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Default RPGWatch Side Quest: Where is the "R" in CRPG?

November 15th, 2006, 00:17
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
So Oblivion isn't an rpg because there is no way for him to say what to have the character he is roleplaying do as he could in a pen and paper rpg, or in real crpgs like ToEE.
Roqua, you wrote in a previous post that you roleplay your characters, that you use your imagination for make-believe, etc (the TOEE example). The same can be done in OB. My main character is primarily a fighter who fights only with swords (because he prefers swords, not because axes are blunt weapons or because Bethsoft took out spears) and who uses magic for ancillary needs like healing. If this were D&D he'd be a paladin. At one time during a quest I found myself in a isolated house with three hostile women; I knew they were about to attack me and because it was early in the game and my PC was rather weak and I was nervous, I unsheated my weapon before they made a move and therefore my first kill was recorded as a murder. When you murder someone in OB you get a night visit by a member of the dark brotherhood inviting you in his guild. My PC never went, because he's not that kind of person (he has a heart of gold, really). Isnt that RP ?

Originally Posted by roqua View Post
In Oblivion and other non-rpg action games of that ilk, your character's skill doesn't dictate if s/he is a master swordsman, your personal skill does.Maybe its fun, or funner, or even the funnest way to do it, but its not an rpg when alls said and done.
I understand perfectly what you're saying and I pretty much share the same opinion, however, having 100 strength and 100 in sword-skill makes you a better fighter than a player with 20 in strength and sword-skill in all RPGs with action elements. Your twitch skill is only a part of the total equation, and in some games like OB it's actually the lesser. And I find TB combat more fun than any other kind.
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November 15th, 2006, 00:30
Aides, Krondor is a marvelous game which is still on my HD and which I still enjoy playing!! However, and I'm ready to be attacked on this, it is not a true RPG. It's a wonderful adventure game with tactical TB combat, that tells a great story with SOMEONE ELSE's characters, not mine!! It's an interactive novel, but I, personally, didn't 'identify' with the characters, they were forced upon me. I wasn't roleplaying, I was guiding characters through a story. To me, there's a difference. It's still one of my all time favourite games!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 15th, 2006, 05:51
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Aides, Krondor is a marvelous game which is still on my HD and which I still enjoy playing!! However, and I'm ready to be attacked on this, it is not a true RPG. It's a wonderful adventure game with tactical TB combat, that tells a great story with SOMEONE ELSE's characters, not mine!! It's an interactive novel, but I, personally, didn't 'identify' with the characters, they were forced upon me. I wasn't roleplaying, I was guiding characters through a story. To me, there's a difference. It's still one of my all time favourite games!!
I'm glad you think highly of the game. But don't you think that it is possible to identify with a character by reason of his interesting personality, even if he's not a personal creation? As stated in my previous post, I believe that the limits which are set by imposed characters encourage role-playing. For instance, such a character possesses a personal background from the beginning of the game: his deeds are rooted in the game world; his history not being the product of mere fancy, there might occur possibilities of role-play if, for example, he meets with acquaintances or reaches known places. Secondly, imposed characters often have particular weaknesses, quirks, and so forth, that might weaken them from a powergaming perspective, but enrich them as far as personality goes, in addition to increasing game difficulty.

Besides, I find your criteria for appraising RPGs somewhat narrow. It is not necessary to live the life of a character born of your fancy. It is enough to control a character with a - hopefully - fleshed-out personality and make him react in accordance with the latter, so as to *change* the surrounding world through his actions and words. What I mean is his "life" should be marked by significant events, such as perilous fights, alliances, betrayals, etc. He should have a determining influence upon his universe (which doesn't mean he must always be some hackneyed Chosen One). Going to pray at the local chapel, collecting flowers and whatnot can, I suppose, help immersion, but such acts are ultimately insignificant in the character's overall existence, and even more so if they are not endorsed by the game's mechanics (like it often happens in Morrowind!). "Acting out" a part in detail and role-playing shouldn't be confused. In fact, even in drama, only events and conversations of particular importance are portayed.
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November 15th, 2006, 08:03
Perhaps, but in Krondor, your actions really make no difference; it's a totally scripted game where you follow a prescribed path, even to which group of characters you get to play!!

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November 15th, 2006, 15:08
I almost always play as an idealistic version of myself. Definitely far more high morality than I am in real life. It's so much easier to do the right thing when you have so much power.

That is until I finish the game or get bored, then I tend to turn into some schizophrenic psycho. XD

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November 15th, 2006, 16:18
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Perhaps, but in Krondor, your actions really make no difference; it's a totally scripted game where you follow a prescribed path, even to which group of characters you get to play!!
Yes, good point. The main plot is linear from what I remember. Nonetheless, there are side quests which allow some freedom of decision. You may correct me; I haven't played it in a long time.
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November 16th, 2006, 00:20
Cormac, I agree you can roleplay in Oblivion (I haven't played it but I have played Daggerfall and Morrowind), but that doesn't make it an rpg, since when you stop roleplaying and start in with the combat you stop playing a role and become that role governed with your own personal skills.

The krondor example fits in perfectly. Its also one of my favorite games, but ca't be a roleplaying game because of the exact oposite reasons oblivion isn't an rpg. The game is an interactive story. An interesting story with interesting characters, and one of the best combat engines I've played. But the characters are predefined, as well as how the characters interact or what they say and basically do. This cannot be dismissed away as technical limitations as it was done 100% on purpose; reulting in a fnatastic game, but not a crpg.

If you can't roleplay in a game, or your physical abilities have an impact on the game, it isn't an rpg or a crpg.

Think of it this way, when you read a book or see a movie, you see the world through the eyes of the character, live vicariously through them for a bit. In an rpg, the character lives vicariously through you for a bit.
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November 16th, 2006, 00:23
Originally Posted by Aides View Post
Yes, good point. The main plot is linear from what I remember. Nonetheless, there are side quests which allow some freedom of decision. You may correct me; I haven't played it in a long time.

That is not true. The only decision in side quests is if you do them or not. The only decision presented in BaK is whether to go left or right. either way you end up at the same place in the end, having seen everything and heard everything said 100% the same way with no deviation from the script at all.
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November 16th, 2006, 00:28
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Think of it this way, when you read a book or see a movie, you see the world through the eyes of the character, live vicariously through them for a bit. In an rpg, the character lives vicariously through you for a bit.
Very clear way of explaining it Roqua.

Bart and Corwin should just admit that when it gets down to it, I will have the final say.
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November 16th, 2006, 02:24
Finally, roqua and I agree on something!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 16th, 2006, 04:47
We agree on a lot of things I think.
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November 16th, 2006, 05:31
well, you both are insane!

If I roleplay when I play Cooking Mama, does that count?
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November 16th, 2006, 10:33
Originally Posted by xSamhainx View Post
If I roleplay when I play Cooking Mama, does that count?
Only if you continue it while cooking actual meals …

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November 16th, 2006, 10:51
usually I polay a kind of merceneray. A good -hearted person but who will do what he want, the ways he wants and will do the neceserray stuff to do what has to be done. But in the end he will always be the good guy, he just might not get there by being totally good, he will never become a palladin. Too goodie good for him
Only in divine divinity I really felt like playing a goodie good person

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November 17th, 2006, 18:57
Corwin,

Let me start off with: Great article. Let me follow with, haven't you and I been on threads kicking this around for the last 5 years (maybe longer, perish the thought)? There have been games where the 'role play' options are central to the story … one could argue, for example, KoTOR. There you have a meter tracking your light/dark leanings and either track opened up new options. But is it role playing? I would answer, not.

To scratch my SP RP itch I have long conversations in my head with the NPCs as to why I am doing this or that. I place restrictions on what my character can and can't do. For example: A pally-type character will not sell or buy items from a suspected fence even if the fence offers better rates than others.

In MP it is all about who you party with … it is that simple. No matter how silly or static the game world, it boils down to the interaction of the party members - and there is *nothing* to replace that. Example: In WoW I have a dwarven pally and spend a lot of time adventuring with Jodri, another dwarven pally. We have gotten our selves killed multiple times because dwarves just don't give up, and dwarven pally's are even worse when pursuing the agents of evil. This, of course, leads to much laughter and fun and enjoyment. While not all the banter is 'in character' ("You *really* wanna try to take out that group of 4 L35 elites?") I view it as a code.

However, WoW breaks down in many respects breaking the spell. Say Jodri and I just get back from a gruelling multi death adventure killing the big baddie X. We rejoice and sing and dance afterwards and head back to town filled to overflowing with the joy of our amazing feat. So why does this dweeb in the town square keep bugging me about helping him take X down? Didn't I just do that? Haven't you heard? I imagine a MP NWN2 game would be much better at this. But this problem is, to a large degree, the draw back of a persistent world.

Another way in which CRPGs break down is in the very limits of the engine. I have used this example before, but will use it again! Say a small back water town pisses my character off, invent a reason, any reason. I want to get revenge. Find me a game that allows me to do the following: Come back many years later stinking rich, and set up an import business that will sell food cheaper than it can be grown locally. Run at a loss for years. What the heck, I can afford it. Change the entire complexion of the towns economics. Then, when the local economy is 100% dependent on my services - pull out. All the way. In fact, actively make it very difficult for anyone else to set up shop in town (piracy, bribes, buying out stocks from far away, what ever it takes). Ruin the town. Let them beg for help, and then remind them of the slight from decades ago before you say "bugger off". Reduce the place to a ghost town. Now *that* is revenge much sweeter than coming back and hacking off everyone's heads.

What game engine anywhere can get even *close* to that kind of flexibilty? Until you get there CRPGs will always have an artificial element to them.

No good ideas yet … but I am sure I will get some … someday.
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November 18th, 2006, 00:24
Lintra,

What game master has a mind suave enough to handle the economics of what you describe? That would press any GM to the edge to have to similute realistically what would happen. And in that event you would have to be playing alone with the GM, or have a group of friends that wouldn't mind playing a boring economics game instead of an rpg.

Now lets say its a NWN module run by a DM, or a real pnp game, you could skip the details, roll some dice, and see what the outcome is. If its ruin for the town, ruin it is.

In ToEE, this could be represented by killing everyone in town and just imagining you ruined them through finance.

I think what you described can be done in a crpg, it would just take a lot of resources and time and a big chunk of the game, so it really wouldn't quailify as a side quest, more an intrisic part of the path to the end if anyone were to do it. Or it could be done simply with the roll of dice and time passing.
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November 18th, 2006, 11:26
HI

Just wanted to say that Bioware is still around, also for PC gaming. Porting Jade Empire for PC and making Dragon Age for PC is proof that Bioware hasn't abandoned pc gaming…
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November 18th, 2006, 14:46
The Question is not "Have they abandoned PC-Gaming ?" but have they abandoned "Role-Playing ?" . I think they haven't… while NWN OC was a Disapointment, the AddOns were OK. While I haven't played any later Bio-Games (I don't think it is possible that Console-Ports can be good RPGs and I don't like Star Wars…) I still think Dragon Age might turn out to be a good RPG - if they stay true to their Statement that it is developed for PC.

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November 19th, 2006, 01:24
I have great hopes for DA, but JE certainly doesn't appeal to me!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 20th, 2006, 14:33
Originally Posted by roqua View Post
Lintra,

What game master has a mind suave enough to handle the economics of what you describe? That would press any GM to the edge to have to similute realistically what would happen. And in that event you would have to be playing alone with the GM, or have a group of friends that wouldn't mind playing a boring economics game instead of an rpg.

Now lets say its a NWN module run by a DM, or a real pnp game, you could skip the details, roll some dice, and see what the outcome is. If its ruin for the town, ruin it is.

You are right about the details being mind boggling - so you don't do it. Instead (if I were gaming with a good DM) the approach would be more along the lines of describing what you wanted to the GM … it would then be up to the GM to decide what the salient issues that need detailed attention would be, and what detailed research/computations to throw back on the player. The vast amount of the story would be handled abstractly …

But I digress!

The example was just meant to highlight the lack of flexible response in a game. I chose an economic example because a decent economic model is one thing a computer *should* be able to handle *much* better than a human (not that I have really seen one yet).

Another example of CRPG limitations … ever walk into a new town and then spend the next 30 minutes hunting for the mayor? Or the general store? Even Bob the carpenter? Just the kind of thing *any* local would know and *should* able to tell you. I find that destroys the immersion more than almost anything else.

I guess that until the computer can generate of world of tens of thousands of individuals each responding to stimuli (local and, to a certain degree global), that interact with each other (including such odd things as procreation), can comunicate interactively with the player on a host of topics, be driven by a set of 'wants' and 'needs' and adjust their behavior to account for what they've 'learned' you won't have a completely immersive environment allowing you to role play.

Even tens of thousands might not create enough mass to reach a sufficiently stable equilibrium … the model might require hundreds of thousands …. so I don't see a completely immersive environment for quite some time, as it would, in effect, be an interactive simulation of a world. Just think of the number of variable needed to depict the motives and drives to create a simple farmer! What drives him to get up in the morning? At what point is he so misarable (fear of starvation, violent death, lack of personal freedom(???)) that he packs up and moves.

Next crazy example: take a medieval serf type social arrangement … now say that local unhappiness with the lord is reaching critical levels. How would you realistically simulate inspiring a peasant rebellion? Something a PnP game could do easily.

No good ideas yet … but I am sure I will get some … someday.
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