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Author Topic: What are your favorite innovations in RPGs?  (Read 7024 times)
Alhizzy
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« on: October 20, 2011, 07:17:22 PM »

Hey everybody!  I was daydreaming a bit at work today, and for some odd reason I was trying to come up with the feature I like most that was introduced into the RPG genre.  I figured I'd start a topic to see what kinds of things in RPGs are most near and dear to the community.

For a format, I guess it can be... pick your favorite innovation, and then maybe an honorable mention.

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.

My honorable mention, is from Shining the Holy Ark.  I really dug the pixie system, since it kept you on your toes, always trying to anticipate where your monster encounters will originate from; whether above, below, to the side, or in front of you.  You get a decent edge in the fight for sending out the right pixie type (though it degrades the advantage when you're futher in the game), and you get some extra EXP and gold, which is pretty groovy incentive if you ask me.
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Dice
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 07:55:38 PM »

Tri-Ace's innovations are my favorite....IMMAFAN,

One thing about innovations is not all games have 'em... sooo... whtaeva...

- The shift of turn-based to real-time combat (who the fuck waits when you're fighting, ahmeanreallynow, who?)
- Music shift is cool when you're fighting, totally agree
- Games where it takes more than level-grinding to win
- I like to see the darn enemies on screen.
- Customizing in whatever sense.
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Eusis
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 08:13:01 PM »

- The shift of turn-based to real-time combat (who the fuck waits when you're fighting, ahmeanreallynow, who?)

There's something to be said for abstraction than treating everything "realistically", but it's good to have variety regardless.
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 08:16:11 PM »

- The shift of turn-based to real-time combat (who the fuck waits when you're fighting, ahmeanreallynow, who?)

There's something to be said for abstraction than treating everything "realistically", but it's good to have variety regardless.

I didn't mean it that way.  I'm just not a fan of simple turn-by-turn methods of fighting.  It's one thing if it's for tactics, but I'd rather something that means quicker and more hands-on thinking, then sitting and waiting.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 08:17:40 PM »

- Pretty much everything being interactive in Ultima 7. Nobody ever really repeated that.

- Press-Turn.

- The NPC AI in the STALKER games. Apparently its original incarnation could beat the game for the player o they had to dial it back.

- The dynamic war in Space Rangers 2.

- Morrowind's plug-in system.

- Dragon Quest 7's migrant town.

- The MP system in Devil Summoner 2.
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Alhizzy
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 08:54:46 PM »

Eeek, so much for my format!

Dice, your comment about turn-based to real-time reminded me of Might and Magic 6-9, since you can switch between the two modes in them (although it wasn't a particularly great system).
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Annubis
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 08:58:04 PM »

- The shift of turn-based to real-time combat (who the fuck waits when you're fighting, ahmeanreallynow, who?)

There's something to be said for abstraction than treating everything "realistically", but it's good to have variety regardless.

I didn't mean it that way.  I'm just not a fan of simple turn-by-turn methods of fighting.  It's one thing if it's for tactics, but I'd rather something that means quicker and more hands-on thinking, then sitting and waiting.

Not sure, I always loved Ogre Battle for their real time tactics (so yeah SNES and N64 ones)
A shame that nobody copied it.
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Parn
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 10:52:08 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.

Phantasy Star Online also did something similar where you'd have calm music playing for each environment, transitioning to the battle version of the same song if enemies were around, and then transitioning back when it was calm again.  Instead of fading music back and forth, the composers had several transition points for all the music to properly switch to each mood at appropriate spots.

Skies of Arcadia is another where extra instruments would pop in based on the area you were in such as tribal drums if you were around Ixa'taka or a military march beat around Valua.  The standard boss and final boss themes also incorporated shifts in the mood of the music based on whether you were winning or getting your ass kicked.

Long story short, Sega really seemed to utilize music that evolves on the fly.  There's some non-RPGs that also do it.

For my own contribution, I'd say my favorite innovation in an RPG would be Everquest's aggro mechanics.  Some people really hate the MMO trinity of tank/dps/healer, but I liked the fact that the armored warrior could actually utilize his heavier defense and take the focus of the enemies upon him/herself, rather than most RPGs where enemies will just randomly attack any character in your party.
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Annubis
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 10:57:52 PM »

Oh wait, I have one that is crazy innovative and would have benefited a lot of games.

Chrono Cross's Fast Forward Button
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 11:50:23 PM »

Oh wait, I have one that is crazy innovative and would have benefited a lot of games.

Chrono Cross's Fast Forward Button

AMEN.
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Tomara
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 03:11:51 AM »

-Switching character members in and out of the battle party during battles. If I got like nine of those dudes, I don't want six of them to sit on a bench while the other three fight for their lives! I don't know who did it first, but I think Breath of Fire IV was the first game I played that did it well.

-Disabling random encounters. Items are nice, magic is nice. Just pressing one little button is even nicer. I think Wild Arms V handled it in a neat way. Fight an optional boss, get to turn off random encounters as a reward.

-That thing in Earthbound where you could just run over weak enemies and get exp anyway. Mana Khemia (2) has a similar version, but with items.

And yeah, that fast forward button, that was awesome! Combine it with a skip button and you can make any game 20% more enjoyable.
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ZeronHitaro
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 03:26:50 AM »

I wouldn't really call Real-Time battles an "innovation". It's a sub genre of mechanics. That's like saying FPS is an innovation over TPS; or vice-versa.
_________________________

Really there haven't been too many innovations in RPGs over the past decade that have really rubbed me the right way. There are some notables though:

-The removal of the "9~" cap.

Used to be everything was 99 typically. Lv 99. Strength 99. 9999 dmg. Ect. Not sure when it first broke out of this but I recall being joyfully overwhelmed by NISA's original stream of titles that pretty much said "Screw it; Lv. 9999 cap and stats in the millions for everyone!" Granted I admit that never every game needs this, or benefits from it. But it was nice to see that no longer every game was hard-capped by though infamous numbers.

-Class systems; thinking outside the archetypes.

Alas there have been very few class-based RPGs as of recent years and the ones that come through aren't that good/don't get it right. (Class of Heroes, FFXIII, even Dark Souls fails to understand what a class system is). About the only shining gem in this vortex was Wild Arms XF. So many unique classes and even the "archetype" ones didn't feel like your plain or "Warrior, Mage, Healer, ect."

FFT had traces of this back in the day too with the fun additions of things like Dancer, Samurai, Mathematician, ect.

-Outfits for your characters that override armor/change the base form.

I'll be honest; I had how most armor looks. It's bulky, it's ugly, and it often hides pretty much aspect of character designs under a mass of metal and cloth. Enter the "Costume" system; popular in MMORPGs and some regular RPGs. Not only can you customize the character to look the way you like it to, but now you can actually enjoy playing as a human rather than a walking hunk of tin.
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Sagacious-T
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 03:34:07 AM »

- The shift of turn-based to real-time combat (who the fuck waits when you're fighting, ahmeanreallynow, who?)

There's something to be said for abstraction than treating everything "realistically", but it's good to have variety regardless.

I didn't mean it that way.  I'm just not a fan of simple turn-by-turn methods of fighting.  It's one thing if it's for tactics, but I'd rather something that means quicker and more hands-on thinking, then sitting and waiting.

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.

A good example of this would be Strategy RPGs and RTS. Most gamers wouldn't directly compare the two genres.

For someone who plays challenging action games such as Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta, most real-time RPGs are too simplistic. For how long can someone spam an attack button before getting bored? 50 hours? 100? Meh.

Then again, give me a Real-time Action RPG like Fallout 3, Deus Ex or The Witcher and I'll enjoy it immensely.
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Tomara
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 03:42:48 AM »

Quote
Alas there have been very few class-based RPGs as of recent years and the ones that come through aren't that good/don't get it right. (Class of Heroes, FFXIII, even Dark Souls fails to understand what a class system is). About the only shining gem in this vortex was Wild Arms XF. So many unique classes and even the "archetype" ones didn't feel like your plain or "Warrior, Mage, Healer, ect."


Not only that, the battle stages were actually build to encourage the player to try the more unusual classes. Not only did it make the game more diverse, it turned some of the stages into interesting puzzles that weren't always about fighting or even sneaking around. Not many strategy games do that. Vandal Hearts and some of the Fire Emblems come close, but more often than not it's all about killing the opponent without getting killed.
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Themadcow
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 04:54:36 AM »

Although it's not out yet, I really like the idea in Skyrim of having a spell assigned to each hand, but if you have the same spell in each hand then using them together has a more powerful effect.
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