The Daily Grind: Does an MMO need lore to foster roleplaying?

Commenters in MJ Guthrie's recent Landmark vs. EverQuest Next article brought up an interesting question about lore and roleplay in the two games. EverQuest Next, of course, will be drenched in EverQuestian lore and backstory and high-fantasy building rules, but the player-driven Landmark will have no hardcoded lore at all save what the players create, meaning you're as likely to see a geodesic dome spaceship as an Arabian Nights palace. (In fact, I would like to see both of these, please!)

But strict roleplayers going into Landmark might have a harder time immersing themselves in an unpredictable world where literally anything goes, at least in comparison to EQ Next's more formal storyline and concomitant expectations about the way the world works and how the characters got there. What do you think: Does an MMO need dev-guided lore and a common backstory for all characters to make it truly roleplay-friendly? How will you roleplay a serious character in a world like Landmark's?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!
This article was originally published on Massively.