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Posted By: Maximuuus What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 08:07 PM
Well... this is an answer I took time to write for the recently locked topic. I was so dissapointed when I clicked "post" ^^

Guess it could be the beginning of another thread/ discussion about what we like in cRPG ? Or maybe not...?

Originally Posted by ash elemental
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
***** has deeper and consistent mechanics that works as a whole. It makes you live a journey accross it's world rather than throwing you "fun gameplay" on your face everytime for the sake of it. Despite the size of the project and the custom world, ***** is far more like BG1/2 than BG3. The only things it lacks is freedom and a deeper story.
Which are the two things that made the original saga, imo. BG1 and 2 were never about tactical combat. There are some amazing mods that can increase the challenge, but "out of the box" both games are very easy. What both BG1 and 2 offered instead was the freedom to go and explore the world. Whether you focused on the main quest, or went off the main path - that was up to the player.

Definitely. Freedom to explore the world is really something I love in the old games.

I wasn't talking about mechanics refering only to combats.

It's hard to explain a feeling but what I meant is that every mechanics are a part of a coherent journey. In the end after you ended the games, you could write "a book/a journal" about the story you wrote. In this book you could write everything, nothing would look too strange or would clearly look "video game".
Inventory management, Ammunition management, Time and weather, Distance, Random encounters in this dangerous world, resting in an inn because it was safe or resting in a dungeon, travelling as you wish accross the sword coast, meeting a lot of people and potential companions, starting as a peasant and ending as a god, being greatly rewarded, companionship, world that feels alive, etc.... Even RT(WP) is a part of what makes the journey ""real"".

All those things aren't interresting in a book / in a story but that's definitely things someone that write a story cares about.

And that's why I love so much RPG : because I'm the author of my own story, driven (more or less) by the developper and the rules.

In some games, when I'm fighting I don't have the feeling at all that I'm still part of a story. It's only gameplay.
When I'm travelling is somes games, I don't have the feeling that I'm in a world that could be "real" (despite the fantasy setting).

BG3 has many many qualities but according to me the gameplay, the story and the world are completely disconnected from each others.

BG1/2 weren't perfect especially for modern games. They also had bugs like fog of war exploit but they were consistent.
And when they were not, your imagination could easily do the job. According to me that's a reason why those games are so legendary.
Posted By: vometia Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 08:16 PM
I find it's a bit of a moving target and depends a lot on my mood at the time; generally speaking, exploration, the wonder of finding new places and random interesting stuff. It's the bits of the story that aren't so much told as experienced, I suppose.

As much as I'm tempted to say "anything but the combat", that's actually a lie. I can't deny that occasionally (perhaps even often) I find it genuinely fun and enjoy the sense of achievement provided getting there hasn't already made me gnaw my own legs off in frustration. Just as long as that's not all there is.
Posted By: DragonSnooz Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 08:22 PM
I like a healthy dose of everything.

An engaging narrative, rewarding exploration, combat that makes me think (overall challenge doesn't matter, but did I have meaningful choices to make?), and good music.

Visuals aren't important to me, as I've been playing RPGs since the 90's. But visuals do need to be appealing to look at 40+ hours into the game.
Posted By: Droata Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 08:28 PM
Interactive storytelling all the way.
Posted By: vometia Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 08:30 PM
Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
[...] and good music.

Hmm, that's a point and one that I find I can sometimes overlook. Perhaps one of the most subjective things of all, but something that can really make or break a game I think. From previous Divinity games I really loved Kirill Pokrovsky's music, it was a key component of their overall "feel" and really set the mood. At the other extreme I really hated the Dragon Age 2 soundtrack; which isn't a commentary on whether or not it was good or achieved its aim, just that it grated so badly that I eventually had to turn the music off and felt the gameplay was improved thanks to its absence.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
Visuals aren't important to me, as I've been playing RPGs since the 90's. But visuals do need to be appealing to look at 40+ hours into the game.

I started off with Pong which is perhaps exactly why I like fancy graphics. biggrin
Posted By: Icelyn Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 09:02 PM
Here are some of the things I like best in rpgs:
  • Creating a character
  • Reactivity
  • Having lots of dialogue options and choices that lead to different outcomes
  • Having a party to interact with
  • Interesting main quest and side quests
  • Lots of spells to cast in and out of combat
  • Cinematic dialogue
Posted By: Saito Hikari Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 09:22 PM
I like a mix of everything, but I weigh the value of each factor based on the actual execution and context within the rest of the game's design. This lets me focus feedback towards a narrow point, expanding as necessary.

My priorities would be as follows.

- Combat design
- Writing (I especially value inter-party dialogue, because if the party is going to travel together, the party should damn well care about each other. But I also heavily dislike writing that tries to present itself as sophisticated, only to fall flat by pushing melodrama)
- Visuals (I put less stock in the quality of said visuals because this is largely a question of budget. I care far more about the actual presentation, however.)

Everything else falls into one of the above three as side categories in some way.

The only reason I am really this critical with BG3 is that I feel that a lot of things in this game really clash with each other when it comes to the presentation. The companions currently feel disconnected from each other on a personal level due to an overall lack of party banter outside of making certain choices. The dialogue cinematics are nice, but the combat design and animations are flat out goofy in comparison, to the point where I don't accept immersion as a valid counterargument as it currently stands. At least Solasta and WotR have both made it abundantly clear where their priorities lie, so I accept their shortcomings and focus on their strengths there. But BG3's focus seems all over the place and contradictory in its current state, and the overall silence on the development isn't helping.

(Also, if there are going to be that many barrels lying around, I feel like the game's NPCs should actually acknowledge that fact through jokes or explaining why there are so many to begin with. That cracked wall and the blighted village entrance ambush are self-explanatory, but that doesn't really explain the prevalence everywhere else.)
Posted By: Icelyn Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 09:32 PM
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
The companions currently feel disconnected from each other on a personal level due to an overall lack of party banter outside of making certain choices.
The last patch added a lot of banter, and I feel hopeful they will add even more party interactions and banter in future patches. smile
Posted By: vometia Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 09:35 PM
Originally Posted by Saito Hikari
(Also, if there are going to be that many barrels lying around, I feel like the game's NPCs should actually acknowledge that fact through jokes or explaining why there are so many to begin with. That cracked wall and the blighted village entrance ambush are self-explanatory, but that doesn't really explain the prevalence everywhere else.)

I loved the way the excess of exploding barrels was explained in Concerned. I can't remember the exact one but it's worth reading through for anyone who hasn't done so already.
Posted By: Saito Hikari Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by vometia
I loved the way the excess of exploding barrels was explained in Concerned. I can't remember the exact one but it's worth reading through for anyone who hasn't done so already.

Oh, yes.

http://www.screencuisine.net/hlcomic/index.php?date=2005-06-24
http://www.screencuisine.net/hlcomic/index.php?date=2005-06-27

(I love how the next couple of comics have the barrels in the background too.)
Posted By: DragonSnooz Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 10:13 PM
Originally Posted by vometia
Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
[...] and good music.

Hmm, that's a point and one that I find I can sometimes overlook. Perhaps one of the most subjective things of all, but something that can really make or break a game I think. From previous Divinity games I really loved Kirill Pokrovsky's music, it was a key component of their overall "feel" and really set the mood. At the other extreme I really hated the Dragon Age 2 soundtrack; which isn't a commentary on whether or not it was good or achieved its aim, just that it grated so badly that I eventually had to turn the music off and felt the gameplay was improved thanks to its absence.

Originally Posted by DragonSnooz
Visuals aren't important to me, as I've been playing RPGs since the 90's. But visuals do need to be appealing to look at 40+ hours into the game.

I started off with Pong which is perhaps exactly why I like fancy graphics. biggrin
I can totally respect that when talking about Pong, lol.

Music 100% will make or break an RPG. smile

Most RPGs I haven't completed had more to do with lackluster music, than any other aspect.
Posted By: Sozz Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 10:29 PM
I'm a story first player, I enjoy well designed encounters but I've been more than willing to slog through a chain of rock-paper-scissor fights just to continue the narrative.

I'm most interested in games designed around player choices and am most interested in games that have interesting ways of incorporating that into the narrative. Computer games are unique in that you are able to play and replay a scenario countless times to see every outcome, so games that are as interested in this as I am are a big plus.

That said, this was never a huge aspect of Baldur's Gate (outside of party composition) , and Shadow of Amn is my favorite cRPG, mostly because I like the characters and am drawn into the story,.
Posted By: Alexandrite Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 30/05/21 10:52 PM
Even though I'm a very oldschool gamer and have been playing computer games since the days of Tower Toppler, Prince of Persia (original ones) and Lands of Lore, I probably shouldn't place such importance on graphics... but as an artist and graphic designer, I really, REALLY appreciate how far graphics and animation have come in recent years, and it adds a lot to my immersion. smile BG3 graphics are really, really amazing.

Aside from graphics, I love an exciting story, and well written characters/companions. I could spend hours in game just running around talking to people and learning their stories. Again, to me, Dragon Age series did this extremely well, and BG3 is also right up there. Re-playing DA:Inquisition while taking a break from BG3 waiting for Patch 5 to drop, again I really see a difference in the graphics and face animations in the past few years - the BG3 companions' cutscenes, their expressions are amazingly well animated. In DA:I the faces and expressions are a bit "wooden" probably due to the technical limitations of the time. I marvel at today's motion capture technology.

And speaking of companions, good voice acting. BG3 has great voice acting. Great acting all around, if we remember that the voice actors are doing the movements and actions of the characters as well.

Romances are icing on the cake.

In-game lore, books to find and read, and other little bits and pieces - again I could (and do) spend hours in game running around not advancing the main quest but discovering little hidden treasures. Also watching youtube videos to learn more about the lore of the game and background story - not being familiar with either BG1 or 2, or DnD in general.

Music is also very important to the overall feel of a game. It may be blending into the background most of the time, but if the music is bad, you definitely notice it.

Player choices - I love the "choose your own adventure" aspect of RPGs, but am also more than happy playing one of the pre-made characters and enjoying the work the writers have put in. After playing a few custom characters, I'm very much looking forward to playing as the BG3 Origin characters and learning their perspectives on the story and encounters I'm now familiar with.

Combat, mechanics, skills, inventory, crafting, all that more mundane stuff... not a big deal for me, and certainly not deal breaking. I'm not used to BG3's turn-based combat or DnD rules, but learned it quickly enough. When it comes to inventory, crafting etc, that is too much like managing a real life house. I don't want to have to spend an hour sorting out inventory, crafting materials etc after a day spent chasing a young child, endless cleaning, endless cooking, and endless laundry. :P I outsource game inventory management and skill management to my husband most of the time - I just hate dealing with it!! With limited game play time after said child is in bed and before I'm too exhausted to think in the evenings, I just want to jump straight into the story/action.
Posted By: timebean Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 12:40 AM
Reactivity is number one for me in any rpg. I want the world to feel alive and responsive. I want my choices to matter.

Characters are a close 2nd. In a party based rpg… I want to dig my party!

I can get great stories in books and walking sims (like Edith Finch). I can get strategy and resource management in games like XCOM. I can get exciting gameplay and pretty graphics in sandboxes like Mad Max or GTA.

A great rpg has all of these, sure, but I am forgiving of each component IF they are balanced to create a fully immersive world and IF the characters are good.

I want to interact with a world that responds to me and my choices. Party based rpgs are the best because of the extra layer you get with impacts on companions (and them on you). I usually leave a good rpg feeling like I have made new friends. I still occasionally hear Wynne from DAO in my head telling me to think something thru before acting. Or Mordin from ME2 singing in his lab. Or Jolee Bindo reminding me to be a grey jedi if i want. I have cried like a simpering fool at companion deaths in games...especially when they were my fault (sorry Wrex…sniff)…or not (Legion…damnit Legion).

Memorable and believable characters are a must. Stellar voice acting, good music, beautiful graphics, strong writing…they all add to this.

Great combat with spell combos and deep strategy and party tactics round it all out for me. That is my number 3, I reckon.
Posted By: IrenicusBG3 Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 02:06 AM
Immersion, world building, non-linearity and memorable companions.

Thats why BG2 and Planescape are still the best for me.

Then comes exploration/variety and player agency/choices that matter.
Posted By: Zarna Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 03:47 AM
I am not sure what games specifically you consider to be in this genre, my definition is most likely different to yours.

What I like most is player choice and for the choices to have consequences. Ideally there are no clearly right or wrong choices. Good combat, for me this would be like the ME trilogy or FO4. I prefer fully real time or at least RTwP. Companions that feel like actual people, not followers, ME trilogy was my favourite for this. Open world is great. Decent graphics and and option for third person view also give me proper immersion. A good story is nice to have but I can forgive it being shallow if the combat is good or I can make my own story.

Things I care nothing about would be music and romance. I might like the music when not playing the game but I find a constant soundtrack to everything immersion breaking and repetitive, and I just don't see a point to awkward pixel sex (also I usually play characters that have other priorities.)
Posted By: VenusP Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 08:34 AM
I like many things, but probably the most important one in a RPG is how and if the world reacts to choises I make be it initial characteristics or my actions. Both combat and an overall gameplay-wise. There’s no much point in varieties of options if they all lead the same routes. That feel from the Golden Era of RPGs’ games when you realized you could’ve done something in a way more other manners with absolutely different outcomes was something that hooked me and made endlessly replaying Baldur’s Gate and Fallout.
Posted By: RagnarokCzD Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 10:12 AM
It depends ...

Do you mean what cant miss in RPG?
That would be immersive world, character customization, interesting story, enough possible reactions in dialogue so i dont stuck in "i cant pick any" too often, deep characters, as many differences between "classes" as possible. :P
The usual stuff ...

Or do you mean what makes great RPG?
That would be replyability, choices that actualy matters (wich we were promised for last decade almost every time, but never delivered), the options to solve problems creatively.

Or ... do you mean what makes exceptional RPG?
That would be somethin we never had before, some original element.
- For Bloodlines it was Ocean House ... whole level where is litteraly nothing, except you and many scary sounds. :3 Or its finale, wich i will not spoil, but it was hilarious.
- For KotOR (especialy second) it was depth of phylosophy that was implemented ... wich moved the whole idea of Light and Dark side of the Force to whole new level.
- For Elder Scrolls it was giant open world, where you can do litteraly almost anything.
- For Fallout it was (speaking for myself) that quite unique merge between multiple "punk" styles. laugh And ofcourse the depth in wich stats of your character affects your game ... starting with shorter sentences for low Int. characters, ending with amount of muscles for more Str. characters ... well, and certainy Vault tech, if you know what i mean. laugh
etc. :P
Posted By: Wormerine Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 11:05 AM
Specifics depend on each RPG, but when I start an RPG I expect to be given a role in an engaging journey - so I expect decent worldbuilding, interesting characters to meet and quests to solve. And, I generally expect to be able to create and define my character, make decisions, and see those things ripple throughout the adventure - NPC recognising my race/class/choices. I see reactivity less as a point in itself, and more as the requirement of interactive storytelling. If I am unable to make a choice that is natural and logical, because the game tells me I can't, it becomes less of a game, and more of a passive medium. A good RPG doesn't necessary has to have sprawling reactivity, but I have to feel like solutions presented to me are sufficient. And in general, I prefer to make multiple choices rather then one at the start of the game - therefore I prefer games with grayer morality, as games that deal in clear cut character divisions (Good/neutral/evil, Paragon/renegate etc) essencially mean, there are only handful choices to make, that we just later need to stick to throughout the game to reap rewards.

I have more specific requirements for a good Baldur's Gate game though, as BG1&2 already defined what type of RPGs those are - so for BG3 I wouldn't be as concerned about choice and reactivity, or worldbuilding, (though those are welcome) but more about well paces adventure, with some basic morality, campy, but developed villains, some acklowledgent of my character build, but a good overriding motivation for my PC, without stifling my roleplaying abilities (aka. classic Bioware approach). Combat system, with some optional really tough encounters, bunch of races and classes to choose from. A nice progressions from "rags to riches" in power sense. A good integration of systems and narrative (if our character gets more and more poweful, it should be acknowledge and exlained in the story). A large world to explore, many companions to choose from. Cool items to aquire.
Posted By: ash elemental Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 11:56 AM
Originally Posted by Maximuuus
BG1/2 weren't perfect especially for modern games. They also had bugs like fog of war exploit but they were consistent.
And when they were not, your imagination could easily do the job. According to me that's a reason why those games are so legendary.
Depends on what you mean by consistent. Because the fog of war wasn't the only issue with the combat system. Someone (I don't remember the player's name anymore, but the videos were on yt at some point) did a very entertaining let's play of the entire saga with a level one character. It was possible due to the ridiculously overpowered items BG2 gives you, combined with weak enemy ai.

To answer the OP: What I like in cRPGs most is worldbuilding & exploration. I enjoy challenging combat, but I've played and enjoyed games with had terrible combat (Arcanum :D), so it's not a must. Though tbh I don't find the D&D setting very interesting, but the BG games had great exploration, and so far I like exploring in BG3 too.
Posted By: kanisatha Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 02:35 PM
Storytelling through high quality writing, large interactive world to explore, lore development, character building and development, interactive and engaging party companions, interesting and nonlinear main quest and plentiful side quests, branching dialog, meaningful and realistic consequences from choices, gameplay mechanics that only minimally depend on random chance or player motor skills.

These are the main things I consider to be what determines a good cRPG. The one thing that does NOT matter much for me is combat.
Posted By: Tuco Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 04:12 PM
Generally speaking, I tend to like "systemic design" that creates inherently interesting gameplay loops and reactivity (the over-mentioned "choices and consequences" is just a part of it, in general it's any moment where the game acknowledges and reacts appropriately to your actions) over an excessive focus on narrating a pre-established story.

Speaking of flavor, I'm way ,WAAAY more fond of games that push the pretense of being actually "an adventurer doing adventurous things" going with that "pen & paper feel" over the ones that make everything immediately convenient and overly explicit because "lul it's just a videogame".
The "annoyance" of having to identify items otherwise their powers will remain unused? Of swimming in crap but not having an easy and convenient instant fast travel out of bad spot? Of having to consider carefully when and how much to rest because there are dangers to avoid and/or deadlines to meet? Yes please.

Also, I can't absolutely stand excessively steep power curves (i.e. the typical "you start with 28HP and end with 999" of your average JRPG) and randomized itemization.
I've been playing this genre for over 30 years at this point and I have not a shadow of a doubt that I'll ALWAYS take a limited (but ideally generous) selection of unique items over being drowned in randomly generated crap at every hour of any day until the day I'll die.
Posted By: VenusP Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 09:02 PM
Tuco, you’re my favorite poster here.
Posted By: Saito Hikari Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 10:00 PM
Originally Posted by Tuco
Speaking of flavor, I'm way ,WAAAY more fond of games that push the pretense of being actually "an adventurer doing adventurous things" going with that "pen & paper feel" over the ones that make everything immediately convenient and overly explicit because "lul it's just a videogame".
The "annoyance" of having to identify items otherwise their powers will remain unused? Of swimming in crap but not having an easy and convenient instant fast travel out of bad spot? Of having to consider carefully when and how much to rest because there are dangers to avoid and/or deadlines to meet? Yes please.

Also, I can't absolutely stand excessively steep power curves (i.e. the typical "you start with 28HP and end with 999" of your average JRPG) and randomized itemization.
I've been playing this genre for over 30 years at this point and I have not a shadow of a doubt that I'll ALWAYS take a limited (but ideally generous) selection of unique items over being drowned in randomly generated crap at every hour of any day until the day I'll die.

I feel the same way. 'Adventurer doing adventurous things' can be extremely compelling if done right. Problem is, most are very bad at it. I still tend to favor those kinds of narratives over those that try to present themselves as epic and philosophical in scope, mostly because the latter tends to have a very bad tendency of dumping tons of exposition on you and trying to build things up, only to end up absolutely failing flat on the delivery towards the end (along with my other major pet peeve, constantly dangling certain plot threads out of reach as a sequel hook - I'm looking at YOU, PoE and Dragon Age). They typically tend to try to weave most of the narrative around the player character's existence too, while the former instead goes for more subtle overall world building.

Granted, a good mix of both is preferable, but very difficult to pull off. I think the only example of a game containing a great balance of both that I can think of was DA2, which also went for the very aytpical 'life in a big city over several years' plot structure. Sadly the game was rushed out the door and the actual gameplay wasn't up to par, so the narrative value of that game has been sadly forgotten or ignored as a result.

Something like this is also why I've always favored Kingmaker's narrative over, say, the PoE series. And WotR is even better than Kingmaker in that regard. Even if the actual plot itself is about as epic as you can get, the companion writing and overall pacing still has that strong adventure feel to offset it. My faith in how the companions are written and presented is now so high that I'm confident it's going to set a new standard in regards to how companions are designed/written for cRPGs that's going to be extremely difficult to top. The sheer quality is absurd for how many party members there are (10 so far, not counting any 'secret' party members/those locked behind specific mythic paths).
Posted By: The Composer Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 31/05/21 11:33 PM
I saw this thread when it first popped up, and have been really wanting to reply to it, until I realized it was really difficult for me to fully formulate in my mind. Still is, by the way.

I think it ultimately boils down to what it always does for me in games; The story. Games are just more interactive and entertaining books for me, so the more a game suits that purpose, the more likely it is for me to enjoy it. So stuff like combat isn't of as high value to me, it's just there. Though if combat drives the story, or holds emotional interest through the story, then I'll love it. More specifically I like character building and universe building, exploring mythos and mystery (Dragon Age does a fantastic job with this for my tastes, such as Morrigan with the mirrors and Inquisition's whole foreshadowing and subtle hints to Fenris throughout the game, and its conclusion).

So... A living world to explore with character(s) I find interesting, as they're the viewport you have into the world, with schemes, mysteries and events that exists and develops there regardless of my existence, but recognizes my existence if I choose / find a way to interact with it, I suppose. I can't really find better ways of putting it down into words at the moment.
Posted By: Tuco Re: What do you like in cRPG ? - 01/06/21 11:09 AM
Originally Posted by VenusP
Tuco, you’re my favorite poster here.
AWWW.

But no, seriously. I appreciate the endorsement.
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