My summary of points for a better Story feeling (2014 and now 2018)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Paladin Michael, Jul 25, 2018.

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  1. Paladin Michael

    Paladin Michael Bug Hunter

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    Perennial Coast
    That's a summery of points I feel very important for a better story presentation after gametesting over 4 years, I played every quest more than three times(!), can't count how often I tested the starter scenes and I did the whole questline two times ...

    You're welcome to enter missing points to improve the story feeling :)


    1. Bring UI elements on screen, when they are necessary, not all the time. As @Lord British told about, there should be still focus on this! It's simple to have a lot of icons on screen. But it is more efficient and elegant to have on screen, what we need now - and this in time ;)

    2. Our Title/Name/Health/Focus stats (top left) mustn't be shown always on screen. It's very important, when someone attacks us. So consider to auto hide/fade them until someone attacks, please.

    3. The swap deck button (bottom right) also could hide with the hot bar (if using auto hide)

    4. Email information (top right). It would be fine to auto hide this after a few seconds and let it appear short when entering a town (means: when we can find a mail box to open it :))


    1. The new player can choose/decide, what kind of weapon he can take
    (Tell him: "take a weapon", instead of "take a bow/sword").
    2. ALL new players will have the same amount of starting skills and skillpoints, equal what path they chose.
    (that's a thing of fairness and trust in doing nothing wrong, equal what path we chose).
    I wrote about here.
    3. There will be no choice to be a "mage", "fighter" or "Ranger" to dismiss the meaning of one of the very important moments of the story! (Similar to each Ultima game!): The choice we made!


    A good sorted quest journal helps all players, even if they come back after weeks and months to go on!

    Chapter I
    The path of Love
    Solace Bridge | Solace Bridge Outskirts | Soltown | Ardoris | Shuttered Eye | Necropolis | Midmaer

    Chapter II
    The path of Courage
    Highvale | Highvale Outskirts | Resolute | Harvest |

    Chapter III
    The path of Truth
    Bloodriver | Bloodriver Outskirts | Aerie | Vertas |

    Chapter IV
    The path of the Oracle

    Chapter V Other Virtue Quests
    Virtue Statue quest

    Virtue Armor quests

    Virtue Banner quests

    Chapter VI ...


    1.1 SOLVED with R56!: flooding the dialogue window with "player xyz is off/online" is solved :)

    1.2 Toggle underlined keywords in text in standard to off - it's more distracting than helpful - without underlined words is definitely a better reading and getting better in touch with the story.
    The keywords on bottom are enough (Ultima VII played very well with keywords only!).

    1.3 Every keyword should fade to grey after it was used. Former asked words should only be highligted again, if something changed and asking again provides new information.

    1.4 Get rid of the input line. It implys we could write what we want.
    This is one thing which confuses and annoys (not only) new players, while trying to ask and the npc seems to know nothing :( (And in cases they should!)
    There are only a few situations, where we have to enter words not provided on the keyword list.
    (just provide them with the keyword line, delete the input line and we have one more line for text: point 4.)

    1.5 Give us at least one more line in the dialogue window
    (this will prevent the "more key" in a lot of cases!).

    1.6 Provide the text for better reading in "justify".

    1.7. May be a cm left and right could help also and/or using TWO columns: left one for Avatar, right one for NPC.

    Example for 1.6./1.7. could look similar like that:
    Avatar:.............................| NPC:........................................................
    It's never too late to climb on| Well, as you are asking this, I have to confess:
    a mountain to have another .| I never looked at it that way, but may be after
    sight - and suddenly things ...| I take time and - of course a cup of tea - I will
    could appear in another way. | find a way to show up with new improved ideas.
    In a way we never thought it | Sometimes it is very simple to make it simple, if
    could be possible... .............| we try to look from another point of view. I will
    .......................................| try to make a new experience...

    Please consider, that the formatting inside this forum can't be done better
    - I had to put in ....... to get the gaps filled to get an idea what I mean ;)
    The text is meant to be wrapped in justify left and rirght from the vertical line.

    A further example for destracting and breaking reading flow:
    WITH underlined words:
    The Oracle: Greetings, Michael Avatar. I am the Oracle. We have determined
    who you shall be as you move through New Britannia. If you wish to become a
    fighter, mage, or ranger, simply tell me to reshape your choices, else it is time
    for you to take the rift to New Britannia.
    fighter path of the virtues forsaken prophecy love Goodbye

    WITHOUT underlined words:
    The Oracle: Greetings, Michael Avatar. I am the Oracle. We have determined
    who you shall be as you move through New Britannia. If you wish to become a
    fighter, mage, or ranger, simply tell me to reshape your choices, else it is time
    for you to take the rift to New Britannia.
    fighter path of the virtues forsaken prophecy love Goodbye

    It's a matter of fact, our eyes "jump" to marked and underlined words.
    This distracts our mind while reading and trying to understand what we are reading.
    The reading flow is better without underlined text – try it!

    Let us having fun exploring the lands and to find out things by our own!
    May be we receive XP points for exploring places for the first time?
    (whole place with all stuff inside, whole town provides extra xp ...)

    Show us, what we have explored - not all from beginning. This takes a lot of fun and a good reason for exploring the world away!
    And there is so much to explore! If someone don't believe, watch Rinaldi's thread!
    We would appreciate it more to find out what's next to the paths after we done them!

    Consider you get a Quest task (equal, if you show it on screen or not) to do.
    You open the Task from Screen or direct from Journal and can choose:
    I Path of Love
    Find Captain Cugel in Ardoris ...

    Now there could be a connection to the map: a small map symbol beside the Quest Task.
    Clicking on it could show us the way on the map:
    a colored -same as the virtue color- line between Soltown and Ardoris!

    After arriving in Ardoris we are talking to the Town Crier
    (He should know where to find persons, I think :))
    Keyword or Symbol for "Where is" on the polished Dialogue Window can be clicked.
    Important Names of Town inhabitants appear next to where is.
    A routine could peek into the actual quest task and provide people we were sent to? ;)
    We can choose Guard Captain Cugel.

    Voila: The map opens and it shows where we can find him - in the Guard Barracks.
    May be a colored line shows the way from the Town Crier to Cugel.

    Wouldn't it be fun?
    No blue Sparkle would be needed :)

    One of the things I am wondering about:
    It is told, that the undead came from the Eastreach Gap.
    WHY did they chose to overrun Solace Bridge, but not Greyacre, even it is just infront of the Eastreach Gap Gate ... ?

    I hope, this last mystery will be explained with one of the following Releases?

    We don't know anything about the inhabitants and what happened to them.
    Entering the town gives no clue - all seems "normal" ...
    May be this town hides special inhabitants who prevented to be overrun by the death?
    May also be the fact that nothing happened to this town could be reason to investigate it - and it could lead to an important hint?
    And may be Siranto and Khasi will send the Avatar (with Samael and Fiona) to find out more in a last side quest?


    1. Starting scenes, new player experience
    Isle of storms:
    After entering the mirror a -random- picture is shown with a game tip.
    After leaving the mirror a -random- picture is shown with a game tip.

    After entering the lunar rift from Isle of storm to the starter scene
    a -random- picture is shown with a game tip.

    The screen loading tips are wonderful. But - honestly - if you are a new player and want to dive into the story, viewing a (well, I don't know?) picture from wherever, with a tip telling about a "cat massacre" or "encumbrance", or „Vendors also need sleep“, isn't exciting at this point of the game ;)

    Suggestion to keep our mind further in the storyline:
    While entering/leaving the mirror, please show a picture connected to this part!

    Instead of screen loading tips the information could read:
    (Entering Mirrow) "Choose how you will look like in this world, Avatar!"
    (Leaving Mirrow) "You have choosen your body - now it's time to choose your path at the Oracle Confirmation, Avatar!"

    After entering the lunar rift for the first time to go further to the starter scene,
    please show a picture depending on the scene! We have the pictures :)

    - Solace Bridge
    "Now follow the Path of Love - you will be teleported to Solace Bridge, the beginning of your Journey, Avatar! Be aware of danger around you!"

    - Highvale
    "Now follow the Path of Courage you will be teleported to Highvale, the beginning of your Journey, Avatar! Be aware of danger around you!"

    - Blood River
    "Now follow the Path of Truth - you will be teleported to Blood River, the beginning of your Journey, Avatar! Be aware of danger around you!"

    Also consider to take tips off for offline mode generally and for new players while loading starting scenes to keep them connected to the story.

    After finishing and leaving the starter scenes again shows a -random- picture.
    It also would be great to show instead a pictore of

    - Solace Bridge Outskirts
    "Your boat brought you to the place, Edvard told you. Follow the path and look, how you can be helpful in the refugee camp ..."
    - Highvale Outskirts
    "F. brought you up to the hill. Follow the path and look, how you can be helpful in the refugee camp ..."
    - Blood River Outskirts
    "Your boat brought you to the place, Edvard told you. Follow the path and look how you can be helpful in the refugee camp ..."

    I think, it is not too much work to insert a few loading pics (we have alot :)) to be connected more with the story and what we are doing now ...

    All these little things help to keep us closer to the story at the beginning sequences. I think it is really important, because there is so much new to explore.
    The last weeks I saw a lot of newbies telling, they don't know what to do next(!)
    --> And we have sparkles and compass entries on top screen and tasks on left screen!
    But if you see all this information for the first time, it is overwhelming - and can also distract ...

    2. After the outskirts have been done

    2.1. While entering the Overworld Map the first time – after leaving Outskirts, would be good to show an excerpt of this part of the world where we are now and may be a few information while loading:
    „Avatar, you enter the Realm of Novia, follow the path on the overworld map to your destination, your Journal tells you!“

    The path - exactly the road path - could be marked, beginning with Solace Bridge, for example, over outskirts, to Soltown, Ardoris, Shuttered Eye, Necropolis, ... when a new questpart is given ...

    2.2. show a picture of the scene we are entering (Soltown, Ardoris, Shuttered Eye) and NOT a random piciture
    At least for citys on our path of love / truth / courage
    And fine, if the main cities could appear in bold letters on the map ;)

    2.3. give some information about the entered place:
    You're entering the City of Ardoris.
    The biggest City of the Perennial Coast and the Patron City of Love!
    It is ruled by Lord Siranto and Lady Khasi.
    Visit the heart of Ardoris, the Sequanna Square and may be you need some food at the market?
    Inhabitants: 289 ( I don’t know ;) )

    Don't forget to visit the Town Crier. May be you could do him a favor by taking some mail to another town!

    So, while entering or leaving a scene we are IN the game, not viewing Ardoris, while entering Yew or viewing the Tower of the Shuttered Eye while entering Soltown.

    If you could make the screen tipps optional to toggle them on/off, would be good. And also to start with Tipp 1 counting up to 101 in order the first time, so each Avatar has the possibility to read all tipps.

    Try it, please: The feeling wouldn't be the same as now! It would be a red line to follow, the "breaks" from loading wouldn't disturb as they do now, with a missing reference. All other things are distracting the feeling while following the story, which starts in a very good way at the Isle of storms and the outskirts ...

    A great story deserves a great presentation :)
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
    Vyrin, Xee, Astirian and 5 others like this.
  2. WeirDave

    WeirDave Avatar

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    Some good ideas in here
  3. Astirian

    Astirian Avatar

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    Hearty Greetings Michael!

    Sorry, couldn't resist haha. Nice list, I skipped over the spoilers tho. I agree wholeheartedly with the Quest Journal, I'd love to see a tabbed approach with quest strike-through and please please please a change to the Comic Sans font, it's in the receipts and recipe book too and contrasts pretty badly with the beautiful calligraphy. Bonus points for sorting quests by Completed/In Progress...

    I'd love to see a leather-bound book effect on the edges too now I mention it.

    UI-wise it would be nice if the default positions for things weren't wedged in the corners of the screen. A margin of space about an inch wide/long would be perfect.

    I agree with dialogue underlining too. At the moment, it feels like... constantly speaking with Captain Kirk.

    I think also the dialogue box is too low and too boxy perhaps? Or maybe it could just do with filigree like the lovely looking crafting menu. They could potentially make it a bit higher and zoom out a bit more? Or maybe it just needs a margin too from the bottom of the screen.

    I think the dark UI change was a great step in the right direction but stuff is still a bit boxy, maybe a ripped page or splashed paint effect on the shape would sort out the general boxiness(?) of things. (I don't mean adding more graphics to the UI box either, I mean the actual shape of the box if you catch my drift)
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  4. Xee

    Xee Bug Hunter

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    Good ideas in OP's thread for sure.
    Paladin Michael likes this.
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