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Advice for trying out some older RPG's

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Ecko, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Ecko Barely Literate

    Ecko
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    Hello all, I've read some codex articles over the years but never posted before. I have a question I'm hoping you can help me with.

    I'm rather young, 27 years old, but I've never had a problem playing older video games until somewhat recently. I've been trying to get into some of the older PC RPG's but find myself bouncing off. In particular the Ultima series, Wizardry, and Might and Magic. RPG's have always been my favorite genre and I want to experience more of it's history. Additionally hearing stories about the detailed fantastical worlds and incredible complexity has made me honestly very interested in these games just on their own merits.

    My problem getting into them stems mostly from lack of direction. I don't want my hand held by any means but it's frustrating to waste time getting lost because a game won't give you so much as a line of text saying what vague direction you should go or what it is you're looking to do. My first attempt at getting into these games was Ultima IV, I later tried out M&M4, and I also gave one of the D&D Goldbox games a try but I can't remember which one. All had the same problem where I would make a small amount of progress talking to NPC's and killing monsters and sooner or later would be wandering around having no clue what I'm suppose to be looking for and lose patience. I have a job and a life and a huge backlog of other games, feeling like I'm wasting time and not having fun is a mood killer.

    So basically what I'm trying to ask is kind of a two-parter. Firstly, is there any kind of tip you can give me to get around this issue in a general sense? Secondly, of these three series where's the best starting point for someone with my problem?
     
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  2. Divine Blessing Novice

    Divine Blessing
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    first gen RPGs rnt minimalistic due to aesthetic concepts, but technical limits - the first Ultimas, SSI Gold Box, Wasteland etc. have abysmal graphx, sound and systems, overall gameplay is worse than Dragon Age Inquisition (which already is a decline). the Codex hype on those first gen RPGs is Sado-Masochism of pensioners, (latently) whining about the(ir) good ol times. those games usually never have any player agency or at least real C&C, variable progressions paths and challenging combat. the history of the market verifies this, the first RPGs to become hits where Ultima VII, FallOut, Gothic etc, the third gen RPGs since 1998.

    but if u want a museum tour on outdated gameplay masochism and cant figure out the plot by urself, use a guide (as there r plenty of online).
     
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  3. Darth Canoli Magister

    Darth Canoli
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    You should try M&M III : Isles of terra instead of M&M 4, usually, people either prefer Isles of Terra or Darkside (M&M V).
    As for wandering around, in M&M 3, the game gives you some general direction and when you're stuck, you could refer to a guide (RPGclassics)

    Like this one

    [​IMG]

    It was nice to wander and try to find everything on your own back when time wasn't an issue but at some point, you don't want to waste it and ogling at a good guide from time to time helps you do just that.
     
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  4. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    Read the fucking manual.
     
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  5. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    It's best to skip the so-called "Golden Age" and dive straight into ultra-monocled API/Renaissance era.
     
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  6. Generic-Giant-Spider Arcane

    Generic-Giant-Spider
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    A zoomer, HUH? Heh... you think this is all fun and games when you play old sk00l RPGs? Oh sure, you have your Super Marios and Bombermans and think that just every game will be enjoyable. That a game is supposed to amuse you.

    Snuffs out his cigarette.

    Wrong, kid. Dead wrong. You want to play old school? There's no direction, there's no guidance, none of these sorry sons of bitches here can help you. That's what you gotta prove to yourself. You need to go and try every nook, every cranny, exhaust that shriveled up ARIANA GRANDE listening prune you call a brain there until you find the solution.

    Heh... you probably won't. Not everybody is meant for this type of thing. Sitting here, all day long, remembering the good old days, hating the current days, holding fabulous optimism for the future even though it will still be shit. You must think it would be pretty cool to join this outfit and be the Internet gaming equivalent of a line of crows on a phone line wire cawing like a bunch of disruptive jackasses.

    Well you're wrong, kid. Ain't nothing glorious about this. You ever take another goblin's life? Didn't think so.

    You're just a fresh faced youngster that wants the glory but not the scars. This ain't you, kid. This ain't you.
     
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  7. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    You've been conditioned for quest compasses and hand-holding. If you want to play "classics", you'll need to de-program yourself, unlearn bad habits and most importantly - develop patience.

    I mean, you're already much better off with little to no loading times, DOSBOX save states etc.

    If everything else fails, consult a game guide or a walkthrough.
     
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  8. Zumbabul Novice

    Zumbabul
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    You are talking not about an old game, you are talking about acnient times. During those ancient times, the memory space for a game was very limited. It was not enough to contain all the text for the game. The developers used manuals to overcome the limit. Sometimes you were told to read specific page from a game manual. Back in ancient times of gaming the game manual was not a suppliment for the game, it was part of the game.

    In case of Ultima IV, you have no chance to understand what to do, if you only play the digital game. The introduction to the game is in the paper manual. You need to read it.

    I advise you to read the CRPG book, which was written by the codex community. It is well written boook and quite interesting one. Read just first dozen of pages. It will describe what you need to know in order to play ancient games.
     
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  9. Lilura RPG Codex Dragon Lady

    Lilura
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    You dare rate my post "shit", Haba?

    Welcome to uBlock iggy.
     
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  10. Tweed Arbiter Patron

    Tweed
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    If you're having trouble with M&M4 you may have some serious problems since that one is easy to get into as it's pretty simple and has some nice features like automapping and a very basic quest journal to keep track of what you're doing. So much of these games depends on exploration and by exploration I mean mapping out every single tile. Combat is often the gatekeeper, if you wander into an area where monsters are killing your party in one or two rounds then you probably don't belong there yet.

    With Ultima IV you need to read the book of history (no really) and get a copy of the cloth map for getting around the overworld, that's what it's there for. With U4 you'll be doing a lot of talking and taking notes, lots and lots of notes. Also, which class you end up with will have a big influence on how easy the game is for you, I recommend being a bard.

    Also, don't feel too bad if a game doesn't "take" the first time, some of these games are completely unintuative by today's standards and may take multiple attempts to finally get into.
     
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  11. Kliwer Learned

    Kliwer
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    Lots of old cRPGs are fun to read about, but are also very boring and clunky to play.

    If You wish to learn about the history of genre this is very cool blog:

    http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/p/index-of-games-played-by-year.html


    It does not mean that there are no titles worth a playthrough. Some reasons to do so:

    -Nowadays cRPGs are very conventionalized. In a genesis period of the genre some things were done differently. It is nice to experience all those crazy visions and ideas, even if a lot of them are rather miss than hit.

    -Old games are generally more challenging (in a good but also in a bad way). For me modern cRPGs are mostly too easy, so I like older ones. It’s not about battles but the whole structure of games. Zero hand-holding, zero quest markers. I like this, however if You have problems with enjoying M&M4 (which is very easy and user-friendly game) I cannot recommend much to you.

    -Dungeon design and riddles! The art of dungeon-crafting is nowadays lost and forgotten. It not means that all old titles are good in this department (a lot of those games have long, boring and repetitive dungeons) but the best ones… Sweet Crom, You hardly find any good dungeon in any new title.

    -Those old titles have usually something… I do not know, what it is, something in atmosphere, which I very like. They are just charming. In my case it’s not about sentiment because I have experienced most of old titles (from the eighties and nineties) recently.

    -I love old graphic materials: manuals, maps, guidebooks. If You wish to experience those old games fully always start from downloading and read all those materials.


    Some titles worth a try:

    -Might and Magic 3 Isles of Terra (as mentioned above) and World of Xeen (M&M 4 + 5). They are my all-times favorites. Easy to play, quite accessible but also very charming. Exploration, riddles, dungeons design, general atmosphere are just wonderful. And graphic is also beautiful for me. I also recommend Might and Magic X Legacy – it’s a quite new game, but old-school in spirit.

    -Anvil of Dawn. Very modern interface and rules so it is easy to play. Again: great dungeons and atmosphere.

    -Champions of Krynn and Dark Knights of Krynn – for me the best ones from the Gold Box series. Bearable interface and visuals, good tactical combat, old D&D style.

    -Wizards and Warriors. I’m discovering this title now so I’m still not sure about its quality. But it looks (for me) like a better and more casual-friendly Wizardry game. The GOG version runes fine on my PC (but I have Windows 7 which is much more generous for the old titles than 10).

    -Ambermoon. Great cRPG witch very big world to explore. It’s hard to run (because it’s Amiga game) but this package could help: http://www.indieretronews.com/2013/10/amiga-dungeoneering-collection-over-60.html

    - Realms of Arkania 2: Star Trial and Realms of Arkania 3: Shadows over Riva. Some player love those titles, some hate them. I’m somewhere in the middle. Very deep character system, very cool traveling system, but those games are quite not forgiving. If You are lost in M&M 4 those titles will be Your nightmare. But no other game have such great simulation aspect.

    -Dark Sun: Shattered Lands. Proto-Baldur’s Gate, in fact much better in some aspects. Cool post-apocalyptic fantasy setting.

    - Lands of Lore 1: Throne of Chaos. Good real-time blobber (it means: a party-based cRPG with first-person view), very accessible, witch good dungeons and riddles. First halve of the game is not very hard so You could try. I do not like real-time blobbers, this one is an exception.

    The same type games which I could recommend are: Eye of Beholder 2 and Legend of Grimrock (this is also a quite modern product).

    -Arx Fatalis. Quite “new” game, something like underground Skyrim, but better in every way. Very immersive magic system, some simulation aspects (like fishing, cooking) and – again – brilliant dungeons.
     
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  12. Dorateen Arcane

    Dorateen
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    Write everything down in a notebook, and make maps. It will not only assist with your lack of direction, it builds character.
     
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  13. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    wow a lilura post I agree with
     
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  14. Paper Educated

    Paper
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    Some will insist that you need a pure experience or whatever because they walked to school uphill both ways but its better to google for maps or hints than to give up entirely.

    Also download the manual, you need the manual.

    Some of those old games also had several ports and rereleases over the years, shop around for which one you think would be the most suitable.
     
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  15. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    For Ultima IV you need to take lots and lots and lots of notes. Thankfully that's very easy nowadays since DOSBox has an inbuilt screencapper. So take screenshots of everything NPCs say. Figuring out the puzzle and becoming the Avatar of Virtue is what makes U4 worth playing.

    But it might be better to start with a smaller and simpler game. Wizardry 1 is a good starting point. Play cautiously, and return frequently to town to heal and replenish spell points. And make sure you make a map. There are several programs you can use for that.

    Might&Magic 4+5 (Word of Xeen) is probably the most newbie friendly CRPG of the era, though.

    For playing such old and rather abstract games it really helps if you have some imagination and are able to "fill in the gaps".
     
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  16. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    the part they forget to add is that they ran up their parent's phonebill calling the 1-900 tipline from the manual
     
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  17. Ecko Barely Literate

    Ecko
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    If by the "renaissance" era you mean games like Fallout 1, Gothic, Arcanum, then I've already dipped into that pool. Fallout 1 and 2 are some of my all time favorite games. I have no issue playing games from that era. I have more to play no doubt, but at the moment I'm interested in exploring even older titles.

    I'll be honest in my time playing the game I don't remember it having any kind of quest journal. I must have missed that feature. Maybe, just maybe, I should have read the manual.


    So from what I've gathered M&M3 or 4&5 would be the best place to start from the number of people recommending them. I should be prepared to take lots of notes (something I already do for P&C Adventure games) and make maps when necessary. I should read the fucking manual, explore every nook and cranny, and be patient. Okay.

    Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll try to stick to it.
     
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  18. Crichton Prophet

    Crichton
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    I would echo Dorateen's comment here. Most of the creature comforts of modern games are dispensable but a good journal feature is so helpful. It will be an adjustment keeping your own, but it is doable (and the internet makes for a nice backup these days).

    Some Gold Box games have aged better than others, but there are many great modules for Unlimited Adventures which has a pretty bearable interface. It's probably irrational, but I also liked the 2nd Buck Rogers gold box game, Matrix Cubed. Dark Sun: Shattered Lands has always been a favorite of mine. As a kid, I liked the eye of the beholder games and Dungeon Hack but I'm not sure either is worth the time investment in CURRENT_YEAR.
     
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  19. Tweed Arbiter Patron

    Tweed
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    It's more of a notes system, keeps track of coordinates and the like.
     
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  20. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Well, mainly because you are an addle-brain mongoloid that can only produce shit. It is a well known fact, but it will still be helpful for others so they know to ignore your mouth-farts.
     
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  21. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    If that's your problem, ignore the M&M recommendations. The games are noob-friendly, true, but they utterly lack any sense of direction whatsoever.
    You may actually want to start with the more advanced dungeon crawlers like Dungeon Master, Ultima Underworld or The Summoning. They give you all the old-school complexity but the relatively straightforward progression from one dungeon level to the next alleviates some of the anxieties induced by the lack of handholding.
    Or you may want to try some Golden Age titles - Ultima 7, Wizardry 6-7, Betrayal at Krondor, Realms of Arkania 2-3, Dark Sun. They are somewhat closer to modern games in that their narratives are a lot less abstract and more detailed than in the likes of Ultima 4 or M&M4, so it's easier to have a sense of direction.
     
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  22. Butter Arcane

    Butter
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    I second doing U7 before U4.
     
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  23. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    OP, lands of lore 1 is a decent baby’s first blobber, and betrayal at krondor is a good rpg that’s older than fallout 1.

    Read the manuals, use the maps that came in the box - GOG makes this easy.
     
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  24. anvi Cipher Village Idiot

    anvi
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    Only really old game I think is worth playing is Eye of the Beholder 2. It is simple though, but like a nice introduction to old school RPGs, and although no guidance, you don't need it because it isn't that big to explore. The no sleep level might need a guide though unless you have good bearings. Betrayal at Krondor is awesome too, but the graphics are repulsive unless you have a low rez screen.

    Beyond that I would just skip ahead to Baldurs Gate 1 and 2, and Icewind 1 and 2, and TOEE. That's about all I care about in RPGs. Jagged Alliance 2 is amazing too but I consider that a strategy game, also System Shock games are must plays but they are FPS/RPG.
     
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  25. Saduj Arcane

    Saduj
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    I would say something like Dark Sun is the oldest game I’m willing to deal with now because it is all mouse controlled. I’m an old man so the old graphics dont bother me. But the old interfaces are something I can’t justify dealing with today.

    Also regarding difficulty - Back in the 80’s people didn’t play video games expecting to beat them. Totally different expectations from the consumer.
     
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