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Death Machine Miyagi

RPG cliches you hope to see avoided and/or mocked

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A big chunk of Torment especially consists of the writers thumbing their noses at RPG cliches: there are no swords, the lowly rat is (in the form of cranium rats) supposed to prove a big threat if massed together, there is no grand universe-shaking quest, the game is designed so that you are encouraged to die to advance the plot, there are no elves or dwarves or haflings, your mental stats are actually a lot more important to getting a good ending than your ability to beat the crap out of things, and so forth. This has been stated outright by MCA in several interviews by now.

 

I suspect P:E will continue in that hallowed tradition and give a few of the more tired RPG cliches a good ol' kick in the balls. But which of these cliches is really asking for it? What things have you seen in about a billion different games that would you now like to see torn to shreds by our esteemed game designers?

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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Cliche -> PE

 

Chosen one destined to save the world -> victim trying to save him/herself

 

Defend villagers from bandits -> choose to attack villagers with bandits and share the loot

 

Find an epic chest at the end of a dungeon -> find empty chest with a digged exit nearby -> use tracking and follow the **** who stole things from this chest

 

Fight an epic boss at the end of a dungeon -> encounter a group of adventurers who came from the other side -> choose to combine forces or choose to kill the group while fighting a 3 sided battle between you, another group and the boss.

 

Sell equipment at stores -> sorry bro, don't need your trash looted from dead stinky orcs.

 

I'm a hero but nobody notices -> "oh my! It's the heroes of XXXX!!! Lemme get you a drink!"

 

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Only boring people get bored

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Eh. Going too hard on that sort of thing just comes out as... kinda lame, and really kills the mood. Don't need Blazing Saddles, now.

 

Depends on how its done. I'm definitely not hoping for a return to the Fallout 2 days. Its a bit cringe-inducing to replay that game and pick out Monica Lewinsky and Dan Quayle jokes that are now stale by long, long over a decade.

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Aye, there's a wide range of how you do it, naturally. I love Blazing Saddles to death (shame about all the horrific animal cruelty and what-not that went into making it...), but it's probably not the tone Obsidian's angling for.

 

Thing is, I can't really request the mocking/subverting/whateverthe****ing of a particular cliché because... well, it's not clever if I know it's coming.

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Yeah and Planescape sold, like, millions of units right?

 

There's a thin line between mocking tried, tested and much-loved tropes and being condescending.

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Useless authority/military/law enforcement figures who depend on the hero to do their job.

 

When a governor or a king hires your party to solve a crime, root out a spy, or destroy some bandits, the military/police/intelligence service should continue trying to find ways of solving that problem on their own. If your party screws up or takes too long, there should be a chance that the military/police/intelligence service ends up solving things on their own. In fact, you could inadvertently help the authorities solve the problem by accidentally giving away clues or evidence that you gathered on your own.

 

In these types of quests, there should be a competition between your party, the authorities, and possibly other adventuring parties. You can try to collaborate with the authorities or another adventuring party and split the bounty but you risk being taken advantage of, or you can try to trick them into doing dirty work for you or revealing information they've gathered but you'll earn a bad reputation.

Edited by Giantevilhead
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Aye, there's a wide range of how you do it, naturally. I love Blazing Saddles to death (shame about all the horrific animal cruelty and what-not that went into making it...), but it's probably not the tone Obsidian's angling for.

 

Thing is, I can't really request the mocking/subverting/whateverthe****ing of a particular cliché because... well, it's not clever if I know it's coming.

 

I think the examples from Planescape show the best way to do it: they don't directly mock the cliche, they just subvert it and leave the player puzzled as to why they can't find a good old magical longsword friggin' anywhere.

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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There's a thin line between mocking tried, tested and much-loved tropes and being condescending.

 

To be fair, there's also a thin line between repeating tried, tested and much-loved tropes and being completely creatively bankrupt.

 

In both cases, let's hope the line is not crossed.

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Only one:

- You're not the chosen one, you're just somebody who happens to be at the right place and the right time. If willing, somebody else can do the job you're tasked with.

For example, you're tasked to liberate city X, but you stalled too long (5-10 quests). By the time you get to city X, the problem has been solved by the rebels and mercenaries from inside the city no thanks to you.

 

I'm not saying that every quests have to be like this, but 5-10 missable quests are not bad. Maybe you can even skip the final quest and leave it to another adventurers

Edited by exodiark
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Don't mock a cliche for the sake of mocking it. Even in books it's just plain see-through.

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The wizard giving you a quest in an Inn troupe is pretty stale by now.

Tamerlane is spot-on about the tone. Though I know this game will have some amazingly funny writing, I think over-satirizing could get old.

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Players may be tempted to doublecross their temporary allies of convenience for their share of the loot as well. So lets have them doublecross the player after the goals have been met.


Spreading beauty with my katana.

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I suspect P:E will continue in that hallowed tradition and give a few of the more tired RPG cliches a good ol' kick in the balls. But which of these cliches is really asking for it? What things have you seen in about a billion different games that would you now like to see torn to shreds by our esteemed game designers?

 

Story format that we got is overplayed, "You are the chosen one! You need to battle this enemy!! This is your purpose!" and it's revealed fairly early in the game too. It's a stupid "everyone uses it" movie "rules". There are some certain frames that are repeated time and time again. Many games feel like they are the same game, just different "visuals" so to speak. The sprites move more graphically than its predecessor but its in its core the same thing. That's something I feel is overplayed.

 

I've got one idea but it's one of those "Don't talk about"-story idea (I'm tempted xD) that I've been working on for a couple of years.

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i seem to remember in the original plans for S.T.A.L.K.E.R it was going to be possible for another stalker to complete the main quest if you left it too long...think they did away with that idea

 

I'd like the main quest to be more personal to your character and maybe your companions then a "save the world" type thing...especially if they're going to carry over the main character for sequels/expansions (how many times can you save the world before it gets silly) of course fallout new vegas was one of obsidians recent games and that didn't have a save the world quest, in fact you could side with the "bad" guys (which would be another good thing to see in P.E)

 

Games like baldurs gate let you create an evil character but the whole game revolved around being good or neutral, there didn't seem much to do for an evil character, I suppose always playing the good guy is a cliche in itself

 

I've mentioned this before, but legendary items for sale in shops in town..

 

would be nice if the cliche fantasy races like elves and dwarves were done a bit differently in this game, I suspect we have little to worry about there

 

Its a bit of a cliche in these types of games that humans are the short lived race and everyone else plods on for hundreds of years...

 

I'd like the classes to be shaken up a bit as well, a lot of these games you can plan your character without knowing anything about the game system...because they're all the same, at the very least I don't want to see classes restricted to certain weapon types, if I want to create a dagger wielding barbarian or a thief with a spear it should be possible without arbitrary penalties

Edited by motorizer

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The chosen one/hero/save the world cliche also makes it difficult for side quests to make sense, would you really go looking for someones lost dog if there was an army of darkness marching to take over the world and only you could stop it?

 

I'd actually like the main quest to be more of a mystery, you have no idea whats going on and have to figure it out, rather than someone telling you you're the chosen one and have to save the world

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I am not as concerned with most of the cliche's unless they don't fit the story ... to me, that has been what was missing from RPGs in recent years ... a good story

 

A game like Bioshock was only mediocre in its genre class (FPS in that case) but it had a really good story and that made up for some of its shortcoming ... you also didn't fully understand the true story and goals until well into the game ... I think that makes for good gameplay

 

I am less concerned with the epic hero cliche if that matches the story ... the story should drive the game design and choices ... not the other way around

 

The two cliches that I think could stand a little shaking up:

  • Character abilities - we tend to get locked into archetypes in characters in RPGs; although it wasn't a perfect implementation I liked the Oblivion approach where your character gained abilities based on what they did ... do magic and your magic improved ... do fighting and your fighting improved ... so your character could be a jack of all trades or a specialist ... it was totally up to you based on how you played
  • Hostile beasties and races - I understand the mechanic to enable the quests and combat for character leveling, however, I would like to see more neutral encounters (peaceful Orc villages, animals that run away from you, etc) ... you could still engage in combat in these situations but there could be an impact to your reputation (wipe out a village of peaceful Orcs and your infamy goes way up)

Other than that I am okay with many of the cliches as long as they facilitate a good story and good gameplay ... that is more important to me than a specific cliche

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Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” ― Robert E. Howard

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  • Hostile beasties and races - I understand the mechanic to enable the quests and combat for character leveling, however, I would like to see more neutral encounters (peaceful Orc villages, animals that run away from you, etc) ... you could still engage in combat in these situations but there could be an impact to your reputation (wipe out a village of peaceful Orcs and your infamy goes way up)

Although you could wipe out a peaceful village of orcs and your reputation could actually go up with the xenophobic/scared ignorant villagers nearby, until they are wiped out in retribution by some outraged less peaceful orcs :-)

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Take Fable and just do the opposite will be my answer.

 

Chosen one, Kids, romance, useless thing like barber..hairdresser etc..Ending in the 2 with a last boss that you kill with only one hit, Bandits attacking the poor villagers.., Orb system.. (i could go long and long with this game, so i'll stop here).

Edited by Dawn_

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Please no tireless exposition.

Exposition is akin to hand-holding and is a clear sign you don't trust the intellect of the player to figure it out. Or worse it's a cheap way to tell the story without engaging the player and letting them live it.

 

I just finished watching Adam's playthrough of Icewind Dale II, that game has a lot of exposition.

There was this point where I felt "Wth?" when you talk to an NPC and the dialogue goes "I spoke to your son, olap" Either you're telling the man olap is his son, or you're telling us. which means you're not expecting us have figured out it was Olap's father we are talking to. So why wouldn't we know. either we would, or you did a poor job of making it clear.


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Please no tireless exposition.

Exposition is akin to hand-holding and is a clear sign you don't trust the intellect of the player to figure it out. Or worse it's a cheap way to tell the story without engaging the player and letting them live it.

 

I just finished watching Adam's playthrough of Icewind Dale II, that game has a lot of exposition.

There was this point where I felt "Wth?" when you talk to an NPC and the dialogue goes "I spoke to your son, olap" Either you're telling the man olap is his son, or you're telling us. which means you're not expecting us have figured out it was Olap's father we are talking to. So why wouldn't we know. either we would, or you did a poor job of making it clear.

 

To be fair, there could have been other Olaps in town. I do like more subtlety, however.

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i don't mind cliches

as long as they're well-put, with appropriate atmosphere and all

 

it's just a bigger challenge to the devs to make it fun

 

for example - drawing a landscape or someone's portrait is a sort of cliche

it just depends on how good you are with that ;)

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A big chunk of Torment especially consists of the writers thumbing their noses at RPG cliches:

All that is fine except TSR made Cranium Rats not Bioware. Dieing to advance the plot has happened in so many games now it is almost it's own cliche at this point. None of "insert race here" was actually pretty standard for the setting by Planescapes own Manuals. Elves etc preferred the primes or planes run by their own deities and in general hated Sigil. The stats thing was sort of... dumb. Case in point, what happens when I actually want to play a fighter but still get a decent ending and dialog options? I have to gimp myself to do it. That is bad design, no two ways about it. As for the grand universe shaking quest? That's nice, but not having that does not make the game better by default.

 

The no sword thing however was downright stupid and where the line gets crossed.

 

It wasn't challenging a trope, it was being different just so they could say "we were different". Especially when you factor in one of your party members has a sword, and you encounter and sometimes kill multiple npc's who all also clearly have swords. It is really odd how almost every enemy in the game drops the weapon they use when I kill them, but when they used a sword it is nowhere to be found? When I got to a market where someone screamed about having the "finest Toledo blades" (uh what? Why would people in Sigil be using swords from Spain?) only to find out none of the vendors sold what they were yelling about I wasn't thinking "oh cool" I was thinking "who thought this was a good idea?"

 

Planescape is NOT the direction this game needs to go in.

 

On topic, I would love the Asian Monastery in the middle of Neverwinter to go bye bye.

Edited by Karkarov

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