In WoW (World of Warcraft), players skip all quest descriptions, and mindlessly spam "auto attack button", ignore the environment, lore, NPCs as they never existed. I.e., they enter a brain dead "mode". If you ask someone of them what he saw, he won't be able to remember a thing. Except the "Lvl 60" number.

I noticed that in my game, if I include lot of mobs i.e. 1 pack for every 10 seconds of distance traveled, the same effect happens. Players ignore all lore and are inflicted with amnesia.

I also noticed that if my dungeon starts empty e.g. the first 30 meters completely barren of mobs, the players go Lore heavy mode and spend every inch and cranny to find everything.

Question: How can I make a player switch to Normal Brain mode (craves for lore) after a group of enemies have been killed?

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    \$\begingroup\$ There was an interesting example of this the Inkle devs described in one of their talks about 80 Days, though the genre isn't a direct match so it's not a complete answer on its own. They originally had a batch of story play out when you arrived at a destination, and saw the same behaviour of players rushing through without reading. When they changed the system to give you your gameplay options immediately, including an option for a story encounter that could add additional gameplay options, most players took the opt-in story and actually read it. Because they chose it, to pursue their goals. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 11:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ SOME players do this. Others, like me will always read lore and spend time making sure I've got every last bit of information I can. \$\endgroup\$
    – Korthalion
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 12:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ WoW player here, I always read all of the lore the first time I do the quest. After that, on alts, the lore gets out of my way unless I choose to consume it. Other players can choose to get it all the time, or choose to ignore the lore completely. Are you searching for a way to make sure the players who don't care about lore don't play your game, and players who enjoy the gameplay still have to go through all of the lore on repeated playthroughs? \$\endgroup\$
    – PeterL
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ First WoW creators created orcs, elves, demons etc, but then they shoved pandas and then even scandinavian mythology (Odin, Hela) into it, how such lore can be taken seriously? Orcs, Pandas and Odin, man! Lesson learned: be serious about your game's lore and maybe your players will be serious about it too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bob
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 17:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not a game developer, but to me it is not clear how people can skip the lore. If I were to exaggerate I would say that if the lore has no influence on the gameplay you should publish it separately as a book. \$\endgroup\$
    – 11684
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 21:35

10 Answers 10


While the other answers give you good advice how to achieve your stated goal, I'd like you to consider a different angle.

Experience vs. Test of Skill

Games can be put on an axis that goes from "experience" to "test of skill". All the old arcade games are almost completely on the "test of skill" side. Understandable, if the player being upset is not as important as that he just put 14 coins in the machine. However, coins are completely irrelevant for gaming at home, while word of mouth or a journalist saying they really enjoyed it (= the experience) could boost your sales. Games always have at least a bit of both though. The issue you describe is a clash of the two.

Your players are in "test of skill" mode, which is a lot like sports. You are "on edge", stuck to the controls, constantly making new decision. Missing the right moment would have bad consequences. If there's some text irrelevant to the current chaos, you just want to get rid of it, so you can focus on the task at hand again.

Now you want them to read the lore, which is more on the "experience" side: Sit back in the chair, scratch that itch you had, take a sip from your drink. That's quite a mood change, and that's not too easy for the brain. To be honest, when I read "every 10 seconds", that sounded incredibly stressful at first.


So my advice would be to make the switch less frequent.

Safe vs. unsafe Locations

For example, look at how a lot of RPGs do it: Display most of the lore in the safe city and then you go out to the wilderness for fighting. You fight through a dungeon without too many interruptions by lore. You defeat the boss and now the dungeon is safe, the player more at ease, so that's good timing to let the defeated boss reveal some more lore. But even then, in a lot of cases the bigger part of the story progression happens when you're back in the city.

Story "to go"

Telling your story "on the way" is very entertaining though, don't bin that completely! It's actually really engaging if you go with the writing advice "show, don't tell": Instead of explaining in a text how the man is dead, he was shot by an arrow and from the arrow you see it was goblin, prefer to have your party see him being shot by a goblin when they enter the scene.

That's more work though, you'll have to decide if it's worth it. However, if it's not worth it, it's probably still better to have the player pick up a rune stone and the old wise man back in the city will decipher it later, instead of interrupting the fighting flow. This rune is then something they fought for, so they'll probably want to read it - just not right now.

Lowering the amount of switches between test of skill and experience will also make it less work for the players who only play for the technical part and just don't care about the story. In the end, it's not like these people will pay less for your game because they aren't using it 100%.


I'd advise you to have a look at Bartle's taxonomy of player types. For example, lore would generally not be as important to the "Killer" type ("They thrive on competition with other players"), but I'd expect more than a fair share of those in an MMORPG.

EDIT - Healthy Mix

User Mooing Duck mentioned a game where story was narrated while you play the game. This made me realize that my answer could be interpreted more extreme than it was intended. So, just to be clear: "Experience" and "Test of Skill" are not an either-or thing - it's an axis and every moment in your game will be somewhere in between the two. The situations discussed previously were more towards either side of the axis, but that is not an issue. The issue was big change of where you are on the axis, done often and abrupt.

What Mooing Duck mentioned is more in the center. Being closer to the center allows you to make the switches smaller. Maybe you can even get rid of them altogether, which makes for a really coherent experience (the general meaning of the word "experience" this time).

However, you're working on an MMORPG. The people who are only interested in the sports part - taking down a boss with a team, repeatedly, because they want to get better at it - can be expected to make up a considerable part of your player base. If your narration is only decent, but not great, they might easily prefer no narration at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To expand on the Bartle taxonomy point, lore is mostly of interest to "Explorer" players (who want to know more about the game world) and to a lesser extent "Socializer" players (a roleplayer will want to know the world's lore to get their character to fit in better). "Killer" players don't care about lore, and "Achiever" players only care to the extent that it provides or influences their goals. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 21:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davor I've never seen a game designer shun social sciences because of Bartle, but they do use the knowledge to make better games. You could go ahead and doubt the correctness of its scientific method elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure they'd first make you understand that writing a scientific paper is the exact opposite of pulling things out of your ass. I'm also not sure what you mean by "exclusionary" - if somebody's test says they're in the "achiever" quadrant, that doesn't mean they only achieve and never kill, socialize or explore. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 9:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davor The replication rate does not determine if you followed the scientific method or not. Uncle Billy Bob might be drunk at the bar "pulling things out of his ass". Writing a paper according to the scientific method is a very, very different process. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 12:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @R.Schmitz - you can pretend all you like that all journals and all areas are of the same quality, but that is plainly absurd. People have published complete and utter garbage in "reputable" "social science" journals before. And scientific method is about the process, not quality of data. Garbage in, garbage out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Davor
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 12:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ On "Story to Go": When I played Wow, I couldn't be bothered to read all that quest text. When I played Everquest 2, I could start the quest, and then run off and persue the goals, while the npc babbled the quest details verbally in my headphones, and I LOVED THAT. So: don't make players choose between story and action. Merge them together. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 20:41

Players will mentally filter out any information which doesn't seem to be relevant for reaching the objective of the game. In an MMORPG, the objective is to level up and acquire equipment. All elements of the game are judged by how useful they are for achieving those objectives.

When following the game's narrative doesn't help to achieve these goals, then players will learn to ignore it.

However, there are games where players pay a lot more attention to the narrative. You can see that mostly in single player RPGs like the Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls or Fallout series. The reason is that these games prompt the player to make decisions based on the information they received through the narrative. And these decisions can have consequences, both narratively (e.g. "Which NPCs will agree or disagree with this course of action?") and mechanically (e.g. "What content will become available depending on my decision?"). So the player is forced to follow the narrative in order to obtain the information they need to make the decision they want to make.

So if you want your players to follow your narrative, make sure it contains information which is relevant for the decisions they have to make over the course of your game. Keep in mind that this is something you need to teach your players early and need to reinforce constantly. When you suddenly surprise the player with a decision in the middle of the game based on the narrative they were trained to ignore, they will rightfully feel cheated.

I'm looking forward to playing your game.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate the effort to clarify the question title, but I think the new form might attract answers that focus on subjective evaluation of lore interest, without addressing the kind of "play mode change" OP has observed in players. "Interest" can take many forms, while the particular behaviours described - skipping past dialogue / rushing ahead down the dungeon vs. hunting for clues - are more specific. Do you think there might be a phrasing that helps capture this focus? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DonFusili Thinking that players would prioritize enjoyment over efficiency is a common misconception in game design. Given the opportunity, players will optimize the fun out of a game. This applies even moreso in multiplayer environments where players experience a strong peer pressure to be successful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you meant to write, "in a formulaic MMORPG as seen by goal-oriented players, the object is to...". ;-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Dronz
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 21:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Vanilla wow actually had this but people nowadays don't want to read quest description to know where to go. They want a big arrow pointing to the direction and a marker on the map. If the game doesn't include it, a custom addon would do it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sulthan
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 22:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sulthan Indeed, you can consider the general case - any wiki/game guide at all. Once you can easily get the information while bypassing the quest dialogues etc., there's little reason not to make it an outright game mechanic - the loss is tiny, and accessibility is helped. There are games that explicitly avoid these mechanics to fill the niche :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Luaan
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 8:36

The simple answer is: you can't.

Some players enjoy lore, reading non-stop about a fantasy adventure and weird scenarios that unfold in front of them. Other players enjoy a hard puzzle that makes them think, without caring why they have to solve it. Others want to kill weak monsters and become stronger, so they can take down that one dragon that looked intimidating.

There is nothing you can do to stop this, and there is nothing you should do. Attempting to manipulate all players to think the same, will just make people hate your game.

I'm a person that do not enjoy reading a lot when playing video games. If there's lore, there's high chance I'll skip it. If the game developers decided I was a "brain-less zombie" and forced the text on my screen for several minutes, it's just my clue to close the game and throw it out of the window, as it's clearly not made for me (and people that think like me).

As long as players are having fun, why does it matter if they "have a brain" or not?

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    \$\begingroup\$ hey, you can get 'lore' with 3d graphics too by using environmental design, even if no text present. Most players never 'let' themselves get immersed by the environment, and feel its "ambient mood", to understand what it means, what happened here, symbolism, they just skip forward. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 14:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user2186597 Reasons for why people would skip parts of the game is because they are not interesting to these players. It could be that the players just want to fight, or simply they are not enjoying the lore. So the only answer to that would be "Make something more interesting, or find out what your target audience is". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2186597 The graphics only show you what things look like, which is a limited window into the lore. Arguably you can show someone a cutscene, but there are players who do not care for cutscenes, so they will skip if they can or they will go away and make a sandwich while they wait for it to finish. Some players like the lore so much that they read all the books in Skyrim, some hate reading the books but still pay attention to spoken lore, and some just want to kill stuff and watch the world burn. You can't change the players, you just have to accomodate them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pharap
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 16:37

Let them choose how much they see

Yes, they should be able to skip any dialogue, for those who want that, but that's pretty black and white - it tends to be either skip everything or skip nothing - it's hard or impossible to tell beforehand what would be actual useful or interesting information.

If you instead separate your dialogue into tiers, that could help matters:

  • At the "base" tier, you have the core storyline, and a very brief message for optional quests.
  • After this, players can either say "Ok" or some variant of "Tell me more" (ideally avoid an actual "tell me more" message, and have something an actual human being would ask in typical conversation).

Stick to the interesting stuff

Some games might have really interesting lore, but then they start telling me about some farmer's wife who went to pick berries last night, but never came home, and how much they love each other, and how faithful she is, and that she always comes home, and it was close to this bandit camp, and he's very worried about her, etc., etc., etc. - at that point I not only stop caring about that specific piece of dialogue, but also all dialogue that game has.

Stick to what's actually interesting, don't just fill pages of text because you feel you need to explain every little thing in detail - a simple "Can you go look for my wife? She went to pick berries by the bandit camp." will do just fine if you don't have much interesting to say about that.

This also applies to your "main" lore - in some cases it might be better to remove some of the less important details in order to have a more concise and digestible story. Although finding a good balance between too few and too many details would probably be a topic all on its own. You can combine this with the point above - letting players choose how much they see.

Split it into byte-sized chunks

Don't try to tell players a giant chunk of your lore all at once.

Let them regularly run into an NPC or book or whatever to give them a little more information.

Also try to stick to things that are actually relevant to what's currently happening.

Do more than text scrolls

A game is not a book.

You'll lose the interest of a lot of players if you expect them to stop the game and just sit there and read for a while. Having a decent voice actor read the dialogue is much, much better, but still doesn't solve the underlying problem.

Instead, show them cut-scenes - well, a game is not a movie either, but a cut-scene is much better than some NPC just standing there talking.

Or have dialogue during gameplay. This can either be a few words here or there, or it can be continuous speaking. Although there are a few caveats:

  • Players should actually hear it - in plenty of games the voice-over gets drowned out as soon as action happens.
  • Avoid multiple overlapping voice-overs. This should go without saying, but some major releases have managed to get this wrong.
  • No conversations here - it breaks immersion if you're going to have a conversation happen in the background when the character you're talking to is nowhere to be seen. It should be closer to someone telling a story.
  • Don't distract players - if you're trying to have an elaborate voice-over in the middle of an intense boss battle, that's not going to work (although you can still throw a line here and there). Also don't go to the other extreme and have the players just run with nothing else happening but the voice-over. It should be somewhere in between - some action, but nothing too distracting.
  • Have an NPC keep talking - this isn't a caveat, but rather an idea - when you start talking to an NPC, they will keep talking even if you run away. Be sure to keep in mind the caveats mentioned though (especially "no conversations").
  • Allow players to dismiss it, and disable it - if some dialogue is getting distracting, players should be able to stop it, and you should have an option so players who don't want to hear it don't have to stop every dialogue.

Flavour text

One can tell an entire story using one or two sentences on every item, and players would feel kind of part of the story if they know this blade they're using belonged to that great warlord you told them about.

And maybe the item itself has an effect corresponding to what you said about that character.

It's about the game world, too

Yes, your lore might be interesting, but it'll probably be quickly forgotten if the lore seems disconnected from the gameplay.

If, instead, the lore tells of this character who was in a war where he got his leg injured, and, when seeing this character, you can see the scar, they walk with a limp, and maybe this information is incorporated into a boss-fight with that character in some way, that's going to be much more memorable.

Or if you speak of a past civilization, and you could be cool to find some of their artifacts, some glyphs on walls, one of their cities, one of the last remaining members, etc.

Or the lore speaks of a great battle, and later you get to visit the site of the battle.

You could also have what you do affect the world - maybe you go back to a village after doing some quests for them, and you actually see the longer-term effects of what you did - maybe you find the villagers going further out into the forest after defeating the bandits.

The most important aspect here is perhaps the effects of your overarching plot on the game world - if your story is about overthrowing some ruthless evil ruler, that wouldn't be very convincing if everyone you run into is just going about their day-to-day life, everything just looks "normal" and the quests are unrelated to this. It would be much more convincing if you constantly run into this ruler's soldiers, and especially find them tormenting the innocent, if you find some villages burnt to the ground and if the quests generally come about as a result of what the ruler did - either somewhat directly (kill some soldiers occupying a city) or indirectly (kill some bandits, which the villagers can't do themselves because the ruler enlisted or killed all able-bodied men in that village).

You can't keep everyone interested

You just can't, some just care about the gameplay and that's okay.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Being conscientious about presentation is an excellent point. Some games are practically unplayable for me because of slow, unskippable, teletype-style text. (Or the skip is all-or-nothing, rather than a speedup.) -- Another, related issue is cuing players into relevance. If you have 10 NPCs with pointless flavor text for every one with relevant info, you're going to train players to skip NPC interactions as pointless. Or if most of the time NPCs mindlessly loop their (long) dialog, your players won't bother re-interacting with the NPCs which do change their dialog. \$\endgroup\$
    – R.M.
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 15:23

I like TomTsagks answer.

But i want to add: make it obvious that there is lore to find. I really love lore, but if i'm in a dungeon i don't always expect it, so i'm not looking for it. It can get less obvious later on, but shot them, there can be something to find.

Use the lore to make the game easier. Give hints to puzzles, or to the weaknes of the next boss. This way people don't have to read it, but if they decide to look for lore and read it, they have an advantage.


A practical answer: avoid long expositions. People usually come to a game to play, not to read. If they wanted to read a wall of text, they would have grabbed a book. They may not be against reading some short stuff from time to time, but they won't stand walls of text in which you describe in a flowery fashion the same fantasy tropes and cliches they have read thousands of times before.

Usually in MMO themeparks, the fun starts when you are high level enough, after they have been burn out of bringing rat pelts to NPC, so time is gold, and nobody wants to take twice as long to read a slow-starting story to get to the good stuff, so they just skip the story for a while, and before they notice, they have skipped over all the non-superfluous bits of information that led them to the end game, and they understand nothing of what is happening in the climax, so they just keep skipping all the really interesting stuff, because without understanding the rest of the story, it is not as interesting. They still have a blast because the end game gameplay is worth it, and they haven't been burnt out by skipping quickly the early filler.

What I am trying to say is, if people want to play, they will play, and if people want to relax, wind down, and maybe kill some time reading, they will read. If you make your lore understandable in an "offline" or "asynchronous" fashion, where the players go after your game's expositions after they are done with everything else and not the other way around ("read my long speech on why I am so badass and the leader of our faction before going into that kickass battlefield to punch giant freaking monsters!"), many players will try to read in the inevitably long downtimes between activities, as long as the amount of exposition doesn't scare them (as in, don't write "ingame books" that are several pages long, because few players tend to read those). Making exposition happen on the "after-climax" parts of the game, in very spaced out two-paragraphs-at-absolute-most bits will increase the probability of people getting interested in your lore. People seem even more receptive to lore being delivered sentence by sentence (think Magic: The Gathering card descriptions, Dark Souls equipment description, etc), as it seems it is complicated to stop the brain from reading small bits of text, and before they realize, they will have read it whole, thus increasing their knowledge of the lore, and easily increasing the probabilities of them caring about the lore.

Another possible technique would be to make actual dialogues. One of the reasons many people skip NPC dialogues is because, well, they are not really dialogues, and because they are playing to live their story, and not hear monologues about someone else's. The player likes agency, which is why the player is playing a game and not watching a movie, so why don't ask him to provide some input on what he thinks about what he is reading? Given, the resulting dialogue tree will be complicated, but letting NPC talk in short bits, then asking the player how to respond with things that are not just meaningless yes/no options, or options to acquire more information that reveal more options to acquire more filler information, that could be perfectly skipped even by lore-addicted players if not for the actual quest-giving dialogue appearing only after all of them have been heard, could increase your player's engagement. Comes to mind a dialogue option in FTL: Faster Than Light, where the usually useless after the first reading flavour text describes a planet with X (where X is a random number) amount of moons, then asks the player in the next dialogue window how many moons there are. If they answer correctly, they are rewarded, otherwise, they are punished. This sends a clear signal and teaches the lesson that you should read the flavour texts more often, which would be integral to the game had it happened more often, but as it stands, it is mostly a "prank" on the developer's side. If, for the most part, you present your player with simple yes or no choices, where yes is always the good option, players will just learn to press Yes on every dialogue window; however, if you ask them whether they want to capture the Neutralnation's military supplies convoy and risk war, torture some Evilnation prisoners, or slap the NPC for their insolence, then maybe, just maybe, they will want to read the text above the dialogue options to find out why the hell you have reached this situation. In other words, people will be much, much more receptive to reading if it is showcased through CYOA mechanics, and choosing the "right" (or, probably better designed, all equally right, but differently interesting to different kinds of players) options truly matters to decide what will happen next.

Alternatively, offer your lore passively via showing, not telling. If your player sees two massive stone statues of giants clashing their swords in the background, where each of them looks like the statues you can find in many temples dedicated to different gods, they will understand that there were conflicts between these two gods almost instinctively. They may understand these are not regular statues, and in fact are the bodies of these two gods, who fought for so long, they both petrified before even being able to finish the fight; maybe some players will need extra pointers to understand something this specific, but all of them will begin to understand why the followers of each of these two gods are enemies. And it just took them a few seconds of looking around to reach this conclusion without suffering through paragraphs and paragraphs of purple prose! Wow, that's efficient!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's ironic that an answer starting with "avoid long expositions" is itself really long. I concur though, I find 80-90% of the books in the Elder Scrolls series too tedious to read. I like the short ones (Aedra and Daedra) and the funny ones (theif of virtue, the lusty argonian maid, Alduin is real), but the long, dull and cryptic ones bore me to tears (biography of the wolf queen). \$\endgroup\$
    – Pharap
    Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 16:53

How about including quests and puzzles that have optional, additional rewards that requires in game lore? This way, you reward them with the items that they desire and they will be paying attention to the lore of the game.

Here is an example. Imagine your game is in ancient Greece. Out of say 25 symbols, 3 symbols are sea, horse and trident. And the puzzle asks you to select 3 of these symbols.

Edit as suggested by NotThatGuy:

Indeed it is very difficult to balance these. However, there is a way to reduce the impact of any balancing issues. Say, if you earn two pieces of loot from the dungeon, a third piece would depend on the lore. Make it known upfront and make it optional with a timeout. So, if the player was paying attention, they will get the loot, if not, there will be no time to go back or google the answer. Also some sort of randomized question generation would help against google searches too.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There are a few risks here - the knowledge required is just some random trivia that has little to do with the actual lore (apart from on a very basic level), the logic might only make sense to the creator, or it might require too much knowledge from the lore, which turns that into an exercise in Google search or backtracking. The last one especially can be hard to avoid (especially because ability to remember varies greatly between people). If you have tips to avoid these things, you might want to edit them into the answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 15:48

There are a few ways I can think of to make lore "easier" on your players:

  • Try to use cut-scenes or spoken dialogue over written text. If you absolutely need text, the Nielsen Norman group did an article on making text targeted towards lower literacy users.

  • Try to limit the amount of lore used in your game. Normally in a movie, lore is only revealed when it is necessary to the story. So if you're facing a boss or entering a new area, you may be able to expose lore as a hint rather than an info dump.

  • If you use cut-scenes and/or spoken dialogue, try and place longer media after strenuous events. If you've just managed to defeat a boss that's taken multiple lives to beat, you'll be more inclined to relax your fingers and watch a cut-scene.

  • Humor, while not appropriate in every situation, can make people want to listen to lore, if only for an ironic laugh once in a while. (Bonus Points: If a humorous phrase becomes popular, it becomes great branding material)

  • If you have randomly generated quests, which I assume will be common for an MMORPG, do the opposite of the previous tip. Make the objective clear and simple, just use a maximum of say, 3 sentences to describe what needs to be done.


Don't make your lore passive.

Think of it like light. You're in a dark lit room, full of nuance and subtlety, and suddenly you're struck by a bright flash of light, the garish glare of combat. When you are done, your eyes are still used to the bright. If your lore is still part of the dark room, they'll never sense it.

The lore needs to reach out to them, not just patiently wait in the dark.

The best way to do this will depend on what technology you have available to you, and your writing style. Final Fantasy games tended to do it with beautiful cut-scenes. Diablo II took that to an extreme, where the story is almost entirely in the cut-scenes. Others might find it effective to have the story lead the players to the next task.

In the early days of Everquest, every now and then a GM would lend their hand to make a roleplaying story great, whether it's surprise NPC visitor at a wedding or a dragon that's out of place. It didn't happen often, but it happened just enough to make it feel like the lore was alive and reaching out to you.

You might have a lore system where the lore actually plays a part in how you go through the dungeon. This then gives you feedback as to how well they are listening. If they're not listening well, maybe give them more reminders.


Make the lore interesting and people will get interested.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the players are already skipping past all the story, how will they notice that you made the lore more interesting? \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Players are skipping because they think it is not interesting. You have about 1 minute of time at the beginning of your game to convince them otherwise, a.k.a. intro. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Counterpoint: maybe this player does find the lore interesting. We can imagine a player so engrossed in the world and story that they've internalized the urgency of their heroic quest to defeat evil and will race through any obstacle to save the world — including paging past all the dialogue and skipping trinkets along the way. This player doesn't lack interest in the setting, they just find the particular instances not instrumental to their quest. Making the lore richer won't slow this player, but making its delivery contribute to their in-character goals might. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory I think you have a point. But I imagine the player type you describe is very rare. I have never seen one for myself. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 16:28

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