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What Can We Learn from CRPGS?

MGibster

Legend
And you cannot socially interact over an MMO feed even remotely the same as with someone sitting across a table.
I gotta agree with you on this one. While I communicate with some of my fellow guild members in World of Warcraft, it is not on the same level as face-to-face communication.
 

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Jaeger

That someone better.
YRMV.

I don't find the true sandbox settings to be restrictive at all. Whereas there are few if any truly sandbox TTRPGs.
...

All RPG's are sandbox ready by default.

People choose to use modules and "adventure paths" then run them with no GM input or modification by choice.

"Sandbox" computer games are not even close to as free form as a Sandbox RPG game.

Having the readily available visuals and on-demand convenience that computer games offer, seems to factor more into your gaming preference's scale than the things RPG's do that computer games simply cannot.
 
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Jaeger

That someone better.
Given the roots of D&D can be found in table top war gaming, the idea that we're comparing apples to oranges is a bit off I think. And even if they were so far apart as to be incomparable, I've engaged in just as much socializing while playing Star Fleet Battles, Car Wars, Babylon 5 Wars, etc., etc. that I have with D&D or Cyberpunk 2020. Almost any kind of face-to-face gaming you're doing is an inherently social activity.

Limes to Lemons then.

For me. For wargames and even board games I simply do not get the same level of social interaction as I do from a RPG due to the fact that individual turns take much longer when you doing no interaction with others. Then you add the fact that you are role playing a character on top of it, and the type of dynamic social interaction and table banter offered by RPG's is in a different league compared to War or board games.
 

Given the roots of D&D can be found in table top war gaming, the idea that we're comparing apples to oranges is a bit off I think. And even if they were so far apart as to be incomparable, I've engaged in just as much socializing while playing Star Fleet Battles, Car Wars, Babylon 5 Wars, etc., etc. that I have with D&D or Cyberpunk 2020. Almost any kind of face-to-face gaming you're doing is an inherently social activity.
As have I. It's worth noting that SFB, B5W, Car Wars, and Starfire also are often played with multiple players (rather than just two). Car Wars also (intentionally) straddles the boardgame/rpg border.

YRMV.

I got into wargames in the early 70s, before RPGs spouted, and they were highly social, more so than TTRPGs ever have been; war gaming clubs were where RPGs were born.
I've run boardgaming clubs. I strongly reject your assertion that they're more social than TTRPG. (And if they are, there's something abnormal with your TTRPG experience.)
Especially since, the clubs I've participated in, and/or run, the boardgamers usually broke off into multiple smaller groups of 2-4 people most of the time, with zero social interaction outside that group, save polite hello's.
The public RPG groups I've been involved in almost always wind up with people showing early and spending time socializing, often doing so across group lines both before and after game.
Even my private RPG groups generally had 2-3 of the 4-7 people show early for socializing, and 2-3 stay late a bit to socialize. My sunday VOIP group, I log in 30-60 minutes early, and players dribble in to catch up; a different set stay after session. My experiences with boardgaming, even when with the same people, are that on a boardgaming day, we're there for the game, and the games we play in such circumstance are NOT ones where chatting during is practical. Advanced Civ, Pax Britannica, Dune, a full on 12 player starbase assault in SFB, a full run of Starfarers of Catan or Settlers of Catan with expansions and 6p... Games where the play is requiring active communication through the game.

Last time I played Hammer of the Scots was at a convention... I and my opponent moved to a quiet corner away and had zero conversation not focused on the game until after we'd played through. (I lost.)
 

All RPG's are sandbox ready by default.

People choose to use modules and "adventure paths" then run them with no GM input or modification by choice.

"Sandbox" computer games are not even close to as free form as a Sandbox RPG game.

Having the readily available visuals and on-demand convenience that computer games offer, seems to factor more into your gaming preference's scale than the things RPG's do that computer games simply cannot.

No, they're not. Most GMs are going to have some sort of plan to the scenarios played over 40 or 50 sessions; they'll be flexible, but few are going to make up extensive adventures just off the top of their head, and fewer still will improv well.

But in the sandbox games in video, you can literally spend hundreds of hours just wandering around dealing with the setting without even touching the core plotline.

I think your video experience may be dated, or have not led you to the cutting edge of the industry.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
No, they're not. Most GMs are going to have some sort of plan to the scenarios played over 40 or 50 sessions; they'll be flexible, but few are going to make up extensive adventures just off the top of their head, and fewer still will improv well.

But in the sandbox games in video, you can literally spend hundreds of hours just wandering around dealing with the setting without even touching the core plotline.

I think your video experience may be dated, or have not led you to the cutting edge of the industry.

I must echo aramis erak in that it strikes me that there is something abnormal about your table top RPG experience.

Yes, RPG's are sandbox ready out of the gate. If you set up the campaign world correctly the "improv" is not nearly as hard as you think.

I run a star wars game set during the original trilogy - I have no "plot". After the initial session, everything cues off of the players drives, and what they want to do as the crew of their ship.

Yes you do need a GM that knows how to set this type of campaign up. But It is not as hard as you make it out to be, and the information/advice on how to do it is readily available.

Just because you can spend hundreds of hours wandering around a video game, doesn't mean that it will still have constraints a RPG does not.

If all you've known from RPG's is pre-written modules, pre-plotted adventure after adventure, and railroads, it seems that you have really been missing out.

I'm well aware of the cutting edge of the videogame industry. Members of my group work in it. RPG's still do things no videogame can match.

Your gaming preferences seem to lie more in line with what videogames have to offer than your experience with RPG's. That's perfectly fine.
 

I must echo aramis erak in that it strikes me that there is something abnormal about your table top RPG experience.

Yes, RPG's are sandbox ready out of the gate. If you set up the campaign world correctly the "improv" is not nearly as hard as you think.

I run a star wars game set during the original trilogy - I have no "plot". After the initial session, everything cues off of the players drives, and what they want to do as the crew of their ship.

Yes you do need a GM that knows how to set this type of campaign up. But It is not as hard as you make it out to be, and the information/advice on how to do it is readily available.

Just because you can spend hundreds of hours wandering around a video game, doesn't mean that it will still have constraints a RPG does not.

If all you've known from RPG's is pre-written modules, pre-plotted adventure after adventure, and railroads, it seems that you have really been missing out.

I'm well aware of the cutting edge of the videogame industry. Members of my group work in it. RPG's still do things no videogame can match.

Your gaming preferences seem to lie more in line with what videogames have to offer than your experience with RPG's. That's perfectly fine.

If the GM has to set up a campaign world, then the game isn't 'sandbox ready out of the box'. Yes, if a GM invests the time and trouble to work up hundreds of locations in advance, an RPG can be sandbox. But how often does that happen? I'm known for the extensive detail and long-term nature of the campaigns I run, (I've been GM'ing since 1979), but even I don't plug that level of effort into a campaign. The practice is that sooner or later the PCs encounter a plot hook.

Whereas Skyrim, to grab one game as an example, does literally come as a sandbox straight out of the box. Once you get past the avatar set-up, you can wander about pulling random encounters, random quests, home-building, Guild careers, life as a werewolf or vampire,
trade, trophy-gathering, crafting, and more for literally hundreds of hours. Before taking part in local politics and thinking about the core plotline.

And that's a game that's years old.

I've seen a lot of improv RPG campaigns, where unprepared GMs make stuff up off the top of their heads. If the players work with it, it can be OK. Every GM improvs and feeds of player speculation and drive; I do it literally every week. It's no substitute for preparation, but expectations vary from table to table.

But you've yet to point out what a CRPG can't do. In this era of professional voice actors, multi-layered conversation trees, co-op, online play, ever-more-comlex processing speed, and the like, TTRPGs are seriously challenged. Few GMs can manage the sheer volume of detail that a CRPG can deliver.

TTRPGs currently have an edge, but it is a slender one; VTTs have given them a extension, because it helps deliver a higher level of detail. But take a look at this site: there's always threads discussing dealing with problem players, problem GMs, the difficulty in getting groups together. How many posts have you seen where a gamer mentions that they have Game X or Game Y but have never managed to run a campaign in it? I know I've made that very post more than once. This site is frequented by hardcore gamers, the sort who will stay with the hobby to the bitter end, but we aren't the majority.

CRPG quality grows constantly. TTRPGs have gotten VTTs, publisher support is still fairly steady, and the Net has made fan-based work easily available, but there's not a huge amount of change pending.
 

If there's one thing TTRPGs can learn from video games, it's how to do iteration correctly.

I recall reading some advice from Sid Meier, the creator of the Civilization series of games. When making the next Civilization game, he would keep a third of the game as it, make adjustments to another third, and completely redo the last third. I believe that strike a good balance between being faithful to the spirit of the franchise and being able to make changes and improvements that a game may need.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
If the GM has to set up a campaign world, then the game isn't 'sandbox ready out of the box'. Yes, if a GM invests the time and trouble to work up hundreds of locations in advance, an RPG can be sandbox. But how often does that happen? I'm known for the extensive detail and long-term nature of the campaigns I run, (I've been GM'ing since 1979), but even I don't plug that level of effort into a campaign. The practice is that sooner or later the PCs encounter a plot hook.
...

The GM always has to do prep for RPG's. Even to run an introductory module. Having to do some prep negate out of the box sandbox play? By that standard no RPG is ready to play so much as a starter set module 'out of the box', because the GM would have to still do some prep to run it. That's a ridiculous standard to hold over RPG's.

You don't have to work up 100's of locations in advance. That would be silly. You have a faulty idea of how much prep it takes to run a sandbox campaign.

You can do entire sandbox campaign with the PC's perusing their own goals. And the GM throwing possible Adventure Hooks aka the random quest at the PC's does not = railroad/non-sandbox. PC's always have a choice as the GM is not forcing them into some preplanned storyline for the campaign.


...Whereas Skyrim, to grab one game as an example, does literally come as a sandbox straight out of the box. Once you get past the avatar set-up, you can wander about pulling random encounters, random quests, home-building, Guild careers, life as a werewolf or vampire,
trade, trophy-gathering, crafting, and more for literally hundreds of hours. Before taking part in local politics and thinking about the core plotline.
...

Yes, that is the kind of sandbox play that is done by RPG's. many fantasy RPG's have random tables to roll on for all these kind of things. There is no core plotline in any well run campaign.

Seems you are comparing what you can do in videogames to the 'Adventure path' standard that has reared its head since 3e D&D.


But you've yet to point out what a CRPG can't do. In this era of professional voice actors, multi-layered conversation trees, co-op, online play, ever-more-complex processing speed, and the like, TTRPGs are seriously challenged. Few GMs can manage the sheer volume of detail that a Computer Game can deliver.

Point out what what videogames can't do? The obvious is obvious. And if they aren't obvious to you, then this whole little debate we are having is completely futile.

It's apparent that what you want out of your gaming experiences is more in line to what videogames deliver: You prefer the visual input and production values of videogames (willingly accepting their limitations to have it), to the minds eye of imagination. That's fine.
 

If there's one thing TTRPGs can learn from video games, it's how to do iteration correctly.

I recall reading some advice from Sid Meier, the creator of the Civilization series of games. When making the next Civilization game, he would keep a third of the game as it, make adjustments to another third, and completely redo the last third. I believe that strike a good balance between being faithful to the spirit of the franchise and being able to make changes and improvements that a game may need.

Excellent point.

Look at the XCOM, Far Cry, or Fallout series just to name a few: each new version was a massive improvement upon the last.

By comparison, 1e to 5e over three times that time has just become more bloated, with only modest changes and improvements.
 

The GM always has to do prep for RPG's. Even to run an introductory module. Having to do some prep negate out of the box sandbox play? By that standard no RPG is ready to play so much as a starter set module 'out of the box', because the GM would have to still do some prep to run it. That's a ridiculous standard to hold over RPG's.

No, that's the standard you set when you made the claim that they are sandbox-ready 'out of the box'.

You don't have to work up 100's of locations in advance. That would be silly. You have a faulty idea of how much prep it takes to run a sandbox campaign.

You can do entire sandbox campaign with the PC's perusing their own goals. And the GM throwing possible Adventure Hooks aka the random quest at the PC's does not = railroad/non-sandbox. PC's always have a choice as the GM is not forcing them into some preplanned storyline for the campaign. [

Actually, that is exactly what a sandbox campaign means: the group can go anywhere, and find fully-fleshed-out locations, NPCs, and side quests ready and waiting.

Yes, that is the kind of sandbox play that is done by RPG's. many fantasy RPG's have random tables to roll on for all these kind of things. There is no core plotline in any well run campaign.

Seems you are comparing what you can do in videogames to the 'Adventure path' standard that has reared its head since 3e D&D.

That's not sandbox play; sandbox means that the players are not constrained. CRPGs have managed that; RPGs aspire, but cannot. And there are numerous award-winning campaigns, not to mention countless GM-written campaigns, built around a central plot. Yes, you can form a group from strangers in a tavern, and endlessly grind heavily-populated random ruins too.

However, many players like to be part of a larger undertaking than 'monsters from the old, illogically-placed ruins are terrorizing the countryside'. They enjoy, over 50-70 weekly sessions, to unravel larger goings-on, while pursuing individual goals and side-quests.

Point out what what videogames can't do? The obvious is obvious. And if they aren't obvious to you, then this whole little debate we are having is completely futile.

It's apparent that what you want out of your gaming experiences is more in line to what videogames deliver: You prefer the visual input and production values of videogames (willingly accepting their limitations to have it), to the minds eye of imagination. That's fine.

If it is obvious, point out what a CRPG can't do that an RPG can. So far, you don't seem to have found any point on which to stand.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
No, that's the standard you set when you made the claim that they are sandbox-ready 'out of the box'.

Nope.

GM Prep is inherent in RPG's. You are separating out a processes of playing the game, and saying "If you do this thing everyone does to run any RPG session," you are not ready to go "out of the box'.

That's like telling everyone that the game of Monopoly is not ready to go out of the box. Everyone would say you're being ridiculous.

No Computer game is ready to go 'out of the box' by that standard. When you bought Skyrim you could not play it 'out of the box'. You need to interface the game with other devices to play it like the relevant Console. And then there's the downloading of game patches...


Actually, that is exactly what a sandbox campaign means: the group can go anywhere, and find fully-fleshed-out locations, NPCs, and side quests ready and waiting.

You have a different idea of the level of detail required for sandbox play for RPG's compared to everyone else I have come across in the hobby.

No one who engages in sandbox play has everything fully fleshed out before hand. Nor have I heard of anyone but you on RPG forums trot out "100% fully-fleshed-out locations, NPCs, and side quests ready and waiting" as a standard for playing an RPG in the sandbox style.


That's not sandbox play; sandbox means that the players are not constrained. CRPGs have managed that;

No. It is exactly the opposite situation.

Videogames have much greater player constraint inherent in their very design. They simply cannot account for and adjudicate every possible player action and situation.

RPG's can because they have a GM that can adapt on the fly to all kinds of PC craziness.


If it is obvious, point out what a CRPG can't do that an RPG can. So far, you don't seem to have found any point on which to stand.

Why should I point out the obvious when you have so much experience in the RPG hobby?

If you really don't know with all your experience, then nothing I can point out will convince you.

As for points on which to stand, lets see if you are able to acknowledge one I have just made in my other replies to your recent rebuttal...
 

Campbell

Legend
I feel like GMs could stand to learn a fair bit about dynamic combat encounters that require coordination to beat from the better MMOs (World of Warcraft/Final Fantasy XIV).

The dynamic environments of Breath of the Wild and how they respond to player actions are another.
 

Nope.

GM Prep is inherent in RPG's. You are separating out a processes of playing the game, and saying "If you do this thing everyone does to run any RPG session," you are not ready to go "out of the box'.

That's like telling everyone that the game of Monopoly is not ready to go out of the box. Everyone would say you're being ridiculous.

No Computer game is ready to go 'out of the box' by that standard. When you bought Skyrim you could not play it 'out of the box'. You need to interface the game with other devices to play it like the relevant Console. And then there's the downloading of game patches...




You have a different idea of the level of detail required for sandbox play for RPG's compared to everyone else I have come across in the hobby.

No one who engages in sandbox play has everything fully fleshed out before hand. Nor have I heard of anyone but you on RPG forums trot out "100% fully-fleshed-out locations, NPCs, and side quests ready and waiting" as a standard for playing an RPG in the sandbox style.




No. It is exactly the opposite situation.

Videogames have much greater player constraint inherent in their very design. They simply cannot account for and adjudicate every possible player action and situation.

RPG's can because they have a GM that can adapt on the fly to all kinds of PC craziness.




Why should I point out the obvious when you have so much experience in the RPG hobby?

If you really don't know with all your experience, then nothing I can point out will convince you.

As for points on which to stand, lets see if you are able to acknowledge one I have just made in my other replies to your recent rebuttal...

You've made no points, nor replied directly to any question. The fact that your experience doesn't cover a given situation is not proof of anything but a lack of experience. So far, you haven't been able to answer a single challenge to your positions, nor refute a single example presented.

It's not a matter of 'why you should'; what it is, is that you can't. We both know you're wrong.

And since we both know the truth, there's no more point in diverting the thread. I'll put you on ignore, and the thread can continue for everyone else. It's been a pleasure proving the facts. Have a good day.
 

MGibster

Legend
Lot's of CRPGs have this, but side quests! You don't necessarily have to flesh them out fully, but having some little adventure ideas to run when not everyone can make it to game night can be a lot of fun.
 

Lot's of CRPGs have this, but side quests! You don't necessarily have to flesh them out fully, but having some little adventure ideas to run when not everyone can make it to game night can be a lot of fun.

Side quests are invaluable; they encourage a feeling of the wider world, are (as you noted) great for when a key member of the group cancels, and are just all-round useful.
 

Jaeger

That someone better.
I know one thing to be true now: Jd Smith has been debating in bad faith from the beginning.

And is obviously mentally unequipped to have someone challenge his viewpoint that computer games do Sandbox play better than RPG's.

I said: "As for points on which to stand, lets see if you are able to acknowledge one..."

He was not.

Just one example from our exchange:
You've made no points,

Oh really!?

He made this statement:
That's not sandbox play; sandbox means that the players are not constrained. CRPGs have managed that;

I replied:
No. It is exactly the opposite situation.

Videogames have much greater player constraint inherent in their very design. They simply cannot account for and adjudicate every possible player action and situation.

RPG's can because they have a GM that can adapt on the fly to all kinds of PC craziness.

I make a point of a GM being far more adaptable than any computer game. Which in my opinion is an a direct refutation of his claim.

He then asked for me to: "point out what a CRPG can't do that an RPG can.", and yet I did it in that very post!

The intellectual dishonesty to not concede that any point was made, or that any examples were given in reply is plain for all to see just from that one exchange.

I caught a hint from his replies what he was doing - which is why I refused to be his dancing monkey and point out the differences between computer and table top RPG's that are obvious to anyone who has experience playing both.

This seemed to have caused some vexation.

That he choses to take his ball and go home like a spoilt child on the playground with his public announcement of my addition to his ignore list, and claiming some kind of 'victory' at the same time... Well, people may infer from that what they will.
.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
I feel like GMs could stand to learn a fair bit about dynamic combat encounters that require coordination to beat from the better MMOs (World of Warcraft/Final Fantasy XIV).

The dynamic environments of Breath of the Wild and how they respond to player actions are another.
Good choices. I wish that TTRPGs would understand that while "class fantasy" is important, so is too class playstyle. One of the few TTRPGs I recall where playstyle was conscientiously attempted in the class design was Arcana Unearthed/Evolved. Monte Cook went through and said, "Some people like to be the master of magic, so here's the Magister class. Some people want to be the gish, so here's the Mageblade class. Some people want to be the support/healer, so here's the Greenbond. Some prefer the heavily-armored warrior, so here's the Warmain, while some prefer the light-skirmish fighter, so here's the Unfettered. Some want to be a holy warrior, so here's the Champion. Oh, and some want to be the skill-monkey, so here's the Akashic."
 

pogre

Legend
One of the things I think better CRPGs do is set an overall tone for the world the games are set in - there are little things you find or discover in unraveling the game that reinforce the atmosphere and environment of the game. Naturally, one has to weigh the amount of minutia versus keeping the flow of the game moving in TTRPGs, but including little side scenes or descriptions that reinforce the campaign's setting is something I could incorporate better. Everything from how people dress to descriptions of buildings, etc. could be used to add richness to a setting without bogging it down too much.

Just because we cannot compete with the visual splendors or even the sounds of a video game does not mean we cannot borrow some of that flavor.
 

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