Originally Posted by Newtinmpls

First, thank you for setting out cogent reasons for your preferences.

Second, I disagree...sort of.

It seems to me in general that there are two basic approaches (yes, variations exist but I'm going to start by lumping rather than splitting) in video game combat.

Twitch fighting - the "how fast can you hit the buttons and maneuver your character" that is seen in Borderlands or in Elder Scrolls Online. There are no "pauses" and if you "pause to think" in real time, the baddies will overwhelm you and kill you.

I appreciate your courteousness but it is at this point that I must interrupt the train of thought in your writing to point something critical out to you. The examples you listed are not isometric CRPGs.

Originally Posted by Newtinmpls
Turn based fighting - each time a PC is "up", they get time to think and choose their actions.

Again I must point something out to you that is critical here. Your description of turn based combat is lacking and does not reflect the turn based combat in Larian games. You do not "get time" to think about your actions as this implies finality. Time stops and waits for you to think, and there is nothing outside of your direct control that would give you agency in this regard.

Originally Posted by Newtinmpls
I've played both, and I can see good and bad sides to both. One example would be a delightful friend of mine who gets very very stressed during Twitch style combat - and the stress basically makes those sorts of games not fun for her.

This is understandable however that is the very nature of unfamiliarity. We all had to learn to drive at some point and all of us where on edge to one degree or another even after we had passed our driving examination to receive our license. Some of us well after that and this fear was not reflective of our abilities. If we had never confronted this and overcome it, we would not be able to drive cars. I am making this point because you are about to reach a conclusion via what I could charitably call unfounded evidence.

Originally Posted by Newtinmpls
The point is that Larian Studios chose Turn-based combat; and then made the further choice to take advantage of it's tactical potential and included surfaces, throwing, free actions and all sorts of refinements. This means that ANY combat can be approached tactically and also that WHEN a combat is approached with thought and planning it goes better.

I don't think you have considered this statement fully. Let's assume first that you are 100% correct. Savescumming is already a prevalent solution and problem to combat mechanics in this game as well as other mechanics. This in and of itself already greatly diminishes the tactical potential unless you are playing on honor mode.
Now let us look at your supposition more closely. You propose that turn based combat offers greater tactical potential and that the combat can only be approached tactically in this state. The second part of this is blatantly false so with the greatest respect I am not going to address it. Moving past that surfaces, throwing, free actions and all of that still exist in RTwP. This leaves you with turn based combat having greater tactical depth and I would not content this point so strongly if it where not for the prior definition you gave of turn based combat. You have infinite time and reality pauses and waits for you for every single action your characters take. I've already pointed out how this absolutely shatters immersion but now I'm going to point out how all urgency has disappeared. Why is a good tactician necessary for success in battle? Because we value the ability to remain calm and rational under pressure and making effective choices within a time limit. There is no time limit in Larian-style turn based combat. This immediately dilutes it's tactical difficulty and it's tactical potential as the only difference between the greatest tactician and the poorest is how long it takes them to arrive at an effective choice. Imagine if the enemy army called out their every move to each others tacticians. I am going to use bullet points for this for ease of reading.
Army A: We are going to flank you now. They proceed to move their forces to your left flank and wait for until you take an action.
Army B: We are going to split up into a pincer formation so as to divide your forces. They proceed to move into a pincer formation facing your army invalidating your flank.
Army A: Okay we are attacking now. Your army stands still while they attack and kill a few of you.
Army B: Okay our wizard is going to cast fireball now.
I understand I am being hyperbolic but the reality is far less complementary as it would be individual soldiers calling out their actions. Do you believe this would make the tacticians job easier or harder?

Originally Posted by Newtinmpls
One downside to this is that it "makes me think" more often than a more simplified game, but I choose to see this a feature, rather than a bug.

It gives you more time to think yes. RTwP or urgency do not prevent you from thinking or motivate you to not do so. They pressure you to think faster and makes your choices have much bigger impact with much bigger consequences or rewards as the world is not waiting for you to decide what to do. This means that you have to start thinking even when you are not in combat. If you find a flaw in your armor you have to close it up as soon as possible and be ready to respond to it at moments notice. You need to think about your builds and party composition more carefully because a moments hesitation can cost you your life. You need to think about position and how you approach a fight in much greater depth because once the action starts you are on a very tight schedule. So far this seems to be asking for an easy mode but consider that Tactician Mode and Honor Mode already exist and Larian have a very strong basis for creating a turn based combat system and excellent funding. There is no reason not to include a RTwP, at least as an optional mode, especially when we are effectively paying them full price to alpha test the game.

Originally Posted by Newtinmpls
Now to go back to Argonaut's point; original D&D is certainly well described as a "Theatre of the Mind". Which makes me think of a type of play/presentation done in my early school years called "Readers Theatre" which was akin to a stage play where the Actors stood in a row and essentially read their scripts. There was no "acting" (physically) and it was sort of like being read aloud to; a definite difference in style from more usual Theatre - but also let itself quite well to the audience being able to "see" the action in their imaginations.

In the same way, fanfiction takes a story from RPGs or games, and then tells it. And in writing, one cannot have simultaneous different things going on. So reading is "one word at a time" and you tell "this thing happened" and then "the next thing happened" which is highly akin to turn based play. That's one of the reason I can enjoy it, because I can "follow the story" more easily.

So for me, it is very effective in that "simulation of a faux reality" is very accessible by these means.


To start off with, you did not understand my point in the slightest. I am going to explain it again as clearly as I am able to but forgive me if I am unable to do so. I am also sorry if I come off as harsh but I am a just a dude and I'm not perfect.

I described DnD as being reliant on theater of the mind as a severe limitation that cannot be overcome. Even with the greatest models, maps and props, even with live actors, you cannot bypass this roadblock in the simulation. Keep in mind that the very purpose of D&D and Videogames is the simulation and this doubles for an RPG videogame. I made this point in order to address the counter argument many people present that D&D pen and paper is turn based. I was trying to draw attention to the fact that these are not the same mediums and video games has the potential to take the simulation to a much, much higher level as well as to point out that it has taken steps backwards in more than one direction but didn't wish to go deeper so as to not dilute this point or distract from it as it is the crux of my argument. I can tell you did not understand this because you immediately compared video games to other mediums. Video games are also not books. Movies are not video games. Movies are not books. Books are not movies. They can be similar but the nature and goal of them is different despite them sharing some common goals such as presenting an aesthetic or trying to draw light to an issue or telling a story. You in fact corroborate this with your ending statements as you compare it to reading when you are not reading. You are playing a turn based videogame. There is no way for me to make it clearer how turn based gameplay is detracting from the simulation than this.

Furthermore I don't think professional voice actors or even actors would appreciate your estimation of the importance of vocal acting. There are debates ongoing in the scientific community about just how powerful sound is in regards to how it affects you mentally going back many years in the form of pavlovian conditioning. There is recognition in film and videogames of just how powerful not just voice acting is, but sound in general. You are taking it for granted and I don't believe that to be fair.

I would like to close this by recognizing that turn based combat may be superior to you or for you but using that as a basis is extremely selfish. Read through this thread and see how many people consider RTwP to be superior. Do you think it is fair for the choice of the system to be based off of subjective anecdote when there is just as much for the other option? Can you not see how they are being robbed of the very thing you are defending? This is why I chose to take such a hands off objective approach to my point. We all want different things, but we need to sit down like adults and consider things objectively as well from time to time and remind ourselves that if we base a choice from a point of personal preference alone we are effectively throwing an equally large demographic under the bus in a self serving manner. I'm sorry if this comes off as Harsh and I do not mean it in a demeaning fashion but as you may have gathered from my posts I am blunt and straight forward.

Last edited by Argonaut; 18/10/20 09:55 PM.

I am here to discuss a video game. Please do not try to rope me into anything other than that. Thank you.