More Musings on RPGs

So I’m still reading through the posts on the CRPG Addict while compiling and installing and in long, boring meetings where I don’t need to say anything, and it’s been a bit of a nostalgic ride for me as well, because while he hasn’t gotten into the games where I really started my obsession with RPGs, he is playing a number of the precursors, which reminds me of those games and, at times, reminds me of why I often never finished or even got very far in them.

“Might and Magic” is a prime example of this.  I was introduced to the series with VI, by a coworker of mine (who also introduced me to the Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate games, as well as I think Fallout, which are all games that I never really got very far in.  He also tried to introduce me to Half-Life but I couldn’t find the environment suit to get on with the very first mission and quit).  I loaded it up and tried to play it, but didn’t have a good time with it and so quit playing it.  Part of the problem, I discovered, was that as noted in the earlier installments by the CRPG Addict the combat, even early on, could be quite difficult, and in most RPGs of the era I was hampered by the fact that I hate min-maxing and instead like to create characters with diverse skills and, well, that look like and are often modeled on real people.  So to ditch the charisma of my primary fighter to bump up strength doesn’t appeal to me (this is what scuppered one of my first attempts at Fallout 2, where I created a balanced character and couldn’t beat the ants at the beginning).  So I wandered out for a while and I think had a total party kill, and then couldn’t be bothered to play it much more.

So reading the posts at the CRPG Addict, I was reminded of the game and felt some desire to play it, but was also reminded of exactly why I didn’t like those sorts of games.  He clearly likes the tactical combat far more than I do, whereas I just want to get on with the story.  Talking about grinding and working out an optimal pattern to hit fountains to increase attributes and defenses and the like so that he can take out tougher enemies — possibly a bit earlier than needed — doesn’t appeal to me at all, while he considers it in some ways a very appealing part of an RPG for him.  So it makes me wonder if I could ever play those early games at all, and when he complains at times about not being able to figure out what the main plot of the game is I am fairly certain that that would drive me bananas.  Remember, I’m someone who hopped a Silt Strider in Morrowind, couldn’t figure out what to do, got bored, attacked a guard, got killed, and uninstalled the game.  I am not the sort of player who puts up with not knowing what to do next.

Although, that raises an interesting idea considering the games that I consider the best role playing games from the perspective of role playing.  Sure, the Personas had clear goals, but the other game is “Romance of the Three Kingdoms VIII”, which pretty much relied on you setting your own goals.  However, those goals were set inside a context, and so that let me go around and act as my character would act without having to figure out each little quest along the way.  I was part of a city and so under a lord, and they would dictate things that they wanted done and, in general, I’d try to do it, while increasing my skills and building up my own fame and my own life.  Both of the games let me be who I want to be in general while giving me a structure to work with and not making combat too hard or too permanent.  I don’t feel that a lot of the other games really let a player do that, and if they do they make the combat too difficult which breaks immersion.

I still should play some RPGs again at some point.  I still don’t have much time to do that.

One Response to “More Musings on RPGs”

  1. My Personal RPG History | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] as I’ve noted before, recently I’ve been reading the playthroughs at the CRPG Addict which has been getting me […]

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