Friday, February 20, 2009

Semiotics First Thing in the Morning

Semiotics is awesome because it allows me to break stuff down and gives me a vocabulary to express my thoughts. After taking another bite of Basic Semiotics last night, I woke up this morning with this in my head: “Diablo and World of Warcraft are unappealing to me partially because they present truncated and broken mythemes. There is never any resolution to the plot, only the dispatcher endlessly dispatching, the hero endlessly slaying and gaining a reward. But the acquisition of the object is not the conclusion of the plot, it is a tool to solve the problem.”


The Beast said...

I have to disagree a bit on this one. After all, a good roleplaying game can have no foreseeable end but you can enjoy the journey. I think your issue is that these games railroad you down a particular path, making the journey tedious. Even World of Warcraft, with its enormous landscape, is little more than trudging from level to level, trying to acquire better loot just to keep up.

I think the real problem here is that you're getting older and feel that your time should be more productive. Stop it!

John Goodrich said...

But a good RPG campaign can consist of smaller stories, like the books in a series. Mountains of Madness (when competently run) has a narrative structure that progresses. And there can be stories after that one, although they may feel a bit anticlimactic because of the monstrous struggles in that story.

The Beast said...

WoW has all kinds of stories. Every quest is a story, and there are extended adventures that consist of several quests linked together. Many of these are actually well written and interesting, even though 99% of the players completely ignore anything but the synopsis.

A valid complaint, though, would be the fact that these quests never affect the world.

John Goodrich said...

It's not so much that they don't affect the world, as they have no satisfying conclusion. The Queen of Science complains that there are a lot of writers who don't finish their stories, they just end them.

The Red Queen paradox (running faster just to remain in place) in the pursuit of loot that will allow you to kill bigger things in quest of better loot isn't satisfying story progression to me.