What we like and don't in an RPG

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DrDungeon
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What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by DrDungeon »

Hi guys! I was curious what people like and don't like in a role-playing computer game? Whenever there's a new release, be it a commercial or Indie project, there's always a review somewhere but I usually jump into the forums to get the real deal in terms of feedback from the players.

One reason I got into the Eschalon games is because they meet most of my own personal preferences in what I think makes a game fun. I'm not a big MMORPG as I feel in a solo setting you feel more the hero of the game, and the stories tend to be richer rather than monster hacking and looting predominately.

Wether its party-based or a solo guy, I like games where there's plenty of exploration and a lot of neat NPC's to run into, choice-driven talk interface and portraits to go with the dialogue. Snappy interface and pleasing graphics - even if not overly fancy. Exploring a large, detailed world is my cup of tea.

Of course I enjoy games like Oblivion or the Witcher - but I'm still mostly a fan of the old-school design. (One of the reasons I got into this myself with my own games and the main reason I'm supportive of Indie projects in general.)

So what do you like to see in an RPG game? What are some features you really liked in various games and disliked in others?

Perhaps more than anything, what draws you into a game and gives that feeling like "I gotta check out one more area!" or "Just ten minutes more!" ?

I know I read somewhere that in a movie, the important thing is to get the audience emotionally involved with the central character - in a way, even a movie is sort of like a role-playing game. Its like we're one of the players in the film. This idea is a little harder to replicate in a computer game, but I think its possible.

It might be interesting to hear what we as players hope for as well as what we don't want to see in any new releases of RPG's. -Robert
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by quasimodo »

1) If I see a new game in development the first thing I look for is Turn Based combat. If the combat is TB I put the game on my list. If the game has RT combat I'll wait for other people to play and review it. An RT game has to be pretty special to interest me.

2) The next thing I look for is party or single character. I much prefer having a party to manage as it makes the gameplay much more complex. Particularly when coupled with good TB combat...see 1) above.

3) The next thing I look for is FP view or not. I dislike the FP view very much and find all other views to be better.
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sirdilznik
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by sirdilznik »

In my opinion there is no single formula for the ideal RPG. There are so many different styles and ways to go with a role playing game and that can be successful. Whether party-based or solo, turn-based or real time, tactical or action oriented, fantasy or sci-fi, it can all work well (or fail). With that said there are some things that I tend to be drawn to in a RPG.

I think first and foremost for me is story. If I'm given a gripping tale that sucks me in and makes me care about finding out what happens it's that much easier to "become" the character(s) I'm playing. I really like different and original tales. Going against the grain is generally risky and trying an unproven formula can blow up in your face (pun intended) but it's the games that break the mold successfully that will be remembered in the long run rather than the one millionth clone of the standard RPG story. With that said even the standard "Find the legendary sword of power to stop evil being X from destroying the world" storyline that's been rehashed a billion times can be engrossing if told correctly.

I guess a lot of it comes down to attention to detail and character development. Taking the time to create a rich detailed world is key. Some developers have the advantage of working with an established and well developed world already in place, for example Star Wars or Middle Earth. Those developers have a massive head start. Most developers don't have that luxury. Taking the time to flesh out the history of the world, mythologies, legends, political systems, etc... makes a lot of difference. Little things like having different dialects, mannerisms, and prejudices in different regions makes a world feel more alive. Also putting in the time to give personalities to the characters in the world, and not just the major characters but some if not all of the regular folk in towns. I'll be a lot more invested in helping (or harming) the people of a town if I know them as Jack the farmer with a limp and a drinking problem, Elana the snobby wealthy bourgeoisie mansion owner with a disdain for dwarves, and Paul and Jacob the two hyperactive street urchins that run around the streets and like to throw rotten vegetables at passers by rather than generic townspersons A, B, C, and D.

I like open worlds that don't set me on a linear path but instead allow me to roam the world at my leisure and offer many side quests, choices, and sub-plots. Allowing different solutions to quests and problems is also a big plus. This is a balancing act of course since the more you stray from a linear game and allow different paths for players to take the more complex, tedious, and difficult it becomes to maintain a concise story.

I like the world being dynamic, where the acts you do change the world around you even if it's just something so subtle as people's attitudes toward you. One of the things I like about games like Morrowind, Oblivion, and Gothic is that people recognize you and react according to your reputation, allegiances, and acts. Even little things like hearing people talking about you behind your back or as you approach make a big difference (e.g. "Hey look it's that famous hero" "Oh great *sigh* it's him. I wish he'd just disappear").

I don't like hand holding. I'm a big boy now I can learn on my own and if I get my character killed in the process so be it. Along those lines I don't like enemies scaling according to my level. This is one thing I really disliked about Oblivion. With a few exceptions regardless where you went the enemies were always approximately my level. In my view that's another form of hand holding. If I'm stupid enough to wander into the forbidden cave all the villagers have been warning me about when I'm level 2 I should suffer the consequences and get ripped apart by the vicious trolls (or run away really really fast) rather than face weakling trolls that a lev 2 character can handle.

I also don't like the trend of dumbing games down for the casual masses. I'll take an overly complex game rather than a dumbed down game any day.

Ok, long winded post over :mrgreen:
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MegaHassan
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by MegaHassan »

I'm gonna be blunt here. I don't like everything that is a staple of JRPG's. That is all.
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KarlXII
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by KarlXII »

I like

* An open and explorable world. With no invisible barriers. It should be sparsely littered with hidden chests and items so that when finding something you feel you´ve been rewarded for having walked so long past civilization and nearest roads. Add to that some hidden caves or dungeons not marked on any map.

* Good level raising system with lots of skills (and not only combat oriented) and attributes. A good range of magic spells and disciplines.

* Hard difficulty. You should die easy in the beginning like in Gothic 2,3 or Eschalon. You must choose your fights and prioritize every gold you spend on upgrading. There is absolutely nothing worse than lack of resistance and opposition in an RPG.

* Intelligent and mature dialogues with many morale decisions that affect the game, story or reaction to the character. Many gray zones and not so easily detected good vs bad.

* Strong NPC:s that actually take part in adventure and the story and which could be killed of later on after having made you like them a lot so the loss will really hurt and add to story and atmosphere.

* Different ways to solve quests, different endings based on previous actions. No linearity. Player should feel they can go where they wish.

* Lesser but harder combat, quality before quantity in number of opposition and frequence of combat. There is nothing more tedious than to fight goblins/lizards or low level creatures every other minute. Eschalon has this just right!

* Single or Party based doesn´t matter. Isometric or First person is ok.
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kenoxite
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by kenoxite »

MegaHassan wrote:I'm gonna be blunt here. I don't like everything that is a staple of JRPG's. That is all.
And I, my good sir, second that.

On the "like" side:

* Low level fantasy and grim world. Gothic being the finest example. And this is quite ironic being mage my favorite class, I know. But the point is that if you keep it realistic the extraordinary suddenly becomes, well, more extraordinary... and awesome.

* Exploration. We're talking RPGs, right? Give me places I stumble upon and raid for the sake of it. No quests needed there.

* Challenging combat mechanics. Challenging not meaning difficult for the sake of it, or unfair. Just something I can sink my teeth on. No need to go overboard, though.

* Flexible character development. Screwing up should be allowed. So give me something that works within the game lore or story that allows me to correct my character at least once. For a price and with some limitations, of course. So, I can adjust a bunch of skill points and attributes, but not things like changing class.

* Atmosphere. This is quite ethereal, but it's mostly a mix of the art style, music, area design and general tone. If those are coherent enough and work together so I can for a moment "believe" I could be in that world then, congrats. you have something special there I want to waste my hours into.

Dislike:

* Fedex and kill 10 rats quests. Unless there's a good reason behind it.

* Long cutscenes or too heavy exposition dialog. Just tell me the essential and let me figure out the rest by myself (by reading books, notes or talking to people).

* Random encounters. While the intention is good it usually turns out into a cheap trick to slow down the game pace and make it look longer than it actually is. I rather have Eschalons "camp here to spawn mob" mechanics.

* Boss fights. In any game. It's as cheap and silly trick as random encounters. If he's really a boss make the challenge having to deal with his/her/its minions in order to even attack it/him/her. Or solving a puzzle in order to kill it/him/her. Or whatever. There's a lot of ways to offer a final challenging and meaningful encounter other than your typical boss fight.

* Chatty companions. I want them to be efficient, professional and silent. I'm not in your imaginary world to make imaginary friends. No companions is even better.

Also, turns on:
* Dirty talk
* Intelligence

Turns off:
* Tattoos
* jRPGs
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by Rush »

Space complaint:

I have an issue with small towns/villages/castles (containing half a dozen buildings or so) that are made of huge plots of game land which could hold several dozen buildings. Do we (as players) really need to spend 20 minutes wandering around towns in order to reveal only a hand-full of buildings?

Public execution complaint:

On the other hand, I have an issue with my town/village/castle explorations being suddenly blocked off by wandering NPCs who take their sweet time getting out of my way. Not that I am driven by blood lust, mind you, but it would be nice if just once, we (as players) could call all of the citizens of a town/village/castle together in order to publicly execute just one wandering NPC as an object lesson to the rest, lol.
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KarlXII
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by KarlXII »

Which reminds me of my irritation of seeing randomized dungeons with rooms filled with random items. Who the hell have built them and for what reason ? Dungeons should be mapped/built by a reason not just as randomised rooms.
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Kreador Freeaxe
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by Kreador Freeaxe »

KarlXII wrote:Which reminds me of my irritation of seeing randomized dungeons with rooms filled with random items. Who the hell have built them and for what reason ? Dungeons should be mapped/built by a reason not just as randomised rooms.
Winchester Mystery Dungeon? ;-)
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by Evnissyen »

Yeah! What Rush said! Hear, hear!
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by Rush »

Evnissyen wrote:Yeah! What Rush said! Hear, hear!
(grin)...
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sirdilznik
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by sirdilznik »

I, like most here, also generally dislike jRPGs. However, like anything else, there are exceptions. I find Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Seiken Densetsu III, and many of the Dragon Quest games to be quite excellent. Pretty much all the rest of the jRPGs out there I more often than not can't be bothered with. I'll pass on the teen angsty stories of feminine emo guys with spiky hair that carry swords one and a half times the size of their body.
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KarlXII
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by KarlXII »

uhh...what is jRPG ?
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sirdilznik
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by sirdilznik »

KarlXII wrote:uhh...what is jRPG ?
Japanese RPG as opposed to Western RPG. Generally speaking spiky haired people, 3 or so person party, combat system where a menu pops up and you select from: "Attack", "Defend", "Magic", "Item", etc..., wacky stories where the main villain winds up being your brother... who misses his mommy... and he's somehow a demi-god... and wants to destroy everybody so he can become the greatest of all gods (or similar such craziness).
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Re: What we like and don't in an RPG

Post by CrazyBernie »

Hey, just like the western market has its overdone genres (another World War II game, anyone?) so does the eastern market. I happen to like jRPGs, as they were some of the first RPGs I cut my teeth on. But perhaps they're an aquired taste, much like Dr. Pepper.

:mrgreen:

Of course, I like most types of RPGs (and genres, for that matter)... whether they be those "horrible" jRPGs that everyone loves to hate, or those FPS-style RPGs, that everyone... loves to hate. And everything in between.
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