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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.

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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.

Last edited by Tuco; 31/05/21 04:15 PM.

Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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Tuco, you’re my favorite poster here.


Romances in RPGs brought us to this
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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).

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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.

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Originally Posted by VenusP
Tuco, you’re my favorite poster here.
AWWW.

But no, seriously. I appreciate the endorsement.


Party control in Baldur's Gate 3 is a complete mess that begs to be addressed. SAY NO TO THE TOILET CHAIN
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