BOOTCAMP Lesson 4: Moderation

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Ozmosis
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BOOTCAMP Lesson 4: Moderation

***DISCLAIMER***
- This exercise is by NO means mandatory. So please, if you have other obligations or assignments, we ask that you focus on those first.
- Content discussed in this thread will NOT be used as game content, this is an exercise in writing only and nothing discussed here should be taken seriously.
- This exercise is open to everyone, and is NOT limited to MWM employees. Fans and the general public are welcome to participate
- Participation in this game should NOT be considered as an application to become a member of the MWM staff.

Hello all!

Welcome to the fourth installment of BOOTCAMP! Lesson 4: Moderation! Also known as: Pertinent Baggage!

When writing for an MMO, it is important to know the difference between “a good character” and “a good NPC”. One can be great subject matter for their own novel or comic book, but the other is more suitable for a guest star in someone else’s story.That is the perspective we need to keep in mind when writing content for an MMO: the spotlight will be on the player, not the NPC’s.

Giving background characters links to the in-game setting is important (see lesson 2), but when is enough, enough? How much information should we include when creating NPCs without it being considered as “going overboard”? This type of information is what we may call significant, pertinent and superfluous.

Let’s take SuperFighterGuy, an NPC within a MMO setting as an example:
•Does the player need to know that he is an expert martial artists and that he has the brains to be a world class detective?
Yes, because this explains the purpose/capabilities of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.

•Does the player need to know that his powers are based on superspeed?
Yes, because this explains the purpose/capabilities of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.

•Does the player need to know that his parents died during a mugging when he was a child?
Not really, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain why the NPC speaks/acts the way he does, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.

•Does the player need to know he has a gambling problem?
Not really, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain why the NPC speaks/acts the way he does, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.

•Does the player need to know that he once defeated a great white shark while stranded in the Pacific Ocean?
No, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game and even tho it may be interesting, it is not considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information.

•Does the player need to know that SuperFighterGuy likes to have bacon and a cheese bagel every morning for breakfast?
No, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game, nor is it considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information… unless you plan on killing SuperFighterGuy with bad cholesterol.

So the point of this exercise is to be able to tell the difference between what information is important to the player and what is unnecessary. Not to focus on the quantity on information you submit, but on the quality of the information.

So, here are the guidelines to today’s exercise!

***Rules***
1.Below are 5 "Characters", generic subjects to choose from. Select ONE of the 5 characters to work with.

2.Once you selected a character, write 4 different statements for each of the following categories: Significant, Pertinent and Superfluous.

3.In the Significant category, write 4 statements about the NPC which would be essential for the player to know during gameplay.

4.In the Pertinent category, write 4 statements about the NPC which are not necessary for the player to know during gameplay, but would help define the NPC to the player.

5.In the Superfluous category, write 4 statements about the NPC which are useless to the player to know during gameplay and irrelevant to story telling.

***Characters:***
1.Sherlock Holmes

2.Robin Hood

3.Frankenstein's Monster

4.Captain Hook

5.Cleopatra

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Now go! Create! And most importantly, have fun!

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3: Frankenstein's Monster (The book version)

Significant:
Artificial Life Form
Killed several people
Very Strong
Highly resistant to cold

Pertinent:
Abandoned by his creator
Spurned by humans
Desires companionship
Has been in several countries, notably Switzerland,Great Britain, and Ireland

Superfluous:
Created in an apartment in Ingolstadt
Built to large scale because Victor had problems with small parts.
Learned to speak through covert listening
Asked Victor to make a female version (work was begun, but not completed)

Hmm, the tags mentioned in the compose tips page don't seem to work, nor do spaces...

Foradain, Mage of Phoenix Rising.
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If you can't see an image I've posted, please let me know!

Ozmosis
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Nice Work Foradain! Will give

Nice Work Foradain! I will give my comment on the statements.

Significant:
1. Artificial Life Form = Significant, this information affects how the NPC works in a game setting, and affects the interactions towards the PC. This information may very well be required by the player if they ever needed to defeat Frankenstein (example, Player may decide to use fire attacts rather than blunt weapons)

2. Killed several people = I am very glad you posted this statement... as it gives us the perfect example of Significant: information hidden in a Pertinent: sentence. Why? Knowing that Frankenstein is a Killer is Significant, as it will affect how the Player will interact with him and therefor is very important information. Knowing how many people he killed is Pertinent, as it may affect how the Players will see him, but will have no different effect on their actions toward him. (exception: unless however, you are playing an investigation type storyline, where someone could ask you the number of victims, in which case this information would be necessary).

3. Very Strong = Significant, this information could be viewed as a kind of power set, and reflects how the NPC works in a game setting, it would therefor affect the interactions towards the PC. This information may very well be required by the player if they ever needed to defeat Frankenstein (example: A PC playing a non-melee type character would know not to get to close to Frank).

4. Highly resistant to cold Significant, see number 1.

Pertinent:
1.Abandoned by his creator= Pertinent,

2.Spurned by humans= Pertinent,

3.Desires companionship= Pertinent,

4. Has been in several countries, notably Switzerland,Great Britain, and Ireland= Pertinent, all of the previous stratements are Pertinent, in the sense that the information they give would help the Player understand Ftrankenstein, but would not be necessary for the Player to either interact or defeat him. Be careful with Number 4 tho, as it borders on the Superfluous. The fact that he traveled to several countries is pertinent, as it tells as a lot about the NPC, but stating all the countries may not be necessary, unless we are attempting to point out something important.

Superfluous:
1.Created in an apartment in Ingolstadt= Superfluous

2. Built to large scale because Victor had problems with small parts.= Superfluous

3.Learned to speak through covert listening= Superfluous, all of the previous statements are superfluous, as they have no impact on gameply, or would not be truly pertinent to the Player in a storyline.

4.Asked Victor to make a female version (work was begun, but not completed)= This is another good example. The statement itself is Superfluous, as we do not need to know construction on another creature was begun but never completed... but the fact he asked Victor for a female version may hint towards point number 3 in the Pertinent section.

As everyone can see, this lesson may be a lot harder than it looks and will require practice to get it right. We do not expect anyone to master it however, simply to be mindful of it when writing.

Something to keep in mind when writting for an MMO,
A) Does the Player need this information to progress.
B) Would the Player be affected by this information during gameplay.

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2. Robin Hood

Significant:
One of the Worlds greatest archers.
Has a loyal band of skilled followers.
Legally classed as an outlaw.
Considers himself vigilante, not villain.

Pertinent:
Significant Other: Marian.
Lincoln Green costume.
Cannot resist a challenge.
Operates in limited geographical area.

Superfluous:
Rumoured to be nobility.
Once knocked off a log by his best friend.
Reputation for giving away what he steals.
Not known for his love of The Church.

You're right. This is nowhere as easy as I thought it would be. I've probably got several of these under the wrong headings.

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Hey Greywalker! Sorry for the

Hey Greywalker! Sorry for the delay in replying, been quite busy!

Glad you thought this was challenging, a lot of people have underestimated this lesson :P

Significant:
One of the Worlds greatest archers: Correct, this explains the purpose/capabilities of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.

Has a loyal band of skilled followers: Correct, this explains the ressources/contacts of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.

Legally classed as an outlaw: Correct, this explains the legal status of the NPC to the player and is therefore significant information that may be necessary to progress in the game.

Considers himself vigilante, not villain: Correct, this explains the motivations of the NPC to the player and will affect the interaction with the PC.

Pertinent:
Significant Other: Marian: Incorrect, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game and even tho it may be interesting, it is not considered relevant to the storyline (unless specificaly asked), it is therefore considered superfluous information.

Lincoln Green costume: This is an interesting piece of information, as it can go one of 2 ways. From a business point of view, it is pertinent, because a writer will need to specify this information to the art department who will then create a visual of the character. From a storytelling point of view, unless the color has a specific function, then it is Superfluous. What do I mean by specific function? Well look at it this way, would Robin Hood still be recognizable if his costume was black? He would still be an archer and steal from the rich and give to the poor, so it does not affect the NPC. However, if we take the Green Lantern and make him black, then that affects everything from his appreance to his story line. The key difference here would be to say that robin hood wheres green as camouflage, therefore explaining why it is pertinent.

Cannot resist a challenge: Correct, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain why the NPC speaks/acts the way he does, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.

Operates in limited geographical area: Correct, because this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game. However, it does explain where the PC would encounter the NPC, and would affect the NPC’s interaction with the player. Therefore could be considered pertinent information that could be included or hinted at during gameplay.

Superfluous:
Rumoured to be nobility: This one is complicated. The fact that Robin "may" be nobility could affect how he interacts with others, therefore would be pertinent, but if Robin himself does not know, then it shouldnt change his interactions, and would therefore be superfluous. There is also the point that if Robin does know he is nobility, is he trying to get his kingdom back? This becomes his motivation, and therefore becomes Significant. This kind of statement would depend heavily on the NPC's role on the storyline.

Once knocked off a log by his best friend: Correct, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game and is not considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information.

Reputation for giving away what he steals: Incorrect, this explains the motivations of the NPC to the player and will affect the interaction with the PC. This is very similar to the statement where Robin believes he is a vigilante and not a villain.

Not known for his love of The Church: Correct, this information is not needed for the player to proceed in the game and is not considered relevant to the storyline, it is therefore considered superfluous information.

Very good job overall!

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Sherlock Holmes

In listing the below, I thought of Holmes as a character in an MMO, and considered what would be most important to his crime-solving. I'll note that though all of the stories starring him include Watson, that is because each story is written and narrated by Watson, but Watson isn't present for every case he pursues (as Holmes sometimes tells Watson of other cases he has worked on in his absence). Holmes doesn't often get into combat either in the stories which is another consideration I had what is "significant" and what is "pertinent".

Significant:
Famous detective who consults with Scotland Yard
Brilliant deductive/logic skills
Considerable skill in physical sciences (chemistry, anatomy, geology, botany)
Can notice small details with perfect recall

Pertinent:
Partners with Doctor Watson for many cases
Skilled boxer and fencer (though Holmes never carries a sword)
Sometimes carries a gun for protection but is not known as a marksman
Has an archenemy, criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty

Superfluous:
Is mostly a loner and has few friends
Has no interest in romance or love
Often partakes in smoking tobacco and uses addictive drugs like cocaine and morphine
Enjoys playing the violin and has a lot of skill in it

Ozmosis
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Hello all,

Hello all,

I am sorry I have not been here as much as I should have. Been incredibly busy with other projects and real life issues.

That being said, for those still interested in learning tips, tricks and anything else related to creative writing, you can visit my blog here: http://ozmosisbookmarked.blogspot.ca/

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You wear a mask to hide who you are, I wear a mask to show who I am.

Staff Writer, Composition Team