I heard an odd complaint in the Massively offices this week: One of our writers was annoyed with Guild Wars 2 because it isn’t delivering enough backstory through regular gameplay and normal questing. He couldn’t figure out what was happening in the plot and didn’t want to have to hunt down an out-of-game wiki page or NPC with a prepared info-dumping spiel; he just wanted the basic lore presented during the quest itself from normal quest NPCs. Crazy, right? Why would a designer put lore in quest text? No one reads quest text — everyone says!
Might be it’s time to challenge that assumption, especially with games like WildStar with tweetquest philosophies on the horizon. Do you, in fact, skip quest text in MMOs? If you do, would you read it if you knew the text actually mattered to the plot of the game and wasn’t just a 500-word essay on why you should kill 10 rats?