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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I don't think this is anywhere near as big of an issue as people make it out to be. The inventory system in ME1 was terrible for its interface, but more to the point, your inventory would get filled with items that were absolute junk, especially once you got access to Master Gear. I don't lament the loss of having like 10 Lancer I assault rifles kicking around and cluttering up the screen. The shifting of different kinds of ammo to powers just streamlines the whole thing, I mean only a few types of ammo were worth using anyway. It seems sometimes like people argue for "more stuff" simply for the sake of having more stuff.
    If it's broken, scrap it? Countless games did loot well. Why couldn't Mass Effect? And why did BioWare streamline things when they could have improved things? It's this sort of lazy design that makes people hate the company and the games they produce.

  2. #42
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    Why couldn't Mass Effect?
    Honestly, what is there to loot? Even ME1 was primarily a shooter with a couple of stats tacked on. I don't understand what people wanted from Mass Effect 2 when it comes to loot. What should they have done?

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom OBedlam View Post
    not enough numbers
    Quote Originally Posted by Baris View Post
    Hear hear! I demand more numbers. Especially ones that slowly increase.
    Numerical divisions abstract from the game environment (magic sword +1) are a hangover from P&P RPGs, where in numerical differences was the only real way to put across distinction given the oral narrative. With present gaming technology it's been possible to put across the relative qualities of an object or a person/monster either through appearance, behavior, storytelling or by baking distinction into the actual mythology of the games universe (Rio Mark 7 Assault rifle) the necessity to employ abstracts becomes less and less.

    Still I'm more interested in knowing what Wizardry disliked about the mass effect storyline in terms of the plot.


    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    I do agree that mislabeling it as an RPG is just unproductive and misleading, however, as it only serves to 1) confuse the kiddies about what that acronym means and 2) fuel rage due to false expectations among old farts that do know what it means.
    I'm fairly sure Mass Effect is all about playing a role in a world where in the decisions you make have consequences for the world at large and the people around you, and your personal evolution as an entity within that game space. What more is there that qualifies a game as a RPG in your view? Abstract stats? They are a P&P redundancy, and in fact have never been that fundamental to the P&P scene save for combat resolution by and large. If all you've ever done is dungeon crawls I can understand the confusion, but confusion it certainly is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    It's this sort of lazy design that makes people hate the company and the games they produce.
    Being hated by the membership of the RPGcodex is a badge of honour amongst developers I'd say.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I'm fairly sure Mass Effect is all about playing a role in a world where in the decisions you make have consequences for the world at large and the people around you, and your personal evolution as an entity within that game space. What more is there that qualifies a game as a RPG in your view? Abstract stats? They are a P&P redundancy, and in fact have never been that fundamental to the P&P scene save for combat resolution by and large. If all you've ever done is dungeon crawls I can understand the confusion, but confusion it certainly is.
    Precisely. I've played plenty of PnPRPGs that right there in the rulebook printed the message, "don't let the rules get in the way of a good story". I'm not sure why this philosophy should be acceptable in PnPRPGs, but unthinkable in computer RPGs even though they are better suited to it.

  5. #45
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    That was an excellent post, Kadayi.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I don't think this is anywhere near as big of an issue as people make it out to be. The inventory system in ME1 was terrible for its interface, but more to the point, your inventory would get filled with items that were absolute junk, especially once you got access to Master Gear.
    Nor do I. I also do not understand Wizardry's assertion that plenty of games have done loot well. I've always found it a tiresome game mechanic in every game and I think it is telling that Torchlight gave you a way of getting out of the dull business of hopping home to sell things.

    I would argue that the new system was actually important to the game. N7 is another aspect of Shepard. It demonstrates his/her [I'm trying :)] military experience, training and talent. It's also iconic enough to be used on the front of game boxes. The new inventory system ensures that it is always possible to have N7 and the blood stripe on your armour without having to compromise on stats.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Honestly, what is there to loot?
    This is the problem I guess? There's something vaguely compelling about the whole loot concept for a sizeable sub-section of gamers. The Diablo and Dungeon Siege games were pretty much based on it. That feeling of going on an adventure and coming back with loads of stuff, most of which you'll sell, but that makes finding something useful to you a lot more exciting.

    Mass Effect's problem was that as the mechanics (even by ME1) had been simplified so much, there wasn't much to choose between guns and armour. But there was a bit: some classes wanted armours with cooldown reductions, others wanted more defence and so on. The guns were less interesting, but the overheat mechanic sort of gave some aspect of choice.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    This is the problem I guess? There's something vaguely compelling about the whole loot concept for a sizeable sub-section of gamers. The Diablo and Dungeon Siege games were pretty much based on it. That feeling of going on an adventure and coming back with loads of stuff, most of which you'll sell, but that makes finding something useful to you a lot more exciting.
    I understand that. I think we fall back to the discussion of whether we want a strong theme in our games or strong mechanics. Mass Effect has certainly gone the thematic root and I would argue has gone down that road further than any other game series, but that's a discussion for another time. I don't think that stops the game being an RPG as some would argue though as, as has been pointed out already, even from the earliest days there was a division between games with stronger plots and themes and games with stronger mechanics.

    I'm glad people like the mechanically strong games that I care less for. I dislike the suggestion that my sort of game is less valid.

  8. #48
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    Some people just get hung up on the definition of a 'real' RPG. It's at least three different things: literally, a game in which you play a role (ie. nearly all games); from videogame history, a stat-driven game involving looting and levelling up; and from PnP history, a game involving developing a character through a narrative.

    It's an acronym overloaded with this whole bunch of over-lapping meanings to the point that I've simple accepted that the definition of an RPG is "anything a developer says is an RPG".

    That might sound trite, but there is a point to it. Bioware still call Mass Effect an RPG. They still sell it as an RPG. Which is interesting as shooters sell better generally, so marketing Mass Effect as "Guns and Conversation" might actually be a better idea.

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    I think you're right, deano.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    That might sound trite, but there is a point to it. Bioware still call Mass Effect an RPG. They still sell it as an RPG. Which is interesting as shooters sell better generally, so marketing Mass Effect as "Guns and Conversation" might actually be a better idea.
    I think the 'Guns & conversation' line is a tad throwaway though because it removes the whole impact of player agency upon the game space and it's inhabitants. I'd say that's an important aspect for a game to qualify as an RPG.
    Last edited by Kadayi; 08-06-2011 at 01:36 PM.

  11. #51
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I would argue that the new system was actually important to the game.
    Same here, I think the removal of pointless loot (it's not like anyone needed all that money!) and inclusion of more specific weapons and armour pieces made the whole thing a lot more focused.

    The Diablo and Dungeon Siege games were pretty much based on it. That feeling of going on an adventure and coming back with loads of stuff, most of which you'll sell, but that makes finding something useful to you a lot more exciting.
    I think the problem is that they're two different games, like EndelNurk is suggesting. The ME games have nothing worth looting because there really isn't any need for it. There's nothing worth selling or converting to omnigel, you're rolling in both in ME1 thanks to the sheer amount of stuff in the first hour of the game or so. There are no super special items because the game isn't built around that. Hence why I don't understand why people lament the loss of the ME1 inventory system.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Hence why I don't understand why people lament the loss of the ME1 inventory system.
    I don't thing anyone laments the loss of the ME1 system as it stood, more that people would of like a touch more diversity in terms of the available and usable items in the sequel. Stuff like the pre-order armours for example were rendered useless by the fact that the helmets were visible in dialogue cut scenes.

    wearing a mask all the time might work for Darth Vader, not so much for renegade female shep.

  13. #53
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    I think Mass Effect as an RPG has always really been closer to the LARP tradition than the PnP tradition. ME1 had some holdovers from the PnP tradition not because it was trying to be a PnP-style RPG but just because they are so pervasive in computer games that no-one thought not to include them.

    On the other hand, some of the things it does, like skill progression and such, doesn't come from LARP but from PnP. But I think that's only because it's very difficult to do properly in LARP.

  14. #54
    Thats a damn fine point actually, the DA armour was lovely and had a nice bit of fluff but, yeah, it was pointless.

    I'd have preferred a bit more choice in the weaponry still, only having the basic gun and its upgrade, but still requiring you to select your loadout before each mission really wound me up. Even having several base template guns which you could customise their upgrades on would be good.
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  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Honestly, what is there to loot? Even ME1 was primarily a shooter with a couple of stats tacked on. I don't understand what people wanted from Mass Effect 2 when it comes to loot. What should they have done?
    How about add things to loot? The Gold Box games back in 1988 did something wonderful that you don't even find in RPGs today. Enemies drop what they carry. If you fight 10 kobolds all wielding a short sword and a buckler, guess what they drop? 10 short swords and 10 bucklers combined. Then you just leave them all. If you fight a boss monster or humanoid, chances are they are wielding a magical item or two. In that case you should check what they've dropped and loot them. What's the advantage of this other than adding consistency and believability to the game world? Well, you then don't have to search every single corpse at the end of every single encounter because you know that trash will drop trash. It's such a simple thing to do. Baldur's Gate did it too as you never find magical items on generic xvarts, gibberlings, hobgoblins, bandits etc. Slaughter a whole pack of them? Move on. Slaughter a whole pack with a boss in the middle? Loot the boss of his magical items and then move on.

    Quote Originally Posted by EndelNurk View Post
    Nor do I. I also do not understand Wizardry's assertion that plenty of games have done loot well. I've always found it a tiresome game mechanic in every game and I think it is telling that Torchlight gave you a way of getting out of the dull business of hopping home to sell things.

    I would argue that the new system was actually important to the game. N7 is another aspect of Shepard. It demonstrates his/her [I'm trying :)] military experience, training and talent. It's also iconic enough to be used on the front of game boxes. The new inventory system ensures that it is always possible to have N7 and the blood stripe on your armour without having to compromise on stats.
    Boring. Statistics are far more important than the look of items. Plus, see above. Torchlight? That's a loot gathering game. Real RPGs shouldn't have a Diablo-style every-enemy-can-potentially-drop-a-quality-item loot system. And the advantage of not having that is so that you don't have to check every single corpse like you do in Diablo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Numerical divisions abstract from the game environment (magic sword +1) are a hangover from P&P RPGs, where in numerical differences was the only real way to put across distinction given the oral narrative.
    Moving pictures are a hangover from the olden days of film, where the moving pictures were the only real way to put across the narrative. Now days, with high quality audio and voice work, I think films should be audio only.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I'm fairly sure Mass Effect is all about playing a role in a world where in the decisions you make have consequences for the world at large and the people around you, and your personal evolution as an entity within that game space. What more is there that qualifies a game as a RPG in your view?
    You've heard it here first folks. Non-linear or branching narratives equate to an RPG. Looks like someone needs to go change the Heavy Rain entry on Wikipedia to reflect its new genre.

    Quote Originally Posted by thegooseking View Post
    Precisely. I've played plenty of PnPRPGs that right there in the rulebook printed the message, "don't let the rules get in the way of a good story". I'm not sure why this philosophy should be acceptable in PnPRPGs, but unthinkable in computer RPGs even though they are better suited to it.
    And you've never considered that PnP RPGs suffer from exactly the same problems that CRPGs do?

    Quote Originally Posted by EndelNurk View Post
    I understand that. I think we fall back to the discussion of whether we want a strong theme in our games or strong mechanics. Mass Effect has certainly gone the thematic root and I would argue has gone down that road further than any other game series, but that's a discussion for another time.
    Is this a joke? How has Mass Effect gone further down the thematic route than any other game series? Plus, you can go far down the thematic route while still having strong game mechanics. In fact, some of the best games have reflected the thematic elements in the game mechanics. Mass Effect doesn't really do this. It reflects them only in the removal or stripped down nature of the game mechanics.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Same here, I think the removal of pointless loot (it's not like anyone needed all that money!) and inclusion of more specific weapons and armour pieces made the whole thing a lot more focused.
    Why not include a actual uses for money/credits so that you never have enough over the course of the entire game? That's what some of the best CRPGs do.
    Last edited by Wizardry; 08-06-2011 at 03:28 PM.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    Boring. Statistics are far more important than the look of items.
    You do realise how subjective that is don't you? The whole point of this thread has been that some people like some things and don't like other things. Everybody who has talked about liking Mass Effect (barring me, but I acknowledge my views are different) has said they don't like all of the mechanics. However they still like the game for other reasons. Are they wrong to like the game? If you think they are then you are committing a cardinal sin. People like different things. You do not seem to enjoy Mass Effect. I wish you well for enjoying other things. Is it not possible to let us like what we like as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    You've heard it here first folks. Non-linear or branching narratives equate to an RPG. Looks like someone needs to go change the Heavy Rain entry on Wikipedia to reflect its new genre.
    Kadayi's point was clearly with regarding to the fact that Role Playing Games are Games where you Play a Role. As has been commented by others this means that essentially all games are Role Playing Games. As I have said in another thread I think this is why the use of that genre title for any game is ludicrous. However you clearly have your own set views of what an RPG must be to be enjoyable and so I will not discuss that further with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    Is this a joke?
    No. It's really, really not. The core theme of Mass Effect is in everything within the game from central plot to game mechanics to dialogue to codex entries to mission structure to music and yes, even to the design of armour. It's something I would post about if I had a little more confidence and assumed that other people would be either interested or enlightened in my opinions. Regardless, I do not think your attitude here is appropriate to discussion of the topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    Why not include a actual uses for money/credits so that you never have enough over the course of the entire game? That's what some of the best CRPGs do.
    Here is the best part of your post. It's a question that leads on to a fascinating discussion of the economics of game worlds. Persistent game worlds deal with this in interesting ways. The game world continues spewing out money which leads to massive inflation and the requirement for money sinks. Only very few games allow the funding of massive public works and so money sinks have tended to be things like flying mounts for WoW or enormous ships for Eve [Please correct me if I'm wrong there. I have never played Eve Online but have been led to understand that the large ships cost colossal amounts of money in order to correct the imbalance of endlessly available resources to mine.]

    Single player games have to do this in different ways. One way, and Mass Effect's way, is simply to not create the conditions that cause the inflation in the first place. On a second or third play through even this is inadequate as bonus funds are added for extended play. In that case the game goes back to money sinks such as the fun little model ships.

  17. #57
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus thegooseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    Boring. Statistics are far more important than the look of items. Plus, see above. Torchlight? That's a loot gathering game. Real RPGs shouldn't have a Diablo-style every-enemy-can-potentially-drop-a-quality-item loot system. And the advantage of not having that is so that you don't have to check every single corpse like you do in Diablo.
    That's a hell of an assertion. Not all of us like our narrative experiences to be so reductive.

    Moving pictures are a hangover from the olden days of film, where the moving pictures were the only real way to put across the narrative. Now days, with high quality audio and voice work, I think films should be audio only.
    Moving to just audio is more of an abstraction than using audio and video, so that would be, you know, the opposite of what Kadayi's point was.

    And you've never considered that PnP RPGs suffer from exactly the same problems that CRPGs do?
    You're the one calling them problems. I disagree with that, but my point was that things that are undeniably RPGs do it, so you can't say that something "isn't an RPG" on the basis that it does that.

    Is this a joke? How has Mass Effect gone further down the thematic route than any other game series? Plus, you can go far down the thematic route while still having strong game mechanics. In fact, some of the best games have reflected the thematic elements in the game mechanics. Mass Effect doesn't really do this. It reflects them only in the removal or stripped down nature of the game mechanics.
    I don't think it's a question of theme and mechanics. I think what EndelNurk was trying to say is that it's a question of whether we want a computer version of the experience traditional RPGs are trying to represent, or a computer version of traditional RPGs themselves. You clearly want the latter, and that's ok, but your insistence that that's the only option is plain wrong.

    Why not include a actual uses for money/credits so that you never have enough over the course of the entire game? That's what some of the best CRPGs do.
    Mass Effect 2 actually has a pretty tight economy. I don't see what the addition of a money sink would add to the game.

  18. #58
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    I'm fairly sure Mass Effect is all about playing a role in a world where in the decisions you make have consequences for the world at large and the people around you, and your personal evolution as an entity within that game space.

    1) Every other computer game genre is defined by its mechanics, not its narrative structure. RPG's should be no different.

    2) One of the components of a mechanical CRPG is that characters are defined by their abilities, not your reflexes. ME3 looks to be nearly entirely dependent on your ability to shoot, seek cover, etc (like ME2 was), which makes it an action game, not an RPG, from 1.

    I enjoy the ME games, but this isn't about what's good and what's bad, it's about clear use of genre labels. If labels of this sort don't clearly convey the nature of gameplay, what purpose do they serve?
    Last edited by vinraith; 08-06-2011 at 06:44 PM.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndelNurk View Post
    No. It's really, really not. The core theme of Mass Effect is in everything within the game from central plot to game mechanics to dialogue to codex entries to mission structure to music and yes, even to the design of armour. It's something I would post about if I had a little more confidence and assumed that other people would be either interested or enlightened in my opinions. Regardless, I do not think your attitude here is appropriate to discussion of the topic.
    Although he's expressing it very badly, I do agree with Wizardry's specific point here. Mass Effect (especially 2) is not a game which communicates its theme through its mechanics especially well. It has a lot of strong theme in every *other* aspect (loading screens, narrative structure, world design, soundtrack and so on) but the mechanics are severely lacking.

    Here are some random examples (please do note that I really like Mass Effect 2):

    • Mass Effect 1 makes it clear that the world is full of different arms companies producing different sorts of weapons. Mass Effect 2, set in the same universe, has no mechanic for this (there are only two models of each gun type). Is it part of Mass Effect 2's theme that one gun is much the same as another? No, it's just a mechanic.
    • Mass Effect 1 makes a big fuss of how ammunition doesn't exist. Mass Effect 2 uses clips. I know about the design decisions behind this, but that's exactly the point - the mechanics support the gameplay, not the theme.
    • Krogan are monstrously powerful. Grunt and Wrex are not. Again this is done for balance reasons, and most RPGs do this to one extent or another, but the mechanics do not support the theme.
    • The world is in peril. Time is pressing! This concept of time being pressing is very important in Mass Effect 2 (less so in ME1, but still as much as any Bioware game). The mechanics do not support this concept at all. They directly encourage you to wander the galaxy mucking about with stuff that really isn't very important. While the narrative and the mood created by the art and sound create the impression of tension and time pressure, the mechanics create the exact opposite impression.
    • Biotics use mass effect to directly alter the mass of things. That's to an extent the central scifi/technological (as opposed to social/political) theme of the game. In the mechanics, this manifests as force balls which can be hurled round corners and super saiyan megaduels between glowing, invulnerable super people.
    • The Reapers have an ambient field which destroys the minds of sentient creatures. No mechanic at all for this.
    • In Mass Effect 1, Shepard made a handful of decisions which have had a profound effect on the galaxy. None of these have any mechanical effect (whether they have a narrative effect is a separate point).

    In almost every case I would very strongly argue that Mass Effect prioritises accessibility over theme in its mechanics. A game which has its mechanics completely rooted in its theme would be something like Amnesia. I can give other more specific examples if you're interested.
    Last edited by Jaxtrasi; 08-06-2011 at 05:44 PM.

  20. #60
    I agree that ME3 is looking to seem more a FPS/RPG hybrid, than a RPG with FPS gameplay. RPG features have surely less impact in ME2 than ME1, and probably ME3 is going to continue the trend. Still I liked games like Alpha Protocol, but that's my personal tastes (probably also because I make VN games). I prefer games with more dialogue/choices/cutscenes than classic RPG ones.
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