The story of Rubi-Ka
Going back to Rubi-Ka again in Anarchy Online brought up some old memories, things I had forgotten about. First was of course the introductory movie played when you first started the game. It was a quite nice piece introducing you to the backstory of the game. Nowadays it seems it is no longer in the game client (choosing to play does not do anything), which is a shame. Fortunately it is preserved on YouTube:
Back when the game was originally released, Funcom did a few different things to on the basic MMO experience and the world of Rubi-Ka.
They published a novel, Prophet without Honour, as a starting point for the story and events of this world. Nowadays it is available as a PDF file form the game web site. I did not buy the book back then, but will download it to my e-reader for something to read when there is time.
Another thing that they did was to produce a number of animated short movies – Anarchy Online, the animated series. These were a set of a story which were then also supposedly combined with in-game live events as well, telling some other parts of the progressing story. I say supposedly, since I never had the chance back then to actually participate in one of those live events.
As I recall they suffered from what most live MMO events have suffered from – either you only reach a very small group of your total audicence and the others feels left out. Or you have too many players in one place that performance goes down and it becomes a bit painful for the participants instead.
But the strong foundation backstory have nourished and supported a role-playing community within the game. I do not know to what extent it is alive and kicking today, but at least reading some old posts from a few years back indicates that it was something special.
I have always liked MMOs which has provided an interesting backstory foundation that I may care about and perhasp even some progression of an overarching story in the game. Going back to the game after these years reminds me that a good story foundation is not something new – it is rather something MMOs may have lost for a while and which may be coming back a bit more now in some newer releases.