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I figured it out... Why RPGs seem to be going down hill.


Luridis

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It is because of kids, kids who want actions, kids cannot stand watching their avatar fighting, kids want to push the button and awesome things happen, to satisfy their ego

 

Those who really enjoyed RPG dice rolling mechanic are actually older people, the ones who want relax and watching stuff happen, who is more using their brain to think rather than depending on impulse to reflex

 

Old school RPGs are like chess, it's slow, you need to estimate, calculate, make your move and see what happen.

 

Kids don't like that. Kids want to involve in actions, kid want their friends say "you are really good!!! You are awesome!!!" when they manage to beat the big boss of the game, it is because they beat the boss with their skills and reflexes, so they are awesome guys/girls simply because they are awesome themselves, those who are not good will be laughed and be called "noobs" because their relex is so slow and suck at playing the game, it is simply because they are suck themselves.

 

Games today are created to satisfy the kids ego, so thsese kids can brag about how awesome they are and thus encourage marketing

Edited by Qistina
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The narrative, in any shape or form, is a very important element in a role-playing game but it's not the "backbone", it's not what makes the genre unique. The core of a role-playing game is in the name of the genre itself: Role-playing. Playing a role is achieved through simulation, and how well a game can simulate something in turn contributes to the role-playing. The whole genre can be represented by a single question: What if I was...? And how well the answer to that question is simulated in turn contributes to the quality of a role-playing game.

And Skyrim is a good RPG for roleplaying a loner wolf wilderness explorer because that is the only simulation it did well. For anything else you need a competent story like others are saying. Narrative can only take you so far.
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Part of the problem is that developers (and many players) don't seem to understand what separates RPGs from action games.

 

In an action game, my character is just an avatar for my skills and abilities. In a game like Doom, for instance, Doomguy's ability to aim and hit the demons is based on MY aiming ability with the mouse and MY reflexes. He cannot succeed or fail independently of the player. (1)

 

However, in an RPG, my character is a completely separate entity from me, the player. In any given situation, my character's success or failure depends on HIS skills, HIS abilities, HIS strengths and weaknesses...NOT mine. In Fallout, for example, if I direct the Vault Dweller to attack someone with a pistol, whether or not he hits an enemy is based on his agility, his skill with firearms, the enemy's armour, the enemy's ability to evade, and so on. My "twitch skills" never come into play. (2)

 

This is why RPGs have character stats. They are way of defining the player character independently of the player, allowing the game world to react based on his qualities. Without them, you do not have a character, just an avatar for your own skills. You could try pretending to be your character, but the game won't care, because your character has no defined characteristics for it to react to. (3)

 

Consider a tabletop game. When my character goes to attack a dragon, whether or not he succeeds isn't dependent on my ability to whack the DM over the head with a plastic sword, but on my character's skills. (4)

 

This is why "actionising" RPGs is such a mistake, (5) as it blurs the distinction between the player and his character. In Skyrim, I played a character who had the lowest possible Archery skill. In other words, his stats defined him as someone who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a bow. Yet because I had good aim with the mouse and keyboard, my character was a veritable sharpshooter. (6) In another instance, I could pick the hardest locks despite having abysmal skill in Lockpicking, just because I was good at the lockpicking minigame. In both cases, player skill trumps character skill. And THAT is poor RPG design...because an RPG isn't about you, the player, but the character whose role you are assuming.

 

"RPG" is one of the most abused acronyms in gaming. Mass Effect 2 is the worst example. It was sold as an RPG, despite being nothing more than Gears of War-style third-person shooter with a dialogue wheel. Sure, there's XP and levels, but Shepard kills an YMIR mech at level 2, which are some of the toughest enemies in the game, meaning that all the levelling system does is let you kill the same enemies more quickly. "Dialogue" and "choices" don't make it an RPG, because A: those have been featured in numerous adventure games (Monkey Island comes to mind), and B: ME2's dialogue and choices are so shallow that you could remove them and the game would play almost exactly the same...which is precisely what ME3 allowed you to do. (7)

 

And as I've said before, "actionising" RPGs isn't because it makes them better, or because it's any sort of "evolution." It's done because the large publishers believe that only shooters and action/adventure games will sell. (8 )

 

I understand where you're coming from, but at the same time that is all very subjective. I won't say you're entirely wrong, but I won't agree that you're entirely correct either.

 

1 - There are hefty differences between a game like Doom and one like Oblivion. Doom does not have: classes, character levels, skills, differences between various resource pools based on said classes (health, mana, etc.). There are other significant mechanics missing from Doom, like notoriety, recognition of changes to world state beyond "all enemies dead on 1st floor", guilds, alignment, henchmen, etc. Perhaps most telling of all, Doom doesn't have a player created character name reflected by in-game dialogue.

 

2 - This one is also very different between the genre, and you're oversimplifying it a bit. For instance: In a First Person Shooter, the function of zooming as a sniper is focused on the weapon and its configuration. While in games like Skyrim and its ilk, this is a function of class, progressive skill or character level. Not just the ability to do it, but the length of time it can be maintained.

 

You also mention twitch skills and to-hit mechanics. Again, damage scaling, if it exists at all in a first person shooter is a function of the weapon. In a first-person RPG, this is a function of the weapon, passive skill, class and other progress tied abilities like perks, talents, specializations, character level etc.

 

The question that really needs to be asked is what is the function of to-hit mechanics & dice rolls or RNG? Is this an essential game play element to the RPG genre, or was it simply a means to an end? That end being: is the use of to-hit just another form of damage scaling? Before you answer either one of those, ask yourself this question: Are LARPers not really role playing because they're not using dice?

 

3 - I see your point, but that is also an oversimplification. In the real world shooting a person in the eye with a bow and arrow is usually fatal or, at the very least debilitating to the point where the person is removed from battle. In a first-person-RPG that same shot to the eye can be little more than a tickle because of values like health, armor skill, survival mechanics, etc.

 

4 - Again,  see my previous question about LARPing, are they not role playing just because they're not rolling dice? I ask because LARPing is largely considered a roleplaying game, yet doesn't use paper stats and dice.

 

5 - Please don't say things like this. Let's not discourage game developers from trying new things or we'll live in a world of copycat games & mechanics that is one dimensional and bland.

 

6 - A level 10 warrior in the D20 system does more damage to a bear with a longbow than a wizard would because the warrior class specializes in weapons. A level 10 archer in Skyrim does more damage to a bear with a longbow than would a destruction focused wizard because the player has specialized in archery by progressing the skill and selecting talents therein. (I say archer in Skyrim because the class mechanics are essentially still there because of the way the mechanics work, but are just much more of a pain in the butt to level because progression doesn't work as well without the class system.)

 

So again, is dice/RNG just a form of damage scaling, or is that mechanic a defining element of what we call an RPG?

 

7 & 8 - Large publishers are becoming money focused to a fault and that is quite annoying yes. But you cannot deny that (7) is subjective as hell. I don't think publishers are 100% responsible for the state of RPG games, or the acceptable use of the genre's acronyms. Some of what is being done in (8 ) sucks, but please don't discourage experimentation by making the gross over-generalization that any change is bad.

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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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"In any given situation, my character's success or failure depends on HIS skills, HIS abilities, HIS strengths"

 

All skills given to him by you, the player. By your own logic, that isn't a true RPG, as you interfered with the process. You need to hit 'auto level' next time if you want the true RPG experience.

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The question that really needs to be asked is what is the function of to-hit mechanics & dice rolls or RNG? Is this an essential game play element to the RPG genre, or was it simply a means to an end? That end being: is the use of to-hit just another form of damage scaling? Before you answer either one of those, ask yourself this question: Are LARPers not really role playing because they're not using dice?

 

3 - I see your point, but that is also an oversimplification. In the real world shooting a person in the eye with a bow and arrow is usually fatal or, at the very least debilitating to the point where the person is removed from battle. In a first-person-RPG that same shot to the eye can be little more than a tickle because of values like health, armor skill, survival mechanics, etc.

 

4 - Again,  see my previous question about LARPing, are they not role playing just because they're not rolling dice? I ask because LARPing is largely considered a roleplaying game, yet doesn't use paper stats and dice.

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.

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This is why "actionising" RPGs is such a mistake, as it blurs the distinction between the player and his character. In Skyrim, I played a character who had the lowest possible Archery skill. In other words, his stats defined him as someone who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a bow. Yet because I had good aim with the mouse and keyboard, my character was a veritable sharpshooter. In another instance, I could pick the hardest locks despite having abysmal skill in Lockpicking, just because I was good at the lockpicking minigame. In both cases, player skill trumps character skill. And THAT is poor RPG design...because an RPG isn't about you, the player, but the character whose role you are assuming.

 

 

And a Fallout character with abyssmal Intelligence can use complex combat tactics because the players themselves know about those. What makes the non-abstraction of skills like aiming or reflex poor RPG design but the non-abstraction of skills like tactic or planning perfectly normal? Stats should cover the latter as well.

 

In the end, as soon as we allow player input at any level we're making the corresponding stats that less relevant. Since we want to include player input (we want to play the game, not watch the game plays itself), which skills are or are not abstracted is not genre-defining, it's just a matter of personal preference.

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Games that require player relexes are not RPG

 

Deus Ex is a better RPG than most 'pure rpgs', in just about every facet.

 

 

Such games are games with RPG elements, not an RPG

 

 

By what definition?

 

Because the original RPG's were turn based(PnP), that means anything not turn based is not an RPG.

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It's a RPG when you play a role.

 

 

 

By what definition?

 

Because the original RPG's were turn based(PnP), that means anything not turn based is not an RPG.

 

 

True, but playing a role doesn't require your own strength, agility, cunning, wisdom, charisma......

 

Based on you are not your character. If the game need my own flexibily, if i suck and not being flexible, then my character also suck because i suck, so what role i am playing

 

Example, i choose a Wood Elf in Skyrim, it said that Wood Elves are excellent archers in Tamriel, so my character must be good in archery, but my flexibily is bad, i am not fast enough to aim with my mouse and clicking, so why my character who supposed to be good at archery ALWAYS MISS SHOOTING MOVING TARGETS? It is not because my character suck, it is because i suck, it is i who is not well enough using the controls

 

So that's not playing a role of a race who stereotypically an excellent archer.

 

But still, there's a role, and that is why it is a game with RPG element but not RPG itself

Edited by Qistina
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It's not an RPG if a game has a combat system that isn't purely auto-resolve. You character should be able to handle the entirety of combat autonomously because it's the character's tactical prowess that should determine the outcome, not any interference by the player. A true RPG has only two buttons to handle a combat encounter: fight or flee. You then get a pop-up window showing the outcome of the fight.

 

 

(Actually, my non-facetious answer is that a true RPG implementation of a CRPG would require the development of a natural language parser with an infinite decision space)

L I E S T R O N G
L I V E W R O N G

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@OP/Thread Title/Topic: I'm playing Wizardry 6-8, 40 hours in on Wizardry 6, near finished with the Pyramids (I've got a Lizard-Fighter, Human-Samurai, Felpurr-Ninja, Dwarf-Valkyrie, Mook-Psionic and a Elf-Bishop).

I've been drawn to old-school RPG's more and more ever since I started venturing to these boards, well, it was a thing that started to happen to me before Project Eternity as well. Next-Gen stuff hasn't really excited me, but the older gems do. Why?

It's hard to put my finger on it but... abstraction & imagination. Your own level of capability to "imagine" stuff, the level of your own vivid and childish fantasy.

Wizardry manages to unlock this, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, many of the old-school games places me in the story, in the narrative, and my fantasy and imagination goes wild. Much like reading a book, and imagining the interactions, environments and characters in the book, in your mind. Combat becomes vivid, for the brief moments that it occurs. My static portraits and the clunky sound doesn't do much, but in my mind's eye I see my environment, the enemies ahead of me, my heroes looking at each other nervously, or confidently.

An example:
"The fight begins, and the Samurai leaps forward, swinging his nodachi like a true sword master. The enemy didn't know what hit them. Still surprised, another one goes down, as from the shadows, Keera, a master assassin appears to backstab another one, acrobaticly she flips, slices another of the Amazulu's throats. Meanwhile, Ferrul has invaded the mind of one of the Amazulu's, she's writhing in pain, rolling on the floor. When only she is left, Larz moves up casually and thrusts his sword through her, ending her mental pain.

The party moves on.
/End of example

I guess, a bit of an attempt of a new term here, one could call old-school roleplaying games "Role Reading". The gameplay isn't fantastic in Wizardry (most of the time, in combat, I'm simply holding down "Return" because it's pretty damn easy with my party), but it's the world, the lore, the interaction with it that's great, exploring, mapping, writing down notes, talking with NPC's. But also, as seen above in my "Combat example", is that You become a bit of the "author" in the plot, in what goes down, how your characters move, how they interact, how things are perceived.

Wizardry 6 is a blocky, 2D FPS dungeoncrawl, the graphics aren't the prettiest of prettiest, but it's just simple, good, and extremely well abstracted. When entering the Pyramids I get a message, telling me that there's ornaments and paintings and statues along the walls. But all I see, visually, is mostly grey stone walls (taken from google, not my party, for some reason my Steam screenshots didn't work). In my minds eye, I do see all of the stuff though, I imagine that "golden" "sandy" color of the pyramid... much like how it is when I read a book.

What Next-Gen RPG's do "wrong", I believe, is the "too much handholding". There's too much arrows, pointers, GUI and HUD elements that guides the Player through the game, whilst in Wizardry I am guiding myself through the game. I am exploring the game, I am inside the Zoo. Whilst in Next-Gen RPG's I feel as if I am on a Tour, a passenger on a railroad trolley, and I'm looking into the Zoo through a window, with a Guide stating "To the left we have a great outdoors environ, and to the right you can see the Dragon in the sky".

And Demon Souls, Dark Souls, prove to us that Players create communities around games that aren't handholding you every corner, they explore it and a base of an enormous amount of fans gather around the table to join in on the discussion of "How to beat this or that". It proves to us that these games do work, yet most AAA developers seem afraid, scared of developing anything that the Players might explore themselves.

It's like overprotective parents, afraid they will lose their children if they are too strict, so they turn to become softcore and more accessible.

That's my cents.

P.S. If you want a really really good RP game? Project Zomboid. Get it. It's amazing. For best effect: Find an RP server, or create an RP server with your friends. You can also play it locally, multiplayer co-op.

Edited by Osvir
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It's not an RPG if a game has a combat system that isn't purely auto-resolve. You character should be able to handle the entirety of combat autonomously because it's the character's tactical prowess that should determine the outcome, not any interference by the player. A true RPG has only two buttons to handle a combat encounter: fight or flee. You then get a pop-up window showing the outcome of the fight.

 

 

(Actually, my non-facetious answer is that a true RPG implementation of a CRPG would require the development of a natural language parser with an infinite decision space)

 

No, that's Role Playing, but not a Game

 

In Role Playing Game, you build your character, that's why there's stats, attributes, items and so on, all these are to build the character you are role playing

 

Let say you are playing an Elf who are stereotypically an excellent archer, your character have a bonus +1 attack with bow, how excellent your character be is depend on how you build your character, not your own flexibility, not on how well you are using the controller/mouse

 

That's the real Role Playing Game

 

It's like Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone Fighting Fantasy game books

Edited by Qistina
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"In any given situation, my character's success or failure depends on HIS skills, HIS abilities, HIS strengths"

 

All skills given to him by you, the player. By your own logic, that isn't a true RPG, as you interfered with the process. You need to hit 'auto level' next time if you want the true RPG experience.

If this was school this would be the moment where you would be told "sit down, you failed" . If this was work this would be the moment where they tell you to "go back to school".
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In game books, we don't have controllers, we don't have keyboard and mouse, but we have dice or some sort of table with numbers on it

 

You must determine your stats, then embark the adventure, playing your role in the game...throwing dice or using the table when in combat or when doing something such as picking locks

 

That's RPG

 

Pushing button and then awesome things happen is not RPG

 

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Edited by Qistina
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In the end, as soon as we allow player input at any level we're making the corresponding stats that less relevant. Since we want to include player input (we want to play the game, not watch the game plays itself), which skills are or are not abstracted is not genre-defining, it's just a matter of personal preference.

It's not so much about which skills are used but to what extend they effect the gameplay.

That's why we used to talk about tactical-RPGs and action-RPGs.

But that was back when RPG term actually mattered and could be defined in some way.

Edited by pmp10
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In the end, as soon as we allow player input at any level we're making the corresponding stats that less relevant. Since we want to include player input (we want to play the game, not watch the game plays itself), which skills are or are not abstracted is not genre-defining, it's just a matter of personal preference.

It's not so much about which skills are used but to what extend they effect the gameplay.

That's why we used to talk about tactical-RPGs and action-RPGs.

But that was back when RPG term actually mattered and could be defined in some way.

 

 

One of the best comments I've seen... because that's exactly how I think of the difference between a game like Oblivion and a game like NWN2. Both are role playing games, one is played as a party, from a tactical standpoint, and the other is played first person from an action oriented perspective.  Not all action RPGs have you pushing a single button.

 

Ever play an illusionist in Skyrim? Running in and mashing a button gets your face ripped off.

 

Ever play a barbarian? (Light Armor & Two-Handed) Running in and just mashing attack will get you killed the first time you aggro 1+ in heavy armor because they'll stagger-lock you.

 

But then, I have the self-discipline to not sit there and exploit the known holes in the AI. And, most of the time I run with mods to AI and combat that cause enemy groups to do a better job of flanking maneuvers, etc. Personally, I blame the bad AI on having to be written to run on PS3, that machine's 256MB of RAM has done more damage to gaming in the past 8 years than anything else has. Why? Because tons of games run on middleware where so much of the game's core code base has to be tuned to run well on the weakest platform.

Edited by Luridis

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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"In any given situation, my character's success or failure depends on HIS skills, HIS abilities, HIS strengths"

 

All skills given to him by you, the player. By your own logic, that isn't a true RPG, as you interfered with the process. You need to hit 'auto level' next time if you want the true RPG experience.

If this was school this would be the moment where you would be told "sit down, you failed" . If this was work this would be the moment where they tell you to "go back to school".

 

I'm sure, if the course were Tr00 Rpg 101.
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I've been lurking for a while, but now it looks like I've been drawn out. (1)

 

I agree with most of what you say, but wanted to add my take. (1)

 

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. (2)

 

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?  (3)

 

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. (4)

 

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. (5)

 

 

1: Welcome aboard! :biggrin:  I drew out a lurker, here that's a good thing, unlike Apocrypha.

 

2: You say, "there are different types of RPGs" and then say "but action RPGs aren't RPGs." What's to prevent action RPG from being yet another type? But, more importantly, where do you draw the line between a "RPG Type" and something else with "RPG elements"? Just curious how other peeps see that.

 

3: Most of the people who LARP that I have met would wholeheartedly disagree with you. The premise that what they are doing is a "game" is central to a lot of what they do. From their own suspension of disbelief to even a legally defensive position should someone get hurt. I don't LARP myself, but for some of them "it's a game" could almost be their tag line.

 

4: I know what character and world building are, a d20 system isn't required. What I am trying to figure out is why this generalization, though not all inclusive, seems to come up repeatedly.

 

Rule #1: Tactical inputs by the player are required for a game to be considered a RPG.

Rule #2: Action based inputs, regardless of any and all tactical merit, are never considered an RPG.

Summary: Auto-attacks with a special action queue might be an RPG. Any game with direct action created by player input cannot be a RPG.

 

5: You're just dead wrong here. Depending on range, shooting a person in the eye is remarkably easy, especially with something like a crossbow. Hence the need for rules like, "Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded." Because it is that easy to fatally wound someone, archery dominated warfare for a long part of our history because it is very effective.

Edited by Luridis

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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2: You say, "there are different types of RPGs" and then say "but action RPGs aren't RPGs." What's to prevent action RPG from being yet another type? But, more importantly, where do you draw the line between a "RPG Type" and something else with "RPG elements"? Just curious how other peeps see that.

 

3: Most of the people who LARP that I have met would wholeheartedly disagree with you. The premise that what they are doing is a "game" is central to a lot of what they do. From their own suspension of disbelief to even a legally defensive position should someone get hurt. I don't LARP myself, but for some of them "it's a game" could almost be their tag line.

 

4: I know what character and world building are, a d20 system isn't required. What I am trying to figure out is why this generalization, though not all inclusive, seems to come up repeatedly.

 

Rule #1: Tactical inputs by the player are required for a game to be considered a RPG.

Rule #2: Action based inputs, regardless of any and all tactical merit, are never considered an RPG.

Summary: Auto-attacks with a special action queue might be an RPG. Any game with direct action created by player input cannot be a RPG.

 

5: You're just dead wrong here. Depending on range, shooting a person in the eye is remarkably easy, especially with something like a crossbow. Hence the need for rules like, "Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded." Because it is that easy to fatally wound someone, archery dominated warfare for a long part of our history because it is very effective.

 

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.

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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.

 

 

I'll have to address the rest later. But on number 5, you're kind of making my point for me. To see why, I'll have to go all the way back to the beginning statement.

 

500metric posted, "This is why "actionising" RPGs is such a mistake, as it blurs the distinction between the player and his character. In Skyrim, I played a character who had the lowest possible Archery skill. In other words, his stats defined him as someone who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with a bow. Yet because I had good aim with the mouse and keyboard, my character was a veritable sharpshooter."

 

To which I replied, "A level 10 warrior in the D20 system does more damage to a bear with a longbow than a wizard would because the warrior class specializes in weapons. A level 10 archer in Skyrim does more damage to a bear with a longbow than would a destruction focused wizard because the player has specialized in archery by progressing the skill and selecting talents therein."

 

You replied, "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."

 

And finally the last two exchanges...

 

Basically 500metrictonnes stated that "actionising" RPGs is bad because it puts part of the two-hit mechanics in the player's hands, allowing someone with almost no archery skill to be a sharpshooter. And, by extension that makes their ability to do damage a matter of player skill instead of character skill. Yet he is ignoring that the purpose of THAC0 is to scale damage to character level (because number of attacks statically increase with level, and this is not subject to RNG), which is not lost in Skyrim, even if the player hits 100% of the time. Additionally, D&D gets more attacks per round per level and in Skyrim that's always more or less in the player's hands, hence the need for a scaling component on the essentially fixed number of attacks per time.

 

I explained that his argument was an oversimplification because, while you can point click and hit the target easily, it does not make the kill any easier to pull off than rolling a D20 to hit or miss the target. Why, because shooting someone in the eye in Skyrim is subject to physical DR of their armor, their total hit points, block mechanics, etc. So, in the end, the result of "actionising" the to hit mechanics in Skyrim produces the same net effect that rolling a D20 would: damage scaling. That is because, in the real world, shooting someone in the face is usually fatal, even if doing so could be classified easy.

 

In essence, just because a "hit" might be easier to land in Skyrim because RNG is not involved, the mechanics of the skill system, armor and weapons produce exactly the same result: damage is scaled to character skill and not the player's skill. The player can have a 99% hit rate with bows and yet still take 15 arrows to kill a bear at a skill of 15, and that same bear that would be killed in a single shot by a player with 80 skill and 12 perks in archery.

 

EDIT: Sorry for all the edits, trying to wrap up my thoughts into something communicable.

Edited by Luridis

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. - Julius Caesar

 

:facepalm: #define TRUE (!FALSE)

I ran across an article where the above statement was found in a release tarball. LOL! Who does something like this? Predictably, this oddity was found when the article's author tried to build said tarball and the compiler promptly went into cardiac arrest. If you're not a developer, imagine telling someone the literal meaning of up is "not down". Such nonsense makes computers, and developers... angry.

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I'll have to address the rest later. But on number 5, you're kind of making my point for me. To see why, I'll have to go all the way back to the beginning statement.

Fair enough.  Your perspective has actually improved my opinion of BGS and Skyrim.  I personally would like them to have a more sophisticated (and moddable) combat system, but I actually like what they're doing with in the high-level sense that they're reifying abstract systems and exposing them as actual gameplay.  (But I wouldn't want that to become widespread in RPGs, either.)

 

Have you ever tried Duke Patrick's combat mods (in either Oblivion or Skyrim)?  He's an SCA-er that tries to apply principles of real-life combat in the games.  His mods make both games more extreme in terms of both player skill and RPG stats.  So for example blocking becomes much more important for survival, with the timing entirely based on player skill but with the effectiveness heavily mitigated by character skill.   

 

Also, as an aside, both he and Arwen (of Realism Tweaks fame for the Fallout games) have complained about how difficult it is to port their mods to Skyrim because of the lack of stats.   Arwen eventually gave up, and DP decided to fake hidden attributes in order to implement his mechanics.  

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Sorry, just couldn't idly stand around... sad.png

 

5: You're just dead wrong here. Depending on range, shooting a person in the eye is remarkably easy, especially with something like a crossbow. Hence the need for rules like, "Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded." Because it is that easy to fatally wound someone, archery dominated warfare for a long part of our history because it is very effective.

Oooops. Every sharpshooter in the world just winced painfully. From everything more than 10 meters shoot a person in the eye is a chance taking depending on many factors even from a pistol, let alone crossbow and especially bow. Skill matters a lot. And, yes, archery never dominated warfare before firearms popped up. Partly because of teaching somewhat skilled archer took an awfully lot of time, and they died easily if an enemy managed to get in melee, which cavalry was often able to accomplish. That's irrelevant to RPGs, of course, but... I'm hurt. original.gif

 

Regarding Skyrim, I don't think comparing its role system to something D&D-like is viable. They're just different, not "worse" or "better". Learning to do things by doing them makes perfect sense, in Skyrim it's just taken beyond last line of absurd by some abstract value of "level" tied to it and absence of stats and restrictions in general. Bethesda understood KISS principle in a wrong way, yeah. Very wrong way.

 

[here goes some nasty comment about raising conversation skills in D&D 3.5 with xp earned by endless killing.]

"I'm learning how to be courteous with that person by butchering him/her! No person - no need to be courteous, and I always know where to put extra belongings, yay!" I know that happens only with a lousy DM, but ruleset allows that and in videogame there's just no DM, so what you're going to do?

 

I'm agree with the point that mixing player's skills with character's skills to succeed in some action is stupid, though. Viable gameplay wise, but stupid in general.

 

I hope you'll forgive me a little lecturing on OP in the end (it was intended to be imho, but... well, it happens. Sorry. sad.png ).

Every argument about what an RPG should be and what not loses its scope pretty quickly because of lack of definitions. Genre originated in PnP gaming was never decently defined for computer gaming.

"Role-Playing Game? I can roleplay in Call of Duty, you know. So it's gotta be an RPG, by genre name. What now?" Bad thing is, there's no way to deny such statement completely. It has some truth in it, strictly speaking. Some. Old-school RPG fans take for basis a complex system, consisting from ruleset that makes character feel alive, world that gives him a place to live and deep book-like narrative tying those two together, but that's not obvious for newcomer or casual bystander used to simplicity. Matter of tastes in the end. Big videogame developers trying to appeal to both sides and thus releasing freaks of a games with no sense for a dime inside. It's not their fault, it's their job, sadly.

That said, RPGs are not going downhill. They've always been a niche sport, and with computer gaming developing they came out of their niche and was deformed by big ugly world.

 

tl;dr Skyrim is s***ty, but somewhat fun game. I hope that Bethesda will remove the former and increase the latter, but that's never going to happen. Cheers :D

Edited by Yellow Rabbit
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