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February 10th, 2013, 11:52
MigRib, kudos to you for keeping a level head and giving thought out responses to the people who don't agree with you. I am one of those people, but it's really nice to see a forum discussion that doesn't turn into a flame war just because your opinions differ.

I do have one question though, you mentioned that you wanted games to be more like PnP RPG's, but also seem to prefer more action combat. To me Pen and Paper RPG's means Turn-based, skill based, RNG and probably tactical combat. What did you you do, whack your DM on the head with a stick?

As for the dumbing down, I think the term is a bit too widespread and not properly used. Like someone mentioned maybe streamlined is a better word. Take voiceovers for example, if you want complete voice overs you have to seriously cut the amount of dialogue options in order to make the game with a reasonable budget. Games like Planescape or the original Fallouts would probably never had been made if there had been a demand for full voice overs. The amount of text in those games (especially torment) is staggering. And as a sidenote, if I had been forced to listen to all that instead of reading it it would have taken me at least five times longer to play through the games. I'll take added content, more dialogue options, more C&C and more everything else every time before voice overs.

To get back on topic, this Demo actually made me smile like som kind of loon. Can't wait to play it, my only gripes are the aforementioned dialogue system (I would prefer to be able to pick my lines like in Fallout, I would absolutely not want the more recent Bioware systems), and the fact that the game might be "on rails". I don't remeber if they stated that it would be "open world" or not, does anyone else have a clue?
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February 10th, 2013, 12:32
Originally Posted by tolknaz View Post
Seriously, what the fuck?!?! Are you for real?
I certainly am for real. Why is it so strange to expect that an industry that (ideally, at least) strives to produce quality audiovisual entertainment does it with the tools that, nowadays, are at their disposal? So many people want video games to be considered a fine art and usually forget that the only reason that one day that may be possible is the proximity (not similarity, but proximity) video games have to movies. Voice acting is the acting you get in a video game, the musical score is important too, the graphics is your cinematography here… Besides this point, which has nothing to do with the discussion about Wasteland 2, a role playing game - in my opinion, and the opinion of many more - is not about tactical combat, strategical decisions, skills/attributes and equipment management or puzzle solving. Those elements can be present in a role playing game (I am talking about either pen & paper or cRPG versions), they are present in most cases, but the essence of the thing is the role playing, as the name of the genre implies. Not just filling a role, but more than that, interpreting a role.
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February 10th, 2013, 12:34
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
Yes he is, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, right.
What he wants is a modern take on RPG's.
i dont like it, you dont, but still it is his opinion.
Yes, true, I guess that maybe my opinion is not that popular around here, but at least it's being understood. Good to know that.
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February 10th, 2013, 13:05
MigRib, kudos to you for keeping a level head and giving thought out responses to the people who don't agree with you. I am one of those people, but it's really nice to see a forum discussion that doesn't turn into a flame war just because your opinions differ.
I don't try to be popular, but always try to be polite and maintain a reasonable argument. Otherwise it's pointless…

I do have one question though, you mentioned that you wanted games to be more like PnP RPG's, but also seem to prefer more action combat. To me Pen and Paper RPG's means Turn-based, skill based, RNG and probably tactical combat. What did you you do, whack your DM on the head with a stick?
Well, yes it's true that in PnP you do must have turn based combat and skill based characters. I would never contest that. The tactical combat bit I disagree. When playing PnP (where I was usually the GM, so I would be the whacked in the head one!) I - and most of the people I played with - tended to keep the combat as quick as possible, with much more description of what is happening than actual dice rolling. I am not against rules (or dice rolling), but I do believe that rules are very nice and good, until they start getting in the way of the role playing. Then, out they go, and things are decided by common sense (when in doubt, always benefiting the players and not the rival NPCs, of course, or I'd be whacked in the head with a stick, probably).
But this was all about PnP. I know that it is tricky to adapt the rules of a PnP to a cRPGs. Although game design is an "occult science" to me, I do believe, by experience alone, that is possible to adapt those rules without turning the cRPGs into strategy-like games. Let's exemplify, then. Fallout 3 and FONV had the VATS. You may not like the fact that they turned an isometric, turn-based franchise into a first person view game. It's a question of personal taste, I guess. But they kept the rules, they kept the skills and quirks and above all they kept the universe and the atmosphere (in my opinion in a much better way, because the music and voice acting added to the immersion in the Fallout universe). But I digress… The VATS is, I think, a fabulous trick to still use the action points and maintain a bit of the game mechanics of the original games, based on the GURPS rules set. Of course the tactical aspect goes out the window, but that's a part of being first person (much more immersive, in my opinion, of course).
Another example, and almost a classical one, is Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines (and I know that Fallout 3 and FONV might not be appreciated by a lot of people in this forum, but Vampire is). The PnP rules are all there, 'till the point of having a Vampire the Masquerade character sheet! I suppose the mechanical part is happening under the hood, but what I see is a first person cRPG with a fabulous story, great dialogues, good voice acting, adequate soundtrack and immersive as Hell. One of the best, despite all the bugs. I suppose Deus Ex is another one in that category, although less role playing, more stealthiness.
Well, this is my take on this tricky PnP to cRPG rule adaptation. I like having it under the hood, and looking like a modern game, without too much strategical planning going around.


As for the dumbing down, I think the term is a bit too widespread and not properly used. Like someone mentioned maybe streamlined is a better word. Take voiceovers for example, if you want complete voice overs you have to seriously cut the amount of dialogue options in order to make the game with a reasonable budget. Games like Planescape or the original Fallouts would probably never had been made if there had been a demand for full voice overs. The amount of text in those games (especially torment) is staggering. And as a sidenote, if I had been forced to listen to all that instead of reading it it would have taken me at least five times longer to play through the games. I'll take added content, more dialogue options, more C&C and more everything else every time before voice overs.
I agree that the dumbing down is way too widespread, and despite being insulting, it is also incorrect in most cases (well, maybe some shooters are dumbed down, but that's another story). Streamlined might be a proper word, but I don't think it will be used more often, "dumbing down" is a good sound byte…
So, voice acting. Yes, it's expensive, it's time consuming and it forces that choice of cutting down on the amount of text. That's a price I gladly play for having voice acting. And yes, in the time of Planescape and Fallout that would have been even worse, and that's why I don't blame them for that. But, a few years latter, games that are considered classics by now, like Deus Ex and Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines were fully voice acted and there's not so many people bashing them for that. What did they loose because they were voice acted? A lot of text content in dialogues? Maybe, but there's always ways to compensate for that, like in-game newspaper articles, diary entries, book excerpts, computer files (even the old school cRPGs used this kind of text based information). Of course I would also dislike having to hear a five minute monologue from some NPC, but if I'm really into a game I don't mind reading all bits of information that appear in text form (I did that in Dishonored, which is not a cRPG, anyway, but has a lot of book excerpts and notes lying around).
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February 10th, 2013, 14:21
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
The video 'covers' that. Get it? Cover.
It looks like a gratuitous move, only to show case the possibility of dividing the party.

Is there going to be situations when scouting the area, deploying and flanking out the enemy is going to be a mandatory solution?

Turn based gaming and coordination of troops (so vital in manoeuvering) are not the best friends.

Very often, you end with thinking of the units one by one instead of thinking of them as a whole and the synergy that can be expressed by proper manoeuvering…
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February 10th, 2013, 14:44
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
Yes he is, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, right.
What he wants is a modern take on RPG's.
i dont like it, you dont, but still it is his opinion.

Having an opinion and not liking something based on that is of course entirely okay and i respect that. Claiming, that a game, that has turn-based tactical combat is therefore NOT an RPG however, is simply brainfart, that shows complete ignorance of the genre's roots.
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February 10th, 2013, 14:51
MigRib, again, kudos for a great reply. I understand excactly what you mean when you describe your PnP experiences, and I think your opinion on games is as valid as anyone elses on these forums. We just have different tastes. I wouldn't say I loathe Fallout 3, since I've played through it a couple of times, probably spending more hours on it then I did on the originals. But for me, it wasn't the right way to do a Fallout game, I would probably have liked it alot a more if the title was something else. Because I LOVE tactical combat, be it turn-based or RTWP, although I prefer the former. Combine that with good roleplaying with lots of choices, spreat sheets, dialogue options and a solid story and I start to weep out of happiness. And for me, Wasteland 2 looks exactly like the kind of game I wished Fallout 3 would be. That demo and what it implies is the reason I've pledged for loads of games on Kickstarter, because it delivers what I want most in a CRPG.

Again, thanks for your input, although we heavily desagree on what makes a good cRPG, you've certainly won my respect.
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February 10th, 2013, 14:54
Originally Posted by tolknaz View Post
Having an opinion and not liking something based on that is of course entirely okay and i respect that. Claiming, that a game, that has turn-based tactical combat is therefore NOT an RPG however, is simply brainfart, that shows complete ignorance of the genre's roots.
As far as I can tell after reading through these walls of text he never said turn-based tactical combat made the game less of a RPG? Just that it wasn't the kind of RPG he liked.
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February 10th, 2013, 15:02
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Turn based gaming and coordination of troops (so vital in manoeuvering) are not the best friends.
Have you ever played Jagged Alliance 2?

About the Wasteland 2 video, I love it and it has clearly exceeded my expectations.
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February 10th, 2013, 15:20
MigRib, again, kudos for a great reply. I understand excactly what you mean when you describe your PnP experiences, and I think your opinion on games is as valid as anyone elses on these forums. We just have different tastes. I wouldn't say I loathe Fallout 3, since I've played through it a couple of times, probably spending more hours on it then I did on the originals. But for me, it wasn't the right way to do a Fallout game, I would probably have liked it alot a more if the title was something else. Because I LOVE tactical combat, be it turn-based or RTWP, although I prefer the former. Combine that with good roleplaying with lots of choices, spreat sheets, dialogue options and a solid story and I start to weep out of happiness. And for me, Wasteland 2 looks exactly like the kind of game I wished Fallout 3 would be. That demo and what it implies is the reason I've pledged for loads of games on Kickstarter, because it delivers what I want most in a CRPG.

Again, thanks for your input, although we heavily desagree on what makes a good cRPG, you've certainly won my respect.
No need to thank me, I know I'm not alone in the world in what concerns to my taste (of course not, Fallout New Vegas, Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim were best-sellers) but I suppose most people on this forum heavily disagrees with me about what makes a good cRPG, so I end up often in discussions, and not all of them end in this understanding fashion. I really don't share my opinion in a trolling state of mind (though I think sometimes people, used to what is the "unwritten norm" in the forum, do think I'm trolling). I would take my business elsewhere, but as far as I know there's no such a thing as a site about cRPGs with a majority of people who like the same games I prefer. Probably on the general foruns, but not those specifically dedicated to role playing. That's why I tend to read the news and keep a low profile (yeah, this is low profile, though it might not look like it is at this moment - but I read the news and posts almost every day, so…).
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February 10th, 2013, 15:27
I think it all comes down to the old and dead-horsed topic of 'what is an RPG for you'. To some, specially the new school, RPG means lots of NPC talking and choosing between several responses. Clearly this game is not and never was meant to be like that, more like what used to be called an RPG (which nowadays is called tactical-RPG). To me that's the reason why this game was in Kickstarters in the first place, because the "money people" thought this type of gameplay is obsolete and never would have financed it. Kickstarters allowed the devs to make the game we want, showing there's still a group of us who love tactical RPGs.
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February 10th, 2013, 15:35
Having an opinion and not liking something based on that is of course entirely okay and i respect that. Claiming, that a game, that has turn-based tactical combat is therefore NOT an RPG however, is simply brainfart, that shows complete ignorance of the genre's roots.
Oh, yes, I have perfect understanding of the genre's roots. I don't know if you are talking about PnP or just the classics of cRPG. Anyway, I can tell you that I played PnP RPGs for about 20 years (from D&D to Vampire, and including Traveller, CoC, Kult, Underground, Mechwarrior, Pendragon, Aeon Trinity, Vampire, World of Darkness, Conspiracy X, Star Wars, Adventure! and many others I don't remember anymore). I also know the roots of cRPG, as I played D&D inspired games and the Ultima series since pre-adolescence in a ZX Spectrum. Yes, turn-base was the norm in cRPG in the past, and yes, it was a wise decision by that time to adapt the necessarily turn-based natured PnP games. Not anymore. As games like Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, the Mass Effect Trilogy, The Witcher, Deus Ex and Deus Ex:HR, Alpha Protocol , Dragon Age, Risen, and many others have proved since then, it is not necessary to be turn-based to be a cRPG (in my opinion it is much better not being turn-based, but that's a matter of taste).
As for the second part there's nothing in the history of PnP or cRPG that says that a role playing game is supposed to be based on tactical combats. Absolutely nothing. Many people like to play RPGs like a strategy game, but that is entirely their choice, and they are clearly distancing themselves from the original concept of RPG. By the way, I quote the definition, as stated in The World Darkness rule book:
" Modern roleplaying games grew out of wargames and boardgames when
players wondered what it would be like to play a single individual rather than
a whole army. That was in the late 60s and early 70s. Then, the most successful
roleplaying games were based on fantasy and science-fiction themes.
Roleplaying games evolved as more and more people entered the hobby.
Today's games are more sophisticated than Cops and Robbers, but are based
on the same principles of make-believe. There are various rules to prevent
arguments and to better define your pretend character, and everyone strives
for a sort of immersive, imaginative experience that's more detailed and believable
than anything we played as kids."
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February 10th, 2013, 15:36
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
So, voice acting. Yes, it's expensive, it's time consuming and it forces that choice of cutting down on the amount of text. That's a price I gladly play for having voice acting.
It's not quite that simple. Another price you pay, is that in any big game (And RPG-s tend to be quite big) there are many more characters in the game, than voice actors available. Oblivion was notorious for everyone basically sounding the same and that was a major reason why many peaople loathed it.
Another big problem is, that voice acting is usually recorded far before a game gets released. When the developer wants to iterate and change things around, they simply can't without arranging another voice acting session.

Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
And yes, in the time of Planescape and Fallout that would have been even worse, and that's why I don't blame them for that.
What little VA Black Isle games had, it was all very well done, had quite seasoned actors and extremely good VA direction evidenced by nobody sounding bored, or conveying wrong emotions. With almost all fully voice acted games such things are commonplace. Whoever Bethesda has as their VA director should be shot on sight for letting Stephen Russell of all people sound like a bum in Skyrim.

Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
But, a few years latter, games that are considered classics by now, like Deus Ex and Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines were fully voice acted and there's not so many people bashing them for that. What did they loose because they were voice acted?
Oh? Deus Ex had notoriously bad voice acting and gets lambasted over it all the time by both the gaming press and various forums.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kihGm4KfY7k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP6Nuf2lq0w
As for VTMB, yes, it's a classic as far as VA is concerned. Whover they had in charge of getting the actors to follow the script was a genius. Easily on par with VA in Thief games, which i consider pretty much the pinnacle of videogame VA.

In conclusion i think proper VA needs both a very good VA director, and many different voice actors (preferably at least one for every major character and enough for minor characters). Otherwise there is no point of doing full VA at all. Games like Oblivion and Deus Ex certainly suffered because of low quality VA, and these were AAA games with enormous budgets. A game like Wasteland 2 has simply no resources for full VA.
Last edited by tolknaz; February 10th, 2013 at 15:55.
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February 10th, 2013, 15:51
It's not quite that simple. Another price you pay, is that in any big game (And RPG-s tend to be quite big) there are many more characters in the game, than voice actors available. Oblivion was notorious for everyone basically sounding the same and that was a major reason why many peaople loathed it.
Another big problem is, that voice acting is usually recorded far before a game gets released. When the developer wants to iterate and change things around, they simply can't without arranging another voice acting session.
Even then I would rather have, I will not say bad, but acceptable, voice acting, than no voice acting at all. It's my personal preference. Oblivion had that problem, but I don't mind that much. I played it, could play it again. But I can't play Morrowind just because the voice acting is almost null (and the voice actors are mainly the same, so in your opinion probably it's just as bad as Oblivion, just more tolerable, because there's less talk)

In conclusion i think proper VA needs both a very good VA director, and many different voice actors (preferably at least one for every major character and enough for minor characters). Otherwise there is no point of doing full VA at all. Games like Oblivion and Deus Ex certainly suffered because of low quality VA, and these were AAA games with enormous budgets. A game like Wasteland 2 has simply no resources for full VA.
Well that's unfortunate for Wasteland 2, in my opinion.

EDIT: By the way, when I mentioned Deus Ex and Vampire the Masquerade I wasn't talking about voice acting, but about turn-based combat and tactical gameplay. I might have talked about voice acting also in the same post, but the sentence you quoted was my mistake. I do agree that the voice acting in Deus Ex is rather bad (the old one, not Deus Ex: HR, which is very good in the voice departement).
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February 10th, 2013, 16:18
To add to tolknaz, I think your dual objectives of immersive design detail and actual "Role-playing" are intractably at odds and that is confusing us. The distaste for tactical combat is a very unusual dislike for someone who proclaims such a long history with RPGs and we could have an entire argument over that PnP-wise, but that's for RPG.net on another day. I acknowledge your preference and recognize the PnP game style; I've seen it before.

My problem is that you've already acknowledged the expense of full voice, but still proclaim the greatness of it without really acknowledging the inherent limitations. In game design terms, cRPG character development is best accomplished through what's called "player agency", strong options and alternative that advance your character or characters. You can do this with voice acting, but at a really really big expense. It's easier to railroad a plot while changing the flavor (the good/bad hero we've seen from Bioware since KotoR). It's also easier to make the world somewhat static while you affect your character by choosing what parts of the world you interact with (Elder Scrolls). Much more rare is where strong plot branching and voice acting combine. The gold standard in player agency is Planescape: Torment and I don't think even ME3 level budgets could hit that with full VA. New Vegas got a lot closer, but even that didn't have the breadth of options Ps:T did. For most of us on this site, having text does three things: it allow fast iteration and change so that you can craft better stories and create better agency, it allows us to hear the actors' voices in our own heads, *and* it creates much less expense so that more actual game can be created.

So anyhow, I'm kind of flummoxed by the apparent conflict I'm seeing here. You can have voice acting, you can have a small budget, and you can have strong character-driven roleplay but in these cases you can only pick two of them. And honestly I can only see the first and the last in very very high AAA budgets.

If full voice acting is really *that* important to you, then I can say with pretty good certainty that absolutely no RPG will be available to you for a budget less than, oh say, $12 million US (You know what? don't even let me quote a number. Even that may be low). The cost of paying talented designers and engineers plus all the ancillary stuff to make VA worthwhile is an order of magnitude greater than what we're working with here. Quality of the actors isn't nearly as big a concern as the production required to make it happen. This kickstarter stuff just isn't your world.
Last edited by Bedwyr; February 10th, 2013 at 16:44.
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February 10th, 2013, 16:44
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
Have you ever played Jagged Alliance 2?
Not only I played that game but I also watched others playing it. Does not escape the rule: very often, players no longer bother coordinating movement because it is such a pain. They prefer to solo.
Last edited by ChienAboyeur; February 10th, 2013 at 17:06.
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February 10th, 2013, 17:03
I'm perplexed by how someone can place ME3, Fallout 3 and Oblivion on remotely the same level as VtM:B and New Vegas. Sure, they all call themselves RPG's and have action combat but the gulf in quest design, writing, characterization and player agency is just enormous.

To me, ME3 is more a choice-your-own-adventure than an RPG and Oblivion a fantasy version of GTA. Fallout 3 comes closer to a "real RPG", and has some genuinely decent quest design in some places, but the writing is just terrible. Who can forget gems like:

"I'm looking for my father. Middle-aged guy. Maybe you've seen him"

NPC: "I fight the Good Fight with my voice"
[Intelligence] So you fight the Good Fight with your voice?"
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February 10th, 2013, 17:05
Originally Posted by Bedwyr View Post
To add to tolknaz, I think your dual objectives of immersive design detail and actual "Role-playing" are intractably at odds and that is confusing us. The distaste for tactical combat is a very unusual dislike for someone who proclaims such a long history with RPGs and we could have an entire argument over that PnP-wise, but that's for RPG.net on another day. I acknowledge your preference and recognize the PnP game style; I've seen it before.
It is quite usual for so called RPG players to dismiss the idea of progress.

I cant remember the name of the device. But here, there were those controllers you plug on the antenna, run on batteries, with a wheel button and that came with hardware games. One was tennis. The tennis game was two bars moving up and down vertically, the ball was square, white and black screen.

Compared to today's tennis games, most people wont characterise the old game as tennis. Yet it was tennis in the historical context. And there has been progress since then, leading to today's tennis games.

So called RPGers dismiss any idea of progress, they keep clinging to some features that appeared when designers and developpers were trying to port RPGaming to the PC world.

RPG is a delicate type of game to port to PC as anywhere else it exists, it is a social activity while PC gaming was a non social activity (with the player playing on the PC, the PC itself was not adapted to play social games)

Developpers made some choices. That was some 20 years or more ago. They thought that by now, that is 20 years later, technology would have improved enough to fill the gap and allow to add to the games what was missing.

Some went to try to emulate the other players by giving a party to the player's PC, with the terminal idea that AI would allow in the mid term to get all the party's members to role play. The trend was set to remove more and more control over the party's members from the player as they would act by themselves according to their role.

Twenty years later, the technology has not improved. And worse of it, developpers have given up the idea of providing autonomous party members that would act according to their role. Developpers give full control over the party members, surrendering any possibility of role play.

What you have here are simple wargames, on a skirmish scale.They must favour a bird's eye view, that is typical to wargaming, with players relating to one general on the field, their PC. There is no roleplaying in them.
At some stages in the history of porting the RPG genre to computers, if they show the ambition of pushing toward role playing, they could be called RPGs, even though they did lack some critical features. The very idea is that, with progress, the features would be added as they came. Today, it is no longer the case.

It is rather useless to call for a historical approach if you cant accept the idea of progress, that some games that could be called tennis game in their own times, considering the stage in the historical developpment of the genre, missed certain critical features to properly represent what tennis is.
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February 10th, 2013, 17:32
Very intersting comments here.
I guess you can divide Computer RPGs basically into the same "categories" as pen and paper RPGs.

There are the typical Games like D&D, Das Schwarze Auge and similar, focusing heavily on Character progression and combat, even if the own system does not necessarily "promote" that, it is often in the focus and/or takes a lot of time.
These would reflect the "old school RPGs" like Wasteland 2 is doing now.

Then there are games like Vampire and I am sure that there are games with even less focus on rules. I mean these games have rules, but they are extremely simplified compared to DSA or D&D where you basically (can) do a roll for everything.
These would reflect games like Vampire: The Masquerade and partially also games like Mass Effect, where combat is almost a "non-factor".

In addition you can also add in the "Chose your own adventure games" as an "additional" category. With a fixed book, where you have like 2 or 3 paths on some decisions, like you have in the Mass Effect or Dragon Age games - they are very focused on like 10-20 locations and decisions - opposing to Sandbx games like Skyrim or Fallout.
You could also play these games on your own, without friends, but that's another story.

So while everyone has their preferences on these Pen and Paper Systems (where I would prefer the D&D or DSA-like systems) the same goes for the CRPG sub-genres I guess (where I'd chose the D&D/DSA Systems as favorites). Of course the borders are not strictly set, you can like more than one category and you can also shift a game from one category to another. For example you can play Das Schwarze Auge without making rolls for the weather each day. The same way in which you can change the difficulty to easy specially in pausable real-time combat games, and with that neglect the whole character progression and (tactical) combat aspect of the game.
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February 10th, 2013, 17:47
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Not only I played that game but I also watched others playing it. Does not escape the rule: very often, players no longer bother coordinating movement because it is such a pain. They prefer to solo.
In JA2, good group coordination greatly increases your chances of succes. In fact, the game mechanics are built on the concept of coordinated group tactics.

I'd say that those who play solo do so as a challenge or to exploit the fact that your character levels up faster, not because of the gameplay being a pain in the ass. Needless to say, I do not agree with your assessment.
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