How About A MMO With Real Eastern IdeasBy: Zanpakutou posted at May 03, 2012 8:17 pm
I have several articles on backlog that I should get around to publishing this month. This is one of them that I have been working on. I have some console reviews, but not sure if I want to publish those because this is mostly an MMO site. Until then, it will probably be mostly rants and various responses to news articles about games that I manage to read. I've also been working on writing some poems and stuff like that to keep my writing skills from deteriorating too much.
One of the terms that people like to throw around a lot is the idea of an Eastern MMO. However, I believe that true Eastern MMOs does not exist. A majority of them are based on the ideas of a Western MMO tied to the class system. None of them even bothers to follow the concepts introduced by the various Wuxia novels that they claim to be based on. Wuxia novels already have an established world and system that is ignored.
Wuxia stories tend to follow a young warrior who faces a tragedy and must work his way to recover from it and grow as a warrior to become one of the greatest in the land, though still second to the established masters in most cases. It is similar to how most Western stories begin and end. However, the difference lies in the process and the fact that the hero always faces a grave tragedy such as the death of a parental figure or friends. These are important elements that make up the genre of Eastern fantasy that is often ignored. The Eastern world is described closer to that of the romanticized idea of Orientalism. It is presented as a mystical and mysterious land with treasures to find and mysteries to solve. They ignore the established world and just create a new fantasy kingdom that does not follow the core ideas of the genre.
The first thing is that the protagonist tends to be a nomad of some kind. They are not tied down to a master or any martial arts school. This is where most MMOs actually follow very well. They are rarely created already tied to a clan and must follow the proper ritual procedures to show their loyalty to a clan before they can join it. However, after that, it becomes meaningless. The clan members are largely disrespected and do nothing in service to the Emperor. The clans that do not swear loyalty to the Emperor are considered to be criminals and they are rarely addressed in favor of the old system of just beating on wild animals. It becomes a standard MMO grind from that point with no option to even earn enough respect to leave the clan and become a wanderer. Instead, once you are in that clan you are in for life and it is simply a job change.
The second factor that is ignored is the code of honor. In the Eastern fantasy setting, warriors follow a code of honor much like knights do. Martial arts are supposed to be used for the good of the people and not for personal gain. The strongest and most respected of individual clans are the leaders. Those that use their skills for personal gain or to attack others become labeled as criminals and outlaws. They are actively hunted and have to go into hiding except for the few of the strongest that can outmatch most of the top disciples and might only be defeated by the masters of their respective clans. Unfortunately, this is ignored and there is no system to enforce the code of honor. Player Killers are often able to get away with no consequences other than earning infamy that prevents them from entering towns. There are no patrols or clan members who actively attempt to hunt these criminals. On top of that, stronger warriors are not supposed to be picking on weaker ones anyways and defeating weaker warriors often means just weakening them and walking away. There are other things such as the idea of forbidden love between a master and a student despite having little to no age gap in some cases. Games tend to ignore all of these concepts.
The most important elements of the story are the conflict of loyalty, love, hatred, and sometimes honor. People are expected to remain loyal to their sect even after they leave them. Some people might hold affiliations with multiple sects, but this is only possible if they are held in high regard by all of the sects involved. These feelings are supposed to last their entire life. The second element is love. It is usually a driving point in the motivation of the main character and their love interest. Sometimes, they end up on opposing sides and even fighting each other. The tragic aspect of the story drives hatred towards certain individuals where they are fighting to show that they are worthy of respect or the fact that they may have accidentally killed an innocent person and someone else has sworn revenge. The system of sworn siblings also makes it more complicated. Honor is only an issue if the main character was raised by someone from a sect or if they are a member of the sect, which is almost never. They are often wanderers rather than tied to the school and that makes the system of honor irrelevant other than for fighting according to the established rules.
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