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Why Everything Is Trying To Be An RPG Now

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wormy 12th April 2010, 12:54 Quote
I can't read gaming stuff at work - inappropriate website.

*Lose 5 reputation for 3 turns and armour reduced by 50% (pants down)*
pimlicosound 12th April 2010, 13:22 Quote
I agree that ME2 is a fine example of a balanced RPG experience, with its streamlined levelling system that doesn't punish you severely for investing in the wrong thing, and its reliance on the player's ability to train a crosshair on a target. However, saying that levelling up is barely treated as a reward somewhat undersells the experience, I think.

Upgrading any ability to level 4 dramatically increases its power and introduces new effects. A Combat Drone that inflicts damage is very different from one that merely pokes at an enemy. Area Reave, which disables whole groups of enemies, is massively potent. Upgrading any ammo power with the squad-sharing ability at level 4 makes a big difference, too.

Where ME2 rewards you is in focus, so that you reach level 4 and gain the special powers in the areas most attractive to you. But its beauty is that it doesn't punish you for experimenting with a focus that doesn't feel like it pays off - it gets around this by allowing you to reallocate any of your skill points later in the game.
wuyanxu 12th April 2010, 13:26 Quote
not an RPG fan myself, always hated the "you can't use this cos you are not level X" message.

but i do like the leveling up aspects in multiplayer. it allows for a much more dynamic gameplay, and rewards those who play a lot. especially the prestige system in MW2, it enables quick unlocks and also rewards those who puts extra time into the game with icons and user signs.

without the prestige system, such as BFBC2, it does become a grind for new players. dumped in a huge unfamiliar map, no specialisation perks, with the worst guns in the game. give the player magnum ammo and gun training at the start, then unlock less useful stuff gun sights later, so that everyone is at an even playing field.

i did play Oblivion, and IMHO it's a great system. to get rid of those RPG elements in-game, i used cheats to get me to max level. that way, i could enjoy the storyline without being limited by the flaw in traditional levelling system.
gavomatic57 12th April 2010, 13:33 Quote
I see levelling as a kind of "acid test" to see whether you are going to stick with a game. Fortunately the early stages of World of Warcraft were so intensely boring that it saved me extending my membership beyond the trial period. There is only so much fishing and sheep-killing you can take.
pizan 12th April 2010, 13:42 Quote
One of the reasons I like Valve games are the lack of RPG qualities to them except TF2, but I don't play that anyway. The only thing that annoys me more than everything being an RPG is that every game now has achievements. How about you won, congrats.
The boy 4rm oz 12th April 2010, 13:51 Quote
I have been playing 'Torchlight' recently, IMO one of the best dungeon crawlers since Diablo 2.
salesman 12th April 2010, 14:03 Quote
I like leveling. I believe it has been drilled into my head since I first played Final Fantasy on the NES. The idea that you start out as four people that can only punch, to taking down Chaos, and you don't have to just barley beat him either. I am one to level my characters far beyond any reasonable level required to beat a game. In FF3 I beat the final area with 3 people just to see if I could do it. I spent countless hours leveling up different characters to 99 to find which ones I liked to take for the task. Then I would reload and try it with different ones. See, I like at it this way in video games, there is the sure fire method for beating the game, then there's the method that makes the game look silly for even trying to fight back, I like to use the latter.

Anyways, I play games different the most people I know in person, but it is the way i want to play a game. I feel better about playing one game forever then about playing a lot of games but only to beat them once.
Invectus 12th April 2010, 14:48 Quote
there is a very addictive component in leveling.

this is abused in modern MMO imo
DbD 12th April 2010, 14:53 Quote
Dragon age had some funny mixed leveling system, where areas were unlocked at a certain level and stayed that way, and creature's had limited level ranges which means you'd never run into a lvl 1 dragon or a lvl 20 rat. Worked pretty well imo.
yakyb 12th April 2010, 14:57 Quote
i agree with salesman

in most games you start off just a little bit more powerful than the average person in the street and as you progress you start to distinguish yourself from the normal people then you end up becoming

FF7 was the best for this.

Games like oblivion as commented in the article, give no real reward. for example i was really surprised (and tbh disappointed ) that i could beat the arena after only playing the game for 3 hrs. try doing that in any real level based game.
rickysio 12th April 2010, 15:07 Quote
Even after playing more RPG's, I still find the experience on the PS1 (Final Fantasy 8) the best. Oh well...
Hamish 12th April 2010, 15:43 Quote
i have no problems with leveling, XP, pins/patches/achievements in MP FPSs
i do have a problem with unlocks that are flat out better,
TF2 unlocks for the most part arent too bad, but you can never balanced perfectly so for example you have to be daft not to use the soldier pickaxe or the original backburner

BC2 is pretty bad, lots of weapon unlocks are flat out better than the starting guns and the specs/gadgets certainly are
BC2 medics have no ****ing medic equipment at the start of the game? that is lunacy
magnum ammo giving 1.25x damage to people who have played longer? stupid

MW2 is even bloody worse, having to level up to unlock game modes? what the hell, totally unforgivable imo

i want FPS wins to be determined by the skill of the player as much as possible, not by who has ground out the best kit :\
Tsung 12th April 2010, 15:52 Quote
The biggest problems I come across with any levelling system is it really penalises the casual players. I have friends who attend lan parties who's only chance to really play the games is at these events. Playing the game whilst being seriously crippled because they are level 1 is extremely demoralising. So please developers if you're going to have a levelling system please give us the ability to turn off the levelling on a server (unlock everything) and help even up the playfield.

BFBC2 has a terrrible starting level 1, the developers really didn't think about it. At Level 1 Medics cannot heal (most basic function of the medic) and Engineers cannot repair (again basic engineer function). Basic class functions like these should be availble from the start so them players can contribute the game. COD:MW2 has a good system where you had 5 default classes with some nicer weapons which you can use to start unlocking weapons and gear without feeling totally hopeless..

** Hamish you beat me to the faults of BFBC2 level system :)
B1GBUD 12th April 2010, 16:00 Quote
I did find it a little strange how in BFBC2 medic and support (now Assault) couldn't revive, give health or re-supply until you unlocked those features. I'm from the old BF2 stable and these features were part of the game from the outset. The only thing good is they've not been turned into Premium DLC that you have to pay for.

TF2 has gone down the same path, hats and otherwise useless sh!t that's been put there as a "Well done, you've been in a server for 1000 hours, have a chuffing hat for your efforts" has really put me off. It wasn't the game I initially payed for. I didn't expect them to throw weapon unlocks and hats (I mean ffs, hats... really?) into the mix, especially as it seems very random on how you receive them. Some are released over time, other seem to be linked with the achievements system.

At least with MW2, if someone keeps kicks your ass, you could use the copycat deathstreak and steal their kit. In BFBC2 you have to kill them before you can pick up their kit, but in TF2 you can't do anything if someone has played a million hours and has all unlocks.

/rant
borandi 12th April 2010, 16:03 Quote
For some reason by BFBC2 glitched and I started with the medic pack and the engineer gun, despite not pre-ordering it or playing in the beta. However it does reward you if you are tactile with weapons - 60% of the game is eliminating the enemy. If you can't do that, you're going to lose. 30% is then strategy, and 10% luck.

I completed Oblivion, the expansion, and all the achievements on the 360 without going above level 3. When you have super weapons and the rest of the enemies are still holding daggers, it's a very simple game.

I'm surprised that you haven't included stats talk - such as GTA or Saints Row, or RPGS, FPS - that track all your stats. With the right stats system (e.g. Battlefield, and BC2 has API options to make your own leaderboards) a group of friends will be actively competing with each other to see who can get the most gold stars/ace pins/best k/d ratio. There's one game that apparently is big into this - Blur. I unfortunately haven't played it, but it sounds fun.
Darkedge 12th April 2010, 17:51 Quote
I think levels and XP is very arbitary and in most game wrong and should've been replaced by now., EVEN RPGS and especially MMOs.

I don't hink there is anything quite out there that is a replacement yet (apart from a system I've been working on) but some good steps towards, e.g equipment increases not player stats for one.
proxess 12th April 2010, 18:41 Quote
UO system foreva! <3
Blackie Chan 12th April 2010, 19:11 Quote
I like BFBC2, there is a learning curve and I think that makes it feel like the leveling is unfair. I saw someone complaining about hit boxes and I think they weren't aware of the bullet physics in the game.
Orlandu84 12th April 2010, 20:22 Quote
As many game reviewers have already noted, the multiplayer unlocks of BFBC2 are questionable at best. I agree that BFBC2's default classes should have their basic functions enabled (medics should be able to heal from the start). Having said that, I also think that the unlocks are far more balanced than MW2 on account of the lack of deathstreaks. Perhaps it is my own preference, but I do think that their absence allows for a more even playing field.

The critical question is whether adding these RPG elements makes for a better game. Certainly, I am drawn to unlocking features of play and like being rewarded for playing. These rewards do hurt new players initial experience. I think that a good solution would be to have a few dedicated servers for players of low levels so that they can learn the game (Shattered Horizons does but does not have RPG elements).
Sloth 12th April 2010, 20:56 Quote
I'm generally a fan of a level based system in games, but there's a point when it's gone too far.

Can't read the article at work so I apologize if this has been mentioned already, but Dirt 2 just disgusted me. What a lazy way to let players progress through the 'campaign'. An open ended racing game like that is inherently hard to push forward without some sort of "meet the requirements, move on" gameplay, but I would have appreciated something other than a big fat level just sitting there. Any sort of mask at all, like needing a certain amount of money or total wins. Anything. Levels are becoming an excuse for developers to not think or work.

In contrast, a decent application of a leveling system rarely/never requires the player to be of any level. It's a gauge of growth that is there for the player's own benefit, not as an integral part of the story/gameplay. Oblivion is, in my opinion, a decent application of a leveling system. It has little/no impact on what you can do in the game. Final Fantasy games are another good example, levels will help you progress as enemies get stronger but there is never a point in which you cannot do something based on your level, progression through the game is entirely driven by the story and your actions.

And just for clarification, I think MMOs like WoW fall into the same class as Dirt 2. The game can be very content rich and fullfilling and fun, but it will still be very simple.
Hamish 12th April 2010, 22:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackie Chan
I like BFBC2, there is a learning curve and I think that makes it feel like the leveling is unfair. I saw someone complaining about hit boxes and I think they weren't aware of the bullet physics in the game.

fyi, hitdrop is basically completely non-existent for non-sniper rifles and hit registration is pretty buggy
GravitySmacked 12th April 2010, 22:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wormy
I can't read gaming stuff at work - inappropriate website.

*Lose 5 reputation for 3 turns and armour reduced by 50% (pants down)*

Made me laugh!
veato 13th April 2010, 08:40 Quote
In BFBC2 I had the medic kit from the start. I think it due to having Veteran status or something. Without that though I think the first few days online would have been a much more unpleasant experience.

I dont like the way games like Fallout 3 level. Dont get me wrong I loved the game but levelling the whole world to match your character level means you dont - in effect - become anymore powerful.
cjmUK 13th April 2010, 13:51 Quote
Levelling Pros and Cons aside, why is a game that involves levelling 'trying to be an RPG'?

This highlights the flawed thinking in many publishers and studios; just because your character can level-up in some way, does not make your game an RPG. I know I should have done more homework, but I got a shock when I bought borderlands because it was a hybrid RPG/FPS - there was no RPG elements in it at all - it was a crap, fairly linear shooter where you could upgrade your weapons.

RPGs often involve levelling but they aren't defined by this. In RPGs, you are supposed to be playing a 'role' and any decisions you make will have an effect on your future game experience. RPGs usually embrace some sort of character attributes (Str, Con,, Int etc.) and skills/abilities (spells, lock-picking, hacking etc.) which provide you with different ways of solving in-game problems. When you level, you often increase particular skills or characteristics, but equally you can gain new skills that allow you to tackle future problems in a different way.

If you want to write an article about levelling, that's fine - but you are doing RPGs a disservice with this title.
jrr 13th April 2010, 14:26 Quote
I find both "leveling mechanics" jarring and unbelievable: 1) the game scales with you and 2) enemy levels are fixed and you continually visit harder and harder zones.

I'm trying to come up with a new model that better mirrors the real world. Perhaps enemies of varying strengths are distributed more finely throughout the game world? (instead of having a level 1-5 zone, a level 6-10 zone, etc; most zones would have the full level range)

I could see enemy strength being based on variables like race/species, age, profession, and of course gear. When you're low level you could kill a rabbit but not a bear; you could take out a child orc but not his father.

Perhaps a game implementing this would be devilishly hard, but much more believable.
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