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February 20th, 2008, 23:21
We've done this before at RPGDot but it's time to update and see if things have shifted.

What is your favorite single gameplay element in an RPG? Yes, we realise a great game is a synthesis of many or all of these elements but we want to separate them out to find their relative importance. Note that things like "story" have been left out because we're looking at active gameplay - doing something.

Some of these are difficult to define, so here's a rough guide:

Exploration - most designers would argue that interaction with a game is really an exploration of its system environment. In this case, we mean the player-driven discovery of new territory, places and objects; not so much when the game funnels you directly to a new specific location or goal but when you have some discretion (it may be a lot or a little) to uncover new things yourself.

Character interaction - usually dialogue but encompassing everything from quizzing quest NPCs to party banter.

Combat - getting down and dirty. Assume a combat system you really enjoy.

Character development - creation, growth and equipping all rolled together. Putting those extra points in those little boxes. This could be the simple act of increasing power with every level to the meticulous design of plotting out and executing a superior character template to admiring your pimped out dude (or dudette) with their fancy armour and stylish purple cloak. Yes, purple. I like purple, OK?

Questing - has elements of all the others but is more focused. Having that specific task, pursuing it to its heroic conclusion, getting the reward for killing the rats in the basement and ticking it off the quest list - a job well done. One more safe basement in a crazy, dangerorous world.

Puzzles - from subtle how-do-you-discover-the-hidden-thieves-den to those mages that lock the door to their tower with a silly math puzzle and then have a trapped tile pattern in the hall. Are there carpenters out there that specialise in this stuff? Traps-R-Us?
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Last edited by Dhruin; February 21st, 2008 at 06:39.
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