Original Post — Direct link

Unfortunately, in the fallout of Lord of Chaos, I’ve felt that the whole Civil War arc has been underwhelming in the story department.

Allow me to explain. It started strong, pitching the two factions. “Daughter of Chaos” brought forth Moia as a central character in this new war and her story in leading armies. Her capturing Avaryss was a good ending to the quest, giving her the upper-hand. Then… well, nothing. The Wilderness showed no signs of there being recent conflicts. No demons fighting Daemonheim forces, no camps, nothing. It didn’t feel as though anything was happening. Even when the Wilderness Flash Events were released, I didn’t feel as if there was a war going on. Now, with the Civil War 3 mini quest finished, we learn the war is over as quickly as it began… with absolutely nothing to show for it.

Personally, I think this whole story should have been a World Event (yes, remember those?) to decide who wins the Civil War.

Furthermore, the player is living the story through… recordings in the form of cutscenes. It just seems like a half-baked attempt to get players to try content related to the story, by going through “Anne Dimitri”, and now it’s all going to be summed up in one final quest? Is that really how this whole Legacy of Zamorak story is going to conclude? Two quests and a few side stories? What about the Werewolves (and their quest for freedom from the Vampyres) and Vengance? Were they just cameos? They’re not even full-blown quests. This story arc is being experienced largely through MINIQUESTS.

We’ve so far learnt nothing new about anyone or anything, just that there’s a war going on in the Wilderness (apparently). This would have been a good time to, for example, maybe port over OSRS’s Wilderness bosses Vet’ion, Venenatis and Callisto, or even a new Revenant boss, recruited by a civil war faction as a commander of a ghostly army to bring havoc to the enemy? Or, perhaps, explore some old Forinthry lore?

I don’t think this is the way forward for RuneScape’s lore and storytelling, not after years of strong quests and additional lore. This whole new approach feels like a downgrade, and I hope lessons will be learnt for the next big story.

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14 days ago - /u/JagexJack - Direct link

Yeah I think this is fair.

I don't think this is so much a storytelling issue as a messaging issue. There's confusion about whether it's "the new storyline" or not, and confusion about the scope, and we haven't figured out internally how to tell you about upcoming stories in a way that sets expectations correctly. Stories are hard to talk about because you generally can't talk about the structure or what purpose this particular chapter serves without spoiling it. We don't really have a model to work from, because in the past there hasn't really been any sort of intentional structure.

In terms of self-contained scope, think of Legacy of Zamorak as something analogous to the Void Knight trilogy. That said it's a bit more confusing than that as part of the point of LOZ is to nudge the world into the position we want it to be for next year's storyline.

In Revenge of the Sith, there's a weird 20 minute section at the end where all the characters quickly sort themselves out and move to the place they're going to be found in New Hope. We could have done something similar in TOTG or Aftermath, quickly checking in with everyone to see where they are at the end of the major storyline, setting up the next one. The idea of LOZ is to just slow that down a little and give it time to play out. Basically it's an epilogue to the epilogue - the events of TOTG/LOC/Aftermath are so inherently disruptive that sweeping straight on to the next thing felt too abrupt.

To be clear this is not the model for storylines going forward. The rough plan is to aim for a 2-year cadence (although there's nuance to that I'll talk about more when it's announced). Imagine a rough plan of storyline every 2 years, with a hard req and causality break in between each one. LOZ is like the transition period between the "old" structure and the new one. It winds down the remainder of the previous plot and sets up the world situation for the next one.

Regarding the civil war itself... I'm sort of inclined to agree, although this is a general problem for the way we tell stories in RS. When I talked in the sixth age livestream about the scale of storytelling being something RS couldn't depict, this is the sort of thing I meant. Arguably we should have pitched something more lowkey, although this is part of the transition in scope. When I say "too abrupt" I mean going straight from "you're fighting a god" to the stuff that's happening in 2023. I definitely do think that the wilderness reborn could have better supported the story being told. Something like a world event was never on the table though.

The miniquests were an attempt to improve on the Cathedral dialogues for the EGW. In broad terms, the storytelling strategy is that every update be part of the storyline at least in a loose sense. However, I don't want the storyline to stand in the way of shipping the right update where possible, so sometimes that "storyline involvement" is a little convoluted, and could be better. This is definitely something we've improved on for 2023. It's partly the storyline itself, partly the identity of the puzzle box (it would have been a lot better if the puzzle box was actually part of the storyline in some way rather than just a mechanical contrivance - my favourite idea in retrospect is that you're carrying around the diabolus).

So uh... TLDR, you're not wrong, and we have learned from this.

14 days ago - /u/JagexJack - Direct link

Originally posted by yuei2

When I first heard of the civil war story, I truly expected it to be an entirely new story-arch that would span multiple quests.

I think maybe going in your expectations were not really...considering the reality of things? When it was announced we knew from the start it was only a 6 month story, and that of the 6 months the first update would be an epilogue to the EGW narrative in ED4/Aftermath and that it would be the month after that which starts the new storyline proper.

So it's really a 5 month story and with that in mind you were never getting more than 3 quests at its best case scenario, and even 3 quests would be a new quest almost every month which wasn't happening with how much more time consuming quests are to create. We're talking like a 3-4 month turn around now so 2 quests were pretty much all we were getting, the civil war narrative wrapper miniquests were essentially just a bonus.

We'd go on adventures for/with the Zamorakians 'and' the demons. We'd get to experience more of the stories, and figure out how this war affects the participants.

Coulda been cool, again was never happening in the outlined time frame there just isn't enough time and the god stuff has been dragged out long enough as it is that it be a mistake to draw out what is ultimately an inconsequential battle.

Like that's the thing here, imagine we spend like a whole year or more on this and the end is "it doesn't matter because Moia took out both competitors and claimed her position of power". That's not a twist that make people happy, drawing it out would be a waste of our time. It was a war K'ril had no chance to win long term, but it had to happen because no way his character would have done anything else. So instead the war is a backdrop to how Moia rises up creating a situation where she would get to enslave a key demon that would give her the leverage she needs to usurp. While also creating environment so insufferable it finally make her snap.

So they were upfront the war isn't the key thing, Moia is. The first quest of the new storyline is called "Daughter of Chaos" highlighting her importance. It's opening cutscene pretty much says "a civil war is going on, but it doesn't matter because that's good for us as it means nothing we need to deal with is happening until it's over. However Moia is the actual dangerous wild card, not the war and their leaders, go meet with her and see if she can be reasoned with".

Like basically you were focusing on the backdrop rather than what the game was saying was the actual plot.

As for how it would affect people the answer is it really wouldn't, as the quest highlighted. The zamorakians are trying to keep the civil war contained and away so they don't draw attention to their enemies, Moia only got on the radar because she murdered some innocent guards near the border. No one in lumbridge is going to care what's going on in the wilderness it's miles and miles and miles away. Maybe there could be hypothetical border towns affect, but since they don't exist in-game there is no good way to do it. Adrasteia's most powerful comment about the war being over was "pitty I'd hope their squabbling would last long enough to not impede my party" which sums up how much the war was a non-factor.

Like basically you were focusing on the backdrop rather than what the game was saying was the actual plot.

Yeah this is pretty much spot on. I think we do bear some responsibility for that because if players are more interested in the backdrop, it suggests we missold it somewhere. It's hard to get right though.

14 days ago - /u/JagexJack - Direct link

Originally posted by BoltonCavalry

I appreciate you taking the time to have your say!

As you say, it seems that something was lost in translation when it came to setting out what this intermediary plot is supposed to be.

I like the idea you have of the Infernal Puzzlebox actually being a part of the story, rather than just something that has bonuses magically put on it as you complete content. The Enriched Shadow Ring, for example, changed as it got more unlocks, whether it be by crafting it through archaeology or enriching it with energy from Erebus. Here, perhaps, completing the requirements for a tier unlocks a new face of the box and, by extension, the relevant tier perk. Then, the “completed” puzzle box has something of relevance to the quest finale (I’m not sure what that would be).

Yes exactly. We realised this structure would work better pretty much immediately, but the quest was already deep in development by that point and it would have been too disruptive to go back and rejig everything. (We did retroactively put a miniquest in the reborn update.)