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Default Old RPGs… which ones?

February 7th, 2013, 22:37
Play the baldurs gate games, first 1 then 2.
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February 7th, 2013, 23:12
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
I have an additional question about difficulty. Generally people say older games were harder and required more thinking. I'm all for that, but I can't quite imagine what that means and would be happy to hear a clarification.

Generally what I think tactics is comes down to three approaches.
I´d say the difference is in the extent of general hand holding, not just combat.
Difficult puzzles, complicated map layouts, resource management, no quest markers, etc.

When it comes to "new" cRPGs, combat is actually very, very often the only aspect where developers attempt to challenge players (picking "utterly impossible!" difficulty is usually required).
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February 8th, 2013, 03:32
I'm not real sure how much of the difference is difficulty and how much is demand.

Take healing. You could have a cleric in the party with X healing spells per day, you could have heal kits in characters' inventories, you could have healing packets lying around, you can have auto-heal if Y seconds, whatever, but it's no problem to make a hard OR easy game from any of these systems. The big differences are how well the system fits into your world and how much demand you put on the player. The auto-heal option is by far the least demanding.

If you're a casual gamer type then that's one less thing getting in the way of you killin' stuff in the limited time you have to play. If you're more hard core then that's an interesting piece of gameplay that has been dumbed down.
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February 8th, 2013, 12:00
Thank you, it's nice to learn your opinions. I don't actually know any gamers in RL, much less those who played games *that* old.

As far as I understand all of you, the issue lies with the new approach to creating games. They're made easier so that gamers would not feel frustrated. On a blog, I believe it was the crpgaddict blog mentioned in this thread, I read that ealier some game developers took pride in their games being insanely difficult. So the approach was definitely different, I can't imagine developers being proud of that now.

But why? Is people's psychology different nowadays? I refuse to believe it, it almost sounds like earlier there were much less people interested in gaming and those were mostly hardcore fans of it, and nowadays so many people play that the majority are "casual" (bad word, it sounds degrading) gamers.

P.S. Meanwhile I finally managed to make Pool of Radiance work on my PC, yay! Ultima IV will have to wait its turn, it's way too complicated to figure out, Pool is intuitively accessible.
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February 8th, 2013, 12:18
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
But why? Is people's psychology different nowadays? I refuse to believe it, it almost sounds like earlier there were much less people interested in gaming and those were mostly hardcore fans of it, and nowadays so many people play that the majority are "casual" (bad word, it sounds degrading) gamers.

P.S. Meanwhile I finally managed to make Pool of Radiance work on my PC, yay! Ultima IV will have to wait its turn, it's way too complicated to figure out, Pool is intuitively accessible.
No, people's psychology isn't different.

But it used to be that the audience consisted primarily of enthusiasts. That means you were designing for people who couldn't get enough of games - and who had the time and the inclination to invest a lot of themselves into the experience of playing a game.

These days, gaming isn't about enthusiasts - but about the mass market. That means the majority don't have time or the sufficient interest to dedicate themselves to the experience. They just want a way to pass the time - much like the average person just wants to turn on the TV and not have the experience be demanding in any way.

It's not about brains or anything like that. It's simply a matter of the level of interest that's the norm.

In that way, I - as an enthusiast - can't really blame the developers or the audience. I can just lament that there aren't more who're passionate enough to look beyond numbers - and who might want to INSPIRE enthusiasm in the larger audience.

Sometimes taking a risk like that can pay off - and you might actually get a lot more players in the future who're more dedicated to the hobby.

Anyway, that's my take.
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February 8th, 2013, 12:56
I have been playing CRPG's for 20 years now and, being an AD&D player, starting with the Gold Box series was great, EOB trilogy after that, BG 1&2 with Gibberling3 mods. Of the more recent, Dragon Age was awesome with all of it's DLCs, and while not fantasy, I got totally emerged in Fallout 3 as well. I recently got Legend of Grimrock which also takes me back to the dungeon crawling of Stonekeep which I loved. I am also still playing Neverwinter Nights on a server in a Middle-Earth setting.

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February 8th, 2013, 15:37
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
As far as I understand all of you, the issue lies with the new approach to creating games. They're made easier so that gamers would not feel frustrated. On a blog, I believe it was the crpgaddict blog mentioned in this thread, I read that ealier some game developers took pride in their games being insanely difficult. So the approach was definitely different, I can't imagine developers being proud of that now.

But why? Is people's psychology different nowadays? I refuse to believe it, it almost sounds like earlier there were much less people interested in gaming and those were mostly hardcore fans of it, and nowadays so many people play that the majority are "casual" (bad word, it sounds degrading) gamers.
DArtagnan summed it up pretty well.
In addition there was also the fact that back then there was a very limited amount of games to play, so they had to last longer. Today there is a huge catalogue of thousands of games to play, and new games are released every day.
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February 8th, 2013, 20:33
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
Too many old games had an almost Gygaxian desire to kill, and there have been quite a few discussions on how many old game designers used to brag that no one finished their games. I still can't believe anyone thought that was a good thing.
And a lot of it was false difficulty. It was not down to player skill, but rather from time to time the games would throw a deathtrap or similar frustrating thing your way, which you had no real way of predicting or doing anything about. Sometimes it was something that you, through trial and error could learn about, sometimes it was just a random "Big monster appears and pummels your party into oblivion". When we get into the 90's, such things become a lot rarer, though they don't disappear entirely (Beholders in BG2 had an instant death spell for an example).

Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Well rogue and its ilk were designed for you to die, fail, replay many times before winning based very much on luck. It's certainly a design style. Not my favorite.
But rogue and its likes are design around this in an entirely different way, and you don't have to go through the same level(s) time and time again, due to their random nature. I much prefer roguelikes that give the player more control over their character, and thus allows you to effectively counter many of the dangers of the dungeon through player skill & forethought rather than luck though.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
In that way, I - as an enthusiast - can't really blame the developers or the audience. I can just lament that there aren't more who're passionate enough to look beyond numbers - and who might want to INSPIRE enthusiasm in the larger audience.
There are still a handful of more "harcore" releases each year, though usually these are indies. And look at Daemon's souls, the very fact that it was demanding for the player was what made it popular. To my knowledge it don't compete with the biggest of the biggest in terms of sales, but due to it finding an underexploited niche, it was able to do quite well. It is the same reason why Paradox have been doing so well, they found an underexploited niche in the strategy game market and filled it.
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February 8th, 2013, 21:03
Originally Posted by Chaozrulez View Post
Stonekeep which I loved. .

I bought Stonekeep on gog, always been curious about that one!
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February 8th, 2013, 21:03
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
There are still a handful of more "harcore" releases each year, though usually these are indies. And look at Daemon's souls, the very fact that it was demanding for the player was what made it popular. To my knowledge it don't compete with the biggest of the biggest in terms of sales, but due to it finding an underexploited niche, it was able to do quite well. It is the same reason why Paradox have been doing so well, they found an underexploited niche in the strategy game market and filled it.
Yeah, I was talking about AAA development.

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are definitely hard games - but in terms of design, I don't think they're pushing much. They're pretty much Diablo with a sophisticated combat system and a different perspective.

As in, the game is 95% about defeating monsters to level up and find loot - and everything respawns if you die. There's almost no story and the RPG elements are very barebones if you go beyond character development and loot.

I guess you could call it an evolution of the Rogue-like, which IS pretty cool.

What I'm sad about is that almost no enthusiast games are funded with big cash - because it's considered too risky.

I'm contending that it might not be quite as risky, but that it does require a design that can accomodate both kinds of players.

But there'd be no reason to do that, unless the people financing it were actually interested in evolving the genres. Obviously, they're not.

It would be really, really amazing to see a game with a budget of 50-100 million dollars that went almost entirely into design/content and an overall evolution of the RPG genre.

Skyrim is as close to that as we're likely to get.

The upcoming The Witcher 3 looks to be even better - and unlike Skyrim, it seems to be developed for the enthusiasts first.
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February 8th, 2013, 21:19
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
It's not as well known as the Gold Box games, but another good D&D game is Dark Sun: Shattered Lands. It's got a really good, non-standard setting and some cool concepts, and feels a bit like a proto-Baldur's Gate. It's a pity that everything that's come since, with the notable exception of PST, has kept to the blandest-of-the-bland Forgotten Realms setting.
This. Dark Sun is fairly close to the infinity engine games in many ways.

Older games (pre infinity and Fallout) tend to be very limited in character interaction and choices and consequences, but there are some exceptions. The Darksun games and the Ultima Underworlds are exceptions. Ultima VI and VII might be as well (I havent played those).

The Goldbox games are more similar to IWD than to Baldurs Gate, with lots of fighting and little else. The first Pool of Radiance feels pretty open ended but has a significantly worse interface than the other goldbox games (you have to re-memorise spells after casting, manually cast healing spells on the party while the others do those automatically and add to resting time).

Darklands is an old favourite but more of an "Elite with swords" game. You travel around the map of medieval Germany and run into random encounters. The combat system was ahead of its time, and the setting was very interesting. No dialogue worth mentioning though.

There was also lots of dungeon crawlers (Eye of the Beholder, Dungeon Master etc), but that's not my cup of tea…
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February 8th, 2013, 21:55
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Older games (pre infinity and Fallout) tend to be very limited in character interaction and choices and consequences, but there are some exceptions.
I'd like to point out one of the exceptions (at least for the second point): Dragon Wars. Not only most situations have multiple outcomes (such as getting out of Purgatory in the beginning), but some of your choices can lead to pretty interesting consequences (such as a town getting destroyed). I also second the Dark Sun endorsement.

The Goldbox games are more similar to IWD than to Baldurs Gate, with lots of fighting and little else.
The Buck Rogers games are an exception, though. In spite of the high combat rate, they offer skill-based gameplay (with a ridicolously extensive skill system) as well as some very interesting instances of choices and consequences (such as the multiple ways you can deal with some factions in Matrix Cubed, with appropriate consequenes in the last mission)
Last edited by cacaro; February 9th, 2013 at 00:13.
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February 10th, 2013, 17:08
I agree with several folks about Diablo not being "old school
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February 11th, 2013, 20:47
Someone in the earlier posts mentioned Darklands. This one i also recommend.
And also apart from Betrayal at Krondor you could try Betrayal in Andara as well.
Now as for older games i want to add that for most younger gamers what it's impossible to cope with is the lack of map.I started playing RPGs at the mid 90's and checked the 80's games later.From my experience i have to say that you definitely need a walkthrough for some of them(like the Bard's Tale series).Also it's somewhat a myth the fact that old games where more deep in terms of choices and consequences of your actions.But what made them great and still playable is the gameplay.So if you don't mind about graphs all the previous comments have covered the list of games you should try
PS M&M 6-7-8 for sure with M&M7 my favorite.
PS 2 Ok M&M 8 can be considered a "casual gamer's" choice since it's very easy …if you choose the right characters.
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February 11th, 2013, 21:27
i forgot to mention another one : Chronicles of Aethra. An indie RPG of 90's.Make a little search at abandonware sites and you'll find the full edition of it.
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February 12th, 2013, 02:30
Originally Posted by cacaro View Post
I'd like to point out one of the exceptions (at least for the second point): Dragon Wars. Not only most situations have multiple outcomes (such as getting out of Purgatory in the beginning), but some of your choices can lead to pretty interesting consequences (such as a town getting destroyed). I also second the Dark Sun endorsement.



The Buck Rogers games are an exception, though. In spite of the high combat rate, they offer skill-based gameplay (with a ridicolously extensive skill system) as well as some very interesting instances of choices and consequences (such as the multiple ways you can deal with some factions in Matrix Cubed, with appropriate consequenes in the last mission)
Nice insights there. Those games sound interesting. This is why I like the Watch, lots of veteran RPG gamers around these parts. When I have some time to really dive into the old, old games I will be sure to make a few threads about them and pick your guys' brains more about these forgotten gems
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February 12th, 2013, 03:06
Darklands. Yes, one of the most interesting RPGs ever made.
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February 12th, 2013, 03:08
Darklands! Completely agree, very interesting 'magic' systems, and as you actually age it has an impact, so 'grinding' needs to be balanced with moving the quest along. Although you can change party members, such as removing your aging fighter for a young one!
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February 12th, 2013, 09:25
Darklands was great, it has such a great atmosphere unequaled by any other RPG. Only thing I didn't like were the repetitive quests for the merchants/Hanse and such but I wouldn't mind seeing that as a remake.

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February 12th, 2013, 11:39
Originally Posted by Chaozrulez View Post
Darklands was great, it has such a great atmosphere unequaled by any other RPG. Only thing I didn't like were the repetitive quests for the merchants/Hanse and such but I wouldn't mind seeing that as a remake.
It definitely has its drawbacks (it's 21 years old game anyway) and the lack of a solid main story can put a younger gamer at a loss since most people are used to "move at the map-marker,kill the monster,collect your reward" game style.But i completely agree that a remake or maybe a Darklands 2 would be great.Maybe we can launch an internet campaign or something like that???
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