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If you had to choose, which is more important: plotline or world?

Plotline or game world?  

206 members have voted

  1. 1. Which is more important?

    • A gripping plot
    • An vast and imaginative world

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I can't choose!


I don't play Skyrim for the plot, I play it because I like exploring and discovering new things in the world (and, TBH, I've always found the side quests with a bit of story to them (not just "bring me 10 of ___" fetch quests) to be way more memorable than the main quest).


I agree that PS: T did well with both aspects.

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I voted for Plot in the poll because I was thinking of MotB, which for me had a great story set in a mediocre world (I'm not a Forgotten Realms fan). However, now that I think about it more, I think it can go either way. Some games are memorable for their stories (Torment, KotOR II, MotB) and others are memorable for their settings (the Mass Effect and Fallout series). ME 2's vibrant and engrossing setting completely made up for the deficiencies in its story. As such, I think excellence in either area can lead to an enjoyable and memorable game (although you would ideally want both).

Edited by eimatshya
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Overall . . . I feel both are important. A world being fleshed out I think of more than a visual, with its lore, people and places being a story or experience of its own, just as much as the plot. However, without the plot that world can quickly feel empty regardless. Still a well storied blank sheet of paper world . . . wouldn't be as fun to explore outside of the story. I have trouble deciding here because I really do feel both are important, neither should ever be neglected. I would say a plot is very important but the world and plot, in my mind, are tied, and one should not only exist with the other, but be tied with one always affecting the other.

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...could be the most interestin' gameworld in creation; wit'out a great plot ta draw ya in, yer jus' stuck in NeverWorkin'Right wanderin' 'round starin' at the pretty view...an' boobplate... ;(




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You can't really isolate the two entirely without sacrificing what makes a good RPG. A good story is affected by the game world and player's impact in it, otherwise you might as well just be reading a book. But a cool world with no story, and then the player is just running around playing imagination. Setting is a pretty important part of story, even more so in games I think.


Couldn't agree more. I didn't vote because I think the question creates a false dichotomy, as I think the OP intended ;-) I get that the question opens up an interesting dialogue about the relative merits and relationship between story and setting, but voting would always feel like a limited response for me. The story informs and creates my experience of the world, and the world informs and creates my experience of the story. If a game has an amazingly detailed world yet mediocre story, I'm not as able to engage in the world. If a game has a brilliant plot yet mediocre world, I'm not as able to engage in the plot. In a novel (as in CRPGs, though less so), the story is the world. A story needs a setting.


Which is more important? My brain hurts, I want to 'live' the story.

Edited by Robsidious
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Voted for gripping plot, becuase when I look back over all the games I have played including the ones I NEVER finished, I always fondly remember the IE engine games of which I think I am around 30 full completions of the original BG, and then there is the Elder Scrolls series of games, of which I have never ever finished one of them.


I was so horrified when I found out that my beloved Fallout franchise was taken over by Bethesda, to this day I have still not completely finished Fallout 3 (if including the Broken Steel plotline). It's such a stuggle.


Beth are fantastic at world building, but their writing sucks, it lacks substance imo...

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Without a doubt plot. The last RPG I played with a truly amazing plot was MotB. But I've played plenty of games with good gameworlds since then (the new deus ex, skyrim, some of Biowares recents, dark souls). The games industry truly hurts for good plots.

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Of course I'd want both, but if I had to choose I'd say plot. The two kind of go hand in hand though. You need an interesting and well fleshed out world to have a strong and impactful narrative.


True, but if push came to shove, I'd say plot. Skyrim, Oblivion etc. had an interesting setting, but I had more fun playing them on the tabletop (my DM just ported in D&D 4e) than I did in the games themselves. I just never felt 'involved' in anything.

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I choose... Strong Characters!


I've started games that were reputed to have epic story lines and awesome worlds to explore, and yet just couldn't be bothered to finish them because I stopped caring. Planescape: Torment wasn't an amazing game because I got to play a blank slate on the epic quest to regain his mortality, it was an amazing game because I got to play a character with some very interesting backstories, accompanied by some very interesting people. Not to mention all the interesting people I met along the way.


I suppose if I had to slot it into one of the above two, strong characters would fall under plot. But it's easy for a game to have an epic plot and yet still have uninteresting characters.

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I choose... Strong Characters!


That's a good point, the first grid-based strategy RPG I ever played was Fire Emblem (the seventh one), and there really wasn't much world-building and the plot was....typical, but I liked watching the characters build relationships with each other and would restart levels endlessly if it meant so-and-so wouldn't die (FE has permadeath). I know that Shadow Dragon was the first in the series and thus didn't have the features that the seventh or eighth had, but I stopped playing it because I just couldn't relate to any of the characters (and they actually rewarded you for killing characters off).

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I might be weird, but plot isn't a thing I'm really interested in a good RPG.

I like good plotlines if the game is build around the storyline through and through (read: PS:T), but prefer my RPG to focus on mechanics.

As long as the game has good mechanics, plot is irrelevant.


However, the lack of good worldbuilding makes the game completely boring in any case.



Mechanics > World > Plotline > Characters

for me.

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i want it arcanum style. a unique world ready to be explored with a great plot.

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If the world is rich and full of lore and the characters are deep and nuanced it can uplift a pretty generic storyline so I'll go with that. I mean, look at Bioware's last few games. The plots are **** and uninspired but the companions really help make up for it.


I don't think it's unreasonable to expect greatness on both fronts from PE, though, considering the talent and the games they're citing as inspiration.

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