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What's the ONE Thing You've Wanted In RPG's Over The Past Decade?

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I wanted to get back that squad-level tactical combat feel of Ultima IV, the Gold Box Games, and ToEE.

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Overall, I'm getting hung up on

 

1. The idea that because a person/player is limited, something that's bigger than them also must be.  It's akin to saying "$Deity can't be all-knowing, because I'm not".

2. Just because someone is paid for something, they automatically know more about it, and will have loads more ways to "get around" the rules than I can.

3. That because the DM has to look out for the interests of everyone, they're an "artificial limit" on things that can be done while "inside" the game -- or rather, in my experience, the DM's I've played with are usually permissive "inside" the game, and will only pull you (the player) aside while "outside" the game if you're negatively impacting everyone else "outside" of the game (e.g. wasting an hour of the play-session for whatever reason).

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Overall, I'm getting hung up on

 

1. The idea that because a person/player is limited, something that's bigger than them also must be.  It's akin to saying "$Deity can't be all-knowing, because I'm not".

2. Just because someone is paid for something, they automatically know more about it, and will have loads more ways to "get around" the rules than I can.

3. That because the DM has to look out for the interests of everyone, they're an "artificial limit" on things that can be done while "inside" the game -- or rather, in my experience, the DM's I've played with are usually permissive "inside" the game, and will only pull you (the player) aside while "outside" the game if you're negatively impacting everyone else "outside" of the game (e.g. wasting an hour of the play-session for whatever reason).

 

Okay. My point of view is: Those are limitations because they limit you in some way; but that can also be a good thing in some cases. I don't think that a DM is a negative limiting factor, he's an important limiting factor, just to name one example.

I saw anameforobsidian's post just as a very neutral listing of things that limit possibilities in PnP (with a focus on spellcasting). As I understood him, the only negative bits were that a PnP game can be unfair to players who aren't as imaginative as others (although that could, of course, be considered a positive thing because it's supposed to be part of the learning curve) and that cRPGs necessarily have to impose limitations that will feel unsatisfying in certain situations.

 

If you roleplay an all-knowing deity, and you don't know everything about the world because the game withholds that information from you, then that's a limiting factor that sort of ruins your "all-knowing deity" experience. On the other hand, roleplaying an all-knowing deity might not be much fun to begin with, so this limitation isn't exactly negative.

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This is not a limitation of the magic, just the wielder of said magic.

 

...it's a limitation of the magic of the wielder of said magic, yes. :huh: You're not disagreeing with his point here at all. All he does is count the ways in which a spellcaster is limited by the PnP system, and one that's important is "he can only find uses for his spells that his player can think of".

 

"Players" will always out-design a designer

 

...unless the designer makes the spell waterproof, i.e. gives it additional limitations. Again, you're not disagreeing with anameforobsidian.

 

Well that's more a limit of knowledge of the body -- I mean, in general we're talking Medieval Europe here, where medicine is "here, have this willow bark tea ... it'll make you feel better" without knowing that the tea contains acetylsalicylic acid (AKA aspirin).

 

In general, we're not talking about Medieval Europe. :huh: We're talking about PnP and while his points are still valid in a sci-fi or steampunk setting, yours is very, very specific. (It's also weak, as knowledge of the body as in "stab it here or there to make it dead" was pretty common even in the Middle Ages.)

You can try to explain a design element away with "the people in that setting do not know about that possibility", but that doesn't make it less hackish. And of course, it's also a limitation. You're practically forbidding your spellcasters to ever accidentally find out about certain ways they could wield their magic.

 

I would argue that the DM is not a limiting factor in a tabletop game. Yes, they will limit you

 

Brilliant. :p

 

So... my point is, anameforobsidian made a good list of limiting factors in a PnP game, and you try to disagree with him for some reason, and I really don't understand why you would want to do that.

guess it's because you want to make the point that cRPGs are inherently more limited than PnPs, but that's obviously true, and nobody's denying it.

 

 

Eh, I really just wanted to talk more about magic in PnP games.  I've been up four for days straight (just turned in a 90 page behemoth of an assignment) and neo has a well thought out perspective.

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Overall, I'm getting hung up on

 

1. The idea that because a person/player is limited, something that's bigger than them also must be.  It's akin to saying "$Deity can't be all-knowing, because I'm not".

2. Just because someone is paid for something, they automatically know more about it, and will have loads more ways to "get around" the rules than I can.

3. That because the DM has to look out for the interests of everyone, they're an "artificial limit" on things that can be done while "inside" the game -- or rather, in my experience, the DM's I've played with are usually permissive "inside" the game, and will only pull you (the player) aside while "outside" the game if you're negatively impacting everyone else "outside" of the game (e.g. wasting an hour of the play-session for whatever reason).

 

Okay. My point of view is: Those are limitations because they limit you in some way; but that can also be a good thing in some cases. I don't think that a DM is a negative limiting factor, he's an important limiting factor, just to name one example.

I saw anameforobsidian's post just as a very neutral listing of things that limit possibilities in PnP (with a focus on spellcasting). As I understood him, the only negative bits were that a PnP game can be unfair to players who aren't as imaginative as others (although that could, of course, be considered a positive thing because it's supposed to be part of the learning curve) and that cRPGs necessarily have to impose limitations that will feel unsatisfying in certain situations.

 

I think you, me, and anameforobsidian are looking at the "limit" differently and getting hung up on the whole thing because of the ambiguity of the English language (or, more precisely, the inability of it to concisely convey complex ideas when they span multiple "realities*" at the same time). :)  

 

*NOTE -- "Reality" might not be the best word -- I just mean the perspectives of characters "ingame" (or in-world, when applicable -- e.g. Faerun in all the books, or Middle Earth, or whereever), players "out of game", and developers "metagaming" (i.e. making "[spell] have [target, range, effect, limitations] because of [gameplay reasons]") 

 

I think, at least for the sake of discussion, we can all agree that "Magic" as experienced firsthand by characters (PC, NPCs) ingame and within the world at large (outside the limits of "the game", but still in Faerun, or Middle Earth, or where-ever) is basically "unlimited" for all intents and purposes from the perspective of the mere mortals the world is viewed through. Gods and demigods might actually see the limits, but rarely, if ever seem to reveal them to the afore-mentioned mortals.

 

From here, then, I think we can agree that a particular character's USE of that magic is bound ("limited") by the following things:

 

  • Character (Player) Traits - imagination, good/evil, lawful/chaotic, intelligence (because 10+ spell level req'd)
  • Character (Player) choices - Abjurer (prohibited school: Necromancy), etc.
  • "Soft" rules - using spells "inside the box" (e.g. always casting "summon boat" over water, and not thinking it'll make a great deadfall trap to drop on a dragon as a last ditch "OMGIDONTWANNADIE" effort).
  • "Hard" rules - "Floating Disk" can only carry 100 pounds per caster level
  • "Design Constraints" - (cRPG only) - computers are dumb, and making deformable terrain, etc is "difficult" ... so these are additional forced limits either to spell capabilities, or to its availability in the first place (e.g. no "stone to mud" spell)
  • DM requests - Stuff that you "the player" are requested to curtail, without actually being told it's forbidden.  
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If I had to limit it down to one thing I would pick reactivity.

 

As my second choice (since I've already given my top choice), I would pick the exact opposite: activity, agency from other sources in the game world. I would give up all the reactive "Well, aren't you an established [adventurer rank here]" lines in the world to get NPCs that actually behave as if they have ends and means of their own outside of the player's power fantasy. A world that changes dynamically regardless of my involvement is so much more interesting to me than a passive sandbox. And importantly, that's not something that can be achieved just through clever writing; I'm talking about robust systems of AI.

Edited by mcmanusaur
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I think you, me, and anameforobsidian are looking at the "limit" differently and getting hung up on the whole thing because of the ambiguity of the English language (or, more precisely, the inability of it to concisely convey complex ideas when they span multiple "realities*" at the same time). :)

Indeed. I think everyone knows understands the same thing at this point, and the only thing anyone's hung up on are technicalities now.

 

The way it was initially worded (possibly the first few times), I was very inclined to think the exact same thing Neo is thinking: The magic of a ruleset isn't limited by one player's imagination. The player's imagination is a separate limit that is only imposed upon that one player's experience, and is not imposed upon "the magic." If you provide a lake of water (all the possibilities of the ruleset's magic system), and I only have a coffee mug with which to scoop it, then I am limited to a very small portion of the lake. But the lake is not limited by my cup. It's still a lake. If another person shows up at the very same time I'm drawing water from the lake, and they have a huge barrel, they can fill up their barrel. They are not limited to my coffee mug's volume of water.

 

It's the same with a magic system in a ruleset, PnP or CRPG. And that is all Neo is getting at. Now, after all that's been said, I think everyone realizes that that's the same thing anameforobsidian was trying to say in the first place, so there really wasn't a disagreement. But, Neo was only trying to point out why he responded the way he did. Not insist that something other than what was intended was actually being argued.

 

Or, to put it simply, you basically said "That's what anameforobsidian was trying to say already," and Neo was saying "Oh, well here's what I thought he meant, and why, even though I now know what he was trying to say. Sorry."

 

At least, that's what it looks like. 8P

 

Anywho, I think we can agree that both the ruleset itself (in the case of a CRPG, the design of the magic system/spells) AND the imagination of the individual player are two separate limitations. The objective difference is that the limitations of the ruleset are effective on any player, regardless of how imaginative that player might be, while the limitations of a given player's imagination do not extend beyond that player's experience. So, I think the benefit of clever "professional design" that anameforobsidian was getting at wasn't so much in their ability to limit, but in their ability to mitigate the limitations of a player's imagination. This has almost nothing to do with limiting the rules of a spell so that imaginative players cannot do imaginative things with that spell, but rather has to do with making hints and clues available to give those who find it difficult to think up ultra-clever ways of taking advantage of a spell's versatility the opportunity to expand their own imagination in regard to the use of that spell.

 

A lot of games do this on a basic level. One of the most common examples is spell combinations. "Hey, if you root this person, then hit them with Fist of the Mountain, there's an increased chance to stun/crit, because they're held in place and thus cannot do anything to avoid taking the full brunt of the force of the giant rock fist that's striking them!" Maybe a player won't think of that potential bonus, but the game will give you some sort of clue if you talk to people in towns or read in your spell book, etc. "Some have claimed to find greater effect from the spell if the target is forcefully held in place." Or, heck, maybe it does extra damage if the target is up against a wall with nowhere to go? Not only do they get hit with a giant fist of rock, but they get crushed against a wall of rock, as well. That sort of thing.

 

Using that example, just because one player might think "Hey, I bet if I hit them up against a wall, this would do more damage," and another wouldn't think that, that's no reason to limit the first player to the second player's imagination. That's only a reason to, perhaps, give the second player hints/clues as to spiffy ways in which to use their spells that they may not have thought of. If the first player reads those clues, then he already thought of that anyway, so no harm done.

 

*shrug*. Just my 2 cents on that.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I love spell combinations for that reason.  Dragon Age's magic system wasn't that complex (and then sucked in DA2), but the combinations felt like a great addition to the game.  They just add back a small bit of verisimilitude that the rigid divide between the combat system and the non-combat world takes away.  I think it's a cost effective way to make a game more real.  I also like some hard counters for that reason (even if JE Sawyer doesn't).  It's wonderful to see that upper mid-tier cloud spell get foiled by a level 2 gust of wind.

 

If PE had 18 bajillion dollars I would definitely add them.  I would add environmental effects to spells too.  Lightning spells that make it rain are cool.  Fireballs that burn grass are fun.  Puddles that increase lightning damage rock.  So do stronger fire spells in volcanic dungeons.

 

Also unstable summons just because I love me some unstable summons.

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one thing ?

 

Ability to roleplay my character (regardless if witcher, mage, fighter, knight, doctor, prostitute) with no limitations and good story line ...

 

One thing but how .... essential ...

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What I would like to see in an rpg is this:

You meet with an anoying miniboss, for example Torak from Icewind Dale 2. He tells you that you are weak, and covard, yet he is the one who is fleeing etc. Of course you will kill him in the end, but what I would like to see is an optional side quest (pure optional) to ressurect him, just for the sake of killing him again. It could be repeated for a few times, but it would be more expensive. Or this could be in the ingame law, great criminals would be sentenced to death 3 times or more.

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"Dear readers,

I'd like to describe the Mona Lisa using but one word: 'smug'."

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I love spell combinations for that reason.  Dragon Age's magic system wasn't that complex (and then sucked in DA2), but the combinations felt like a great addition to the game.  They just add back a small bit of verisimilitude that the rigid divide between the combat system and the non-combat world takes away.  I think it's a cost effective way to make a game more real.  I also like some hard counters for that reason (even if JE Sawyer doesn't).  It's wonderful to see that upper mid-tier cloud spell get foiled by a level 2 gust of wind.

 

If PE had 18 bajillion dollars I would definitely add them.  I would add environmental effects to spells too.  Lightning spells that make it rain are cool.  Fireballs that burn grass are fun.  Puddles that increase lightning damage rock.  So do stronger fire spells in volcanic dungeons.

 

Also unstable summons just because I love me some unstable summons.

 

Freeze them, and then hit 'em with the rock fist was one of my favourite lowbie shenanigans.  Though, TBH, I hate playing mage classes in cRPGs a lot of times because it's a lot of "me ... and some follower(s)".  BG/IWD are good with this because I play the whole party (IWD is better IMO, since I can build the whole party at the start, and it doesn't matter if the first or last character died ... it's gonna cost me a couple hundred gold either way ... )

 

DA:O was annoying to me with the switching because I had to learn "all" of the classes I was with, since like every other "feat" was activated ... not to mention there was a lot of "switch, hit butan.. AI takes over for [whoever] -- FUUUU NO DON'T USE THE EXPENSIVE SPELL ON THE MOOK WITH 1 HP"

Edited by neo6874

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^ Yeah, a lot of times the spell combos, especially, become THE way to go. "Oh, that guy has 700 HP, and it'll take you 10 minutes to fight him? Not if your Mage freezes him, then shatters him! 8D!". It just kinda slaps all the other stuff in the face. Or, you run into the situation where they paranoidly want to prevent that, so they make 90% of the creatures in the game immune to shattering. So, it then becomes just a fun thing you can do to tiny goblins, at which point it's pretty much easier to just fight them in a normal fashion and preserve your spells, etc.

 

And I get the "me... and some followers" thing, as well. I don't understand why so many games feel compelled to go the whole "okay, a small breeze could kill you, but you can summon entire planets to collide into this planet to facilitate the apocalypse" route with mages. Like... you can't just use magic as the means of getting stuff done without having it get 1,000 times more stuff done. 8P


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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My point with that was more aimed at NWN(2) and some of the others -- sure you could grab a companion; but they were all AI all the time ... 

 

BG was a step up, in that even though you could roll a 4HP wizard, you got Imoen and the cannon fodder evil guys reqlly quick, and could then just hang back and fry the baddie at the FA inn (instead of it needing to be your 4HP AC12 wizard starting the conversation with the assassin guy... 

 

IWD was the best, in that anyone in the party could die, and it didn't matter to the game -- you wouldn't have to reload unless the entire party got dead.  

 

Downside to BG and IWD are that you "have" to play as the whole party in the campaign (unless you play multiplayer ... but few people I know play these classic cRPGs -- they like the PnP better, or WoW)

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For me the thing I've most wanted in an RPG over the past decade was a stronger sense of character progression. I feel BG2 was the best to pull that off. By the end of that game I felt like I had done a lot of stuff, and explored a lot, and sufficiently grew into a bad mofo. I would like a game that really has a balanced mechanic that is more meaningful than level 10 or 99 means I'm as strong as I can be. If they're going to do a level cap system, I like how some games like Reckoning started to do where you had a title based upon the type of skills you chose and even though I might be called a Arch mage, my Arch mage and your's might not be exactly the same. If they can find a way to allow us to be enabled to have a lot of choices of how to play as we gain power the better it would be for me. I am bored with skills like fireball and as you level up all you have to look forward to is a bigger fireball. I'd prefer a fireball that does more stuff, like has the chance of burning down structures so they fall on enemy's, or gives me the ability to interact with the environment. Let my fireball actually destroy a farmers house for example. Also I'd prefer more interesting types of magic. Fireballs and lightning is cool and all, but I think I'd like to see a more realistic use of magic, like maybe how the player uses alchemy to create potions or hallucinogens against enemy's.

in addition, I've been waiting a really long time to have a battle with the boss that lasts a long time, and is not set in a tennis court where we whack a mole back and forth at each other. I want an encounter where we are traversing the mountain to reach the top before he gets away and escapes. Or, maybe when you get to the final dungeon to beat him, you actually get tricked into setting him free and now he's a dragon flying around burning down villages and stealing peasants to eat them, so you are actually chasing him down to stop him before he decimates the entire world. 

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in short... the RP part was mostly absent

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The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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Non-elemental spells for wizards, look no further!

And this is just 2nd ed wizard/sorcerer spells for level 0 and 1! :)

 

Weren't most of the RPGs of the last decade not D&D?

Edited by AGX-17

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Less cinematics

In terms of more current crops of rpg's, I'd agree with this. Not that I don't like cinematics, but I prefer them to be limited to game start, significant act ends, and game end. Not every time I approach a boss and new town and new enemy and new NPC etc.

 

Not just the long movie-like cinematics, but anything that takes camera control away from me for more than 2 seconds where I'm forced to sit and watch. Exceptions would be if it's something I'm supposed to garner a clue to a puzzle etc. via watching.


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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cinematics are not bad per se, but they are overused, and tend to take control of the action and of critical decision making moments away from the player... and that kills RP

have a cinematic view of my character performing an action i chose is fine. having a cinematic that shows my character perform an action i did not had a say in, but for "story's sake" it had to be like this, beats the point of playing an RPG


The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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