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In Development: Arkhona Timeline Reset, writing for EC, while preparing the future

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Oveur, Nov 30, 2017.


So I can write about squads?

  1. No.

  2. No, just no.

  3. You are one sick puppy. No.

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Necromancer Rivindesh Subordinate

    Well there will be obvious name changes for names like that. 40k books always create their own characters why cant we? Dawn of War series even made their own chapter.
  2. The problem with including player names in the narrative - crap character names aside - is they then permanently join the narrative, and there's a stake in their continued play if/as their role in the narrative continues. But what if a guy gets sick of the lack of options in the in-game store and just quits? Now you have to write him out of the story. But then he comes back after a patch and now you have to write him back in... but then he leaves again.... And then comes back, forms a massive Guild... then they all leave.....

    How do you EVEN list that as part of the story of your game's world?

    The BEST thing to do is for the team/community to create characters the developers/community team control, who are not subject to the same vagaries that players are, and you tell the main storyline around them. People will each have THEIR stories, but the main stories chronicle the rise and fall of these paragon NPCs.

    Look at WoW. Each Faction has their leader (Anduin and Sylvanas.) Then each race has their own leaders they follow to war (Bane, Wildhammer, Thrall, Gazlowe, Saurfang, Mechatorque, etc.) Then there are the other, more notable 'secondary' Characters like John Keeshan, Leeroy Jenkins, Chromie, etc.

    Right now, EC has our faction leads (Belial, Abaddon, Jain Zar, and Skarblitz.) But who leads the Blood Angels here? You mean to tell me the Space Wolves are TOTALLY COOL with obeying Belial when according to Terra Nullus Jarl Ragnar Blackmane is in the system? That Iron Warriors are absolutely down with following Abaddon? From what we know from what was written of the Lore of EC, Skarblitz is BARELY holding his WAAAGH! together and the Goffs were about to launch a coup before Skarblitz got his "vishun" of Orkona...
    Corie likes this.
  3. Replies to @Rivindesh, @Renners, and @Zael:

    Legend of the Five Rings CCG did something similar to this. The winner of the annual Kotei Tournament could make ONE change to the direction of the lore. One year, the winner killed off an entire race via a plague. This is why until the timeline reset there were no more Nezumi in Rokugan. This was a horrible idea then. There have been entire seasons of American Idol where the objectively WORST singers were being advanced over actually good singers because the community decided to do some social engineering. It was blatant and horribad. Without MAJOR oversight this suggestion would turn rotten fast due to all of the salt in this community.

    Major problems being

    1) Every 40k video game exists in a relatively fixed point in time. Talisman: Horus Heresy, Armageddon, Sanctus Reach, Kill-Team, Deathwatch, etc.... To advance the storyline changes the people in play, their motivations, etc. As an example, setting a game before or after 3rd Armageddon literally determines if a certain Blood Angel's captain is alive, dead, or a frothing, black-armored madman (Tycho.)

    2) New License agreements governing Dark Imperium, which GW COULD use as an excuse to re-evaluate the entire EC license.

    3) Guilliman never comes here. At least one Craftworld is a smoldering wreck and wouldn't risk wasting lives. If I am right about the map, we're in the Dark Imperium and therefore on the generally screwed side of the galaxy. Knowing the LSM community, Primaris won't help their lack of coordination and would involve a whole new wave of coding/texturing/modeling/wargear (gib Riever grapple gun,) etc. And if we can't get basic terminators and equivalents into the game, Primaris would make it that much worse.

    To quote Blizzard, "you think you want that, but you REALLY don't."

    Counter-bullet points:
    * Nobody's read the timeline because its not present anywhere other than some posts where I've put parts together, and I'm not arrogant enough to think people read most of my long-ass posts. I'm long-winded.

    * The campaign system is fine, but:
    1) The developers need to stop thinking of 'campaign rewards' in terms of Req/RTC/gear. What about opening a Warp rift and the Devs go in and tint the sky red until a mission comes up for LSM to fix it? Or poison the Hive nests and drop the toughness of the 'Nids until they can evolve it out (ie a set period of time.)
    2) The developers need to stop thinking of campaigns as "all four factions are proceeding towards the exact same binary-resolution outcome. We know individual factions can have their own campaign running while the others aren't, so lets use that! We know that the campaigns are just progress bars contributed to as the factions win matches, so lets think of them in those terms. Think like Helldivers: you complete your bar, you've done a thing whose results will come into play in the future. Which brings me to...
    3) The players need to have the expectation set that not all things lead to immediate payouts. So the Skull Champion is named. Cool. He now needs his profane wargear. He needs blessings and Dark Gifts. This takes time and showing that - even a paragraph at a time - opens the door for a very cool and engaging story. Remember; King Arthur didn't magically become a great king with a fully-formed Round Table. First he had to draw the sword...

    * "Nobody comes to EC for the story, just like nobody reads Playboy "for the articles"." Um, sorry, but that is demonstrably wrong. There are better shooters and better 40k games. I *AM* here for the story.

    * Nathan's joking about the Titan... We think... That said, going straight from "Hey everybody welcome to Arkhona!" to "OMFGWTFBBQ There's a Bloodthirster we're summoning!" is like a 4-course meal and skipping right to dessert. Utterly unsatisfying, and where do you go after that? The pacing and escalation of the stories told in the released campaigns was - to be blunt - horrible. Its part of why I'm like "meh we don't need those back just yet." EC's supposed to be a 10-year marathon, not a every-couple-of-months sprint.

    * Your timeline suggestion: On balance I like it, although that requires extensive approvals, re-writing the background from the ground up and all the problems that come with that. Some resources/assets were made with the CURRENT backstory in mind and run the risk of being scrapped for narrative consistency, which won't happen because this game has already had to suffer wrath for 'throwing away' money and resources invested in it. I doubt bE would be welcome to do so again. Heads would roll.

    * What needs to be done can EASILY be done with the story as it exists, restructuring the overall history and motivations of each faction/subfaction to the limitations of the current team and what the players have access to. Set and manage the right expectations, create a more intimate experience and foster some REALLY DEEP story for players to hook on to if that's what does it for them. Right now if juggling bears and dancing girls kept people active and playing I bet Nathan would try it.

    * When is this even happening in the grand WH40k-storyline? - Arkhona happens in the waning part of the 13th Black Crusade; 999.m41. The Crusade has ground to a halt and Abaddon is looking for a way to break Cadia once and for all. Inquisitor Severina dies violently within strange, sub-terranian xenos structures under Arkhona and her psychic death-scream reminds Abaddon of the planet and how - during the Great Crusade - he had tried to obliterate it and couldn't. Didn't even scratch the surface. Taking a break (and a small detatchment) from the battle at the Cadian Gate, he has come here to see if Arkhona can be used to finish the battle so he can move on. That's the ACTUAL EC backstory Ivan and Graham created... Just saying.

    * I see it as a major problem that each faction has a big-name character as a leader, but not what comes along with such a big-name character.
    * Why are they on Arkhona?
    * What do they want on Arkhona?
    * Why do they stay on Arkhona?

    * What is happening on Arkhona?
    * How does the story end?

    Every question you've asked is answered by Ivan and Graham. Plus some. Really. Problem is not enough of it has been unfolded within the game itself, which creates the problems we have. Rather than unpack THOSE stories, we've gone over-the-top Stallone-Dread style instead of sticking to the restrained and palpably menacing Urban-Dread style...
    Deathwish likes this.
  4. Necromancer Rivindesh Subordinate

    Of course, the devs would always have the final say. I was thinking on smaller choices, designing a named staff for yourself with a special ability with the numbers balanced by the devs/community. Or one of the orks started a breeding program for squigs so now orks get squigs/bomber squigs as a class. Small things, baby steps, no genocide of a race or becoming a daemon prince, nothing along those lines.

    Devs always carry out the final judgement, not the prize winner in order to make sure the decision is beneficial to the community or at least doesn't worsen it.
  5. One issue I have about this reset is that most of the gaming communities around this game have already collapsed. The days of:
    THe olden days.png
    the olden days 2.png
    are over. The Great Black Crusades have ended and without drastic change I don't think they're coming back, so it will be like they never happened.
  6. DoomJester DoomJester Arkhona Vanguard

    Random note, if I recall...and this has likely been watered down over time and then repeatedly battered around in my head and I no longer remember or know the truth, but the Blood Ravens had been one chapter amongst thousands, nothing unique about them, they had a chapter master named Gabriel Angelos, etc, the end, much like any number of chapters who had no history beyond colour scheme.
    Then someone proposed making a game and either someone in/or related to Relic, whether through a GW writer/envoy/QA or a Relic writer/leader/envoy sat down, probably looked around, picked 10 essentially nonexistent chapters, and then did a little poll thing, narrowed it down, maybe did a focus group bit, and then ended up with Blood Ravens. This person then organized or handed it off to some other guy who then made a story around it, who then likely checked with his boss in either side, they both collaborated and bam, Blood Ravens, a likely decendent of Thousand Sons, loyal, historyless-ish chapter, that looked appealing, and had slightly unique characters who flirt with edge instead of being perfect Leandros...oes. Then CS Goto wrote a book to validate and elaborate on the story.

    However this is how I like to remember it, much like how I preferred Counter's take on Grey Knights and Alaric specifically.

    As to the reset, I honestly don’t think it hurts anything and it does allow for a breath of fresh air kinda, though certainly inspires a sense of deja vu for some.
  7. Zael Zael Well-Known Member

    So, first bE promises a continually evolving background-story written by Graham-McNeill.
    Then they stop working on this altogether and McNeill leaves.
    Then they start writing an evolving background-story, except they do not actually post it where the players can see it.
    Then they think about hiring another author for the background-story.
    Then they restart the timeline, because they want to replace the old timeline with a placeholder-timeline until their THIRD timeline is ready.

    Did I get this right?

    So, it's fine. Except for the many ways in which is must be changed.

    If it's joke, it's an old one. Nathan said one or two years ago, he wants to add an NPC-Titan to the game...

    The game just had its first birthday, essential content has still not been added, the factions are still not balanced, promised bonus-features have still not been added, the player-base is slowly shrinking because old players quit out of disappointment and new players refuse to stay because they get stomped. Maps are still not getting fused into bigger maps, Tyranids are still not a balancing mechanism to keep powerful factions in check (mainly because losing territory to Tyranids would not affect your faction AT ALL). And the developers are running out of money.

    Let's see if EC is still around in 2 more years before talking about a "10-year-marathon".
    Or did you mean to suggest that bE will deliver on its promises at the 10th birthday of EC???

    bE cannot afford juggling bears and dancing girls.

    Maybe because a story like "The Ork-Nob finds a broken inquisitorial rosette in the ruins and attaches it to his trophy-rack. The Alpha Legion sets out to assassinate him and get that rosette because they want to find out what's in its data-coils." is harder to incorporate into a lobby-shooter than "Everybody please slaughter each other. Thank You!"
  8. Zael Zael Well-Known Member

    Okay... I owe a constructive conribution to the discussion...

    Bad idea. Do not treat it as a "sequence". The campaigns, what they are about and how they influence the War-on-Arkhona, that should be handled on a case-by-case basis as the story unfolds. Not with a predetermined sequence.

    If LSM lose 3 campaigns in a row, then that must be reflected in the storyline and in the parameters of the 4th campaign.
  9. phantagor phantagor Eternal Battles Moderator

    My small cents: No Playername calling. Everything happening in EC should be a community effort. I am not going to contribute to some single players Ego. If you want to get famous in a game, play EvE.

    IF we want to use player stories at all, we can at a max use adjectives or callsigns for them, if that is entirely necessary (as in my case, it would be "The Necrotect" instead of Phantagor).

    But i personally am entirely against incorporating single players or even guilds into the story.

    I did that for Elite Dangerous ( all written by me, all to be found ingame) and it turned out to a massive dick-swinging of who delivers most guild write-ups ingame.
    Saeritan and Katzu_HSM like this.
  10. Not exactly. Back in pre-Alpha, Ivan Mulkeen (then lead of story and lore) and Graham McNeill wrote the entire background, lore, and early motivations of Arkhona and the entire Kharon System. Then, as the game started to become more difficult to execute, they trimmed away everybody that wasn't central to getting the core gameplay RIGHT, meaning Graham's contract lapsed and Ivan's employment was not renewed, but they still had the documents so its all good at that point.

    Launch. Faction campaigns. Nathan hires a guy in Australia to write a series of 6-8 'all faction' campaigns, which start with the Skull Champion (to conincide with GW's Skulls for the Skull Throne Ad Campaign that was live in every active GW game,) the Gore Angel, A New Waaagh!, etc... They were run too close together, had 40k lore inconsistencies, and there was nothing new for veteran players to get with the points/rewards.

    Now here we are. Nathan says the metrics support the fact that fewer than 20-25% of us have seen these campaigns. The team wants to restart the campaigns they have 'in the can' so the new people can see the work. This will also buy the team and those they tap to help out time to get the Ivan/Graham lore reworked, revised to match the scope of the RELEASED game (clearly we are NOT all on one big super-continent named Malcadia, for example,) posted to a public place so both they and community writers interested in such things can have a common set of 'facts' to operate on, and let them figure out ways to implement a new, community-submitted workflow for campaign submissions. Meanwhile, the engineer-types can dig into the campaign system, line up new rewards, and figure out how to tie campaign progression into the Goals system.

    Make sense?

    What I meant was that the mechanics of the system is fine for our purposes, so long as the EXPECTATIONS are set and managed properly. Think about a great TV show ruined by lousy pacing, or a crappy/cheesy TV that managed its pace well enough to keep you hooked despite yourself (or sanity.) All story is about content and pace, and to make a story MATTER to the participants you have to walk a mid-line on both fronts.

    This has been covered by @Oveur here, on the Twitch, and by other Phenomenal Game Developers of other MMO titles big and small. MMOs as a whole are typically planned out in 10-year planning cycles, reviewed periodically and goals adjusted as design and actuality interact. I won't comment on the state of the game itself: I have my issues but the bulk of my frustrations with EC come from stuff that isn't game-related.

    Yes and no. The current campaign mechanic is a progress bar, not a true tug-of-war ala Planetside. As such, Factions aren't competing against each other as much as they are serving as roadblocks/speedbumps to other factions filling up their bar. The example you give is a very "micro" look at story-driven campaigning similar to what you find in many MMORPGs. In those you're with the character, right alongside that Alpha Legionnaire as he corners the Ork and triggers the cut scene. Problem is we can't do that due to the limitations of budget, scope, and scale, and so we're forced to pull the camera back a little bit and come at it from a wider angle.

    If you don't mind me using the Alpha and the Ork example you gave, lets lay this out and see if we can make that story work in the current campaign format Nathan gave back here:

    What are the factions doing this campaign cycle?
    * LSM - A Blood Angel Captain has summoned the faction to dig into the facilities under the surface of Arkhona in an attempt to recover further information on the fate of Inquisitor Severina. There may be Tyranic presence in the arcologies.
    * Eldar - A Biel-Tan Scorpion is trying to plant "proof" that the Blood Axes are taking contracts from a local Dark Angel. The Eldar are trying to either destabilize the WAAAGH! by instigating some in-fighting or turn the WAAAGH!'s attention on the LSM so they can do something else in the confusion.
    * Orks - Skarblitz is managing to dig up some of this tech from an unknown alien society and needs to find new sites to find stuff that's lying about. The more ground you cover the faster this'll be and the sooner his eyes turn back to something else shiny.
    * CSM - Your Mission briefing pops up and you're greeted by this guy:
    ** Intro - "A situation is developing and I need extra assets to complete my mission. Normally I would only trust a select few with this intelligence, but the Warmaster has brought you along for a reason and caution must yield to speed in this situation. Sometime during one of the last fights between the Greenskins and our misguided kin, one of the Orks got his putrid green fingers on a Deathwatch Inquisitorial Rosette. I have the means to break the Cryptomantic Wards the Ordo Xenos uses on these relics, but in the last few days I have lost track of him. Sweep out and find him; that Rosette is currently worth twice what you are. -- Alpharius"
    ** <50% - "I understand the enormity of the task before you seems daunting, but consider all you have done in the name of our Dark Gods. Consider all you must do to remain in their favor and in the favor of the Warmaster... Then put this at the forefront of your meditations. Do not tarry; too much is at stake here."
    ** >50% - "Most of you do not maintain detailed intelligence on our deluded brothers, but I shall enlighten you as to WHY this tiny little badge is so important to our efforts. The physical insignia of the Deathwatch is both Symbol and Signum. Inside the little seal are datastores containing local and system vox channel authorities, dataslates on intelligence regarding the xenos races the brother has fought, and a myriad of other pertinent data to our war effort on Arkhona and throughout the Crusade. Normally these things are destroyed and it is only by the sheer stupidity of its current owner that we have this chance at such a trove of information. Find that green beast and take the rosette from his corpse."
    ** Win - "'Many are the heads of the Hydra, and twice as many eyes,' as I once said. You have served well and your name will be brought forth to the Warmaster when next I speak with him. The device was badly damaged, but despite that it has given up a few secrets already, and surely more shall follow... 'What secrets?' you ask? Valiant effort, if foolhardy."
    ** Lose - "'Many are the heads of the Hydra, and twice as many eyes,' as I once said. We are everywhere, and we see everything. Perhaps trust should be harder to earn next time. Perhaps your quality should be put to more strenuous tests before you are trusted with recovering a little metal token from a dead Ork... Perhaps the Imperial Fist pain glove the Slaaneshi cultists in orbit are using needs to be turned on less motivated brothers of our Long War... I am certain you will be the first I inform of that decision."

    See? Still "fill the bar," nobody has the same mission to complete (removing the possiblity of 'all-win' and 'all-lose' outcomes,) and we either do or don't recover the Rosette as the result of direct player activity/participation. Sure we don't ACTUALLY, physically recover the Rosette in game, but the story proceeds with a clear direction: the Rosette was (or was not) recovered and we will see what secrets are uncovered in future installments of the story.

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