More design issues in Star Wars Galaxies

Anonymous sources have pointed out that Lee Sheldon has written a number of articles on writing and storytelling in virtual worlds, and that these articles also point out flaws in Star Wars Galaxies.

From Less Is More: Chinese Menu Quest Systems & Storytelling:

“The missing boy is never mentioned again. We just blow up a lair of creatures, the generic game mechanic of all the destroy missions. Then it?s on to the next mission, laid out in identical text, to rescue the next boy in the family tree (assuming the parents are so prolific that they can churn out sons as fast as rabbit-like gnorts drop babies), or is it the same son who can?t keep out of trouble?”

“Then to spare players chasing all over the landscape when they get close to their objective, the game provides shafts of light descending like deus ex machinas from the sky to illuminate the player?s goal. There is absolutely no indication in the world what generates the lights.”

From The Quest for Story: NPC Quests in Star Wars Galaxies:

“It is so easy to do true multiplayer quest creation in this lowest common denominator type of quest, why not do it? Why write quests that can adversely affect the retention of your player base and their immersion in your world if you don?t have to? The most rational answer to this is not particularly flattering to designers: they don?t know any better. ”

Even if you are not involved in MMOs, I recommend reading these articles for a clear description of the problems that are caused when the integration between the fictional (storytelling) and mechanical (gameplay) sides is badly handled.