On RPG Elements

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Honestly I hate RPG stats in action games, they mean those who have more skill tend to get more stats upgrades and thus an easier game while those with less skill get fewer points and thus a harder game, exactly the opposite of what these people would want.

I believe Deus Ex was one of the first shooters to use this technique, but it managed to edge around the "reverse difficulty curve" by having the earlier enemies be quite easy.

But I think the real issue about RPG-elements is that they cover up what I feel is the elephant in the room: when did we, as gamers, start to suck so badly at games that we need an artificial skill enhancement system to make us feel as though we're improving at something when we're actually not? To me, this is like my country's dismal policy of responding to the falling test scores of students by making the tests easier.

Do you remember the days when the mechanics of the game stayed the same and YOU had to get better? I miss those days, because being good at a game felt like an accomplishment. Hell, I remember the first time I beat a number of hard games as a kid and it always put me on cloud nine.

The only recent game I can think of that still did a good job balancing this concept was Mario Galaxy. Mario's skills stayed pretty much the same and you could beat the game without much difficulty, but if you wanted to go ALL the way and get all the stars, you needed to use those same skills to overcome some of the most difficult challenges in the game.

I think RPG-elements are the lazy way out of a good difficulty curve. The most satisfying and enjoyable games were the ones that made you improve in order to beat them. I wish more developers would find this curve, rather than simply starting the game with your character being weak as a kitten and being a god of death by the end.

"...there's a bear behind you. RUN"

What lunacy! Wait!? Snuffles?... Aaaaarrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh!...

Since many of todays RPG's offer a lot of variety in the games they make "normal" games look very starved for content. Developers then fill this out with the same "content" instead of a interesting, long, twisted, exciting storyline. Not that I would have expected it anyway considering the load of crap the movie industry has been throwing up lately. Can't expect someone in the game industry to write something better then can ya. I can't remember the last time I've been surprised by a game really... same goes for the movies. Meh, whatever.

Ok, I'll be nit-picky with your RE4 weapons complaint. It's not quite as much as a dick move as you say. You can stick with a weapon and it won't become obsolete if you upgrade it faithfully anyway, because the end of the line upgrade is overpowered for every weapon anyway (even your first little handgun). You probably won't figure this out the first time around, but you don't play games only once, right?

I think one of the major problems with internet censorship is this: Someone has to decide what to ban. People aren't super-intelligent, benevolent beings. They are fallible. And so, when they ARE deciding what sites to ban, I'm sure some personal morality is going to come out of the woodwork, giving us an internet ban that bans perfectly legal [pornography] things.

I can understand the kind of worry that is made when you acknowledge that there are people in the goverment bordering on Hitler fanboys.

Also, I think having some meaningful character progression is important... but makes more sense with a realistic system like shops and money, ala the upcoming Assassin's Creed 2.

Angerwing:
I think one of the major problems with internet censorship is this: Someone has to decide what to ban. People aren't super-intelligent, benevolent beings. They are fallible. And so, when they ARE deciding what sites to ban, I'm sure some personal morality is going to come out of the woodwork, giving us an internet ban that bans perfectly legal [pornography] things.

The Problem is: Politicians are mostly too old(-fashioned) for the internet age. They keep on rambling on how they now use emails and even know what twitter is, though I guess they have been briefed to say that. Prime Example was yet another school shooting in Germany (like everything from the US it becomes a fad a few years later), when all of a sudden everyone wanted to ban Counter-Strike. Sure, it has been the most popular FPS at that time, but it's one of the least brutal ones. Plus, the German edition made it a ridiculous paintball match where blood is yellow and defeated players sit down and shake their head (and I'm not making this up). The bloody version was already banned. To make things worse, the media used footage from Soldier of Fortune (Now that's some pretty nasty shooter, which I think was never allowed over here) to talk about CS. FAIL!

When it comes to child pornography, minister Von Der Leyen (the children and old guy department) has already proven in one of her first statements regarding this matter what a tool she is. Talking about a "child pornography industry", "making millions". Seriously, she has no idea. most kiddie Porn is recorded by sickos that molest their own children or at least children they know, and traded over various channels, including mobiles and postal service, since few people are SO STUPID that they put up a CHILD PORN SITE, or pay for kiddie porn with their credit card over Paypal or something. We had one politician who did some invesigation on this, and they kicked him out for the possession of child porn.

Another thing: Imagine you are a politician, and you find some mystical child porn site where they make millions. What would you do? Think to keep people from visiting it while doing nothing against those who host it does anything?

Thanks for the heads up about the bear, Ben! You just saved me a lot of hospital-related downtime!

The comment on 'why hasn't batman leveled up over his previous years of crime fighting?' summed up what can make the rpg elements feel silly for me. Take Mass Effect - your character is a seasoned military veteran with years of experience behind them... and their only 'level one'. over the next few days (weeks at the very most) you learn more and gain more than you have over all those years of training and experience.

That's what I think was one of Dead Space's problems, it had an RPG element but would have been better off without it.

Looking forward to the next one already.

I wouldn't really class them as "rpg" elements, but I can see what he's getting at.

Axeli:

But basically, these games usually make you (or at least try to) insert yourself into the story. Only you do not play the character as "me" but rather as the "fantasy, perfect me", the world of the game more or less revolving around your character... Not only that but the backstory the character tends to make him/her a very special individual, and the rest of the cast really exists only to support the main character, who is always the one making the decisions and getting the story driving, badass action.

Hits pretty close to the usual definitions.

Ok fine. And how is all of this bad again? Would you rather play a brave warrior who was destined to become someone important or some peasant who spends his entire life digging in the dirt and then dies because he didn't wash his teeth? "Mary Sue" or not I'd prefer to play as the warrior guy.

Bioshock had a somewhat annoying RPG upgrading system for the guns. Due to the scarcity of weapon upgrade kiosks, you can't fully upgrade more than two weapons, I believe. Which stinks because all the weapons were good, and it's easy to have three favorites. Of course, there is an achievement for upgrading multiple weapons, which could only be gotten by replaying the game a few times.

Cortheya:
That thing with the Australian government really frightens me. The internet, while filled with a lot of crap, Is as I have often said the greatest tool of free speech ever invented. If it is censored or controlled, then we are truly lost. Say I'm dramatic all you want but I can't imagine a worst dystopia. This is only the beginning.

I'd argue that it would be once we're controlled as to what we can and can't say in public, but to each his own.

Good article, brought up some good points, particularly about the reverse difficulty curve.

"Area man narrowly avoids being mauled by black bear after being warned by Internet Article. Story at 11"

In all seriousness though, I would expect the legislative songs of internet restriction to change as "the old folks retire and die out." Seriously, positions that extreme cannot last for long.

I find that the RPG elements in games like Prototype and Infamous add a sense of legitimacy to the collection system. If there were a bunch of hidden glowy things scattered about town but no reward for collecting them, they would be as stupid as the hidden flags in assassin's creed. Having hidden experience balloons encourages a player to explore the lovely environment that the designers made, and allowing them to level up their skills after doing so makes it feel like less of an enormous waste of time. Maybe this doesn't really apply in linear shooters like Resident Evil, where there isn't much of an environment to explore, but in sandbox games RPG elements are excusable.

Maybe that's why the best 'J'RPGs are typically the ones with 'W'RPG elements of determining the outcome and stat allocation, like SMT Nocturne.

I tend to stress about being underleveled in RPG's (mainly the ones with an added "J" to the front...lots of stat-pushin' =/). There should be more..flow, injected into the genre, accomodating to the players entertainment needs through a curve that changes depending on how they play. Companies push out games that seem a bit...
"Here, give us money, eat this"
"Why?"
"All the, er, cool kids are doin' it."
"But..it's, just shit in a bag?"
"We have to feed the mentally disabled in the innovation sector somehow."
Telling us what to like. Or misinterpreting feedback. Like a crappy parent..haha..

Rheden_Sol:
I tend to stress about being underleveled in RPG's (mainly the ones with an added "J" to the front...lots of stat-pushin' =/).

Really? I have the exact opposite problem. Usually by the mid-boss I'm over leveled and have 1,000,000 Gil, but nothing to buy. *shrug*

"Also, there's a BEAR behind you. RUN."

A Polar Bear, in NEW YORK CITY?! Wow, Global Warming is worse than I thought!!

Aside from the evil monstrosity called a teddy bear. I have to admit that some games manage to highlight arse in sparse, giving us a few points, then a choice with little information. . . Horrible times, horrible times, might just be because I'm so incredibly in-decisive, but otherwise it's a nice feeling as your bar slides full, and your enemies cower before your hard trained might.

And on the Aussie goverment thingie, I'd have to say: Utter.Silliness.
Personally, it's understandable that all 'dem ol'e folks can't differ from a win32, or a win64, but that they feed us clever youngsters this through media, and both the media, and we swallow the bait letting them actually do it for our safety, there's few to blame but ourselves for being naive(Or our elder relatives).

Has Yahtzee ever explained why the crap he lives in Australia anyways? Aside from the beaches?

The country was founded by British inmates right, I don't expect it to be all that enlightened :p

Christ, I hope we don't see a Great Firewall of Australia. It would give the conservatives over here that much more fuel for more aggressive government surveillance and blocking. Thankfully the US 1st amendment's been keeping the more extreme versions of this out of the country. I was especially happy when Comcast was told it couldn't fake TCP packets to kill connections across its networks. The next decade or so will really determine the long-term open-ness of the internet. Eventually, it becomes too hard to effectively block content when the network is too big, fault-tolerant, and interconnected, and when your citizens are too web-savvy. At least net neutrality is getting a big boost here - the ISP giants might finally get told they can't perform massive, per application filtering like they'd like to. Especially nice is the push to make the ISPs' network filtering more transparent.

(I'm in the US if it wasn't blatantly obvious).

Sidenote: someone a number of pages back was complaining about paying sales tax for out-of-state purchases in NY. In all actuality, that's always been in place (you always had to pay sales tax on stuff you bought elsewhere and then took into the state for an extended period - Florida calls it "use tax"). However, before the internet, this meant you often physically bought it in the other state, and thus paid tax there. It also didn't happen so often. Thus, states were less concerned about the small loss of this revenue stream, especially since it would double tax most citizens it applied to. Nowadays, though, the situation's changed, and this represents a sizable loss of sales tax income, on goods for which no sales tax is paid in the first place. Add to that, most states going broke, and we can see why they're now more concerned with getting the tax they're owed.

KDR_11k:
Honestly I hate RPG stats in action games, they mean those who have more skill tend to get more stats upgrades and thus an easier game while those with less skill get fewer points and thus a harder game, exactly the opposite of what these people would want.

Not that I'm denying your statement, but when you say you "hate RPG stats in action games" and you elaborate you sound like you're talking about a very specific game, not all action games with RPG stats.

Jenx:

Axeli:

But basically, these games usually make you (or at least try to) insert yourself into the story. Only you do not play the character as "me" but rather as the "fantasy, perfect me", the world of the game more or less revolving around your character... Not only that but the backstory the character tends to make him/her a very special individual, and the rest of the cast really exists only to support the main character, who is always the one making the decisions and getting the story driving, badass action.

Hits pretty close to the usual definitions.

Ok fine. And how is all of this bad again? Would you rather play a brave warrior who was destined to become someone important or some peasant who spends his entire life digging in the dirt and then dies because he didn't wash his teeth? "Mary Sue" or not I'd prefer to play as the warrior guy.

I reject your argument, because only taking one portion of a statement and issuing the polar opposite version to show that it fails fails itself.

He's saying it's more interesting if you aren't some magical bland superhero who can do everything easily, which I agree with. Recently, Extra Credit brought up the idea of Choice, and as Yahtzee has pointed out in Fable 3 and other games, I believe, there are little to no repercussions to picking the good choice and no real reason not to.

In Fable 2, you could be evil to people but that brought down the value of the economy in the town and thus if you owned the town and rented the buildings out you'd get paid less, thus the standard reason to be evil, money, is rendered inert.

bushwhacker2k:

KDR_11k:
Honestly I hate RPG stats in action games, they mean those who have more skill tend to get more stats upgrades and thus an easier game while those with less skill get fewer points and thus a harder game, exactly the opposite of what these people would want.

Not that I'm denying your statement, but when you say you "hate RPG stats in action games" and you elaborate you sound like you're talking about a very specific game, not all action games with RPG stats.

No, I'm talking about the concept in general and how pretty much all of those games work. Think Vanquish: To get highly upgraded weapons you need to be good and don't die but if you're that good do you really need better weapons?

KDR_11k:

bushwhacker2k:

KDR_11k:
Honestly I hate RPG stats in action games, they mean those who have more skill tend to get more stats upgrades and thus an easier game while those with less skill get fewer points and thus a harder game, exactly the opposite of what these people would want.

Not that I'm denying your statement, but when you say you "hate RPG stats in action games" and you elaborate you sound like you're talking about a very specific game, not all action games with RPG stats.

No, I'm talking about the concept in general and how pretty much all of those games work. Think Vanquish: To get highly upgraded weapons you need to be good and don't die but if you're that good do you really need better weapons?

Ah, I see your point. On that end, the developer needs to scale the enemies better to the point that you WOULD need said skills or it'd become overwhelmingly difficult.

bushwhacker2k:

KDR_11k:

bushwhacker2k:

Not that I'm denying your statement, but when you say you "hate RPG stats in action games" and you elaborate you sound like you're talking about a very specific game, not all action games with RPG stats.

No, I'm talking about the concept in general and how pretty much all of those games work. Think Vanquish: To get highly upgraded weapons you need to be good and don't die but if you're that good do you really need better weapons?

Ah, I see your point. On that end, the developer needs to scale the enemies better to the point that you WOULD need said skills or it'd become overwhelmingly difficult.

But that would screw the people over who weren't good enough to get their equipment upgraded, they'll end up fighting harder battles despite needing exactly the opposite.

KDR_11k:

bushwhacker2k:

KDR_11k:

No, I'm talking about the concept in general and how pretty much all of those games work. Think Vanquish: To get highly upgraded weapons you need to be good and don't die but if you're that good do you really need better weapons?

Ah, I see your point. On that end, the developer needs to scale the enemies better to the point that you WOULD need said skills or it'd become overwhelmingly difficult.

But that would screw the people over who weren't good enough to get their equipment upgraded, they'll end up fighting harder battles despite needing exactly the opposite.

That's why there are multiple difficulties. It might be difficult to balance it, but it can be done.

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