An RPG article:

Total posts: [57]
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Some reading of the Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 threads and the dispute over the role of the inventory inspired me to write this article. I'm curious what others think of it:
Always Right
Hmmm...theres a bit of a problem...

First, I'm still not entirely sure if Mass Effect can even be considered an RPG, atleast it wasn't as fun as one. But asides from that, many RPG fans like RPG for the inventory arrangements and calculating all the stats.

The things you labelled as problems are actually some of the reasons why many people play RP Gs.

Also, RPG's existed a lot longer than MMO's, MMORPG's basically take an RPG and make it into a large unwinnnable online RPG. Hence why the two have so many similarities.

PS-as for stat grinding...most RP Gs don't even require it to go through the game. People who stat grind are either playing it wrong, or they do it because they like it.
Asides from those, you do have a point when you said it's possible to have a compelling story as well as a more action oriented gameplay.

But whether turn based is better or action is better is Your Mileage May Vary. For example, many people actually liked the point and click combat...this is why Dragon Age 2 sucks.

Action based gameplay tends to be...more mashy and less strategic. One relies on your twitch reflex while the other on your brain.

edited 11th May '11 7:39:34 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Mass Effect has the same dramatic structure as all the other Bioware RP Gs. Its not turn based combat, nor inventory fiddling, that make an RPG.
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Always Right
It's more "Action Adventure" Zelda or whatever. Or Third Person Shooter with some RPG elements.

Just like how Bioshock is a 1st person shooter with RPG elements and not really an RPG.

edited 11th May '11 7:43:03 PM by Signed

"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
5 feotakahari11th May 2011 07:47:32 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
Under most current definitions, roleplaying games don't have to be about roleplaying any more than comic books have to be comical. That's not to say that they require grinding, but they are generally defined by stat allocation. (As for roleplaying itself, that can be fitted into many different genres—roleplaying games are just the ones most likely to use it.)
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
"Role playing game" is just as strongly defined by plot focus and decision-making. Don't go "one true definition" on a matter where there is legitimate disagreement ( or outright multiple partially-overlapping genres ).
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Left Eye
Even after the massive spectacle of genre excess that was Final Fantasy XIII, people still anticipate the next title.

What? I have a pretty hard time thinking of any JRPG that actually plays the same way as FFXIII.


Stats do not equal grinding.

Nor does inventory equal the obtuse bull that was in ME 1. That thing was badly designed in every way. It was even worse on consoles(which is weird because all they'd have to do to make it bearable would be to literally copy/pasta any console RPG inventory in the last decade or so).

Mass Effect 1 was an action RPG with mediocre action elements and mediocre Roll-playing elements. The stats were already cut down to 3 categories for weapons. One of which was horribly implemented(accuracy), the second of which(cooldown time) wasn't well balanced enough that you even had to care about it, and the third was just basic linear progression.

This article writes as if stats ruined ME 1 when, in fact, generally bad game design had already beaten it to the punch.

edited 11th May '11 9:12:34 PM by JotunofBoredom

^Agreed ME 1 had badly designed rpg elements and action elements. ME 2 made the right choice by at least emphasising one of those elements, but it's still understandable that the rpg crowd would be annoyed that the action was emphasised in favour of the rpg elements.

at the article: Overall the article just comes across as someone who despises stats and inventories/menu interfaces- sure maybe it's not your thing but a lot of people like that style of gameplay and acting like it's completely outdated and action combat is just hands down better than tactical combat is a little ridiculous. It's not "genre evolution" it's just plain changing the genre.

edited 11th May '11 9:06:49 PM by ShadowScythe

El Cid
Although I personally tend to agree that grinding and tediousness is the bane of my existence, there are plenty of those out there who love this stuff. Don't forget that the precursor of tabletop RPG's was "fantasy sports", which consisted of nothing more than juggling statistics to create one's own teams and have them duke it out.
Left Eye
[up]Wanting better stat managing means you like tediousness and grinding?

I could give an example of a game with stat management that is way deeper than ME 1 while, at the same time, being more streamlined(see simple and user friendly).
11 feotakahari12th May 2011 03:36:05 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
It's important to remember that Diablo is considered a roleplaying game. To many people, a good roleplaying game.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Hey, it's as much an RPG as, say, Wizardry. ;)
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Precisely, story and narrative has precisely zilch to do with RPGs, RPGs are about putting a layer of statistical abstraction between the player and the character, which allows your character to do things you can't, and prevents you from doing things your character can't, immersing you in the role.

Holding up Bioware's recent exploits as emblematic of problems with traditional RPGs is silly. I mean, look at what happened with Dragon Age:
  1. DAO is advertised as a return to BG-type gameplay, namely intense tactical combat that demands continuous manual control of the entire party through Pausable Realtime.
  2. It comes out with a completely broken interface on consoles, making tactical party combat impossible. Most people play it like a Diablo clone, put their party on autopilot, and complain that combat is too hard.
  3. Bioware responds to these criticisms in DA2 by… Abandoning any hope of achieving anything, descending further to Hack and Slash mediocrity.

What really did it for me was hearing this in the Zero Punctuation review: If even Yahtzee literally has no idea that the point of the game IS supposed to be tactically controlling your party, rather than using cruise control to aid in spamming attacks while accompanied by a group of gabbling drones, the average gamer has no chance. That's how broken Bioware's work is.


edited 13th May '11 3:04:24 AM by EricDVH

[up] And, you apparently completely miss my point. I wasn't holding up Wizardry as proof of why Diablo is a real RPG. I was holding it up as an example of how Diablo is only an RPG by an extremely archaic and out of date definition.

Its not the stats that make a game an RPG; its the plot focus and/or ability to make decisions.
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Ave Imperator
[up] Not really, if you realize that "RPG" can either refer to the actual roleplaying, which is not native to the video game precursors of modern RP Gs, or "RPG combat", which is why Diablo can be called an RPG. Personally I think the two concepts need to get separate definitions.
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16 feotakahari13th May 2011 12:27:42 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
^^ I reject any definition of "RPG" that would include Heavy Rain.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
Always Right
Wait...who said Heavy Rain is an RPG? That's like saying Resident Evil is an RPG, that's like saying Alan Wake is an RPG.
"Every opinion that isn't mine is subjected to Your Mileage May Vary."
Das kann doch nicht sein!
Silly, every game is a RPG.

My favorite RPG is Tetris, btw.

edited 13th May '11 4:28:15 PM by Nyarly

People aren't as awful as the internet makes them out to be.
20 Firebert13th May 2011 04:29:20 PM from Somewhere in Illinois
That One Guy
[up] It has very difficult choices, as well. "Do I set up a Tetris? Or just clear the lines right away?" Decisions decisions...
Yeah story and plot don't do anything to make a game a "RPG" because every game has some kind of story or plot even if it's "There is no story or plot", if story and plot made a RPG then over half of all visual novels would be RPG's because of their branching plot choice, and if Fate Stay Night and 999 are considered RPG's then there's no point in continuing the conversation.
Alright then. What makes an RPG an RPG? Is it telling the story in a particular fashion? Or is it the same sort of tedious stat-accounting that has held the genre back for ages?

I don't know about you, but I have no interest in having to spend more time juggling stats then fighting in combat or advancing the plot.
Look if you don't like stat balancing that's fine, but don't go around claiming that it's holding back the genre and that it should die or whatever. First of all modern rpgs barely use stats now, a lot of them are glorified hack'n'slash/shooters- if anything it's the streamlining of features that's holding back the genre as it also means less dialogue options, less customisation with characters and a more linear/choice-lite story.

Second, just cause you hate it doesn't mean everyone else does too. I hate cover based shooters, I think they're incredibly tedious and bland shooting galleries/whack a mole. Doesn't mean I think it's holding back shooters in general and it should all completely die out. There's a market for it and I get that but I also won't be the first in line for it.

As for the RP Gs definitions, there are like two definitions that I've seen floating around: the first is that it's a game where you really define the character you play and make meaningful and significant choices that affect the world around you. The second is that it's a game where the character's skill is more important than the player's skill (i.e. stat based combat over player based twitch combat).

Personally I prefer the former and wouldn't mind a game where the combat has almost no stats if it means I'm still really shaping the character I play and making major choices- but that doesn't mean stat based rpgs should just die out, no way.
Roleplaying is when you're playing a role that's not you, making choices based on what you think your Player Character, rather than you, would do. A roleplaying game is one where you rely on the PC (their aim with a gun, their skill at lying) in or out of combat, rather than entirely yourself (your aim with a mouse, your judgment in a dialog tree.) Stats are the gameplay mechanism that makes it possible, and if you feel more like a Meta Game accountant rather than your character, that's the fault of poor design rather than reliance on stats.

^ There's a bit of overlap between the two, since if your PC has little influence on your gameplay experience, the ability to customize it is purely æsthetic.


edited 14th May '11 5:05:02 AM by EricDVH

25 Heatth14th May 2011 05:03:42 AM from Brasil , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
[up][up][up]That is you. Many people actually like turn battles, stats and inventory management. The first RPG I ever finished was Chrono Trigger before I even knew how to read English beyond "attack", "item' and "HP". Loved it, despite not understanding a shit of the story.

Nowadays, people consider a 'RPG' with gameplay primarily based on RPG Elements (the trope name makes it obvious). Regardless if the game has "complex story"(vague concept to begin with) or "choices"(and most traditionally accepted RPGs don't have any meaningful choice, anyway), like Diablo. This is 'RPG' being defined by gameplay.

On other hand, people also define 'RPG' by a story telling. Games that have an involving, complex, story, multiple characters (playable or not playable) and choices to be made (preferably some that effect the plot, though not necessary). Games like Mass Effect and even Zelda fits here. This is 'RPG' being defined by storytelling.

Well, personally, I think both way the term is being used is weird and non nonsensical. There is no much reason for why one would call Final Fantasy (who fits the term in both definitions) a 'RPG', as there is no more "roleplaying" then your average plataformer (sometimes even less). It doesn't matter much, though. As long as everyone agrees with the name, anything is fine, even if it doesn't make sense. The problem is people start to fight over which definition, "'RPG' as gameplay" or "'RPG' as story telling" is the 'correct', when the answer is 'both' and 'neither'.

Btw, I like both styles as well as all the games I mentioned on this post.

edited 14th May '11 5:05:24 AM by Heatth

Total posts: 57
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