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Scourge of the RPG games -WoW


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#1 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:23 AM

hi I just wanted to post something that concerns me about the traditional rpg gaming industry in general,

and read any responses there might be. My statement is:

WoW is responsible for many rpg gamers to quit playing paper and pen roleplaying games

According to my friend who is the manager of a Hobby shop, -called Outland,  -there have been an increasing drop in the sales of RPG products the last years. And he blames WoW MORPG!

Would his assumptions be wrong?

 

I know for myself that many roleplaying groups in my community is dead (not literary, that would be just creepy), and most of them are playing WoW. And for a small country like mine (Norway), it have had a devastating effect. People attending GONs have been halved according to Board members I have spoke with. 

 

Let me finnish by saying I in no way Hates WoW or bear any grudges against the fine folks of Blizzard. But is there counter measurments the gaming industry (Traditional) can do to increase and recruit more people to this fine hobby? I just wonder. for now it seems like a loosing battle. 

And in the very end I salute Fantasy Flight games for making the effort of upholding and renewing this old gaming industry. I almost jumped through the roof when I read that they bought the license and rights from GW to produce. 

I simply love you guys at FFG

  



#2 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:27 AM

ehem

it seem that the end is missing.

it should read:

 

...produce Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader.



#3 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:29 AM

I actually think it is true. Many of my old gamer friends have stopped playing and when I ask why they just say "eh, why when I can play WOW whenver I want?"



#4 spaceratcatcher

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 06:50 AM

I can believe it,  but I don't understand it. While I certainly understand that they both appeal to the same kinds of people, video games and tabletop games are so totally different that I can not see how one can "replace" the other. However, I suppose video games are "easier" in the same way TV/movies is "easier" than reading, and hence has a broader appeal. Perhaps this is even more so, you don't have to worry about finding players and scheduling times to play with a MMORPG. Although some people do anyway...



#5 Smitt

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 12:14 PM

MMOs are hammering tabletop here in the UK too. I beleive they do this because they do two things very, very well:

1) They allow people to play a social game at any time of day with almost no preparation (guild raids and so on notwithstanding). Tabletop means having to actually meet up, spend time preparing the game and is generally more effort to organise.

2) They allow much, much more complex rules to be applied without having to stop every 30 seconds to work out what happens, the complexity of the maths calculations involved in WoW means that not even the most hard-core Rolemaster group will be able to have as much complexity in their battle tactics as a group playing WoW. As an aside they also instant gratification (*ding* "gratz!").

One thing they are not however is a replacement for ACTUAL ROLEPLAY.

For me the essence of roleplay is facing a choice. You control a character in a story (conflict being the basis of all story) and you have to make choices that are defined by what your character feels and believes, the choices they make then go on to affect the gameworld and resolve the story one way or another. This to me is the very heart of all roleplay and MMOs dont do this. None of them (yet) allow a person to play in a way which affects the overall story through character choices. So far they are utterly linear. Its true that players in WoW (or whatever) can choose weapons and abilities but this isn't a real choice, its a tactical judgment based on how to beat whatever opponent you're facing next.

From this I draw the following conclusion: If its so easy for players to drop tabletop in favour of WoW then tabletop was in a weaker position then WoW. WoW is able to replicate several elements of tabletop without all the downsides of it. Frankly its often the case that many campaigns still do not contain any real choice, all too often they are linear stories that the players have to solve that could mostly be replicated in WoW or any other MMO.

So a possible solution is this:

1) I cant think of a very convincing way to play Tabletop without all being in the same place to play and without someone writing the game before hand, so WoW has got us beat in terms of convienience. /shrug

2) Its impossible for a tabletop game to beat an MMO in terms of game-rule complexity so lets stop trying, miminalist rules or narrativist rules will move the focus away from mechanics (often the weakest part of a game) and towards the story (the reason we play). I certainly didn't buy all the Dark Heresy books so I could print off a bunch of errata and learn the combat rules or whatever (GMs do what they want anyway!!), I bought it for the background and let it inspire me to create stories and scenarios and not know what the outcome of those stories would be!

3) Lets write more grown up and complex scenarios that WoW cannot match! How many times have you faced a problem in a scenario and come up with a dozen different answers to it!! My group does all the time and I bet yours does too!! In any given quest in WoW there is only one solution per quest ("Kill 10 of these" or "Take the key to King Blagh"). Tabletop opens up possiblity and is limited only by imagination, WoW shuts down imagination and limits options down to a single none-story-affecting choice, which is no choice at all!!

Consider this example: Run a short, pre-bought scenario for your group and see what the outcome of the story is, then compare the events to those of other groups who ran it. Different solutions every time, defined by the people playing it. Now play a set of WoW quests with a group and look online to see what other outcomes people came each. Each one is identical.

Tabletop has greater potential than MMOs and anyone can access this potential. So lets get out there and show it!!

...Rant over.



#6 Lightbringer

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 10:14 PM

Age could be another factor. I'm 33, and got into pen and paper RPGs in the late 80's. At that time, videogames were pretty rubbish, and if you had an inclination for more involved sci-fi fantasy games, your best bet was D&D, Shadowrun, WFRP etc.

If I were a 15 year old kid now, I'd regard pen and paper RPGs as a very poor cousin of today's videogames. I don't play MMORPGs, but I did play Fallout 3 recently, and that was amazing. Why would a kid WANT to read a big book full of complex and baffling tables, rules etc when he can leap straight into a ready made, visually spectacular setting and interact with people across the globe?

I'm not saying pen and paper RPGs are doomed, but I predict they'll find it harder to pull in new, younger players. I wonder how many Dark Heresy fans on this forum are under 20? Not many, I bet....



#7 RedMike

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:35 PM

That's a series of good points by all so far - I am also a UK gamer, now at a ripe old age of 36, and like Lightbringer, got into role-play in the 1980s while still at school.  I would agree with the fact that younger gamers resist role-play for the reasons you've named - but as a teacher as well (yup, I'm one of those too!) I often overhear kids discussing wargames and even role-play from time to time, so I know that the experience isn't completely dead in the water yet.

However, sadly, for every one of these kinds of younger gamers, there are a legion who will often stay up into the early hours of the morning playing MMORPGs, and becoming quite addicted to this experience.  It's actually tremendously powerful, the 'pull' of the computer gaming industry, for the instant gratification thing that Smitt mentions, and something to which I am quite partial as well.  What I have found is that an early interest in gaming of this kind can often lead people, as young adults, into board games and possibly role-playing later on.  There is a little interest spiked in clubs and groups as well as in places like GW stores across the country for example, where people do talk more generally about games of other types.  It has always been a 'minority' interest in comparison with computer gaming, even in the early years, where more friends had clunky ZX Spectrums than copies of D&D.  On the other hand, no-one can doubt the sell-out success of 'Dark Heresy' which was able to trade in on players' love of the 40K universe as well as love of role-play.  There will always be those gamers out there (some of whom are close friends) who simply do not like role-play!

Basically, people mature into role-play now, I believe - it does indeed offer a different, and I think richer experience in the ways already spoken of than any computer game - but it is hard to resist the graphical excellence and playability of something like WoW, Killzone II, Fallout 3, Bioshock, Dawn of War II etc... and I am still very partial to those.  I suppose it is down to us old crumblies to help those using these forums to play and enjoy these games with as much aplomb, and offer the wealth of our gaming experience to make it equally as exciting as it initially was for us!



#8 Kaihlik

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:58 AM

Lightbringer said:

I'm not saying pen and paper RPGs are doomed, but I predict they'll find it harder to pull in new, younger players. I wonder how many Dark Heresy fans on this forum are under 20? Not many, I bet....
Not anymore but I was under 20 (Im 20 now as are most of my friends) when I started playing PnP RPG's and so were all of my friends but I can see your point that many people who might be interested would most likely go for the easier and more instantly rewarding option of WoW or some other computer game.

I like the much greater freedom you get from the PnP experiance, a computer game is always going to limit your options in terms of effecting the game world especially in the area of interacting with NPC's. In most games a computer game conversation is either a predetermined or a one way dialogue with occational input from the player. I also like getting everyone together to play the game, it makes things more fun than sitting in your room and clicking buttons to kill a boss for loot, that kind of experiance is just kind of empty to me.

To each his own I suppose.

Kaihlik



#9 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:04 AM

Smitt said:

1) I cant think of a very convincing way to play Tabletop without all being in the same place to play and without someone writing the game before hand, so WoW has got us beat in terms of convienience. /shrug

2) Its impossible for a tabletop game to beat an MMO in terms of game-rule complexity so lets stop trying, miminalist rules or narrativist rules will move the focus away from mechanics (often the weakest part of a game) and towards the story (the reason we play). I certainly didn't buy all the Dark Heresy books so I could print off a bunch of errata and learn the combat rules or whatever (GMs do what they want anyway!!), I bought it for the background and let it inspire me to create stories and scenarios and not know what the outcome of those stories would be!

3) Lets write more grown up and complex scenarios that WoW cannot match! How many times have you faced a problem in a scenario and come up with a dozen different answers to it!! My group does all the time and I bet yours does too!! In any given quest in WoW there is only one solution per quest ("Kill 10 of these" or "Take the key to King Blagh"). Tabletop opens up possiblity and is limited only by imagination, WoW shuts down imagination and limits options down to a single none-story-affecting choice, which is no choice at all!!

Consider this example: Run a short, pre-bought scenario for your group and see what the outcome of the story is, then compare the events to those of other groups who ran it. Different solutions every time, defined by the people playing it. Now play a set of WoW quests with a group and look online to see what other outcomes people came each. Each one is identical.

Tabletop has greater potential than MMOs and anyone can access this potential. So lets get out there and show it!!

/QUOTE]

Yes, I think you got the essential part of what traditional PnP RPG can offer that no MMO can: diversity and the freedom of choice.  There is practically no limitation of what your character can say and do.

But sadly only roleplayers seems to know this vital difference.

Could there be devices, programs and so that can make a game more efficient, some sort of technical supplement to the game? It think that could help. 

We always use a laptop, when we`re gaming, its very practical. But i would like to see so more software -supports and -supplements to PnP RPGs.

 

But I totally agree with you...So lets get out there an show it!!

 



#10 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:05 AM

I REALLY SUCK AT USING QUOTES !!!!



#11 Mal Reynolds

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:23 AM

Lightbringer said:

Age could be another factor. I'm 33, and got into pen and paper RPGs in the late 80's. At that time, videogames were pretty rubbish, and if you had an inclination for more involved sci-fi fantasy games, your best bet was D&D, Shadowrun, WFRP etc.

If I were a 15 year old kid now, I'd regard pen and paper RPGs as a very poor cousin of today's videogames. I don't play MMORPGs, but I did play Fallout 3 recently, and that was amazing. Why would a kid WANT to read a big book full of complex and baffling tables, rules etc when he can leap straight into a ready made, visually spectacular setting and interact with people across the globe?

I'm not saying pen and paper RPGs are doomed, but I predict they'll find it harder to pull in new, younger players. I wonder how many Dark Heresy fans on this forum are under 20? Not many, I bet....

Yeah! I i`m soon to 32. Had an Amiga 500 back in the days, but it was ALL about the PnP Roleplaying at that time. By share coincidence my first game was indeed WFRP.  and I have played it ever since.

But I have to younger brothers (17 and 14), I`ve tried to play a couple of times with them. But they prefer to play the computer games, so it wasn-t a great succes! at least I tried.. And yes they both play WoW.

And Fallout 3 was amazing, I am downloading some expansion packs that take you to level 30! can hardly wait. I must admit that many computer RPG is quite good, and almost offer as many choices as PnP RPG. Cudos to Baldur`s Gate and sequels,  and Never-winter nights.  

 

So Yeah,  in many years from now, sitting in a Senior Home, there will be me. Playing Fallout 55, and shouting at the nurses for turning down the volume. And once a month we have tea on the lawn, and maybe play a short session of good old Heresy, if the GM happens to have a clear day.



#12 RedMike

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 09:54 PM

Mal Reynolds said:

 

Yeah! I i`m soon to 32. Had an Amiga 500 back in the days, but it was ALL about the PnP Roleplaying at that time. By share coincidence my first game was indeed WFRP.  and I have played it ever since.

But I have to younger brothers (17 and 14), I`ve tried to play a couple of times with them. But they prefer to play the computer games, so it wasn-t a great succes! at least I tried.. And yes they both play WoW.

And Fallout 3 was amazing, I am downloading some expansion packs that take you to level 30! can hardly wait. I must admit that many computer RPG is quite good, and almost offer as many choices as PnP RPG. Cudos to Baldur`s Gate and sequels,  and Never-winter nights.  

 

So Yeah,  in many years from now, sitting in a Senior Home, there will be me. Playing Fallout 55, and shouting at the nurses for turning down the volume. And once a month we have tea on the lawn, and maybe play a short session of good old Heresy, if the GM happens to have a clear day.

I have often wondered what we will all be doing when we are in the retirement home!  I'd like to think, that apart from being a cantankerous old sod I will also have a permanent 40K battle in session on a table, that every afternoon we will retire to the lounge to role-play, and that in the evenings we could play some board games or a card game of some type.

Bliss!

Obviously, the small hours will be spent twiddling my thumbs over some new computer game - not sure if sleep will come into it much - perhaps a lot of power napping.  I'd dearly like to be able to play Fallout 3 for longer, but unfortunately have a PS3 console for my sins, so may miss out in this respect, unless Sony are kindly allowing an expansion product to come out (unlikely).  In any case, I stand by my guns - I think that the future of gaming is brighter, surely as long as people have imagination and want to experience something more overtly creative. 



#13 kjakan

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 11:04 PM

Heh. It's gonna be great RP'iing when our memory starts to fail and we can run through the Tomb of Horrors again.

-K 



#14 RedMike

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Posted 29 May 2009 - 12:22 AM

Yeah - run through the 'Tomb of Horrors' incontinently.



#15 Psion

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Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:21 AM

Coming to PnP when I was seventeen/eighteen (I'm twenty-two now) FROM video games, I generally agree with why this is happening even though I think it goes back to games like Diablo at least.

I know for a fact that the "loot pinatas" of the computer RPG are hard to get over.  Of course, there were a number of other problems with my inital game group (who don't meet any more,) but that's another story.



#16 TalkingMuffin

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 02:41 PM

 I totally agree, especially in the USA where most teens and young adults are intellectually void of anything useful to roleplaying. So many people are simply too lazy to play a TTRPG, which sucks. When you do find players many don't actually ROLEplay and play the game like a hack n' slash (you guessed it!) MMO! I think the pendulum's swinging though, as I've gotten two young gamers away from MMOs and into TTRPGs.



#17 Plastic Rat

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 04:37 PM

 As somebody who just cancelled my WOW account, I'll agree.  I think WoW not only impacts tabletop RPGs but also other tabletop games such as board games and miniatures games.  I picked up WoW for various reasons:

1) First off, cost.  A WoW subscription costs me 14 bucks a month, that's it.  Nothing more.  I already have the computer and the ADSL connection which I use for other stuff.

At the time I switched to WoW, I was really into 40k.  The game design behind 40k was(still is?) however pathetic and Jervis had just pulled his little stunt with the Dark Angels codex.  I figured why waste large amounts of money every month on a poorly designed game and miniatures that take me ages to paint, which are just going to be made useless because of some unprofessional idiot who can't design properly?

I could get endless entertainment for my 14 bucks a month from Blizzard with no other effort or prepwork on my part.

 

2) Professionalism.

Blizzard actually does try to make a quality product.  They're a big company, they test their stuff, they market it well.  Most tabletop game companies (rpg or minis) are fairly relaxed, virtually mom and pop corporations.  It's in fact quite astounding how unprofessional GW are.

FFG is one of the few tabletop game companies I know of that can actually compete on the same level as Blizzard for sheer professionalism, excellence and polish.

 

3) Commitment.

This is a tough one.  WoW to some degrees does require certain commitments to get the most out of it.  Raiding requires you to be mildy focused, pitch up on time, prep beforehand etc.  Blizzard is rapidly trying to reduce this as much as possible though.   Soon you'll be able to hop into a 25 man raid pretty much at a moment's notice, without any prep, and simply roll your face across your keyboard before collecting your 'phat lewts'.  (This incidentally is why I no longer have a WoW account.)

The majority of people considder this a plus, I don't.  I feel more rewarded when I put in some work for something.  Took me long enough to learn that though.  I doubt, from experience, that many other people will feel the same way.

 

4) Players

It's much easier to get a group to do something in WoW than it is to get a group together for an RPG or tabletop game.  There's a much larger pool of players.  Everyone I know that plays tabletop games can only play one night a week and it's like herding cats to get them all in the same room.

WoW has a much larger pool of players to choose from.  If I don't like somebody, I don't generally have to put up with them just because I need another player.

 

All in all, I'm really worried that the direction of popular entertainment today is going to have a very bad effect on the tabletop games industry.  Everybody nowadays wants things faster, easier and with more flashy audio-visuals.  Tabletop games are rapidly being left behind by technology (which to some is part of their charm - charm unfortunately doesn't sell that well today).

I really wish I could see a solution.  One thing I can say though, is that the unprofessional approach so many offline games companies present today isn't helping things much.



#18 TalkingMuffin

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:31 PM

Plastic Rat said:

One thing I can say though, is that the unprofessional approach so many offline games companies present today isn't helping things much.

 

Which is the reason I quit playing Exalted and am selling all of my stuff for it, which is damn near every book from both editions. I don't expect perfection, but at least try to make something well, right? Anyway, one major selling point for TTRPGs is that they aren't restricted; you make them what you want. I played WoW for about a month, got to level 40-something and just quit. It got very, very boring and there was nothing I could do to make it not the same over and over and over again. TTRPGs don't really suffer from this. Don't like a rule? Change it. Want something that's not in there? By all means, make it. You have so much more control over a P&PRPG then an MMO and I feel it's this strength that's actually attracting people who don't want to be lead around by the nose. Sadly, that's a dwindling crowd, but as long as people have an imagination, TTRPGs are good to go. 

Another thing that I've sucked new players in with is making a story about them. They LOVE this and it makes them feel as if the time they're spending at my table is well worth it. In WoW, you're the same as every other "Whatever" and it's really only a matter of time before you level up. There's really no, "Man, let me tell you about..." without a bazillion other people who you don't even know having the exact same experience. I mean, how many ways can you really tell a RFK story? That's not to say there aren't "Holy ****!" moments in WoW, but to me they aren't all that special. 

At the table, on the other hand, it's YOURS. There's a connection and if you're lucky, a very good one that promotes and thrives off of the desire to tell a memorable story. That, to me, is why TT crushes MMOs under a landslide of polyhedrons! 

To put it simply. WoW isn't truly good roleplaying, no matter how you slice it.



#19 TalkingMuffin

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 10:48 PM

Lightbringer said:

 

Age could be another factor. I'm 33, and got into pen and paper RPGs in the late 80's. At that time, videogames were pretty rubbish, and if you had an inclination for more involved sci-fi fantasy games, your best bet was D&D, Shadowrun, WFRP etc.

If I were a 15 year old kid now, I'd regard pen and paper RPGs as a very poor cousin of today's videogames. I don't play MMORPGs, but I did play Fallout 3 recently, and that was amazing. Why would a kid WANT to read a big book full of complex and baffling tables, rules etc when he can leap straight into a ready made, visually spectacular setting and interact with people across the globe?

I'm not saying pen and paper RPGs are doomed, but I predict they'll find it harder to pull in new, younger players. I wonder how many Dark Heresy fans on this forum are under 20? Not many, I bet....

 

 

Yeah, too many lazy, dumb-ass kids that know more about Paris Hilton than who the Speaker of the House is...

...truly....*******....scary!

Hell, I'll give an example from when I was speaking to my 16 year old niece. She said she hated Bush and I asked, "Why?". "Oh, 'cause everybody does". Hmm, that's a great reason and I cringe to think that in two years she'll be voting! Another? I go to Arby's (yes, I know. I shouldn't expect brains from a fast-food teenage worker) and the 19 year old girl knew Obama as "that black guy". Wow! I don't like him, but I have researched and thought-out reasons. This isn't to make this political (neither Bush nor Obama hold a candle to the God-Emperor!), but it does illustrate an apathy that's poisoning the root of thought and imagination. P&PRPGs are suffering because of crap-ass minds like these. 

It's funny that the very mindset that's making TTRPGs fade is the desired way of thinking in one of the very games we hope to get people to play. ******* spooky! 

 

 



#20 MKX

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Posted 02 June 2009 - 04:20 PM

TalkingMuffin said:

it does illustrate an apathy that's poisoning the root of thought and imagination. P&PRPGs are suffering because of crap-ass minds like these.

Most of our group is in their early to late 30's, but we've managed to wrangle in a couple of 10 year olds (see, even RPG players can breed contrary to popular myth!) and hopefully save them from becoming intellectual dullards

WoW isn't my first choice of an MMO, in fact its somewhere near the bottom of the rung simply because its full of e-tards and I don't like the player vs player combat system, so Warhammer online was slightly better choice for people like me that come from a FPS computer background mostly, DAOC was actually much better but its fairly antiquated now. AION is another I'll give some consideration too when it comes out in english. I think that the attempt to cross-over into the MMO market with things like 4th Ed D&D is worrisome for the future of the TT-RPG because it isn't really an RPG, I seriously hope other designers don't follow that path of dumbing down RPG's into table top board games simply for mass appeal. Worst comes to worst there's about 25years worth of old RPG library to draw upon I suppose.

For some of us the intellectual and imaginative challenge is what makes things like the RPG appealing because of the escapism that's totally in ones own creative limits, unrestricted by cardboard tile maps, figurines and what a programmer can throw on a GUI. We're the last story tellers from human tribal society teaching complex problem solving on the fly, self confidence, teamwork, leadership, empathy to think as someone else and public speaking. Those skills applied great and small to your day to day life are not to be underestimated if you apply them seriously.






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