From the Designer’s Perspective : Dialogue

Posted: January 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Something came up in class today, something that I’m very interested in hearing people’s opinions on. Quest dialogue, do you read it? When do you read it? Why do you read it? When a game designer takes 80 hours to write up the dialogue, we kind of care whether it gets read or not and there is a strange phenomenon where people playing MMORPGs don’t read quest dialogue. I’m really curious why. I know that I read the quest dialogue in the games that I play. But, well, its very well established that I care deeply about the story of the world I’m playing in. Do you just want to power through leveling in an MMO and read the dialogue in single player games? Do you power through all games? I know I power through quests that I’ve repeated. Like, the entire blood elf starting area. You have no idea how many blood elves I have leveled. But anyway, drop me a comment so I know how you feel about this.

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Comments
  1. Robert Grady says:

    I’d have to say that I generally read the quest dialogue. In FPS-style games, I’m less strict about doing so, but I like to learn about the story in a game. One exception to this rule is Rappelz, a free-to-play Korean-made MMORPG I used to play. I’d often just skim over most of the quest dialogue, partly because the storylines were fairly shallow, and partly because I was impatient and assumed I knew what the quest was going to be (the quests were usually “Kill X Monsters of Type Y,” “Gather N of Item P,” “Kill Boss Monster Q,” etc.).

    P.S. On a completely random note: My use of the letter “Q” as a variable made me imagine Q from Star Trek as an MMO Boss… *twitch*. That would be a /lot/ of TPKs.

  2. Seandewolfe says:

    I have mixed feelings about quest dialogue. What’s surprising is that all the time game designers put into the dialogue that they write only pays off if the quest, and the general quest chain, game zone, and storyline behind the quest are interesting. If I’m really into the story, having good initial impressions about the area, the goals, and the challenge of an interesting gaming environment, then I’ll read the dialogue more carefully. If I’m doing the quest simply to get the rewards, then I’ll generally skip to the quest objectives. So, in brief: the quest dialogue is important only if you make it ‘feel’ like it should be (and not just attempt to do so, but pull it off). All quest dialogue is designed to tell the story, but if I don’t want to read the story, I won’t.

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