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November 6th, 2013, 12:28
Originally Posted by JonNik View Post
Ah Kotor 2, another one I should try one of these days…

That said I doubt it would strike me that hard, not really being very invested in Star Wars (much as I loved the originals as a kid and I am sure I'll sit down and enjoy them again some time in the future).
I don't know if I'm all that invested - I just think there's a way to do it and a way not to do it.

Lucas has all but ruined it - and now that it's J.J. Abrams in charge - there's no way it will ever be appealing again.
P.S: I do believe that comic and more serious approaches are quite a bit possible and can even turn Great. Yes the Dark Knight (the comic) is a good example but the Watchmen is even better, and the Sandman (if you disregard the first 8 issues) might even be up your alley as it focuses on characters and interpersonal drama of very real people and issues.
I did like Watchmen - even if I think a lot of it is silly. Dark Knight the movie was not good - but I know I'm not representing the norm with that opinion. I liked Batman Begins a lot, though, so go figure

I meant it in the sense that he offended you sensibilities enough to turn you off. Nothing more than that
It's not quite how I'd put it myself - but it's no big deal.
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November 6th, 2013, 15:50
I have to disagree with you on Star Wars, Dart - for me, the "naive romance" is exactly what I didn't like about Star Wars. I loved the lore, the setting, the different races and cultures, etc. But the extremely black and white morality and cliche "coming of age/young hero destined to save the world" plot took all that wonderful creativity and wasted it. Absolutely wasted it.

Obsidian's work on Kotor 2 - and Bioware deserves a lot of credit here as well with Kotor 1 - expanded upon the lore and told a tale that actually explored the setting as it truly deserved to be used: One full of philosophy, complicated morality, power, idealism vs. pragmatism, etc. I was always intrigued by the potential of the Star Wars setting, but I never truly felt any strong reactions to it until playing Kotor 1 and 2. Those two games still stand as two of the best crafted RPGs in terms of setting, story, and characters that I have ever played.
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November 6th, 2013, 16:00
I often miss choices in which one can be bad and good at the same time - let's keep that found treasure, but pay the one who's lost it an equal amount of gold, that he won't be angry that I stole it (if he finds out).

What's also always NEVER is there, is the possibility to balance out "bad choices" the player did at an later point in the future. No game I know of has this implemented.

Plus, there are often too many "loose ends" as well. If I find out that this person did some cheap, bad trick on someone else - then I'd like to tell the rest of the village about it, apart from having the choice to negotiate between evil-doer & victim.

Or, I found a money purse. Choice is : a) keep it, b) let it lie there.
Unfortunately, no choice c) is given : Tell the village people about it, so that they can find out among themselves who might have lost it.

And I never get feedback by "third person" NPCs, either.

Edit :

Obviously, no sane AAA studio is going to start a revolution with an $85 million game — that's too much money to be risky.
All too true - and that's why everything just degenerates over time.
Innovation = risk = money = things the firms keep away from.

Daggerfall was released in 1996. It had spell-creation, enchantment, and a political system. It had a great story. Does the narrative and open-world gameplay of today's sandbox Action/RPGs really represent a 15 year evolution?
Blizzard, anyone ?

And I like this comment very much, because it represents what I think as well :

Why I hate about choice is not knowing what is going to be the most fun or most enjoyable or most well done.
Yes, that's an great obstacle in my "gaming experiencE" as well.
But the developers know the outcomes (they're within "knowledge space"), therefore there has to be testers (those whop are outside of "knowledge space") …

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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November 7th, 2013, 09:26
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I have to disagree with you on Star Wars, Dart - for me, the "naive romance" is exactly what I didn't like about Star Wars. I loved the lore, the setting, the different races and cultures, etc. But the extremely black and white morality and cliche "coming of age/young hero destined to save the world" plot took all that wonderful creativity and wasted it. Absolutely wasted it.
I'm not saying the "naive romance" is the best part about Star Wars - but that it's an integral part of it. I liked all those things you liked as well, but to change the fundamentals is to betray the source - which I don't think is appropriate.

Then again, I see Star Wars as a "fun" setting - kinda like a comic book setting. It's made up of random ideas put together by a complete hack called George Lucas. But it's his creation and his setting - and I'm the sort of person who respects the creator.

Obsidian's work on Kotor 2 - and Bioware deserves a lot of credit here as well with Kotor 1 - expanded upon the lore and told a tale that actually explored the setting as it truly deserved to be used: One full of philosophy, complicated morality, power, idealism vs. pragmatism, etc. I was always intrigued by the potential of the Star Wars setting, but I never truly felt any strong reactions to it until playing Kotor 1 and 2. Those two games still stand as two of the best crafted RPGs in terms of setting, story, and characters that I have ever played.
KotOR did it in the right way - because it keeps the naive romance and the blatant good/bad guy style - it doesn't try to make it grim and dark. Actually, I think KotOR is the perfect Star Wars story - made in the spirit of Lucas, only with more talent behind the writing.

KotOR 2 was something else - and all I can say is that I didn't like the writing much. Not necessarily bad writing (though I'm not into the pretentious and elusive style) - but certainly not what I would call Star Wars.

But, to each his own.
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November 8th, 2013, 03:47
We call good games "intuitive" and bad games "confusing" but really this is a matter of the designer's fluency in the language of games, and also the designer's ability to create novel language for new features that is immediately understood by players.
Not really. Something can be intuitive if it makes sense after it's been specified as well. On the example of the mana bar, I don't assume every blue bar to specify mana. It could be anything. Could be a stamina bar. Could be a bar called "devotion" that's drained by picking up items but replenished by killing enemies.

The red bar for lifeforce is intuitive in an easy to pick up on way. Blood is red. By showing a draining bar you are reminded of loss of blood. It is also intuitive because this is the very representation of your character's composition in the world and therefore conserving it should be on the forefront of your mind. Again, red is the appropriate colour as it signifies a warning. There's also a reason why in most games, the health bar is shown first, or on top of the mana bar.

Still, after someone has explained to me that the blue bar signifies mana, it is intuitive. Mana allows you to achieve extraordinary feats, so it should be easily discernible in the interface. It's also draining and refilling regularly, therefore a bar is the correct representation. You have to manage it in a way similar to health, so it's obvious the two should be represented in the same manner.

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November 8th, 2013, 07:02
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm not saying the "naive romance" is the best part about Star Wars - but that it's an integral part of it. I liked all those things you liked as well, but to change the fundamentals is to betray the source - which I don't think is appropriate.

Then again, I see Star Wars as a "fun" setting - kinda like a comic book setting. It's made up of random ideas put together by a complete hack called George Lucas. But it's his creation and his setting - and I'm the sort of person who respects the creator.
I see your point, but can't it be both though? "Fun" without the naivety/good vs. evil focus? What I picture - just as an example - is this: What if Han Solo was the main character instead of Luke Skywalker? Solo is a very "fun" character, but part of what would make a tale surrounding him enjoyable is that he is complex and flawed in addition to being a humorous, witty character. Replacing Skywalker with Solo and giving him the force and training would be a very interesting path to follow - without the obvious good vs. evil thing.

That's just a basic example, but I absolutely believe that you can have a "fun" story that still has depth and complexity, getting rid of the dreadfully predictable "good vs. evil" (gee, I wonder who will win?) without going all Christopher Nolan about it.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
KotOR did it in the right way - because it keeps the naive romance and the blatant good/bad guy style - it doesn't try to make it grim and dark. Actually, I think KotOR is the perfect Star Wars story - made in the spirit of Lucas, only with more talent behind the writing.
I don't think you're giving Kotor 1 enough credit . I mean, you're right to an extent, but Kotor also did a great job in adding some complexity to the morality and also presented surprisingly heady philosophical musings. I'll put this in spoilers for those that haven't played Kotor 1 yet:

Spoiler – Spoiler


So did he really belong to the "dark side?" Or was he actually saving the weakening Jedi and the stagnant Republic from themselves? There are other examples of complex morality and "Deeper than the surface" philosophy as well, and this made the setting feel more "grown up" compared to the films. (But your right, there was still the old alluring "charm" as well).

As for Kotor 2, well, that's going to be subjective of course. For me, it didn't go too "dark and gritty" - it just explored the setting from a different angle. As long as this approach doesn't betray the source material, I think this can be quite refreshing. My only complaint is the lack of humor, particular when it comes to party banter - that's one area Obsidian definitely missed on. So I'll give you this: Kotor 2's characters were too serious all the time.

Now, I would have preferred Kotor 2 to be a side-story instead of a sequel - after all, it took a tidy ending from Kotor 1, unraveled it, and left a bunch of questions unanswered by the end (thanks Lucasarts for not giving a greenlight for a Kotor 3!) - but it doesn't feel out of place in Star Wars to me. There are so many places in the setting to explore, some more lighthearted and adventurous, others more introspective, but there's plenty of room for Obsidian's approach.
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November 8th, 2013, 09:04
On the contrary, I think he gives KotOR too much credit. I don't get it when I see people fawning over that game and proclaiming that it's one of the best RPGs they ever played. It was good, but I wouldn't even place it in my top 20.
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November 8th, 2013, 10:18
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I see your point, but can't it be both though? "Fun" without the naivety/good vs. evil focus? What I picture - just as an example - is this: What if Han Solo was the main character instead of Luke Skywalker? Solo is a very "fun" character, but part of what would make a tale surrounding him enjoyable is that he is complex and flawed in addition to being a humorous, witty character. Replacing Skywalker with Solo and giving him the force and training would be a very interesting path to follow - without the obvious good vs. evil thing.
It can potentially be that - but not to me. I'm very much a person who gets confused when something fun/implausible/stupid gets mixed with something really serious that tries to make a point about reality.

Maybe that's a weakness of mine - but I can't really help it.

That's how I felt with the Dark Knight - because Nolan was going for something dark and tried to tell a serious tale, and yet we have these ridiculous characters and action setups that have no connection with reality whatsoever. He tried to preach about human morality - and yet he placed one of the least plausible caricatures of all time in the film as someone we should take seriously (actually two such characters) - and it just doesn't work for me.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy humor and jokes in serious movies, but the material needs to be taken seriously overall.

As for Han Solo, sorry, I don't think he's "complex" at all. Compared to Luke, sure, but there's almost no meat on his character. But that's ok - because it's a fairy tale.

Han Solo is pretty much Harrison Ford being charming - and that's about it.

That's just a basic example, but I absolutely believe that you can have a "fun" story that still has depth and complexity, getting rid of the dreadfully predictable "good vs. evil" (gee, I wonder who will win?) without going all Christopher Nolan about it.
Maybe it's possible - but I don't know if I can think of an example. Maybe that's why I tend to loathe the stuff Whedon puts out - because he has an unfortunate tendency to try his hand at being serious amidst all the fun. If he just stuck with pure fun - it'd work. Firefly, for the most part, is kinda like that - and that's why I like it a lot.

I don't think you're giving Kotor 1 enough credit . I mean, you're right to an extent, but Kotor also did a great job in adding some complexity to the morality and also presented surprisingly heady philosophical musings. I'll put this in spoilers for those that haven't played Kotor 1 yet:
This is where we'll have to disagree. It's a wonderful tale that is both moving and well told - but it's not what I would call complex or philosophical - and it's not something I would take away and use in real life as a teacher of any kind.

Again, it's Star Wars done right - but it has nothing to do with reality. Much like I don't think LotR has much to do with reality (though a few things do apply).

The Revan thing was way too constructed and without going into spoilers - it wasn't handled in a way that I consider dealing with real human psychology.

Your interpretations are your own I think YOU are giving it too much credit - or maybe you're just better at taking the implausible and giving it real meaning than I am.
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November 8th, 2013, 12:35
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
The Revan thing was way too constructed and without going into spoilers - it wasn't handled in a way that I consider dealing with real human psychology.
Star Wars is just not about human psychology. Period.

Stasr Wars was - originally - a mixture between Fantasy & SciFi - and you do know that in both settings anything can happen !

Besides, the imperial side in SWTOR gets access to a rather spiritual quest line around a sect of people calling themselves "the Revanintes".
The Republic side doesn't. At all.

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November 8th, 2013, 12:37
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Star Wars is just not about human psychology. Period.

Stasr Wars was - originally - a mixture between Fantasy & SciFi - and you do know that in both settings anything can happen !

Besides, the imperial side in SWTOR gets access to a rather spiritual quest line around a sect of people calling themselves "the Revanintes".
The Republic side doesn't. At all.
That's what I've been saying from the start Alrik
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November 8th, 2013, 13:24
So called RPGers do not want choice and consequence. They want to feel power, they want to build an avatar that matters in the gameworld.

Choice and consequence might be more easily found in games that do not advertized them openly (they do not need to advertize them because they actually include the feature) like CK2.

For RPGs, choice and consequence is just PC talk to appeal to powermongering players.

So

Players want meaningful choices
Players want to be reasonably informed of the consequences
Players want to always pick the right choice (and for there to be a right choice)
If players make the wrong choice they want to immediately know so they can simply reload the game

gives

Players want powerful avatars.
Players want the actions of their avatar to impact sufficiently the gameworld they feel they are powerful.
Players want to take the option they feel to correspond the most to their idea of power
When the option they've taken does not make them feel powerful, they want to take another one because they do not want to feel weak, they want to feel powerful.

No contradction.

The problem comes from labelling something differently that it should be.

The Witcher 3 trailer (man or monster or something) supposedly represents choice and consequence, blurred morality etc when it appeals openly to the powermongering being of so called RPGs.

In this trailer, the avatar shows in all manners he is powerful.
He is not bound by his peers's code (witcher code) as the code says do not mettle.
He is not bound by the local authority of the land (de Rivia is a foreigner in a foreign land, it adds) since the woman is sentenced legally.
He is not bound by the executive powers of the soldiers that carry out the sentence.
He is not bound by chance as he keeps his sword unsheathed and disarm his opponents to kill them (he kills them because he wants to kill them, not because he engages in a fight that turns bad, being suddenly forced to kill them to save his life)
etc

All in it reads "I am the boss, I rule, my word is the law, I do what I want because I am powerful enough, nobody can stop me"

No choice and consequence, only quest for power.
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November 8th, 2013, 23:50
That's the definition of a powergamer. Some of us like to let go and just pick the choices that feel right from a roleplaying perspective, and let the consequences be damned (or at let them fall and see what happens).

What's crummy, I think, is when the choices presented provide nothing meaty from a roleplaying perspective. That's what I don't like about the greyness in some games (which shall be unnamed). I don't feel compelled to pick one choice or another, for ANY particular reason, except maybe to find out what happens… To me, that's boring.
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November 9th, 2013, 12:00
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
So called RPGers do not want choice and consequence. They want to feel power, they want to build an avatar that matters in the gameworld.

[…]

No choice and consequence, only quest for power.
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
That's the definition of a powergamer.
I agree with Thrasher here.

@ChienAboyeur, what you destribed is valid for the Action-RPG genre - but not for some other RPG games.

Because RPGs can give you stories as well.

In the end, I agree, almost all RPGs end up with the premise of "rising to power" (remember that for DA2 ?), but some better RPGs don't put this into the centre.

Drakensang 2 is an perfect example for this, imho : What matters there is not the "rise to power", but the story, the Quest.
That you gain power during Drakensang 2 is merely an necessary by-product, a logical consequence, but not the center of the game. The quest about … well, I don't want to spoil anyone … it is far more important. The power you gain through getting through the story is merely a tool.

The series "Quest For Glory" even has this in its titel : "Power" isn't mentioned in this series' title with one word. There's something different that matters, fame, for example.

Blizzard et. al. destroyed that all, and put "power" into the centre of gaming.
With the logical result of the whole game circling, evolving and revolving around the main centre theme of "how can I add something to increase my power ?" The loot there is one part of that.
As a logical result, the social contacts with NPCs are reduced to the bare minimum, and the story is basically non-existent.
Enemies have become merely tools for aquiring even more power; basically "cannon-fodder" for the player.

And, since publishers & developers often "follow the trail of money", masses of clones were made which just copied that what Blizzard had invented there.

Story-RPGs are died out. More or less.
Sandbox-RPGs have become somewhat rare, too.

Gone are the times when aquiring power was merely a tool on the journey. And at the end of the journey was the last boss. Meeting of equals.

Nowadays, this has been replaced by power being sought after just for power's sake.

And this is - imho - the definition of the Action-RPG genre.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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