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Default Is game length counterproductive to Role-playing ?

July 15th, 2021, 01:49
The RPG i've replayed the most is Fallout 1. I've beaten the game with a melee-only build, a full charisma/speech build, low intelligence build, energy weapons-only build, Unarmed build. I've completed the quests in different ways: sneaking, stealing, talking your way out or just killing everyone in my way. So i've replayed Fallout 1 in different gameplay styles and role played unique characters.

But here's the thing: Fallout 1 is short, even on you first playthrough the game doesn't take more than 15 hours, and if you know what you're doing, no more than 8 hours. So i can easily replay the game, it's not a big time commitment.

Another example: When i die(permanently) in ADOM, which does not take too long, i try a new character build with different gameplay style, so i'm always messing with the game RPG systems in new ways, it truly feel like i'm "role-playing" here. But when it comes to 40 hours plus games, i find myself much less likely to replay them and try new builds, especially right way.

Others RPG's offer tons of classes and skills for you, but once you've chosen one build, for example: Swordsmanship, often there is no reason to level up "Axes", or "polearms" or any other fighting skills. So you're pretty much focused on leveling the same skills without much meaningful decision, to keep up with the game power scale/difficulty scale, for 40 hours or more. class change and multiclassing can spice up things a bit though.


I don't have the time and patience to replay and try new builds/gameplay styles in long, 40 hours plus RPGs like Pathfinder, Baldur's Gate, Wizardry, Might and Magic. What you guys think ?
Last edited by Neritikes; July 15th, 2021 at 02:09.
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July 15th, 2021, 02:19
It's interesting, because when I read the title of your post I immediately thought of "role-playing" as investing in the personality and story of the character(s). Reading your post, it's clear that you're talking about mechanical aspects of RPGs, things like builds.

I can see how experimenting with mechanics is encouraged more by a short length, probably why it's such a core aspect of rogue-likes/lites. But it's a different answer when it comes to role-playing in the sense of who my character is and the story the game is telling. In that case, length can mean further development of that character, with more events and relationships with other characters solidifying them in my mind, and giving me more opportunties to make choices I think my character would make.

That is dependent on more than length, though. Quite a few RPGs leave all the heavy lifting to the player in terms of imagining what sort of person they are. Elder Scrolls games, for example, though I enjoy them, give you very little leeway in making choices, or reflecting your character back to you in the responses of NPCs. Those games are also often among the longest in the genre.
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July 15th, 2021, 02:46
I meant in both build and story, Fallout 1 had different ending slides depending on your actions through the game and those actions depends on the player choices and on the player character skills/build. But you're right, it's more about how many different ways to solve the quests the game offers than just raw content, Skyrim has a lot of raw content but most of the time you play the content in the same way, without much choices.

8 quests with 16 different ways to complete shape you character personality more distinctly than 16 quests with 8 different ways to complete.
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July 15th, 2021, 02:48
I personally don't have interest in repalying games. I'd rather see other games instead. There are more games out there than I have time for anyways.

I appreciate options and choices in game though. Not because I want to replay it chosing other options, but because they enrich the gameplay experience of the one run I am doing.

So the length doesn't really play any role in my perspective. It only becomes an issue in games like the Shadowrun games, where you have lots of options to develop your character and several of them are pointless. Like if there is one single door in hour 10 of the game, and you decide to learn lockpicking at hour 15, when you are already past that option, before the game already ends at hour 20.
In the case of the shadowrun games the length was too short for it's own character's system sake.
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July 15th, 2021, 03:21
I actually prefer games that can take thirty to fifty hours to complete, and if it's more than that, it's sauce for the goose. I too have replayed Fallout one quite a number of times, and yeah, once you know the layout, it's a fairly simple process to get right through the game. I still enjoy the heck out of it, too.

And until the last three years or so, I replayed games a lot. Recently though, not so much anymore. Games like the gold box series, Might and Magic, and a few others I tended to replay every year or so.
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July 15th, 2021, 03:39
Kinda of a hard question to answer as I love RPGs like Witcher III that take over 100hrs to complete, but on the other-hand shorter 30hr RPGs have their place as well.

Sure longer RPGs have more content but at a certain point it just becomes repetitive and boring. The shorter RPGs benefit from a better story with less distractions.

For example look at Tryanny and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Oh and for the record I replay every RPG and game I own multiple times a year. Yes I know to much free time.
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July 15th, 2021, 04:40
Fallout 1 can be finished in less than 5 minutes

It taking 15 hours on a first playthrough though? Err no. If you just did the main story and NOTHING else it takes about 16-20 hours for a first timer on average - assuming the person is skim reading. A full run on the other hand takes 30-40 hours but significantly longer if you are actually reading dialogs etc.

But apart from that nitpicking, I do generally agree. AoD for example, is a also a short game with plenty of different build options. Although for AoD you are kind of forced to role-play because you have to play exactly how you build your character otherwise you don't have a chance in hell of finishing the game .
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July 15th, 2021, 04:50
They are counter-productive to… what to call it? Wide spectrum role playing? Having a long game discourages you from exploring all possible roles in a game, but it also allows you to explore the role you pick more completely.

I think the bigger picture matters here, too. I may play a wizard in one game, an archer in another, and a cleric in another game. Over all, I'm still getting my variety.

(Then you get a game like Divinity: Original Sin where you play two main characters at the same time!)
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July 15th, 2021, 04:57
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
Fallout 1 can be finished in less than 5 minutes

It taking 15 hours on a first playthrough though? Err no. If you just did the main story and NOTHING else it takes about 16-20 hours for a first timer on average - assuming the person is skim reading. A full run on the other hand takes 30-40 hours but significantly longer if you are actually reading dialogs etc.

But apart from that nitpicking, I do generally agree. AoD for example, is a also a short game with plenty of different build options. Although for AoD you are kind of forced to role-play because you have to play exactly how you build your character otherwise you don't have a chance in hell of finishing the game .
I think you're overrating Fallout 1 lenght, 30-40 hours long ? no way, it didn't even took me that long to beat Fallout 2 in my first playthrough. Unless you mean having to restart the game because you could not find the water chip in time.
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July 15th, 2021, 05:07
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
They are counter-productive to… what to call it? Wide spectrum role playing? Having a long game discourages you from exploring all possible roles in a game, but it also allows you to explore the role you pick more completely.

I think the bigger picture matters here, too. I may play a wizard in one game, an archer in another, and a cleric in another game. Over all, I'm still getting my variety.

(Then you get a game like Divinity: Original Sin where you play two main characters at the same time!)
Yeah, it's more about how someone approach those games. When i think about all those classes, skills, dialogue options and races the game have, i think that the developers wanted me to replay and roleplay new different characters, new builds or new branching paths. Like when you play Tabletop RPGs.
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July 15th, 2021, 09:15
You can replay a game for the mechanics, to try different builds and different combat tactics. Or you can replay it for the story if the game offers enough choice & consequences, possibly different endings.

I see the design of game for replayability as somewhat less productive, with diminishing returns. What I mean is the amount of effort to make the game becomes greater than the quality time people get out of it on average. If you design the game to have two branches, not all players will play them both. But it offers choices, which is an incentive in itself, the illusion of freedom. It's the same with open-world design, but it's less costly than designing C&C quests thanks to efficient techniques to populate large areas.

Some of this effort to offer freedom is necessary. Especially for builds, because different people have different preferences, so there must be enough possibilities to please everyone.

So instead of questioning the length of the game, I'd rather focus on the choices it offers. In the number of builds or combat tactics if that's a tactical RPG, and/or in story C&C if it's a full-fledged RPG.

The length of one run through the game is probably very personal. I enjoy a "short" game now and then and I'll probably try 2, 3 builds. But I enjoy a longer game for its depth, though I'm unlikely to replay it multiple times, or maybe just the beginning. To me, short would be 15-30 hours, and long something beyond 80-100 hours.

I certainly believe it's not productive to artificially extend the length with fetch quests, abundant loot and other artefacts like collection, crafting, generated quests, silly achievements… but it's a bit subjective, some people like to waste time in a game. I did spend a lot of time on a couple of games like Skyrim and Fallout 3, but I consider a good part of it as wasted time because of the dull play. After that I just said, "never again" and if I see a game that looks like that, I skip it.

I hope long answers are not too counterproductive
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July 15th, 2021, 10:53
The length of the game doesn’t have anything to do with the quality. I’ve seen long games be crap, and short games be crap. Whether someone likes long games or not is personal preference, and while there is a point in that longer games require more invest of resources, if that investment is made by people who know what they are doing, long games can be very good.
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July 15th, 2021, 14:16
I tend to like games which are no longer than 40 hours. Any longer and I may never finish them, no matter how much I enjoyed them at the time. I get distracted by the next shiny thing, but I can easily stop the new game if I know I'm nearing the end of a game.

I still haven't finished The Witcher 3 for example and I was enjoying it. But 50 hours in and the gameplay becomes a bit static.
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July 15th, 2021, 16:05
Originally Posted by Firestorm View Post
The length of the game doesn’t have anything to do with the quality. I’ve seen long games be crap, and short games be crap. Whether someone likes long games or not is personal preference, and while there is a point in that longer games require more invest of resources, if that investment is made by people who know what they are doing, long games can be very good.

Less about quality and more about replayability, i find short games more replayable since they're not a huge time commitment. And in my opinion roleplaying a new character, trying a new build, new branching path and gameplay style it's what "Role-Playing" is all about.
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July 15th, 2021, 17:56
I think a game being longer adds to the immersiveness for me, so long as there are tangible goals to accomplish. Like recently I played the base version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, when I'd finished I'd racked up one hundred ten hours play time, and hadn't been bored a single moment. Heck, I still might go back to it at some point, if I pony up the bucks for additional content, as I was quite impressed with how that game brought things together seamlessly. The quests were so many and varied that I never lacked for something to do. To me, that adds huge value to a game, and certainly makes it more likely one that I might replay.
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July 15th, 2021, 18:37
I have to agree with Firestorm. While shorter games are more replayable for obvious reasons, there's no correlation between game length and quality.

I think shorter games are simply better for some people because they lose interest after spending too long in the same setting. For me, it really depends on the mood I'm in. There are definitely times when I don't feel like investing in a 50+ hour game.
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July 15th, 2021, 18:41
I prefer long games myself and don't think it deters one from role playing at all. However, I do think long games can deter from replaying them more. I don't think repeatability is directly tied to role playing myself. One can role play deeply and heavily playing a game once as well as multiple times. As Carnifex pointed out sometimes being able to sink very deep into a role for a long game is more fun then trying on a half-dozen lighter roles for a few hours of game play.

I would change the question to "is game length counterproductive to replaying a game" myself. I did replay Pathfinder Kingmaker 3 times but sunk 600 hours or so into it in the process, and I did play through the very start (to the trading post) at least 15 or more times trying out different builds and ideas. But not everyone has the time to sink into a game like that … and I did spread that out over a long time.

I tend to prefer a really good long game over a short one though simply as I like to get lost in a great game for a long time. Course I have to really like the game to do that.

On the other hand if I don't like a game I won't bother to finish even a short one
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July 15th, 2021, 19:46
Short games vs epic long games are like comparing a 90 movie to tv series. You get more character development in the longer format, but it requires more effort and commitment from the developer and the player. Neither is inherently 'better' than the other.
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July 15th, 2021, 21:21
Nod Philistine, simply because a game is "short" or "long" doesn't make them a success. They still have to deliver the real goods: A compelling story, solid characters, decent exploration and fun combat are some of the key ingredients for me. I've played some great games that only took four to six hours to complete, and some that took over fifty. In the end, the formula is what matters.
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July 15th, 2021, 21:56
Seems like people are missing the point, i'm not saying longer games are of lower quality, i'm saying that longer games are less replayable. For example Wizardry 7 has a lot of options in party/character creation to allow a lot of replayablility and customization, but since the game is over 70+ hours long i'm less likely to replay it and try new character builds or party combinations.

And my second point is that in a RPG you're often stuck with the same character/party build and only focused on leveling a small amout of skills, to keep up with the game difficulty scale, and this is a bigger problem in longer games since the gameplay can get stale.
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