Legends & Lore 09/03 - RPG design philosophy


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    Legends & Lore 09/03 - RPG design philosophy

    Not much meat here. I like what he's saying but it's going to be about the execution.

    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (RPG Design Philosophy)
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    Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game.


    The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys.


    Its important to contrast this point against other types of games. The rules for tennis or poker dont make things easier for players. They instead make the game fair by establishing the standards for serves, shots, conduct, and so on. Most games are concerned with maintaining fairness, providing clarity, and covering every conceivable event in the game, but D&D is different. As a cooperative game, it relies on the DM to cover those areas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post




    What a hater.
    Lol. Yeah Mike must be getting chapped lips. That was nothing but him kissing up to every faction in D&D.

    I do take exception of course to the wizards and lackey's comment. So overall I'm displeased by this post. But I'm growing disaffected by WOTC and 5e a lot lately. I'm seriously thinking maybe I should just embrace Pathfinder and be done with it.

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    Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game.
    Funny how some people manage to enjoy Chess, Monopoly, Starcraft, a host of sports, and a variety of other things that are remarkably balanced. And fail utterly to find them boring.

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    Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game.
    The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys.
    Talking like a politician.

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    While I don't agree that building everything in "perfect balance" would make the game necessarily boring, I do believe it would make its development process prohibitively lengthy. Perfect balance is not required for a good game. Sufficient balance is.

    As for the wizards-shouldn't-outshine-everyone philosophy, I'm glad that this is one piece of the 4e design paradigm that is being carried forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
    Funny how some people manage to enjoy Chess, Monopoly, Starcraft, a host of sports, and a variety of other things that are remarkably balanced. And fail utterly to find them boring.
    Just a minor nitpick, non of those you have mentioned have perfect balance. Not even chess, where White have adventage over Black.

  • #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
    Funny how some people manage to enjoy Chess, Monopoly, Starcraft, a host of sports, and a variety of other things that are remarkably balanced. And fail utterly to find them boring.
    Yes, but all those examples are competitive, TT RPG is cooperative. Apples and oranges.

    I agree with what Mike said...perfect balance in cooperative TT RPG is practically unachievable (some optomizer will ALWAYS break it) and ultimately bland. I am so glad Mike made this point.

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  • #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluenose View Post
    Funny how some people manage to enjoy Chess, Monopoly, Starcraft, a host of sports, and a variety of other things that are remarkably balanced. And fail utterly to find them boring.
    I think if you read the two big paragraphs before and after that quote ("Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game") you'll get what he's saying. Basically, many of the coolest moments in a D&D game, where one character gets to truly shine, come from a localized "imbalance" in the game rules. The wizard killing two dozen enemy minions with a carefully-placed fireball, the fighter wading through melee without a scratch on him, the rogue taking out the enemy wizard with a single well-placed Sneak Attack. But if the rules are designed poorly so that an average rogue player can ALWAYS one-shot boss monsters and a fighter NEVER takes damage in melee, the game becomes boring.

    I don't think anything in this comment is particularly controversial. The debate lies in how much variety you need between characters or classes to keep things "interesting." 4e stripped out a lot of variety in the name of balance, and 5e is bringing a lot of variety back (first and foremost by replacing AEDU with class-specific power and ability systems). I think WOTC's position is that pre-4e D&D didn't give enough consideration to balance and 4e gave too much, so they now have to find the perfect amount so that everyone's happy - or at least, so that 4e players can pick up any class without feeling either overpowered or gimped too often, and pre-4e players don't feel like every class is just the same thing with different flavor text.

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