I was catching up on my interviews today. In one of those ZAM interviews floating around I saw this:
we’re not changing or altering things at random and pretending that they didn’t exist. We’re going to make it make sense.
That’s an answer in response to mucking about with lore (aka fluff, backstory, or history).
I’m having trouble putting into words how satisfied and happy ArenaNet’s attitude towards lore makes me.
I am willing to believe that a giant race of man-eating cat-people badly in need of orthodontics can call down fiery meteors from the sky and construct massive steam engines of destruction. I love fantasy and science fiction. I’m willing to believe a lot of crazy stuff under one condition.
Don’t Lie to Me.
THE most important rule in storymaking is Truth. Not Truth in the sense that every made-up world must have a blue sky. If the sky in this world is green well, I’m willing to roll with that so long as said sky isn’t suddenly red tomorrow without a very good explanation.
Do not, under any circumstances, go back to previously published story and either invalidate it or pretend it never happened. If that happens then the player is being lied to. LIED TO. If you lie to a player, or a reader, or a watcher (depending on what medium you are using) you have lost all manner of credibility. You are henceforth not to be trusted with anything you say.
So they sky is yellow today? What happened to those memories I had of slaughtering my foes and admiring the red sky as it reflected off the pools of blood on the ground? Oh, but the sky should have been yellow on that day? I’m left feeling like my memories, my experiences didn’t matter. I feel like I’m no longer connected to the world, my vested interest is gone.
I leave. Likely never to return.
I may be blowing this out of all reasonable proportion. It’s probably not something most people think about. But fantasy and science fiction try to create an alternate reality. Changing the history in order for the present to make sense is not ok. We are not living in Oceania, and I will not tolerate presented history being altered.
I’d like to leave you with an ancient story, see if you can guess what it’s about.
There once lived three sisters on a hill. The oldest sister wore bright green and had yellow hair. She stood straight and tall and lived at the top of the hill. The second sister wore yellow. She made her home under the hill but when the sun shone and the wind blew she liked to run all over the hill and the surrounding fields. The youngest sister wore dark green. She lived on the side of the hill but wasn’t as strong as her oldest sister, nor was she as adventurous as her middle sister.
One day the sun was shining bright, but the youngest sister was crying.
“What’s wrong?” asked the oldest sister.
“I can’t see the sun, our middle sister has covered the whole hill in shade.” wailed the youngest sister.
“I do it because you like your feet to be shaded, and I can keep out intruders!” protested the middle sister.
The older sister nodded. This was true. So she took her youngest sister up in her arms and held her up to the light. “Isn’t that better?” she said. “You can see the sky and the sun, hear the birds and feel the wind.”
The youngest sister was very happy, but she was also a little sad. The oldest sister watched over all of them, and the middle sister kept out intruders and kept the hill comfortable, but what could she, the youngest sister do?
The youngest sister dozed in her oldest sister’s arms until a great crack of thunder woke her. “It’s starting to rain” she said.
“It’s going to be a terrible storm.” The oldest sister said, fear in her voice.
The middle sister was safe in her house under the hill, and the youngest sister could hide in her house on the side of the hill, but the oldest sister had to stay on top of the hill to watch over them. There was no one to protect her.
“I’ll stay with you.” The youngest sister said.
As the rain lashed and the wind howled the youngest sister clung tight to her oldest sister. Because of the arms wrapped around her the oldest sister did not fall and instead was able to stand strong and watchful through the storm until the sun came out again.
The youngest sister was happy to be able to do something to help her other sisters. The three stayed like that: The oldest stood straight and tall, watching over the younger two, the middle sister kept out invaders and shaded the hill-home of the three, and the youngest rested in the oldest sister’s arms until storms came, when she helped her sister withstand the wind.
Here are my three sisters. Be very quiet, they’re still sleeping:
Hill-homes lined up, waiting for rain.