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December 7th, 2012, 20:32
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
"Stat crunching is good. Slow paced combat is good. Dungeons & Dragons is good. And combining all three seamlessly together remains very good indeed."

"There are no achievements to unlock, few second chances and plenty of completely unfair challenges to stumble into. I firmly believe everybody who loves RPGs should play Baldur's Gate; that's a given."

I pitty the fools who think that role playing is all about stat crunching, slow paced combat (a.k.a. dice rolling and number crunching in P&P RPGs) and Dungeons & Dragons and no second chances and unfair challenges. The real problem with Baldur's Gate isn't the outdated graphics and UI, the outdated game mechanics and the scarce voice acting (though all these are problems that come with the age…). The real problem with Baldur's Gate and all the other "good old fashioned cRPGs" is that they captured the worst side of P&P role playing games, which is the aspects mentioned on the reviews above: number crunching, slowness, a strategic approach to action and combat, lack of real immersion in the game world (having, instead, immersion in the game mechanics and the strategical aspect of gaming), an uncanny love for the kind of lame fantasy portrayed in most Dungeons & Dragons scenarios and (and this one is the big thing for everybody who is loving the resurrection of dead cRPGs) is the difficulty.
Running numbers, stats crunching is not roleplaying. Players interested in this do not play roleplaying games. They most likely play a war game at a skirmish level.

Therefore computer games that include those features do not capture the worst side of P&P RPGs because that does not belong to RPG. Those video games are simply war games.

The difficulty, by Jove! As if being more difficult had anything to do with role playing, interpreting characters and immersion in a fictional universe. On the good old days combat was hard, enemies were tougher, all happened in appalling turn based slow motion and there were no pointers to your objectives, so you had to spend hours dwelling on dungeons or whatever, searching for something you might not even know what it was. Great role play, indeed…
Difficulty does not relate exclusively to combat. Role playing should be made difficult to give any substance to role playing.

As to the other things, there are no shortcut for certain activities. Getting lost means getting lost and allocating time being actually lost. Kind of a problem for present days' games when gamers claim they want to experience getting lost but refuse to allocate any time while playing to actually be lost.
It would be clearer from them they do not want to experience being lost.


Granted, they did the games like that because the multimedia and interactive aspects of emulating the "real" role playing experience was beyond them at that point, either for technical or monetary reasons, or both most probably. The easiest way to do it was to simulate the dice rolling and strategy parts of games like Dungeons and Dragons.
Actually, BG explored how to import RPG to computers. Certain sides show that the game had partial understanding of the role a player might get to assume and therefore can provide reciprocity to it. It is more advanced than most of so called RPGs of today.

But guess what? Many role players hated that concept for many years - ever since other games and other concepts came out in the world of P&P. I'm sure that modern cRPGs have much more in common with first person shooters than Baldur's Gate had, but they also have fast paced action, interesting storytelling, nice voice acting (at least when compared to the "good ole' days"), rather nice looking graphics and emphasis on storytelling and interaction with NPCs- and that is the best way to emulate a good role playing experience ("role playing" meaning interpreting characters in a fictional story and not "roll playing"…).
All these features signal a narrative game. Not a RPG. Story is secondary and non essential in a RPG. RP does not require a story. RP requires situations to install the character in his role. A story in a RPG is only good as the RP situations it brings.

For narrative games, it is another story: the story is central and essential to this kind of games.

So basically, it is wargamers versus narrative players, none being interested in RPGs for their content, only for the label.
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