Heads-Up: I’m trying to be as vague as possible when I touch the area of the story and will not talk about the actual content!
When the latest piece of the Living Story was released last Tuesday, I knew I would not have the time and patience to go through it in one go. On Wednesday, I usually listen to the GuildNews podcast, and I really appreciated them warning their listeners/viewers about spoilers when they started talking about the living story. One day after release, I assume there were still quite a few who hadn’t played through it yet. I quit the podcast at that point, because I did not want to know what would happen.
The funny thing is: I did get spoiled about the ending right before the patch got released. I just didn’t know that this piece was the important new story bit until I reached it myself in the story.
So, did I get annoyed? No. Surprisingly not. I hadn’t known about it until the end, after all. ;)
I think I just watched too many episodes of Columbo as a kid. I remember a friend who made fun of me liking Columbo. He said: How can you like watching that show when you already know who the murderer is within the first minute? I replied: The point is not finding out who the murderer is. The point is finding out how Columbo finds out!
In games – or MMOs rather -, it’s a bit different, of course. Especially in Guild Wars 2, I am not sitting there watching how anybody finds out something. My own character is in the middle of the storyline. It’s not made to be like Columbo. On the other hand, games aren’t like watching TV either. You’re not passive – which may make you get bored when you already know what’s going to happen next. You are actively playing. The fights against the NPCs can still be challenging. There may even be a few good loot drops (spoiler: No, there most likely aren’t. Unless you’re very lucky with the RNG :p). And, of course, there are friends to play with. The latter is probably true for movies as well. I may even have had the most fun watching really bad things on TV with friends, because we would just laugh about it and make jokes. But I digress. The point is that while I’d appreciate not knowing what’s going to happen in advance, it doesn’t bother me much in MMOs. The story and its plot has never been the reason why I’m playing an MMO, after all.
Having said all that, I still very much appreciate all those who start their blog posts with spoiler warnings or say loudly that they will be talking about the story in a bit in their podcast, so you can turn it off in time in case you do not want to get spoiled!