RPGWatch Side Quest: The Great Debate
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February 15th, 2007, 17:53
Ahhh… the age-old debate among cRPG geeks continues… Ok, I'll bite.
Dungeons and Dragons(tm), which is regarded by all as the Father (or Mother) of all Role-Playing Games is turn-based (or "phased" if you have one of those sadistic DM's who uses a stop-watch during rounds of combat). If you wish to recreate this scenario with a computer, then turn-based combat is the only accurate means to do so. Hence, Temple of Elemental Evil is the perfect representation of Dungeons and Dragons.
Now, if you don't know (or care to know) the meaning of terms like "8-sider," "crit table," and "perfect 20" then trying to adhere to the D&D style is lost on you. But for those of us who equate D&D with RPG, a turn-based system is the only one that fits the bill. And the reason is simple: why have all these rules for combat if you don't ever actually get to see them in action. D&D combat was intended to be strategic simulation of medieval-style combat (with LoTR-inspired magic and monsters thrown in to draw an audience). When Bioware chose to eschew pure turn-based for real-time with pause they drew a line in the sand saying that the rules (and strategy) of combat are not as important as the visceral experience of combat itself. That's not saying that BG games aren't strategic, just not on the same scale as ToEE.
Now, first- and third-person Action RPGs (played from the viewpoint of a single player like Oblivion) are a different animal entirely and have almost nothing to do with D&D and a plenty to do with Rogue-style games like Nethack, Moria, and Ragnarok. Hence, they were born in the age of computers and not in the age of PnP role-playing games. These games (which I wholeheartedly enjoy btw) should always be real-time.