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Ultima VII: RPG?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Bluebottle, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,182
    Dead State Wasteland 2
    I’ve been reading through a lot of the threads round here of late (things are slow at work) and feel that I’m beginning to get an idea of what you guys think about the genre as a whole. The “Philosophies of RPGs” thread summing this up most concisely. One thing, however, struck me that I’m having a little bit of trouble working my brain around.

    I agree, for the most part, with all of the points put forward so far, with the usual minor differences in terms of emphasis of certain features. There does, however, seem to be one slight discrepancy in the form of how highly I rate Ultima VII, and also how little it seems to fit my own priorities for a good rpg.

    --It follows a linear plot and, except for a few simple side quests, some gambling in Buccaneers Den and generally tormenting NPCs there isn’t much to distract the player away from this for any length of time.

    --It doesn’t seem to allow much in the way of character customization beyond ‘paper doll dress up’, which (granted) is a lot of fun but can’t really be classed as defining a character. I used magic on-and-off with most of my characters, but never really noticed if this had any affect on my magic skills improving at a faster rate ( I have a habit of letting the computer worry about my stats., probably picked up from UVII, with it being the first RPG that really hooked me). Even if it was the case that my magic skills increased at a greater rate with focused use, did this make any difference beyond simply killing something with a sword and killing something with a fireball?

    --There wasn’t much feedback from the world. Your decisions don’t really alter much and NPCs don’t seem to react to your actions so much unless you go totally psycho and start a massacre or kill Lord British (in which case they all swarm you)

    Now it seems that most people here seem, like me, to regard the game quite highly.

    So, my question is how does UVII fit in with your ideal of what constitutes a decent RPG?
    Is it not an RPG?
    Is it the exception that proves the rule?
    Does it get special dispensation for being a bit old?
    or
    Am I a cretin who needs to go back and play through the game again, this time with my eyes open?
     
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  2. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Norway, 1967
    Being the resident Ultima faggot here, I guess it'll be my duty to reply.
    There are a lot more sidequests than it at first seems, perhaps the lack of a quest journal adds to this misconception. There are many side-qeusts you can partake in and Britannia offers a lot to see. Just because an NPC doesn't say "Fetch X item" doesn't mean it's not a sidequest. I'm playing through it again right now and already I've encountered at least 10 or so "side-quests and I'm not even out of Britain yet.

    And really, the plot isn't that linear. There's several ways to advance through it, though it doesn't appear that way the first time through. You can take LB's advice and go directly to the Isle of the Avatar. You can do some quests with the Fellowship and gradually learn what's going. Really, you only need one item to beat the game: Rudyom's wand. That's the only required thing you need to do to complete the game and destroy the Black Gate. Everything else is just a matter of figuring out where's what and who's who.

    If you specialize in magic, you gradually do get better in it and once you get good enough you can cast various spells that'll get you to places you normally couldn't access.

    Using bows and throwing weapons raises your dexterity, thus making you a better pickpocketer and lockpicking, allowing you to play a thief and/or ranger.

    Melee increases your strength and can let you bash down doors and pick up heavier objects.

    The game doesn't show you everything in the open, lots of the stat checks and so on are hidden from the player. Getting high strength is fun because you can manipulate heavy items around. For instace, I was being chased by some fighters and as I was running I was picking up heavy rocks and tossing them into their path to block their way. And, being that Ultima VII totally kicks ass, it worked! I can't think of another game where you can do that.

    Yes, some of the NPCs where rather cardboard but the vast majority of them were great and offered feedback. Some would talk to you differently if you were a Fellowship member or if you completed certain sidequests (After you get the Silver Serpent venom back to the merchant in Paws, people react more friendly to you and Tobias belives you're truly the Avatar).

    If you read the Philiosophy of RPG thread then you might know that I believe an RPG is defined by the usage of stats and how they are intergrated into the world. But not everything is black and white, just because a game has stats doesn't make it an RPG. Need for Speed racing has stats, but it is not an RPG because the controls and everything about the game are handled by the player's reflexes and the stats affect things in a minor way.

    Ultima VII while definitely more adventure-game than RPG is still an RPG by my definition.
     
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  3. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
    Joined:
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    Dead State Wasteland 2
    Thanks for the comprehensive answer. This'll certainly give me an excuse to go through it again, paying a little more attention to the details this time (last time i played it fully was about 7 years ago, downloaded it again recently).
     
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  4. Pr()ZaC Scholar

    Pr()ZaC
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
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    431
    Hint: do the journal yourself, writing down each piece of information about the quest/npc/place/time/situation/etc. of interest.
    It helped me in various situations, especially when I had to stop playing for days (damn you, real world).
     
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  5. TheGreatGodPan Arbiter

    TheGreatGodPan
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
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    1,762
    In Deus Ex you can choose to get either the melee-inhancement or lifting strength aug. You can do some pretty crazy stuff. One guy beat the game without using any skills, augs or items other than boxes just lying around that can't be put into your inventory.
     
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  6. Section8 Erudite

    Section8
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    This seems like a reasonable place to put my opinion on historical RPGs and how they fit into contemporary ideals.

    Let's say the ultimate defining point of what makes a game are high-end graphics. The actual practical meaning of that definition is completely different today to what it was ten years ago.

    The same can be said of the ideas of "what makes an RPG?" Back in the day, the technology and development resources were a far lesser form of what we have today. It was also a greatly evolving media, so it's reasonable to excuse older games from the "hard definitions" that the hivemind applies to today's RPGs. However with all that's come between, there's no excuse for the games of today to be a good deal shallower than the days of "yesteryear."
     
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  7. Country_Gravy Arcane Patron

    Country_Gravy
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
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    Location:
    Up Yours
    Wasteland 2
    Where do you download it? Mine was on 3.5 floppy discs and my computer doesn't even have a floppy drive anymore. If I bought it almost 15 years ago, downloading isn't stealing, is it?
     
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  8. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #oldgames on EFnet. BE WARNED: That download doesn't come with the copy protection bypass though if you're like me you remember the answers and if you forgot you can just look at the maps you have strewn across your wall. :)
     
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  9. FrancoTAU Cipher

    FrancoTAU
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
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    2,507
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Not sure of this boards beliefs on abandonware, but basically googling abandonware + whatever Dos era game you're looking for will yield you a d/l site.

    I actually just recently started to play U7 again... first time in 8 years. I've explored Trinsic and Paws so far and loving it Combat is still as sucky as a remember it but everyting else is top notch. Exult is a must download for anyone trying to run it.
     
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  10. Bidjou Novice

    Bidjou
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    61
    I really learned a lot about english playing ultima 7 a looong time ago,one nifty feature was the magic carpet ,it was really good to have one in such a huge map,I've even put some barels at the rear of the carpet so that I could carry all the items I wanted ,my avatar was really collecting all kind of junk in case it would be usefull
    Did somebody find a way inside that montain with cannons,memories are too old to give more details but it seemed like a pirate hideout lost in the sea
     
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  11. theverybigslayer Liturgist

    theverybigslayer
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Port Hope
    Ultima VII isn't a CRPG. It's total shit.

    P.S. I love you Naked_Lunch.
     
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  12. Twinfalls Erudite

    Twinfalls
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
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    3,903
    I think it is an RPG - and I must echo that anyone playing it now get 'Exult', a superb piece of work.
     
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