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April 23rd, 2007, 21:35
Let me insert a quick on-topic Mike and then you and josephwatson can get out the big guns

While I can relate to the idea that clearing trash mobs is less than exciting, and that every crgp made in the last five years has almost the same plot, I still can't find myself agreeing with statements like this:

But for the lucky people who didn't read the previous column, my first big problem with RPGs is this; unlike other computer games, they almost invariably start me as an insignificant loser. Before I can do anything exciting or heroic, I have to pay my dues by spending tons of time gaining levels and proving that I am competent. My time is valuable. If I'm going to enter my fantasy world, I don't want to be a jackass in it. I want to do something cool and exciting NOW.
For me anyway, the whole point of the game is growing the character, picking the skills/spells and attributes and developing strategies that may or may not work. To start at some god-like level and be moving mountains in Act I doesn't really leave you anything to do for the next three acts. Theoretically, gaining levels—rather than a tedious inconvenience— is the fun part of the game, the substance and the reward for tromping all those rats into applesauce.

And I don't know what "other computer games" (besides the ones where he's ripping off the guy's arm and taking Omaha Beach) are referred to; most games understand the appeal of starting low and becoming omnipotent through your own character-enhancing wizardry. Even such genre-defying games as Black & White use the premise.

However, if Mr. Vogel's angst-ridden view of the genre causes him to develop a better format for cRPGs, then perhaps its all good.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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