Role playing games are very specific and require more detail than other forms of gaming. There were many money-hungry companies that jumped into the genre as the computerized version became popular. They didn’t really understand the fundamental elements of a role playing game. Sometimes these companies were able to buy out smaller companies with a better understanding of the genre. This destroyed many long-standing legacy games.
Because this may have an effect on the future of computerized game-based role-playing, I felt it was important to educate them in an effort help them to understand the only thing that is important to them. To sell role-playing, you need an audience willing and able to purchase the product. Companies that continue to produce dodgy gamers under the pretense of role-playing will destroy their reputations and eventually go bankrupt. I understand that banksrupt is a word these money hungry companies are familiar with. Therefore, I stress one point. Sell dodgy gamers to role-playing enthusiasts and you’ll be bankrupt!
Personal experience with role-playing games is about 30 years. Only two systems have made me fall in love, and that’s because of article writing guidelines. I can only say that very few game production companies have been able to produce the best-selling role-playing games, those that people actually like playing. I will confess that I rejoiced when roleplaying games were made computer-readable. I didn’t have to hunt for similar interests and some games have become excellent role-playing tools, but they are rare. There is one role-playing game that can fully satisfy the needs of a role-player, regardless of whether it’s pen and paper, online or computerized.
So, now let’s talk about the components of a great game. I’ll list them one by one, but the most important aspect of this discussion is immersion. The role-playing games must capture the players’ attention, not provide distractions that cause them to lose touch with the real world. If the player is to feel they have had a wonderful role-playing adventure, they need to be kept in the fictional universe.
An immersion storyline is vital. A compelling, believable storyline will make you feel connected to the characters. A role player won’t want their latest game to be loaded up and discover that the storyline only teaches them that they have to kill lots of animals to get enough experience for the “bad guy”. What role player wants to play a game in which the bad guy is the bad man? Are you familiar with a situation where you are selected to defeat a group of people but no evidence is available? The most recent thug-games in which one criminal organisation is trying to take down another criminal organization, and you are the hitman, are the worst. Who would be stupid enough to fall for this terrible storyline. It’s definitely not for intelligent role players.
A great storyline cannot be used as a justification for a war. You have to feel like you are part of it. The storyline should be included in the gameplay, but not in a way that interrupts the reality of gameplay. There is nothing worse than having a huge cut-scene drop into the middle or last more than a couple of minutes. Role-play gamers understand that the immersion in the game is not achieved by simply watching the cut scenes as if they were television. What’s next… advertisements?
It is important to be aware that you have been part of this fictional world since your birth. This is done by being able to know the current world and who the leaders are. This can be accomplished by feeding small amounts of information naturally during conversations with nonplayer characters. You can uncover vital information in seemingly insignificant banter, just as in the world you are immersed right now.
It is one thing that can jolt a role-player out of a gaming session: a sudden unwelcome conversation with a newly introduced character, who explains the next locale town and reminds them to be cautious because there is a war. This can only happen in games where the maps change as you find new places of interest. It’s absurd to try and find a major urban center that is not ten miles from where you are currently located. Secret areas can be hidden from well-known places, which gives role-players a feeling of discovery.
Another problem is the introduction and participation of a lover interest in a video game. You are enjoying your game, but suddenly you find yourself in a relationship with a character that is not you. They should at most allow for some flirting before introducing a lover into the mix. It is difficult for me to understand why someone suddenly shows such interest. If there’s a love interest, it should be presented in a realistic way.
One game had this happen and one of the love interests was the excuse for the non-player character to do worse as a support, while the other was great support. While the idea was innovative, it was also very childish. It assumed the love interests would be so infatuated by the player that they could live without each other. It was worse then watching Baywatch, Desperate Housewives.
I am only adding one more thing to the mix, because I would not be able reach a conclusion by allowing myself to name every requirement of the best game-role-playing games. Immersion, as I mentioned before, is key. It is difficult to build the character that I want. This is what really irks me. This happens more often in games where you don’t have any control over the skills your character has. This is, of course, the worst scenario. There are many games which allow limited development. But there are only a few that allow you to feel like you are developing.
A role-playing video game that is truly outstanding must allow the players to grow in any direction. The game should also offer multiple ways to progress. A computer-generated role-playing game is useless if every playthrough of the game sees the same character doing the same thing. These issues are most problematic if you have a spell-wielding player but they use the exact same spells in each run. Although this is more common for warriors, there are many games that allow you to fight in dozens of different styles.
If I was to continue with the discussion I’d add to it other topics, such as the renaming and giving out of character attributes for no good reason, the possibility of more than one quest at a given time, real-world requirements to purchase items during the game, etc.
Although I promised that I would show you which game type is the best for roleplaying games, here it goes. Full immersion is possible only in non-online computerized gaming.
Unlike tabletop games, you won’t be interrupted by the need to physically reach for and move pieces. This takes you out the role of the piece. In contrast to pen-and-paper games, you won’t be required to search tables or engage in long boring discussions about the interpretation of rules. It doesn’t meet these requirements.
Computerized roleplaying games are unique in that characters remain in the game. It doesn’t require you to instantly figure out whether something is permissible by the rules. Also, the user interface is consistent so that immersion is as efficient as possible.
Role-playing games that are standalone and computer-based are the best. This means they don’t need to be interacted with any other people in real life. Storylines must be clear and well delivered. This assumes that your character knows the world inside and out. It also requires that there are no unexpected love interests. Your character can develop in any direction you choose, as well as plot paths that allow this.
I only hope that the game companies realize this and pay attention. If they aren’t in the market for role-players, they should call their games something else.