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Influences of MMO's


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#1 chojun

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 04:00 AM

this is my attempt at an intelligent post:

First you had the rpg and then you had the MMO who really wanted to be just like the RPG.  And now we are seeing RPGs taking a lot of design and mechanics from MMOs.

The thing is that RPGs is a numerical system.  you roll dice you add numbers or take away numbers, or look at a chart or table.  and in game combat length is a function of how many things you are trying to do.  For instance, when I used to play 1st edition D&D, we used no miniatures, we did group initiative, and everything was hit or miss on the dice, you also had a pathetic amount of hitpoints which meant that characters died pretty easy and quickly.  Hence, it didnt take that long to have a combat. and during most sessions we probably ran through 4 or 5 fights.  the roleplaying segments were fun, but we also knew that the longer we roleplayed the longer we would live. and when you made it to about 3rd or fourth level you felt like Conan. but as we started adding things to the game it slowed down to the point to where if you had  two combats in a four hour session you were lucky....but they became slow.

MMO's are visual.  you click a button something happens, the button goes dim awhile.  then it gets bright again.  you can do a lot of stuff in under a minute.  you can do two dozen different actions and the game still plays at the same speed.  

good or bad,  the new WFRP is trying to do alot of things more quickly.  I think that the gridless combat was a concession for the sake of speed, as is the initiative system.  the one roll  resolutuion mechanic is to try to save time--put every factor into a pile, shake it up, and cancel things out. whats left is what happens.  the cards for reference speed things up and also provide more actions, the recharge tokens serve to cut down options over a period of time, thus making things quicker and more deadly.  you cant defend every turn, you have to choose the right time, so most likely you stand to suffer more damage, making combats go a bit quicker.  the party card makes people move along or else, argue too much and you'll pay for it later.  stress and fatigue make you weaker, therefore easier to damage, thus making combat resolve quicker. and something nobody seems to mention is that the wounds/hit points are still low.  I laugh when this game is compared to 4e, because anyone who has played 4e D&D is that everything has more hitpoints, even kobolds.   this game is going to still be grim and perilous--hell just look at the wounds ratings.

anyway,  i just wanted to point these things out.  and I can count on somebody to point at the holes in my logic, which is the fun part about forums because when we think we have it all figured out some 13 year old from New Zealand shows us the error of our ways.

yeah,, this is influenced by MMO's, as Was 4e D&D.  but where 4e trys to do new things with old ideas and mechanics and just trades one slow complexity for another, I think that FFG is trying new things with new ideas.  AND AS I KEEP POINTING OUT OVER AND OVER:  THIS GAME MECHANICS WISE IS INFLUENCED BY FFG GAMES.  NOT WOTC D&D.  anyone who has played four or five FFG big box games can see it plain as day.  its got some Descent influences, its got some tide of iron influences, so on and so on.  FFG had card powers first, not D&D.  so when I see a post saying that this is a rip off of D&D then I automatically know that person is talking out of their backside.

good gaming and good posting.



#2 dvang

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:27 AM

I think it is a well thought out and intelligent post.  Certainly, one thing to keep in mind is that newer generations of gamers (whether RPG, PC, platform, etc) have grown up with computers.  Older gamers mainly grew up with books.  There certainly has been an evolution of technology, and it stands to reason that in order for a table-top RPG to closer reflect changing experiences it needs to change away from pure pen and paper.  I know, lots of us like pure pen and paper, but we are the older generation.  That's also not to say that younger generations can't or won't like pen and paper.  However, it can be unfamiliar and imposing, as well as appear to be plain and boring compared to their Xbox/Playstation RPGs.  It makes sense, to try to draw in these new computer-oriented generations of gamers into the table-top game realm, that companies add a bit more visual effects and try to speed up/steamline play. It will make the game a bit more familiar and help keep the (shortened) attention spans of newer generations, while still keeping it a table-top RPG.

So, yeah, basically, I agree with you for the most part. 

 



#3 Necronomicus

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 07:02 AM

I think they are making  Warhammer 3E a gateway drug for gaming LOL.    Once the kids can handle that, its not too far off before they are main lining, Decent and Tide of Iron,   and maybe just maybe they might   go hard core and pick up Dark Heresy.    :)



#4 vandimar77

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 08:17 AM

I think that the presentation of this game is likely to grab the interest of a whole lot of players that might have been put off with the rather daunting size and apparant complexity of a conventional rpg. Smaller, bite-size pieces of information - in smaller rulebooks and cards - may well be easier to digest than pages and pages of text. I remember trying to GM Rolemaster back in the day: I think I would have welcomed a system like this one.



#5 superklaus

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 08:50 AM

Its more influenced by MtG or other CCG  than an MMO. In fact there there is not much of an MMO in 3rd edtion. Its a card game cloaked as a rpg.



#6 commoner

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 09:19 AM

I agree the cards and everything will facilitate speed and ease of play, better than assorted number of maneuvers on page xx of a manual.  Complexity slows down roleplay while system simplicity speeds up gameplay.  Also the visual appeal and the bite sized information makes it easier to use and digest as a player and GM. 

I don't have the time to go into this fully, but I do have to say this to say as a counter-point.  The fact is about MMO'S influencing RPG'S is not the way things should be going.  Fact is, there is no way RPG'S can do what MMO'S do as simply or as effectively. just as MMO'S can't do what RPG'S do.  What roleplay needs to work toward is its strength (which is more freedom from artificial systems and its ability to use imagination and player choices).  Roleplaying needs to find ways to encourage their strengths which will deliberately set themselves apart from the rest of the gaming market (thereby creating their own market) and not compete with something they cannot beat...MMO'S and video games do what they do better than anything else can, just as a blender motor runs a blender better than it can run a car and a car engine does not run a blender at all practically.  THe MMO aspects (such as card-recharge) only inhibit roleplaying games strengths and mirrors too much of its competitor product without bringing anything "mind-blowing to the table."  You can't say, come try out our weaker imitation of what you love to do, you instead you have to say come try our or way of doing things which is better in these ways and you can enjoy in these ways rather than doing it the same way you're already doing it...just like you can't convince someone who owns a corvette to take out a Dodge Omni for a sunday cruise.  If all food tasted like cheeseburgers there would be no need for any forms of restaurants or flavors of food.   

RPG'S have to find tools to enhance what they do best and eliminate old trappings that are no longer useful to the mechanics.  Indy games have gone at great lengths to do this, but fall short typically because they go too far (Sorcerer) or not far enough (Fudge).  

With all that being said, 3e is a great attempt at it and has done extremely well overall.  But where it will always fall short of expectations is the MMO aspects. We all have our opinions of what those are (mine are card recharge and stance meters), but the dice are a step in the right direction as well as putting things on cards.  I could go into a list of old trappings that also need to go away, but that is not what this thread is about.  

Those are my two cents.  If I get bites, maybe I'll finish this out, but for now, I'll let you guys see what you think.  

 

Cheers,

 

Commoner 



#7 chojun

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 10:10 AM

it would be really hard to get a teenager who has played WOW to sit down and play the role of a wizard who has two hit points, a sleep spell, no armor and a dagger.  You had to roleplay to make this character survive and interesting to play.  but those days are over, if you want to play something new and with support you are going to have to deal with the influence of the MMO and other media.  the genie is out of the bottle and somebody fudged up the wishes.



#8 vandimar77

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 10:43 AM

chojun said:

it would be really hard to get a teenager who has played WOW to sit down and play the role of a wizard who has two hit points, a sleep spell, no armor and a dagger.  You had to roleplay to make this character survive and interesting to play.  but those days are over, if you want to play something new and with support you are going to have to deal with the influence of the MMO and other media.  the genie is out of the bottle and somebody fudged up the wishes.

Or you got killed off by a Kobold in the first encounter due to a lucky or unlucky roll. Old style rpg systems could be pretty unforgiving by design and WFRP first edition actually bucked this trend a little with the Fate point system (at least you were guaranteed to survive one unfortunate incident). In MMORPGs of course, you can always respawn; but then they have to be that way because the computer isn't going to fudge the rules and stop you getting murdered by the NPCs (or other players).

I'm not sure if we should be presuming that younger players who like computer games like WoW won't be able to use their imaginations or roleplay characters properly. It's just a differant form of gaming that logically requires a differant approach. I have been able to do the reverse and go from tabletop to WoW easily enough afterall (though I did get bored of the constant and repetitive grind fairly quickly).



#9 chojun

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 11:58 AM

 

i had an unfortunate weekend a couple of years ago, when i tried to play Descent with my nephews on the same day they got grand theft auto.

there was no way Descent with all its flashyness, and baubles could compete with a urban sociopath simulator.

 

 



#10 dvang

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 03:27 PM

@commoner

Certainly, MMOs and RPGs can't fully do what the other does. However, there are similarities in interests between the two. Thus, in a sense, the MMO player community is a pool of potential RPG players. A way to increase the likelihood and attractiveness of an RPG to these MMO players is to bring familiar elements of MMOs to RPGs. Think of it this way: An MMO player is used to visual stimulation for their gaming enjoyment. They might very well look at an RPG and see that they sit at a table with nothing but a piece of paper and a few colored (or possibly not) dice. It's quite easy to, at first look, think this is 'boring'. They also need to sit through a lecture on the rules and which rules apply to their character (skills/talents,etc) or else fumble their own way through the rulebook. With things like cards, a lot of the information is there in front of them, easily found, as well as providing more visual stimulation. I'm not saying this is necessarily good or bad for the RPG market, I'm just saying that it is a method to appear more attractive to the exceptionally large amount of MMO players. That is why RPGs are changing, because they need an influx of new players and the MMO market is a huge pool of potential players that already have an interest in a similar sort of entertainment.



#11 xenoss

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 04:24 PM

Cool down - the fact that this is in the game, and called cool down, pretty much gives me the impression of MMO influence.

Inspired by Descent, not WotC D&D - I guess we will never truly know.  All we can honestly say is both are possibilities among others.  Only the people who came up with the ideas know where they came from (perhaps they don't even know themselves).  To me, that is not important.  Nobody functions in a vacuum.  Even if there is some influence from outside FFG product doesn't really detract from the design itself.  So let us this whole "it is inspired by FFG's own, and nothing else" stance, because in the end it doesnt matter.  The system is what it is, and it is looking brilliant.

As far as M:tG go, people who state that are just plain wrong.  Not a matter of opinion.  Just wrong.  And those who believe this doesn't really deserve my arguing with them, I really don't feel the need to educate them beyond the fact that it is absurd to say that the usage of cards as aids = M:tG.  Magic is about much more than just using cards.  Conveniently they ignore deck building, the 5 colors, random cards, mana curves.  Needless to say, I am not trying to offend anyone by saying this, but anyone who said this is M:tG, is just simply wrong... and doesn't really know much about games, regardless of what they want to believe.  And cannot really discuss this on the same level as those who do, so I don't really feel anyone should need to care about those comments beyond perhaps responding to it once.



#12 ghost81

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 05:48 PM

 This may sound like I am counteracting your well written post (not my intent) but it also feels a bit like going back to the old school of gaming, whne games came in boxes and not just a single book. attack all the "useless bits and baubles" all you want DC Heroes (one of my first rpgs, as a GM) came with the GM Screen character standees, character cards for big NPCS,and dice, most TSR rpgs (pre the WOTC buy out came in boxes and included maps, cards tokens and more. kinda sad to see that go the way of the dodo really. I would agree this game takes many of it's ques from FFG's extensive board gaming experience and tries to better rectify them into an RPG, (which if it enhances the roleplaying experience, is so much the better) I signed up for the demoes for my store, and am seriously considering buying it, unless the demo goes horribly wrong, simply because it feels more like the outlying philosophy is about bringing what they do well to a a gaming product that is one of their weaker sellers (RPGS in general have not really put FFG on the map like boardgames) as opposed to 4E's philosophy that roleplaying games are circling the drain (much the way novels are just ask them Harry Potter fans!) it's time to squeeze every penny out and cater to the MMO crowd before we convert the IP to a virtual presence only, even going as far as to ape MMO terms, like "pulling" monsters or, "Tanking" for the party. 



#13 Armrek

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 09:02 PM

vandimar77 said:

I remember trying to GM Rolemaster back in the day: I think I would have welcomed a system like this one.

You're quite right there, Rolemaster was a totally over engineered game. I started playing WFRP 1st ed because it was so simple that you could start playing with a short introduction to the players, and learn the rules quite easily as the game proceded.

I think FFG are trying to mix in som MMO features here to (especialy the recharging of some capabilities), but i'd have to see some live action in a video to understand how much...

And after all I think Jay owes us a session demo video



#14 macd21

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 02:57 AM

Can't say I see it. Making the game go faster isn't due to the influence of MMOs, it's just good game design, especially when it comes to combat and especially when you are using a dice pool system. Adding rolls when one will suffice is pointless.

A far bigger influence on v3's design is clearly FFGs experience with boardgames, which taught them how to do certain things faster and more efficiently than they might otherwise. Certain mechanics that most RPGs consider too unwieldy become possible when you have custom dice, cards and tokens to speed things up.



#15 cogollo

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 03:53 AM

I like a lot the dice pool and the use of cards and counters in an RPG. I think here FFG has really done a good job. With these tools the mechanics should be faster than in previous versions of WFRP or other games.

As for the influence of MMOs, I must say in general I dislike MMOs influencing RPGs mainly for two reasons:

  1. MMOs focus a lot of their efforts in balancing player's avatars so that every player in the game has a good experience. This is good in an MMO, because you are playing with hundreds of other unknown players and you want everybody to have a fair chance and, as a designer, you don't want to end up with all players choosing the same class... But for RPGs I think it's a mistake focusing so much in balance, because you are somehow telling the players that this is an important question in the game, where the real important thing in RPGs should be meeting together with your friends to tell a fun and involving story... once you start focusing on balancing an RPG you get a lot of "gamey" mechanics and strange systems that have nothing to do with reality... In my case, I don't like the recharging system and I liked a lot that WFRP2 classes were not balanced at all... that made the game feel more realistic and grittier.
  2. MMOs focus a lot of efforts in combat tactics... that's good for an MMO because, at the end of the day, the roleplaying aspect of an MMO approaches a lot the absolute zero... so, you can dress your character to differentiate it from others or may be part of a gaming guild and have fun talking with other people but, during combat, you are just trying to optimize the use of the skills your avatar comes with... again, I think for RPGs this is a mistake, because you lose the contact with your character and, instead of trying to act and roleplay your character in combat, you take decisions based mainly on tactical reasoning, which has very little to do with roleplaying...plus, tactical discussion unnecessarily lengthen combat and bring silly discussion between players to decide whether a tactical move was correct or not... There are a lot of great tactical combat games out there (from FFG you have Descent, Battle Lore and Tide of Iron) and I prefer these games for tactical gaming because they have been designed mainly for that.

And now, I'll keep preparing the first scenario for my future WFRP3 campaign...


Hur-Nir ran to the aid of the beaten man, recovering in the process a handful of pennies the thugs had let fall in the man's boots during their hasty retreat. - from Nulner Blues campaign

 


#16 chojun

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 05:53 AM

macd21 said:

 

A far bigger influence on v3's design is clearly FFGs experience with boardgames, which taught them how to do certain things faster and more efficiently than they might otherwise. Certain mechanics that most RPGs consider too unwieldy become possible when you have custom dice, cards and tokens to speed things up.

 

 

this is why i like intelligent posting, one guy throwing something out there and another guy putting another angle on it.  I agree with this totally.

there are MMO influences in this game, but mayhaps they are more cosmetic-giving the player something to look at besides a piece of paper.

but you are right and you have changed my thinking and expanded my perceptions.  this is a boardgame company, they want mechanics that enhance the speed of a boardgame, pursuing the endless problem of downtime between turns.

even though this is clearly not a boardgame, they can still use what works and what has been successful.

 

 



#17 Jericho

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 06:34 AM

chojun said:

it would be really hard to get a teenager who has played WOW to sit down and play the role of a wizard who has two hit points, a sleep spell, no armor and a dagger.  You had to roleplay to make this character survive and interesting to play.  but those days are over, if you want to play something new and with support you are going to have to deal with the influence of the MMO and other media.  the genie is out of the bottle and somebody fudged up the wishes.

Sure, but what RPG out there makes you start with a dagger and one spell ?

Also, the D&D group with fighter, thief, wizard, cleric and dwarf or elf is RPG mythology. Nobody plays like that anymore. Most people want to create an interesting character, with an interesting destiny and internal motives, not one peg of some mechanic we call the "party".

WoW and Warhammer online are a totally different experience. I don't see how they can compare. Players that get into RPGs relish the fact that they can do what they want in-character. That is the major plus in rpgs. Players who don't like to think up original character actions and lines will never get hooked on RPGs.

It would be an error to change RPGs to try to cater to these people.


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The time of change has come!

#18 chojun

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 07:31 AM

Jericho said:

chojun said:

 

it would be really hard to get a teenager who has played WOW to sit down and play the role of a wizard who has two hit points, a sleep spell, no armor and a dagger.  You had to roleplay to make this character survive and interesting to play.  but those days are over, if you want to play something new and with support you are going to have to deal with the influence of the MMO and other media.  the genie is out of the bottle and somebody fudged up the wishes.

 

 

Sure, but what RPG out there makes you start with a dagger and one spell ?

1st edition AD&D, redbox D&D in all its versionsmagic-users at low levels were totally under poweredand I think 2nd edition as well, but I think my old group house ruled where the wizard gets the same bonuses as the cleric, except it was tied to intelligence instead of wisdom?



#19 vandimar77

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

chojun said:

Jericho said:

 

chojun said:

 

it would be really hard to get a teenager who has played WOW to sit down and play the role of a wizard who has two hit points, a sleep spell, no armor and a dagger.  You had to roleplay to make this character survive and interesting to play.  but those days are over, if you want to play something new and with support you are going to have to deal with the influence of the MMO and other media.  the genie is out of the bottle and somebody fudged up the wishes.

 

 

Sure, but what RPG out there makes you start with a dagger and one spell ?

 

 

1st edition AD&D, redbox D&D in all its versionsmagic-users at low levels were totally under poweredand I think 2nd edition as well, but I think my old group house ruled where the wizard gets the same bonuses as the cleric, except it was tied to intelligence instead of wisdom?

To be fair, in basic D&D all character types were really underpowered and died very easily indeed in pretty much any encounter. Even fighters had only a D8 hit die; and if you were reduced to zero hit points you were killed outright, with no chance of being stabalised or revived by a healer. That's why, if the GM was not going to have to fudge the dice rolls alot then the players had to be allowed to have over the odds starting stats if they were to have any hope of surviving the first few levels. After about level 5 - when they were able to lay there hands on fireball and lightning bolt spells - mages became gradually more powerful than the fighters.

Basic D&D was of course - when compared to AD&D and most other roleplaying systems for that matter - pretty crap. It was kind of funny though that if you were a non human character then your race was also your class (ie: you could be a human fighter or cleric, but as a dwarf you could just be a dwarf).






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