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Sign of the Times...


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#1 Luther

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 04:35 AM

You know, I'm just taking this as a sign of the times, folks. The old school gamers, like myself, are simply no longer the target market demographic. The new generation of 'WYSIWYG' gamers brought up on video games and other products with focused visual stimuli are. Is this good or bad? Niether. It's just business.

It's kind of like the transition from radio to TV. One medium takes the back seat to another. The old radio programmes like The Shadow and Fibber McGee and Molly where the family entertainment of the day. They required imagination and a good mind's eye to enjoy but once TV came along, and the quality of it improved, radio drama and comedy was on it's way out ( everywhere except the UK which still has a great and thriving radio tradition).

And how about plain old reading? Just try to get my younger brothers (I'm 37, they're 25 and 16) to sit down and read a book. It ain't gonna happen unless it's a comic book or extremely short and they have to do it for school. They'll surf the net, but they aren't so much reading as skimming. Nope, it's TV or Video Games or nothing. We're talking ADD overdrive here, and not because of some medical condition, but because of the 'see it, feel it, move on' culture we live in.

Another example are the Owens kids. I kind of started a Big Brother/Little Brother thing with the youngest when I worked at Games Workshop and now I'm like an uncle to the whole lot of them. They and their friends tried to pick up D&D4E lately and were bored to tears. They told me about it over a game of (surprise) Warrior Knights. From what I could gather, thae problem was that their DM is a kid the same age as themselves and he ran the game like a tabletop MMO or boardgame, not really an RPG. I don't think he really grasped the 'point' of an RPG and a boardgame or MMO without the visual bits was extremely boring to his players.

Enter FFG and their new 'approach' to RPGs. I think that they are, from a purely business perspective, doing exactly what needs to be done. This hybrid of RPG & Eye Candy, this RPBG (Role Playing Boardgame) is exactly the right product for this modern culture. Do I like it? No. Will I buy it? Probably not. But then I lament the loss of Old Time Radio and just wish people would slow the heck down and read a friggin' book or otherwise use their imaginations instead of overloading their senses on technological addition, loud music, violent video games like GTA and movies and TV that are mostly filled with nothing but gratuitous sex and violence (I truly believe modern culture is actually retarding our deveolpment as a society). So, I am not their target demographic. I am an anachronism as far removed from the business model of the modern gaming industry as my Grandfather was from computers. So I wil lbuy their board games, and enjoy those.

So what is there to do? I will share the less fiddly ones with my brothers (who would call Warrior Knights a Bored Game' although they love Munchkin, Guillotine and Citadels) and play the more fiddly ones with the Owens kids and my friends. I will keep my WFRP 1st and 2nd Edition books and play RPGs with my aging gamer buddies until it is no longer fun or we all die as relics of a gaming age of 'those thrilling days of yesteryear,' but in the end, I hope FFG makes it big with this new product, if for no other reason than it allows them to make more great boardgames and provides at least some reason for kids to get off the bloody computer/XBox for a few minutes to socialize with their friends over a tabletop game. I hope that last activity, at least, continues on far into the future...



#2 Henrish

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 05:17 AM

I'm 100% right with you. Great overview of what the world become. More money, less humanity.



#3 Henrish

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 05:17 AM

I'm 100% right with you. Great overview of what the world become. More money, less humanity.



#4 Sythorn

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:02 AM

Aside from whatever personal opinions one has regarding the times we live in, I don't think it's fair to claim that current RPGs are being dumbed down.  D&D modules amounted to little more than dungeon crawls back in the day, with introductions that could be summarized with "Here's how the bad guys came to be here and why they all need to die."  And let's not forget that the system itself was incredibly light on rules.

It's funny how often veteran gamers forget just how simple their games and adventures were in time of yore, which is why modern D&D is viewed by many as a dumbed down hackfest filled with Drizzt and Raistlin clones, which of course ignores the fact that the people making such complaints were themselves playing a dumbed down hackfest filled with Conan and Bilbo clones in more retro times.  Without a simple game to introduce people to the hobby an unfortunately small number of new players will be brought into the fold.

If this newest incarnation of WFRP does indeed turn out to be a simplified game that shuns the veteran players in favor of gaining a new audience, then I'll certainly be more than a little upset since I enjoy traditional RPGs and games with lots of background and flavor text, but I still think it's unaccurate to claim that such a game is "dumbing down" the industry.  If anything, with three dozen specialty dice and three hundred cards, this game sounds like a bloated juggernaut that may be far more complex than past version of WFRP ever were (the game has always been rather "light" compared to other mainstream titles).  That's one of the things turning me off, in fact; I just don't want to deal with a mess of peripherals.  4th Edition D&D didn't appeal to me for the same reason, I found it far more complex than my own games using Castles & Crusades.



#5 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:32 AM

Sythorn said:

Aside from whatever personal opinions one has regarding the times we live in, I don't think it's fair to claim that current RPGs are being dumbed down.  D&D modules amounted to little more than dungeon crawls back in the day, with introductions that could be summarized with "Here's how the bad guys came to be here and why they all need to die."  And let's not forget that the system itself was incredibly light on rules.

Given FFG's track record of making games of considerable depth and nuance (play Shadows of Camelot or Battlestar Galactica and tell me they can't do paranoia and political intrigue in a board game), I can't imagine that "dumbed down" is an appropriate term for the new WFRP. My skepticism is more to do with format (an abundance of unique components make expansion, particularly unofficial/community-driven expansion, more challenging and more costly) rather than mechanics (which I've not seen, and thus can't comment on).

As it stands, the "dumbed down" complaint has never made sense to me in regards to any RPG. D&D4 isn't exactly the oversimplified hackfest many make it out to be... it's not perfect, or rather, isn't for everyone (no RPG is, that's why we have houserules and a variety of systems to choose from). Quite frankly, any RPG company that tried to market to 12-year-old Halo obsessives who can inexplicably remove your head from the far side of the map while you're in the passenger's seat of a Warthog that's been thrown into midair by an explosion and is still spinning (no, I'm not bitter... not at all) would fail in that regard - because such people wouldn't touch an RPG if you threw it at their heads - it isn't what they're interested in. I don't necessarily agree with what I percieve as the direction that FFG appear to be focussing their promotion of WFRP3 (that is, towards the audience of their board games with little apparent consideration of the existing, loyal, creative and passionate WFRP community), but it works on the level that the kinds of people likely to play any form of RPG are people who are already comfortable and familiar with a similar degree of mechanical nuance and depth.


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#6 Luther

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:59 AM

I didn't say 'dumbed down.' I said 'more visually and tactile focused.' More 'Eye Candy' than 'bookish.' I am failign to see where people keep finding 'dombed down.'



#7 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 10:03 AM

Luther said:

I didn't say 'dumbed down.' I said 'more visually and tactile focused.' More 'Eye Candy' than 'bookish.' I am failign to see where people keep finding 'dombed down.'

Other posts, all over the place, and only a few times in regards to WFRP3. It appears to be a common slang term for "includes something I don't like on first glance".


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer,Ark of Lost Souls, and Hammer of the Emperor

I no longer write for, or am employed by, Fantasy Flight Games in any fashion. All of my comments are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of any employer, past, present, or future.

#8 Luther

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 12:26 PM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Luther said:

 

I didn't say 'dumbed down.' I said 'more visually and tactile focused.' More 'Eye Candy' than 'bookish.' I am failign to see where people keep finding 'dombed down.'

 

 

Other posts, all over the place, and only a few times in regards to WFRP3. It appears to be a common slang term for "includes something I don't like on first glance".

And what has that got to do with my post, which doesn't say that and actually congratulates FFG on on havign the brassies to try something new?



#9 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 12:45 PM

Luther said:

 

And what has that got to do with my post, which doesn't say that and actually congratulates FFG on on havign the brassies to try something new?

Dunno, I was picking up from someone else's point, hence the quote in my first post on this thread. Any reason for the apparent glowering hostility towards me?


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer,Ark of Lost Souls, and Hammer of the Emperor

I no longer write for, or am employed by, Fantasy Flight Games in any fashion. All of my comments are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of any employer, past, present, or future.

#10 Sythorn

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 12:55 PM

Luther said:

I didn't say 'dumbed down.' I said 'more visually and tactile focused.' More 'Eye Candy' than 'bookish.' I am failign to see where people keep finding 'dombed down.'

You may not have used the exact phrase of "dumbed down," but saying the game is "more eye candy than bookish" is essentially the same thing in my book.  My apologies if I misunderstood your post, but it did come across like that to me.



#11 cegorach

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 01:02 PM

Luther said:

I didn't say 'dumbed down.' I said 'more visually and tactile focused.' More 'Eye Candy' than 'bookish.' I am failign to see where people keep finding 'dombed down.'

So you know how many pages of text are in this new edition? Can you share?

Or are you just making things up and joining the caterwauling masses?

The world may have become shallower, but you obviously haven't played recent RPGs outside of D&D and compared them to the 'good old games' if you are making the assertion that RPGs have less to them now.

Go play Reign or TROS then get out your old books and compare.

Rose coloured glasses are great until they cause you to bump into things, like reality for example.



#12 Luther

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 02:18 PM

What the hell are you talking about Cegorach?  Your reply relates to my OP like choclate does to cheese. I haven't played anything other than D&D, have Rose Coloured Glasses and am just joining the caterwauling masses? What the hell are you talking about?

As for the more sensible question 'what did you mean by more Eye Candy than Bookish' I mean exactly that. It is a box filled with stuff not a book on a shelf. And that doesn't mean 'dumbed down' or 'worse'  or 'shallow' just a different type of game from the traditional RPG with a different audience, one that is more attracted to a box with lots of cool bits than a boring old book.

And in defense of those who are shocked by the direction the game has taken, just look at what has been previewed. Or course they're going to react negatively. It's a completely different game! It doesn't bother me overmuch because I was one of those playing in the 'WFRP in the Wilderness' years and know, as my post clearly states, that I can play 2E the rest of my life with all the material I have and not really be bothered, but I don't think even FFG staffers are surpised at the reaction it has recieved so far. It is NOT the same game and is marketed to an entirely different demographic. And it is expected that a good portion of the community will complain just as any other customer does when they see something they love come to an end...



#13 Darth_SaURoN

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 05:31 PM

Yeah I do agree with your statement seeming how they also dumb downed dnd with the 4th ed.



#14 Requete

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:02 PM

Sythorn said:

Aside from whatever personal opinions one has regarding the times we live in, I don't think it's fair to claim that current RPGs are being dumbed down. 

I would say just "dumb".

This will be a great game for people who blast rap music out of their car (well, or would if they were old enough to drive) and can't formulate a proper sentence.

I'm just ashamed that I was *ever* dumb enough to give this stupid company any of my money for any of their games.

 



#15 Hellebore

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:19 PM

On the contrary, I think RPGs are being dumbed UP. That is, they get heaped with extra complexity and filler pictures making them more convoluted without actually making the game better.

 

WFRP 2nd ed requires 2 types of dice rolls. Everything in the game is dealt with using D100 or D10. That is about as simple as you can get, yet it produced an interesting and well designed game. Dungeons and Dragons has an ABSURD level of complexity without much in the way of advantage to show for it.

 

I GM both WFRP and DH and play in a D&D4th ed game. I will NEVER GM D&D because of the ridiculous amount of work required just to set up an encounter. And the current game really is nothing more than a bunch of encounters strung together. My GM used to GM during 3 and 3.5 and is fairly balanced, but even he is doing little more than creating a 10 minute discussion that happens between fight scenes. The 'balance' system in D&D means he has to calculate out all the different abilities the characters and NPCs have just to make sure the fight is interesting. The number of options is simply ridiculous.

 

This game to me, LOOKS like it has been dumbed up. Increased complexity, full of filler pictures, but little in the way of increased game potential. Just more steps to do the same things.

 

But I am not passing judgement on it until a thorough write up is to be had. Until then, all I will say is, if they have not changed much and it is all glitz, then they really should have said so.

 

Hellebore



#16 CRasterImage

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:37 PM

Hellebore said:

But I am not passing judgement on it

I love how people keep knocking the game and then throw out that line.



#17 Hellebore

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:46 PM

CRasterImage said:

Hellebore said:

 

But I am not passing judgement on it

 

 

I love how people keep knocking the game and then throw out that line.

 

What you mean where I said:

This game to me, LOOKS like it has been dumbed up. Increased complexity, full of filler pictures, but little in the way of increased game potential. Just more steps to do the same things.

?

 

Where I said how FFG has presented it (ie LOOKS like) in a way that gives this impression? Yes, what a knocking.

If you notice what I DID knock, if the game turns out to be great, is how FFG have MARKETED it. Which, if it is as awesome and great as all the optimists seem to think, is pretty poorly.

 

It LOOKS bad on first inspection. If it's not, then you've got to wonder why they decided to focus on all the features that alienate the current players when describing it instead of placating them by showing that although it has new innovations it is still the same game we played in 2nd ed.

So it's either as bad as it appears to people or FFG's marketing team really need to rethink how they launch a new edition of a game with a very rabid and vocal fanbase. The way they advertised it is pretty much perfectly designed to displease the majority of current fans. You know the ones, the people that paid for 2nd eds success?

 

So my ire, or what I will be knocking AFTER a write up has been created, will be either for the game or the marketing. Because SOMETHING is rotten in Kislev, but I cannot determine what until further evidence presents itself.

 

Hellebore

 



#18 cegorach

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:24 PM

Luther said:

What the hell are you talking about Cegorach?  Your reply relates to my OP like choclate does to cheese. I haven't played anything other than D&D, have Rose Coloured Glasses and am just joining the caterwauling masses? What the hell are you talking about?

As for the more sensible question 'what did you mean by more Eye Candy than Bookish' I mean exactly that. It is a box filled with stuff not a book on a shelf. And that doesn't mean 'dumbed down' or 'worse'  or 'shallow' just a different type of game from the traditional RPG with a different audience, one that is more attracted to a box with lots of cool bits than a boring old book.

And in defense of those who are shocked by the direction the game has taken, just look at what has been previewed. Or course they're going to react negatively. It's a completely different game! It doesn't bother me overmuch because I was one of those playing in the 'WFRP in the Wilderness' years and know, as my post clearly states, that I can play 2E the rest of my life with all the material I have and not really be bothered, but I don't think even FFG staffers are surpised at the reaction it has recieved so far. It is NOT the same game and is marketed to an entirely different demographic. And it is expected that a good portion of the community will complain just as any other customer does when they see something they love come to an end...

 

I guess you didn't understand, that's fine. I was pointing out you are making claims with little or no substantiation to them. I'm likely as old, if not older, than you but I have a firm grasp of reality and don't claim RPGs have lost their literary or mechanical depth in favour of 'eye candy'. I have dozens of sets on my bookshelf from recent years that easily outstrip the depth of older games AND look great.

It's not that one medium takes a back seat to another in this sector, it's just that developers have clued in to better presentation standards. Indeed, there is a degree of overlap from other mediums such as video games but you actually picked one of the few entertainment mediums that has most strongly resisted recent entertainment shifts.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but there appear to be some very hefty books in the centre of this new system. You seem to be making assertions that the focus is on WYSIWYG in contrast to the 'good old days' but from a casual look at the contents, you seem to see both massive books and other accessories, something that has indeed been done more than once in recent decades.

I'm an old skool gamer and I fit their demographic just fine. As long as they don't mess with the background, all the rest is immaterial. Warhammer is a setting, not a ruleset.

I'd suggest a more positive outlook embraces the best aspects of both yesterday and today, not railing at one in favour of the other.






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