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March 7th, 2019, 11:55
Food, welfare, camping activities, crafting (for survival items), healing components not related to in-battle use, etc etc etc.

Utterly banal and a massive distraction to why people play RPGs.

This trend seems to be growing rather than shrinking & I'm starting to feel ripped-off when I buy an RPG and it turns out to be not much more than a survival grinder with some stats attached. Genuinely ripped off.

Is it about time that games with a high content of this kind of crap are properly communicated as such and if so, what's the best way for sites like gog and steam to properly warn any potential customers that certain RPGs aren't actually RPGs but are just survival games with some rpg elements?
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March 7th, 2019, 12:28
I'd mostly agree with you. Nonetheless, I would not completely dismiss such elements, for one reason: Basic survival mechanics, such as hunger, add an element of attrition, which lends much more weight to strategic decisions such as whether or not to attempt a particularly challenging dungeon delve, and emphasize the need for careful preparation by stocking up on food and scrolls. Removing such elements completely, possibly even providing auto-healing after each battle, would turn an epic expedition into yet another string of isolated skirmishes.

But I can do without crafting, thank you. I'd rather buy my crossbows at Iolo's rather than fill my inventory with piles of wood, daffodil petals, rat tails, bone meal and vials of othyugh excretions in the vague hope of eventually being able to assemble then into a crossbow of my own.
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March 7th, 2019, 12:46
I disagree. It's not new. If you look at RPG history, survival elements like these have been a part of many RPGs for quite some time. Dungeon Master, Ultima Underworld, and even several Might and Magic games had them. Let's just be glad that it isn't like it was in Akalabeth, where every step took food. I'm not sad that this game was released way before my time. I'm not going to catch up on it.
However, those survival elements were part of the experience. In real life, you also need food, medicine etc. It was supposed to add to the immersion.

I started with RPGs that had those mechanics way back. I don't mind them, though I remember many, many times that my party in Realms of Arcania 1 and 2 died of hunger, thirst, or even illness in the mountains. That's what happens if your hunters get sick and you're running out of provisions in the middle of nowhere. It always made me swear and reload an older save. And yet I still love those games.
Proper preparations before going into the wilderness or dungeons were part of the game, and i didn't mind. It took some speed out of exploring, yes, but not too much, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. To me, it makes those games more intense, because it's what you would do, if you were really in that world. You would eat, drink, sleep, and make sure you're always prepared for the local dangers.

In The Outer Worlds, you'll be able to turn survival off, and it will only be available for the highest difficulty anyway. Maybe all developers could make it optional, so people who don't like survival elements can just turn them off. I think, that would be a really good compromise.

Still, I'm an adventurer, not a blacksmith. I can do without armor and weapon crafting. Thank you.
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March 7th, 2019, 13:15
I don't think survival elements are a problem themselves but the fact that they are sometimes given way bigger role than they should be given. I don't want to nanny my character(s) only to die if I skip dinner, but having to account for food and sleep when adventuring adds another layer of strategy and immersion, which I love.
As for crafting, I don't like it if it allows me to become, say, the best blacksmith in the seven kingdoms and the best weapons and armor can only be made by me (ahem, Skyrim, ahem). And I'm supposed to be an adventurer. Becoming a master blacksmith takes a lot of time and is not likely for someone whose day job is killing dragons. Not to mention it is essentially a grind, and having the best equipment locked behind the grind and not in a chest behind dragon's back, or behind the counter of the richest merchand is just disgusting.
Something like Witcher makes sense, since witcher are alchemists in the lore and it fits better as a side activity for an adventurer. Sure, allow me to repair my armor, make rudimentary weaponw, or even a small shack, but don't make me the sole source of the best stuff in game.
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March 7th, 2019, 13:48
Just a few points of clarification before I reply to anyone. This is NOT a thread about crafting items that are used in battles, that is a different topic and one deliberately ignored in the OP. I see some of you are already briefly skirting over the issue raised in the OP and then spending much more post-time on battle item crafting. You are free to derail the thread if you really are desperate to prevent the OP discussion points from being discussed, but please be aware that discussing battle item crafting is a derail and has nothing to do with the OP.

And, yes, I'm aware it's not a new thing, I never said its not a new thing, I said it's growing exponentially. To the point where people are actively promoting games that are literally just survival games (to all intents and purposes) as RPGs. And this is, in my mind, a gross dereliction of responsibility that is equivalent to what was once termed "being conned".
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March 7th, 2019, 13:53
Another golden thread in the making.

Survival elements vs RPG elements, stuff dreams are made of.
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March 7th, 2019, 14:02
I think RPGs that feature survival elements to that great of a degree are still a small minority and can be easily avoided. I don't agree that the entire genre is being threatened by it.

I also think most games are described thoroughly enough that one can usually determine before purchasing whether or not it has a significant amount of survival aspects. Plus, if you're not sure, you can always skim the related forum for extra info about the game.
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March 7th, 2019, 14:11
Food, welfare, camping activities, crafting (for survival items), healing components not related to in-battle use, etc etc etc.
Yes and no. In some games these have other practical uses than just survival (camp to socialize with sidekicks for example), but in some are deliberately annoying with horrible chores even if it's just inventory micromanagement where the designer believes a player is masochist.

What's ruining RPGs is blossom of luckbased systems where regardless of your playthrough a broken satellite can drop on your head and kill you out of nowhere. Another RPG ruining plague is locking questrelated NPCs behind time cycle. These are lazy and outdated designs - a NPC needs to be somewhere not vanish from the game just because it's 1AM.
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March 7th, 2019, 14:14
Cant say I’ve noticed this as a problem.

I definitely don’t have a shortage of rpgs to play that don’t have survival elements and I’ve never purchased an rpg and been blindsided by survival elements.

As JDR said games with survival elements are usual easily identifiable. In my experience they usually have it listed as a feature or if you watch a quick gameplay video it will be evident.

As for being “conned” I definitely haven’t run in to any games where i felt the developer was intentionally trying to deceive me and hiding the survival elements.
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March 7th, 2019, 14:49
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
As for being “conned” I definitely haven’t run in to any games where i felt the developer was intentionally trying to deceive me and hiding the survival elements.
I know of one, Amazon unreleased The New World. Their are marketing it as a full MMORPGs with a focus on the "RPG part", but it's really juste another variante of Rust/Ark/ConanExile/andTheOtherBazillionOfClones (aka a survival PvP multiplayer game with stats progression so they can pretend to be RPGs without much actual role-playing).

I can't think of any "survival RPGs" that are single player only though. Unless we count mods for Skyrim.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:07
Regarding which titles are doing this: if you don't know then that's rather ironic considering many of them appear in RPGwatch top 10s and some even have entire forums here dedicated to them…

But I didn't want to name names and derail the thread into shouting matches about specific games either being 'good games' or 'bad games' by people's opinions, but rather concentrate on the concept itself. If you haven't experienced m/any then you're probably someone who, shall we say, ignores the independent market, without going down that alley of conversation to its inevitable conclusion.

& that's the thing regarding the supposed fault of the buyer for not putting in the research. I really don't like being spoiled about games, yes I do check out some brief gameplay vids, but only to get a general idea, not to spoil everything in every detail. For me, if it gets in the RPGwatch top 10, is promoted as a 'good RPG' generally & I don't see any rage threads then that's normally good enough for me.

But you're saying that filter is no longer enough? Then what's the point of having a site which purports to be a filter by the very specific design of it's title?

ThingsThatAreVaguelyPossiblyMaybeRPGsWellItsAGoodG ameAnywayWatch.com?

What are we 'watching' for?
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March 7th, 2019, 15:15
I personally like survival mechanics in some games. Might and Magic had some back in the day, and so did the first MMOs like Ultima Online or Asheron's Call, but that is obviously not comparable to something like Darkwood, Sunless Sea, or ICY. Most RPGs make combat their central game mechanic to add tension, explain character development, and resolve conflict in the game.

For years people have tried to add other elements to rpgs to add variety or as an alternative to combat. First came puzzles, then dialogue, and now survival elements.

Personally I find dialogue and puzzles okay as a change of pace from combat, but games which have tried to make them into the most central game element aren't my cup of tea. I do think though (for me at least) that survival can be made into a compelling core game play element in place of combat. The idea of taking on nature or harsh enviornments I find an interesting conflict. Obviously this is personal preference, and just like combat, good survival elements have to offer depth and variety.

I can completely understand though when a player like @lackblogger says that they want to play heroic fantasy and not someone who is just scraping by. I also think that the tag rpg is fashionable today and far too many games use it. Darkwood for example, is a game I really enjoyed, but I find calling it an rpg a huge stretch. Sometimes developers add as many tags as possible to their game trying to appeal to the greatest number of players as possible. I think, however, that this is a risky strategy, as it can lead to negative reviews from buyers who think they are gettign a different sort of game.
Last edited by forgottenlor; March 7th, 2019 at 15:45.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:16
By the time a game is released, there is hours and hours of video and gameplay available to make a decision. In fact if you don't do a day one purchase, you can literally watch people play on twitch and youtube if you want.
No excuse to feel tricked into buying a game with an element you don't like.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:20
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
By the time a game is released, there is hours and hours of video and gameplay available to make a decision. In fact if you don't do a day one purchase, you can literally watch people play on twitch and youtube if you want.
No excuse to feel tricked into buying a game with an element you don't like.
SOILERS.

duh.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:37
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Regarding which titles are doing this: if you don't know then that's rather ironic considering many of them appear in RPGwatch top 10s and some even have entire forums here dedicated to them…

But I didn't want to name names and derail the thread into shouting matches about specific games either being 'good games' or 'bad games' by people's opinions, but rather concentrate on the concept itself. If you haven't experienced m/any then you're probably someone who, shall we say, ignores the independent market, without going down that alley of conversation to its inevitable conclusion.

& that's the thing regarding the supposed fault of the buyer for not putting in the research. I really don't like being spoiled about games, yes I do check out some brief gameplay vids, but only to get a general idea, not to spoil everything in every detail. For me, if it gets in the RPGwatch top 10, is promoted as a 'good RPG' generally & I don't see any rage threads then that's normally good enough for me.

But you're saying that filter is no longer enough? Then what's the point of having a site which purports to be a filter by the very specific design of it's title?

ThingsThatAreVaguelyPossiblyMaybeRPGsWellItsAGoodG ameAnywayWatch.com?

What are we 'watching' for?
Well, if this is predominantly an indie problem then, yes, I don’t play them (much). Unless you consider POE, D:OS indie games. I’m sure that somehow damages my “street cred” but i can live with that. Although if this is indeed a real problem with indies to the degree you say then I’m glad I’m skipping that frustration.

Don’t get me wrong i have nothing against indies but i just have so little time to game and so many games in my backlog that trying to find a gem in the sea of indie games just isn’t worth my time.

I don’t like spoilers either and rarely even watch a gameplay vid of games i know i want to buy. So in the game I’ve purchased I’ve always felt there was plenty of information without spoiling. I also don’t typically play games until a year or 2 after release so by then I’ve typically heard all i need to.

If this is an issue of what the watch is covering then obviously i cant help that.
Last edited by sakichop; March 7th, 2019 at 15:54.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:38
Sorry but I have to say it. Survival elements (potentially) runing RPGs have hardly anything with day1 purchases, (amateurish) reviews and twitch streams.
A reviewer or streamer doesn't have to notice or use those at all.
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March 7th, 2019, 15:50
I've played a few games that have taken the survival aspects a bit too far, to the point where it literally interferes with the enjoyment of the game, but that's only happened to me a few times to date. To say that devices like this are ruining the role playing experience is a huge misnomer, in my opinion. Balance is the key, and the games that give you that are well worth playing. While I don't use youtube to watch people play games, I do read here and ask friends in advance of most of my purchases, simply to protect myself as much as possible.
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March 7th, 2019, 16:33
I am fine with survival elements if they add to the atmosphere and bring a degree of realism to the setting. It sometimes breaks immersion and baffles me how can one survive almost naked in snow or snowy blizzard carrying a sword in Skyrim or the like!
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March 7th, 2019, 16:44
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Sorry but I have to say it. Survival elements (potentially) runing RPGs have hardly anything with day1 purchases, (amateurish) reviews and twitch streams.
A reviewer or streamer doesn't have to notice or use those at all.
By the same logic, if someone doing a "lets play" stream and can successfully ignore a mechanic without impact, so should the person trying to avoid the mechanic.
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March 7th, 2019, 16:59
Erm, the logic is reviewers and twitchers tend to (or are paid to) ignore stuff - most recent example is DMC5 where not a single reviewer except JS noted this fullpriced game will contain microtransactions.

From "professional" reviewers it became normal they write a review about first 10 minutes of a game and suggest it applies on the whole product, sadly. The rule doesn't apply in all cases - for example reviews here and on codex are written by people who didn't only finish the game but completed most of it's outside of mainstory content which results in highly detailed worthreads.
Twitchers however are another form of cancer in gaming industry, they'll stall the game till doomsday only to milk more $. Thus it's in their interest to walk forward-backward to no end and ignore the actual game. I'd rather buy something blindly than base a game's worth on some twitch stream.

But this is all off topic. No reviewer or twitcher said or cared if survival elements are (not) ruining RPGs. Such analysis won't pay their bills.
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Last edited by joxer; March 7th, 2019 at 17:15.
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