Integrating Language Learning

I have noticed quite a few inconsistency with the westernization in ArcheAge and it seems the longer I play the more I notice them. It’s just small things at times like a guard still having the Korean voice work for greeting you but other times it is longer conversations or even written areas that are still in Korean.

This seems to annoy quite a few people as with the usual westernization process they seem to catch these types and we get a game completely in English. Something devoid of any eastern elements that annoy Western gamers but at the moment whenever I hear the other language in game the more I enjoy it. The longer it goes on the more I wish it was further part of the world in more fundamental ways.

Yes it was a missed part of the qa process but It just adds an interesting dynamic to exploring the world and engaging with the citizens. Thinking about the reality of a world like that it does seem a little silly to have every single person talking in the same language, in English at all times. A variety of languages just makes sense and hearing  these now and then cues you into the alien nature of the world, different areas of it and the characters. Sure still have the English written come up but leave a little of the vocal flavour.

Language is just a forgotten part now and it took a simple mistake like this to cue me into how great such a thing  would be to be incorporated into our world’s further. Imagine having just random NPC’s as part of the main factions who had jobs and roles but always spoke in another language. Groups going about as tourists, diplomats of far lands or just citizens within their own race of people chatting away in a strange language.

It would be a rather intriguing point as you’d want to know in a way what they were talking about. It’s just my inquisitive nature that would have me in google translate trying to figure it out. What if you even could hide quest instructions within these alternate languages. People worried about whatever issue they have but being unable to ask the regular adventurer.

What about having parts of the game world; certain tribes, map spaces or entire continents that speak in another language unknown to you and that wouldn’t give many cues to figure it out. imagine if all those as colonial ghosts in gw2 all spoke in old Krytan… That would be awesome. I think that would make for an interesying, and eye opening gaming experience. Sure the internet would spoil the information but it would be rather Immersive to be a part of.

It also makes me think how interesying it would be to then have certain Word Smith, or language learning style crafts and professions. ArcheAge has two main languages for each continent and one for each race at the moment and it’s great that they went to the effort of creating a system around learning  these. At first you might have noticed those random symbols that represent the opposite faction but there is a process to uncover meaning. You learn with an npc over time as well as craft, I think books and such and over time those words start to make sense. Certain letters become shown at first, then a words with missing points to finally having something resembling the conversation. Funnily, even at max craft in an alternate language it’s still not perfect and will have inconsistencies but the message is in tact.

We have a guild member who has focused solely on learning these languages and while you would think it would be pointless it has actually helped us plan and coordinate and the opposite faction will sometimes say things out loud in order to organise. It gives us an advantage.

It’s a simplistic use and more done for the social elements but something that could be expanded on in New interesting ways within the world. Imagine needing someone in your party that knew the language in order to quests in an area… Or gain better rewards. Or even to stop a group being  hostile with you. There really is a lot you could do with it.

Some of the most interesting experience of my life have been when I was engaged in a different culture abroad. Just being overwhelmed with new sights, sounds and experiences as well as the challenge of understanding. MMO’s do have a lot of this; strange sounds, strange sights and strange customs but not enough to really immerse and at times challenge, and I think language is a piece missing from that puzzle.

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5 thoughts on “Integrating Language Learning

  1. It is interesting you mention language and culture today. I had a similar thought playing SWTOR the other day. In SWTOR there are cutscenes in which the alien races will speak in their own language which adds a lot to the overall Star Wars experience of the game.

  2. Great post and so true. When I first heard the NPCs speaking in an unfamiliar language in ArcheAge I asked in chat if it was one of the in-game languages or just untranslated Korean. Shame it was the latter. Now when hear it I just pretend it’s an in-game language my character doesn’t understand and that works pretty well.

    If you go back to when I started this hobby around the Millennium the scenarios you imagine were fairly core to the MMORPG experience. Everquest didn’t just have umpteen races and factions it had umpteen languages to go with them and if your character didn’t know those languages you couldn’t get quests or understand anything those NPCs said. Moreover, in all forms of chat you could optionally speak in any language your character knew and anyone whose character didn’t also know that language would just see a string of gibberish. When the RP server, Firiona Vie, launched it took things a step further and removed the Common language so you could only communicate with other players if their character shared a language with yours.

    As with so very many aspects of MMORPGs we’ve arguably gone backwards since the early days. There’s certainly room for far more imaginative and creative use of both in-game and real world languages in MMOs. That said, GW2 makes extensive use of in-game languages to plant hints, clues and lore, so the concept hasn’t entirely disappeared. Let’s hope for a resurgence.

    • I didn’t know Everquest had that as well.. that’s pretty cool.

      Gw2 didn’t incorporate different languages but usually just as a puzzle element, decode the message style thing

    • From reading your posts and comments that drop little examples of features like this, Bhagpuss, I am beginning to understand why so many people loved (and still love) Everquest.

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