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The Walking Blob.

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Au naturel, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Au naturel Scholar

    Au naturel
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    I started this thread as a bit of a placeholder about what was good, and what wasn't good, about the "Walking Blob" games that include Wizardrys, Might and Magics, and other assorted blobs. This can include Dungeon Master et al as well. Hopefully it will become a collection of mechanics that a potential indy dev can look at and get some ideas for about what to include and what to possibly improve upon from past games.

    My first will be a pet hate of most blob games with Turn based combat (Not including Dragon Wars): Too much combat. In many of the old blobs, one would only need to take a step or two before a new horde of goblins popped up out of the blue to harass the party. Something should be done to make random encounters less of a bore fest and instead make them less likely to happen and more interesting. Perhaps more scripted encounters would be a better thing?

    Too many times I have been put off the blobs by this problem. Is it a way to fill out the hours of gameplay? Very lazy design if this is the case. Perhaps increasing dialogue, or interesting gameworld features/better quests is the answer?

    Anyway, fire away with any pet hates/improvements/ things you would like to see returned in a hyperthetical blob game today.
     
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  2. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Jasede
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    Tp be quite honest I don't mind a blob game with too much combat. Maybe Wizardry 7 and 8 but the encounter rate in all others I played is rather fair. Why wouldn't you want many encounters, anyway? Combat is pretty much half of the appeal of these games and I wouldn't like dungeon crawlers if there was less combat. I could play a Fallout-like instead if that was the case since my main reason for liking those games - testing my party again and again against increasing odds in tactical combat - would be gone. [Of course exploration of the world is another big part of liking those games, but still, why take out something that's so very important and characteristic for this genre?]

    That said I guess a blob-game with less combat could work, but it would most likely end up being a cross between Fallout and Wizardry and with hybrids like that, one usually gets the worst of both worlds.

    Pet hates:
    * Automap. These games shouldn't have one. Either you need to make one yourself or you can learn or buy a cartography skill to enable one

    Huh. That's all. I really like those games, huh?
     
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  3. Shagnak Shagadelic

    Shagnak
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    Having a lot of combat in blob-with-arms-and-legs games doesn't phase me in the slightest. That's one of the core elements of those games.
    However, a peppering of scripted encounters does improve things. Wizardry 6 and 7 had the occasional one. Even at the beginning of Wiz 7 you weren't too far away from the Ratkin ambush, those lotus flower fields that put you to sleep, or that encounter with the lady in her space car.
    Some of that might be cheese from the ultimate cheese factory, but for me at the time it added an extra air of adventure and interest to the game that random combat alone wouldn't have.

    That said, I've had a blast with dungeon bashes that are pared down to the basics and have great dungeon design, such as Black Crypt for the Amiga.
     
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  4. mondblut Arcane

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    Random encounters and respawn suck. Other than that, I am all for this kind of games.
     
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  5. Au naturel Scholar

    Au naturel
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    I can understand this. However, when it comes to a game that, without fail, throws a new battle out of the blue every 4 steps or so, then it starts to wear thin. I can understand if people enjoy the classic dungeon crawling blob, however Jasede paints another possibility with that of a hybrid. Could be nice.

    But that is going off the rails. I am merely saying that perhaps more puzzles could be brought in, or more decisive battles rather than 50 groups of carnivorous plants, or another 50 groups of angry goblins. Say you are in a prison. Why would a horde of goblins be prancing down the corridor every 5 steps? stupidity. Instead, why not have a couple of Jailers, and then if they get hammered, have one run off and collect jailers et al who attempt various abushes, unleash mad inmates, a killer dog squad, release some beast from the pit and generally try to stop the player at various possible points?

    I know I would find this more interesting than random encounter number 50 after moving less than 500 metres.

    What type of movement would you favour? The sliding type in Wiz8? Or the step-by-step system used by most of the old blobs?
     
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  6. Andhaira Arcane

    Andhaira
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    This is where the new age rpgs shine; most encounters are handplaced, if not scripted with hardly any respawns. (bg, bg2, etc etc)
     
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  7. Au naturel Scholar

    Au naturel
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    Yes, but they take away Turn based combat, and the easy party system of the blob. There is a certain charm to the style, as well as having a different flavour.

    As an example, try playing one of the real time Blob games (Dungeon Master, Bloodwych, Stonekeep) and then playing one of the real time RPG's of today. Entirely different experience.
     
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  8. Andhaira Arcane

    Andhaira
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    Thats why I prefer turnbased 3rd person rpgs' sadly they are so rare.
     
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  9. Astromarine Erudite

    Astromarine
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    dunno what your definition of blob game is, but if it's first person dungeon crawlers the genre for me topped with Ultima Underworld 2 and it's been downhill ever since.
     
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  10. cardtrick Arbiter

    cardtrick
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    Wizardry 8 is the only blob game I've played. (Since when are they called blob games anyway? Totally unappealing term.) I hated it the first time I played it, maybe a year ago, and I love it now . . . and I'm not really sure what changed. I think it was just my mindset. The first time, I was still in modern RPG mode, where battles are often an annoyance I have to work through to get to the story. Every time a group of enemies waylaid me after I thought I had cleared an area, I was infuriated. Taking an hour to walk from the monastery to Arnika because of all the fights seemed ludicrous. I eventually gave up in disgust. This time, I'm taking the game on its own terms -- combat is the point of the game. The setting is interesting, the plot is servicable, the NPCs and dialogs are surprisingly entertaining, but all of that is basically fluff. Anyway, I do wish the respawn rate was a little lower, at least along the roads, and that the level scaling wasn't quite so blatant, but combat is fun -- so why complain about more of it?

    Other nice things about Wiz8:

    The voicesets/personalities for party members give you some of the interaction of a BG2/NWN2 style party, while still allowing you to create your own characters (essential for the genre).

    The hammy, over-the-top dialogs, characters, and plot. This works really well for this kind of game, I think, where conversations are relatively infrequent and the plot gets diluted by the combat.

    The interface, although not perfect, is extremely serviceable. It's possible to play the game entirely with the mouse or entirely with the keyboard, and everything's configurable. I'm planning to go back and try some older "blob" games (Wizardry 6 & 7 at least) and I think the interfaces will bother me most.

    The complex character development system with goals always in site. Much of the fun comes from combat, and much comes from building your party and seeing them advance. The inclusion of expert skills that only become unlocked once maxing an attribute keeps development fun throughout the game and makes sure there are always goals.
     
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  11. Xi Arcane

    Xi
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    I've, within the last few months, started playing M&M 7, and all I can say is that it's a fantastic game. It reminds me of the TES free-roam concept combined with an interesting character progression, exploration, and dungeon romping. The story even has a light and dark path from which the game will provide a different ending and different quests to your characters depending on their path.

    I'm just amazed that developers cannot recreate the same depth and quality of a game like this. Fucking fantastic!
     
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  12. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    I guess since player controls something which for all purposes is a single creature, yet has twice as many hands as characters in party :)

    I take it you didn't play Jagged Alliance 2? Same PC voices, and many PC portraits just retouched from JA2 portraits too. I found it very annoying.
     
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  13. SkeleTony Augur

    SkeleTony
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    I envy you getting to experience M&M 7 for the first time. it is a great game. The atmosphere & music are unequaled IMO. There are some things that could have been done better but given the age of the game I won't be nitpicky.

    I think I will go load it up and play again.
     
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  14. cardtrick Arbiter

    cardtrick
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    No, I've played JA2. Just not to death. I doubt I've spent more than twenty hours on the game, and it's been quite a while since I've played it. I knew that the voice actors were the same, but if I didn't know that I doubt I would have noticed.
     
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