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-   -   Rampant Games - More on Simplifying (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12329)

Dhruin January 14th, 2011 23:17

Rampant Games - More on Simplifying
Jay Barnson writes about playing Eye of the Beholder recently and realising the simplicity of the gameplay. The short article actually muses about whether such simplicity could be brought to bear successfully with a modern product but it also opens a can of worms with some of those old classics:

Strip out any economy. Gathering gold – typically a staple of D&D-based RPGs – is outta there.
Strip out NPC interaction outside of combat. Or any idea of “quests” (which hadn’t quite gelled as a regular feature of RPGs at the time anyway).
Story is paper-thin, without much more plotline or background than your run-of-the-mill roguelike. […]
Though people who claim Diablo isn’t an RPG might be on thin ice maintaining that this game series is, in spite of it being based on the original dice-and-paper role-playing game rule system.
More information.

RampantCoyote January 14th, 2011 23:17

Ugh, that last paragraph in the excerpt was a horrible tangent. I thought I'd deleted the whole thing before I posted, but it crept back in.

Anyway - I feel comfortable with both games being labeled as RPGs. Just suggesting that Diablo seems to encompass more traditional CRPG elements than Eye of the Beholder… so how would someone justify the latter being an RPG and the former not?

Not that this was the point of the article, but hey --- heated discussion!

Dhruin January 14th, 2011 23:21

Apologies for skewing the direction of the piece - I figured you'd forgive me in return for (perhaps) a greater level of discussion.

RampantCoyote January 14th, 2011 23:51

Absolutely. :) Just wondering if you'd weigh in with your own opinion on the matter.

At what point do you simplify a game down to such minimal "RPG elements" that it's no longer an RPG?

Surely by this point, right?

I don't really think of Desktop Dungeons as an RPG - and for a long time I didn't really think of Deus Ex as an RPG (but folks prevailed upon me with their cunning logic to see things their way). But in spite of wasting a lot of hours thinking about the subject, I'm not really sure I could draw an exact line and say, "Beyond this point, the game is no longer worthy of RPG-ness!"

Corwin January 15th, 2011 01:19

EOB was a great Dungeon Crawl with RPG elements!! :)

Twotricks January 15th, 2011 11:38

Exactly the line of thinking i am taking in the RPG i am making. Good article

PegasusOrgans January 15th, 2011 13:28

Menzoberranzan was practically built on the same engine but it had a great end game quest hub that made it feel much more like a true RPG. Similar to Ravenloft: Stone Prophet.

zadokAllen January 15th, 2011 14:40

How many devils on a pinhead?

Is GTA: San Andreas an RPG?

And finally, try telling EOB has "simplified" gameplay to my 13-year-old self :)

(I like your site though!)

figment January 15th, 2011 18:28

I think that depth can be more satisfying that breadth as stated in the article but is also more difficult to sell. Blizzard is the master of this balance and they make sure the fundamentals are there first and foremost but know that they do have to have a little flash as well but never at the expense of fundamentals. But its still easier to throw in the kitchen sink and it will still sell reasonably well as Bethesda can attest.

Can a game like EOB come out today? Yes but only for mobile devices or consoles. Braid was fairly simple but the mechanics were very well balanced so it was able do very well.

RampantCoyote January 15th, 2011 18:29

I tried playing Menzoberranzan, but I got bored pretty quickly. Sounds like it eventually picked up & became cool. I want to say I should try and pick it up again someday, but… dang, my backlog of RPGs at this point…

Twotricks - how far along are you? Please keep me (and I'm sure the staff here, who are awesomely supportive of indies) posted as you get close to release.

Heh - when I was a lot younger, "simplified" meant "dumbed down." And to be honest, whenever I hear that - especially with RPGs - that's still my knee-jerk reaction. 'Cuz too often it's true. But I think it really doesn't have to be.

Charles-cgr January 16th, 2011 18:16

Jay, now that you've played MMI you know a game can be simple an still quite exciting :)

RampantCoyote January 16th, 2011 19:04

Haven't had time to complete that one yet (probably 'cuz I keep "grazing" on games in little 30-minute sessions), but I don't think I'd consider it quite as simple as EoB.

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