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RPG world: open world or FTL exploration like?

Discussion in 'Chad's Strategy and Simulation & Tactical Gaming' started by MadSheepStudios, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. MadSheepStudios Educated

    Mar 23, 2017
    Bratislava, Slovakia
    Hi guys,

    what do you prefer more? A huge open-world with 'sandbox' elements, with movement & exploration freedom or a game which has the 'nodes' in the world map, where the player traverses it like a graph, so something like FTL has implemented and the player does not have the 'true' freedom, but it's much more streamlined and controlled by quests/game mechanics?

    From my point of view, the open world is more exploration focused and the player needs to have more of his time to play the game, as he has to find the right path or interesting quests by his own. On the other hand, a FTL like game is faster, the focus is on the 'node' events - like the text quests or combat events, the player's decision is limited but he knows exactly what's before him on his path..

    So what do you think?
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  2. thesheeep Arcane

    Mar 16, 2007
    Tampere, Finland
    I agree with your assessment, but have no preference.
    Both games can work just fine for me.

    Btw, nice studio name ;)
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  3. Matalarata Arcane Patron

    May 8, 2013
    The threshold line
    It really depends on the scope and magnitude of the game. Node exploration à la FTL works best for a roguelike approach. When you're constantly restarting, a closed pool of events feels less shallow, especially if the order of the events ultimately alters the gameplay eg: gaining or losing an early crew member in FTL arguably changes your long term strategy for that run...
    On the other hand, at least Age of Decadence managed to pull off a partially node-based travel system without appearing shallow, even if many purist were initially (or still are...) sceptic.

    An open world obviously requires more resources during developement and it's not an easy thing to balance, the added player agency can generate unforeseen cosequences and it's hard to design an engaging open world without it being too empty or avoiding the "Theme Park" feel. Ultimately I feel world exploration is better when it adds another layer to the game. Take for example Arcanum, being a mage bars you from using the train services (gradually, you're just confined to the mage caboose if your magic level is low enough) but gives you access to the Teleport spell, the best way to travel around the world.
    A great touch imho, a meaningful limitation, intertwined with the way your character plays and evolves and with a coherent in-game explanation.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
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  4. Lagi Learned

    Jul 19, 2015
    i prefer fast [instant], abstract exploration than hiking. But freedom is much appreciate.
    like in Fallout or Aethra chronicles - have different layer for world exploration and city exploration
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