Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Virtual worlds on paper.

I'm sure everyone knows about the Bartle Test.
Now I've taken said test twice and scored the same both times, ESAK. Of course it's a painfully transparent test so it'd be incredibly easy to take it and make everyone think I'm all about the player killing. Still it does give a good idea of how I view games. I take great pleasure in knowing the universe we're playing in, I enjoy finding things and seeing the sights. I won't simply sit around and gawk, if you tell me I need X to get into Y to see something new, I'll go do that too.

But that's a tangent for another time. Recently I reviewed, if you can call it that, the novel Empire in Chaos. It's the Warhammer Age of Reckoning tie in and it has put me back to thinking about virtual worlds, the why of them and how to affect them.

When I was out picking up Empire In Chaos, I gave into the urge and also picked up EVE The Empyrean Age. For those who know me, yes I am a sucker for expanding universes. I have some of the Warcraft novels (despite never playing the game), all the Halo books, the two City of Heroes novels, a great deal of Black Library material (Warhammer) and other game/novel tie ins.

It was asked on Massively and probably every other MMO blog ever before, what would you do if your online world was about to end? I'm wondering how would an online world benefit by continuing, in and out of game and with the same story telling, to grow and to be a part of more than just our computer time. People mentioned before that if the Star Trek Online game was based around the same time as a show or during a shows run, that it would be a huge thing if people could win or through other merit earn a mention on the show. Of course such a thing, in my opinion only, would be unworkable but the idea has some merit. Most games have leaderboards of some description showing who is the best healer etc. Wouldn't it be lovely if in an ongoing series of novels tied to the games we play you could earn even a tiny mention for your efforts to change your online world. Should WAR close tomorrow for some bizzare reason, I'd love to see a book explaining how the Age of Reckoning ended. Should WAR continue for many years to come, I'd love a shot at immortalising my efforts for Order during that age.

I'm far too lazy to actually set up a poll widget, despite the fact that it is likely not much trouble to do so. Instead I call for comments. Wherever you fall on the Bartle scale, explorer, achiever, killer or socialiser, what do you think of continuous novel tie ins with an ongoing MMO?


Anonymous said...

I think I'm an ESAK but danged if I can find the percentages on that page. (73/73/27/27?)

As for the tie-ins, that's a hard call. What if they do a novel but it's by a poorly written author?

Ardua said...

In my estimation they already did, but then again WAR at the time of writing Empire in Chaos still wasn't out and wasn't a money maker. City of Heroes shot itself in the foot by releasing a poor second novel. If you have the gamer popularity I think it is close to a necessity to get a good writer in to give it a good writing. I was really looking forward to the Rikti War book but because they did poorly, I've been denied fluff.

Also there is certainly a market for such books, good, bad or indifferent in any game that has an RP server, official or otherwise. If people enjoy your universe enough to play in it, as a part of it, they may well be interested in novels that expand the universe as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I'd love good novel tie-ins to the MMO world I'm playing in, but almost all the tie-in books I've read or looked at were weak, slap-dash jobs knocked off quickly under contract to cash in the main product's popularity.

I've pretty much resigned myself to the idea that the last place to look for compelling sci-fi and fantasy is in a book written specifically around a brand name product.

Exceptions exist, but they are pretty darn rare.

Unknown said...

Ooh! another ESAK, with 0% in K!

But then again, how well does that really describe the player's desire to explore the content versus exploring the mechanics? It seems to me that most of the self-claimed Explorers are more concerned over the actual mechanics of the game rather than the lore and the atmosphere.


Sareini said...

Yet another ESAK here (80/73/33/13)...

And as someone who may occasionally have written fanfiction about her gaming worlds, I have to say I do kind of like the tie-in novels. I have a strange tendency to read stuff no matter how crappy it might turn out to be. Make of that what you will.