Between the various winter holidays and cold weather related illnesses, productivity has been at an all time low here at Mana Punk HQ. Setting aside colds and holidays the single biggest perpetrator of productivity destruction is the recent release of Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic, and while we normally isolate our news and website coverage to all things Mana Punk I wanted to post a bit of an editorial regarding the recent trend in RPG video games. I think that there have been amazing recent developments in both story-line structure and story-telling mechanics that are worth making note of, specifically as it pertains to being a Game Master for any pen-&-paper RPG. One surprise hit in my book was Bethesda’s release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The previous incarnation of The Elder Scrolls (Oblivion) was a less than stellar game in my own book as I would quickly found myself wandering the world almost aimlessly, feeling like I had little to no direction in terms of where I should go next. Skyrim on the other hand has embraced not only excellent quest tracking but a downright ludicrous volume of game content to tackle with any one character. There is a profound amount of continuity within a given story arc which adds even further to the feeling of character progression and impact on the world, something from which any modern day RPG Game Master should take notes. I thought that most of my gaming time would be tied down plowing my way through Skyrim content for the foreseeable future.
Until Star Wars: The Old Republic was release.
Bioware’s flagship MMORPG has been released with much fanfare along with a significant volume of baggage in town. I am not here to review this title (or Skyrim for that fact), though I do feel that any Game Master running a table top RPG of their own could definitely take notes. SW:TOR really gives me a strong feeling of emotional investment in each character I play, specifically because of the very manicured way in which a character is nestled within every mission or story arc they become involved. While I do not want to give a specific review or rating to these games, I do very strongly feel that modern day Game Masters can take queues from current video game titles to help hone their storytelling craft.