Originally Posted by Madscientist
Back to topic, about fake urgency:

It looks like most people have accepted fake urgency to be normal in RPGs. I do not like it. Urgency can be good in an action game, but not so much in an RPG, especially if the RPG is much about exploration.

I guess one problem is that real urgency is hard to achieve in a non-linear game. You can have it on a small scale, such as side-quests that are based on a timer (like the ship on fire in D:OS), but it is usually not very satisfying, because when the timer runs out, the quest is failed. Unless the failed quest leads to other things that would not happen with the quest successful, this is just bad from a design perspective. Players will not like it when stuff happens constantly that is outside their control.

On a grander scale (like the Divine Magisters about to arrive in the D:OS 2 prototype), it introduces world-changing consequences. I mean, what would happen if the Magisters arrive? It shouldn't be simply game over, since that again seems to be bad design. Instead, players might no longer be able to walk about in the open, additional enemies would be roaming the island, certain areas could be blocked off, etc. ...

One also would expect NPCs to behave differently and acknowledge the change through new conversation topics and maybe new quests, etc ...

It's a huge amount of work, for an event that may never happen if the player is fast enough. And it's challenging on the technical side too, since large-scale changes to locations and NPCs are difficult to achieve. Mostly you'd have to prepare different versions of the same level and switch over, unless the engine was written with such flexibility in mind and can apply those changes to existing levels/areas/maps/whatever.