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May 10th, 2020, 12:32
Hello,

I wonder why it is so that when I read the word "war" in a game's title, I'm immediately put off.

Am I sick or ill because I'm put off by games that have war themes in them ? Why do I not like games with war themes in them anymore ? Why is the word "power" provoking this reaction ofd mine in a similar way ?

Am I the only one who has become utterly bored by the lack of imagination in the gaming industry ? Why am I so much different than the myriads of buyers ? Im I just too old ?

I … I just can't play RPGs anymore. Or any other game. The prospect alone of having to FIGHT through anything to get into a position of godlike power - or at least into a position of calming down or uniting a country … Inside, I moan when I read that I'll have to fight thousands of orcs, goblins and any other kind of monster in a game.

Am I sick ? Am I a freak ? Am I just too old ?

Am I the only one ?


On the bottom : DDO is an MMO, but it's the only RPG I can play these days, because it doesn't have war or factions in it. It's all about adventures. Little stories.
Unfortunately, I have to fight monsters there, but at least I am told what kind of adversaries I have in front of me. The numbers are smallish, and there is no cannon-fodder. I often have to report the outcome of my adventure.

But war … That has become far too much boring for me. I just can't stand it anymore.
I want to have substance. I want to have the knowledge that something I do within a mission is actually meaningful. "Have you been able to save the dragon from the frost giants ?" "Yes." "That's good."


Even although I'm very sure that you will not like it because you will regard that quest as EXTREMELY CHEESY, one of my favourite quests within DDO is the one in which I have to lead skinny, mangled dogs out of a sewer (because that sewer part is actually the home of a Kobold).
I'm sure that most poeople who like fight games will outright ignore this quest because : Nothing to prove the own power with through fighting.

I'm so much bored of having to kill here, to kill there, to kill that one over there, maybe even kill someone overseas, kill in another dimension, eradicate a whole village because every village inhabitant gave me a contract to kill another village inhabitant, thus leaving behind an empty village but still not calling myself a murderer … (I had written a satire about that a few weeks ago).

It's always fight fight fight fight fight fight fight fight firght fight fight fight fight kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill kiill kill kill kill kill kill kill kill.

I'm so much bored of all this lack of imagination.

Am I wrong ? I must be, because fight games and koill games are bought so much. But still I wonder …

Alrik
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May 10th, 2020, 12:56
Confrontation is central in gaming.

One big evolution due to players'insecurities: removing adversity from it.

Fight, struggle are removed.

It is not so much the perspective of fighting, that is the perspective of not fighting.

Milking, farming. If this is war, it follows the template of war as the US have experimented it most of the times, that is against a significantly weaker enemy.

A huge demand for this demand, the reintroduction of an adversity would unsettle players.
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May 10th, 2020, 13:36
No, I don't think you are.

I don't think you're sick or ill for that reason, no.

That said, you do seem invested in promoting non-violence and non-darkness to a degree that I suspect you actually do have some kind of issue that skews your perception of what those things actually mean - but that's a separate thing.

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May 10th, 2020, 15:13
You're the only one. Videogames are not real life so ones and zeroes "dead" in a game will still be up and running when you restart the game.

However, when it comes to movies and shows, seeing "war" in description makes me losing interest like forever. Rarely anything about (any) war I'll watch, it has to be something special like Sharpe movies. Or Hornblower. Or Verhoeven's Black Book.
Or de Funès/Bourvil's masterpiece La Grande Vadrouille that just like many movies in the past at first got butchered for german market, luckily digital media corrected sins of the past where the original audio with subs is available everywhere on the planet:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060474…ef_=tt_trv_alt
The original German release had several parts of the French original cut. Some of them might have been taken out because some gags could not be used because of the different languages used in the original (French, German and English). There is for example the quite funny scene when Claudio Brook reveals himself as an English man on the train when he says "I'm sorry" when spilling some vine. The German version instead just shows the angry German officer who commands to arrest the English soldier.
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May 10th, 2020, 15:23
If this is war, it follows the template of war as the US have experimented it most of the times, that is against a significantly weaker enemy.
Chien, you were doing well until you added US into your argument.

Alrik, I feel much the same as you do right now and then it passes. It has much to do with boredom with this gaming pop culture and what drove us to computers in the first place. It's not reality. It's just an escape and perhaps you are hungry for real life experience. Interaction with real, live human beings. There is no touch or smell or taste in the computer experience.

Computers are just Pop culture and will disappear with post generations having no memory of it.

Pay attention to what your soul is telling you; it is yearning for more.
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May 10th, 2020, 15:51
You're not the only one.

I don't mind combat as a game mechanic as long as it is executed well, but I agree that it is probably the least imaginative form of conflict resolution. Many are the games that I ceased playing just at or before the final boss battle because I was so bored with the cliché of ending an epic, twisting tale with… having to whack yet another monster.

Ultima IV cannot be praised enough for having the guts to complete the main quest by… finding and reading a book.

There are other paths to conflict resolution, and fortunately there are RPGs that offer them, and there are even conceivable alternate mechanics that may provide a similar satisfaction in terms of an increase in power as you watch numbers climb up - for example, a "social influence stat" instead of combat skills. But they are indeed used too seldom.
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May 10th, 2020, 16:10
The only one? Uhhh, no. Not even close. The big reasons I hear people give for not playing video games are:

Too technical - even consoles are too tricky to figure out, never mind PC gaming

Games are for kids - this one has been vanishing of late. (Or maybe people are getting put off by my scowls when they say it.)

Games are all just shooting and killing - which is close to what you're saying.

They aren't all that way, of course. There's plenty of adventures and puzzle games with no shooting. But RPGs with little violence? VERY rare. Maybe a quest here and there but, for the most part, there's going to be a bunch of allegedly-sentient beings willing to fight you to the death before letting you pass by.

It does seem strange, too. When's the last time anyone here even tried to solve a real life problem through violence!? These are games, not real life, so I can understand wanting to do something different but it's strange that it's so often the murder hobo version.
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May 10th, 2020, 16:14
I am not a big fan of combat overall so enjoy games that let you resolve things in other ways … and there are luckily games that let you do that. Some more some less. You just have to look around for them.

I often play games on easy mode so I can get through the combat and focus on other aspects of the game. Only a few games have I ever played on a very hard mode - as then I enjoyed the combat a lot.

Some combat I do enjoy though and conflict is a part of reality. The game I have played most, Skyrim, I do very little combat in and focus on exploring, role playing, and other things.
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May 10th, 2020, 16:17
I don't necessarily have a problem with darkness and violence in games, but I do agree that simple escalation of conflict to apocalyptic levels is very tiresome.

To me, an RPG with a title like "Betrayal at Krondor" sounds more promising and intriguing than "Cataclysm: Inferno of the Demi Gods", or suchlike. Smaller scale and more human stories are more interesting to me, but I don't mind if they involve some swords and sorcery.
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May 10th, 2020, 16:38
I enjoy combat a lot when it's handled well - and when it's appropriately optional or diverse.

The thing I dislike about combat is really more about how it's always the center of attention, when there are so many other things that could be improved by investing similarly during development.

For the most part, I think NPC interaction, exploration and cerebral challenges are vastly underdeveloped in comparison to combat systems.

Heck, even the supposed "gold standard" for interactive storytelling like Witcher 3 or Torment - are still just "pick one of 2-4 pre-written sentences" systems.

It's not a big mystery why - as most people seem to be satisfied as long as combat is fun, and it's obviously expensive and mostly untested to focus on other areas.

But I happen to think even combat-heavy games would be much, much better if these parts were given equal attention.

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May 10th, 2020, 22:06
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I don't necessarily have a problem with darkness and violence in games, but I do agree that simple escalation of conflict to apocalyptic levels is very tiresome.
Your reply is the closest to my own thoughts so far.

To me, it's the same old story. No non-violence approaches, please, because they could bore the hell out of players.

Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Confrontation is central in gaming.

One big evolution due to players'insecurities: removing adversity from it.

Fight, struggle are removed.

It is not so much the perspective of fighting, that is the perspective of not fighting.

Milking, farming. If this is war, it follows the template of war as the US have experimented it most of the times, that is against a significantly weaker enemy.

A huge demand for this demand, the reintroduction of an adversity would unsettle players.
No, fighting and kiilling are boring - and what's the far most important point is for me : It's a far too simple approach.

I'm NOT talking about "fight tactics" here !

What I mean that fighting and killing is just too boring for me, because it is the result of a far too simple mindset.

Fighting and killing are the easiest approaches. I'm NOT talking about HOW they are performed, mind you !

Killing an adversary is too simple. It just doesn't require any intellectual effort to come to the decisuion that killing is the best way to remove a problem. And because it doesn't require any intellectual effort, it is boring to me.

Let's take a few Goblins on a street, blocking it.
Killing them is the usual problem-solving response. But it doesn not require any intelligence in deciding "I'm gonna kill 'em". Even the fight itself might require not much of an effort - depending on the programming and design style, that is.

Most people, especially those being trained that killing is a proper apprroach in RPGs, will merely kill them.

I remember amission in DDO. The group had to recruit Harpyres. They killed the chief of them. The message said : "This diplomatic argument is accepted." (Quoted from my memory.) What does this mean ? It means that Killing = Diplomacy. No words required ! No actual intelligence required ! No social skills required !

Now, what's the opposite ?

Dialogs ? How boring ! There's no adrenaline in them !
Haggle the own way through them ? Trying to use wits to outsmart them in dialogs ?
Now .. that requires intelligence ! (Depending on how the dialogs are programmed, of course.)

Thinking is bad. I get it. Killing is so much faster and so much straightforward, and it doesn't put pressure on the brain.

Writing good dialogs is another thing. It requires intelligence from the developer, too !
And, if well programmed, dialogs require intelligence from the player as well !

I miss wits in games. I miss challenges which do NOT involve killing. Or fighting. Or both.

That's what makes games so boring to me : RPGs have become kill games.
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Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; May 10th, 2020 at 22:22.
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May 10th, 2020, 22:22
I have this issue more with real-life RPGs. Some players just want to roll dice, kill things, and take their loot. I can't think of anything more boring. I'm there for the stories.

With console/computer RPGs, combat isn't the driving force behind my love for any game, but I'm more tolerant of it as a means of progression. But I'm also interested in games like Tides of Numenara and Disco Elysium, which have very little combat. It's hard for a game to succeed with ANY combat because combat provides variation in gameplay. To keep a player's attention purely via storytelling takes very good storytelling, and that's still relatively rare in games that take more than ~20 hours to play.
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May 10th, 2020, 22:25
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
I have this issue more with real-life RPGs. Some players just want to roll dice, kill things, and take their loot. I can't think of anything more boring. I'm there for the stories.
After I had left my pen & paper group (time and way constrains), I learned that they had thrown someone out of this group who was playing like such a loot-killing-character.

To keep a player's attention purely via storytelling takes very good storytelling, and that's still relatively rare in games that take more than ~20 hours to play.
Yes, and I still make Blizzard responsible for that : They trained everyone that RPGs can be successful with basically no story involved. Or the bare minimum of it. Only fighting and killing is required to maintain the player's attention. And loot, of course, greed can be a VERY strong driving force.
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May 13th, 2020, 13:00
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post

What I mean that fighting and killing is just too boring for me, because it is the result of a far too simple mindset.

Fighting and killing are the easiest approaches. I'm NOT talking about HOW they are performed, mind you !

Killing an adversary is too simple. It just doesn't require any intellectual effort to come to the decisuion that killing is the best way to remove a problem. And because it doesn't require any intellectual effort, it is boring to me.
Killing an enemy is so easy it had to be made easier and easier to avoid upsetting players and stir their insecurities.

The current picture is one of an absence of adversity.

Let's take a few Goblins on a street, blocking it.
Killing them is the usual problem-solving response. But it doesn not require any intelligence in deciding "I'm gonna kill 'em". Even the fight itself might require not much of an effort - depending on the programming and design style, that is.


Thinking is bad. I get it. Killing is so much faster and so much straightforward, and it doesn't put pressure on the brain.

Writing good dialogs is another thing. It requires intelligence from the developer, too !
And, if well programmed, dialogs require intelligence from the player as well !

I miss wits in games. I miss challenges which do NOT involve killing. Or fighting. Or both.

That's what makes games so boring to me : RPGs have become kill games.
Situations are set. Taking the decision of haggling in a situation set as a haggling situation takes as much brain juice as taking the decision of fighting in a situation set as a haggling situation.

Fights are made easy because players can not stand anything unsettling. It comes for any other situation.
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May 13th, 2020, 13:13
Plenty of games have challenging combat - and some franchises seem to thrive based on that aspect more than anything, including all the Souls games.

I think the reason most combat is so similar is merely out of habit. Most developers aren't terribly original in their approach - and it seems to me that most of them (and, most people in general) believe that there is "a way" to do things - and so they don't go about re-inventing the wheel.

For instance, one reason Dark Souls is highly regarded is because it seemed novel (to some) in how it challenges people to actually invest in combat and learn patterns.

Of course, that's not novel at all - it's more of a lost art.

Back in the days of the Arcades - the majority of games had even more challenging combat, if for no other reason than to maximize coin expenditure

I don't think it's about what people can handle - or even what they want. It's just what we're all so used to by now.

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May 13th, 2020, 14:46
Violence is great for video games.
It just feels good to bash and shoot virtual humanoïds. Good input with direct fun results.

also, violence is often the result of conflict, and conflict is a very good tool in narration as it helps greatly when it comes to involve the player/audience in a story.
Not anybody will feel involved in a peaceful game like Stardew Valley. I need more than just growing lettuces…

Not to say all games must be violent (they aren't anyway), but the reason most devs use violence so often is because that's what most gamers like and because it's a classical storytelling tool (way before video games, going back to Aristotle's Poetics).
It's simply too efficient and fun to be ignored.

I will always defend fictional violence, with my little virtual fists if I have too
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May 13th, 2020, 15:02
Also, you're not the only one, he is the only one:
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May 13th, 2020, 15:24
I don't know about the title but I'm generally put off by video games with a modern military theme. I play games in part to mentally escape the harsh realities of the world and immerse myself in a fantasy world. And modern military just becomes too real and not something I'd find fun as it just too much of a downer & reminds me how many people are being killed and maimed by senseless wars today. If it has a futuristic sci-fi element or occurs in some fantasy / historical period that's far enough removed from current reality that's probably fine by me.

And more broadly I generally prefer cRPGs where a good amount of the combat is potentially avoidable through diplomacy, deception, stealth, etc. Perhaps not the main antagonist / adversaries (although even that could probably work in some cases). These options make for a more interesting role-playing game and make the moments where I do choose to fight more meaningful and immersive to me.

I'd also like to see more RPGs where enemies will attempt to surrender or retreat when they're losing. Moments like the fight with Lareth the Beautiful in ToEE are far too rare. "Realistically" someone who isn't a fanatic of some kind probably wouldn't be inclined to fight to the death (unless they think their capture would result in a fate worse than death). The decision on whether to show mercy to an enemy also makes more a really interesting moral choice in an RPG.
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May 13th, 2020, 16:46
I've played rpgs as long as they have existed and I'm trying to remember the days of yore where a game didn't revolve around combat:

Might and Magic? Thousands or more killed in each game. It did have puzzles you solved with your bloodstained hands though.

Ultima? Thousands killed while trying to be Jesus when in towns and villages.

Wizardry? Again, full of killing and the occasional puzzle.

Magic Candle? Oops, thousands killed again.

Gold Box/SSI? Well, you get the idea.
@Alrik Fassbauer What crpg series are you talking about where combat wasn't a major, major part of the game? I'm not talking text or graphic adventures, but games that are highly accepted as role-playing games.

I see Planescape Torment as one. It had combat but the focus was on so much blah-blah that I fell alseep and had QWERTY backwards on my head half the time I was playing it. I agree with you, btw. I'm tired of excessive combat. I try to play games that have some but it's a lesser focus.

Why is combat so much of a thing? It's the easiest way to keep score and the primary way to increase stats/levels/skills/loot, etc. It is also accepted by nearly everyone.

Games that have little combat that I've played recently:

1. The Long Dark. You fight the cold and harsh terrain. There is only an occasional wolf or bear otherwise. Oh yeah, and moose. See a moose or bear, try to run. Both will let you flee most of the time and it takes way too much effort to kill them. Eat fish, they don't fight back!

2. Portal 2. I dropped this quickly, but you really don't fight.

3. Gone Home. Again, I didn't finish but it's an adventure game that didn't have any fighting while I played it.

4. 7 days to die: You can turn the zombies off completely and only worry about wild animals. This makes for a game about building and loot acquisition and it stays pretty fun, imo.

5. Green Hell, you fight against disease and poison and the environment way more than against the natives. It has some combat, but not the focus.

P.S. None of the these are classic rpgs though they have as many or more elements than the average tactics games that are so loved here. I'd say the Long Dark story mode has more actual role-playing than almost any game covered here, but it's a survival game foremost.
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May 13th, 2020, 17:29
One might also consider that RPGs grew out of wargames, quite specifically

But I get the point and I definitely agree that it's unimaginative and there's a ton of room for other avenues or horizons of gameplay.

That said, my own problem isn't this kind of deeply felt anti-violence position. I consider games make-believe and I don't infer some kind of real desire from my power fantasy.

I don't think fiction or what happens in games need to be taken as support for such things in reality.

In that same way, I might enjoy watching a horror film without actually wanting it to be real and promote the spread of Xenomorphs or insanely evil demon-clowns.

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