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Have computer games ruined table RPGs?

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
First of all "Balance" is mostly a table-top conceit, and all the baggage that goes with it (number crunching, testing, etc.) is mostly affecting the table top. This is because unlike a videogame, a tabletop game can never have 'the best' and 'the ultimate.' There is no easy path to victory, no programmed responses, no fighting battles over and over again for the phat loot, or just to level up. A videogame is immutable, and thus whigning about balance isn't good....you just want to be the most powerful...it's a matter of how hard it is to get there that is difficulty.

Balance is almost purely a table-top idea, though some MMORPG's have adopted it, but it's because they use similar ideas...a game like that often concentrates on what members of a team can do, and force interaction to a certain degree to be effective. You have the four roles (sometimes three) within a party, and all are needed for the most effective fighting...having a Cleric, Wizard, Fighter, and Rogue is, in a way, it's own little cheat code for victory....

That said, the plots and stories of CRPG's are the things that have *enhanced* my game, if anything....

....which is why I'm devoted to d20-izing Final Fantasy...:)
 

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rounser

First Post
Someone (Uthrecht?) pointed out that CRPGs are much more limited in scope than tabletop RPGs
In theory, yes. In practice, nuh-uh.

I'm yet to find a PnP game with as much thoroughly detailed scope as Baldur's Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment. IME most DMs can't improvise anywhere near that well, or will resent your straying too far (assuming you're not being railroaded in the first place).
 
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DrZombie

First Post
My two cents :

- CRPG = hack'n slash. Even the more story driven are mostly lines of boring text between hack'n slash episodes. The puzzles can mostly be solved by a lobotomised chimpansee, and when you solve'em there's more hack'n slash. Mistake me not, I like computer games, I just wish they would leave the roleplaying crap out of it, because it'll never ever be as good as a tabletop game.

- Has this ruined the tabletop game? Well, no. What it has done is that it has attracted people that are interested in fantasy to the game, but they don't know any better then to hack 'n slash, it's all they have ever seen. Mix 'em with some RPG veterans and they will either blossom or leave, and they won't be a great loss if they leave anyway.

- Maxed out characters : as soon as you don't start at first level, you'll have maxed characters. Start at level 10 and your players will come up with characters hat have the minimal requirement to get into a prestige class, have all the right feat combos and have some skills with extreme scores. Can you blame 'em? As long as they have a decent background and some idea about personalities, I don't really mind.

-Same thing was said about CCG. With the 3rd edition you can just feel the precise timing rules of CCG's. Not a bad thing i think.
 

heimdall

Dwarven Guardian
DrZombie said:
Has this ruined the tabletop game? Well, no. What it has done is that it has attracted people that are interested in fantasy to the game, but they don't know any better then to hack 'n slash, it's all they have ever seen. Mix 'em with some RPG veterans and they will either blossom or leave, and they won't be a great loss if they leave anyway.

I remember complaining about hack 'n slashers in the early 80s, min-maxers, too, so I wouldn't say the phemonenon can be tied to CRPGs. I think 2nd edition really exacerbated the issue and it was at that time CRPGs started getting popular. With all the kits, speciality priests, etc., I saw some really nasty min-maxed characters.

On a different note, I know some folks have referred to the group tactics, etc., that are now being seen in D&D. You know, it's true CRPGs have 'em, and that might be one reason for the influence, but consider game Star Trek Fleet Battles, Star Frontiers, and especially BattleTech were very, very heavily tactical. Concepts like concentration of fire and speed kills were brought out in those games.
 

Dark Jezter

First Post
DrZombie said:
My two cents :

- CRPG = hack'n slash. Even the more story driven are mostly lines of boring text between hack'n slash episodes. The puzzles can mostly be solved by a lobotomised chimpansee, and when you solve'em there's more hack'n slash. Mistake me not, I like computer games, I just wish they would leave the roleplaying crap out of it, because it'll never ever be as good as a tabletop game.

I respectfully disagree. I've never seen a tabletop RPG campaign that had a storyline as rich and intricately detailed as the ones found in Baldur's Gate II or Planescape Torment. They may exist, but I have yet to see one, or even hear about one. And, as rounser pointed out, DMs who try to have storylines deep enough and complex enough to compare to those games usually end up railroading the hell out of their players.

But, while BG2 and PT may have incredible storylines, they don't (yet) give you the near total freedom that playing in a good tabletop campaign has. BG2 is very non-linear as far as CRPGs go, but you still can't have your character attempt to do anything he wants.
 

Driddle

First Post
OK, OK, OK ... So I made a bad choice in my initial post of using the word "ruin." An overexaggeration or lacking specific intent, in retrospect. ("Bad, Driddle! Bad!")

And yet about half of the responses so far have conceded computer games are influencing the lingo, attitude, behavior and other various aspects of the table gaming experience.

Ruin? No. Major social effect? Yes.
 

milotha

First Post
I think that even as the AI in computer games advances, it will never replace a human GM. There are many interesting social dynamics and strange/unique situations that are missing from computer RPGs that only a human GM can abjudicate. It's harder to change the rules in a computer RPG. I think it will be a long time before computer RPGs can do this.

In addition, you miss the face to face interation that sitting across the table from your GM and fellow players instills. There are nuiances to social interaction that you just can't provide in an computer RPG. Not to mention the shared snacks, and the fact that you can easily decide to play something else that day - boardgame, cardgame, another RPG etc.
 

Faraer

Explorer
Crossover is inevitable; as Pauper says, the most visible thing is the terminology drift. 'Levelling up', ugh. I don't like it either.
Dark Jezter said:
I've never seen a tabletop RPG campaign that had a storyline as rich and intricately detailed as the ones found in Baldur's Gate II or Planescape Torment. They may exist, but I have yet to see one, or even hear about one.
Hear about one? Ed Greenwood's Company of Crazed Venturers and Knights of Myth Drannor campaigns, for sure.
 
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DrZombie

First Post
milotha said:
In addition, you miss the face to face interation that sitting across the table from your GM and fellow players instills. There are nuiances to social interaction that you just can't provide in an computer RPG. Not to mention the shared snacks, and the fact that you can easily decide to play something else that day - boardgame, cardgame, another RPG etc.
And you'll never ever fall out of your chair because you've been laughing so hard you lost your balance because of something a player says at exactly the wrong (right) time.
Example of last night:

GM : At the center of the village several natives wait for your arrival. In the center, dressed in full regalia, with a leopardskin cloak and a tall crown-like hat with magnificent feathers, an elder main looks up as you approach.
Player : I step forwards and say : Take me to your leader.....
 

ThoughtBubble

First Post
Dark Jezter said:
I respectfully disagree. I've never seen a tabletop RPG campaign that had a storyline as rich and intricately detailed as the ones found in Baldur's Gate II or Planescape Torment. They may exist, but I have yet to see one, or even hear about one. And, as rounser pointed out, DMs who try to have storylines deep enough and complex enough to compare to those games usually end up railroading the hell out of their players.

But, while BG2 and PT may have incredible storylines, they don't (yet) give you the near total freedom that playing in a good tabletop campaign has. BG2 is very non-linear as far as CRPGs go, but you still can't have your character attempt to do anything he wants.

I ran one of those campaigns once. There were seven or eight major myths that played throughout and against each other during the course of the game. Each person in the game was important and unique, and each decision mattered.

Everyone in the group was a writer or an actor or both, and it came through. We typically played to raise the drama and everyone did their best to create a good story. This game consumed us though. We met 2-3 times a week, and on the days that we wern't playing, a couple of us were writing myths for the game. Given a few general guidelines, we'd go and write the stories of the major heroes who were remembered in the world. The moments when my players saw connections from the little details of the writing they did to the game at hand was wonderful. I still miss that game...

Now, as much as I love the Baldur's Gate series (and my love for PS: Torment is greater) I think you're giving them too much credit in this case. They are very well crafted (the ending sequence to each game was especially wonderful), but you're still connecting key story point to key story point throughout the game. Between story points you can wander a little, but each major event HAS to be hit, you cannot avoid going to certian places. The games, by their very nature, do railroad you. Fallout, on the other hand, was sheer brilliance in the array of options and methods of completion offered (I'm going to go through this time as a brainy talkative type and skip most of the story points). Of course, most of the dialog was pretty dry and there was almost no character interaction.

But frankly, with only one player I could make a pretty darn intricate, detailed and deep storyline while presenting a vast and dizzying array of choices. Especially if said player is willing to let me take actions for him whenever I need to and put words in his mouth. :p
 

dreaded_beast

First Post
Driddle said:
...but now there are growing elements of the stuff I listed above -- number-crunching, class modulization, etc.

And that's a bad thing? ;)

I think a later quote of yours pretty much sums up my opinion:

"Ruin. No. Social Effect. Yes." (Is this right?)

Anyway, I've always been a firm believer in having options when playing DnD or any RPG. For me, the whole point is being able to do things I couldn't do in RL. I don't see number-crunching, class modulization, etc., as a bad thing, if it lets me play the type of game I want to play.

That being said, I think that "video-game" RPGs may even have a positive effect on table-top RPGs. For myself, who was first introduced to RPGs by games like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy (the old 8-bit NES), I knew I wanted something more, something with almost limitless options, as oppossed to the "box" of the "video-game" RPG. (While I still find fun, somewhat limiting in most respects when compared to table-top RPGs).

When a friend introduced me to DnD, I was hooked. You could say that "video-game" RPGs are what got me into DnD in the first place.
 

lelol_barbarian

First Post
i feel as though as the ages went on, people have gravitated towards an entirely different meaning to "rpgs". the term stands for roleplay games but a lot of rpgs nowadays don't have much, if at all and those that do don't have good roleplay. i feel as though anybody who hasn't played a decent rpg like D&D wouldn't even consider this but it has changed so much over the years and i don't even know how the term rpg has stayed at this point
 

MGibster

Legend
"Number-crunching, min-maximizing, strikeforce team tactics, and building new characters at higher levels" have been in gaming since the beginning, back before desktop computers existed. Remember that D&D has it's roots in wargaming, where all of that is essential to success. Those things remain an obvious playstyle choice, and there have always been gamers who choose it.
As a crusty old man, I can confirm Umbran's statement here. (I mean I'm the crusty old man here not Umbran.) Team tactics, min-maxing, number crunching, and coming up with optimum builds have been part of role playing since as long as I can remember. And for reference I started gaming when Ronald Reagan was in office. For some players, all that optimization and number crunching is one of the ways they have fun playing the game. As a player, I've been known to try to come up with some keen tactics to maximize our effectiveness when the party gets into a fight. It's part of the fun.

The clerics all cast 'buffs' now, while the wizards 'nuke' and the fighters 'tank'. I'm waiting for the day the DM explains how we meet a group of 'toons' as we're 'zoning out of town'. Or worse, the party asking what the orcs in the distance 'con' to them...
I'm pretty sure both nuke and buff were language in use by people I gamed with in the 90s at least. Prior to the rise of MMORPGs, a tank or a brick was just a big tough combatant who could take a lot of hits and dish out the damage rather than taking aggro.
I'm yet to find a PnP game with as much thoroughly detailed scope as Baldur's Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment. IME most DMs can't improvise anywhere near that well, or will resent your straying too far (assuming you're not being railroaded in the first place).
In Planescape Torment, I never had the option of lighting my head on fire and headbutting Falls-From-Grace. If the designers didn't think of something then you generally can't do it in the game. But you make a valid point. One advantage CRPGS have is the ability to jam a metric ton of details into the setting that just one DM can rarely do.
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Woah, a thread from 2004? This thread almost predates 3.5E!

But to the OP's point: I can see the influence that CRPGs have had on D&D. I just don't think that's a bad thing...certainly not bad enough to "ruin" anything. It's just different, that's all.

Times change, people change, and the hobby changes right along with them.
 

MGibster

Legend
I mean, it is a statement I made something like 17 years ago - this thread is from 2004. While I still agree with my younger self, I can't claim to have remained crustless over that span :p
Holy cow, I didn't even look at the date! I can recommend some good lotions to ward off the crustiness if you'd like.
 

I do have to say I wish all the dopey phrases like tank, healbot, skill monkey, etc. had not found their way into tabletop RPGs like D&D.

Of course, I also dislike when people say things like XP, con, and dex instead of experience points, constitution, and dexterity …
 

payn

Hero
I do have to say I wish all the dopey phrases like tank, healbot, skill monkey, etc. had not found their way into tabletop RPGs like D&D.

Of course, I also dislike when people say things like XP, con, and dex instead of experience points, constitution, and dexterity …
Thats weird, cause my RPG friends were saying those things before CRPGs and MMOs owned them.
 


Argyle King

Legend
Have computer games ruined table RPGs? I'm not talking about product vs. product, but rather the process, interaction and appreciation of people as they play the game.

As time passes, I'm seeing more and more references (here) to number-crunching, min-maximizing, strikeforce team tactics, and building new characters at higher levels. RPG character construction elements are becoming more like computer programing modules - plug in a new prestige class here, add a template there. ... It reminds me of the mouse click-click-click quick changes as you play a computer game. Maybe it's because within just a few minutes you can experiment with so many options on screen and that's being taken to the table with our friends. I don't know. I'm having a hard time clarifying a vaguely defined sense of change.

This might be more apparent to old-school gamers with many years of experience, and even the young pups among us who have the most creativity. Am I way off base?

I think a lot of that is due more to how contemporary (and typically linear and leveled) CRPGS are written than video games.

Some of the better video games I've played in recent years have been more enjoyable (to me) because they've made strides toward being less like what you describe here.

...which isn't to say there aren't games like that. MMOs certainly are.
 

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