Larian Studios
Posted By: NeroJB The Great Debate - 16/02/10 04:48 PM
So. Its been quiet around here, but I blame all us old folks that haven't posted anything interesting. With that in mind, and a little inspiration from the D2 chats going on, its time for a debate we as gaming fans can all...I was going to say enjoy but that may not be best...

Anyway, I will drop weekly (give or take) topics for discussion on different issues in gaming.

This inaugural discussion.

We all have our own ideas of what exactly a Role Playing Game is, what it entails, and what our ideal RPG would contain.

So, what is a role playing game to you, what components MUST it have to fit into the genre, are there things it MUST NOT contain, and what you would you create if you had the wherewithal?

Posted By: talia60 Re: The Great Debate - 20/02/10 12:40 AM
i'm not sure what the differance is between an rpg and an action rpg all i know is that my first game was fable 2, my second was prince of persia and i just finished divinity 2. i have a game here called Sacred 2, not sure what that is classified as either but what i really would like to know is if anyone has played it and would it be a good next game. it was given to me as a gift and i would like to hear from you all.
Posted By: virumor Re: The Great Debate - 20/02/10 07:26 PM
I think Action RPGs are RPG where success is determined by player skill rather than character skill. Examples: Oblivion & Fable 2.

In RPGs like Baldur's Gate & Neverwinter Nights everything is determined by your character's attributes/skills & dice rolls.

Posted By: AlrikFassbauer Re: The Great Debate - 23/02/10 11:06 AM
Nice idea, NeroJB ! smile

First, I put players into different categories.

So, for each of them, *different* aspects of an RPG are most favourable, imho.

To me, for example, as I'm a "explorer" type of player, free-roaming RPGs with lots of secrets to discover wink are perfect.

But I also like social interaction very much. Personally to me this is an "must have".

The Action-RPG genre as "defined" by Blizzard, contains social interaction reduced to the absolute minimum.

The RPG part there is rather like "I fight, therefore I play a role".

What's new and what they invented and bring as a new element into the RPG genre is that collecting stuff. That wasn't there in that regard.

Now, addoitionally there comes the point what developers regard as "what is an RPG". I mean, what they find necessary in order to play an RPG "successfully".

It would be nice to read some comments from the Larian staff here as well, if possible. wink
Posted By: isorun Re: The Great Debate - 23/02/10 06:40 PM
For me the most important aspect of a RPG are the skills, spells, abilities, feats or whatever you want to call them.
I know they aren't really a requirement for a RPG, but it really gives me the feeling my character is actually learning things, becomes stronger etc.
I find RPG's without skills, upgrades, ... less immersing(doesn't mean they can't be fun, I just like to let my character learn some new tricks :p).

Another important aspect is the story. I don't care if it's cheesy, I just want the feeling that I'm part of the world and my actions affect the world around me.
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 24/02/10 03:57 PM
It's all in the name: ROLE Playing Game. If you cannot play a character - by which I mean some say on personality, ethics, approaches to problem solving, etc NOT stat building! - then it is not an RPG.

Doesn't matter if you get full creation options or are given a character - the important detail is choice of approach.

CAN I romance the girl? Good. Might be an RPG. Do I have no option BUT to romance the girl? NOT an RPG.

In terms of computer games, the closer it gets to Planescape: Torment, the nearer it is to being an RPG.
Posted By: Raventiger Re: The Great Debate - 01/03/10 10:31 PM
Well to me a roleplaying game is first and formost about story. If it doesn't have a strong story that the player can work through as the protaganist then for me the game isn't a roleplaying game. Having said I can enjoy a good Action RPG as well, but I don't expect them to provide me with a good story and I'm pleasantly surprized if they do hehe.
Posted By: NeroJB Re: The Great Debate - 09/03/10 03:34 AM
Ok all, sorry for no follow up questions, I have recently been busy with a little new thing called fatherhood.

I will come up with something good. Soon (tm)
Posted By: AlrikFassbauer Re: The Great Debate - 11/03/10 02:09 PM
That's just okay, I think. wink
Posted By: ForkTong Re: The Great Debate - 16/03/10 10:11 AM
Originally Posted by Elliot_Kane
the closer it gets to Planescape: Torment

...the nearer it is to a book.


Kidding, I like that game a lot too.

Makes an RPG in my humble opinion:

- deep story in a rich setting
- character development (getting stronger, more powerful, more experienced... over time)
- choices that affect the story and the setting and your character
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 16/03/10 08:17 PM
^ Pretty much ForkTong, yeah.

(And they made a book of PS:T, IIRC, so you're not wrong there, either laugh )
Posted By: AlrikFassbauer Re: The Great Debate - 19/03/10 02:32 PM
I think you might be quite pleased with DRakensang 2. smile I'm saying this as a fn, though. wink

For Drakensang 2 there is actually a book out there, but it only touches the game from some sides, an is only in German yet.

Same with an "solo adventure" book.
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 19/03/10 09:01 PM
I liked the first one well enough, so I don't doubt I'll like the second when/if it ever appears in English, Alrik smile
Posted By: NeroJB Re: The Great Debate - 05/04/10 06:19 PM
Ok so here is a more specific question to follow up.

What (if any) part should romance play in an RPG? Should it be a key component? Does it have no place?

If you do prefer it what does it take for it to be done well, and what is your favorite example romance being done well in an RPG?
Posted By: Raven.rpg Re: The Great Debate - 05/04/10 07:02 PM
I still haven"t see good romance option but I prefered them to be key component becaose of story
It would be so good and cool to have romance option with in Divinty 2
In fable have interesting options about romance but its not perfectly done
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 11/04/10 10:40 AM
Romance does not have to be a part of the game, but it's nice to have the option. If your character is wandering around everywhere with a group of people s/he would in your opinion find attractive, the ability to pursue that attraction if you choose is a natural outgrowth of the story so makes sense. It's harder to implement in single character RPGs than in party based RPGs, but still not impossible.

Best implementations: Dragon Age implements the option superbly, giving you a great choice of romance options (Including 'none'). Probably the best party based version, though Jade Empire is also good and the classic PS:T is also. For single character games, only The Witcher implements romance well, AFAIK, giving you both options and a good basis for those options in that the possible romances arise as part of the story and the characters are recurring and strongly involved in the story itself, so Geralt knows them pretty well.

I'm not so keen on romance being an absolute requirement, as it takes choice away from the player in a very key area which makes it pretty difficult to define that one key aspect of your character. JRPGs seem to use this option most, but they are more like interactive films than RPGs anyway and I play them on that basis. I don't really expect to be making important character choices in those.

That said, romance is pretty much pointless in an ARPG, where the only point of the game is to knock up an enormous kill count. I can't see the Diablo games being at all improved by the addition of romance options - in fact, it would probably be nothing but an annoying distraction for most Diablo players. Such games are not about playing a character, after all. I love them when I'm in the right mood, don't get me wrong, but they still are not RPGs.
Posted By: Raven.rpg Re: The Great Debate - 11/04/10 01:31 PM
well you are right
Romance option in games like Diablo is stipid bit in games like divinity that would be cool
I like romance option in Jade empire
It would be awesome if Damian capture Rhode and ask you to surrender or something like that
Posted By: NeroJB Re: The Great Debate - 13/04/10 07:25 PM
I personally liked the implementation in KotOR. There isn't much for choice in the matter but I liked Bastila's character so it worked for me.

DA:O did do a fine job of it as well. For some reason I like Leliana...
Posted By: virumor Re: The Great Debate - 13/04/10 07:53 PM
The Viconia romance in Baldur's Gate 2 I like the best. It takes a lot of time and flows naturally.

Posted By: Raven.rpg Re: The Great Debate - 13/04/10 09:37 PM
Originally Posted by NeroJB
I personally liked the implementation in KotOR. There isn't much for choice in the matter but I liked Bastila's character so it worked for me.

DA:O did do a fine job of it as well. For some reason I like Leliana...

same here
bastila was hard cook but pretty much if you romance her ending is totaly awesome
I like the part when you put down you weapons and stand unarmed vs Bastila and she can2t kill you becaose you love you hug


I like Leliana too
Not sure why everyone like Morigann
Well I guess becaose you can fuck her after 40+ influence

There isn"t much people around here
This is no great debate if no one come
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 13/04/10 10:00 PM
This is probably unique to me, but Leliana taps straight into my own personal vulnerability: she sings beautifully. That decides the issue between her and Morrigan completely from my personal POV. My characters may disagree (Or some of them do) but it's really hard for me to get past my own weakness on that one.

I tend to characterise Morrigan as 'wild fling chick' and Leliana as 'marriage chick' though that's definitely an over-simplification in both cases. It's the classic bad girl vrs good girl, but Bioware have given it a really neat twist in that Morrigan is the bad girl you can kind of win over and make into a good girl (Or at least a less-bad girl! laugh ) because she's only a bad girl as she knows no other way, whilst Leliana is the bad girl turned good girl you can guide back into being a bad girl again if you want to. So there's actually an awful lot of thought gone into both characters, and neither is as transparent as they first appear. A thoroughly exceptional job all round, in fact.
Posted By: flixerflax Re: The Great Debate - 14/04/10 08:39 PM
Morrigan won me over immediately because of her atheism. Her banter with Leliana where they debate the existence of the maker and whether faith is desirable regardless was great. Dragon Age was my first encounter with romances in RPG's besides the Witcher - and in that game it was really only a choice between two women, and then only one or two more steps before you realize you love the girl and the game is over. (There were all the one night stands of course, which were more in keeping with the Geralt of the books anyway).
Posted By: virumor Re: The Great Debate - 15/04/10 10:07 AM
Morrigan won me over because of Claudia Black.
Posted By: NeroJB Re: The Great Debate - 15/04/10 02:35 PM
EK I hate to admit that we have the same opinion on something...but I think the singing does it for me too...
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 15/04/10 03:52 PM
A scary day for both of us, Nero! laugh
Posted By: Raven.rpg Re: The Great Debate - 15/04/10 08:57 PM
so were finished with romance
whats next Nero
Posted By: NeroJB Re: The Great Debate - 20/04/10 03:38 PM

Obviously combat is a key component of the vast majority of games, I cannot personally think of an RPG in particular that does not have combat.

So. Which type of combat do you prefer? What type of system do you like? Which games do you think of when you think of great combat systems?

More importantly how should combat be synthesized into an RPG? By this I mean what does it take for combat to help promote role playing? How should combat be utilized?
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 20/04/10 04:04 PM
The best types of combat in a proper CRPG involve a system purpose built for computers, rather than trying to make a system designed for tabletop gaming work on computers. Real time is vastly superior to turn based. As such, the best CRPG combat systems are those used in Final Fantasy 12 and in Dragon Age. Both allow you to set up a set of conditions under which your party will operate during combat, allowing you to define what each character will do to a terrific extent. This not only minimises the need for pausing but also means that all those really easy fights are over fast, which is good, while still allowing you to take greater control when you need to for the really tough fights.

How could combat promote role playing is a lot harder question to answer. Short of allowing for the taking of prisoners (Options: imprison, release, execute) which so far as I'm aware no CRPG actually does, there's little that can be done once combat actually starts.

Options for avoiding combat (sneak past, bluff, intimidate, fight, disguise, etc) offer many chances for role playing, however.

As for the role of combat itself in an RPG, the best use is to either add flavour to the world, increasing immersion and believability, or - far more importantly - to advance the story and/or plot. Endless fighting for it's own sake has no place in a true RPG.
Posted By: Raze Re: The Great Debate - 20/04/10 04:23 PM

In the old topic News from the front, part of the discussion turned to a debate on combat styles (player twitch vs character stats, click rate, the evils of micromanagement, etc).
Posted By: virumor Re: The Great Debate - 27/04/10 11:11 PM
Arcanum did combat best, with giving the option for turn-based, real-time or real-time with pause.

Also, depending on character build it was possible to avoid most combat and even finish the final boss with dialogue (like Planescape: Torment & Fallout). I love RPGs where one can finish the quest using one's wits instead of brawn.
Posted By: Raven.rpg Re: The Great Debate - 29/04/10 05:16 PM
Dragon age did it best

baldurs gate was cool but I juts didn"t like something about battle same with Drakensang nad many more games

so I actually prefer something in DA style with "turn" and in the same style open battle that require you to think.

but I am also OK with any other combat
Posted By: Elliot_Kane Re: The Great Debate - 29/04/10 11:59 PM
Baldur's Gate and Drakensang both suffer from the same problem: their combat systems were designed to be used for pen & paper tabletop games, not computer games. Thus while both are fine as systems, they are not really optimised for computers.
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