No matter what MMO you play, there’s a backstory. If you’re in Fallen Earth, there’s a reason it’s post apocalyptic and a story that the game tells you—generally through quests—to let you know how it got that way. EverQuest has its own mythology, as does Ultima Online—though, God knows what they’ve done with it now that gargoyles are a playable race—and World of Warcraft and any other MMO on the market.
The lore is the backbone of the worlds we play in, and generally, there is almost nothing a game can do to make me care. Swords, sorcery, dragons, and critters; it’s generally all the same to me.
You see, while there are not many things that really interest me in WoW’s lore, there are a few that can consistently wrinkle my brainyparts.
One such thing is Blizzard’s introduction and use of the Old Gods. AQ40’s C’thun and Ulduar’s Yogg-Saron are quite wonderfully references to H.P. Lovecraft’s Elder Gods Cthulhu and Yogg-Sothoth, not to mention the Titans who seeded Azeroth which also ties into Lovecraft’s introduction of ancient astronauts who did the same to earth. The more I can experience regarding the WoW’s Old Gods, the better. I eat it up.
Then there’s the Light. Where both WoW Priests and Paladins draw their power from. It’s really kind of an omnipresent non-entity, kind of like The Force. And I think it’s neato. I like any of the lore that deals with the Light or its users, specifically Paladins, and that automatically makes me a fan of the legends of Ashbringer and Tirion Fordring (which I sorely need to get and read the graphic novel about). I do any quests I can to illuminate the narrative that Blizzard has constructed for its various Holy Warriors, especially now that I’m working on leveling one of them myself.
Arthas Menethil is pretty neat, too. I did not even realize I was a big fan of the Arthas lore until Icecrown Citadel was released in Patch 3.3, and I found myself super excited to be able to jump into the new Icecrown 5-mans and prep for hitting a few Icecrown raids now and then as my schedule permits. I even just downloaded the novel Arthas: Rise of the Lich King for my Kindle to try and see if I can finally get into some of the lore I appreciate in WoW. I look forward to being able to mix it up, mano a mano, with the Lich King in a few months, too, and finding out the end of his story that I started following so many years ago in Warcraft III.
In other games, I approached lore much the same way: I never cared about the overarching intricacies of the worlds; I just wanted to hear more about certain aspects. In Star Wars Galaxies, I was obsessed with anything Jedi related, which is why I think that The Old Republic is going to suck my life away with its dedicated healer, the Jedi Consular, and its focus on storytelling. In Ultima Online, I loved the champions and the spawn system they used. I ate up whatever OSI told me about them. I also loved exploring the ruins of Ilshenar and making up my own stories for them. In EverQuest, I loved reading about the different planes. For some reason, going into another dimension and killing the god who inhabits it was pretty interesting for me.
But outside of those few nuggets, my interest in any MMO’s lore has been minimal at best.
So I ask you, in your respective MMO, what part of the world’s mythos do you find most intriguing? Or do you find your game’s lore lacking? Why?