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Default Joystiq - What Makes a Classic RPG?

September 26th, 2012, 16:40
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
For me, turn-based tactical combat is (as a rule) a bad combat system, because it gets in the way of what I apreciate most in a game: the story, the interaction with NPCs, the dialogues, the optional ways of resolving conflicts without actual combat.
Sorry to say it but that statement is complete bollocks. Those non-combat aspects that you mention, which are also very important to me, are completely independent of the chosen combat mechanics. Ever played Fallout 1&2 or Arcanum?
Last edited by Asdraguuhl; September 26th, 2012 at 16:59.
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September 26th, 2012, 17:19
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
2- Story driven? Well, text driven, in fact. As the old school games had (and still have) little to no voice acting, it was (and still is) compensated with verbose dialogues that took hours to read. Turning what was (or is) supposed to be a gaming experience into an exercise in bad literature reading. But, yeah, story driven…
Not necessarily. Ultima V had a pretty primitive text system. I would not call the dialogues verbose what so ever, yet the story was deep. I think that the story driven element in old school was that it relied much more on the imagination of the player to fill in the gaps. I came up with distinct personalities for Iolo, Dupre, etc. in Ultima IV, despite the depth of our conversation usually being: Name? Job? Join?

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September 26th, 2012, 17:23
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
Sorry to say it but that statement is complete bollocks. Those non-combat aspects that you mention, which are also very important to me, are completely independent of the chosen combat mechanics. Ever played Fallout 1&2 or Arcanum?
Turn-based to me was simply a function of the limitations of the systems at hand, whether that be pen and paper or early game engines. There just isn't really any way to make real time combat within those systems.

But they still worked, for the time. I find in modern games, the switch from essentially a real-time atmosphere to suddenly turn-based in combat (Spiderweb's games and ToEE come to mind) push me out of the immersion.

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September 26th, 2012, 17:52
Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
MigRib, all AAA-RPG's are already targeted toward partly a younger, but more importantly a broader market. It has to be accessable and streamlined to sell alot of copies.
Yes, I've noticed that
I must admit that although I am an old timer, inasmuch as computer games are related (my first "computer" was a ZX Spectrum, back in '83, and after that a Commodore Amiga), during maybe 15 years I didn't play a lot, so much has passed me by. As those 15 years I mentioned include the late 90s and early 2000s, most of what is today considered "old school PC RPG" was unknown to me untill a couple of years ago, when my pen & paper RPG group dismissed and I strarted looking at cRPG as a possible substitute to quench my thirst for interactive storytelling.
I guess this gave me what I think of as an advantage: I can look at the old games without the "nostalgia glasses", and play them as they realy are, without emotional attachment. It may be also a disadvantage, because having seen newer games most of the times I can't really connect to those old classics, like I would connect to, let's say Sid Meier's Pirates or The Secret of Monkey Island (those two were before my "divorce" with PC playing, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. And missed them afterwards).

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
And although I have to admit there have been some good RPG's released the last decade, I can't honestly say any of them holds a place among my top ten gaming experinces. Skyrim was ok, and I put around 100 hours into it, but I can hardly remember any of it. To me, Morrowind was a better game.
I'll have to agree to disagree, my favorite games are all from the last decade. Oblivion was the first fantasy game I played in a long time (I got a bit tired of the genre after some years of Dungeons & Dragons). But it was Skyrim that made me appreciate fantasy again (even though as an RPG it has a lot of defects). The only thing I find in Morrowind that could be fun is that it is very original in it's concept. But giant mushrooms don't appeal to me that much. This one I really tried to like, even tried the Morroblivion Mod, but it wasn't only the visual aspect that was annoying me. The lack of voice acting alone bored me to sleep…

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
I've played through Fallout 3 two times, once without expansions and once with them all in. It is a really good game. But to me, nowhere near the fantastic games that are Fallout 1&2. I do have high hopes for New Vegas though, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
I have to say the opposite. I love Fallout 3, the story and characters are great, and I couldn't find any of that in the first two. I might be biased because I really don't like turn-based games and I do appreciate too much voice acting. Reading is something I like to do - from books, not computer screens… Anyway, some people say the newer incarnations of Fallout aren't faithful to the Fallout universe, and having browsed the Fallout Bible and many contents from sites about that particular universe, I really must conclude that in this case the biased ones are the classic Fallout devotees. It's kinda of a religious thing, I guess! From what I've heard, most of the people who criticize the choice of Washington DC for Fallout 3 prefer Fallout New Vegas. As for me, Fallout New Vegas is my favourite computer game ever. EVER. Period.

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
DA:O was a decent game, and I played it through start to finish. But I've never even considered replaying it, and it wasn't a hard choice to ignore the second installment entirely. Dragon Age is abolutely nothing compared to Baldurs Gate 1&2.
I kinda liked Dragon Age, but I'm not a fan of either the original or the sequel. Can't compare to Baldur's Gate or Planescape Torment, for those were some of the classics I tried (not long ago. A few months ago, really) but couldn't pass the first screen. Without wanting to be malicious, it looked like old Zx Spectrum adventure games but with colours and better sounds (anything's better than "BLIP").

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
I'm playing Deus Ex:HR right now and have to say I like it, but since I never played the original I can't make a comparison there. Still a good game though, maybe because I didn't have any expectations.
Great ambiance, pretty graphics, nice dialogues, not much choices, too much fire fights (or stealth, for those who go for that option), crappy boss fights. All in all, it reminds too much of Blade Runner for me to ignore it. I loved the game, though I could find it's flaws. As for the original, I can't understand all the devotion around it. I played a few missions, the graphics are horrible, the voice acting is atrocious, the combats perhaps too difficult (or perhaps it's just the bad graphics getting on my nerves) and the soundtrack isn't good past the menu (the menu score is remarkable). The only thing comparable is the story, after all, and I find them pretty much on the same level.

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
Expectations. There in lies one opf the reasons for a lot of "Old-Time RPG'ers" complaining about new games. I was really really happy when they announced Fallout 3. But got dissapointed by the end product. A good game, but not a "real" Fallout. I was deliriously happy when Dragon Age was announced. But it came up short.
Well, again, if you don't find it a real Fallout, maybe you'll like New Vegas. Or not.

Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
Thank God for Kickstarter. I would probably have given up on RPG's by now if I werent looking forward to Shadowrun returns, Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity so much. I just hope they won't let me down too…
Let's see what those old school kickstarters will look like. But I'm afraid if they turn into the "new school", and the big budget ones start getting too "childish" (as it looks like it will happen) it will be me to give up on cRPGs. Well, my bad luck…
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September 26th, 2012, 18:03
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
Sorry to say it but that statement is complete bollocks. Those non-combat aspects that you mention, which are also very important to me, are completely independent of the chosen combat mechanics. Ever played Fallout 1&2 or Arcanum?
Yes, as I have mentioned on previous posts in this thread I am a Fallout fan, but a "Latter Days Fallout Fan". Not because I'm too young for having played the original Fallout and the first sequel, but because I was basically not much of a computer gamer by the time Fallout 1 & 2 came out (Arcanum I never played). And yes, I know that Fallout is not about tactics (that's another game), and that's why I would much rather play Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. The lack of voice acting, the lack of a nice soundtrack aren't completely dissuasive to me, but the fact that Fallout is turn-based made it impossible for me to play it. It doesn't belong there. In a role playing environment, turn-based is an outdated mechanic to emulate the roll of the dice for initiative (I already wrote this before too), and to declare actions and so on. When Fallout 1 was made I understand the usefulness of it, but in Fallout 3 they came up with a much more immersive substitute for that, VATS.
I agree that things are completely independent, but when you are playing a game and you find something you really dislike, I bet that affects the whole package…
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September 26th, 2012, 18:10
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Not necessarily. Ultima V had a pretty primitive text system. I would not call the dialogues verbose what so ever, yet the story was deep. I think that the story driven element in old school was that it relied much more on the imagination of the player to fill in the gaps. I came up with distinct personalities for Iolo, Dupre, etc. in Ultima IV, despite the depth of our conversation usually being: Name? Job? Join?
Yes, that's true, but I guess Ultima is way too much old school. I was thinking about the "old school" that is being resurrected by kickstarters. Most of it revolves around classics not as old as Ultima. If i recall correctly, on the days of Ultima there was plenty of information about the game world that came in paper form, in manuals and maps that came with the game, right? I can't be sure about Ultima, but there were other games in the late 80s that brought a lot of stuff inside the box besides the floppy discs. I suppose that helped to fill in the gaps. Morrowind, for example, came latter and it is extremely text intensive.
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September 26th, 2012, 18:12
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Turn-based to me was simply a function of the limitations of the systems at hand, whether that be pen and paper or early game engines. There just isn't really any way to make real time combat within those systems.

But they still worked, for the time. I find in modern games, the switch from essentially a real-time atmosphere to suddenly turn-based in combat (Spiderweb's games and ToEE come to mind) push me out of the immersion.
I can relate to that. They worked for the time. Nowadays not so much. Though there's lot of fans of turn-based.
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September 26th, 2012, 18:34
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
I think that round means something else here than what I suppose it to mean.
One problem for me is here that the terms "turn-based" and "round-based" don't exist in German language like they do in english language.
In German language, everything is, regardless, "round-based". The words "turn" and "round" in he meaning of games (like chess) are - as far as I know - exactly the same. Thus, there exists one one word for that in German langusge.

Which means that it has to be translated first. And in German gaming mags you'll only meet the term "rundenbasiert" ( = "round-based").

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September 26th, 2012, 18:55
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
One problem for me is here that the terms "turn-based" and "round-based" don't exist in German language like they do in english language.
In German language, everything is, regardless, "round-based". The words "turn" and "round" in he meaning of games (like chess) are - as far as I know - exactly the same. Thus, there exists one one word for that in German langusge.

Which means that it has to be translated first. And in German gaming mags you'll only meet the term "rundenbasiert" ( = "round-based").
I don't know if you are discussing the meaning of these terms in computer games alone or in RPGs in general, but even in english I'm used to seeing both terms used with the same meaning, the time it takes for a character to do something, regardless of the way you are counting the passage of time in real time or game time. For example, in World of Darkness a "turn" means a three-second period of time.
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September 26th, 2012, 19:14
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
One problem for me is here that the terms "turn-based" and "round-based" don't exist in German language like they do in english language.
In German language, everything is, regardless, "round-based". The words "turn" and "round" in he meaning of games (like chess) are - as far as I know - exactly the same. Thus, there exists one one word for that in German langusge.

Which means that it has to be translated first. And in German gaming mags you'll only meet the term "rundenbasiert" ( = "round-based").
I think "turn-based" and "round-based" have the same meaning when the party consists of a single player. The difference arises in the case of a party with multiple characters (player-character and companions) and/or multiple units (multiple armies, regiments, etc,). In this case the player can choose actions separately for each of the pc and companions (or for each unit) in each round of combat. Action is typically paused during the choices. The other side typically also gets to make multiple action choices (or moves); i.e., one for each character or unit on the other side.

My enjoyment is generally dependent on how the system is implemented. I prefer the more flexible systems with optional pauses, and an option (as opposed to a requirement) for separate orders or moves for each character, companion or unit in each round. But again, IMO it all depends on implementation whether it is or is not, boring or interesting. In general I prefer more in the way of strategy and less in the way of mindless button mashing; but implementation is key here also — some button mashing based combat systems can be challenging, and others boring; while some strategy combat systems can be challenging and interesting, but others boring.

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September 26th, 2012, 22:38
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Which means that it has to be translated first. And in German gaming mags you'll only meet the term "rundenbasiert" ( = "round-based").
That is strange. I can think of games with turns and no round in them but I cant think of games with rounds but no turn in them.
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September 26th, 2012, 22:53
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
What worries me about this habit some "old timers" have of putting down what's new in a kind of destructive way - "I don't care about Fallout 3, I love Fallout and I wont have anything to do with what Bethesda's going to do with it in the future", what worries me, I was saying, is that company developers or even executives start taking notice to that (maybe they already did…) and forget a part of their target audience, the mature one.
Developping games cost money. Video games are always working on the next game technology when working on a current project. Costs are building up and amortization of the new technology is always set in the future.

If ever, they take notice of that, and organize a trip back to the past, that would be more because of that than hearing the voices of old timers.

Improving on a combat system, working on new ways to overcome known limitations of a previous system is also a risk of not delivering and even when delivered, to alienate part of the customers' base.

In these times of crisis, turning to technologies that are already amortized and whose delivery is known is an option they would consider.

Added to that, for certain sectors of gameplay, video games might be near a choke point, with diminish return on investment. It might cost more and more to gain very little in terms of quality of gameplay.

Improving on tactics delivery requires a higher quality in AI, which is difficult to provide at this point.

Old recipes, know results and warranted profits by cutting down on cost productions.
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