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The Twinshot Trap

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1 hour ago, Leogunner said:

 

Personally, I just think a lot of you guys are inflexible.  You don't want to compromise your principals, which is fine, but then complain that things don't conform to said principals, which is impossible.  You can either ignore/not play said arcs, treat them as episodic stories that feature the same character but are unlinked with all other regards, or just be flexible.

 

I'm not asking for arcs tailored to my character; that's impossible.  What I'm asking for is to NOT TREAT ME LIKE A GODDAMN IDIOT.  Have a little bit of basic human respect and assume my character knows how to tie his own shoes without a diagram.

 

I'm tired of being insulted by people writing their story arcs for subjects whose IQ is within 10 points of their shoe size.  Games should be written by writers, not preschool teachers.

 

"Be flexible" has limits.

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6 minutes ago, Black Zot said:

 

I'm not asking for arcs tailored to my character; that's impossible.  What I'm asking for is to NOT TREAT ME LIKE A GODDAMN IDIOT.  Have a little bit of basic human respect and assume my character knows how to tie his own shoes without a diagram.

 

I'm tired of being insulted by people writing their story arcs for subjects whose IQ is within 10 points of their shoe size.  Games should be written by writers, not preschool teachers.

 

"Be flexible" has limits.

Oh, then you're issue is that the arc has tutorial missions. 

 

Just be glad you can skip the tutorial. 

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1 hour ago, Leogunner said:

Personally, I just think a lot of you guys are inflexible.  You don't want to compromise your principals, which is fine, but then complain that things don't conform to said principals, which is impossible.  You can either ignore/not play said arcs, treat them as episodic stories that feature the same character but are unlinked with all other regards, or just be flexible.

Good RPG writing doesn't require you to be flexible, because the writing is flexible.  Yes, there will always be some characters that the writing just doesn't work for, unless it's "generic hero" writing, and even that doesn't work for villains, but there is  huge area between "must be all things to all characters" and "written with a specific character type in mind, and that character is an idiot."

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7 minutes ago, Eva Destruction said:

Good RPG writing doesn't require you to be flexible, because the writing is flexible.  Yes, there will always be some characters that the writing just doesn't work for, unless it's "generic hero" writing, and even that doesn't work for villains, but there is  huge area between "must be all things to all characters" and "written with a specific character type in mind, and that character is an idiot."

But it's not RP writing. The RP comes in when you interact with the story and that tends to only be within the limitations of the medium (ie, if you are doing table top, you've got practically full freedom. If you're reading a book, you can only fill the character's shoes in your head). 

 

As I mentioned before, put some examples of an opposite example to the presented problem arcs and we can compare. 

Edited by Leogunner

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19 minutes ago, Leogunner said:

But it's not RP writing. The RP comes in when you interact with the story and that tends to only be within the limitations of the medium (ie, if you are doing table top, you've got practically full freedom. If you're reading a book, you can only fill the character's shoes in your head). 

 

As I mentioned before, put some examples of an opposite example to the presented problem arcs and we can compare. 

This is an MMORPG, so all writing is, by definition, RP writing.

 

Opposite examples:  World Wide Red from Crimson, which suffers from old-skool mission design, but has you stop a worldwide threat that isn't caused by anyone being dumb, just Malta being competent.  And it never makes you ask yourself "why am I hanging out with these dumbasses?" 

 

Redside, there's Mortimer Kal's Strike Force, which uses the tip system to make it "your idea" to force him to help you gain power.  Or even the patron arcs, as bad as they are, are still better than Dr. Graves, since at least you're told upfront what you're doing and why.  Again, redside is impossible to write "universal" content for, since villains can range from "I like to take things that don't belong to me" to "I want to take over the world" to "I just want to watch the world burn," but it's a very specific type of villain who will join a dumb contest because some guy told them there'd be a reward at the end, and none of my villains are that villain.

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The character which "fits" in Dr. Graves' arcs is an idiot lackey with delusions of grandeur.  And even then, the writing falters at times with consistency issues.
And once you start a Story Arc, the only way to get rid of it is to finish it (or ask a GM to purge it from your character's inventory).  Even if you abandon it or refuse to take up any more missions in an arc, that Story Arc flag is still triggered, and it will sit there and take up a slot for potential future Story Arcs.  I don't think we should have to do research in advance to determine that some content in the game will be as railroady as that.
 
And really; what sin IS worse than robbing players of agency of their own character when it comes to roleplay writing?
I mean, there are certainly worse sins in other situations.  Plenty of worse things.  But I mean in the specific context of writing narratively for a roleplay setting, and not just writing in general.
 
 
Want a GREAT villain-side arc?
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Bane_Spider_Ruben
It's not perfect, but it IS fantastic.
 
Or want one without any branching dialogue as an example?
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Peter_Themari
Again, not perfect, but sets an excellent example.   Peter has personality, and may start off expressing utter disdain and assuming your character's intent and desires, but that's Peter Themari making those assumptions:  Not the author.  On top of that, the author plays with the concept of mission failure for the Three Cheers arc.  You actually get a "better" ending for Peter if you fail the last mission, which demonstrates that there is actually some poignant player-choice to be had.  Which ending does your character actually care more for?  While the game mechanic says "failure," the /writing/ says "but maybe you prefer it this way.  We won't make that choice for you."
 
 
The writing can be more flexible.  The writing /should/ be more flexible.   The onus is not on the player when the author tells them "I know your character better than you do."

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1 hour ago, Leogunner said:

Oh, then you're issue is that the arc has tutorial missions. 

 

Just be glad you can skip the tutorial. 

 

No, my issue is that the writing assumes the character is a nincompoop; don't try to override what I'm saying. 

 

Assuming inexperience is fair for low-level arcs.  Assuming STUPIDITY most certainly is not, and the Twinshot story is the latter.

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55 minutes ago, Eva Destruction said:

This is an MMORPG, so all writing is, by definition, RP writing.

And MMORPGs are notoriously bad at actual RP.

 

55 minutes ago, Eva Destruction said:

Opposite examples:  World Wide Red from Crimson, which suffers from old-skool mission design, but has you stop a worldwide threat that isn't caused by anyone being dumb, just Malta being competent.  And it never makes you ask yourself "why am I hanging out with these dumbasses?" 

 

Redside, there's Mortimer Kal's Strike Force, which uses the tip system to make it "your idea" to force him to help you gain power.  Or even the patron arcs, as bad as they are, are still better than Dr. Graves, since at least you're told upfront what you're doing and why.  Again, redside is impossible to write "universal" content for, since villains can range from "I like to take things that don't belong to me" to "I want to take over the world" to "I just want to watch the world burn," but it's a very specific type of villain who will join a dumb contest because some guy told them there'd be a reward at the end, and none of my villains are that villain.

So basically, formulaic "old-skool" read-em-ups.  I have no qualms with them.  I don't see them as superior, just different.

 

Can you pinpoint the particular qualities of each that support your claims?

 

As for joining the killing game in Dr. Graves' arc, I have a few villains that simply are bored.  One might say "why not take over the city!" and they'd reply "that's fekking stupid. Do you even know what goes into running something like that? I'd sooner sink it to the bottom of the ocean."  But I guess anyone who decides to make a more grounded villain who falls into traps for gits and shiggles is just uncreative...that's actually exactly what I saw Graves' arc as.

 

47 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

The character which "fits" in Dr. Graves' arcs is an idiot lackey with delusions of grandeur. 

I'd argue the opposite, actually.  It's for a villain that's self-aware to know they don't match up to the big leagues and looking for a foot stool to muddy with their boots either out of spite for their current situation or to get some blood favors that people will have to pay you back for (because some of those characters reappear later).

 

24 minutes ago, Black Zot said:

 

No, my issue is that the writing assumes the character is a nincompoop; don't try to override what I'm saying. 

 

Assuming inexperience is fair for low-level arcs.  Assuming STUPIDITY most certainly is not, and the Twinshot story is the latter.

Okay.  Well I guess my highschooler teen prodigy is stupid.  Sure didn't feel that way to me.

 

Again, I think you're exaggerating... 

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I actually quite enjoy both tutorial arcs and have played them multiple times--on characters where going through the phases as a starting hero/villain make sense.

 

On the other hand, there are other things to run outside of the Twinshot/Dr. Graves tutorial arcs if you're tired of them or they don't make sense for your character. There's a lot of content that frankly doesn't really make sense for some of my characters to do, but with a bit of imagination I do my best to rewrite in my head--or just end up dropping the contact and picking up a new one. There's so much content in this game that I swear I'm still running into contacts and arcs I never played on Live. It was and still is one of the best thing about City of Heroes/Villains: it's so established that there's so much content to make it easy to drop an arc you're not enjoying and pick up another.

 

Ultimately, I don't know why people are bashing Twinshot and Dr. Graves. Just...don't run those arcs? They're not for you at this point.

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I don't usually do this, but I'm going to call out that I am really starting to think that this is a prolonged effort to troll.

OTHER MMOs are notoriously bad for roleplay.  City of Heroes is the exception.  The main reason:  Player Agency.  The fundamental writing for the central conceit of City of Heroes' lore is almost carte blanc for players to proudly state "THIS IS MY CHARACTER."

 

If you are actively ignoring the explicitly written content in these Story Arcs to justify your characters' involvement in these missions, then that is proof-positive that it is poorly written.

 

Near the beginning of Dr. Graves arc, your character is forced to interact with a terminal and the author of the arc has your character make all manner of very specific, very characterizing statements:  All of which imply that your character is dull-witted.  The entire "mental time-bomb" segment of Dr. Graves arc establishes the player-character as a complete idiot.  The only way to avoid these characterizations is to ignore what is explicitly written.  That is what makes it Bad Writing.

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4 minutes ago, MetaVileTerror said:

The entire "mental time-bomb" segment of Dr. Graves arc establishes the player-character as a complete idiot.

I mean, it sorta feels that way at first, but given that you later find out...

Spoiler

Dollface is way, way out of your league.

It's not hard to imagine that you were being mind-controlled into going along with it.

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12 hours ago, Leogunner said:

I'll agree that the Twins shot arc is rough around the edges but I do like Grym and Dillo. The others are annoying.  Someone boxed in the Dr Graves arc which boggles my mind. 

 

Overall, the arcs are less "Coh-fied" and just a departure from the standard "read this text in the missions or clues tab" fare of the majority of the game. It requires getting into a character role somewhat thrust on you which seems to be asking too much of some. Probably not something you do well every alt, but I think it's worth doing every now and then. It's not the Frostfire arc... 

My big issue with it is it pushes you into a character role rather than letting you define your characters character yourself, which is what I have against most of the red side arcs as well, that and all of the Shooting Stars are basically idiots... 🙂


Mayhem

It's my Oeuvre baby!

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14 hours ago, Apparition said:

Twinshot's mission arcs would be far more enjoyable if I could punch Flambeaux in the face after every mission. 

So much this.


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10 hours ago, MetaVileTerror said:

Near the beginning of Dr. Graves arc, your character is forced to interact with a terminal and the author of the arc has your character make all manner of very specific, very characterizing statements:  All of which imply that your character is dull-witted.  The entire "mental time-bomb" segment of Dr. Graves arc establishes the player-character as a complete idiot.  The only way to avoid these characterizations is to ignore what is explicitly written.  That is what makes it Bad Writing.

Like I said before, my character intentionally fell into the trap.  Mental time bomb?  Oh, ok...I (my character, Zane) will just use my powers and it will be a mere black stripe on my fur and he'll move along.  No big deal.

 

But ultimately, these are mental considerations you'd think of as you're contemplating the written words.  You don't ignore it, just think of how your character would react.  I dunno, maybe you might actually be duped into the whole mental bomb thing.  Have you heard of the other crazy **** that goes on in the city!?

 

9 hours ago, boggo2300 said:

My big issue with it is it pushes you into a character role rather than letting you define your characters character yourself, which is what I have against most of the red side arcs as well, that and all of the Shooting Stars are basically idiots... 🙂

I've run into this myself, usually with an arc where my character is empathetic in some way but my character isn't.  Even when given the option, a lot of times I (the player) just don't want to have to make that bad decision so I'll just avoid the arc lol.  But sometimes it is interesting to do a bit of RP mental gymnastics to work with the story.  That's basically what it is, choosing to work with the story or just opt out, I suppose.

 

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2 hours ago, Leogunner said:

But sometimes it is interesting to do a bit of RP mental gymnastics to work with the story.  That's basically what it is, choosing to work with the story or just opt out, I suppose.


You've posted some variant of the quote above at least twice now...  So it seems to me that your whole argument boils down to "I don't have a problem, I don't see a problem, therefore by fiat nobody else should have a problem either".

Mental gymnastics is certainly a viable playstyle.  But where you're off-base is your repeated suggestion that the rest of us should just live with it or just click through it (or past it).

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2 minutes ago, Derekl1963 said:


You've posted some variant of the quote above at least twice now...  So it seems to me that your whole argument boils down to "I don't have a problem, I don't see a problem, therefore by fiat nobody else should have a problem either".

Mental gymnastics is certainly a viable playstyle.  But where you're off-base is your repeated suggestion that the rest of us should just live with it or just click through it (or past it).

As opposed to what? Re-writing the arc? Move it gold-side? Complain about it online and argue with people who critique your opinion? 

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38 minutes ago, Derekl1963 said:

Mental gymnastics is certainly a viable playstyle.  But where you're off-base is your repeated suggestion that the rest of us should just live with it or just click through it (or past it).

I dunno, I feel like mental gymnastics are part of RP.  If you're not playing your character to suit your world, but rather expect the world to suit your character, that's feels less like roleplaying, and more like mary sue-ing.

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14 minutes ago, Lazarillo said:

I dunno, I feel like mental gymnastics are part of RP.  If you're not playing your character to suit your world, but rather expect the world to suit your character, that's feels less like roleplaying, and more like mary sue-ing.


Certainly mental gymnastics are part of RPing.  Nobody ever said any different.  But there are limits.  There's a point where it's no longer mental gymnastics and you're simply excusing bad writing.

For example: I'm considering having my blueside MM go vigilante.  So, when she's running the Clockwork arcs, she's thinking "sure, I'll help out $CONTACT in eliminating the Clockwork.  And make notes and pocket a few choice bits while I'm at it".  My character, my reasons. My story.

But when you're forced to introduce elements like "I'm being mind controlled" (to take an example introduced above) in order to play through an arc...  That's not mental gymnastics.  You're mentally covering up for bad writing taking away your control of your story.  It's OK to choose, it's bad to be forced.

"Forced" above is italicized, bolded, and underlined for a reason - it's the key concept in this discussion.  One that folks don't seem to grasp.  Nobody is asking for the world to suit my character.  We're asking for choice.  (Choices can be fettered or limited, no problems there - so long as the choices exist.)  We're asking to retain agency and control of our own story.  That's what makes an RPG different from a VN or choose-your-own-adventure.

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4 minutes ago, Derekl1963 said:

"Forced" above is italicized, bolded, and underlined for a reason - it's the key concept in this discussion.  One that folks don't seem to grasp.  Nobody is asking for the world to suit my character.  We're asking for choice.  (Choices can be fettered or limited, no problems there - so long as the choices exist.)  We're asking to retain agency and control of our own story.  That's what makes an RPG different from a VN or choose-your-own-adventure.

You are getting a choice, though.  Are you falling for it?  Mind control?  Playing along because you know about the other thing going on?  Etc, etc.
 

If you, at that same point in the game, try and go to Grandville and pick a fight with a Bane Spider Executioner, you're gonna get your butt handed to you in less time than it takes to say "EXECUTIONER'S STRIKE".  You don't have a choice in whether you can win that battle, but you do have a choice in how you do or don't approach it.  Same thing applies to the story.  That you don't like the choices doesn't mean they're not there.

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1 hour ago, Derekl1963 said:


Certainly mental gymnastics are part of RPing.  Nobody ever said any different.  But there are limits.  There's a point where it's no longer mental gymnastics and you're simply excusing bad writing.

I never tried to excuse bad writing. I just don't think it's a bad as people are making it out to. 

 

1 hour ago, Derekl1963 said:

We're asking for choice.  (Choices can be fettered or limited, no problems there - so long as the choices exist.)  

You say "the choice". You aren't considering you'll only get "a choice", one that won't suit you or at least a subset of people out there. 

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4 hours ago, Lazarillo said:

I dunno, I feel like mental gymnastics are part of RP.  If you're not playing your character to suit your world, but rather expect the world to suit your character, that's feels less like roleplaying, and more like mary sue-ing.

The world of CoX is explicitly about character customizability, including backstory, personality, and motivation.  This world was created to suit many people's characters, not just mine.  Writing that doesn't suit this flexible world feels less like a legit addition to the CoX canon and more like bad fanfiction.

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10 minutes ago, Eva Destruction said:

Writing that doesn't suit this flexible world feels less like a legit addition to the CoX canon and more like bad fanfiction.

Yet it seems to me like it's not the writing that's being inflexible?  The game is, ultimately, pretty limited on choice once you start a story arc, any story arc.  You don't even have the option of backing out, really, due to the nature of open-arc caps.  You can pre-plan and choose mostly to do story arcs appropriate to your character; you can choose to do no arcs at all and do in-character stuff while street sweeping or the like; you can choose to consider your character carefully and come up with reasons that you are going along with a plot point you don't like.

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8 hours ago, Leogunner said:

I've run into this myself, usually with an arc where my character is empathetic in some way but my character isn't.  Even when given the option, a lot of times I (the player) just don't want to have to make that bad decision so I'll just avoid the arc lol.  But sometimes it is interesting to do a bit of RP mental gymnastics to work with the story.  That's basically what it is, choosing to work with the story or just opt out, I suppose.

 

If there were options in the responses that let you decide your character reactions even a little bit I wouldn't mind so much, but it's pretty much always a railroading situation and most times the choices offered are basically the same.


Mayhem

It's my Oeuvre baby!

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23 hours ago, Leogunner said:

Personally, I just think a lot of you guys are inflexible.  You don't want to compromise your principals, which is fine, but then complain that things don't conform to said principals, which is impossible.  You can either ignore/not play said arcs, treat them as episodic stories that feature the same character but are unlinked with all other regards, or just be flexible.

We do ignore and not play through this terribly written arc, this thread was about the OP forgetting and running it, the rest of us were commiserating, lighten up man


Mayhem

It's my Oeuvre baby!

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