Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by omphaloskepsis

  1. 2. I hate it when Diablo-style games get called RPGs, but it's mostly a pet peeve. I think the advent of action RPGs has diluted the meaning of the term. A lot of people now think that pretty much every game qualifies, which makes the label meaningless. Action RPGs generally remove both the need for player skill (twitch or whatever) by not providing the player agency that allows it, but they also remove thinking, story interaction, and choice/consequence, so they end up being the worst of all possible worlds by design. Not that these games can't be fun or well-made for what they are, I just hate that they're called RPGs. 3. I've had variations of the LARP argument before, so again I'm carrying baggage about the issue. Technically, anybody who's sufficiently lazy can define anything as a game. And you could call staring at a wall and imagining things an RPG. And that's fine if you want to tweak a definition to suit your purpose. The problem is trying to force others to alter established terms to suit your purpose, even if you've got a particular sub-culture backing your definition. But that might sound more harsh than I mean. And words change over time, so it's silly for people to get uptight about it. Anyway, to me, part of the RPG is defining and customizing a character. And the game world should recognize and acknowledge what makes a character unique to the greatest extent possible. As a simple example, when LARPing, if stats don't exist, how does combat get resolved? How does it treat a fast, agile rogue who's lightly armored and skilled with daggers versus a slow, immensely strong knight who's heavily armored? How about if that knight is on horse during the encounter? (I know this is the most stereotypical example possible, but the point is valid.) They could draw cards, or ro-shambo, or have a dance off, but how does any of that reflect the qualities of a particular character? 4. As I admitted above, don't take my dislike of aRPGs too seriously, at least in terms of a formal definition. I like FPS-hybrid RPGs, when well done, because they provide player agency (a lot of control over the character), but also use RPG stats to constrain or amplify that agency according to the particular character. That means I get to use personal skill to play the game, but also get to roleplay in the provided world. I like tactical RPGs because they provide free-form interactive puzzles that are defined by your character design. Some agency might be lost, but often the requirement for engaged thinking is substituted. I don't like action RPGs because they remove or reduce player agency and don't substitute anything for it. You have limited control over the character(s). You press a button, watch an animation (waiting for it to end), press a button, etc. There's usually not much player skill or thinking involved, and often even the character and story scope are narrowed to a linear corridor with very little choice and consequence. Again, action RPGs tend to be the worst of both worlds. 5. I will accept that your knowledge is greater than mine, and that I overstated my point. But I used to own a crossbow, and I don't think I or anybody I knew could have easily put a bolt through the eye of an opponent who was more than a few feet away and actively trying to avoid it. Granted that a near miss is all you need, but I don't think it's as easy as you say. I was reading through some SCA discussion a while back, and a guy was talking about how they did some testing with longbows and armor. They were surprised at how often the plate armor would entirely deflect the arrows from relatively close range. The curvature of the armor was very effective. It's not that the armor was totally safe, it was that a group of folks with bow and armor experience had greatly underestimated how effective the armor was in real life. I think we're all skewed in our judgement by a combination of movies, games, and lack of real-life experience. Even gritty and "realistic" is more like "Disney gritty". But my original point was that one-hit instant kills in games aren't necessarily more realistic than hitpoints. Hitpoints aren't supposed to be about a guy standing there unfazed with an arrow sticking out of his forehead. They're about glancing blows, less than ideal angles, dodging, the sun in your eyes, wind interference, and all of the other factors. Little or none of which are modeled in games.
  2. I've been lurking for a while, but now it looks like I've been drawn out. I agree with most of what you say, but wanted to add my take. First, in general: there are different types of RPGs. Many of us old-school players want pure number systems, though I personally think there's a place for both number systems and hybrid player skill + number systems. IMO, action RPGs aren't RPGs, but but I enjoy FPS-RPG hybrids (Morrowind, Oblivion, FO:NV). Not for all RPGs, but as a valid offshoot when they're not overly streamlined. About the LARPer points: I've seen this type of argument before, so maybe my response is just a personal tic. While LARPing might be a valid form of roleplay, is it an actual form of roleplaying _game_? The RPG term originally came from personalizing wargames rules, mostly centered around miniatures. So the whole stats thing is descended from combat modeling, which requires stats. If a LARPer isn't using stats, and isn't using personal skill, then it's not really much of a _game_ is it? Actors don't need stats, but a writer to some extent does, if they want consistency and logic. When a writer doesn't factor in some form of "stats", they often end up with unintended comedy. For example. Twain's comments on Last of the Mohicans, where among other things, dangerous, agile, Native American warriors are unable to jump from a branch onto a large, slow-moving ship. It may seem off-kilter, but I'm trying to point out that a writer needs to reasonably model the world that they're writing about. And a game needs to do that with even more specificity. I'm not saying that writers need to draw up character sheets, just that stats matter in determining logical (and in a game, consistent and fair) outcomes. If you don't have stats, you're just making it up as you go, and that doesn't sound like much of a game to me. Also, in regard to your point about shooting a person in the eye with a bow and arrow: in the real world, shooting somebody in the eye is very difficult, except under perfect conditions. It's likely that even an expert shot is going to miss entirely, bounce off the eye socket, graze an ear, have the arrow deflect off the helmet, or have any one of a thousand other outcomes. In computer games all those possibilities are usually compressed into either headshot = instakill or enemy X loses Y hitpoints, depending on the game. Eventually game engines might be able to show dodge and deflection animations, which would satisfy (and frustrate) most people. But we're not there yet.
  • Create New...