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What's more important for an RPG: Char creation/customization or leveling up?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by JarlFrank, Jan 24, 2021.

?

What's more important?

  1. Creation/Customization

    68.0%
  2. Levelups

    32.0%
  1. Kalin Unwanted Dumbfuck Zionist Agent

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    No mess blowjobs?
     
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  2. The Great ThunThun* How DARE you!? Patron

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    I always have this question for people pondering if a given game experience is RPG or not:

    Can you imagine a D&D game with that experience? If you can then it is an RPG.

    A D&D game where you have stats that determine the character skills is an RPG. You do not *necessarily* need Level ups, "loot" or even story C&C to make the game RPG.

    A simple example is a dungeon crawl in D&D where you start a particular level and by the end of the adventure never gain enough XP to level up or have any story choice.

    This experience is unquestionably an RPG despite having any of the things we would otherwise associate with RPGs. Goes on to prove that only stats -> player skills are the true determinant of making an RPG.

    In the example given by JarlFrank creating a char is more of an RPG because now you have some level of control over which stats your char has.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
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  3. Darkzone Arcane

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    Game A is not an RPG.
    Game B is an RPG with a pre- made / generated character.
     
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  4. samuraigaiden Liturgist

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    Character development via leveling up - whatever way it may be implemented - is a definitive feature of RPGs. Whenever a game labeled as a RPG does character development through other means, like permanent power ups, a discussion ensues about it truly being a RPG or not. A game with no form of character development is not a RPG by definition.

    Character creation is a staple of CRPGs, but many well regarded CRPGs don't have it at all (Betrayal at Krondor, Gothic, Wizardry IV, The Witcher, etc.).
     
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  5. Lurker47 Learned

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    Well, then I'd like to completely backtrack on my point and say that, after more thought, I'd still say B would be the better game. Both of these lack specifics which could change the entire system (namely, the role of gear and how many choices are completely irrelevant to character build) but I suppose that's part of the point. With A, there's a balancing act- how much content is locked behind a build (to where it might as well just be a game with multiple endings) or is there just a "different solution" for every scenario- minimizing the distinction between characters.
    With B, I can think of numerous ways that a statistically similar(?- again, gear) can differentiate themselves without thinking of specific, historic design quandaries. It's a more open-ended system, if you're given everything in the toolbox, there's a lot more room to experiment. There's always a way to make a generalist into a specialist no matter how obscure the method is, or how completely inefficient or broken it is. There's no similar way to make a specialist into a generalist. And while I called proto-CRPG's shitty, there are historic examples of janky shit like this being pulled off- and that stuff is sure as Hell more interesting than "science man does the science things."
    Really, the reason why I like B more can be boiled down to it interesting me more. Thinking of ways it can work despite its fundamental limitations (especially if we bend the premises ever so slightly.) This site has a weird habit of conflating genre purity as something greater than "fun" or "enjoyable in any way." Who fucking cares if A is more of an RPG? Fundamentally, its gameplay seems to be far more limited. Granted, my assessment is based on the fact that both of these games are assumed to have the same fundamental gameplay systems or whatever. That assumption shouldn't be too much of a stretch. It wouldn't be much of a fair comparison if they didn't.

    You could also see this as CRPG's vs. JRPG's in their purest state. It becomes apparent, from this observation, that CRPG's rely on multiple, overlapping choice systems. JRPG's rely on (learning to abuse) gameplay mechanics more. CRPG's also need the key aspects of JRPG's (leveling leading to experimentation) more than vice versa. And the near-identical CRPG is inferior (not as fun) as the near-identical JRPG. Looking at how the genres have played out over the years, JRPG's have experimented a lot more with random systems, especially combat while a lot CRPG's have floundered around with their choice mechanics, failing to make them more than a sum of their parts, and ultimately found themselves chained to needless complexity based on an ambiguous and internally inconsistent design philosophy because "this is what CRPG's have" (niche indie companies with terrible upper management; financial death spiral) or worse yet, streamlined to the point of losing their actual (actualized) appeal (garbage.)

    And really, this kind of ties into my growing contempt for "those" fans of CRPG's. The kinds of things that certain CRPG fans have praised as good in a vacuum are autistic as fuck. So what if the characters are more distinct? The game doesn't get more from that than the entire concept of leveling. Leveling is not just a dopamine boost, it has a huge role in pacing and structure. So what if there's an obtuse, convoluted way to solve this side quest where someone gets kidnapped- you really think that was worth the development time when the obvious solution of calling the cops is cut content? So what if there are multiple endings? They're just slides. The spergiest of JRPG fans cum on pillows and buy tons of merchandise. It's pathetic but it's understandably human. The spergiest of CRPG fans emotionally attach themselves to abstract mechanics and concepts for "muh pure cee r pee gee" without any rhyme, reason, or greater understanding of how it makes the game better or fits into the greater system because "moar chooice equals better even if its not much of a choice." A subset of these may be the dumbfucks on Reddit or whatever who "roleplay" by cooking dinner, reading a book, and jerking off in Skyrim. But those don't really gravitate towards here. The underage, hyper-defensive "genre purist" who has only played New Vegas do. I can't imagine any of those voting for B over A. Imagine being more autistic than a weeaboo.
     
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  6. Burning Bridges Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk

    Burning Bridges
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    An RPG is a game where you play a guy with a swrod.

    Everything else is optional
     
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  7. CabbageHead Literate

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    Game A you can make and roleplay whatever character you want, how strong or weak the choice is in your hand but you can’t level up, improve or change their stats and perk in game.

    Game B you roleplay one character, one character made by the dev, can do whatever you want to do appropriate to your level making the leveling mechanic a glorified speed bump.

    If I assume both game have similar production quality then I can conclusively say that game A have more roleplaying potential than game B.
     
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  8. Apostle Hand Savant Possibly Retarded

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    neither is more important actually you can make good rpg without charachter creation or leveling up
    generally I hate leveling up when I gotta decide which points to spend
     
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  9. Burning Bridges Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk

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    Yes that's also true, I usually end up with most point unused by the end of the game because you never know what you need.
     
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  10. Harthwain Cipher

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    Both character customization and level ups are integral parts of the overall character creation. Level ups matter more if you are going into combat-heavy game, where your character is pre-determined. Customization is something that benefits classic RPGs more, as it will have impact on what your character can or can't do, but you will still benefit hugely from having a good level up system.
     
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  11. Wunderbar Arcane

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    At first i thought the poll is about RPGs with chargen vs RPGs where you always start as a weak predefined character and can later branch out in different directions (like Gothic or The Witcher 1). But then OP intentionally sabotages the second option (level-ups) by describing it as a "predefined character who is a guy with an ugly mug and also jack of all trades with 10 in every stat".
     
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  12. Wunderbar Arcane

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    JarlFrank are you biased against Gothic? Do you hate Germans, your own people? You dislike Gothic because the Nameless Hero is a dude and not a barefoot cute girl? Wtf is this poll?
     
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  13. Bohrain Arbiter Patron

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    Voted for levelup. Neither of the examples are portraying anything I can think of, in case of JRPG's without specific character customization individual characters tend to play out as certain archetypes and your (shallow) customization option is to choose which ones to use.
     
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  14. Takamori Learned

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    In my opinion you can't have a good creation without a good leveling system. If the system is rotten to the core no way it will manage to provide an enjoyable leveling system, when it can't provide the basic that is the character identity (combat, functionality and so on)
     
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  15. Shinji Learned

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    Is this the blog entry?
    http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2020...howComment=1608223073747#c4360886756517983221

    Well, his point overall is that games require some sort of advancement to be considered RPGs -- skill acquisition, leveling, etc.

    ---
    To be frank, even outside the realm of RPGs, I don't think a game that allows customization *only* at the beginning would work in the long term, especially if there are a ton of variables that the player can change. Not only it's too restrictive and requires a ton of trial and error to get it right, it also doesn't allow the player to tweak his character halfway to get past the game's challenges. In that sense, it would do more damage than good.

    If you consider games such as Tomb Raider 1 and Mario as games with characters that have pre-determined "stats" (e.g. jump height, running speed, life points), then a hypothetical game that allows customizing the character only at the beginning would be no different than those games, save by modifying what actions the character can perform. Such a game would give a game/level designer hell, because he nows has to take into account a myriad of possibilities and can take nothing for granted (e.g. can the character jump? How high?). It's not a viable choice.

    What most games do is choose a direction and decide that will be the game's focus (e.g. strategic combat, puzzle solving, platforming, shooting, stealth). Then, they might allow some form of customization for whatever they chose as the game's main focus.

    ---
    It's ok for a party-based game to allow tons of characters customization, because at the end of the day, each character in your party is supposed to complement each other's inabilities. So even if one of your characters has zero charisma, adding another character with high or moderate charisma balances things out somewhat, and it makes each character's presence important. Then, with customization the player can improve what is already good or tone down what is already bad.

    For a single player game (e.g. Gothic, Skyrim), it's of utmost importance that the main character is a jack-of-all-trades. There's nobody else to complement what the character is bad at. The player must be allowed to customize his skills thoughout the game in some way or another. Also, in those games it's usually player skill that prevails over character skill, since the player assumes direct control over the character.

    ---
    Leveling up in most cases is a way to introduce roadblocks for the player. Experience points are just pallets that reinforce a specific behavior -- If you do enough of this, you'll get that.
    Usually leveling up rewards the player with either automatic stats increases or some sort of "currency" that the player can exchange for skill upgrades or skill acquisitions of his choosing.

    This "currency" then, is what usually allows customization to happen. It's a resource that gives the player the opportunity to improve his character in whatever way the game allows to.
    Since it's a resource, it's limited. This is what makes the player think carefully about how he wants to spend this currency, after all it might take some time to level up again.

    So this feature of customization is not exclusive to RPGs. Just because a game has customization, it doesn't mean it's an RPG

    Ultimately, I believe RPGs are really about being able to play a role (not "class") or roles (for party based) and also play pretend with it, and the game acknowledging that.
    Due to technical limitations and complexity, computer RPGs usually perform the role-picking part for you, and also your objectives and motivations. So it's not an RPG in that sense, but they usually allow for skill customization and branching stories/quests.

    So in the end, customization is important for RPGs, because it gives choices for the player and adds some variation to the experience.

    Leveling and customization go hand-in-hand, so I don't think CRPG Addict is wrong in that regard.
     
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  16. Sweeper Unwanted Zionist Agent

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    If a leveling system doesn't take into account your choices at character creation, the system sucks.
    Just look at Elder Scrolls.
     
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  17. Lord_Potato Arcane

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    Leveling up is more important - if you can distribute the points you receive at levelups as you see fit, thus tailoring your build. Otherwise it's simply a jrpg.

    Game A could work in a very specific scenario - let's say the whole game takes place during 1 day. So there is really not much place for gaining experience and getting better at things - you just play a character that you've created (he/she got to this point due to earlier life choices and experiences).

    Would such a game be a rpg? Depends. If it was strictly linear regardless of your choices at character creation than no. However if it respected your choices and flexibly adjusted the gaming experience to your build (different encounters, dialogue options, available skillchecks, some branching plotlines and locations) than I'd be inclined to say yes.
     
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  18. Bloodeyes Magister

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    Considering I frequently don't get past making and remaking characters in search of the perfect build, forgoing playing the game entirely I voted for character creation. I'm not sure if it's a more integral aspect of the RPG genre than levelling but it's the part of the game I find most compelling. As fucked up as it is I find making builds more satisfying than playing the game. I'll make one, play it for a bit then want to change something minor or get bored with it and want to restart with something new. 50+ characters later and I'm burned out on the game. Actually it would probably be better for me to not play RPGs. I don't finish them nearly as often as games without character creation.
     
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  19. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Another thing to consider is that you may not know enough about the game mechanics to make informed choices about character creation. By using pregens that you can develop over time as you learn more about the game you are more likely to finish the game instead of restarting it.
     
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  20. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    I love Gothic, but Gothic is obviously not game #2.

    Gothic has plenty of character customization later on as you can pick one of three factions that all give you access to different skill trainers and you get to specialize into various forms of combat or magic.

    B is more of a shining example of your average JRPG where you have only predefined characters in your party and can't make any decisions about their leveling up paths.
     
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  21. Abracadabra Learned

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    You can make an RPG without level ups but you can't make an RPG without character building. NUFF SAID.
     
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  22. DJOGamer PT Arcane

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    Both model games have stupid flaws
    A doesn't have any progression
    B doesn't let the player choose how to progress

    But I get the point, and IMHO the only one of them that could be considered an RPG would be model A
    Because it's the only one that does let the player chose his role, and potentially have meaningful difference between roles
    Model B is essentially no different from any Action game - i.e. predefined character and a single "role"

    "Leveling up" doesn't make an RPG precisely because every genre can have a progression system that improves the PC's capabilities
    What makes does make an RPG is the fact that the player can choose truly different roles and experience different content
     
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  23. mondblut Arcane

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    Even match-3 games have leveling now.

    RPGs with character creations and no leveling do have historical precedent, i.e. Megatraveller. And being a fairly faithful adaptation of second tabletop RPG after D&D, it holds more authority in defining CRPGs than any jrpg trash or modern action shit.
     
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  24. samuraigaiden Liturgist

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    This mental exercise is futile. RPGs are like Porn. You it when you see it.
     
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  25. V_K Arcane

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    But if we're taking gear into account, the same can be done with A - using gear to make the character more powerful and/or overcome the initial build's limitations.
    But it fundamentally is, it's just Jarl's description in the beginning isn't very good for the question it's meant to answer. There's zero point to introduce too many gameplay systems or alternative solutions in a B-type game.
     
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