missing from most online games.
It’s a hard role in an MMOG. You constantly fight against the need for narrative, and the push against it by players or designers who don’t think that it’s important. You have to balance out the impact on the game. So what we’ve done is tied it in to the Tome of Knowledge. So we have this great narrative. There’s, I believe, a prologue and 22 chapters for every race. As you move through the game, physically, you’ll get a ‘Tome Unlock’. Boom – you’ve entered chapter three. You open up your Tome and sure enough, there’s all the information about chapter three. All the information about public quests there, about the rewards you can gain in that chapter by gaining influence, and two or three pages of the story behind that chapter, which is cool because it tells the story about the things that are happening around you. You read the story, and then you go do the quests, and it all ties together.
So, you don’t have to read the story. But if you open up the Tome and read a couple of pages each chapter, it really makes it very fulfilling. It ties together so well. We try to keep quest text fairly short, and try to tie it in to the narrative of each chapter, and then if we have a lot of lengthy text we put that in the Tome. We start to tell this story that Warhammer players have previously had to imagine.”
Is it bad I didn’t know about this role of the Tome of Knowledge?
I already thought the Tome was a good idea, but now it’s become central to why I think WAR will hook me right from the start. I love narrative in games, it’s what can set apart a good game from a phenomenal game – and if they can really crack getting a good narrative into an MMORPG, and a narrative I can go and read at a later date when I’m not rushing to find where I’m supposed to be.. then I’ll be in love with it. Hope it turns out exactly as they have described it though, or I’ll be sad 🙂
NB: for other fans of the Tome of Knowledge, Massively have just posted a short interview with some more links and info about it.