Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

Sharing the Spotlight – Solo Play pt. 3

Before we are done with solo play when questing, there’s another feature that makes it more suitable for playing alone and that is the increased effect of immersion, especially with regards to the narrative of the storylines embedded in the quests.

Ironyca: Do you sometimes enjoy playing alone?

Kaeleeyth: ah yes loads.

Kaeleeyth: It brings out a challenge you see, something that makes me feel special.

Ironyca: can you elaborate on that please? :)

Kaeleeyth: It gives me sense of heroic empathy, it puts me to the position in which I, myself am the only hero and that I’m in the position of choice.

Kaeleeyth: well, you truly feel you are the chooser in the situation, you choose to help or not, doing so enhances the story, you also feel like you’re chosen.

Ironyca: Do you mean when you level or?

Kaeleeyth: Any quest, since Cataclysm doing things makes a real difference to lore, especially with phasing.

Kaeleeyth brings up several components of narrative involvement, in particular the construction of his personal narrative based on his interaction with the designed narrative. Being alone while leveling supports the situation of the quests, some of which will approach the player as someone perfectly suited to carry out this dramatic mission, reflecting what Kaeleeyth said about feeling chosen. When questing with someone this effect is weakened, especially when one can witness the quest-giver give the same speech of admiration of the same heroic deeds to the next player in line. Being the main player-character is easier when no one else is there to contest that position.

My character (to the left) in the company of all the big shots. They didn't mention to me that this was just procedure and that they had to go through this ordeal thousands of times a day.

Lani wrote an article called The Narrative of the Player Character: Introduction at Flavor Text, which goes in depth with the intersection of us, the players, and the narrative in WoW mainly driven forth by the quests:

Quests are, by nature, player-centric, even with the occasional addition of an NPC guide or ally. Because of this, in many ways, a player is the main character of the World of Warcraft story. This arrangement is fantastic in terms of immersion, however, there are ways in which this approach breaks down, as well.

The first inconsistency is the fact that every player is completing the same quests. There are differences based on faction separation, low-level starting zones, and (once upon a time) class-specific quests as well, but for the most part, you are capable of completing every quest available to your faction. At high levels, many quest hubs are neutral and identical for both Horde and Alliance players. In other words, we are all the main characters.

I get the impression that immersion is this fragile and flimsy state of mind, it quickly evaporates when something or someone is distracting. Single player games can streamline the playing experience and create this whole world where everything revolves around you. In multiplayer games, especially MMO’s, having someone running up to you in the middle of a quest doing a chicken emote begging for a duel, has probably happened to everyone.

A recent screenshot of mine when I was out questing with Elford. Even though you play on a roleplay realm, you're not protected against immersion-crashers.

Other players/player-characters are mostly distraction if you’re trying to focus on your character and the narrative when questing.

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3 comments on “Sharing the Spotlight – Solo Play pt. 3

  1. Döra
    September 4, 2011

    I tend to think of my place in Wow as being a bit like life really. I know that the world will go on without me when I stop playing (die), but I like to imagine I have made a difference while I am here.

    You are so right that other players can be a massive distraction when you are adventuring, but we also have immersion crashers in the real world too. That knock on the door when you are in the middle of a good movie, or that third person who interrupts a fascinating conversation with some totally irrelevant statement. Or my mum calling me in for tea when I was out playing as a kid.

    So all in all I think wow does an amazing job actually, to keep me as immersed as it does :)

    • ironyca
      September 4, 2011

      I think playing both Elford and Joy, whom I level alone, has made me more capable of becoming immersed in the storylines. When I started playing many years ago, I hated questing and thought of it as this dreadful part of the game that I just needed to tolerate to get elsewhere. I’m glad I’m now able to enjoy the story and think about how my character thinks and feels when out questing.

  2. tomeoftheancient
    September 4, 2011

    I never thought about it that way but it’s true. I remember a friend and I were leveling through Hillsbrand pre-cata and he just wanted to mow through them at a dizzying speed which at the time made me uncomfortable because I felt it was trivializing the quests.

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This entry was posted on September 3, 2011 by in Opinion and Discussion and tagged , , , , , .

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