RPGWatch Forums - View Single Post - A Thought
Thread: A Thought
View Single Post


September 22nd, 2013, 01:04
Just to type this thought in here before it becomes forgotten again :

Conflict based storytelling is leading into a dead lane. It goes nowhere, at least in MMOs.

I'vbe been playing SWTOR (and DDO a bit, too), and what I see is : NOTHING BUT conflict.

This becomes tedious and boring over time.

Because this means fighting, fighting, fighting.

In terms of storytelling, this is unhealthy, because, what it does NOT show in-game (but it DOES exist in Real Life !!! ) is :

- farmers
- crafters
- Joe Public
- families
- non-aggressive animals
- any non-combat related profession
- wanderers
- millers
- mechanics (at least for non-war-machines)
- bureaucrats
- writers
- messengers
- smiths (at least not those who do no weapons)
- scientists
- gardeners
- sailors
- cooks
- bakers
- miners
- any other profession NOT related to any sort of fighting.

Over time, conflict-based storytelling leads into an dead end, because once you have nothing but fighting within a game - or within a story as well, or within a movie, or in any other media), it becomes tiresome at one point. It creates some sort of burnout - for some later, for some sooner.

Plus, conflict-based storytelling is narrowing down possibilities of storytelling (like a funnel) into only one or a few variations of the same theme. You can produce only so mamny variations of the same theme of combat, of conflicht.

Plus, another point is that conflict-based storytelling effectively ignores or even negates the existence of anything NOT combat related - like the professions I listed above. In conflict-based storytelling, no-one mentions the miller or the baker.
And that even although they are there - in the backgrounds. Providing EVERYONE within the story with bread, for example.

Tristram and any other town in this game : A dead town. They are not going to survive, because there is no farmer, no miller, and no baker there. This is the ultimatively reduced conflict-based storytelling : Everything but the mere objects required for maintaining conflict-based storytelling is simply left out.

Me, I'm dreaming of one day being able to write a "Reiseroman", a genre of literature for which there doesn't seem to exist a direct translation (at least according to Wikipedia) : A "Reiseroman" is basically anovel describing a journey; a journey, and the landscapes around it. The Old Ways is some sort of an "Reiseroman", I guess (I haven't read it yet). A Reiseroman is not at all an sight-seeing tour; in fact, it takes more emphasis on describing people, customs, the environment met during the journey than anything regarded "important" like for example castles. A Reiseroman is about the journey, not about the sight-seeing.

It would be - I suspect - the ultimate opposite of conflict-based storytelling : A Reiseroman takes emphasis on the normal people, on Joe Public, not of anyone "important".

But, to sum it up, I still believe that conflict-based storytelling can become boring and tedious over time, if used too often.
And in MMOs, it is used too often.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; October 29th, 2013 at 12:09.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor


Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 17,202