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Default Rampant Games - 7 Things That Really Annoy Me

December 30th, 2009, 13:40
…Except when they don't. Rampant Coyote assembles a list of seven things in old-school RPGs that annoy him - and the exceptions to every rule. Here's number one:
1. Mandatory Food (or other daily maintenance costs)
Ah, food - the great money sink. While it might be somewhat challenging at lower level when money is scarce, it's merely an annoyance at higher levels. And it grows to be a big annoyance over time. Let's just assume that —- like having to excrete wastes as well —- eating is just something that happens "behind the scenes," okay? Unless it's something special - like having a feast with the king or eating an enchanted apple - I don't want to worry about it. I don't want to pay a tax on staying alive.

I shouldn't have to say this, but I will anyway - non-mandatory food (where, for example, an apple gives you a slight health boost) is fine.

Exceptions: If it's a "survival fantasy" kind of game - like Ultima Underworld or Arx Fatalis, where food is not something taken for granted by anyone - then the above doesn't apply. I actually enjoy the verisimilitude. It's no longer an annoyance, but a key part of the narrative. (Hah! I caught a fish!)

Strangely, the cost of staying at an inn (which is functionally equivalent) usually doesn't bug me - especially if there is a "free" alternative somewhere in the game that I can return to if I'm feeling particularly skinflint-y.
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December 30th, 2009, 13:40
I change point number6 to something that is otherwise unknown to the English-speaking world:

6. English-language Character Name Limits

That is, because in different languages non-English characters are perfectly normal, which has been ignored for decades by English-oriented profgrammers.

Even nowadays there are more than enough of programs having real problems with folder names which contain non-English characters.

Just one example could be the German prefix" "über", which just means "super".

So, if I imagine a hero's name contraining non-English characters, most "old school" games wouldn't allow me to use them, because their programmers were English-centric. And they didn't even notice what they did to the non-English speaking world. Just take any Greek or Latin name and replace (as it is often done here in Germany) the ae with ä. So Aenais would become Äneis. Not useable in older games.

One of my still biggest wishes is more - far more - regardfulness towards non-English characters in programs and games. Not only for hero names, but also for folder names, savegame names, even item names …

If a game was developed in France, for example, the acceptance of non-English characters would be far greater, I guess.

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December 30th, 2009, 14:19
Originally Posted by Rampant Coyote View Post
None of these elements are necessarily bad, or need to be annoying or grouse-worthy.
Yep, thatīs really where it all boils down to. Itīs always about context and whether these elements are integral part of the experience or just a redundance.
Itīs also matter of modesty. I remember that before some patches, the main hero of Arx Fatalis was helluva insatiable mofo.

One particular element where I sorta disagree is the time limits.
I think cRPGs underuse this. I donīt really like them when put on the whole main quest (though in Fallout it worked fine), but Iīd certainly welcome more time limited side quests and generally more consequences for not managing things in timely manner.
However, it should never penalize players for slow reading, pondering upon dialogues etc. Basically, tying it to real play time isnīt a good idea, because it hinders other gameīs apects (playing evil character on the first playthrough of MotB, anyone).
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December 30th, 2009, 15:07
I like food, but I also love micromanaging every little detail of my character/party. Case in point Realms of Arkania. You actually got sick if you didn't bundle up in cold weather and your shoes wore out over time. Gotta love a game that goes into that kind of detail. That kind of game isn't for everyone of course, but for me it's great.

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December 30th, 2009, 16:11
Level Caps: These are two-edged swords, no joke intended. Take FO3. I maxed out at Level 20 early by exploring all over the place, then I installed Broken Steel and maxed out at Level 30 by doing same. I still haven't completed Broken Steel and have quite a bit left.
There's got to be a practical way to stretch out the gaining of experience at higher levels to maintain interest in the game. Perhaps making higher levels progressively more difficult to attain and making certain weapons level or skill dependent.
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December 30th, 2009, 16:31
Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
Level Caps: These are two-edged swords, no joke intended. Take FO3. I maxed out at Level 20 early by exploring all over the place, then I installed Broken Steel and maxed out at Level 30 by doing same. I still haven't completed Broken Steel and have quite a bit left.
There's got to be a practical way to stretch out the gaining of experience at higher levels to maintain interest in the game. Perhaps making higher levels progressively more difficult to attain and making certain weapons level or skill dependent.
Borderlands actually has an interesting approach to leveling, and almost micro-manages experience so as to keep thorough explorers and quick players more evenly leveled than one would expect. I don't know if I actuallt like said approach, but it's there.
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December 30th, 2009, 18:43
Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
Level Caps: These are two-edged swords, no joke intended. Take FO3. I maxed out at Level 20 early by exploring all over the place, then I installed Broken Steel and maxed out at Level 30 by doing same. I still haven't completed Broken Steel and have quite a bit left.
There's got to be a practical way to stretch out the gaining of experience at higher levels to maintain interest in the game. Perhaps making higher levels progressively more difficult to attain and making certain weapons level or skill dependent.
Mileage might vary. I was strugling with getting to level 30.

Level 20 I mostly reached a couple of hours before the end. However after finishing all major quests including Broken Steel I really had to work alot of hours to get to level 30.

It took me between 50 and 76 hours to get to level 20. And between 18 and 40 hours to reach 30 from level 20.

I played on easy, and as you might now while the enemies are easier they give less in XP, so it takes longer to level. Another factor might be that some of my characters weren't build in the most effective way.

In your case it might have been solved by giving low XP for dificult enemies.

Reminds me of Divinity 2 where you can use xp as mindread currency.
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December 30th, 2009, 21:58
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
One particular element where I sorta disagree is the time limits.
I think cRPGs underuse this. I donīt really like them when put on the whole main quest (though in Fallout it worked fine), but Iīd certainly welcome more time limited side quests and generally more consequences for not managing things in timely manner.
However, it should never penalize players for slow reading, pondering upon dialogues etc. Basically, tying it to real play time isnīt a good idea, because it hinders other gameīs apects (playing evil character on the first playthrough of MotB, anyone).
Completely agree with this. Not the main quest but a couple of time-sensitive side-quests here and then would really add to the choices and feeling the world is "alive".

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December 30th, 2009, 21:58
I say skip levelling entirely. Give me a maxed character, and make the exploration, item finding, adventures the GAME .. not the levelling. I'd go for finding ways to add to your knowledge or skill sets, better cooking, woodworking, mining, gemology, etc.. etc.. but give me my weapon abilities, strength and endurance and let the game begin.
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December 30th, 2009, 23:36
Originally Posted by Greymane View Post
I say skip levelling entirely. Give me a maxed character, and make the exploration, item finding, adventures the GAME .. not the levelling. I'd go for finding ways to add to your knowledge or skill sets, better cooking, woodworking, mining, gemology, etc.. etc.. but give me my weapon abilities, strength and endurance and let the game begin.
Ugh… if you really want that just cheat to give yourself max level. Don't ruin the sense of growing stronger for the rest of us.

Besides, there are other ways to improve characters without the "Level" system. I liked the old Skill bars from Betrayal at Krondor for example. Only thing there is that maybe the max of 100 would need to be removed and just make going over be increasingly hard and return decreasing results.
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December 30th, 2009, 23:42
Isn't obtaining better "skill sets" just another way of saying "levelling"? Or do you specifically mean combat skills are all maxed at the start?

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December 31st, 2009, 04:11
I have the follow up:

Seven Things That Annoy Me About Modern CRPGs… Sometimes

I think of all of them, #3 (Magical Mind-Controlling Monologs: Getting Suckered Into Boss Fights) is my biggest annoyance.
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December 31st, 2009, 04:25
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I like food, but I also love micromanaging every little detail of my character/party. Case in point Realms of Arkania. You actually got sick if you didn't bundle up in cold weather and your shoes wore out over time. Gotta love a game that goes into that kind of detail. That kind of game isn't for everyone of course, but for me it's great.
I think the RoA reference is perfect here. I loved the fact that food wasn't taken for granted (and things like diseases, hexes, poisons, etc had a truly profound impact and actually took a clever/diligent player to circumvent or minimize these unfortunate occurences.) Need I mention the requirement of adding negative attributes? Wonderful stuff! In my experience with the RoA series, I felt infinitely closer to my pixelated, minimally-narrated PCs (than I do to the PCs in today's CRPG titles), because I felt like they'd truly had life-impacting trials and tribulations I guided them through…they are legitimately vulnerable PCs and because of that, they are deeper and more interesting to play.

The RoA series is possibly my fondest experience in the CRPG genre. I'd love to see another true RoA title. I'm sure I'm dreaming.

Great to see someone else also thinks the RoA series was worth mentioning.
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December 31st, 2009, 05:03
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
I have the follow up:

Seven Things That Annoy Me About Modern CRPGs… Sometimes

I think of all of them, #3 (Magical Mind-Controlling Monologs: Getting Suckered Into Boss Fights) is my biggest annoyance.
I totally agree with you on that one. Totally ruined NWN 2 IMHO!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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