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The difference between RPG, Action-Adventure, and ARPG - and why Skyrim, and Witcher 3 aren't RPGs

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Delicieuxz, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. Rabbity_Thing Educated

    Rabbity_Thing
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    Foundation of a building isn't it's "core". You don't build a building to have a foundation. You just dismissed your own point in the most elegant way possible. It is the purpose of an RPG to have storytelling.
    :mlady:
    My hat off to you.

    VERY true, but in no way supports the conclusion that RPGs are about combat (or whatever other form of crunch).

    Again very true and again you dismiss your own position. Unfortunately, I have already taken off my fedora so a simple congratulations will have to do.
     
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  2. wahrk Learned

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    But this is exactly why mechanics are the core foundation. Without them none of the rest of this means anything. Even from the blurb you quoted in your first post:

    The key words here being form and structure (and robust gameplay) - that’s what an RPG brings to the table. In other words, mechanics. Without these you’re just making up imaginary stories like a child and you don’t need D&D for that.
     
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  3. Lady Error █▓▒░ ░▒▓█ Patron

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    Yeah, RTwP is closer to TB than pure real time.
     
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  4. Rabbity_Thing Educated

    Rabbity_Thing
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    Once again: mechanics ARE the foundation but they aren't the goal, the final purpose. That purpose is the story.

    YES! The mechanics of an RPG are a tool the game uses to bring about storytelling. Therefore an RPG is a game that uses some framework for players to operate within to enable them to act out a story. I'm not sure what exactly are we disagreeing about.
     
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  5. Machocruz Arcane

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    The 1up article is the most accurate and comprehensive of the material you posted, although still glosses over much and contradictory in its language. It even admits that the eventual association between genre and game were result of the game's immense popularity . But the world did not create a genre specifically to suit Diablo, unless he means the PC world. He gets some stick in the comments section for making such claims, including from yours truly. It's funny because EGM, owned by the same company as 1UP, used the term Action RPG for several 16bit games in their articles in the early 90s

    The Eurogamer article also makes this concession

    "And that Friday afternoon was the moment action-RPGs - at least in the isometric, point-and-click form pioneered and dominated ever since by Diablo - were born". This is backpedaling off of what the article title suggests

    As far as Brevik, I'll give them credit for creating a play style, but that is not the same as creating terminology, which they didn't.

    Various other articles cite games like Dragon Slayer and Xanadu as the origins of the genre. Others say it goes back even further to the 70s. My direct experience is with games in the pre Diablo days like Faxanadu, Final Fantasy Adventure, Legacy of The Wizard, Ys, Hydlide. We -and by we I mean the magazines and the readers following suit- were calling these "action RPGs".

    Now memories aren't evidence, and if I can find some scans of old magazine reviews etc., I will post them . But there was also a big schism between console and computer gaming then, and it wasn't uncommon for one "side" not to know what was going on with the other. E.g. Do you know there are people who think Japan invented RPGs? Lol. Obviously these people only grew up with consoles. Even I didn't know Diablo and it's ilk "owned" ARPG in many people's minds until a few years ago, having my formative years on old consoles and their strain of the genre.

    I generally support the aim of your OP though. I think I'm even stricter in that if there is no conscious intent to emulate PnP, I cannot consider it a CRPG. Simply emulating other video games and thereby achieving some RPGness by accident doesn't make the cut since video games are not the definition, nor can they create their own definition of this genre they are merely borrowing.
     
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  6. wahrk Learned

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    Maybe we’re just arguing semantics about the meaning of the word “core” here. You’re arguing that foundation != core whereas I’m saying that the systems framework is what the genre should be defined by.

    The issue I have with defining RPGs by the storytelling aspect is that I don’t see it as an inherent requirement for an RPG. A game where you build a character and dungeon dive for loot using your characters skills is still an RPG whether it has a story/narrative or not.

    edit: Anyways, what OP is arguing is that player agency/dynamic interactivity is what makes an RPG, right? Games that focus heavily on storytelling often sacrifice player agency for it. The games that often have the most interactivity in this regard tend to be more sandbox experiences, where the focus is on the gameplay systems at work.
     
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  7. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    But the question is also what is being done with these mechanics.

    Do you use them to provide an open-ended multiple choice experience where systemic elements interact to create emergent stories?

    Or do you use them to make a Diablo clone?
     
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  8. Rabbity_Thing Educated

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    Yeah, I think this is where we diverge. I would say a game with typical RPG elements that has little to no story is a tactical game, a hack-n-slash or a dungeon crawler or something else, whichever mechanics it uses. For me RPGs are about this relation of player character build and the choices the player makes or how he chooses to use game mechanics to interact with the world to events or stories it creates for the player.

    Often, but not always. And they don't have to do that. Prime example would be AoD. Extensive world-building, complex storyline and a reactive world where player has significant influence over how the events unfold. Course of events can be altered as a consequence of player's actions and in-game characters acknowledge you and your actions in a sensible fashion.

    Two words: immersive sim. Let's say DXHR. At one point you're forced to make a choice between saving one or the other group of people from death by poisonous gas. If, however, you managed to find the main valve, hidden somewhere far away, the game interactively acknowledges your control over this situation. It let's you affect events by utilising game mechanics even in (of course, only ostensibly) unpredictable way.

    That is what RPGs should aspire to be in my view. Enviroments reactive to player participation. Never had I more fun with a video game, than when I was being recognized as a "mover" in the game world.
     
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  9. Funposter Arbiter

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    can we please just admit that if you're posting on this forum, your definition of an RPG is "game that I personally enjoy"
     
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  10. Stormcrowfleet Arcane

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    The argument about a "telos" to RPG games is a good one.

    Also for people saying that action doesn't make an RPG game RPG anymore, what about LARPs? Are LARPs role-playing activity/game? If so, they have more than action, the actual player embody physically his character. Asking out of curiosity.
     
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  11. Morpheus Kitami Learned

    Morpheus Kitami
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    Yes, but Skyrim and Witcher 3 aren't Action-Adventure games, because adventure games involve exploration, and Skyrim and Witcher 3 don't have that, everything is explicitly told to you. Ergo, Skyrim and Witcher 3 are action games.

    Skyrim and Witcher 3 aren't action games, because action games require the player to at some point be under duress, and at no point is the player under duress in Skyrim and Witcher 3. Ergo, Skyrim and Witcher 3 are clicker games.

    In seriousness, if somehow Skyrim is defined as a non-RPG are RPGs suddenly going to undergo massive incline? Will that nullify the rest of the terrible RPGs? Are Arnold Hendrick and Mike Singleton going to come back from the grave? Will world peace be achieved and will we all gather around in a circle and shout hallelujah?
     
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  12. Unreal Savant

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    You guys are thinking so hard you've become stupid.
     
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  13. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Gary Gygax chose the name "role-playing game" to emphasize that each player would control a single character over an entire campaign (many sessions) of play, thus occupying a particular "role" in the game. However, Dungeons & Dragons, and therefore RPGs, have always been defined as a mixture of combat, exploration, and character elements, with the combat and half the character elements originating in the miniatures wargaming from which D&D arose. Although improvisational theatre and collaborative storytelling might be entertaining to those who enjoy that sort of thing, these are not and have never been synonymous with RPGs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Ontopoly Magister

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    No, but when I look up a list of rpgs to play because I enjoy playing rpgs it's annoying when the whole list is horizon zero dawn. So the game is still the game, but it's reccomended to me despite me not enjoying the game instead of actual games I might have enjoyed.
     
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  15. bec de corbin Educated

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    Wouldn't this mean that Baldur's Gate 1 is not an RPG, since the plot has little-to-no choice in it?
     
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  16. Delicieuxz Educated

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    You have researched this very poorly. In that quote above where you bolded "combat as the central theme of the game form", Gary was saying the opposite of what you meant to suggest: He was saying that there's already too much emphasis placed on combat in RPGs and that it's incorrect to push combat as the central theme of the RPG genre. His fuller quote makes this clear:

    "To cut to the chase here, for I haven't the time to spare for more point-by-point reply to so long a missive, in my considered opinion detailed "realistic" combat rules are a detriment to the RPG, not a benefit. There is already undue stress placed upon combat as the central theme of the game form, while it is in fact only one of several key elements."

    Gary Gygax also said of D&D: "It is fantasy, so any attempt to have it be realistic is quite off base. As it is a role-playing game, fixation on combat is also misguided. It was never meant to be a combat simulation."

    Also: "The more complex system in AD&D was my error, mainly that of listening to those who wanted combat to be very detailed."

    Also: "[ I ] have not seen "The Riddle of Steel", but from the sound if its name I should suppose it is a combat game rather than an RPG."

    Also: "Many people knock "roll-playing," but it is a necessary part of the PRG game form where chance is a major factor in the game--as it is in real life. The real bad rap against dice rolling is if combat is the predominate feature of play, that negating the other elements that make up the game...such as role-playing."


    You likewise quoted "“Storytelling” games are not RPGs" in a manner which suggests a pretty opposite meaning to what Gary Gygax was saying. His fuller quote:

    " "Storytelling" games are not RPGs. Neither are "diceless" games.

    An RPG creates a story, does not follow a script. That's a play, possibly improv theater. In a real RPG the GM develops a backstory and plot, sets the scenes, and then the PCs interact with those and by their actions create the actual tale, the events and conclusion of which are indeterminate until that occurs.

    As in real life, chance and random occurrances must be a part of an RPG adventure. As a matter of fact you and I do not know what will happen in the next minute.
    "

    He's saying that RPGs don't tell a scripted story, but they create a story through interactivity between the GM and the players. In other words, an RPG is "interactive storytelling", and therefore is exactly what the OP says one is: A game which focuses on player agency.


    And when he says simply role-playing isn't what makes an RPG, I completely agree. The "role" in Role-Playing Game doesn't refer to simply playing the role of a character (a definition which would mean that every FPS and character-based game is an RPG), but that their unique choices play a key role in the narrative that manifests.

     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  17. Delicieuxz Educated

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    Luj1's own source, Gary Gygax, outright stated that combat is not the core focus of an RPG and that he think there is too much emphasis placed on the combat aspect of RPGs - and in one of very the statements Luj1 part-quoted but misrepresented.


    https://www.enworld.org/threads/q-a-with-gary-gygax.22566/post-1451333
    So, it's definitive that, while combat can be an important part of the experience, combat itself is not the central theme of an RPG.
     
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  18. Grauken Agent of the NWO Patron

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    Same happened to me, played a lot of action RPGs before Diablo came out, but from the PC side. Those usually didn't have a high profile and probably weren't as good the console action RPGs, but it's a clear tradition well established before Diablo. Below are some of them I can remember at the moment, probably a lot more even lower profile ones I forgot. Then you had more action-adventure stuff without any stats, like The Immortal or Bad Blood, and arguably RT-blobbers in the tradition of Dungeon Master are action RPGs as well

    The Faery Tale Adventure (1987)
    Prophecy: The Fall of Trinadon (1989)
    The Keys to Maramon (1990)
    DarkSpyre (1990)
    The Summoning (1992)
    Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse (1994)
    Entomorph: Plague Of The Darkfall (1995)
     
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  19. Delicieuxz Educated

    Delicieuxz
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    Gary Gygax says that RPGs are necessarily collaborative storytelling right here:

    " "Storytelling" games are not RPGs. Neither are "diceless" games.

    An RPG creates a story, does not follow a script. That's a play, possibly improv theater. In a real RPG the GM develops a backstory and plot, sets the scenes, and then the PCs interact with those and by their actions create the actual tale, the events and conclusion of which are indeterminate until that occurs.

    As in real life, chance and random occurrances must be a part of an RPG adventure. As a matter of fact you and I do not know what will happen in the next minute.
    "

    He's saying that RPGs don't tell a scripted story, as a play does, but they create a story through interactivity between the GM, the game world, and the players - which is exactly what "collaborative storytelling" refers to. In other words, an RPG is "collaborative storytelling" - which is achieved through the element of player agency.


    Gary Gygax uses "storytelling" with quotes not to refer to games which focus on narrative, but to refer to games which have a specific set story to tell and only tell that story.

    He explains the difference in this post:

    "It should be pretty well known by all that I consider any game where the players' characters arn not fully able to impact the environment, direct their action, determine the outcome of events in which they play a part, and know that what actions their characters are taking have a probability of success and failure that can be determined by random means, cards or dice rather then the whim of the GM, is something other than an RPG,

    Authors of fiction, screen plays, and playwrights create stories. GMs direct game play and in conjunction with the players this generates a story whose outcome is not prescribed.

    If people enjoy playing limited roles in an game setting in which there are "untouchables," where they must be marionettes for the GM to move about, well and good. It is just not full RPG activity, and often is little more than amateur theatrics, play acting in a minor and surely inferior story line built as an adjunct to the original authored fiction and relatively meaningless to that work. Still, if it's entertaining to the participants, it is fulfilling its purpose, but it ain't RPGing.

    This is a dead horse, actually, as something well over nine gamers in 10 have by their choice of game agreed with me. "Storytelling" games have made their advent, gone nowhere thereafter. What more is there to say?"


    Gygax drove this point home here:

    "I do not, and I stress NOT, believe that the RPG is “storytelling” in the way that is usually presented. If there is a story to be told, it comes from the interaction of all participants, not merely the Game Master–who should not a “Storyteller” but a narrator and co-player! The players are not acting out roles designed for them by the GM, they are acting in character to create the story, and that tale is told as the game unfolds, and as directed by their actions, with random factors that even the GM can’t predict possibly altering the course of things. Storytelling is what novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights do. It has little or no connection to the RPG, which differs in all aspects from the entertainment forms such authors create for."


    In saying that games which tell a set story are not RPGs, and that an RPG necessarily features a story that's created by player, game world, and GM interactivity, he's saying that "collaborative storytelling" is a requirement for a game to be an RPG.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2020
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  20. Zed Duke of Banville Zo Kath Ra Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Gary Gygax writes about the importance of non-linearity and player freedom over predetermined narrative and scripting, and you interpret this as meaning that D&D is about collaborative storytelling. :nocountryforshitposters:

    Similarly, you're attempting to defend your notion that combat is not an essential component of RPGs by pointing to a defense by Gygax of D&D's relatively abstract combat system, a "gamist" approach, against other systems aiming at simulationism, an approach that began not long after D&D's publication as an attempt by some to correct what they considered to be a flaw.

    Story is an emergent property of RPGs that is created by player actions, and to some extent Dungeon Master responses, during the course of an adventure. Gygax himself noted in 2004 that "combat is the most popular activity in the RPG game form" and that the purpose is D&D is to serve as a game for the players, a game which has "several key elements" (i.e. combat, exploration, and character elements).

    Moreover, Gygax by 2004 seems to have shifted his positions somewhat from a quarter-century earlier when he created Advanced Dungeons & Dragons for the purpose of correcting perceived shortcomings in D&D that he considered arising in part from a lack of historical and military knowledge evinced many new players (in contrast to the wargaming groups from which D&D arose) and in part to add form and structure in order to instill "conformity to a more rigid set of rules" that were far lengthier and more detailed than the original booklets.
     
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  21. Delicieuxz Educated

    Delicieuxz
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    Gygax stated that non-linearity including specifically in the storytelling is a requirement for a game to be an RPG. "In a real RPG the GM develops a backstory and plot, sets the scenes, and then the PCs interact with those and by their actions create the actual tale, the events and conclusion of which are indeterminate until that occurs." And, "GMs direct game play and in conjunction with the players this generates a story whose outcome is not prescribed".

    According to Gygax, a game without that isn't an RPG - which means that a game must have it in order to be an RPG. If you want to say that an RPG is about more than just that, that's fine. But it is necessarily also about that. And so, contrary to your previous assertion, collaborative storytelling is inescapably synonymous with RPG.

    No argument there. The interactivity between players, game world, and GM is precisely where the collaborative storytelling comes from. A game without that collaborative storytelling isn't an RPG.


    Regarding the point about combat, Gygax acknowledging that "combat is the most popular activity in the RPG game form" isn't a statement of requirement. That's just an observation. He also said that too much emphasis has been put on the aspect of combat in RPGs. So, his observation of its popularity isn't an affirmation that the popularity matches its relevance to the genre - he says it doesn't.

    Gygax did state that combat and leveling just for the sake of combat and leveling isn't an RPG, just as a pre-scripted story isn't an RPG:

    "As false to the game form as the pre-scripted “story,” is play that has little more in it than seek and destroy missions, vacuous effort where the participants fight and kill some monster so as to gain more power and thus be able to look for yet more potent opponents in a spiral that leads nowhere save eventual boredom. So pure hack and slash play is anathema to me too."
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  22. Ranarama Learned

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    One person doesn't create a genre, that's stupid. A genre describes a massive class of works. Even the person who created the first work of a genre doesn't get much say in what goes in it.
     
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  23. Grauken Agent of the NWO Patron

    Grauken
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    It's not a genre, it's clearly the road to enlightenment and Gygax was the first prophet. Lots of false prophets since then, and lots of people twisting his words. There are many who want to own the RPG, but true believers will not fall to storyfaggotry or the false truths of C&C
     
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  24. Unreal Savant

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    You forgot about JRPGs.

    Oh wait, those definitely aren't RPGs, nevermind.
     
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  25. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    I do enjoy games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, but there is a definite problem with genre tagging on storefronts.

    Just look at this:

    [​IMG]

    BG3, Wasteland 3, Kingdoms of Amalur, Dungeon of Naheulbeuk are definitely RPGs by most people's definitions. 9th Dawn III is the PC port of a mobile Diablo-like... eh, good enough.
    But Action Taimanin? A free too play brawler with levelups. Rebirth: Mr Wang? Looks like an erotic visual novel. Captain Tsubasa? An arcade football game. HOW IS THIS AN RPG??
     
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