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Author Topic: What are your favorite innovations in RPGs?  (Read 6756 times)
laserSquad
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2011, 08:14:09 AM »

That comment you made about shifting turn based to real time combat really antagonizes me. I am sick of the notion that real time combat systems are a replacement of evolution of turn based ones.Turn based combat has the potential to be incredibly strategic and tactical. It's a genre difference.

Same here. First witnessed when Bioware replaced genius battle system from GoldBox AD&D games with their pausable/realtime combat in Baldur`s Gate. It was not bad, but a far cry from total control and real tactics of SSI titles. Ok I`m a die-hard TB fan, but don`t mind a well done Action RPG - as long as it doesn`t ask me to control multiple party members at the same time without any pause button. How on earth are you supposed to compete against computer juggling all that? (Ok, Korean Starcrafters might, but thats way outta my league)


Dunno about innovation, as said earlier, there was more of an evolution of particular systems than pure innovation recently.
Some neat little things though:

V.A.T.S - well, I love it to bits. Somehow it turns FO3 combat into sorta-turn-based affair. Fantastic, little hope of this reappearing in FO4 though.

TES/Fallout item physics - maybe a bit underused in TES but shaking out rare items out of boxes in Fallout was superb. Apart from making a cool puzzle it`s so empowering...mark of a true open world (who else lets you write your gf`s name in items on a beach next to a mudcrab corpse eh?)

Legend Of Heroes - the visible enemies. It`s not the first of course but I love how it works -in newer areas monsters will chase you, but are still avoidable, elsewhere they shy away as you run past them. Way forward, find it hard going back to random-encounter-every-x-steps system other games use.

Monster Fight! (Blue Dragon) - manipulating baddies just so they eat each other is a very cool touch :)

Item Shop Story angle - from Torneko to Recettear - just brilliant, also welcome becoming a werewolf in TES ( how about Sewer Rat Story or becoming a guard?)

Valkyria Chronicles - nuff said

Also: most of the things from MeshGearFox`s post. Points for Stalker/Space Rangers/PressTurn (only truly tactical no-grid system out there)

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Gen Eric Gui
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2011, 09:07:15 AM »

(Class of Heroes, FFXIII, even Dark Souls fails to understand what a class system is).

Just wanted to mention, the whole point of "classes" in Demons Souls and Dark Souls isn't that your character is that "class" and is supposed to have abilities regarding that "class" only, but it's rather your origin.  It's supposed to represent what you were BEFORE the circumstances of the game overtook the character and they started augmenting themselves with soul power.

In life, you WERE a Thief and it took your whole life to become what you started as and weild the lightest of armors and daggers.  But in scant days after using Soul Power, you're now a walking tank who weilds powerful sorcery and can one-hand a giant Great Axe.  Them calling it a "class" system is a misnomer, it's actually an "origin" system.


AAAAAAANYWAY.  I'd like to reiterate the Fast-forward button from Chrono Cross.  More games need to have that, stat.
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Dice
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2011, 10:59:35 AM »

That comment you made about shifting turn based to real time combat really antagonizes me. I am sick of the notion that real time combat systems are a replacement of evolution of turn based ones.Turn based combat has the potential to be incredibly strategic and tactical. It's a genre difference.

Same here. First witnessed when Bioware replaced genius battle system from GoldBox AD&D games with their pausable/realtime combat in Baldur`s Gate. It was not bad, but a far cry from total control and real tactics of SSI titles. Ok I`m a die-hard TB fan, but don`t mind a well done Action RPG - as long as it doesn`t ask me to control multiple party members at the same time without any pause button. How on earth are you supposed to compete against computer juggling all that? (Ok, Korean Starcrafters might, but thats way outta my league)


I just find that Turn Based combat can be dry.  Only a few games use it super well.  Grandia II, LoH to some extent, FFX (especially in terms of speed), and the occasional tactics game (I'm actually not a big fan of VC).  I consider real-time a bit of innovation, or at the very least a logical next step to some extent.

Consider it a personal taste for active time combat, than a poo-poo to turn-based.
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laserSquad
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2011, 01:02:52 PM »

Personal taste is cool - I prefer TB but do play Action too -  but then it clashes with "logical step". Like said already in this thread these 2 sub genres of combat run parallel, not TB=>AB. Although it might look like this to you if not fond of taking turns. But real time has been around for a looong time - from Netherearth on Spectrum, to Darklands (1st pause?) and Eye Of The Beholder. So some folks prefer one over other, some play both but it`s not like Action > Turns.

TB might have been dominant in wRPGs before but now is all but dead, which I (and few others probably) find rather depressing. It might be a niche system in this day and age but I`d still like it to be kept alive or at least evolved towards VC style.
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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2011, 02:09:51 PM »

The Alchemy and Skill Point systems from DQVIII (now I have a reason to hoard outdated equipment beyond being OCD and having characters that are specialized to specific roles but also possess a bit of flexibility).

Weapon Skill/Magic Levels from Secret of Mana (having benefits to favoring a particular weapon or magic spell is pretty nice).

Upgradable Weapons from Secret of Mana and Suikoden (rather than having to shuffle around a bunch of different weapons that become outdated as soon as you so much as look at another town/dungeon treasure chest having one or a few that you carry around for the entire game is pretty damn convenient).

Materia from FFVII (I'll admit that despite it favoring mass generalization of your party, the ability to set up some killer combos by linking together different materia has its advantages though FFVII's example could easily be improved).

Skill Proficiencies and Training ala Suikoden III (adds in both a specialization factor and an option to generalize characters as you see fit).

Costume Damage or barring that Limb Damage from either Teh Turd Birthday or Vagrant Story respectfully (granted the first example is kinda awful and both are more suited to ARPGs but generally speaking since HP and MP management is getting shoved out the door these days having to manage either your armor/equipment or your character's limbs could add some of the some of the risk of pushing on too far back into RPGs without forcing you to limit the use of your magical boomsticks).

Multi Generations or Time Skips best seen in DQV or Ocarina of Time respectfully (because one of the biggest failings I usually see in a JRPG is the general lack of the flow of time due to leaving it up to the current stage of the immediate crisis as the only indicator which limits the amount of time characters grow and the world is seen, but having multiple periods of time allows players to see the long term affects of previous adventures and the changes in older characters as well as providing extra flexibility with the fates of said older characters).

And a Home Base like in Suikoden games or Airships in FF games (where you have that one place to return to that you can augment or trick out and you can manage or mingle with other PCs and make use of standard services in a convenient fashion).
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2011, 03:36:37 PM »

Personal taste is cool - I prefer TB but do play Action too -  but then it clashes with "logical step". Like said already in this thread these 2 sub genres of combat run parallel, not TB=>AB.

Haha I said that too because AB couldn't really happen during the NES days of TB. 
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Alhizzy
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2011, 06:12:58 PM »

For me, my favorite thing is probably the shift of battle music depending on how the fight is going, which I first noticed in The Last Remnant.  I find that it really gets the blood boiling when things are going bad, and you have this dangerous music playing, which is telling you to get your crap together and recover.  Then when you finally do get the music back to normal, you have that big sigh of relief.

I don't think it can work for all RPGs though, because it would be pretty irritating in quick snappy fights to have a shift in music every 4 seconds.  But for those long, grueling encounters with the same battle music playing for minutes and minutes, I think it's a cool refresher.

Yeah, it was pretty cool in The Last Remnant, but Sega has to get props for this one.  Phantasy Star 3 was the first RPG I can think of that employed evolving music, with the combat music adjusting to current circumstances as well as the over world theme adjusting by party size, such as an instrumental solo when you start with Rhys becoming a duet when you recruited Mieu, all the way to a quintet once you had a five member party.

You know, I tried playing through Phantasy Star 3, and I could never quite recognize a pattern of how the battle music would come about, it seemed totally random.  I definitely agree with the adding of party members though, that was neat.

I'm really enjoying reading these posts everyone, keep em coming!
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2011, 06:13:48 PM »

I really like the D-counter in BoF: Dragon Quarter. It's an incredible device for creating players choice when trying to balance short term vs long term goals. Short term of course beating the current battle, long term is actually beating the game. It adds tension, dread, and really puts some weight on your actions. You can see that just battling to the surface is physically killing you and every step you take quickens the process. It is an incredible mechanic. Now, it isn't directly transferable to other games, and hasn't seemed to have too much of an impact of general game development, but I think it is quite revolutionary.
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laserSquad
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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2011, 06:58:46 AM »

Haha I said that too because AB couldn't really happen during the NES days of TB. 

It could (if we`re talking technical side) - AB RPGs were all over the place in the 80`s on microcomputers. You`re right that there were only few of them on NES - I suspect it was just different mindset then. And thank :some deity: that in Nippon it still remains a considerable force.

Anyway. That is one debate we can carry on for days, derailing this nice topic ;)


As for shifting battle music it is truly a great thing - but how about "innovating" out that ker-razy madness that is a mandatory sub-80s-guitar-track in fights? Especially when main soundtrack is often totally brilliant/different? (looking at you, Devil Survivor...)
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Parn
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2011, 08:18:17 AM »

Yeah, it was pretty cool in The Last Remnant, but Sega has to get props for this one.  Phantasy Star 3 was the first RPG I can think of that employed evolving music, with the combat music adjusting to current circumstances as well as the over world theme adjusting by party size, such as an instrumental solo when you start with Rhys becoming a duet when you recruited Mieu, all the way to a quintet once you had a five member party.

You know, I tried playing through Phantasy Star 3, and I could never quite recognize a pattern of how the battle music would come about, it seemed totally random.  I definitely agree with the adding of party members though, that was neat.

I'm really enjoying reading these posts everyone, keep em coming!

The system seemed to take your character levels into account, so that even if your party was in full health, the "bad" music would play early into a fight if you were fighting monsters that were deemed strong for that moment.  Likewise the "good" music would play early into a fight if you were over leveled versus whatever you were fighting.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2011, 11:04:04 AM »

Quote
genius battle system from GoldBox AD&D games

I am the oldschoolest motherfucker here and while I don't really like infinity engine combat much I would NOOOOOoooooooooot cold the GoldBox battle system genius. Also infinity engine and goldbox basically both only let you move, attack things, and cast spells. We're not talking ToEE levels of TOTAL total control here.

Quote
I'd like to reiterate the Fast-forward button from Chrono Cross

Howsabout every RPG has an option to just turn off combat animation? That would've made Wizardry 8 a lot more playable and wouldn't have necessitated me making a mod myself that essentially removed animation.
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Britton
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« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2011, 11:17:02 AM »

Getting rid of random encounters and being able to see the enemies on the field.

Maps, mini and world.

Quest logs so if you put a game down for a while you can read it and know where to go and what to do.
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laserSquad
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« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2011, 01:47:02 PM »

Also infinity engine and goldbox basically both only let you move, attack things, and cast spells. We're not talking ToEE levels of TOTAL total control here.

Ummm...only? Following this logic you can blame chess for "only" allowing you to move and attack. Doesn`t stop it from being quite....tactical? ;)

(Modded) TOEE is indeed fantastic, and ok - it does give you much more control - but it`s also a "flaw" of sorts. Options overload - some of which are not all that obvious - bogs it down a bit, well, at least comparing to GoldBox, which is way clearer. Also, far as I remember (it`s been a while) removal of grid makes it much less precise (major I-Engine flaw as well). Still, it is superb, probably the Last Great Tactical wRPG -  I actually shelved it after couple of weeks - will start again after the hopeful genre revival somewhere circa AD 2024 (yeah, right).

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making a mod myself that essentially removed animation.

Got a link?
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seraph300
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« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2011, 07:39:17 PM »

I believe that any meaningful innovations to crpgs as far as gameplay mechanics go, happened in the first ten years of their existence. Most advancements from there are either an evolution or if truly new, failed to catch on. Most "innovations" are actually just borrowed mechanics from other game genres. Exceptions are monster recruiting and crafting as I'm not aware of any other genre that has these concepts. However that doesn't change the fact that as far as core mechanics are concerned, rpgs are a pretty stale genre. Most meaningful innovations I can think of are purely aesthetic ones.

I may be wrong and there may be many great gameplay innovations that I haven't seen or acknowledged, but from my perspective the genre has simply been iterating on itself for the past two decades.



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Lard
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« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2011, 08:28:59 PM »

Getting rid of the overland map is my least favourite.
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