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Character progression in CRPGs


Diogo Ribeiro

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This thread is inspired by an ongoing Codex thread regarding character progression and the minimal elements of an RPG. While this would likely spark a discussion of different perspectives regarding the subject, initially I wanted to know your opinions on what kind of character progression do you prefer to see in computer roleplaying games. This isn't about deconstructing the RPG label so let's avoid going there.

 

One of the distinguished features of character progression, and one that is more often used is trough purely statistical advancement, which is based on characters increasing in abilities which are set on underlying character systems such as experience, skill or improve by use systems. This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields. While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills which considerably undermines the whole point of a diverse statistical progression by only focusing on some skills which are arbitrarily defined as necessary to succeed in a game (as opposed to allowing a much wider range of skills to contribute to success).

 

On the other hand we have another feature of character progression in the form of personal development, which is based on character knowledge, personality and choices which are meant to show character improvement in a non-statistical way. This method tends to rely on expressing character advancement by allowing players to define their PCs by interactions and situations which may provide a different level of advancement and sense of increasing abilities and possibilities. Sometimes a PC may accomplish something which only has information, allegiances or favors as rewards. I'd argue that this also helps establish the growth of a character in the context of a changing and influencing entity in the gameworld.

 

In the end, do you require that 'experience' be a numerical value which is statistically represented in your character sheet, and thus be much more easilly recognized; or can you accept that 'experience' may not be always defined trough statistics but sometimes by meaningful interactions with the gameworld which can advance the character in the same way a statistical increase would? Character progression requires that the character grows in some way - but can you accept that a character of high moral fiber developed across his decisions in the gameworld is as strong as a high level warrior with high attributes and skills? Would you find it acceptable that overcoming numerous hordes of enemies could be replaced by overcoming numerous character decisions, traumas, and introspection?

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I

 

liked

 

what they did in GTA: San Andreas with the clothes that CJ wore. In each area - Los Santos, countryside, San Fierro, Las Venturas - I felt the need to buy new clothes that were appropriate to wherever it was that I was currently had my home base at. So in Los Santos, I'm wearing bling-bling gang colours, but when I get to the country, my bright green hoody and oversized jewellry looks out of place, so I slip into a shirt and jeans. In San Fierro, I'm the proprietor of a small business and a contact of the local Triad, so I get a nice denim shirt, shades and a beard. By the time I hit Las Venturas, I'm a m-f-ing secret agent, jumping out of planes and blowing up dams and robbing banks and stuff, so I get a nice sharp black suit and a cool haircut.

 

The end result is when I return to Los Santos and try to convince Sweet to abandon Grove Sweet for someplace else, the contrast between good ol' loyal Sweet's traditional gang colours and my "I got out of the ghetto and never looked back" CJ's suit really hits home. I found it much more interesting and got far more out of that aspect of character progression than I did when I got 'Hitman' skill in pistols or maxed out my muscle stat.

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One of the distinguished features of character progression, and one that is more often used is trough purely statistical advancement, which is based on characters increasing in abilities which are set on underlying character systems such as experience, skill or improve by use systems. This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields. While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills

 

I don't agree with that. What about all those intelligence/speech/science/barter based rolls in Fallout for more dialogue options?

There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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I don't agree with that. What about all those intelligence/speech/science/barter based rolls in Fallout for more dialogue options?

 

This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields.

 

While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills
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In the end, do you require that 'experience' be a numerical value which is statistically represented in your character sheet, and thus be much more easilly recognized; or can you accept that 'experience' may not be always defined trough statistics but sometimes by meaningful interactions with the gameworld which can advance the character in the same way a statistical increase would? Character progression requires that the character grows in some way - but can you accept that a character of high moral fiber developed across his decisions in the gameworld is as strong as a high level warrior with high attributes and skills? Would you find it acceptable that overcoming numerous hordes of enemies could be replaced by overcoming numerous character decisions, traumas, and introspection?

 

Oh.. Not another "What is an RPG?" thread...You know there is no answer. Why, Roleplayer, Why?

 

Anyhow, this is related to the big debate we had here when Ender was still around in regards to whether or not stat-based gameplay was the defining characteristic of computer RPGs. I disagree, as I believe a RPG is simply a game in which the character's skills, actions, and decisions influence the gameworld, story and/or those around him in a significant manner. As a result, character progression via interaction with other NPCs and/or the gameworld is the more important factor with stat-based gameplay, battles, or even the ability to create one's own character from scratch being just useful additions.

 

Since the underlying motive behind PC RPGs is to mimic the tabletop experience as closely as possible, and being that there are quite a few tabletop RPGs that are not dominated by stat-based gameplay (or battles) at all, makes me believe there is no reason why PC RPGs need to require character progression via a well-defined statistical system.

 

Pirates! Gold is an excellent example of what I personally deem as an RPG although it doesn't have very strong stat-based gameplay.

Edited by Lancer

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Oh.. Not another "What is an RPG?" thread...You know there is no answer. Why, Roleplayer, Why?

 

This isn't about deconstructing the RPG label so let's avoid going there.

 

You misunderstand. As I clearly pointed out in the initial post, the aim of this thread is not to attempt to define what is a roleplaying game. As the very first paragraph stated

 

I wanted to know your opinions on what kind of character progression do you prefer to see in computer roleplaying games.
Edited by Role-Player
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Oh.. Not another "What is an RPG?" thread...You know there is no answer. Why, Roleplayer, Why?

 

This isn't about deconstructing the RPG label so let's avoid going there.

 

You misunderstand. As I clearly pointed out in the initial post, the aim of this thread is not to attempt to define what is a roleplaying game. As the very first paragraph stated

 

I wanted to know your opinions on what kind of character progression do you prefer to see in computer roleplaying games.

 

Sorry, a misunderstanding, obviously. :">

 

But this is still quite *related* to the whole "what is an RPG argument.."

 

Since I believe that the defining attribute of a RPG is the character's ability to interact with other NPCs and gameworld with actions that influence both, I'd prefer to see more emphasis on the this aspect of it since I believe it to be the more important component in delivering a truly meaningful gaming experience.

 

But, in all honesty, I like to have stat-based gameplay added in as well because the more control I have over my character, the better.

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Being the coked up fiend that I am I have already stated that I would rather NOT see my stats. I think they get in the way of perceiving the character as a character and not as a vehicle which you tool around in like a tank.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Being the coked up fiend that I am I have already stated that I would rather NOT see my stats. I think they get in the way of perceiving the character as a character and not as a vehicle which you tool around in like a tank.

 

The stats have to be shown to you in one way or another. If you're strength training, your strength goes up; whether that is shown on your character model or a numbered scale. Whats the difference?

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I don't agree with that. What about all those intelligence/speech/science/barter based rolls in Fallout for more dialogue options?

 

This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields.

 

While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills

 

Yeah so, what's the point of your quotation? You say it seems statistics in RPGs only has an application in combat-related skills, and I've given you an example where it seems you're utterly wrong.

There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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In any case, I have no PnP experience (or negligeable, anyway).

 

I have no allegiance to roleplaying in and of itself. It holds no point at all to me. This is why I can't stand games like Morrowind, where everything is all pointless 'roleplaying'.

 

That's why I will always favor the second type of character progression. The first one is only a tool to me, and as long as it's somewhat enjoyable and does not get in the way of the second one, then I'll be fine with it. The problem arises when the game's design attributes importance only to the first type. Then the RPG fails.

 

Essentially, I want roleplaying within a storytelling context. If the context isn't there, the roleplaying is meaningless. Heck, this is why I've been toying around in making a storytelling game with minimal use of stats.

 

PST. Dak'kon. Circle of Zerthimon.

 

PST didn't touch me because of its awesome character stats system. In fact, that sucked. lol just pump everything into wis/int/cha. Yet, that character progression was quite useful, and ensures that the progression through the game flowed well. Let's look at the circle. As your wisdom goes up, you unlock more layers. This allows that particular plot to be unfolded through the span of the entire game, rather than just solve it all in one hour. The stats in this case helped. The stats in themselves meant nothing. Also, it wouldn't have been impossible to recreate that experience without stats. The important point is that the stats prevented you from doing EVERYTHING from the getgo. Then, the rest comes down to design, and preventing the player from achieving that without resorting to stats. Link it to the plot progression itself, for example.

Hadescopy.jpg

(Approved by Fio, so feel free to use it)

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I don't agree with that. What about all those intelligence/speech/science/barter based rolls in Fallout for more dialogue options?

 

This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields.

 

While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills

 

Yeah so, what's the point of your quotation? You say it seems statistics in RPGs only has an application in combat-related skills, and I've given you an example where it seems you're utterly wrong.

 

 

I must say that I didn't quite get Roleplayer's connection between stats having an application just in combat-related skills either.

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Yeah so, what's the point of your quotation? You say it seems statistics in RPGs only has an application in combat-related skills, and I've given you an example where it seems you're utterly wrong.

 

Tends to rely != always relies.

 

Thank you. Good night. God bless.

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Yeah so, what's the point of your quotation? You say it seems statistics in RPGs only has an application in combat-related skills, and I've given you an example where it seems you're utterly wrong.

 

Tends to rely != always relies.

 

Thank you. Good night. God bless.

 

And another empty reply? We all understood what you were saying.

 

I can name a vast array of RPGs where stats aren't useful only for combat, and that's why I say you're completely wrong.

 

You should show a bit more appreciation that people bother to read your threads and engage in discussion. Instead all you seem to do is simply chuck forth a few meaningless self quotations and glip remarks.

There are none that are right, only strong of opinion. There are none that are wrong, only ignorant of facts

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One of the distinguished features of character progression, and one that is more often used is trough purely statistical advancement, which is based on characters increasing in abilities which are set on underlying character systems such as experience, skill or improve by use systems. This method tends to rely on expressing character growth and power trough increasing statistics and abilities, which in turn allow characters to perform better in given fields.

 

Ok. Your "tend to rely" clause just merely states how character progression tends to focus on increasing stats and abilities. There is nothing here about skills and how they specifically tend to rely on combat. These are two different points altogether. If you meant to say that instead, it wasn't communicated effectively.

 

Now the following is where the hang-up is:

 

While there are advantages to this system it unfortunately seems that pressing forward to get 'stronger' or 'better' only has an application in combat-related skills which considerably undermines the whole point of a diverse statistical progression by only focusing on some skills which are arbitrarily defined as necessary to succeed in a game (as opposed to allowing a much wider range of skills to contribute to success).

 

I think the bolded leaves no room for mis-interpretation. And there is nothing about "tending to rely" anything here.. Especially when you add in the word "ONLY" there, it makes it an absolute statement.

 

But I agree with moose, you should be somewhat more willing to clarify your points... especially if people obviously think what you have to say is important enough that they have voluntarily decided to take time to participate in your thread. In fact my taking time to write this shows that I am still interested in the subject of this thread. We could have just ignored your post altogether.

 

It is your thread after all and obviously you want people to comprehend your points so that they may be able to respond with useful feedback... How can they do that if you are unwilling to clarify your points when prompted?

 

EDIT: You tend to write very well, Roleplayer, and I always enjoy reading your posts since you always seem to make useful contributions to the forum (unlike some other spamming forumites :lol:" ) and have something thought-provoking to say usually..

but you can't be perfect all the time. -_-

Edited by Lancer

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Out of curiosity, why the general animosity against the RPG Codex?

 

Because they are a bunch of beligerent asses.

 

They have a very narrow view on what makes a game a good CRPG and will verbally attack, spam, send disgusting images, and threaten anyone who challenges their opinions. At least that is my experience with them.

Edited by Judge Hades
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Out of curiosity, why the general animosity against the RPG Codex?

 

Because they are a bunch of beligerent ****.

 

There is that guy with the Deathclaw avatar that seems pretty condescending and insulting. Are most of the posters just confrontational?

Edited by Lancer

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Out of curiosity, why the general animosity against the RPG Codex?

 

Because they are a bunch of beligerent asses.

 

They have a very narrow view on what makes a game a good CRPG and will verbally attack, spam, send disgusting images, and threaten anyone who challenges their opinions. At least that is my experience with them.

 

I'll keep that in mind. Ex member?

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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