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Author Topic: What makes one "good" at RPGs?  (Read 5526 times)
Rindu
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« on: March 18, 2006, 11:28:01 AM »

I'm having a discussion with a friend in my Livejournal http://abi-dierecte.livejournal.com/38955.html about gaming, and he brought up the notion of "being good at RPGs."  I'm interested in discovering what other people might think about this idea.  It seems strange to me actually: I've never thought of RPGs in this competitive sense before!  Further, they don't necessarily seem to be as skill-based as other games.

But at any rate, would you measure the "skill" of a player by the time it takes to "beat" the game?  One of my problems with this simple notion, besides what I mentioned in the LJ thread, is that there are several different notions of "beating" a game.  Are we talking about only defeating the final boss?  Are we talking about also completing every side-quest and discovering every secret?  

How important is it to finish a game quickly?  Don't we want to spend more time with games we enjoy???

Anyway, it's an interesting thing to discuss, I think, and I wanted to open the discussion up to more people.
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CluelessWonder
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2006, 12:31:06 PM »

Like you said, some people must do all the optional stuff to completely "own" the game.  Other people like to breeze through just for  the main story.  I don't think time invested in the game is indicative of skill.  For me, time is more telling of a person's patience, love of the game, or a sign of ocd in some cases.  If you look at the games I love, I have an insane amount of time put into it (DC2:  130+hrs).  I wouln't say I'm the best at it, I just love playing it.  If you look at the games I dislike, I either didn't finish it or I skipped all the extra stuff because I wanted to get through it as quickly as possible.  So yeah, I don't see time as bragging rights.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2006, 01:07:16 PM »

A little off-topic, but (and although I enjoy them, as a leisure-time hobby) being good at RPGs (or games in general) means next to nothing.  Like, so what if you're good at playing games?  But, whatever, bring em' on. =P
As a child though, I do credit them to expanding my vocabulary in some way, and persuading me to read more.

I don't know, being good at an RPG I guess means finding your own way to solve your own problems with effective thinking, rather than the use of a FAQ or other assisstance.  Getting S-ranking scores on all the mini-games, dealing 99999999 damage in a single hit, unlocking bonuses and all that.
I guess it could be argued, but Holystar could be argued to being a good RPG player, him and his crew have the vids of solo-lvl5-victories over really hard bosses, all 300 Star Ocean 3 battle trophies, yadda-yadda-yadda.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2006, 01:14:43 PM »

Being good has no bearing in RPGs if you ask me. If you give up because it's too hard, that's one thing, but for most of us here...no one is "good or bad" at RPGs....they're just RPGFans.
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invinciblegod
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2006, 02:00:28 PM »

I believe being good at RPG's mean that you beat the final boss at the lowest lvl possible. That is pretty challenging sometimes.
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Dios GX
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2006, 02:18:34 PM »

The only method by which to determine one's skill at "RPGs" is to do it on a game-by-game basis. Blanket statements and all-encompassing "rules" won't amount to a whole lot when the gameplay changes to such diverse margins.
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Haven
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2006, 03:02:19 PM »

Quote from: "Dios GX"
The only method by which to determine one's skill at "RPGs" is to do it on a game-by-game basis. Blanket statements and all-encompassing "rules" won't amount to a whole lot when the gameplay changes to such diverse margins.


 Amen.

 I could not have typed that better myself.
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Eusis
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2006, 03:05:57 PM »

I have to agree with invinciblegod's notion - beating monsters and bosses at a lower level than normal would be a good measure of how good someone is at an RPG. Being fast just means you either know exactly what to do, or speedread/rush things - not something that serves as a good measure of skill if you ask me. And beating a game is an accomplishment, certainly, but that just shows that you're competent with RPGs.

I have to agree with Tony's notion too. While there might be some people who are all around very good with RPGs, you can easily kick major ass at one, then be annihilated in another.
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Ryos
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2006, 03:14:10 PM »

If you can beat the final boss with all default equipment from the start of the game, you probably know what you're doing. :p  For the most part there is no terribly big difference in skill in RPGs, which might be why so many people don't know WTF they're doing in MMOs.
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2006, 03:53:58 PM »

Yeah, you really can't talk about someone being good at RPGs in general. It's not like RPGs are like, say, first person shooters where the same mechanics apply in pretty much all games. Nor do you really need skill to master a RPG (if by master you mean finding and doing everything in it) - what you do need is a lot of free time, and perhaps some imagination to be able to figure out all the crazy prerequisites for certain sidequests.

As some have already said, beating the game at a low level might be a sign for being skillfull at that certain game. In those cases it comes down to being able to fully understand all the mechanics of the battle system, and also finding and exploiting bugs and weaknesses of it.
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Lucca
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2006, 01:10:44 AM »

Oh, I dunno. I dunno if people get 'good' at RPGs, but more they get experienced with RPGs. Case in point:

When you first started RPGs, chances are you didn't know the RPG staples -- Knowing EXACTLY when and how to buy the right piece of equipment, having JUST the right amount of items to get you through and knowing when to use them. Knowing that EXP == GOOD, Running == NOT ALWAYS GOOD BUT SOMETIMES! Also knowing what stat buffs to save your hiney and what spells worked against what enemies. I'm sure not everyone here knew of ye old RPG elemental rules (FIRE BEATS WATER! Etc etc)

I guess I would say those who become 'good' at RPGs get a sixth sense on how to get through one. We get used to the RPG staples, and we develop a more complex means of problem solving. We also can spot cliches in a heartbeat. We just become 'good' at RPGs this way.


This was my most rambly post ever. I hope that made SOME sort of sense.
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Sketch
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2006, 01:52:41 AM »

I never really thought of the genre as one that required much skill at all, since you can pretty much blaze through most RPGs if you're patient enough to power level between boss fights.

But I guess it all depends on how the game plays (aka, the battle system).  I mean, there are those RPGs that you'll either be good at (Final Fantasy, choose your attack, watch it), or those that you'll completely and utterly suck at (some people complained about battle systems like Magna Carta's and Shadow Hearts'). I guess it's all personal preference as to what makes you a good player. Am I a good player if I never miss a Judgement Ring attack in Shadow Hearts, but still have a hard time beating the game?

But as others have mentioned before, to be good at an RPG just means that you can kick ass at low levels, I guess. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that RPGs are more challenging if you neglect to level up.
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Rindu
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2006, 10:44:34 AM »

Hm.  These are good replies which I agree with.  But I want to play devil's advocate and advance an argument in favour of complete time as a benchmark of "being good" at a rpg.  My friend didn't make this argument, though:

Complete times are like high scores.  35 hours is better than 40 hours, just like 1,000 points is better than 900.  This is the only "general rule" of skill one can have for rpgs, and it works.  Some people have replied that it is impossible to have general rules of skill, because the actual gameplay varies so much between games.  But complete time is general enough that it can be a measure of skill withought demanding anything too specific.  Likewise, galaga, centipede, and pac man all have very different gameplay, but we still say that he who has the best high score is the best at the game.

Of course, this doesn't show that there is one set of skills that are universally applicable to all games, such that one can be better at rpgs overall.  It only shows that there exists some standard by which we can judge whether someone is better or worse than others at a specific game.
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Rindu
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2006, 10:48:09 AM »

Quote from: "Lucca"
This was my most rambly post ever. I hope that made SOME sort of sense.


No it made perfect sense.  I like that you pointed out that there are some commonalities to RPGs.  Most others said that there are no universal "skills," but you rightly pointed out that there are some basics that must be mastered, which apply to any game that are RPGs.
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Cauton
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2006, 11:57:59 AM »

Quote from: "Rindu"
Complete times are like high scores.  35 hours is better than 40 hours, just like 1,000 points is better than 900.  This is the only "general rule" of skill one can have for rpgs, and it works.  Some people have replied that it is impossible to have general rules of skill, because the actual gameplay varies so much between games.  But complete time is general enough that it can be a measure of skill withought demanding anything too specific.  Likewise, galaga, centipede, and pac man all have very different gameplay, but we still say that he who has the best high score is the best at the game.


I don't agree with this. In the games you mentioned the whole point of the game is to collect points, and get on the highscore board. In RPGs, the "goal" is to enjoy the gameplay and story. Can you really say that someone who completes a game in 35 hours, but only does a fraction of available sidequets, is better at the game than a person that completes it in 50 hours, but with all optional stuff done?

For your theory that speed = skill to hold true, everyone that play RPGs must do so in order to beat it as fast as possible - and this most certainly isn't the case. I that case the suggestion of beating final boss at the lowest levels equals higher skill is better, even if i think being "good at RPGs" is a bizzare concept to begin with.
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