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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Survival Elements are Ruining RPGs

Default Survival Elements are Ruining RPGs

March 7th, 2019, 20:06
When I was much younger, I LOVED the idea of having to micromanage every bit in the three "Reals Of Arcania" games !
"Startrail" was my favourite, because it took the more repetitive tasts from the player and automated themn (hunt -> feeding, for example).
Having to give all party members warmer clothes in winter was a level of detail I liked.
I'm a very detail-driven person in RL, too.
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March 8th, 2019, 11:55
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
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 These are lazy and outdated designs - a NPC needs to be somewhere not vanish from the game just because it's 1AM.
And this is where the joxer character on the forum presents quite the confusion. To all intents and purposes it looks like you're both agreeing with me, in the most part, and are someone else who genuinely reviles at the tings you've listed.

However…

When I look at the forum for the specific game that finally triggered this thread out of me, a game which contains all of the things you are reviling, and not much else, I find these posts by you:

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
I'd definetly buy it. And that game deserves to be bought.
And

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Nice! Any new KS project those guys do, I'll back again.
And

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
is a fun indie game you won't need much time to finish. Play that one first.
And

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
[My] GOTY of 20XX on RPGwatch
So… do you deliberately promote stuff so that down the line you have stuff to rant about because that's you're identity? Or are you, like me, not great at memory? Or are a lot of your posts a sort of double-sarcasm in a sort of 3D chess-like user manipulation thing?

Or, like Batman's Joker, are you just prone to wild and erratic changes of opinion from one day to the next?
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March 8th, 2019, 12:15
I read the RPGWatch review for the game I reference in the post above & while it does have a chapter on the camping and food aspect it doesn't in anyway imply that that is pretty much all the game does.

Regarding it's RPG elements, the review contains barely any reference to it being a cRPG other than in the initial paragraph it expresses excitement for a game that is not "fantasy", because apparently the reviewer believes that not being fantasy automatically means we should all be excited by that fact alone. The opening paragraph contains the acronym RPG four times without any indication that the game is actually barely RPG.

When you go on to read further into the review the only mentions of RPG are when the reviewer is brushing under the carpet the extreme lack of any RPG elements:

I would maybe describe it as a "Management RPG"
So the reviewer is actually aware that it's struggling to be an RPG. They later write:

There is no RPG-like weapon and armor equipment system in the game… It certainly sets [the game] apart from most traditional RPGs.
Again, you can sense the struggle to find words to say "it's not an RPG, but it's a good game". When he gets to his conclusion his surmise is:

this is an exemplary indie game.
Again, as if a conscious or subconcious effort has been made to not say "an exemplary RPG".

And without playing the game first hand it's impossible to identify these subtleties as a reader. Having played 10 or so hours of the game (now uninstalled), and then reading this review in hindsight it now appears to me to be what is termed in the sales trade as "aggressive marketing".

Of course, the reviewer got lots of praise, as any review on the Watch should, but looking at that entire forum, no-one seems to have ever questioned whether the game was ever even an RPG in the first place.
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March 8th, 2019, 13:38
My two cents on survival elements…

It depends what are you after in an RPG.
Or more exactly: what you call an RPG.

Many forum posters have specific definitions of their RPG experience -- problem is, their definition is a specific game, and not a list of concepts.

Do you define your RPG preference as Baldur's-like? "NEO Scavenger-like? Final Fantasy-like? Witcher3-like? Zelda-like? KC: D-like? Diablo-like? AC:Odyssey-like? Rogue-like? Heck, even GTA-like?

These are all different games with different rule sets and design ideas, targeted for different audiences.

So, dissing survival elements just because it won't fit in YOUR definition of RPG is…
…selfish, I think.
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March 8th, 2019, 14:02
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
And this is where the joxer character on the forum presents quite the confusion.
Character… Lawful evil.
Some stuff could be confusing, especially when I don't reread carefully what I've written. In such cases you can always ask for clarification.

Those quotes you've pointed at - I love that game. Yes, it does have mild survival elements but to me those weren't annoying at all. Other than that, that game doesn't have silly everspawning random generated trash nor is checkpoint based. There are also no microtransactions nor dlc-o-rama. Finally, noone ever shilled for it as some hardest game ever (yeah, right) with "challenging" mushrooms required combat which is in fact a simple QTE and robotization of a human being.

Not writing some minireview about a game, any, or not criticizing stuff doesn't mean I adore every single part of it. I do remember in that year, whatever it was, it was a game I had more fun with than with plenty of aggressively advertised others. Call it a guilty pleasure of mine if you need, but I can't lie and say it sux just because some other people don't like it. Or just because it contained hunger mechanics. Never cared for the flow, when it feels fun to go against it, I do just that.
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March 8th, 2019, 15:00
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
My two cents on survival elements… It depends what are you after in an RPG. Or more exactly: what you call an RPG.

Many forum posters have specific definitions of their RPG experience -- problem is, their definition is a specific game, and not a list of concepts. Do you define your RPG preference as Baldur's-like? "NEO Scavenger-like? Final Fantasy-like? Witcher3-like? Zelda-like? KC: D-like? Diablo-like? AC:Odyssey-like? Rogue-like? Heck, even GTA-like?

These are all different games with different rule sets and design ideas, targeted for different audiences. So, dissing survival elements just because it won't fit in YOUR definition of RPG is…
…selfish, I think.
The thread simply asks if you like them and don't mind them & further, don't mind them being the primary focus of the 'RPG'. You. Not everyone else, you. I assume by your wishy-washy non-answer that you don't mind them and quite like them?
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March 8th, 2019, 15:12
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Character… Lawful evil.
Some stuff could be confusing, especially when I don't reread carefully what I've written. In such cases you can always ask for clarification.

Those quotes you've pointed at - I love that game. Yes, it does have mild survival elements but to me those weren't annoying at all. Other than that, that game doesn't have silly everspawning random generated trash nor is checkpoint based. There are also no microtransactions nor dlc-o-rama. Finally, noone ever shilled for it as some hardest game ever (yeah, right) with "challenging" mushrooms required combat which is in fact a simple QTE and robotization of a human being.

Not writing some minireview about a game, any, or not criticizing stuff doesn't mean I adore every single part of it. I do remember in that year, whatever it was, it was a game I had more fun with than with plenty of aggressively advertised others. Call it a guilty pleasure of mine if you need, but I can't lie and say it sux just because some other people don't like it. Or just because it contained hunger mechanics. Never cared for the flow, when it feels fun to go against it, I do just that.
Your post in this thread did indeed say you didn't mind survival elements, within reason, but went on to say that one of the true bugbears are random events which can result in a character "being hit by a satellite", to which the game us two are referring to is primarily only survival elements and random events. And yes, you've confirmed that a game can have those and you'll still LOVE it.

As for "just because other people don't like it", I appear to be the only person on this site to ever call the game to any kind of account and I only posted, what, yesterday & I don't even care for mentioning the game, as it's the core mechanics that bother me, not whether that game implimented mechanics I don't like and don't believe are RPG mechanics well. Looking at the codex, the game is unuslally popular there as well with even supposed hardened trolls beding over backwards to praise the developers.

I don't particulalry wish to turn this particular exchange into massive derail about that one specific game as I've no doubt you'll just start talking about bears and respawns and the like, which is, like the random events topic, all hugely off-topic, I just wanted to point out that even the only one other guy who seems to have the same tastes and expectations with me on this topic appears to be someone who actually doesn't.

And that I appear to be entirely alone on this matter…?

(for those that think this stuff doesn't effect anyone, the next Obsidian game recently announced it will be including survival elements as an option… further evidence that the creep is real and that today's 'option' is tomorrows 'expectation').
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March 15th, 2019, 07:05
YouTube is handy for avoiding games you don’t like. Just watch a let’s play before you buy.
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March 15th, 2019, 10:35
That point has already been discussed at length. Also, that kind of non-response doesn't illuminate your own personal view on survival elements in RPGs.
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March 15th, 2019, 13:36
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
I don't particulalry wish to turn this particular exchange into massive derail about that one specific game as I've no doubt you'll just start talking about bears and respawns and the like, which is, like the random events topic, all hugely off-topic, I just wanted to point out that even the only one other guy who seems to have the same tastes and expectations with me on this topic appears to be someone who actually doesn't.

And that I appear to be entirely alone on this matter…?
When I don't see a reason to continue with "the exchange", I just leave the thread. When it's not fun or interesting to me any more, cya, there are other stuff to enjoy on this site.
And those things are not offtopic from my standpoint. I read the title as "elements that are ruining RPGs" and I've listed them. Feel free to disagree with me. Yes I know your aim was to say "survival elements are horros", but you also knew there are entropic elements on rpgwatch (which makes it an unique place on Internet).

Said before that I love hybrids done well so you could have expected me to love even some of those that integrate survival elements. I kinda love experimenting, both in RL and with games.
But I assure you, there are people who just like you, respect only clones of clones. Perhaps they didn't notice this thread or perhaps they're not sure what's it about. Next time if you want more participation, just ask would Dark Souls fans buy it's hybrid that is heavy on survival.
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March 15th, 2019, 14:25
Well my opinion is I half agree with lackblogger. You only have to look at Steam with all the open world survivor games being tagged as RPGs. It's a whole new genre.

Another problem I see is games like Battletech are being called RPGs when it has very little RPG mechanics, and its basically another Turn-based strategy game.

Here from the Gamebashee review.
Clearly, I wasn't a big fan of BattleTech, but I might have approached it for all the wrong reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed Harebrained Schemes' Shadowrun games. They were a nice blend of turn-based combat and RPG goodness, and I thought BattleTech might be more of them same. But no. The RPG goodness completely disappeared -- the writing took a nosedive, character builds are non-existent, and you don't make any meaningful story-based decisions -- and I didn't even enjoy the combat. Your mileage may vary, of course, but in my view BattleTech is a game to skip, even if you can find it for far cheaper than its current $40 suggested retail price.
He's 100% correct and he got lambasted for that review.
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March 15th, 2019, 14:32
On that I have to agree. I'm sick of false advertising nonRPGs as RPGs only because it's now a positive buzzword that sells. Since when we accepted PR falsifiers as those who determine what genre a game belongs to?

And it's not just Steam, it's uPlay too (Division and it's sequel).
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March 15th, 2019, 14:38
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
I read the title as "elements that are ruining RPGs" and I've listed them. Feel free to disagree with me.
The title is quite clearly "Survival elements are ruining RPGs". The OP clerly defines this further. Disagree with you about what?

I agree, hybrids are great. People usually refer to them as hybrids though…

Would you call any of these hybrid-cRPGs cRPGs if you were describing them to someone who'd never played them but liked Dragon Age and Skyrim:

Heroes of Might and Magic
King's Bounty
Dwarf Fortress

I agree, if everything was just a remake of something else that would be it's own kind of boring, but evolution, as theory of change over time in the world of technology, is oft referred to as "standing on the shoulder's of giants", which does imply some sense of continuation of a theme which is then either enhanced in some way or mildly adapted in some way. To argue that something is both completely different and exactly the same is somewhat absurd and reminds one of the episode of the Simpsons when Homer was allowed to design a car for a car manufacturer, with predictably absurd results.

As for Dark Souls, I really respect the whole Dark Souls series. I'd never play them and they are effectively just another Diablo-clone, but I respect them the same way I do Diablo, another game I'd never play (I've tried both Dark Souls and Diablo for about 10 hours each). But to pretend to be completely blind to the rather non-cRPG nature of these types of games is also absurd. That's why they are called aRPGs, and everyone is happy with that kind of distinction. They take the character building aspect and the loot aspect and then ask the player to kill their way to the end-boss in real time combat with nice music and atmosphere. One asks the player to manually dodge and perform character actions while other just asks the player to click the relevant button that performs the task, mostly because one is isometric while the other is third person. With these kinds of games it's not that they're ADDING random stuff to the RPG genre, it's they're simply removing stuff to fine tune one or two specific aspects.

Why would Dark Souls or Diablo want to introduce survival elements, that's completely against the concept of stripping down elements & is adding elements. With cRPGs everyone knows what is supposed to be the basic ingredients of the game & that is why games which are hybrids are so immediately noticeable and also cause people to question their RPG credentials. This is normal behaviour that has been going on for decades. This notion that suddenly "everything is acceptable" and that pointing out stuff that's 'weird' is somehow nothing more that people expressing selfish 'opinions' is utterly absurd.
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March 15th, 2019, 16:47
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Would you call any of these hybrid-cRPGs cRPGs if you were describing them to someone who'd never played them but liked Dragon Age and Skyrim:

Dwarf Fortress
You describe it as a "builder/management simulator with roguelike elements" than the person would ask "what is a roguelike, never heard of it". So you explain a roguelike as "a game with some character progression where you kill stuff in a procedural dungeon/terrain" and then the person would go "oh like Diablo" and then you go "no…..well kinda" and that person will now go around saying that Dwarf Fortress is an aRPG because it is like Diablo…

That's pretty much how every games end-up with the RPG label these days. I saw someone on another forum yesterday call an indie game a "looter shooter" because it was a shout'em up (shooter) with 3 playable classes. The game doesn't have loot pinatas/drops…

Same things happens with survival games, they have some minimal character progression, they have loot…that's enough to be a RPGs these days.

Really, the issue is that RPG description has been reduced to "gaining loots and levels" because it's been added to everything. It's not a genre anymore, it's a feature.
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March 15th, 2019, 20:50
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
That point has already been discussed at length. Also, that kind of non-response doesn't illuminate your own personal view on survival elements in RPGs.
I like survival elements as part of a cRPG but I would agree with you that if survival elements comprise the entirety of the game mechanics then no, I'm not really interested in that kind of game.

The upcoming game Outward look interesting, but as far as I can tell its main emphasis is survival and if that turns out to be the case, it's not the game for me. I'll be checking out some let's plays after release to get a better idea about that game.
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March 16th, 2019, 01:27
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Well my opinion is I half agree with lackblogger. You only have to look at Steam with all the open world survivor games being tagged as RPGs. It's a whole new genre.
Probably but it's not that difficult either, check the first tags, Survival is here, ignore the game, it's that simple.

Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Here from the Gamebashee review.
He's 100% correct and he got lambasted for that review.
Or he is fully and absurdly wrong by complaining that a non RPG isn't a RPG (BattleTech wich is just a great tactical game with insane building depth challenging most RPG on that), sigh.
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March 16th, 2019, 01:41
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
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.
That's your error, your topic is so vague without examples that only you know what you mean.

Common spite names and examples, you'll clarify the topic you want cover.
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March 16th, 2019, 01:51
Well if you're looking to get a rise out of me it's not working.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; March 16th, 2019 at 20:03.
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March 16th, 2019, 18:56
Eventually I did a too fast overview but I haven't decipher if the topic is:
1. About survival and light sim aspects in RPG.
2. About Survival games with some RPG aspect.
3. About sim games with some RpG aspect.
4. About survival and sim gameplay design

And don't say me it's all of that, perhaps the thread, but hardly OP who seem complain a lot that many posts are out of topic.
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March 16th, 2019, 19:50
It's all of that, yes.
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