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Dark Souls is absolutely an RPG, explanation

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Bester, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. Bester Arcane Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    - Can kill any character any time, suffer the consequences. The game will continue.
    - Narrative not explicit, which confuses some people? Implicit and emergent narrative, very rich lore, very interesting main story and all characters you meet also have a story that develops throughout the game
    - Quests: often implicitly given, no quest compass, no quest journal, resolutions are hard to find, lots of hidden resolutions that you can read about later
    - LOTS OF stats and numbers
    - Choices and consequences, multiple game endings
    - Super rich combat system, the possibilities are endless, the amount of builds is endless, richer than NWN.
    - Multiplayer system allows for more role playing than you can imagine. I once got invaded in the Catacombs by a girl with a torch. She followed me around, lighting up the place, and showed me secrets. Then in the end pointed to the floor, asking for a compensation. I dropped her a humanity and off she went. Where else can you encounter something like this? And the lore absolutely supports all of that.

    What confuses people:
    - Silent protagonist: You don't talk back during dialogues, you only listen to what they say and occasionally can pick a "yes" or "no", which affects how the character will proceed with you. It's a silent protagonist routine. And why not?
    - Combat is real time without pause, i.e. it's an action-RPG. But there's a lot more RPG than action, e.g. you can make a build that will barely depend on reaction time at all. Is this system your sticking point?
     
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  2. Bester Arcane Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    Cat got your tongue? rusty_shackleford you wouldn't even have any arguments, because you haven't played the game.
     
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  3. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    It's a console action game with some fairly basic rpg systems. It's not rocket science. Also it being an rpg or not has like zero impact on anything, especially whether it's good or bad or whether liking/disliking it makes you a fag, stop being emotional about meaningless things.
     
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  4. Bester Arcane Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    How basic? Whenever I play a new game, it usually takes me a couple of hours to plan the character and his gear ahead, I have to google up lots of mechanics because I can never remember them by heart. Sometimes what comes out simply sucks, you can fuck up a character like in old RPGs. In DS2 you can respec. Reminds me of my NWN days.

    No, what for?

    It's a game deeply imbued with emotion, by the way. With this emotion (I don't even have to explain it, listen and you'll know):
     
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  5. cvv Arcane Patron

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    That's correct in the same way as saying Michelangelo's David is a chunk of rock.
     
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  6. polo Erudite

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    You can also win the game without spending 1 skill point or even switching original gear.
     
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  7. Zboj Lamignat Arcane

    Zboj Lamignat
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    Fairly basic. I assume you like the game and played it a lot so kinda baffled why you're asking this question. The game has classes that are just for show. It has a lot of equipment and "secret" stuff, but it's not like you can't just upgrade proverbial whatever and do fine and a lot of the stuff is just filler. The stat system is rather rudimentary and many builds are pretty much "max stat to max damage and pick a weapon that scales for it". The quests are barely there and mostly flavor. Etc, etc. This doesn't change the fact that the game is player skill based action game at its core.
    Yes, the game has excellent atmosphere, I always thought the overall mood is the strongest point of the series.

    What I mean is that you're an adult man who seems to care that someone calls his favorite console action game console action game instead of deep and serious crpg, which is stupid.
     
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  8. Bester Arcane Patron Vatnik

    Bester
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    In DEUS EX, which is considered an RPG, is there more or less quests? What minimum number of quests is a prerequisite for a game to be an RPG?

    The game doesn't have classes, it's got what Oblivion has - presets. It's a classless system, with various play styles, types of magic, melee and ranged combat. The absolute freedom in approach to combat is what gives you the roleplaying component. Your play style is the expression of your character. Tthe same way Deus Ex is an RPG because you can express your character through multiple ways to approach combat and area exploration. Guns blazing? Stealth? Sniper? Hacker? Etc.

    If you summon people to help you with bosses, i.e. game-journo difficulty.

    No, all weapons are wildly different.

    Sperging:
    Show Spoiler
    They scale differently with various stats and have different stat requirements, speed, movesets, timings, types of damage, can cause additional effects like bleed or poison, can stagger you, can piece through shield, can spam you, can give you long unbreakable combos, can be easy or difficult to parry, have different reach, can even damage differently depending on how many souls you have. You change them radically with infusions on top of it. You can dual-wield them in DS2 to alter the moveset. Some of them have special attacks with acrobatic movesets or various effects, e.g. a sword that can cast a particular spell or a shield that can deflect spells. It even matters how the weapon goes through your body on impact (e.g. if it touches your head, your helm's poise matters for stagger calculations). And I'm not even talking about the magic system yet, and how it ties in with weapons.

    I would challenge you to "upgrade proverbial whatever and do fine" with an intelligence-based melee build in DS1. In DS2 you may find some rare int-scaling swords, and you could infuse them with magic, and buff them with spells, and then you'd do mediocre damage at best. Just one example of how to fuck up a build.

    I think you may have played like a #YOLO and missed all of it.
     
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  9. Beggar Learned

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    Hard to say if it is an amazing RPG, but it's a mandatory game. One of the best of all time. Easily in the GOAT conversation in the world of video games
     
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  10. cvv Arcane Patron

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    Of course it's an RPG. Jesus. It's got combat. It's got levelling stats. It's got NPCs. It's got quests. What the fuck.
     
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  11. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

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    Actually there is a quest journal, in the form of the multiple keys you can find, which is clever and cool.
    Most of them are not, they just require exploration.



    I just don't know why we even have to debate the topic. Dark Souls is one of the best RPGs ever made.
     
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  12. Eyestabber Arcane Patron

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    Whether or not Dark Souls is an RPG is an irrelevant question, BUT I do take issue with the critics that slam it for being "an action game, thus not an RPG", but then weasel out of applying that same logic to Bloodlines, Deus EX, ELEX, System Shock and many other games that are considered "True RPGs™" despite player skill overruling character skill in those games as well.

    Either action is haram or it isn't. Selectively using the "it's an action game, therefore not an RPG" when it leads to hipster credits (eg: bashing Witcher/Dark Souls etc) and then abandoning the standard when it's a Piranha Bytes game or another Codex Darling Developer is fucking bs. Oh, and it becomes doubly insulting when one refuses to acknowledge the fact that plenty of aRPGs held in high regard by the Kodex have much worse implementations of melee combat than even the crappiest of souls-like. ELEX, Bloodlines

    With that said, Dark Souls raised a generation of insufferable faggots who believe souls-like games are the most hardcorest things ever and every game should be compared to dork souls. A lot of those retards ended up in gayming journalism, so the hatred for DaS is at least partially justified.

    Fun fact: souls games are not the "hardest thing" by virtue of the fact that the game doesn't allow you to perma-fail. You're NEVER forced to restart because every resource can be grinded back and every bad decision can either be out scaled or straight up respec'ed. Compare that to humble old Fallout where you could easily have a "doomed" save slot and you'll see the "super hardcore" souls games are actually quite lenient. You just have to be willing to try again as many times as it takes for your muscle memory to kick in and solve X/Y/Z boss/encounter.
     
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  13. sorinmask Just like Yves, I chase tales. Patron

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    At the time of release, Dark Souls had a pretty tough entry barrier, which automatically created this pseudo-reward that is, mockingly, represented with the "git gud" joke - because, ultimately, people love to feel special.

    Stuff like shield stability, poise thresholds, Power Within mechanics or the miracle circles were pretty rough stuff.

    Can't help human nature, I guess.
     
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  14. cvv Arcane Patron

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    Maybe, but by now the DS haters made a full circle and met the edgy DS fanboy tryhards in a warm hug.
     
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  15. DJOGamer PT Magister

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    Well I would say DS is an action game with some lite RPG mechanics, mostly to gate the player from certain "skills" (equipment, magic, etc...). I would even go as far as to say it's a metroidvania (the igavania games also had some rpg mechanics).
    But anyway, that's not why I am replying.
    In Deus Ex the player skill and the character skill goes hand in hand. Because you required to specialize - in DS you can be good at everything - and you cannot complete the game (or even unlock certain content and complete quests in a certain way) without developing your character - whereas in DS you can complete the game in level 1 without spending a single stat point.

    Only for people that had never played action games with challenging gameplay.
     
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  16. Valky Cipher Manlet

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    It's another fucking dark souls thread.
     
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  17. Hyperion Magister

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    Can be reduced entirely to the fact it's Japanese-made, and by saying it isn't an RPG the GRPG brainlets can maintain the fallacy that crpg's > japanese rpg's.

    In fact, let them maintain that stance - a Japanese non-RPG series did quests, combat, world building, character building, exploration, and a sense of both wonder and reward better than any "real" RPG this millennium. Bunch of fucking troglodytes, I swear.
     
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  18. smaug Dumbfuck! Patron Shitposter

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    It’s made by Japanese people, therefore, not an RPG.
     
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  19. Alex betthurt

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    Dark Souls is not an RPG. Not anymore than x-com is, and that is not to make fun of the idea; x-com has a bit of RPG in it! But before we go down this route, let me begin by briefly discussing everyone's favourite question: what is an RPG?

    I have commented on this question before. In fact, I guess if you get down to it, I joined the Codex because of this question. This is the only place I ever found that tried to tackle it with any amount of effort except by the forge. I have myself changed opinions on this sometimes, but here is how I see things: An RPG, when we consider the tabletop activity, is defined by the interaction of the people playing around the table. It is, specifically a kind of both game and storytelling, both at the same time. People compete to complete objectives while at the same time listening and telling a story (for a sufficiently loose meaning of story).

    This double nature creates in RPGs three aspects of play, which I think are somewhat well explained by the narrative agendas the old Forge used to go on about. The gamist agenda is correctly associated with the game in "role playing game". Whether it is the straightforward mastery of combat, the mastery of character building, the creative use of your tools to solve problems, the manipulation of NPCs or PCs into doing your secret objectives or even simply seeing who comes up with the most interesting character or who has the most amusing roleplaying... The point is that while we are talking about a game here, this is a game in the meaning of being a contest, challenge or competition, not of being a formal mathematical system where "players" can take predetermined actions with mathematically well defined results. The other two agendas are concerned with the story, and I think it may have been a mistake to separate them explicitly. Basically, the simulationist is concerned with how the game world is presented and that its internal logic is followed and well presented. In a way, it concerns itself with how the story is read. Creativism on the other hand is concerned with what the story is about, themes, story arcs and such. The main difference here is, as far as I can tell, that creativists were annoyed by games that had rules describing the imaginary world and rather wanted meta-rules that thought in terms of what the story wants to tell the players instead.

    In the end, I think the forge erred by thinking those things were really separate or that they formed independent agendas, when they are really present in any game. But they did do well by trying to understand these three modes which have profound impacts on the game itself. But enough about pencil andhe paper games and onwards to CRPGs.

    The thing about a CRPG is that it isn't, if I am correct, a real computer game genre. Not anymore than "fantasy" is a game genre. Game genres are defined by a specific type of gameplay, that is, how the game engages and challenges the player. A game like Super Mario, for instance, engages the player in a challenge of reflexes and precision. Specifically, given how the player views the world and how many of these challenges are about jumping, it could be called a "platformer". A game like x-com, on the other hand, engages the player by having several rules mimicking a real world confrontation (such as having a per unit line of sight based on a 3d world (even if the graphics are 2d) that is affected by lighting and smoke from smoke grenades) inside small skirmishes and a long term planning game all rolled in one package.

    The point of these games is in this gameplay, in how they engage the player, in what kind of skills they test and help the player build so he can progress in the game. However, there is no specific gameplay to RPGs. These are instead defined by secondary characteristics. Context, options when creating a character, options on how to interact with NPCs (and frequently these interactions have nothing to do with the game itself anyway) are things that will help shape a computer game in a CRPG. As for the gameplay... it could be anything! I don't mean to say here that gameplay doesn't matter to making a CRPG, but rather that any kind of gameplay could theoretically be used to make one. An action game, an FPS, a stealth game, an adventure game, a strategy game and even a rogue-like could be used to make a CRPG. In fact, most of these games will have elements of CRPGs, since computer games are rarelly completely abstract, and as long as your game has some non abstract elements, it has a gameworld behind it and thus some elements of an RPG*.

    The point here is that there is no such a thing as a "pure" CRPG. What we can find are games that take after the P&P game more or less well. A computer game can't be storytelling, at least a single player one (I will leave MMOs and games like Space Station 13 out of this conversation because they are a whole different category). Instead, it can have elements of interactive storytelling, and those can even be connected to gameplay. But they can't be gameplay itself, which must first exist already from another genre. In P&P games, on the other hand, the gameplay and the story are supposed to build off each other. So, in D&D, while you might have a specific number of hit points and spells and damage for weapons and chance to hit, you can also plan considering the specific story and setting of the game. If you have a magic item that grows into a house, you could try to kill a dragon by getting it to swallow it and activating it, and doing so also creates part of the story of the game. On a computer game, however, this option will only be present if it was thought beforehand by the designer and the gameplay has to be shaped to accommodate the action.

    Still, not all gameplay is equal. In the old days, there were debates here in the Codex about how reflex based gameplay got in the way of playing your character by making your attacks based on player skill rather than character. I think this isn't a great complaint, after all, if there wasn't some player skill involved, it would be a simulation. But it is not a completely misguided idea. Having the resulting gameplay of using such skills be more or less dependent on your character sheet makes the game approach an RPG better or not. For instance, in Fallout New Vegas you can still make do very well with a character who is a crap shooter in theory, by simply using well your weapons. The problem here isn't that a good player can conpensate for a bad character, but rather that the character skills has lower impact to the gameplay. Whereas a system where hit chance is determined by character skill only doesn't have to worry about this specific problem.

    Now, with all this out of the way, I want to consider Dark Souls II. I won't consider other games because I have not played them, but I assume they are similar. DS2 actually does some things very well! For instance, the difficult gameplay meshes well with the way the character system works by having players with different character, that is, with different attributes and equipment set ups, play very differently! This is a very good thing for making your game more RPG like, and it is certainly something anyone could try to look up to and copy.

    But the issue is that while this helps, DS2 focuses way too much on its challenge, on learning from mistakes and its action gameplay, to do as good a job as an RPG. The issue here isn't the game being too hard, or even too actiony, but rather that most of the game is spent with those things with little effort put to give a narrative significance to what is going on. Dying, losing your human form and then recovering is a cool idea, but it impacts little in the context of the imaginary game world. Choosing to be a hexer doesn't change much about how your story plays out except by how you attack your enemies. Entering the worlds of other players is actually a very fun mechanic, but killing the same boss four or five times doing that makes the story seem to have little sense.

    Compare this with Bloodlines from Troika. Bloodlines suffers from a much more stillted and even broken gameplay. The game has several faults, and you could argue that DS2 actually incorporates your choices about your character much better with gameplay than Bloodlines. But for all of these faults, the gameplay, exploration and narrative of Bloodlines is more connected with your PC, with how you made and make him, both in character sheet and in the relationships he has with other NPCs, than DS2 does. DS2 is worried first about being a good action game and any RPG considerations are secondary.

    Thus, I think it is correct to say it isn't an RPG, not because it has no elements of that; in fact I think it does better than many JRPGs, but because the concerns with role playing are still secondary compared to a full blown CRPG.

    *To be exact here, it has an element of story gaming, that is, games that combine with story like an RPG does. However, not all of them are role playing games because the later also involve associating with players some specific roles. However, since this is incidental to the topic, I will treat the terms as interchangeable.
     
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  20. Valky Cipher Manlet

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    But you play the role of a chosen undead, surely it must be a role playing game.
     
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  21. Alex betthurt

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    Apologies if I was unclear, I wanted to get this answer out quickly but it came out a bit long. But my point in all that long explanation in the beginning is to establish that a computer game is never a CRPG "in absolute", but rather can be closer or farther away from RPGs. Then, given the definition of what an RPG is, I wanted to show (hopefully I did) that Dark Souls, while doing some interesting things, has its proximity to table top RPGs on a more superficial level than some of the best CRPGs release in the west, which I why I think it is fair to say it isn't an RPG.
     
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  22. Lurker47 Learned

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    That's what basically defines an "RPG" now.
    That is why cRPG is the true big dick definition.
     
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  23. Valky Cipher Manlet

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    I was being facetious. Your post is agreeable.
     
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  24. Bester Arcane Patron Vatnik

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    No, human brain sees patterns and applies it to games to define its genre. There are platformers where all you do is walk, push things, solve puzzles. No jumping, no reflexes. Platformer is defined by its presentation - 2d side view, often sprite based.
    Skills tested by the genre is not what defines the genre.

    Wrong. There are specific gameplay elements to RPGs, they've been described in this thread. Quests, stats, leveling up, story, continuity between sessions (i.e. not a moba, but a save/load based game), character progression, choice & consequence, etc. You obviously don't get the idea. You sound like an alternative type of guy, maybe a drug user. Didn't read your post further.

    You should learn to express ideas in a shorter way.
     
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  25. Alex betthurt

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    By platformer I meant 2d platformer. If all you do is push thing and solve puzzles, it is a puzzle game, not a platformer, what the game box says notwithstanding.

    On the issue that skills being tested don't define the genre, I obviously disagree. The gameplay is the way the game engages the player, and it encompasses recurring cycles in the game as well as its unfolding structure that leads to its end. For instance, in x-com we have various skirmishes with the aliens. Some over downed aircraft, others over bases, both yours and theirs. These skirmishes allow you to accumulate items you can research, as well as money through performance and selling uneeded items. Eventually this leads to the possibility of attacking their base and end the game with a last skirmish.

    Now, the game is planned by the designer this way. He thinks of how the game will proceed and how the player will be challenged by the game as it goes on. He may have other thoughts, such as how a story is told or what kind of texture are used in a level, but theses are incidental to the matter of it being a game (some more than others, though). My point is that all of this is planned by the designer from a perspective of what is being done. If your game is an adventure game, you need to thing about what kind of puzzles will need to be solved, how they will be hinted through the game, how they interact with the story, how they interact with each other, what different ways the player has to interact with the parts, etc. If your game is a RTS, you need to figure the specific way the game develop. What kind of unit is available at different times, how they interact with each other, how the player can focus on this or that one to win, etc. If you were making a doom clone, you would need to think what kind of layout you have, what kind of places the player can explore, the enemy types, distribution, etc. My point is that different genres of computer games call for a specific approach to designing them, and this approach would always have the specific kind of challenge of the game in mind and this would drive the design, just as it drives how the player interacts with the game. Thus why I think it is correct to say that genre is determined by the challenge type.

    None of those are specific to RPGs. Quests as they are used normally are simply a way of tracking the player's position on a part of the game. They've been used in Age of Wonders, for instance. Stats and levelling up are likewise possible in many different kinds of game, and can be seen in many strategy games as well. Having a story is something that almost all games nowadays have, just as having a world persistency. Not only that, but you could make an RPG (table top or not) that lacked all of those except story. Many older tabletop games didn't feature quests but let the players play in the sandbox. You could do away with stats even though it is not a good idea, and have everything decided by GM fiat and descriptions on the character sheet. One shot adventures lack persistency but it doesn't make them less of an RPG. As for choice & consequence, the idea is ill defined, but all definitions I know still fail to determine a specific genre.

    That said, I think our position may not be so opposite. Like I said earlier, my aim was to establish that there is not a single feature that makes a game a CRPG, but rather that CRPGs subsist on some other game genres. Dark Souls is an action game, despite carrying some aspects of a CRPG. Bloodlines is likewise and even Fallout is primarily a mixture of tactics and adventure gaming that carries inside it some aspects of table top RPGs. My issue with calling DS2 an RPG is that these aspects exist closer to the core of what fallout is than they exist in DS2.

    I am not "alternative", whatever that means. Apologies if my post was long or confusing, but I wanted to explain where I was coming from so the idea could be argued in more sane terms.
     
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