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March 28th, 2019, 23:17
That seems to be the term used for a Kotor style of RPG - essentially linear "levels", with branching paths and different orders in which things can be done.

Personally I enjoy that just fine, and I think it's great to avoid some of the sins of open-world games. It's also a much more feasible design for an indie. Would you look favourably on a similar sort of design for a third person RPG?
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March 29th, 2019, 00:01
It depends on the game, but in general, no.

I don't mind it in more action-oriented games or shooters, but in first or third person RPGs, the more freedom the better afaic.

In KotOR, I don't think it was a design choice as much as a necessity at the time. The original Xbox was the primary development platforn and they had to work around those hardware limitations.

I agree it's a more feasible approach for projects with lesser budgets though. I'd rather play a fully fleshed-out game of that design than a half-baked open-world game.
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March 29th, 2019, 00:07
I enjoy everything storydriven. Is it linear or branched, doesn't really matter to me as long as there is a reason told behind me doing something.

Now multilinear RPG just as any other genre doesn't need to have a story.
No story = get off my property. Not always ofc, I can play tetris and competitive mmos without a story, but for that I need to be in a brainwashmeplease mood.
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March 29th, 2019, 00:24
I can only really enjoy it if the design helps to improve the storytelling, and that storytelling is choice-based. Otherwise, it makes sense to go even more linear, because the level design can be a bit confusing or poorly constructed when trying to allow for multiple paths, or less linear, so that the player is given the freedom to immerse themselves in the world or gameplay instead.

But that's just me. I really enjoyed Mass Effect 2 and 3, so it can definitely work just fine.
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March 29th, 2019, 00:33
I prefer multilinear levels over open world, but mostly because I have been conditioned that open world = grinding most of the time. The witcher 3 is one of the few games that proves me otherwise (and still it has monster nests and collectible stuff). For a good rpg, a hub-based approach (or multilinear) is enough. I then expect a great amount of development time spent into creating fantastic levels, world building, etc.

For a moment I thought you meant the character progression system. A branching path you can take (from generic fighter, to specialized for instance), or completely open. Here I also prefer the former. Significant steps which actually contribute to (and changes) gameplay and tied into the story/game world.
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March 29th, 2019, 01:33
My honest opinion I love both open world and linear RPGs. Yes both have positives and negatives and it all comes down to how the game is planned and developed.

One huge negative of open world games is the filler required to pad the environment.

Two examples would be look at Witcher 2 with it's linear corridor design, and compare it to Witcher III with it's semi-open world structure. Now think for a minute which is better?
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March 29th, 2019, 01:57
I prefer open-hub design, so kinda multi-linear although some open-hub game are linear, like Deus Ex or TW2, too.

I find open-hub to have more personality and better atmosphere in general. Open world games these last few years seems to try to be too big which makes them rely on prodecural generation, point-of-interest collection and AI routines as content-filler…so huge roguelikes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Two examples would be look at Witcher 2 with it's linear corridor design, and compare it to Witcher III with it's semi-open world structure. Now think for a minute which is better?
I liked #2 a lot more personally and it wasn't that much linear corridor design outside the intro. Each hub was open even if couldn't jump outside certain spot.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:05
Yeah, The Witcher 2 is definitely not corridor design.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:08
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
II liked #2 a lot more personally and it wasn't that much linear corridor design outside the intro. Each hub was open even if couldn't jump outside certain spot.
Still not fully open world so poor choice of words on my part.

It's still comparable to games like Jade Empire and KoToR though. So lets say linear Hub style then as the maps were not that open. I'm sure someone will contest this also.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:30
Just curious, but have you actually played The Witcher 2?
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March 29th, 2019, 02:51
Yes I have Witcher 2 is basically hub and act based.

Link - https://www.reddit.com/r/witcher/com…_2_open_world/

By definition it's not open world as it has paths, corridors, and hubs. A true open world game is a huge world map you can traverse without load screens & obstructions.

Look at Assassin Creed Odyssey for a good example.

I could say Wither III isn't a full open world game either.

Link - https://forums.nexusmods.com/index.p…en-world-game/

Maybe liner open world at best.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:53
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Yes I have Witcher 2 is basically hub and act based.

By definition it's not open world as it has paths, corridors, and hubs. A true open world game is a huge world map you can traverse without load screens & obstructions.

Look at Assassin Creed Odyssey for a good example.
No one said it was open-world.

However, it's really strange to see it compared to something like KotOR or Jade Empire because it's not much like those games at all.

It's multiple maps over multiple acts, yes, but the maps themselves are pretty much completely open.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:54
It isn't my favourite design, but I can work with it, providing the story is compelling and the combat system is above average.
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March 29th, 2019, 02:58
Just to add I agree with @joxer. Story and narrative is very important for me in RPG's. So based on that criteria linear games often have the best stories. Just my opinion.
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March 29th, 2019, 12:22
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Would you look favourably on a similar sort of design for a third person RPG?
I'm struggling to imagine on what grounds someone would obect to the idea. I've never known an RPG be rejected as an RPG because of its narrative structure alone.
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March 29th, 2019, 14:27
Thanks for all the replies – some interesting thoughts there.

I was just curious whether such designs would be widely seen as a negative point, or if people would still be open to them these days. It just seems to me that so many games attempt an open world, when perhaps that does not best serve their capabilities. Even with the AAA open world games, I often feel very excited in the beginning to explore this rich new world, but then some degree of disappointment as the reality of the implementation sets in. With Bethesda it’s the world that levels around you. With Witcher 3, it was a loot system that made exploring the beautiful world less interesting to me, and so on.

The multilinear design sacrifices some of the exploration excitement of an open world, but then I think it’s much easier to create a tight and satisfying game without the difficulties of trying to make open world gameplay work well. And when I play something like KOTOR, I do still enjoy the the more limited exploration – perhaps more than the reality of many more open designs.
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March 29th, 2019, 16:57
I think it's perfectly possible to have a fairly straightforward, narrative-driven design in an open world, and this was done successfully long before KOTOR, so technical limitations don't apply. To give an example, Martian Dreams may not have been much of a classical RPG, but it did the open world concept well: In principle, you could walk right up to the bad guy's fortress very early on and were confronted right away with what is actually the final obstacle in the entire game: how to break down those massive doors? Of course, do to that, you needed to refill the canals, to do that, you needed to reactivate the power grid etc…

I much prefer this kind of structure to the hub design of Bioware (arriving at such a hub always makes me feel like I have to tick off items on a list rather than explore a world with all its nooks and crannies) as well as to the themepark-style open worlds of Witcher 3, Oblivion and their ilk.
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March 29th, 2019, 17:57
Originally Posted by Atrachasis View Post
I much prefer this kind of structure to the hub design of Bioware (arriving at such a hub always makes me feel like I have to tick off items on a list rather than explore a world with all its nooks and crannies) as well as to the themepark-style open worlds of Witcher 3, Oblivion and their ilk.
What did you think of Divinity Original Sin's hub + 4 which also allowed you to wander around all the +4s at your own leisure, gated only by monster level which you could overcome if you really wanted to explore out-of-linearity?
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March 29th, 2019, 18:30
So, if we had the world broken up into separate levels/locations, but still open in the way one could choose to explore them, is that more appealing?

Pretty much the way BG 1 & 2 are designed, but perhaps in 3rd person?
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March 29th, 2019, 20:11
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
What did you think of Divinity Original Sin's hub + 4 which also allowed you to wander around all the +4s at your own leisure, gated only by monster level which you could overcome if you really wanted to explore out-of-linearity?
Funny that you should mention it, because I'm currently on my first playthrough through it (and I do mean D:OS 1). Always a few years behind the times…

Although the plot is really nothing to write home about, I do quite like the structure, this is an open world done nicely. I do understand that some players may be overwhelmed by the number of open leads in Luculla Forest, but I don't really perceive that as a problem myself; eventually one will figure out which quest advances the main plot, and in the meantime, there's always a challenge somewhere else if I get stuck at one point.

The Ultimas did this very well, too. You could walk right into what was left of Skara Brae in U VII. Whether you would want to was another thing. Or U VI, which combined a completely open world with what at first glance seemed to be a fairly conventional plot centered on individual hubs (8 shrines have been overrun by gargoyles, go and liberate them (the shrines, not the gargoyles)!), but eventually unfolded into an overarching plot once you took the tablet to Mariah.

@Ripper, I can only speak for myself, but, yes, I would find that appealing. A seamless region as in BG1 or D:OS, even if it consists of multiple maps, more so than the structure in BG2 or KOTOR. I like the contrast between regions of high-density content (such as towns) and low-density content (which might still reward you with an interesting dungeon or encounter if you snoop around), hence my preferences for maps that feature "wilderness" areas. Or open worlds, provided they are not of the theme park variety.

Being able to appreciate regions with varying encounter difficulties, of course, goes hand in hand with good and flexible encounter design, including the possibility to flee/retreat. This is something D:OS seems to be very good at, as the combat encounters often allow you to get very creative and gain the upper hand in a fight that would normally overwhelm you. Case in point:
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