Posts Tagged ‘RPG’

The RPG Scrollbars: The Best Punishments For Cheaters

Over in Everquest II, they’re trying an experiment at the moment – what’s that? Yes, Everquest II. People are still playing it. The original as well. I know, I’m surprised too, but never mind. Specifically, they’ve created a prison server called Drunder. The idea is that instead of banning trolls, griefers and cheaters (presumably up to a certain point), they can simply throw all the troublemakers in server jail and let them play together with no possibility of escape. Nothing can possibly go wrong! If you want to indulge in the anarchy then you can request to be sent there, but again, it’s a one way trip for your account. Has Daybreak finally discovered the ultimate fix for bad online behaviour, though? Let’s ask our special ethics correspondent, a snowball in Hell.

Well, while we wait, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how a few other RPGs have decided to have a little fun with their dodgier elements, both online and off.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Legends Of Valour

Who said epic action and high adventure has to be part of an adventurer’s life? (Checks) Oh, right. Pretty much everyone at least expects it. Still, back in 1992, US Gold and Synthetic Dimensions decided to try something a little different. Specifically, spelling ‘Valour’ correctly. (The sequel might have done the same for ‘Honour’, but we never got to find out.) Also, something to do with life simulation. It’s a little remembered game these days, but one that had a major impact on some of the biggest modern RPGs around. Ever heard of a series called The Elder Scrolls? Bethesda’s Todd Howard has long mentioned this being one of its big inspirations.

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Wot I Think: Pillars Of Eternity – The White March Part 1

It’s been nearly half a year since we devoured Pillars Of Eternity. Now Obsidian are back with another great big chunk, in the form of the first half of The White March [official site]. Does the expansion give good reason to return to the Dyrwood? Here’s wot I think.

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Striding Forth – Pillars Of Eternity: The White March Out

It’s been five months since Pillars of Eternity [official site] was released, which is categorical proof that the wheel of time has spun completely off its axis and is careering down a hill toward a cliff edge. Before we’re all plunged into the abyss, there’s another big chunk of RPG from Obsidian to delve into, in The White March Part 1, a snowy expansion for the main game.

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Long Night Of Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (With Clan Quests)

They say the definition of madness is repeatedly trying the same thing and expecting different results. But hey, the Malkavians of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines have lucked into stranger things, so I figure there’s at least a chance that one day I’ll fire it up and find a whole new adventure waiting. Today was not that day. Tomorrow isn’t looking too likely. Yet still it feels like it’s our best chance, until someone else finally figures out that urban fantasy is a painfully untapped genre for RPG awesomeness. (Looking at you, Hairbrained Schemes. Still time to ditch that boring Battletech license!*)

Still, while waiting for Shadowrun: Hong Kong this week, I felt that urge to head back to Santa Monica and check out some old haunts. The timing seemed fitting, especially with the launch of a new version of the Clan Quest mod the other week – one of several projects attempting to keep Bloodlines healthy over ten years after launch.

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The RPG Scrollbars: A Weapon Of Legend

This week, Blizzard announced the latest World of Warcraft expansion – World Of Warcraft: Legion [official site]. It looks pretty good. Almost as good as my prediction. Almost. I’m not going to rehash the full details here, but I’m up for it. It’s a big step forward for Warcraft’s arc story, featuring the return of its Big Bad, the Burning Legion, and some long awaited story stuff like Blizzard’s promise to redeem themselves for turning Illidan into just a snarling villain. New character class. Ten new levels. New continent. New PvP system. It’s nothing too unexpected or world-shattering at this point in the game, but it is a solid looking expansion.

The part of the pitch I liked the most though was Blizzard’s plan for Artifact Weapons – not so much for the specifics of what Blizzard has planned, but because it addresses something that’s long annoyed me. Weapons, particularly in fantasy games, deserve more respect.

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The RPG Scrollbars: A Visit To Old Albion

Albion really should be better known. It’s one of the more obscure beloved 90s RPGs, rarely brought up in conversation like the Ultimas or the Gold Box games or for the true aficionados, games like Darklands. Since release though it’s had a decent nostalgic following, and its recent re-launch on GOG produced what can only be described as a small yet dignified whoop from many a corner. So what is it about this obscure offering from the publisher of The Settlers that’s managed to stay in players’ minds for so long? Let’s take a look, shall we? Seems a good time.

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Wot I Think: Victor Vran

Out of Early Access and in a full release, action RPG Victor Vran [official site] is big diversion for Tropico developers Haemimont Games. But is it a successful one? Here’s wot I think:

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Choices Of A Samurai

You know, I’m not entirely sure that Way of the Samurai 4 [official site] is the most authentic historical game. Not sure what makes me think that. Possibly the British ambassador to Japan being a tiny girl in a Lolita dress. Maybe the stock dialogue option “I’m allowed to kill you if I want to.” At a pinch, maybe the fact that the British Royal Marine Commander’s name is “Melinda Megamelons”. No, no, it’s probably nothing. I’m sure you could use it for homework and walk off with an A.

But as well as being educational, it’s the ideal candidate for an RPG cultural exchange – a pot of great ideas and potential cool things just sitting there for Western games to both play with and pilfer, and a refreshing change from the sprawling norm. If you don’t mind your eyes sometimes rolling so hard that you get a quick peek inside your own skull. Ouch, that gets painful after a bit.

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Premature Evaluation: Caves of Qud

We’re at a weird place in videogames - and possibly in culture in general - where certain tropes have ingrained themselves around the notion of mutation which diametrically misrepresent how it works. I’m not saying that’s entirely a bad thing - Caves of Qud would be a lesser game if it didn’t indulge the fantasy of being able to sprout multiple legs and quills, while farting out a cloud of sleeping gas. Yet it’s peculiar that we have seized upon and so widely propagated such a fanciful interpretation of a process that, when considered as part of evolutionary adaptation, is defined by its sloth, incrementality and a total lack of governing agency.

Each week Marsh Davies sniffs out advantageous evolutions among the many horrendous deformities of Early Access, and comes back with any stories he can find and/or succumbs to a gruesome fate in a Darwinian dead-end. This week, every which way he turns is a genetic cul-de-sac in Caves of Qud [Steam page], an uncompromisingly old-school Rogue-like set in a doggedly lo-fi post-apocalyptic sci-fantasy world, heavy on simulation and mutation both.

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