The only things that should inform the Realm Creation Guide is 'will a realm created according to that guide produce a realm that designers will want to design and that players will have fun playing?'. Lore is something which is nice to have in the background of the game, and for those that want it its a nice way for them to flesh out the game, but it shouldn't be a constraint to what realm designers and imposition or barrier to what players in general can actually choose to do within the game imho.
This point isn't really what this thread was intended for, but I guess it comes under 'lore discussion'.
Yes SpiteandMalice, I read what you said on this on the other thread. You mentioned how you 'appreciate' the effort put into the lore, I'm not sure that's the right word for the position you're adopting, at least it doesn't come across that way to me. I'm also a little confused by your other threads related to creatures as this doesn't suggest you don't want lore, but that you want your own lore perhaps?
Maybe I'm getting the wrong impression.
Still, the idea of optional lore is interesting and brings up analogies related to design and play behaviour. Is lore like the music soundtrack? Something you can turn off and put on your own? Or is it like graphics - something you have to have to play the game?
Fundamentally including lore or not in decisions related to realm approval is a choice that goes to the heart of the game's identity and player experience. Lego is a wonderful toy because you can build what's in the instructions or you can add the parts to your pile and build something entirely different.
Games like Tetris and Pong don't require lore, but do have rigid interaction rules. Chaos Reborn has a little of both - a rigid play system (in multiplayer combat) and a story generator (in realm design). If lore is optional, to the latter, the overall identity is diluted in favour of the player's own ideas. The rejection becomes as much part of the identity of the game as the acceptance and ultimately, when the later social hierarchies are determined, that rejection becomes part of the identity of the players who
champion it. Of course, this isn't a total binary, characters can reject and then retcon their way back, but then we end up with 'f'luff' - explanatory lore that exists only to rationalise and adds little to the game experience.
Mindcraft succeeds well in allowing players free access to its tools and shaping a story driven experience (which was its original design premise). However, Minecraft's identity has been determined by its free play and the Chaos Reborn realm designer doesn't quite have the same building block granularity.
Ultimately, the lore should strive to be a broad church, allowing and inspiring player imaginations to work within its constructed frames. It should be accessible and open to interpretation. Chaos Reborn needs a lore base like this and the current ideas for it are an attempt to encourage this. I'm always happy to discuss lore matters further here or by other means to assist in finding ways for player ideas to be accommodated.
That said, I'm a fan of player freedom, particularly as the play style for the came can be casual, so the depth of story may not be part of someone's reason to spend a little time playing Chaos Reborn over lunch.
However, making lore optional in realms would mean those not informed by lore ideas would not be part of the wizard's experience (in the developing story contrivance). Realms that buy into the lore amplify the story message of the game and are an opportunity (later) to develop this further, adding to each player experience. Non lore realms would still add, but would not be part of the transmedia experience as we build fiction stories, audio drama and more adventures alongside the game.
Brenda Laurel's book Computers as Theatre
is particularly informative on this in chapter 4.
So on balance, I'm not in favour of optional lore for Chaos Reborn.