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What's your preferred flavor of cRPG?

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by LCJr., Jan 23, 2007.

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What would be your ideal style of a hypothetical "good" cRPG?

  1. Linear i.e. Do A then B then C

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  2. Linear w/ side quests A, B, C with optional side missions

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  3. Linear with branching A,B then choose the C,D or X,Y path

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  4. Linear w/open world i.e. pick up and leave the plot as you wish

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  5. Non-linear aka sandbox, go do what you want

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  1. LCJr. Erudite

    LCJr.
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    Why is the way Arcanum did things fair? For example Ashbury couldn't be found by following the railroad tracks or even walking the shoreline. It's a town with rail service and a harbor not a tiny secret cave. The fact you could find a stone altar by walking near it but not a whole town defies logic and seriously strains the suspension of disbelief.

    And the way the Caladon side was kept locked reminded of one of the many things I hated about JRPG's. You were being forced by the developers to follow the plot the way they wanted you too.
     
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  2. Fez Erudite

    Fez
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    It's not my favourite, I still prefer the Gothic and Fallout way, but it was better than a lot of the invisible walls I've seen in games.
     
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  3. Ladonna Arcane

    Ladonna
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    LCjr: Any area could be found in Arcanum by stumbling across them. And the towns are not all that hard except for certain 'Hidden' townships. But it makes sense these are hard to find.

    As for the Caladon side...Yes, again you can stumble across to that side. Thats why there are two or three different passes you can travel through.

    Absolutely Amazing! :wink:
     
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  4. elander_ Arbiter

    elander_
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    My favorite type of rpg would be a good mix of strategy game + adventure game + rpg.

    Role-playing implies we choose a role to play or we choose the adventures we want to play which amounts to the same thing if those adventures affect our character and his social standing in some way and consequently influence the adventures you will be able to choose in the future.

    Now imagine that you are playing Jagged Alliance or Galactic Civilizations but instead of being an untouchable guy given orders from outside the game you are actually one of those tiny dunes you see on the map, represented with stats like any other char and being restricted by the same world rules as any other character. Instead of using a menu to bring up a stats panel the player has to talk with other characters to get feedback and give orders as he would do naturally assuming he has the right rank and affiliations for that. The world is in constant motion with different factions fighting with each other for resources and influence and expanding their frontiers.

    The adventure part shows the human side of the world. Good characters, good stories and a good intrigue is more important than puzzles. This is what poses a challenge to role-playing, because elaborated plots often work against the freedom to do anything we want restricted by the worlds rules of course.

    What pisses me off in games like NWN and Oblivion is the banality and lack of ambition in finding solutions to work out the player freedom/interesting plot/immersing world dilemma.

    See Daggerfall for example, the game is split almost 50/50. In one side there are guild quests where the player is completely free to take, refuse and get new quests from the same template when and as many times he wants. There are those secret society guilds that can only be joined if the player acquires a certain status and physical or magical condition.

    http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Gui ... Reputation

    On the other side there is the main-quest split in branching paths, some of them (the green ones) are dynamic, that is, depend on the player actions, class and reputation.

    http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Daggerfall:Mai ... alkthrough

    I think this is the big challenge for rpgs: provide as much freedom as possible without sacrificing the plot (ie making plots too simple and disconnected) or sacrificing the world (ie making worlds that are not believable and break immersion too much).

    If you put things just in terms of linearity and plots, i think you are simplifying the mater too much.
     
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  5. Limorkil Liturgist

    Limorkil
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    I think I prefer sandbox overall, but really it all depends on the execution. What I think spoils many RPGs is when they try to be all things to all people. If you are going to have a sandbox game, then do not have an urgent main quest. Oblivion was just plain stupid for this reason, whereas Bethesda did a better job with Daggerfall by giving the player two, apparently separate, main quests that were of the "look into this mystery" type.

    The types of cRPG that work for me are:
    - Sandbox, with a main quest that is basically just a bigger than normal side quest. Daggerfall and TOEE are the only two I can think of like this.
    - Mainly linear, with no side quests or side quests that do not necessarily feel like side quests. Examples: Kotor, Baldur's Gate 1
    - Somewhere between, where the main quest is something of a mystery and you do quests which may or may not have anything to do with the main quest and your character reacts as events unfold. Examples: Gothic series, Ultima 7, Arx Fatalis, Ultima Underworld.

    The types that do not work are mainly just poorly designed attempts at the types that do work. Whether they are linear or non-linear, the problem is usually that the main quest seems too urgent to ignore or your character cannot ignore it even if she wants to. You either try and avoid the main quest until later in the game, or your chatacter becomes a drudge who sullenly goes along with everything the taskmasters throw at her. Examples: Oblivion, Morrowind, Baldur's Gate 2, NWN 1&2.

    Of course, a game is more that just its main plot. I have probably spent way more time playing games with bad plot design over games with good plot design. The difference is that the ones that stand out, after the fact, are the ones where the character of the protagonist and the plot gelled together well.
     
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  6. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    ToEE must have the smallest sandbox ever. Or it just isn't a sandbox in any way at all. Two tiny villages, a small dungeon, 2 tiny wilderness areas (+1 unlockable tiny cave), one small wilderness area and one large dungeon.

    Oh, and some empty random encounters.

    BG1 is a lot more sandboxy than TOEE. Instead of unlocking areas by talking to specific NPCs/reading books/maps, you can just wander off into the wilderness and do your own thing for a while.
     
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  7. Ladonna Arcane

    Ladonna
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    Toee mechanics, mixed with BG's world. Nice.

    Throw in some real choices, and you have a big winner.
     
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  8. Flux_Capacitor Augur

    Flux_Capacitor
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    To play a bit of devil's advocate to some of the non-linear game discussion:

    How do you separate the player's knowledge from the character's knowledge? For instance, in Fallout, you're completely free to finish the game in under ten minutes. Realistic and logical? I suppose. Pretty much every option is available to the player from the get go, and if the player knows what to do, the game supports it.

    However, how in the world would the character know how to accomplish this? Supposedly, they have no prior knowledge of the area outside of the vault, the politics, the various groups and their dealings. You can't tell me someone would simply travel 300 miles out of their way (on foot, no less), through barren wasteland, without any survival skills or much hope of finding food and water, just because they felt like it.

    If it were truly a role-playing game, the player's knowledge would be equivalent to the character's. This is mostly true when first playing through the game, if the player doesn't have a walkthrough or something similar handy. Unless the character wanders around aimlessly on the world map or they're given the location of multiple points of interest, the game would play out more or less linearly anyway. On subsequent runs through, though, the player is giving their character a significant advantage. And, if the player is bypassing certain parts of the story, and/or is able to pick up much more powerful equipment than they would normally have available, is the player really playing the role of their character anymore?
     
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  9. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
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    shotguns. shotguns w/ under-barrel flamethrowers. when games include such things, they are good. swords, majick, spears, blunt axes... all for queefs.

    i love tactical combat, hate turnbased for the most part. seems really forced and is based more on math than on intuition.

    sandbox.
     
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  10. Limorkil Liturgist

    Limorkil
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    I guess you are right. What I meant was that you had no real main quest as such. You had some level of motivation for being in the area, but after that what you do is up to you. Of course, what you can do is very limited, so it is a crap example of sandbox.

    Come to think of it, Daggerfall is the only RPG I can think of that you could reasonably call sandbox. I know Arena, Morrowind and Oblivion had similar gameplay, but they all had main quests that made the "do anything you want" idea somewhat contrived. There are a few games that had points in them where you could go anywhere, but generally they had main quests that made wandering all over the map seem irresponsible (like the BG series).

    Old cRPGs tended to be more sandboxy, if you count wandering around killing stuff with no real goal a sandbox. I suppose TOEE was old school in this regard. But for a true sandbox game I cannot think of any other than Daggerfall.
     
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  11. LCJr. Erudite

    LCJr.
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    Stumble or cheat? Sure if you go to a website that gives the coordinates you can find them. If your willing kill large amounts of time to inch your way across the world map and repeatedly enter the area until you find something you might find a town. Neither of which changes the fact that you can sometimes spot tiny locations on the world map but can't find an entire town.

    And yes I know you don't like it when I point out the flaws in your favorite game.



    As Volourn would say "Why do you lie?" Ladonna. It'd been awhile since I'd played Arcanum and I only vaguely remembered the 3rd pass. I remember in one game running up and down the entire mountain range looking for an alternate way through with no luck. So I blew off the several inches of dust and loaded the ugly bitch up. Made a trip to Terra Arcanum for the coordinates and confirmed what I thought. There is only ONE way through from the Tarant side to Caladon. Razor's Pointe can only be crossed from the Caladon side to Tarant that much I remember. Gorgoth Pass isn't reachable from the Tarant side. I have a vague memory that it's one way too but I'll leave that to someone else to confirm.

    So not so amazing :wink:
     
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  12. TheGreatGodPan Arbiter

    TheGreatGodPan
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    Despite its unrealism, I think if it's possible for someone to just be really stupid and lucky to try something crazy and it happens to work, the player should be allowed to do it. Not allowing you to manually enter passwords in Invisible War was a clear step backward from Deus Ex, for example. I bet you'd hate games like Varicella, Rematch and Shrapnel.
     
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  13. kris Arcane

    kris
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    Sandbox games have the most potential, but it is hard for me to vote on them since all that potential will most likely never be realised. It would demand a reactive world where you can persue different careers and take on different roles. With this I surely don't mean going trough linear quests to become headmaster of every guild in town.

    What I'd like to see would be goaloriented games or gameplay where you are given a goal (or several goals to persue) that you can approach in different ways. Interesting ones would be ones where you climb the social ladder, like becoming a king, landlord or guildmaster and possibly expanding that with gameplay after you reached the goal for it is never easy to stay in those positions when many would want to put you down. In NWN2 we had those separate questlines for cityguard and mobsters, unfortunately two linear branches. I could accept a smaller gameworld in these cases, like a wellfleshed out city.
     
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  14. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    This is actually a very good idea. The mianquest should consist of only one goal at the beginning, and require you to delve deeper into the backstory of the game, in whatever way you want. Like, for example, your parents have been assassinated two years ago by two black-robed men. You want revenge. Get your revenge.

    This would require you to find out who these men were, if they were in any assassin's guild, or who gave them the job to kill your parents. How you do it does not matter. Just get your revenge. You can either try to find that guild, infiltrate it, and then kill the boss after you gained his trust, or you can put a knife to his throat and ask him who issued that order to kill your parents. Or you can tell the local newspaper that you are the son/daughter of the two people who got killed two years ago and disappeared after this incident. This newspaper article will of course put these assassins on your heels... and gives you a chance to find them, mabye. Or you can try to learn about these assassins in books. Or find any reason why your parents might have been killed, and who issued that command.

    The Main Questline could come in steps. Step 1: Find out who these assassins are. Step 2: Find out who gave them the job of killing your parents. Step 3: Find out why. Step 4: Find them, and kill them.

    Giving only such goals without any particular way of finishing them would be great, as you can choose yourself how to finish it.
     
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  15. Ladonna Arcane

    Ladonna
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    LCjr: No, there are three ways, all of which I have tried. Try them yourself.

    As for Terra Arcanum. Nice site with plenty of info, but until they list ALL of the quests available in the game, I would take their walkthrough and information with a grain of salt. After a 5 minute glance at the 'walkthrough' I saw 3 quests not mentioned in it. 5 minutes.

    If I cared enough I am sure I could spot more. Its easy enough to miss some in this game though. The amount of different character class types and races that trigger different things is amazing.

    I don't know why you think I care what someone else thinks about this game, except when they make shit up, then I will say something.

    My 'amazing' comment that raised your hackles was actually a play on words from the techs aquired in the game 'Looking glass rifle....Shoot your foes down as they run for the hills! Simply Amazing!'.

    Whats your favourite RPG by the way?
     
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  16. Ahzaruuk Arbiter

    Ahzaruuk
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    Hard to say, really. I could very well like any of them depending on the focus. Linear seems to focus more on telling a story, and non-linear/sandbox seems more about interacting with the world.

    Damn indecisevness of mine :(
     
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  17. LCJr. Erudite

    LCJr.
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    Then list these three ways you claim exist to get from the Tarant side to the Caladon side without doing the Stillwater/Hardin's Pass bit. I have no interest in wasting anymore time on Arcanum.
     
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  18. ViolentOpposition Arcane

    ViolentOpposition
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    It kind of pisses me off that all the good ideas found in places like this will never be exploited by big game developers. They'll just keep on going with whatever sells best. I guess that from a business perspective I can't blame them, but neither can I call them true artists, just businessmen.

    It's all down to the indie groups. The smallest people have to create the biggest things; screwed up, eh.
     
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  19. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Why do you lie?

    Based on math? I don't need to ask if you are retarded. You already confirmed it.
     
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  20. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
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    turnbased is slow. if i only have an hour to play, i'd like to make it past one map or one fight. kinda sucks when i have to reload an hour into a fight cuz i lost two doods to an interrupt, since that's pretty much all the playtime i get.

    sue me for having other things to do with my life. plus, real time looks like the fucking sex... set'em up and let'em enfilade some poor muthafucka... gives me a thrill and makes the game fun. sometimes fun is fun. sometimes my nuts are on your chin, like now.

    as for math... 2007-1994 = 13... maybe i decided to start having fun with other types of combat in the past thirteen years? you just replay one game and furiously masturbate about when you're not?
     
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  21. TheGreatGodPan Arbiter

    TheGreatGodPan
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    mister lamat is due for a dumb-fucking, but it would be an injustice if he got it before stalagmite.
     
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  22. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I played Ultima Underworld thirteen years ago. You suck.
     
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  23. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
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    who was talking about first person? you assume and you munch on your own ass at the same time, queef.

    the old mr. lamat account has a savant rating.
     
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  24. Woetohice Scholar

    Woetohice
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  25. hakuroshi Augur

    hakuroshi
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    Ideally it would be a sandbox with plausible world simulation. As others said – changes with and without PC involvement, choices which make consequenses etc. No fixed main quest, but several possible major courses which PC may (or may not) pursue, depending of his background and ingame actions. Motivations? Want to be a beggar all your life? Or marry a princess? All is possible. But nothing fixed or forced again, not a linear series of quests, but a balanced system of events. Different factions which may compete with each other, rise to power and fall from it.
    Actually it is what Daggerfall aspired to be but failed. It is probably impossible to make, and even less possible to sell. It even might not be a pure RPG, closer to sims-management game. But such game I would really like to play.
    Realistically though, option 4 is most I can hope to get. Other options too can be fun, but just that – fun, nothing more.
     
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