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Thread: Storytelling in Games Thread

  1. #61
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Yeah, I noticed that as soon as you start running with a polearm or something you automatically drop it and I was like "whuh". This draws from the game being badly structured in general, though. I mean, it's a cool game, but badly designed in that aspect. For some reason the enemies are always using super powerful weapons that, if you could pick them up, would collapse the difficulty scaling of the game. Like early on, you have a chance to pick up a rapier with 4 power and 4 speed (in ACII), but you're forced to abandon it by the game so that it doesn't become ridiculously broken. The intention is good, but why were those enemies carrying such super powerful weapons to begin with, you know what I mean? That was a bad call on the designers' part which cost them heavily in suspension of disbelief as they had to put in like an imaginary wall to keep the player from breaching the game's "system".

  2. #62
    Sir-Mass-a-Lot Sylux's Avatar
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    Also I noticed that nobody but captains have more than 30 Florins in their pouch. Wat gives eh? I at least keep $50 in my wallet in cash for emergency like gas. :\

  3. #63
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Yeah. There are a lot of limitations put in place to keep the player in-line with the difficulty scaling. I'm playing Dark Souls now and I like how they did it where the player can choose to confront greater challenges for greater reward but the stat limitations are a pain if you're not down to grind.

  4. #64
    Fenn
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    Cypress I really like your ideas in the spoiler tag; I've considered many variants on it myself. One was a three-way system of development: Stats, Traits, and Skills.

    Stats are static and progress as you gain experience. So at 0XP you have 70% of your base stat, at ____XP you have 90%, and so on until you reach max XP. I even considered an aging system where, after a certain amount of XP where you remain at a plateau, your stats regress slowly back to 70%, but you'll still be better than at the start because of...

    Skills, which you do not begin with but develop. You can gain a skill through training with an experienced NPC or character, or witnessing the skill so many times. Then, like your idea, it gets better as you use it. Not using the skill causes it to "decay" by up to 10%, but this decay is rapidly recovered when you begin to use it again. You can also "Master" one skill.

    Traits are passive, situational bonuses. They are also static, and do not change at all with XP, but can make a significant difference when triggered by the required situation.

    Different characters can also have a difference distribution of points between the three categories. If a character has, say, 3000 points, they could be distributed equally by 1000 to each category, or 1500 to Stats and 750 to Traits and Skills. Also, a character could have more than 3000 points to distribute if they decide to have some negative traits as well, which decrease performance in certain situations.

  5. #65
    Lord of Death jubeh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    Yeah. There are a lot of limitations put in place to keep the player in-line with the difficulty scaling. I'm playing Dark Souls now and I like how they did it where the player can choose to confront greater challenges for greater reward but the stat limitations are a pain if you're not down to grind.
    You don't ever have to level up in dark souls. The general rule of thumb is that if you can deal damage to it, you can beat it.

    As for all the system stuff you were discussing earlier, people have been discussing that stuff since runequest came out in the 80's. High verismilitude is fine but lately I've taken to "gamier" elements, for no particular reason. I'll ask you why you feel the need to keep hit points, though. Probably the weirdest but most common abstraction in all of video games.

  6. #66
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    What I mean is that you can kill the black knight in Undead Burg, get the Black Knight Greatsword...but then you gotta grind for STR to wield it properly. Whereas I prefer that, just from attempting to wield it repeatedly, you should grow in strength. Just like heavy lifting. I mean it makes sense, and you pay for it with lackluster performance in combat until the weapon becomes less cumbersome, so the risk-reward factor is intact.

    And I choose to keep Hit Points because there is just no way to reflect "health" accurately in games. Especially those of the action/RPG persuasion. There is no way to make it realistic yet streamlined enough to offer a comfortable amount of control to the player. A game with a perfectly realistic health system would be unwieldy and just plain annoying to manage.

  7. #67
    Devilish Member Inksprout's Avatar
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    When I was younger I always thought HP meant health points anyway :/
    I notice Borderlands is a little but like your suggestion for weapons with your 'weapon proficiency' increasing for the type of gun you're using. It would be interesting to see how well a more detailed system like the on you're proposing would work in practice. I think players who are less inclined to get into the intricate details of game mechanics would find it annoying though. For example they might want it to be easy to play so that the flow of game play isn't interrupted by them failing. For some people grinding would be more satisfying than having to work hard wielding a difficult weapon until they were strong enough to use it effectively. Not every player minds grinding, some find it satisfying to easily defeat weaker enemies with the reward of using a better weapon as opposed to struggling though the game. Many RPG player's probably barely check/understand the full extent of how stats effect the game play.
    If a game with this type of system were to be successful with a wide audience you'd have to consider this point and cater to those who just want to play without having the game become too difficult.

  8. #68
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's a problem that's been addressed by gaming columnists for the longest time: are gamers getting too soft?

    Even in a game like Dark Souls, I feel like they hedged their difficulty level by making some ridiculously simple attack patterns (the "weaknesses" I described earlier) so they wouldn't overwhelm gamers. And it was supposed to be a game for hardcore players, so when I encountered the Gaping Dragon I was like "this is a joke, right?" Sure, the thing can kill you in one hit but it has the same three-move attack pattern that it repeats ad nauseum. And then they had the "difficult" bosses like the Stray Demon whose attacks were p. much just impossible to dodge completely and hit you through your shield so it's like "urgh".

    So what I'm trying to say is: games try too hard to be accessible, which is hugely limiting to intelligent play. The only time in Dark Souls (so far) where I had issues is when the enemies were simply too annoying to kill because of high HP or had ridiculous magic attacks that you had to tank through your shield, at which point that's merely a device put in by the designers to keep the player "on track" as far as difficulty scaling. So the only times the game got noticeably hard is when I was somewhere the developers didn't want me to be yet, which is pretty much an invisible wall that deters open-ended progression. Technically, I had no issues fighting these things, it was just far too much of a pain in the ass to do it or impossible because I, myself, didn't have enough HP.

    So RPGs have really nestled into the armchair way too much as the strength of the character is no longer linked to the skill of the player. Three problems arise from this:

    1.) Time becomes the major factor in improvement. Time is not something everyone has and should not be the determinant in how accessible a game is. Surely, time is something to be invested in every game to get "good" at it, but with RPG's that is not the issue because:
    2.) There is no such thing as being "good" at an RPG. For a type of entertainment that is built around a ceaseless competition between the player and computer-generated opponents, this makes no sense. Player skill should somehow be equated into the formula. I understand a game that is more action-oriented will lose RPG fans, but it will also gain action fans.
    3.) The difficulty level of any given RPG is entirely variable based on an arbitrary factor called "time". An RPG can be a nightmare or a joke based simply on how much time the player is willing to invest into grinding. Whereas having a system that links player skill to character strength will partly eliminate this problem as the player has to improve in order for the character to improve. This also opens up possibilities for open-ended progression, custom game pacing (whereas RPGs currently cater to players who are willing to sink many hours into them), and the idea that your character is a better warrior at the end of the day, not just a better tank. This also eliminates the need for "invisible wall" devices as any player who is good enough can progress past any point as they have built up the necessary skills.


    That's why I respect the likes of Vagrant Story, Valkyrie Profile and Kingdom Hearts because they took one step closer to bringing RPGs out of the armchair. In Vagrant Story, the effectiveness of your character was based on how well you could chain techniques together with reflex commands. Though one could grind up better stats, the skilled player could kill a boss in a single combo (albeit a very long one) with enough skill. Valkyrie Profile rewards the player for being able to combo their party's moves together. You get EXP bonuses for juggling and reduced turn counter for OTG techniques as well. So basically they created a system where a skilled player could circumvent grinding by gaining EXP bonuses through skilled play. And Kingdom Hearts was a game where you could do the same thing with "tech" bonuses based on how well you guarded against and parried attacks. And, for this reason, these games have great pacing, linear gameplay that "feels" open-ended because of how much the player affects the game, and no "invisible walls".
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 11-06-2011 at 12:09 AM.

  9. #69
    Lord of Death jubeh's Avatar
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    So what I'm trying to say is: games try too hard to be accessible, which is hugely limiting to intelligent play. The only time in Dark Souls (so far) where I had issues is when the enemies were simply too annoying to kill because of high HP or had ridiculous magic attacks that you had to tank through your shield, at which point that's merely a device put in by the designers to keep the player "on track" as far as difficulty scaling. So the only times the game got noticeably hard is when I was somewhere the developers didn't want me to be yet, which is pretty much an invisible wall that deters open-ended progression. Technically, I had no issues fighting these things, it was just far too much of a pain in the ass to do it or impossible because I, myself, didn't have enough HP.
    The idea that accessibility somehow means that a game is ez mode is really backwards. If a game is hard because it isn't accessible, that means that the controls weren't explained to you, or very important information was kept hidden from you. If in pokemon, they didn't explain how to catch monsters the game would be inaccessible. Accessibility makes the game easier, but in the right way.

    Gaping dragon wasn't meant to be accessible. It was a monster hunter knock off that 1. punished you for not killing the wizard on top of the wall (so not exploring thoroughly) and 2. teaches you about armor and weapon degradation when it melts the shit off of you which is a lesson that needs to be learned before lost izalith. I won't argue if he was "hard' or not, since that's subjective and that's super early in the game.

    As for your other comment, I can't relate. I did new londo ruins before I had even fought gaping dragon. And for not having enough HP, you will never have enough. I was like level 60 and that armored dude with horn at the garden still one shotted me in gold hemmed armor. HP is good for backtracking so when you're running by enemies and take a hit you can just soldier on. Also for dps tanking four kings in the first playthrough where its actually viable.

    It's like in arkham city -- you can upgrade batman's suit so that you take less damage but what's the point when you can just work on not getting it?

  10. #70
    Palindrome Member ClockHand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jubeh View Post
    It's like in arkham city -- you can upgrade batman's suit so that you take less damage but what's the point when you can just work on not getting it?
    I don't get those upgrades. I mean, the whole game is about being like Batman, but if you upgrade your suit to be anti bullets, you are implementing a option of progress that goes against the idea of the game.

    A friend got Batman arkham city, and the first he did was upgrade himself to be anti bullets. I ask him why, why would you be anti bullets, if the whole idea of the game is sneak and take down the guys who obviously are armed (and the game tells you who is armed who is not and you have almost a x-ray vision), and his answer was simple and straight "because is hard".

    Obviously the suit was implemented to give a sense of progress/growth but it is correct? It is correct for a game like Batman gave the option to a player to be less Batman? Where this progression/growth should be going? Should be going to get more stats, giving the ability to tank better (or do certain things the game ask you in a more easy way) or should give you abilities or/and knowledge to pass the next parts of the game?


    I don't know if someone really got killed by Gaping Dragon, his moves are extremely obvious (I'm a big vagina with teeth, wings and tail. I bet no one can guess that I can eat you, fly and whip my tail jejeje).

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