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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    Though we are perhaps deviating from it being an RPG. When you think about it, the entire purpose of the system is to introduce unpredictability into a co-operative narrative (i.e. you may hit or miss the orc). Given computers are notoriously bad at being unpredictable it makes sense in many ways to retain this by hiding the numbers from the player.
    I think the reason a lot of people become frustrated when the mechanics are hidden is that they need to know how the system works in order to judge whether their choices are meaningful. To take attribute points as an example - how can you decide whether to increase strength or dexterity by 1 when you have no idea what doing so will do? knowing how those attributes are used allows you to make an informed decision. We intuitively know how the world around us works and we intuitively know how strong or quick we are and can reasonably judge our abilities (give or take some ego adjustment). We need to know how a system operates if we are to have the same understanding.

    An alternative we see a lot is that some games drop all numerical representations entirely. In one way that's great as attributes lose there abstract proprtions. Instead of 10 strength you are now "quite Strong" or that short sword +1 is now good quality short sword. But you still don't really know how it all works - although once you are concious of how computer programmes work you know that there are numerical systems operating in the background so presented with good quality short sword and good quality axe you know there is a difference, that one tool may be appropriate for some situations, the other in others (or you would hope so) but because it's not described to you AND you have no idea how the world actually operates, you are blind guessing and if anything it makes the game a more hollow, gamey experience.

  2. #42
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Ok, can we clear a few things up here? Cos I don't know what to make of it.

    OP makes a nice distinction for RPGs between "twitch" combat and turn-based. I can go along with that: the distinction over what skill the game is testing - Your reflexes? Or your decision-making?

    If we went full-Wizardry, only the latter would deserve the title "RPG". I'm not coming down for or against that, but at least it's a nice, clear-cut, distinction. I can get my head around it.

    But you guys are using "RPG" to refer to a game that...that has what? I can't really tell.

    Character growth? Skill-systems? XP points? But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcompany View Post
    Perhaps if we rid ourselves of levels and perks and skill trees and allow the player to play the game
    If that's your RPG, this thread ain't about RPGs. So what is your RPG?

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Removal of such numbers, classes, levels, stats, removes the ability of the player to define their character and have the game respond to their character through that definition. That's a massive part of RPG gameplay.
    "RPG" refers to "forming a unique ROLE for your avatar"?

    Quote Originally Posted by SanguineAngel View Post
    Those stats are there to simulate your character's strengths and weaknesses. If they were not there then you would just be playing yourself everytime, no longer playing a role.
    "RPG" refers to "adopting ANY role"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    It is increasingly clear that when certain grognards say "RPG" what they mean is a game where the numbers are explicit. You have ultimate control over every aspect of the "simulation."
    "RPG" refers to anal numbers-focussed simulator?


    Everybody's just talking across one another here. There's no firm correspondence between what "RPG" means and how it is used, and none of those implied definitions straighten that out. So if you want people to understand you maybe you should stop using that word? I think it's a bad word. Or if you want to insist on your particular usage, well you're going to have to spend quite some time laying out what you mean, unless hey you enjoy getting frustrated because people misunderstand you.

    (This woulda been a totally different thread if OP had said "I want an FPS set in a medieval/fantasy world. Adapting some ideas from RPGs could make that awesome.")
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  3. #43
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    Everybody's just talking across one another here. There's no firm correspondence between what "RPG" means and how it is used, and none of those implied definitions straighten that out. So if you want people to understand you maybe you should stop using that word? I think it's a bad word. Or if you want to insist on your particular usage, well you're going to have to spend quite some time laying out what you mean, unless hey you enjoy getting frustrated because people misunderstand you.
    Yes, let's have another "what's an RPG?" thread.

    And by that I mean let's not.
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  4. #44
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    I thought we had managed to purge RPG out of this thread, but the little bastard keeps coming back. Three letters, but so much pain!
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkasaurusmex View Post
    Has there been a game that punishes you for acting outside an alignment you choose for the character at creation? I know a lot of classic RPGs would alter your alignment, but it would be interesting if there was an elegant way to sort of "force" role playing by having alignment choice at creation, then when you act outside of that alignment (which is going to be really hard for a game to determine properly...if it can even be done) you lose experience...or something. Some new stat that represents how well you stay within your prescribed alignment...

    On second thought this may actually take away from role playing by gamerizing it.
    It's not much, but Paladins and Rangers would lose their class-specific skils if their rep dropped far enough in the Baldur's Gate games. They would become fallen paladins/rangers, ending as gimped warriors (more or less). So that forced you to stay within a certain alignment, to some extent.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Yes, let's have another "what's an RPG?" thread.

    And by that I mean let's not.
    Yeahhh.

    I'm making a vow not to use the word again. If you spot me using it, feel free to smack me. It's the simplest way.
    Free speech don't mean unchallengeable speech.

  7. #47
    Network Hub roryok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    "RPG" refers to anal numbers-focussed simulator?
    Now THERE'S a game

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanguineAngel View Post
    I think the reason a lot of people become frustrated when the mechanics are hidden is that they need to know how the system works in order to judge whether their choices are meaningful.
    Which begs the question of whether they should know beforehand in the first place! The character presumably has no foreknowledge of the outcome of a decision, why should the player?
    And to go back to tabletop, the same applies there - the outcome of most decisions is decided by the D20, unless you're rolling loaded die you have the same problem.
    To take attribute points as an example - how can you decide whether to increase strength or dexterity by 1 when you have no idea what doing so will do?
    Why does it matter? The advantage of the PC game is the wonderful ability to save and reload. What's stopping you upping strength by 1, testing it out then reloading and upping dexterity instead? Isn't that one of the benefits of utilising a computer rather than a tabletop?
    We intuitively know how the world around us works and we intuitively know how strong or quick we are and can reasonably judge our abilities
    No, we learn how the world around us works and we learn to judge our abilities. In the real world of course it takes the whole of your childhood. There's no reason a game shouldn't require the application of the same principles, albeit of course understanding should be a whole lot faster since not only is it a far more simple system, but we already know there is an underlying, predictable system at work.
    but because it's not described to you AND you have no idea how the world actually operates, you are blind guessing and if anything it makes the game a more hollow, gamey experience.
    I wouldn't say so. In fact, I'd argue that it's far more intuitive that "superior axe" is better than "rusty axe" than utilising a number system, our brains are evolved to deal with language far more than numbers.
    I'd say it's actually a less 'gamey' system. When you say a meaningful decision, what you're talking about is a meaningful decision in terms of the system, not roleplaying. In effect, the player is gaming the system rather than playing a character -in those terms there's little to set an RPG apart from any other game, you remove the focus from narrative, characterisation etc and instead boil it down to picking the better choices. You do the same thing in Civilisation.
    Yes, some people dislike it when they can't see the system, but then there's a reason boardgames such as Monopoly are more popular than Roleplaying games. It doesn't mean we should turn RPGs into boardgames however.

  9. #49
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    Yeahhh.

    I'm making a vow not to use the word again. If you spot me using it, feel free to smack me. It's the simplest way.
    Can I smack you anyway? I mean, I don't care if you use the word or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    I'd say it's actually a less 'gamey' system. When you say a meaningful decision, what you're talking about is a meaningful decision in terms of the system, not roleplaying. In effect, the player is gaming the system rather than playing a character -in those terms there's little to set an RPG apart from any other game, you remove the focus from narrative, characterisation etc and instead boil it down to picking the better choices.
    To quote Gygax,

    "The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good."
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    Why does it matter? The advantage of the PC game is the wonderful ability to save and reload. What's stopping you upping strength by 1, testing it out then reloading and upping dexterity instead? Isn't that one of the benefits of utilising a computer rather than a tabletop?
    Are you serious? Under the assumption that the effects of increasing your stats is immediately obvious as soon as you do it, you propose that it's better to try everything and see what the effect is than just being able to look up what the effect is beforehand and save yourself some time? Every time I level up I'm going to try every plausible possibility until I've worked out what the rule is? Why not tell me the rule to start with?

    And that's entirely ignoring the fact that the results of increasing your stats in RPGs are not immediately obvious as soon as you make them. Who knows what the strength requirement is of the various types of armour in the game? You don't know... unless someone explains the rules! So not only is your idea fairly pointless were it viable, it isn't even viable.

    The character presumably has no foreknowledge of the outcome of a decision, why should the player?
    RPG characters usually start out pretty competent at their fields, whereas the player hasn't the faintest idea and needs some help. Although it might be interesting to have an RPG where you are playing someone who is also a complete noob, and having to work things out for yourself is fitting. I'm not sure such a concept would survive the internet era, but a game where trying to work out the underlying system is a key element is quite a nice idea. I guess it would be most suitable for a roguelike, since you'd probably want it to be a game where you restart a lot.
    Last edited by NathanH; 28-05-2012 at 09:30 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    To quote Gygax,

    "The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good."
    As far as I'm aware that was his criticism of 3E D&D. He didn't like the way that character classes became balanced solely around combat as it eroded the necessity of teamwork due to everyone being of similar power to everyone else (at least compared to AD&D). You can see this trend taken to the extreme in MMORPGs or even Diablo 2 where every class is basically capable of soloing. Things like "linear warriors, quadratic wizards" and "utility characters" were part and parcel of AD&D, but in 3E a functional group can be a bunch of super soldiers, or "comic-book superheroes" who can do the same jobs in different ways, destroying the solid "archetypes" that D&D was initially built around.

    Also, Gygax was one of the biggest "grognards" out there.

  12. #52
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    If a game is supposed to be a role-playing game, I'd certainly like to see it hide information the character doesn't have. Perfect introspection is one of those things. Suppose that, internally in the game engine, my character has 4/10 Guns skill. Don't tell me that! It's much more interesting to know how good my character considers themselves to be (which is of course a function of what they think the state of the art is, what they think others' skills are, and the character's general optimism/pessimism, etc.).

    Other stuff which should be hidden in other games, not just RPGs, include written and spoken information when it's in languages the character doesn't understand. Much more interesting to try to listen to French voice actors and determine from the tone etc. whether I'm in trouble, than getting perfect subtitling when my character isn't supposed to understand any French.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by victory View Post

    Other stuff which should be hidden in other games, not just RPGs, include written and spoken information when it's in languages the character doesn't understand. Much more interesting to try to listen to French voice actors and determine from the tone etc. whether I'm in trouble, than getting perfect subtitling when my character isn't supposed to understand any French.
    Right. How fun would it be to have some crazy ass maniac screaming at you in french, and then trying to decipher what he attempted to convey, while he chops us into bits and pieces. No. Playing AC : Brotherhood in a different language was a great enough experience for me. Had a good time, not looking back.

    Numbers for an integral part of all games. If someone wanted a work around, maybe motion sensing tech could detect, in a manner of speaking, the way we swing our sword, the way it should hit the bad guy, and the way his nuts should get pummeled.

  14. #54
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sparkasaurusmex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victory View Post
    Other stuff which should be hidden in other games, not just RPGs, include written and spoken information when it's in languages the character doesn't understand. Much more interesting to try to listen to French voice actors and determine from the tone etc. whether I'm in trouble, than getting perfect subtitling when my character isn't supposed to understand any French.
    I believe it was KOTOR that had a nice way of using languages your character didn't understand. It was basically gibberish until you learned the language or put a babelfish in your ear. The MMO Star Wars Galaxies tried to make it interesting by distorting the chat from characters using languages you didn't understand, even if they were other players. And you could choose which language to speak in from the languages you knew. The only problem with this was that it was too easy to teach a language to another player (it only took a second) and everyone knew all the languages pretty quickly.

    edit: I think there are just different genres and some use these number systems a lot and some don't show any of it to the player. But the type of game that uses a stat system shown to the player would basically be a different genre if you took the numbers out. And that's a genre I would miss.
    Last edited by Sparkasaurusmex; 29-05-2012 at 04:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeathPig View Post
    Right. How fun would it be to have some crazy ass maniac screaming at you in french, and then trying to decipher what he attempted to convey, while he chops us into bits and pieces. No. Playing AC : Brotherhood in a different language was a great enough experience for me. Had a good time, not looking back.
    You aren't making any sense. The point was to determine friendly/hostile and react in time, not "decipher" anything while getting hacked to pieces.

    It doesn't have to be just language tone either. AAA games could afford nice body language animations which the player could also use to determine when they are being set up. This is a very interesting problem in the real world; if you watch video of real criminal assaults from Youtube, you can pretty easily spot many situations seconds before the attack comes, if you know what you are looking for. Even when the attacker is in cold blood and setting up an ambush. Someone who's enraged and working up an aggression before attack is child's play to see. This stuff would fit perfectly in many game environments where trust and distrust are a natural focus - think criminals, spywork, post-apocalyptic environments, rural fantasy settings, etc.

  16. #56
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    Yo, Wizardry, was wondering about your opinion on something. When a bunch of us used to play D&D, we had the following method for diplomacy checks and similar: you could either just declare that you wanted to make a diplomacy check, or you could play out the words you're using in the check. In the latter case, the DM assigned a bonus or penalty based on his assessment of the diplomacy attempt. Was this

    1) akin to allowing the player to choose combat tactics in combat, hence Fine; or
    2) akin to allowing the aim of the player to affect the aim of a character therefore Diluting The RPG?
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    Which begs the question of whether they should know beforehand in the first place! The character presumably has no foreknowledge of the outcome of a decision, why should the player?
    And to go back to tabletop, the same applies there - the outcome of most decisions is decided by the D20, unless you're rolling loaded die you have the same problem.
    Decisions are decided by chance, true, but they are influenced by the character skill and/or attribute - their ability. So I would say that knowing how a system works does not mean that the player has foreknowledge of the outcome of their decision in either scenario. It just means that they know what making that decision will mean - IE they're aware that their character possesses a certain level of skill and the rough chance of success or failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    Why does it matter? The advantage of the PC game is the wonderful ability to save and reload. What's stopping you upping strength by 1, testing it out then reloading and upping dexterity instead? Isn't that one of the benefits of utilising a computer rather than a tabletop?
    Well as NathanH pointed out - that would be poor design and inefficient and probably not a lot of fun. Really, if you never know how the mechanics work you'd still be guessing at the effect after the fact. It would be more efficient, useful and probably enjoyable to know what increasing your statistics actually means. Basically if you are going to give the player that decision to alter the game mechanics then you need to inform them of the ramifications of those decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    No, we learn how the world around us works and we learn to judge our abilities. In the real world of course it takes the whole of your childhood. There's no reason a game shouldn't require the application of the same principles, albeit of course understanding should be a whole lot faster since not only is it a far more simple system, but we already know there is an underlying, predictable system at work.
    You are correct but wouldn't you agree that we learn a great deal about the world at the earliest stages of life? We may not understand how the world works the way it does but by the time we hit childhood we have learnt the basics and have an intuitive understanding rather than a scientific one of the world and of ourselves.

    We don't start any game like that because we are thrown into the game world as a fully functioning entity, not a child able to spend a few years figuring those basics out.

    To substitute that knowledge, players of both tabletop and cRPGs are provided with basic knowledge - a player guide as to how the mechanics of the game world works.

    It's not unique to RPGs - most games have a tutorial. Most boardgames have a set of rules that all the players must comprehend before they can play the game together.

    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    I wouldn't say so. In fact, I'd argue that it's far more intuitive that "superior axe" is better than "rusty axe" than utilising a number system, our brains are evolved to deal with language far more than numbers.
    I do see where you are coming from there but there is a difference. Yes, we have an understanding of those terms in the real world (at least vaguely) but there are two points: That linguistic understanding is supplemented by physical experience whereby you can experience the axe and assess it's quality physically. Also, the game world operates differently from the real world where we know what those terms mean. More, we know that game world operates differently and so the linguistic terms that we know so well in this world lose their meaning.

    To be clear, I don't think that hiding these numbers is necessarily a negative thing. There is room in this world for all sorts of games - as there are all sorts of players who will enjoy them. However, I can see the reasoning for so many RPGs to display their mechanical workings in the way that they do. They are attempting to simulate the knowledge that character possesses about themselves and the world for the player.

    Quote Originally Posted by archonsod View Post
    I'd say it's actually a less 'gamey' system. When you say a meaningful decision, what you're talking about is a meaningful decision in terms of the system, not roleplaying. In effect, the player is gaming the system rather than playing a character -in those terms there's little to set an RPG apart from any other game, you remove the focus from narrative, characterisation etc and instead boil it down to picking the better choices. You do the same thing in Civilisation.
    Yes, some people dislike it when they can't see the system, but then there's a reason boardgames such as Monopoly are more popular than Roleplaying games. It doesn't mean we should turn RPGs into boardgames however.
    You are right, when I discuss meaningful decisions in this context it is most certainly to do with the system - I don't think that's a bad thing. I hope you can understand where I am coming from a bit more now - I think that roleplaying does require an understanding of the system so that you can effectively gauge your character's position within the simulated world. I don't think the player needs an all seeing eye or anything - we have a DM for a reason - but I do think an understanding of the system is important.
    Last edited by SanguineAngel; 29-05-2012 at 10:10 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Yo, Wizardry, was wondering about your opinion on something. When a bunch of us used to play D&D, we had the following method for diplomacy checks and similar: you could either just declare that you wanted to make a diplomacy check, or you could play out the words you're using in the check. In the latter case, the DM assigned a bonus or penalty based on his assessment of the diplomacy attempt. Was this

    1) akin to allowing the player to choose combat tactics in combat, hence Fine; or
    2) akin to allowing the aim of the player to affect the aim of a character therefore Diluting The RPG?
    Easily number 2 because it's basically pure player skill. It's only possible to "role-play" if players actively attempt to perform as well as their character should, and in that case what is the point of doing things this way? This is basically the equivalent of having two modes of aiming in a turn-based RPG, with one being the standard skill check (plus random number) and the other being some real-time mini-game that tests the speed and precision of the player's mouse movement. One is based precisely on the ability of the character while the other is based purely (or partially) on the player's own aiming skill. Only aiming as well as their character would is fitting, but then this is merely equivalent to going the skill check route. So basically by introducing something like this you allow the player to consistently perform better or worse than his or her character would, effectively allowing players to "break character" and providing an unnecessary obstacle for those who want to stay "in character".

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    So am I right in thinking that your classification is basically dependent on how much a particular challenge is discretized? For instance, in a combat, if I use my own intelligence rather than my character's intelligence, I'm going to have a different chance of winning the combat, but because combat is discretized into smaller events, and my strategy doesn't influence the results of each particular event, just what the actual event is, that's OK. Whereas in a diplomacy situation, I'm just making a single check so allowing me to influence that check by my own skill is quite different.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    So am I right in thinking that your classification is basically dependent on how much a particular challenge is discretized? For instance, in a combat, if I use my own intelligence rather than my character's intelligence, I'm going to have a different chance of winning the combat, but because combat is discretized into smaller events, and my strategy doesn't influence the results of each particular event, just what the actual event is, that's OK. Whereas in a diplomacy situation, I'm just making a single check so allowing me to influence that check by my own skill is quite different.
    I guess so. Decision making is the game. Using your intelligence to decide which actions to perform in combat is merely you playing the game. Using your own intelligence or skill to directly affect your character's ability to do a particular task adds absolutely nothing to the "role-playing" aspect of a game. If a level of abstraction exists, and you add in player skill to that level, then nothing is gained other than a mini-game for the player to showcase their skill.

    It's like programming in a skill to allow players to climb walls, and then letting the player do a climbing mini-game to influence it. What do you lose by removing the climbing mini-game and just performing a skill check? You lose the mini-game and nothing else. It's no less a role-playing game and is in fact a purer one as a result of taking it away.
    Last edited by Wizardry; 29-05-2012 at 08:24 PM.

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