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The problem with RPGs

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Thanas
 Post subject: The problem with RPGs
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 02:43pm 

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Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
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I've noticed something among my friends when it comes to RPGs. Most of us like old RPGs like Baldur's Gate, with there being a consensus that the only RPG really worth playing in the last years was The Witcher (and Alpha Protocol).

I was wondering why that was and heard a few explanations:

- Old RPGs are closer to an interactive book, modern books are closer to a movie. For example, you had to read a lot in BG about the worldbuilding. You read masses of text, which on the one hand gave you a wow effect like "wow, the guys have really put some thought into this". Likewise, the pace was slower and you knew that you had to invest a lot of time in this kind of game beforehand, but your fantasy was not constrained. Likewise, new RPGs are often closer to movies than to books - dialogue is now spoken, the characters are presented to you. Oftentimes, new RPGs do not start out slow anymore. This is positive as there are no more "kill 10 rats", but on the other hand it does not present ever increasing challenges until the finale, often leading to rather disappointing things like the Witcher 2 finale. So the older 2D medium's limitations might actually turn out to be benefits.

- Lack of competition and developers being lazy limiting innovation. New RPGs are almost guaranteed to come from the big three - Obsidian, Bioware and Bethesda. And at least one of them (Bioware) has been recycling the same formula over and over again, even going so far as to have direct character copies from one game series to the next. And what is worse is that they can get away with it because people will still buy the games because there is little choice or because they are lazy fanboys.

- characters: If there is an RPG, too few developers seem to develop characters that seem genuine. (Looking at you, Bioware, which has gone from "you better wear full plate girl character or you will be dead" Baldurs Gate to "let's see how chainmail bikinis work" Dragon Age. This is not the only criticism, but I think it shows a shift from trying to tell a story to pandering). The Witcher and Alpha Protocol work because people can relate to the characters and the developers do not pull their punches, nor shy away from murdering their darlings. Why is there a lack of writing innovative stories? Do developers simply not pay enough?

- reviewers. One classic example is Alpha protocol - great character design, great game, yet reviewers hated it. Sure, it was a buggy mess when it came first out but why criticize the many innovative concepts it had? Dialogue choices that make you think. Oh, the horror. Which leads me to.....

- dumbing things down. I get that the "here are 200 pages of world history" approach of Baldur's Gate might put people off. OTOH, these things were a bonus that were not required to complete the story. Still, it feels like if there is a challenge to players in new RPGs it often is "how fast can you press a button", instead of forcing the player to think about consequences. The Witcher and Alpha Protocol did both very well. Yet in other RPGs it often is telegraphed to the player in advance that character X will betray you or that Y is actually the great evil masquerading as a goodie. The great reveals (like Revan in KOTOR I, Sarevok in BG1) no longer happen.

Of course, there is also the final option:
- old farts are jaded. What might be new and exciting to younger player is just cookie cutter stuff for older players like me.



So what do you think?
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:01pm 

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It sounds like you're talking mostly about presentation - like how in Baldurs Gate (and gold box games, and Starcon, or whatever) presentation was quite primitive and focused on the content, whether the novel-length conversations or the varied characters. You could say that games are much more about presentation than content these days - less characters, less narrative, but more cutscenes, more constantly lingering buttshots, and more emphasis on the mechanics of combat and what the player is doing rather than what the player is knowing or deciding.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:04pm 

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Yeah, I guess that is it. Though the two are not mutually exclusive I think - the Witcher 1 looks freaking gorgeous and yet does not feel any less epic, so to speak. What I am wondering about is why this shift occured among developers that started out the exact opposite, like Bioware.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:14pm 

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Certainly you can have both - it'd be pretty hard to make a really ugly game these days without trying anyway - but this shift in focus or style has been coming for a long time, especially with Bioware. While I guess its most visible in ME/DA (where you can watch ten minutes of Miranda's pussy tell you about backstory), back in the KOTOR days the 'cinematic' and 'movie-like' flow of the game was praised. I think they just went further in that direction, so you have modern games where you have a few dozen conversations (where 75% of options are 'tell me about xyz thing' instead of natural conversation) and a giant, sprawling codex full of worldbuilding fluff.

Since you can't make top-down games anymore, how would you see the flow of a game like Baldurs Gate in a modern game? Obviously you'd want more complex interactions between a larger roster of characters, but putting aside combat, what changes would you want to see to move away from Michael Bay RPGs?
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CaiusWickersham
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:17pm 

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Joined: 2008-10-11 08:24am
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Okay, first, you think Alpha Protocol was good?! That game got me bored stupid after Act I.
"Oh, another viper's nest of intrigue. Who's working for whom, really? Yawn."
Let me say this: I liked Baldur's Gate. I enjoyed the characters, the plot was interesting, and I was immersed in a world. I got that same feel with Mass Effect, Dragon Age, along with, horror of horrors, the Elder Scrolls since Morrowind and both of the Bethesda Fallout games. Whether I get world-building through text or speech makes no difference to me. If that wounds some tender sensibilities you have about RPGs, then you can fuck off you pretentious little goit. I've been gaming probably as long as you have and I have just as much a right to an opinion as you.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:20pm 

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Did you just make a post to say 'I will not participate in this discussion'?

'just as much a right to an opinion as you'

I love cowards. 8)
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:24pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
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Thanas wrote:
So what do you think?


I'm not sure I buy the dichotomy between "old" and "new" RPGs. In fact, I almost feel I should debate the moniker of "RPG" in this instance because the old-schooler in me feels "Computer RPGs" is a newfangled oxymoron sprung from that dread machine known as the x86, may it be cursed. Then I remember I own one and that my Amiga broke ages ago, and I become sad.

Nevertheless, "old" and "new" seems a bit hard to judge. I suppose I can see three or four distinct blocks of computer RPG simulations, these being:

  1. Dungeon crawler IF games, roguelikes, and whatnot (think your Zork and Nethack type games from the 1970's-1980's).
  2. First-person grid based games, meaning the Dungeon Master and later Eye of the Beholder style games.
  3. Top-down adventurer party based games, as exemplified by Bioware (BG, BG2, ToB, ID, ID2, and Ps:T) or Black Isle (Fallout).
  4. Fully 3d questing games, either party-based or not (The Witcher, KotOR, Jade Empire, Fable, and so on).

Problem is, there's a good deal of variety within the same category. Heck, one might argue that Ultima 3 belongs in the third group, and it was released in 1983. Sure, the choices were originally tied to combat options, but that didn't last. Character development -- in the mechanical sense, that is -- seems to be the hallmark of the cRPG concept, and that was present; the concept of having a party was also in this game. Then again, we'd call Oblivion or Skyrim a cRPG without demanding multiple characters, so the distinction blurs.

Anyway, digression aside, I think there is some truth to the notion that the most recent cRPGs have been unduly dumbed down. The answer is, I think, not all that surprising: there's been a paradigm shift in the latest generation of gamers, spurred along by consoles and WoW, and it's one that won't necessarily entice the older generation. Previously, games demanded an investment in time. You had to sit down and apply yourself and if you did, you were then rewarded by a hopefully compelling storyline, hours of escapism, and immersion. Today, the console/WoW generation wants the payoff right now, because games are something you boot up and play for ten minutes, and in that time you have to squeeze in your requisite dungeon + boss fight + payday. One rarely gets one's hands on a game that asks the player to take his time (the once ubiquitous Flight Sims, for instance, are all but unheard of today).

I can kinda-sorta understand the appeal of streamlining a game and not blocking off the player from enjoyment. Even so, I miss the time when games were something other than blatant Skinner boxes with a hasty varnish of HDR-bloom-trip-mapped-gigatexturoids (Skyrim, I'm looking at you).
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:26pm 

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I think you're onto something a bit, Thanas- I think that part of it is that games are starting to get big budgets and this retards creativity in a number of ways. First of all, it raises the stakes on success, so it pushes things towards being blander and more pandering to make people more likely to like it. Second of all, limitations can force creativity because of working with what you have. Big budgets allow you to do (for our purposes) whatever you like, which means that unless you've got exceptional people, then you're going to have weaker stuff because you're not hitting limits and trying to go around them. I think there are probably a couple of other ways in which huge budgets have actually hurt games, but then we've got reviewers.

Basically, every other piece of media has independent reviewers. Film and books have the most independent ones, because the success of those isn't as related to reviews- if you've got a hot author or a blockbuster, you can usually count on success regardless of whether Ebert savages the implicit heteronormativity and sexism in it, or the New Yorker points out that you're an unoriginal hack with the prose capabilities of Bulwer-Lytton. Music is more dependent on word of mouth and reviews, so there's more of an impulse to control that, but video games are almost entirely controlled by the publishers when it comes to commercial reviews. In order to get advance copies, you need to fellate the games they put out. In order to get advertising, you need to fellate the games they put out. I wonder to what extent having actual critics would affect sales. Certainly AAA games are about as safe as any given blockbuster is, and smaller-scale games are probably about as safe as equivalent movies are. Probably it wouldn't do much, but since there's little impetus to break free, it's probably not gonna happen unless the New York Times adds a daily Video Game section to its reviews, rather than as an odd feature. Even then, the Gray Lady would only be able to do that because it doesn't depend on the game companies for ads.

CaiusWickersham wrote:
Okay, first, you think Alpha Protocol was good?! That game got me bored stupid after Act I.
"Oh, another viper's nest of intrigue. Who's working for whom, really? Yawn."
Let me say this: I liked Baldur's Gate. I enjoyed the characters, the plot was interesting, and I was immersed in a world. I got that same feel with Mass Effect, Dragon Age, along with, horror of horrors, the Elder Scrolls since Morrowind and both of the Bethesda Fallout games. Whether I get world-building through text or speech makes no difference to me. If that wounds some tender sensibilities you have about RPGs, then you can fuck off you pretentious little goit. I've been gaming probably as long as you have and I have just as much a right to an opinion as you.


You're telling people to shut up while you whine about how you have the right to an opinion? Well, you don't. Manchildren, like yourself, should not deign to open their mouths in my radiant e-presence, let alone fart out whiny words to annoy my tender, glowing ears. (PS: This is actual pretentiousness. Learn the difference before someone throws wine all over you.)
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:30pm 

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Eleas wrote:
  1. Dungeon crawler IF games, roguelikes, and whatnot (think your Zork and Nethack type games from the 1970's-1980's).
  2. First-person grid based games, meaning the Dungeon Master and later Eye of the Beholder style games.
  3. Top-down adventurer party based games, as exemplified by Bioware (BG, BG2, ToB, ID, ID2, and Ps:T) or Black Isle (Fallout).
  4. Fully 3d questing games, either party-based or not (The Witcher, KotOR, Jade Empire, Fable, and so on).


How is this meaningful when its obvious what he's talking about? Hes clearly not talking about the decline in narrative flexibility in roguelikes.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:31pm 

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Stark wrote:
Certainly you can have both - it'd be pretty hard to make a really ugly game these days without trying anyway - but this shift in focus or style has been coming for a long time, especially with Bioware. While I guess its most visible in ME/DA (where you can watch ten minutes of Miranda's pussy tell you about backstory), back in the KOTOR days the 'cinematic' and 'movie-like' flow of the game was praised. I think they just went further in that direction, so you have modern games where you have a few dozen conversations (where 75% of options are 'tell me about xyz thing' instead of natural conversation) and a giant, sprawling codex full of worldbuilding fluff.


Agreed.

Quote:
Since you can't make top-down games anymore, how would you see the flow of a game like Baldurs Gate in a modern game?


I don't think it would make that much of a difference whether it is top down or 3D. The obvious problem would be the loss of a D&D license to Bioware, which also effects worldbuilding. But I think the main problem simply is that nobody seems to put much effort into character design. The Witcher showed you can have meaningful conversations in a 3D game and a giant worlbuilding effort to boot. I don't think it would be that different with a BG style party and storyline.

Quote:
Obviously you'd want more complex interactions between a larger roster of characters, but putting aside combat, what changes would you want to see to move away from Michael Bay RPGs?


- eliminating the fake grimdark. Either go all out like the Witcher or don't. But this "oh noes character might be in danger the world is soooo bad" is not fooling me. (This goes back to complex character interactions as well and good character design)
- stop trying to be epic. Every RPG Bioware has done is about EPIC GUY rescuing the world from EPIC PERIL. Contrast that with BG1, where it was slowly revealed and was largely nothing but "kill dude who killed your foster father and prevent takeover of a country." And the smallest animals could kill you at the start. If you want to be epic, do so in a natural progression, not "Joe Shmuck comes in and saves the world, oh whoops, just the fiftieth dragon I killed today".
- If you have a party, do not let the main character play god. Case in point: Bioware, where you can change alignments, character thoughts etc. Yes, I do get that the plot is "Heroes influences people around them to be better persons", but I miss the days where characters had certain goals and motivations and were headstrong about it. I miss the days when your PC was just the weakest link of the party at the start and had to rely on friends and allies to even survive.
- Either do romances right or don't do them at all. This is not really that important, but characters tend to drop a bit in believability when there is a bad romance subplot. Even BG2 suffered from that - for those who remember Aerie, her personality goes from "tough survivor" when unromanced to "insufferable weakling" when romanced.
- screw wish fulfillment. Your main character should have flaws and weaknesses, not be the guy with maphacks, the charisma of Don Giovanni and the riches of Scrooge McDuck. If players want to play like that, let them use cheat codes.

But most of this comes back to "believable character design" and "good story".
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:32pm 

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Stark wrote:
How is this meaningful when its obvious what he's talking about? Hes clearly not talking about the decline in narrative flexibility in roguelikes.

Because I like writing long and incoherent manifestos?
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:39pm 

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I think some of what you're talking about comes to the changing attitude toward content of fat people.

The loudest parts of any fanbase these days want to 'see everything'. They don't want to 'miss anything'. They feel entitled to 100% completion (whatever that means) - just look at the pathetic mewling around ME3's coop, which often boils down to WAH WAH WAH I WON'T GET TO SEE SOMETHING BECAUSE I HAVE NO FRIENDS.

If you keep that in mind, many of the things you don't like about modern games become clear. You CAN'T have anything happen, or characters disagree with you, or women that have independent thoughts, because the entire game and cast is just a canvas for player choice. Rather than being a positive with regard to consequences or storytelling, I mean this in the sense that the player feels entitled to choose any events he wants. Want Wrex to die? Ok. What Wrex to not die, despite how amazingly stupid that is? Ok. These guys have mapped out every single conversation, and if there's something the player can't control, they complain. Los knows way more about this than me.

Basically I think you got it with 'wish fulfillment'. This is a logical consequence of larger budgets making games aim at a larger audience and (if I was being mean) RPG players being those who are very happy to buy into a game literally about how awesome they are and how the women with big titties thing they are amazing. Compare this to fantasy novel vs fantasy movie.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:40pm 

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Eleas wrote:
Because I like writing long and incoherent manifestos?


Don't WE ALL? But this is Thanas' manifesto. :)
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:50pm 

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Stark wrote:
I think some of what you're talking about comes to the changing attitude toward content of fat people.

The loudest parts of any fanbase these days want to 'see everything'. They don't want to 'miss anything'. They feel entitled to 100% completion (whatever that means) - just look at the pathetic mewling around ME3's coop, which often boils down to WAH WAH WAH I WON'T GET TO SEE SOMETHING BECAUSE I HAVE NO FRIENDS.

If you keep that in mind, many of the things you don't like about modern games become clear. You CAN'T have anything happen, or characters disagree with you, or women that have independent thoughts, because the entire game and cast is just a canvas for player choice. Rather than being a positive with regard to consequences or storytelling, I mean this in the sense that the player feels entitled to choose any events he wants. Want Wrex to die? Ok. What Wrex to not die, despite how amazingly stupid that is? Ok. These guys have mapped out every single conversation, and if there's something the player can't control, they complain. Los knows way more about this than me.

Basically I think you got it with 'wish fulfillment'. This is a logical consequence of larger budgets making games aim at a larger audience and (if I was being mean) RPG players being those who are very happy to buy into a game literally about how awesome they are and how the women with big titties thing they are amazing. Compare this to fantasy novel vs fantasy movie.


Yeah. I wonder if this is really the case or not, though. I mean, the Talimancers and other creepy fucks are a small fraction of the number of people who bought Mass Effect, and fattynerds/grognards are essentially toxic customers anyhow. I think a game that wasn't pure wish fulfillment but had the polish and marketing of an AAA title wouldn't sink, or at least I hope it wouldn't.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:50pm 

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Eleas wrote:
Anyway, digression aside, I think there is some truth to the notion that the most recent cRPGs have been unduly dumbed down. The answer is, I think, not all that surprising: there's been a paradigm shift in the latest generation of gamers, spurred along by consoles and WoW, and it's one that won't necessarily entice the older generation. Previously, games demanded an investment in time. You had to sit down and apply yourself and if you did, you were then rewarded by a hopefully compelling storyline, hours of escapism, and immersion. Today, the console/WoW generation wants the payoff right now, because games are something you boot up and play for ten minutes, and in that time you have to squeeze in your requisite dungeon + boss fight + payday. One rarely gets one's hands on a game that asks the player to take his time (the once ubiquitous Flight Sims, for instance, are all but unheard of today).


Maybe. This is something I noticed with other games as well - the Call of Duty series is short enough that the three games might very well be a single one.



Stark wrote:
I think some of what you're talking about comes to the changing attitude toward content of fat people.

The loudest parts of any fanbase these days want to 'see everything'. They don't want to 'miss anything'. They feel entitled to 100% completion (whatever that means) - just look at the pathetic mewling around ME3's coop, which often boils down to WAH WAH WAH I WON'T GET TO SEE SOMETHING BECAUSE I HAVE NO FRIENDS.

If you keep that in mind, many of the things you don't like about modern games become clear. You CAN'T have anything happen, or characters disagree with you, or women that have independent thoughts, because the entire game and cast is just a canvas for player choice. Rather than being a positive with regard to consequences or storytelling, I mean this in the sense that the player feels entitled to choose any events he wants. Want Wrex to die? Ok. What Wrex to not die, despite how amazingly stupid that is? Ok. These guys have mapped out every single conversation, and if there's something the player can't control, they complain. Los knows way more about this than me.

Basically I think you got it with 'wish fulfillment'. This is a logical consequence of larger budgets making games aim at a larger audience and (if I was being mean) RPG players being those who are very happy to buy into a game literally about how awesome they are and how the women with big titties thing they are amazing. Compare this to fantasy novel vs fantasy movie.


That may be it. However, I wonder why this is happening. I mean, people freaking loved BG 1 and 2 when they came out despite them restricting the player in his choices and knocking you over the head with failure. (Like: You tried to save the city? Whoops, bad guys came and leveled it anyway. I mean, the first player combat in BG1 is when you fail to protect your foster father and have to cowardly run away). I think what you show here is true for the "hardcore fanboys", especially if the Bioware forums are any indication of that (most popular threads there: Which character did you like to bang :roll: ).

But did the tastes of the mainstream audience change that much? I don't really think the forum fanboys are in any way indicative of the general player base. Not when games sell millions of copies.
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salm
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:56pm 

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Lots of the game mechanics have changed over the years, esspecially combat. In the olden days you had to rely mainly on leveling your stats and some tactics. Nowadays combat is a lot more action oriented, tactics are almost entirly gone.
Maybe you´re just no fan of action oriented gameplay.
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Eleas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:57pm 

Jaina Dax


Joined: 2002-07-08 05:08am
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Stark wrote:
I think some of what you're talking about comes to the changing attitude toward content of fat people.

The loudest parts of any fanbase these days want to 'see everything'. They don't want to 'miss anything'. They feel entitled to 100% completion (whatever that means) - just look at the pathetic mewling around ME3's coop, which often boils down to WAH WAH WAH I WON'T GET TO SEE SOMETHING BECAUSE I HAVE NO FRIENDS.


I'm not sure I agree here, or at least, not that it's a perceptibly big problem. The real problem to my mind is one you and others touch upon ITT, though: that the storytelling paradigm seems to have been streamlined into efficiently telling a story where you're a badass and OTT action film hero who tears countless enemies into bloody goop and hears the lamentations of their women (with boobs). In other words, pandering to the lowest common denominator. Which dovetails into the whole new "casual gamer" trope, where you're expected to be dropped right into the action with a minimum of boring history stuff distraction.


Stark wrote:
Don't WE ALL? But this is Thanas' manifesto. :D


True. Plus he's German, so yeah. Still, I feel I did offer relevant discussion after the words "digression aside".
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 03:57pm 

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I don't think the old audience really changed - they're just outnumbered by the 'new' people who wouldn't have played BG2 but thinks Mass Effect is a fun game where you are basically Jesus. I'm not sure if lowering the bar to pulp is required to reach a broader audience and make more money, but it may be seen that way by developers.

On the other hand - since Beth is literally stuck in 1993 and other games try different things - maybe this perception is simply because Bioware has been tweaking a single formula for more than a decade. If they shifted gears on their games, perhaps people would look back and just see that Bioware made a certain kind of game and a lot of people followed their lead.

Remember that the industry is about big names now, so if a game does something that is different it is often immediately rejected (by reviewers or players or both). In the same way there may be pressure for Bioware to make ever more nerd-pandering games, there may be pressure for everyone else to follow the cash cow. At least Bioware is big enough to simply ignore their 'fans' sometimes, but they still make games about Jesus.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:01pm 

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Quote:
Lots of the game mechanics have changed over the years, esspecially combat. In the olden days you had to rely mainly on leveling your stats and some tactics. Nowadays combat is a lot more action oriented, tactics are almost entirly gone.
Maybe you´re just no fan of action oriented gameplay.


Are you just really ignorant? The conciet that anything not turn-based is less 'tactical' or 'thoughtful' is something that really should have died when people realised the complexity of MMO combat.

PS if Thanas didn't like 'action oriented gameplay' why would he like AP and Witcher, driven entirely by realtime consoletard twitcher shooter skills?

Oh man, do we all remember how much people complained about Witcher's combat system? :lol:
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Agent Sorchus
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:05pm 

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I think it is the inclusion of achievements in games that have ruined them, and especially rpgs. If you don't get them all your epeen is small, and that encourages 100% completion, while at the same time not rewarding people for engaging with the story. How often are achievements tied to things you absolutely have to do to progress and are basically seem tacked on because you have to have achievements in games nowadays and the players think of them as an apropos award rather than simply progressing through a rewarding story.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:06pm 

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Well, I can see that there are more people buying these games (Dragon Age sold over 3 million copies, BG 2 sold over 2), but I wonder if that is simply the natural expansion of the playerbase instead of pandering audiences.

OTOH Mass Effect sold over 7 million copies, so.....



Agent Sorchus wrote:
I think it is the inclusion of achievements in games that have ruined them, and especially rpgs. If you don't get them all your epeen is small, and that encourages 100% completion, while at the same time not rewarding people for engaging with the story. How often are achievements tied to things you absolutely have to do to progress and are basically seem tacked on because you have to have achievements in games nowadays and the players think of them as an apropos award rather than simply progressing through a rewarding story.


Who honestly cares about achievements? I am not going to have the time to replay a game to get an achievement anyway...do people really care about them?

And why do achievements preclude an engaging story or complex characters?
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:12pm 

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Thanas wrote:
Well, I can see that there are more people buying these games (Dragon Age sold over 3 million copies, BG 2 sold over 2), but I wonder if that is simply the natural expansion of the playerbase instead of pandering audiences.

OTOH Mass Effect sold over 7 million copies, so.....



Those numbers are interesting - I woudl have thought DA would massively outsell the older games. I guess its distorted a bit because people bought BG2 in combo packs for years, but I'm surprised DA only sold 50% more. Mass Effect has the advantage that the core gameplay is more accessible and (from what I understand) DA is a whole lot fo worldbuilding to set up their series.

You can rightly say that achievements shape player actions, but I'm not sure if it affects story. People complain when you get all the story acheivements in one playthrough, but at the same time if there is a plot variation with no attached achievement a lot of people won't bother replaying to try it. Things like 'kill 50 wolves' and 'kill 50 wolves with the pistol' obviosuly result in people farming the wolf dens, but that doesn't really affect story. I definitely played AP an extra playthrough and planned out my activities to get the 'kill every named character' achievement.

Honestly, many of the story-based 'mandatory' unmissable achievements seem like actual jokes to me. Big climatic drama even... plink... 'achievement unlocked - pithy injoke or pop culture reference'.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:17pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 25666
Stark wrote:
Those numbers are interesting - I woudl have thought DA would massively outsell the older games. I guess its distorted a bit because people bought BG2 in combo packs for years, but I'm surprised DA only sold 50% more.


I think the numbers are just from the initial sales over the first two years. I would be very surprised if the combo packs factor into that.


Stark wrote:
Honestly, many of the story-based 'mandatory' unmissable achievements seem like actual jokes to me. Big climatic drama even... plink... 'achievement unlocked - pithy injoke or pop culture reference'.


I actually hate achievements like that. Wooohooo, I saved the world....wait, why is that thing blinking there? Achievements just ruin cutscenes for me.
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Stark
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:24pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Posts: 36168
Location: Brisbane, Australia
They can be set to trigger at different points, and I've noticed in many games they place them so they occur after things finish rather than during events. I just wish you could turn the notification off (I mean seriously where is the notification centre?) I think developers (or whoever is responsible for them) think they're a big joke and have fun with it, since 90% of all achievement names are 'hilarious' jokes.

Do you have any idea how Witcher 2 sold compared to Witcher? I didn't really like it, but I'd be curious if Witcher has become a 'bankable' brand.
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Thanas
PostPosted: 2011-12-06 04:26pm 

Magister


Joined: 2004-06-26 07:49pm
Posts: 25666
Following up on number of sales/profit - I honestly do not know if Dragon Age was the more profitable game, simply because of the requirements of programming, motion capture and voice acting. I can easily see why a game that took five years to develop could be less profitable than BG1, which took "ninety man years in total from a 60 man-team" to develop.
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