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April 26th, 2019, 17:03
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Why are people so frosty about puzzles? They are a staples of old cRPGs. Turn-based combat isn't that far away from puzzle solving too.

I'm actually wondering how purpleblob made it through BG2 a bazillon of times now, the game has a lots of puzzles (no they aren't pressure plates, but there is a lots of things hidden behind using the proper thing at the proper place and a few riddles to solves).

I personally love puzzles and wish more RPGs had like at least one of them.
You are right, a good epic RPG should have some puzzles in them. You're wrong that puzzles as the core gameplay element is an RPG thing. In the 80s and early 90s cRPGs they were puzzle heavy because that was the element that mde people buy solutions, either through 0700 telephone numbers or through magazines etc. It was ye olde version of loot boxes.

You'll notice that as soon as this trend became illegal then that sytle of RPG design faded into the history books and the cRPG was free to be more of what it should be. Puzzles are a good way to add variety and a sense of adventure to a game and help break up the more repetative routines. They only really work if they are intrinsic to the setting though, such as exploring a crazy-mage tower or opening that ancient crypt door etc. A means to have a locked door that a rogue can't pick or a warrior bash down etc.

However, cRPGs rely greatly on pacing and if you hold up a fevered exploration game with lots and lots of sudden drops in pace then you'll just have your players suddenly stopping progress to spend hours upon hours trying to work out puzzles, most of which are stupid once you look up the solution on a walkthrough, such as missing a pixel, an object obscured by another object due to shitty camera views, no highlight all tab, or something that doesn't suit your personal skills, such as slidey puzzles or sudokus.

And that's the thing with regular puzzles, in this day and age, and since the advent of the mid nineties, they are all but a 1 minute google away, so the days of expecting people to spend more than 20 minutes or so on a puzzle are long gone unless someone is specifically playing the game solely for the self-masochism, such as dedicated adventure game players. If a cRPG starts being more puzzle than RPG and thus ends up becoming just a play-by-walkthrough exercise then the inclination will be to stop playing altogether and to just go find an actual cRPG instead.

People buy adventure games for puzzles, they buy cRPGs for a more active experience. A cRPG entirely without puzzles does feel like it's missing something, but a cRPG with too many puzzles, and too many obtuse puzzles particularly, feels too much like a 'something else'.

Combat is only a puzzle in the sense that it challenges you to prove what you've understood of the game's primary mechanic, that of character building. Can you not defeat that pack of Goblins? Oh, did you try that sleep spell you learned? Did you try sneaking up on them to give you pre-battle knowledge? Are you wearing the proper equipment for your class? Can your team members all utilise ranged weapons before running at them? etc etc.

A non-class related puzzle doesn't have much to do with the essence of an RPG, that of different character classes being able to deal with the situation dependent upon their class skills. If a door needs you to solve a sudoku puzzle in order to progress in the game, none of your characters can 'solve' it because they have high intelligence, the game still requires you as a player to 'solve' it. Even having class-based puzzle solving doesn't help much as if you don't have a character with the specific class, such as a run with no high intelligence team members, then the solution will just be walkthrough-solved.

As per usual, you seem to have a very skewed view of cRPGs as evidenced by you thinking that BG2 was awash with puzzles. BG2 had barely any puzzles by puzzler standards and the ones it did have were so spaced out in time and place that even if one had to resort to a wlathrough it would never feel like one was constantly playing the game via a walkthrough. A good example of a cRPG over-doing the puzzles in an otherwise fairly normal cRPG would be Divinty: Original Sin Enhanced Edition, where the end-game is so riddled with puzzles that it starts feeling like you're playing something else all of a sudden as it delivers tedious crappy puzzle after tedious crappy puzzle at the player before allowing them to just get on with finishing off the end-boss.

But you chose to highlight BG2 of all games, which suggests you're either genuinely awkward to converse with due to your complete lack of understanding of the topic, or you're just being deliberately contrarian for the pleasures of creating conversation where there wasn't any for a purpose known only to yourself. When everyone else is saying "ugh, primary bias is puzzles? Oh well" then there's usually a good reason for that, and one that shouldn't require a wall of text to say what everyone else knows instinctively
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