Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

Action/Adventure or RPG? What's the difference?

genre rpg role-playing sandbox choice open world simulation linearity narrative infinity engine

  • Please log in to reply
70 replies to this topic

Poll: Role-playing in RPGs (74 member(s) have cast votes)

To what extent do you roleplay in Infinity Engine games?

  1. My character is best described as an IG representation of myself, with some glorified elements perhaps. (29 votes [18.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.59%

  2. I don't roleplay; I merely choose whatever seems most fun in the moment. (9 votes [5.77%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.77%

  3. I merely try to make my character believable and cohesive in character creation, but not beyond that. (15 votes [9.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 9.62%

  4. I plan my characters out extensively, including aspects such as personality that are not really represented by IG mechanics. (25 votes [16.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.03%

  5. I strive to separate my knowledge as player from that of my character so as to avoid metagaming. (20 votes [12.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.82%

  6. I occasionally choose to limit my character's strength or potential for no IG benefit based on what I think fits them. (20 votes [12.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.82%

  7. I actively roleplay my character's actions and/or dialog in some shape or form, IG or OOG. (20 votes [12.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.82%

  8. Most of my characters end up pretty similar to one another even when this isn't intended. (18 votes [11.54%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.54%

What is the single most important goal you have in playing Infinity Engine games?

  1. To simply "have fun"; I'm not very picky. (8 votes [10.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.81%

  2. To complete quests or see the sights via IG exploration and get a sense of achievement. (6 votes [8.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.11%

  3. To make the strongest/most powerful character possible given the game's mechanics. (5 votes [6.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.76%

  4. To immerse myself in the role of a character of my choosing and simulate their endeavors. (26 votes [35.14%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.14%

  5. To follow the game's narrative and storyline as it unfolds, and ultimately learn how the story ends.. (22 votes [29.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 29.73%

  6. To grind through the game desperately hoping for a romance subplot or steamy sex scene. (1 votes [1.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.35%

  7. Something else not mentioned here. (6 votes [8.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.11%

What separates the Action/Adventure and RPG genres?

  1. Mechanics: RPGs require number-crunching and planning. (23 votes [10.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.13%

  2. Narrative: RPGs are less linear, and more branched and complex. (45 votes [19.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 19.82%

  3. Character Creation and Progression: RPGs let you define your own protagonist. (60 votes [26.43%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.43%

  4. Open World: The more freedom to explore and choices, the more RPG-esque. (23 votes [10.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.13%

  5. Realism: The more realistically I can simulate my character's life, the more RPG-esque. (14 votes [6.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.17%

  6. Teamwork: RPG's generally utilize parties of complementary specialists. (15 votes [6.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.61%

  7. Unlockables: Achievements, awards, feats, perks, etc. (1 votes [0.44%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.44%

  8. Roleplay: A game is not an RPG if people don't actually roleplay. (37 votes [16.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.30%

  9. Something else not mentioned here. (9 votes [3.96%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.96%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#61
Lephys

Lephys

    Punsmith of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 7245 posts
  • Location:The Punforge
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Minecraft is 3d Terraria, which also a cool game.
I tend to play these games intensively for a while and then not ever touch them again.


Yeah... just, something about the simple shift of the almost-the-same gameplay into 3D rather than having it in 2D seems to drastically affect the technicality-to-gameplay ratio. I mean, in Terraria, I can only spend SO MUCH effort and focus on creatively (and almost arbitrarily) designing and building things. Whereas, in Minecraft, I'd have to worry about 90% more space, just to build a basic house.

Even though Terraria still lacks the real hard-hitting RPG elements of whence McManusaur speaks, it's interesting to me the effects of the sandboxy creativity sort of taking a step out of the spotlight in Terraria.

Not to mention the 16-bit 2D sprite-style fluid animation just sort of uppercuts me right in the pleasant nostalgia bits. But, I don't know that there's really anything objective there.
  • JFSOCC and mcmanusaur like this

#62
Ffordesoon

Ffordesoon

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 553 posts
  • PSN Portable ID:Ffordesoon
  • Xbox Gamertag:Adobe Amena
  • Pillars of Eternity Gold Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Lords of the Eastern Reach Backer
Minecraft is a sandbox first, and a game second. Terraria is a game first, and a sandbox second. Neither is, in my estimation, an RPG, though both have RPG elements and could concievably be roleplayed, and Terraria is closer than Minecraft to it. It's hard to articulate the difference between those games and RPGs, but I think the key to discerning said difference is that there is no larger context to your actions in Minecraft or Terraria than what's happening on the screen at any given moment. Even the most basic dungeon crawler has a bit of flavor text to contextualize your actions. There is usually no GM in a computer RPG, but the GM is at the core of all computer RPGs, if you see what I mean.

Which you may not. I'm not sure I do, to be honest. :lol:

But I think there's something there.
  • JFSOCC likes this

#63
mcmanusaur

mcmanusaur

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 602 posts
  • Location:A moment in eternity.

In light of the poll results for the first question, this thread is now more relevant than ever.



#64
alanschu

alanschu

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 15737 posts
  • Location:Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

I dunno, man. I think roleplaying depends as much on the player as the system.

 

This is the way I see it too.  At the risk of being a buzzkill (not that my opinion would stop the discussion), I find RPG to be a rather large catch all bucket, and I'm okay with that.

 

For some, RPGs are about the gameplay mechanics.  For others, stories, choice, and reactivity.  RPG elements usually involve some level of character progression elements and the like.

 

But I have come to loathe the "nuh uh, that's not really an RPG" types of discussions that come up, because it's a lot like console wars.  People that identify as RPG fans will have a predisposition to consider the elements they like to be vital to an RPG experience.  The arguments go in circles and ultimately I have come to the conclusion that "RPG" can be a very personal thing.  I think there's enough consistencies that people will usually be able to understand a game that has been labeled as an "RPG" and what some common aspects of those games may be.



#65
rjshae

rjshae

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 4875 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

It can probably all be boiled down to one word: choice. The more freedom you have to choose your character and decide how he makes his way through the game world, the closer it is to being a role-playing game. Character progression, interaction, story, reactivity, and game play mechanics are all just the means to implement player choices. :)



#66
Lephys

Lephys

    Punsmith of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 7245 posts
  • Location:The Punforge
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Minecraft is a sandbox first, and a game second. Terraria is a game first, and a sandbox second. Neither is, in my estimation, an RPG, though both have RPG elements and could concievably be roleplayed, and Terraria is closer than Minecraft to it. It's hard to articulate the difference between those games and RPGs, but I think the key to discerning said difference is that there is no larger context to your actions in Minecraft or Terraria than what's happening on the screen at any given moment. Even the most basic dungeon crawler has a bit of flavor text to contextualize your actions. There is usually no GM in a computer RPG, but the GM is at the core of all computer RPGs, if you see what I mean.

Which you may not. I'm not sure I do, to be honest. :lol:

But I think there's something there.

 

 

They're both most certainly far from what we want in P:E. That RPGness, with a world that seems to exist and fluctuate without even any player input, to keep the player on his toes. I just thought it was an interesting comparison, as they still possess the same freedom-to-limitation spectrum.

Regarding the urgency/situation matter, I think even Skyrim is a good thing to observe. It has plenty in it that is pleasant (progression system, full open world exploration, etc.), but it all just seems to center so much around the player that it just feels like a 1 million ft2 playground. You know? How many different sets of swings can you try out (no matter how cool they are) before you just don't see the point in trying out swingsets anymore? You want something beyond that. Someone comes in and says "I'm tearing down this portion of the playground today, and putting up my own personal tower." Cool. Something's going on that you didn't have to invent or create. YOU get to react to THE GAME, all while it reacts to you, as well. Do you stop them from tearing it down? Maybe you find out what that tower's all about. Maybe you try to take over the project, and put up something different? Maybe you didn't get to check out that section of the playground yet, and you now feel the urge to go see if you would miss anything if they tore it down.

 

I think that's the thing with freedom. If you have too much freedom, then you're not even required to react to the game. It's reacting to you, and that's it. I think we want things to have to react to. We want decision-stimulus.

 

Again, not that Minecraft or Terraria are bad. They're good for what they are. Just like a linear shooter is good for what it is. You can't really compare it directly to an RPG like P:E, because it's not really even going for the same goals. Just like a puzzle game is completely different from either. But, they all need a balance of reactivity to you and bits that force YOU to react, with some degree of urgency.



#67
Eiphel

Eiphel

    (3) Conjurer

  • Members
  • 107 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

This is an interesting question that I've thought about quite a lot. Especially in regard to the ubiquitous 'RPG elements' we see as a feature of games now. My position is something like this:

 

If you go back to early classic and traditional RPGs, and trace the evolution of the genre, there's really not one single defining element which is the 'RPG' element. Instead RPGs really evolved as a set of interrelated systems which for a long time were all very much part and parcel with one another. Those systems, however, are not mutually inclusive, and over time - especially over the last generation or so of games - we've seen an unpacking of those various elements, going in both directions: RPGs which exclude or replace certain of the typical systems as not a part of their whole, and other games which season themselves with one or two of these elements integrated with their whole of very different systems.

 

So the phrase 'RPG elements' seems very apposite to me, as I don't think it's a genre defined by a single aspect, but rather it's a bunch of discrete aspects whcih can be mixed and matched with elements from anywhere else in gaming.

 

On top of that, there's a distinction to be drawn between a game with 'roleplaying elements': a game with elements of playing a role - and 'RPG elements': genre tropes which are frequently mechanical in nature.

 

Now, the IE games are pretty traditional and ancestral to the genre, so they all feature a fairly classic and all-encompassing conjunction of RPG elements, and include few elements from elsewhere. That said, Icewind Dale skews hack-and-slash heavy, and has the fewest roleplaying (playing-of-role) systems, whilst Torment is heavy on the roleplaying and is light on a few of the archetypal mechanical elements (combat is underdeveloped and there's no character customisation, picking of feats and skills and suchlike).

 

So I view the RPG genre as being somewhat modular in nature - whilst we typically see genres as a classification system, and thus all about delineating characteristics, I don't think the RPG genre works this way. It's more like a collection of interrelated systems/tropes/elements which can be mix and matched with other elements from outside itself - in configurations which are predominately RPG, or which are a seasoning over a game of a different nature, and in balances which are purely mechanic to purely playing-of-role.

 

Defining something as an RPG, then, ends up being pretty contextual. It depends what the specific topic of discussion is, and if the game in question holds those specific RPG elements which bear relation to that topic. The same game may bring a lot to one discussion of RPGs and be irrelevant elsewhere.

 

For me personally, true roleplaying is about shaping a character. Sculpting a specific identity and pursuing that identity through the world. So, for example, the Walking Dead is an RPG for me in that sense - It's a game that affords me an experience of playing a role. But its mechanical identity is far more heavily descended from point-and-click adventure games. So in a discussion of point-and-click games, I'd bring it up. In a discussion of playing-a-role in games, I'd bring it up. But in an RPG discussion focussed on level ups and combat systems, no, of course it wouldn't fit the active definition, and wouldn't make sense to bring it up, regardless of it personally being an 'RPG' to me for what it fulfils.

 

Now, as a heritor of the IE games and based on everything we've seen so far, I'd say PE undoubtedly will feature a very large swathe of the classic RPG elements, and it'll be hitting up both the aspects of mechanical and playing-of-role identity, so defining it as an RPG should be pretty uncontroversial and universally applicable anyway.

 

Did that make any sense?


  • BruceVC, mcmanusaur and Ffordesoon like this

#68
Ffordesoon

Ffordesoon

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 553 posts
  • PSN Portable ID:Ffordesoon
  • Xbox Gamertag:Adobe Amena
  • Pillars of Eternity Gold Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Lords of the Eastern Reach Backer
That made a lot of sense, in addition to being excellently written.

Kudos! :)

#69
mcmanusaur

mcmanusaur

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 602 posts
  • Location:A moment in eternity.

 

Minecraft is a sandbox first, and a game second. Terraria is a game first, and a sandbox second. Neither is, in my estimation, an RPG, though both have RPG elements and could concievably be roleplayed, and Terraria is closer than Minecraft to it. It's hard to articulate the difference between those games and RPGs, but I think the key to discerning said difference is that there is no larger context to your actions in Minecraft or Terraria than what's happening on the screen at any given moment. Even the most basic dungeon crawler has a bit of flavor text to contextualize your actions. There is usually no GM in a computer RPG, but the GM is at the core of all computer RPGs, if you see what I mean.

Which you may not. I'm not sure I do, to be honest. :lol:

But I think there's something there.

 

 

They're both most certainly far from what we want in P:E. That RPGness, with a world that seems to exist and fluctuate without even any player input, to keep the player on his toes. I just thought it was an interesting comparison, as they still possess the same freedom-to-limitation spectrum.

Regarding the urgency/situation matter, I think even Skyrim is a good thing to observe. It has plenty in it that is pleasant (progression system, full open world exploration, etc.), but it all just seems to center so much around the player that it just feels like a 1 million ft2 playground. You know? How many different sets of swings can you try out (no matter how cool they are) before you just don't see the point in trying out swingsets anymore? You want something beyond that. Someone comes in and says "I'm tearing down this portion of the playground today, and putting up my own personal tower." Cool. Something's going on that you didn't have to invent or create. YOU get to react to THE GAME, all while it reacts to you, as well. Do you stop them from tearing it down? Maybe you find out what that tower's all about. Maybe you try to take over the project, and put up something different? Maybe you didn't get to check out that section of the playground yet, and you now feel the urge to go see if you would miss anything if they tore it down.

 

I think that's the thing with freedom. If you have too much freedom, then you're not even required to react to the game. It's reacting to you, and that's it. I think we want things to have to react to. We want decision-stimulus.

 

Again, not that Minecraft or Terraria are bad. They're good for what they are. Just like a linear shooter is good for what it is. You can't really compare it directly to an RPG like P:E, because it's not really even going for the same goals. Just like a puzzle game is completely different from either. But, they all need a balance of reactivity to you and bits that force YOU to react, with some degree of urgency.

 

 

You bring up another important distinction here which is the difference between a reactive/passive sandbox and an active/dynamic sandbox. As much as I probably demand far too much, I find the former leans too much toward stroking my character's ego and I'm not really interested in that. A scripted narrative is one way you could give the world that agency, but ultimately in my dreams what I'd like to see is a world that simulates the changes in society, ranging from demographic shifts to economic trends to natural disasters to military conflicts to technological progression, etc. Imagine an RPG where families of NPCs age, procreate, and migrate over time; with enough imagination this could produce narrative in and of itself. Obviously this would require very robust algorithms (and is very far off from the current reaches of the genre), and some randomness could be mixed in to ensure unique playthroughs, but these are the forces that have generated what I consider the greatest narrative known to man, which is the narrative of our own species' history. Just like acting and being told what to do are different, being forced to react and being told what you must react to are two different things. I guess that's why I don't consider urgency and freedom to be a tradeoff.


Edited by mcmanusaur, 31 May 2013 - 08:05 PM.


#70
mcmanusaur

mcmanusaur

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 602 posts
  • Location:A moment in eternity.

This is an interesting question that I've thought about quite a lot. Especially in regard to the ubiquitous 'RPG elements' we see as a feature of games now. My position is something like this:

 

If you go back to early classic and traditional RPGs, and trace the evolution of the genre, there's really not one single defining element which is the 'RPG' element. Instead RPGs really evolved as a set of interrelated systems which for a long time were all very much part and parcel with one another. Those systems, however, are not mutually inclusive, and over time - especially over the last generation or so of games - we've seen an unpacking of those various elements, going in both directions: RPGs which exclude or replace certain of the typical systems as not a part of their whole, and other games which season themselves with one or two of these elements integrated with their whole of very different systems.

 

So the phrase 'RPG elements' seems very apposite to me, as I don't think it's a genre defined by a single aspect, but rather it's a bunch of discrete aspects whcih can be mixed and matched with elements from anywhere else in gaming.

 

On top of that, there's a distinction to be drawn between a game with 'roleplaying elements': a game with elements of playing a role - and 'RPG elements': genre tropes which are frequently mechanical in nature.

 

Now, the IE games are pretty traditional and ancestral to the genre, so they all feature a fairly classic and all-encompassing conjunction of RPG elements, and include few elements from elsewhere. That said, Icewind Dale skews hack-and-slash heavy, and has the fewest roleplaying (playing-of-role) systems, whilst Torment is heavy on the roleplaying and is light on a few of the archetypal mechanical elements (combat is underdeveloped and there's no character customisation, picking of feats and skills and suchlike).

 

So I view the RPG genre as being somewhat modular in nature - whilst we typically see genres as a classification system, and thus all about delineating characteristics, I don't think the RPG genre works this way. It's more like a collection of interrelated systems/tropes/elements which can be mix and matched with other elements from outside itself - in configurations which are predominately RPG, or which are a seasoning over a game of a different nature, and in balances which are purely mechanic to purely playing-of-role.

 

Defining something as an RPG, then, ends up being pretty contextual. It depends what the specific topic of discussion is, and if the game in question holds those specific RPG elements which bear relation to that topic. The same game may bring a lot to one discussion of RPGs and be irrelevant elsewhere.

 

For me personally, true roleplaying is about shaping a character. Sculpting a specific identity and pursuing that identity through the world. So, for example, the Walking Dead is an RPG for me in that sense - It's a game that affords me an experience of playing a role. But its mechanical identity is far more heavily descended from point-and-click adventure games. So in a discussion of point-and-click games, I'd bring it up. In a discussion of playing-a-role in games, I'd bring it up. But in an RPG discussion focussed on level ups and combat systems, no, of course it wouldn't fit the active definition, and wouldn't make sense to bring it up, regardless of it personally being an 'RPG' to me for what it fulfils.

 

Now, as a heritor of the IE games and based on everything we've seen so far, I'd say PE undoubtedly will feature a very large swathe of the classic RPG elements, and it'll be hitting up both the aspects of mechanical and playing-of-role identity, so defining it as an RPG should be pretty uncontroversial and universally applicable anyway.

 

Did that make any sense?

 

tumblr_mcx7ohD78P1qdcrbd.gif

 

No, but I can agree with that synopsis. However, if the drawbacks of the "RPG" label prevent it from serving a meaningful and cohesive purpose, I say that there should be a new system of labels that do so, either to replace current terminology for the genre altogether or to introduce names for more specific subgenres. I for one can say I've seen an awful lot of frustration, misunderstanding, and animosity over the years due to this communicative deficiency, and I think it would benefit everyone to have a better-fitting word for their preferences beyond the ineffective term "RPG".



#71
Odd Hermit

Odd Hermit

    (6) Magician

  • Members
  • 634 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

All characters will be influenced by my personality, but can't truly put even an idealized version of myself in most games since the characters are coming from and interacting with vastly different environments and of course have power that I've never experienced before.

 

I'll generally adjust based on the nature of the game. Some games it's very hard not to be a simplistic heroic character - you can either be suicidally altruistic or a complete sadist, but I prefer the ability to exercise some utilitarianism and self preservation. Also, in some games your character is automatically the leader of a group, whereas only in extreme circumstances(granted, that's the case in many games) would I lead anything. In Project Eternity those won't be barriers from the sound of it, I'll have a party leader with a much more fitting personality for the part and still be able to have a character I fashion after myself in the party.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: genre, rpg, role-playing, sandbox, choice, open world, simulation, linearity, narrative, infinity engine

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users