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Gaming Why Everything Is Trying To Be An RPG Now

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 12 Apr 2010.

  1. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    I'm generally a fan of a level based system in games, but there's a point when it's gone too far.

    Can't read the article at work so I apologize if this has been mentioned already, but Dirt 2 just disgusted me. What a lazy way to let players progress through the 'campaign'. An open ended racing game like that is inherently hard to push forward without some sort of "meet the requirements, move on" gameplay, but I would have appreciated something other than a big fat level just sitting there. Any sort of mask at all, like needing a certain amount of money or total wins. Anything. Levels are becoming an excuse for developers to not think or work.

    In contrast, a decent application of a leveling system rarely/never requires the player to be of any level. It's a gauge of growth that is there for the player's own benefit, not as an integral part of the story/gameplay. Oblivion is, in my opinion, a decent application of a leveling system. It has little/no impact on what you can do in the game. Final Fantasy games are another good example, levels will help you progress as enemies get stronger but there is never a point in which you cannot do something based on your level, progression through the game is entirely driven by the story and your actions.

    And just for clarification, I think MMOs like WoW fall into the same class as Dirt 2. The game can be very content rich and fullfilling and fun, but it will still be very simple.
     
  2. Hamish

    Hamish What's a Dremel?

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    fyi, hitdrop is basically completely non-existent for non-sniper rifles and hit registration is pretty buggy
     
  3. GravitySmacked

    GravitySmacked Mostly Harmless

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    Made me laugh!
     
  4. veato

    veato I should be working

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    In BFBC2 I had the medic kit from the start. I think it due to having Veteran status or something. Without that though I think the first few days online would have been a much more unpleasant experience.

    I dont like the way games like Fallout 3 level. Dont get me wrong I loved the game but levelling the whole world to match your character level means you dont - in effect - become anymore powerful.
     
  5. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Levelling Pros and Cons aside, why is a game that involves levelling 'trying to be an RPG'?

    This highlights the flawed thinking in many publishers and studios; just because your character can level-up in some way, does not make your game an RPG. I know I should have done more homework, but I got a shock when I bought borderlands because it was a hybrid RPG/FPS - there was no RPG elements in it at all - it was a crap, fairly linear shooter where you could upgrade your weapons.

    RPGs often involve levelling but they aren't defined by this. In RPGs, you are supposed to be playing a 'role' and any decisions you make will have an effect on your future game experience. RPGs usually embrace some sort of character attributes (Str, Con,, Int etc.) and skills/abilities (spells, lock-picking, hacking etc.) which provide you with different ways of solving in-game problems. When you level, you often increase particular skills or characteristics, but equally you can gain new skills that allow you to tackle future problems in a different way.

    If you want to write an article about levelling, that's fine - but you are doing RPGs a disservice with this title.
     
  6. jrr

    jrr What's a Dremel?

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    I find both "leveling mechanics" jarring and unbelievable: 1) the game scales with you and 2) enemy levels are fixed and you continually visit harder and harder zones.

    I'm trying to come up with a new model that better mirrors the real world. Perhaps enemies of varying strengths are distributed more finely throughout the game world? (instead of having a level 1-5 zone, a level 6-10 zone, etc; most zones would have the full level range)

    I could see enemy strength being based on variables like race/species, age, profession, and of course gear. When you're low level you could kill a rabbit but not a bear; you could take out a child orc but not his father.

    Perhaps a game implementing this would be devilishly hard, but much more believable.
     
  7. Hovis

    Hovis What's a Dremel?

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    Ahh there was a long and fairly baffling MSN conversation that went on prior to the selection of the title. It wasn't a feature that had a title before it was written, hence it doesn't fit right. :)

    I agree completely that an RPG can be done without levelling, without systems and without stats, and vice versa putting these into a game does not make it an RPG. However the definition of an RPG is at best a grey area and at worst a grey area inside a holdall stuffed in a cupboard under the stairs. The devs don't know what's what (hence how Borderlands calls itself an RPG/FPS yet Rainbow Six 2 doesn't, despite similar levels of 'RPGness') and journalists don't always agree either, and neither do gamers.

    To be honest I'm coming to the conclusion that a game can only really be an RPG if it is played as one. Because role playing, as opposed to just watching somebody else's character, is about taking control and imprinting your characterisation onto the avatar. I think any game when it becomes all about the stats and the pursuit of loots and items ceases to be an RPG. Yet by the same token you could take, for example, Football Manager 2010, and make that an RPG if you gave your manager a character.
     
  8. DarrenTomlyn

    DarrenTomlyn What's a Dremel?

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    RPG's are all about: (systematic) USER-DEFINED character development, (above and beyond the basic game-play - (which is usually action/turn-based adventure or fps) - and setting).

    (It HAS to be user-defined, since games are ABOUT what people DO, and therefore if it's not what a player DOES, then it cannot be used to define a game!). (Yes, I know this means that a lot of 'so called' RPG's are not, but that's for a good reason - (i.e. they're not - they tend to be action adventure games with RPG elements)).

    However, RPG elements - the methods and systems by which the character development is implemented and works, can be used in ways which do not provide the above: I.e. they can be something that is TOLD to the player, rather than something the player has done for himself. If that is the case, then it CANNOT be an RPG, since what happens TO the player has nothing to do with it being a game.

    Of course, such elements can also be used in order for the player to develop 'things' rather than characters, (such as cars or spaceships). Although such games cannot, (obviously), be called RPG's the game-play mechanics can be similar if not identical.

    The main reasons why all these elements are being used in games is fairly simple. Unfortunately, only one of them can have any impact on it actually BEING a game:

    The first, is that they are used to regulate what happens TO the player, and whatever it is they are controlling - (playing the role of) - be it a spaceship/car or a character or characters. Such a method has no impact at all on the type of game it is, since games are not defined by what happens TO the players.

    The second, is that they are used to regulate the DEVELOPMENT of the game-play itself. However, since, again, it's what the player DOES that affects what a game is, only games with USER-DEFINED game-play development should be considered to be of a distinct type. It's the latter, that RPG's as a whole, and any game which attempts to use the systems properly, should be really aiming for:

    'Systematic, user-defined game-play development, above and beyond the basic game-play and setting'
     
  9. Vinni3

    Vinni3 What's a Dremel?

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    I think you forgot TF2 ;-)
     
  10. Dragunover

    Dragunover What's a Dremel?

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    "Levels in Mass Effect 2 are barely even treated as rewards and while there are unique abilities, they all boil down to being combat upgrades"

    NOT true.
    If you don't have the leveled up version of what is basically charisma you can end up losing your teams' dedication, which in hand can determine whether they live through the suicide mission - which will ultimately lead to you not having them in Mass Effect 3(probably)
     
  11. Hovis

    Hovis What's a Dremel?

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    If you're referring to the Paragon and Renegade levels, these can be significant, but there is always a way to complete the loyalty quests without them. If characters fall out then sometimes you need high paragon or renegade levels to keep everybody happy, but as long as you are consistent in your actions one way or the other you tend to build up enough points. Indeed this is something else that makes it different to most other RPGs, you never have to compromise your combat skills for interpersonal ones, all your levels and advancement through XP is directly focussed on battle skills, and the paragon and renegade points are entirely independent.
     
  12. featherz

    featherz What's a Dremel?

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    I like having something to aim for in games, but that doesnt mean ill play any game with levels in it.
     
  13. Xir

    Xir Modder

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    Ican't either...the entire gaming section is blocked (1D6 against a success of 7)

    Congrats on a very entertaining article!

    I really dislike it when "the world levels around you", as, as you state, every bum is strong like batman in the end.
    Especially in open world games, it would be easy to just have regions with differently tough opponents.but hey.
     
  14. ModeZt

    ModeZt What's a Dremel?

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    I'm not so sure that RPG elements will make ppl play in the future.

    I remember first seeing a stat collecting system for Counter Strike Source in 2004. That was huge. Ppl spent hours getting in top20 on their favorite servers.
    I remember the stats integrated into Battlefield 2. I was hunting badges and medals for days.

    But after you play for some time all that pictures and symbols loose their value.
    Stats and virtual medals may work as a bait for new young players. But they won't motivate experienced oldschool guys.
    Look at Left 4 Dead. It has some fun Achievements. Some kids are collecting them, but most players just ignore this pixels. Gameplay fun, communication and teamwork -- that's what make this game great, not the stats.
     
  15. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Funnily enough I was just thinking today about starting a thread discussing Oblivion's singularly broken levelling system. It continues to amaze me that it's so badly designed, from a company with so much experience and with so many beta testers at its disposal.
     
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