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Default Spiderweb Games - View From the Bottom #7 @ RPG Vault

February 10th, 2007, 11:09
Jeff Vogel's latest View From the Bottom editorial-cum-blog might be considered a jab at the lack of imagination in both RPG producers and players - or perhaps he's getting so jaded he needs to move into a new industry:
Being a professional designer of fantasy role-playing games (RPGs, as they're called by people like me), I play them a lot. It's a great way to find good ideas to steal. Plus, I can write them off.

During my recent intense bout of this market research (heh!), I finally came to terms with the fact that, after 23 years of playing them, I hate fantasy RPGs. I hate them, and I hate myself for making them.
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February 10th, 2007, 11:10
Vogel's diatribes may be soaked with cynicism, but his poisoned arrows generally hit the bullseye. His two previous entries on online gaming also make for interesting reading.
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February 10th, 2007, 12:04
It's called biting the hand that feeds you!!

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February 10th, 2007, 14:46
Interesting point of view from a man than nevertheless while hating them, still makes excellent games in the CRPG genre!
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February 10th, 2007, 17:52
Vogel makes a good point in his article how the gameplay in rpgs tends to have lot of unnecessary repetitive combat. It gets kind of boring in some console rpgs where you have randomly occurring battles fighting preordered set of monsters. The player ends up fighting the same battle over and over again. And like Vogel said MMOs are even more boring in this aspect.
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February 10th, 2007, 18:13
Originally Posted by Surlent View Post
Vogel makes a good point in his article how the gameplay in rpgs tends to have lot of unnecessary repetitive combat.
If there's anything I hear people complaining about concerning Vogel's games, it's the unnecessary repetitive combat…

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February 10th, 2007, 18:30
Heh, well he did say he hated himself for making them.
I have only played few minutes demos of his games, so most I know of him and his games are from other people's mouths.
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February 10th, 2007, 19:52
I think Vogel needs to lighten up. I don't like non-stop battles any more than the next person, and a good game augments fighting with plenty of interesting quests as a way to gain experience and get 'neat items.' Games that focus too much on fighting get boring pretty fast, IMO.
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February 10th, 2007, 21:41
I'm not really sure how to respond to this. I believe Jeff was a big EQ — now WoW — player…seems like he goes out of his way to spend his free time doing repetitive combat, then complains about it? I think this blog entry makes him sound jaded and tired and if I were in the "Jeff makes the same game over and over camp", I'd henceforth dismiss him.

Spend the next couple writing something positive Jeff. You might even write about better CRPG design ideas that you'd love to tackle some day.

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February 10th, 2007, 21:58
In good games the tedium is covered with good story so you dont take notice of it. Games like chrono cross come to mind. I havent even thought about levelling yet in that game because the story keeps me occupied all the time.
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February 11th, 2007, 01:11
Man, his blogs make for depressing reading. "Woe is me…I'm part of the problem."

Try stretching your imagination a little more Jeff, you might make something new and interesting and get yourself out of this negative funk. And post your blog on a site that gives a damn about this sort of thing. The discussion that ensues might spark your brain a bit.

BTW, has my browser gone wacko or has the spiderwebgames front page not been updated in ages. It's still saying that "New Release! Geneforge 3 is now available for Windows!" Apathy creeping in?

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February 11th, 2007, 02:17
Rather an amusing rant, but like George Carlin, a bit too bitter to be comfortable. I can relate to the frustration of having to put the sunshine back in the stone through 90 minutes of play, but there is a wonderful feature on most crpgs :Options->Quit->Exit to Desktop. Use it!!!

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February 11th, 2007, 19:17
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
In good games the tedium is covered with good story so you dont take notice of it.
[curmudgeonly_rant]
Yes, I agree with this. When the equation is level grind+subpar story=blockbuster, the carrot on the stick is a fictional vegetable that you never actually… eat. Thus, we have people labeling many newer RPGs as "empty" or "lifeless" or "uninspired."

A good combat system IS a product of inspiration, as is good game design and imaginative graphics. Ultimately, however, it is the story that stays with you and gives you that rush of fulfillment during the closing credits.

I remember reading an article by Warren Spector some time ago where he discussed pitching a game idea to a bunch of corporate suits, and they told him (in so many words) that "story" was not on the menu….

If your game doesn't tell an interesting story, then what in the Nine Hells is the point? Is the level-grind itself the point? If so, then why not switch to playing slots instead, where at least there's some potential monetary gain by repeatedly pulling that Pavlovian lever.
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February 11th, 2007, 21:24
Shouldn't the combat mechanics be inherently interesting/challenging/fun, in which case it isn't a grind?

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February 11th, 2007, 21:37
Mindless easy action combat is boring -

challenging combat with lots of options, turn based, chess-like is interesting.

Hint For Jeff:
Rpgs without leveling exist - there are called adventures :-) and are fun to play, too.

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February 11th, 2007, 22:29
I love his blog post. They are to the point and very ironic. But reading some of the above posts it seems he's been taken seriously?

I will enjoy reading the conclusion since it will be something mind bending and fun.

And i agree with him. I HATE rpg to, but i love them anyhow. Even thos stupid quests that don't make sense.

I think i see a point coming!
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February 11th, 2007, 23:28
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Rpgs without leveling exist - there are called adventures :-) and are fun to play, too.
There are RPGs without leveling — well to my knowledge at least one, Darklands. Skills would improve through use and teachers but your characters never leveled up.

Are there others ?
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February 12th, 2007, 15:49
I have a few thoughts floating on this one …
- The article feels half done compared to his other stuff.
- I *do* know what he's saying about the grind. But as he said in his last article 'just walk away'. I get that feeling fairly often - last year, when I played 'Legend of Heroes' on the PSP, then 'Final Fantasy IV' on the GBA, by the time I touched 'Tales of Phantasia' for the GBA I thought I would DIE if I touched another jRPG! So I went back to CRPGs and shooters and adventure games and other stuff … and within a few months I was ready to tackle Tales for a review.
- I also agree that a good story and decent motivations should get you around the level-up grind. But as noted, Jeff's last two articles have centered around MMO's and he also talks about putting countless hours into older MMO's as well. And MMO's more than anything center on the grind …

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February 13th, 2007, 02:17
Perhaps that's why I don't play them!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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February 13th, 2007, 03:46
Originally Posted by Surlent View Post
It gets kind of boring in some console rpgs where you have randomly occurring battles fighting preordered set of monsters. The player ends up fighting the same battle over and over again.
This is the exact reason why I stopped playing Japanese-Based RPGs during the early days of the Sega Master System and NES. I think the last two Japanese RPGs I played was Dragon Warrior III and Final Fantasy 3.

I just got tired of the constant battle interuptions from out of nowhere. When games like Ulitma IV were displaying where enemies were on the map, you could sometimes avoid battles.

But to this day, most Japanese RPGs continue with the same old formula, while you are adventuring the game world, you are constantly interrupted with battles from monsters you never saw coming. I really despise that particular game mechanic … but I guess thousands of fans of various Japanese based RPGs love it.

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