Role-playing games are a highly specialized genre that need significantly more attention to detail than other, less immersive genres. As the computerized version of the genre gained off, a slew of money-hungry businesses chose to surge into the genre without first learning what the essential qualities of a role-playing game are.
In other cases, large conglomerates have had the arrogance to purchase out smaller firms that were familiar with the genre, destroying long-held legacies of outstanding conventional games.
Given the potential influence on the future of computerized role-playing games, I believe it is critical to educate these gaming titans in order to help them comprehend the only thing that matters to them. To market role-playing games, you need an audience eager to buy the goods, and if a firm repeatedly releases shoddy shooters masquerading as obvious role-playing games, they will lose their image and go bankrupt. I understand that the word bankrupt is one that these money-hungry businesses recognize, so let me emphasize one point: try to sell shoddy shooters to role-playing lovers and you will go bankrupt!
Personally, I’ve been a role-playing player for roughly thirty years and have only fallen in love with two systems, which I probably can’t identify due to article writing restrictions. What I can say is that very few game companies have even come close to making pen and paper copies of the top role-playing games on the market, you know, the ones that people truly love playing. I would admit that I cheered when role-playing games got computerized since it meant I could role-play without having to look for individuals who shared my interests, and while certain games have grown to become wonderful role-playing games, they are tragically few and few between.
On that topic, only one sort of role-playing game, which includes pen and paper, computerized games, and internet games, can suit a role-completely player’s immersed demands, and I’ll explain why later.
So, what are the components of a fantastic role-playing game? I’ll give you one at a time, but the most crucial thing to remember during this entire debate is immersion. To be a genuinely fantastic role-playing game, it must capture the player’s attention and not provide distractions that allow the player to return to the realities of the real world. Though the player is to feel as if they have played a wonderful role-playing game, they must be kept in the imaginary world.
A plot is one of the most important aspects of immersion; a storyline that is both credible and engaging. A role player does not want to open up the latest game only to discover that the plot consists of the weak premise that they must kill a plethora of things in order to gain enough experience to kill the obvious bad guy. Who wants to play a game in which the bad person is identified as such for no apparent reason? Have you ever played a game in which you are a member of one group of people and you have been chosen to beat another group of people, but there is no actual proof to indicate why the other group is bad?
The worst of them are current thug games in which one criminal organization is attempting to defeat another criminal organization and you are the hitman. Who is that gullible to fall for such a dreadful plot? It is most emphatically not for astute role-players.
A decent tale cannot be a flimsy justification for a battle, and it must be something you’d want to be a part of. The plot must also be integrated into the action and given in a way that does not interfere with the gameplay’s reality. Nothing is more annoying than a large cut-scene that appears in the middle of the game and forces you to stay idle for more than a minute or two. The immersion of the game for role-playing gamers comes from being the character, not from watching the cutscenes as if they were television. What’s next, commercials?
Another aspect of a fantastic gaming experience is being aware that you have been a part of the imaginary universe since birth. This is communicated through understanding where things are in the globe and who the current leaders are, as well as current occurrences. This may be accomplished deftly by giving information fragments in a natural manner during talks with non-player characters. Just as in the world you’re in right now, some really important information can be exposed in otherwise pointless chatter.
A sudden unexpected discussion with a hurriedly created character who tells where the next nearby town is and that you have to be careful since there’s a war on or something similar will startle a role player out of a game. This is only done in games where the maps are updated when new points of interest are discovered. Making a major city that is only ten miles away something you have to discover is ridiculous at best and only works in scenarios where you’ve been teleported into a new reality or you’ve lost your memory, though the latter should be used sparingly as there are already far too many games that rely on the character having amnesia. Discovery may be accomplished considerably more subtly by hiding secret sections within well-known locations, and it is this that provides a role-player a sense of discovery.
Another issue with immersion is the introduction of a love interest in a game without your input. You’re playing along, doing your own business, when suddenly, one of the enamored individuals you had no idea existed has an influence on gameplay due to a purported crucial position they play in the group you’re a member of. They should, at the very least, allow for some flirtation in the discussion channels before introducing a love interest into the mix. Someone suddenly showing that type of interest is a deal breaker for me because there was nothing that triggered a connection in the first place.
If there is the chance of a love interest in the game, it must be introduced in a convincing manner and should not be beyond the characters’ control.
There was one game where this happened, and the participation of two love interests provided an excuse for one of the non-player characters to perform poorly as a support while the other excelled. The concept was unique, but it was also incredibly infantile since it presumed that these two love interests were so smitten with the player that they couldn’t live without him. It was worse than watching Desperate Housewives or Baywatch.
I’m just going to add one more factor to the mix since I wouldn’t be able to make a decision if I listed every need of the finest role-playing games. Immersion, as I previously indicated, is critical. The inability to create the sort of character I desire is a deal breaker for me. This has happened to me more than once in games where you have little control over the problem-solving skills your character can gain. Of course, this is the worst-case situation, and while many games allow for modest development, just a few provide for a true feeling of progress.
A genuinely outstanding role-playing game must allow players to go in any way and compensate for this by providing various paths through the game. It’s pointless to create a computerized role-playing game if the character acts the same thing in every game playthrough. The most vexing of these situations is a game in which you can have a spell-wielding character yet they learn the identical spells at the exact same place in every run of the game. For warriors, it’s a bit more acceptable, but even in this instance, there are several games that allow for dozens of various combat methods.
If I were to continue this conversation, I’d include things like attribute renaming for no reason, enabling more than one mission to be offered at a time, real-world purchase requirements within the game, and other stupid practices.
I did, however, promise to illustrate which game style was better for role-playing games, so here it is. I’ll demonstrate why non-online computerized games are the only ones that allow for complete immersion.
In contrast to table-top games, you are not stopped by the need to physically reach out and shift pieces, which takes you out of the role of the piece itself. When compared to pen and paper games, you don’t have to search up tables or go into long, dull debates about how rules should be understood. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games do not meet the requirements either. I know some of you will be surprised, but when was the last time you were playing a computerized role-playing game and one of the other players had to leave because they had to go to work and informed you that it was a different time in their part of the world?
Computerized role-playing games are the only sort of role-playing game in which the characters remain in the game, you don’t have to suddenly figure out if anything is allowed by the rules, and the user interface remains constant to maximize immersion.
To summarize, the finest role-playing games are stand-alone home computer-based games that do not include interaction with other real-world people, which would disrupt the immersion. The storyline must be solid and delivered naturally, with a deliverable assumption that your character is already familiar with the fictional world, no unexpected love interests, and the ability to develop your character in any direction seamlessly, along with plot paths that allow for these developments.