What are the common elements of a good fantasy story?
-A hero taking one earth-changing quest to save everyone from utter destruction
-An uber evil end boss
-A damsel in distress (or a longing love interest)
-A band of allies and travel buddies, including
-The quirky comic relief
-The reserved badass
-The knowing mentor
-The loyal best friend
-A nemesis of equal power/status with a mission directly counter to the hero’s
-An origin that explains the hero’s motivations and provides context to the action
All of these elements are familiar territory in classic fantasy tales, and each serve their purpose in building drama, context, tension and significance for the actions the hero takes in the story. Cut even a few of these elements from a story and you begin to lose the impact of the narrative.
Now, how many of these are in your favorite MMO? Hero, check. Ultimate Endboss, check. Anything else? Not really. We wonder why players skip quest text and hate cutscenes.
Honestly, how hard would it be to include a better defined macro quest, a choice of origins that determines certain quests, and scripted encounters with a romantic interest, a sidekick, a nemesis, a mysterious badass and a mentor? Are we even trying?