Jeff Vogel's RPG hating rant

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AuthorTopic: Jeff Vogel's RPG hating rant
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http://rpgvault.ign.com/articles/782/782155p1.html

After reading this I could only think 'wow'....

However, its quite easy to see where Jeff has gone wrong. WoW and Final Fantasy? lol

Jeff, if you don't like level grinding, why on earth do you pick RPG's that make this very mechanic you hate so much the biggest parts of their games?

Have you played Teudogar and the Alliance with Rome by Wolf Mittag? Have you played Fallout? Arcanum? Yes, you didn't mention those, so I take it that you haven't....

Please do so, and stay clear of level grinding garbage like the RPG's (sic) that you mentioned. And please steal some ideas from the above games I mentioned, there are many more excellent RPG's out there that you could also flog ideas from, and they are evidently not the ones you are playing (Or have sworn off playing).

Instead of fighting the 500 wolves, perhaps you could introduce many new types of low level monsters, with interesting quests to make this a better system? Perhaps bring in an ability to talk your way through the Goblin caves (With a superior charisma based skill) or find a secret tunnel, and get through some nasty traps, sneaking past sentries (A stealth, lock picking, thief based way).

There are plenty of ways to get experience in a good RPG. And there should always be more than one way to proceed through a quest. Your the maker so I will leave that part to you, just wanted to stimulate your jaded senses and make you realise that for all the bad games you have been playing, there are plenty of good ones just waiting to soak up your time.

Looking forward to Nethergate V1.5 ;)
Posts: 20 | Registered: Wednesday, April 18 2007 07:00
Apprentice
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Profile #1
I think Jeff's paid to write rants so he needs something to rant about.Cynical ranting is apparently his 'style' and they wouldn't have hired him if it wasn't.

Negativity is cool...
Posts: 2 | Registered: Monday, April 23 2007 07:00
Councilor
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Finally, part 2! Dikiyoba was half-afraid it would be part 1 again.
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Lack of Vision
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It has been a really long time since I've posted a message, but this is a topic of interest to me, so I'll stop lurking - for the moment at least.

My first piece of advice is try to understand the argument being made before criticizing it, or dismissing it. Jeff may be a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them.

As near as I can tell, the argument is as follows:

(1) RPGs artificially inflate their content by including lots of pointless battles, quests or wandering;
(2) The true content of an RPG is not enhanced by this pointless filler, it is just lengthened;
(3) The pointless filler, being pointless, introduces its own problems, such as starting you off as a pitiful peon, barely able to get out of bed without fainting, in order for you to kill fantastically boring creatures (like goblin toddlers) and perform mundane activities (like returned books to the library) in order to get strong enough to do something cool; and
(4) Jeff's had it with this nonesense (a sentiment which which I fully agree).

The first part of Jeff's article was criticized so unfairly, I fear a nation of straw men has suffered genocide.

Jeff is not criticizing leveling up per se.

Jeff is not saying you need to start out with a vorpal broad mop of smiting +132, so you can kill the boss immediately.

Jeff IS saying your game should be fun. Take BG2, you start trapped in a dangerous dungeon and must fight your way out. It accomplishes the task of getting your character some starting equipment, introduces other important characters, etc., and does so by being anything but boring.

BG1, on the other hand, starts you off fetching arrows for some jackass and playing the Orkin Man (incidentally, does anyone really believe the most efficient way to get rid of a rat problem is to send in someone with an axe?).

In both cases, the same goal accomplished, but one is fun and exciting and memorable, the other is tedious and silly.

Or to use an example that may hit closer to home, in A4 you spend a horrid about of time fighting the same goddamn bugs over and over again in the Eastern Gallary. Compare that to the tutorial of G4 (the tutorial!), in which you're running past some silly-powerful creations that are killing the characters you've just met.

Jeff's point is that many (perhaps even most) RPGs rely on the crutch of grinding combat and leveling to extend a game without adding anything interesting. I agree! Why should I waste my time with 3 hours of boring crap in order to get to the one cool fight? Why not make the whole thing cool? Or, if you can't make the whole thing cool, just cut out the filler 3 hours of wasted time? Mostly, the whole thing isn't cool because it is hard and takes time to make. So Jeff's voting with his wallet and not rewarding most RPGs with his business.

On a follow-up note, one of Jeff's biggest influences is Fallout. I think anyone who has played Fallout and the Geneforge series can see the influence.

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Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Guardian
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I get it. I do. I played World of Warcraft(I refuse to use it's popularized abbreviation) and hated it because all it was was doing a bunch of retardo quests that make the Naruto D Missions look like something more meaningful than the illegal immigrant work they actually are. Fighting wave after wave of trivial bad-guys in the way games like Chatcraft do, is more boring than Diablo 2. Random encounters are the most annoying aspect of fantasy games and when the game only revolves them and several mediocre pseudo boss fights, while not really do much for plot, it's just not worth playing.

Edit: Woot for games with a good plot and decent game-play, though they aren't as numerous as they should be.

[ Monday, April 23, 2007 10:14: Message edited by: LF ]

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
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Random encounters can be interesting, though it's very rare these days. The original Final Fantasy title from 1987, which was almost entirely random encounters, is a prime example of this.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
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I have played many mmorpgs, and most of them is just about killing monster to increase lvl and get better equipment to kill bigger monsters. There is no real plot on the game, meanwhile Avernum has a nice plot and storyline,thats why i bought it.
Posts: 25 | Registered: Monday, April 23 2007 07:00
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I'm looking for a date. Interested Ladonna?
Posts: 455 | Registered: Tuesday, May 17 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
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Jeff has said that one of his favorite RPGs is Planescape: Torment. That's definitely not a game about grinding. I also think his objection is mostly to wastes of time, not many weak enemies. Having to hack through five hundred mooks with a spoon over the course of twenty minutes is boring. Killing five hundred mooks with a bomb in ten seconds is rather cool, actually.

Part of the reason I, and I think others, like Spiderweb games is the way combat doesn't bog down. Everything in the game moves quickly. There are no loading times. There are no long animations. Enemies may do damage, but there's an increasing tendency for either you or your foes to die in only a few rounds of fighting. Even going through a goblin cave isn't so boring because you make steady progress and get to see new and often silly or disgusting things constantly.

Also...

quote:
Originally written by Ladonna:

RPG's (sic)
—Alorael, who doesn't understand the [sic] there. Jeff spelled RPGs without the apostrophe. That's now an acceptable pluralization of acronyms, but even if it weren't you can't put [sic] by your own writing. That's bizarre.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by The Monitor:

Also...

quote:
Originally written by Ladonna:

RPG's (sic)
—Alorael, who doesn't understand the [sic] there. Jeff spelled RPGs without the apostrophe. That's now an acceptable pluralization of acronyms, but even if it weren't you can't put [sic] by your own writing. That's bizarre.

Lol...
Posts: 2 | Registered: Monday, April 23 2007 07:00
Agent
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The only random encounter systems I've ever enjoyed were in the Pokemon games. There's something magical about enslaving little creatures and forcing them to beat up their friends.

EDIT:
It's such a shame that many games dwell on quantity over quality. When the focus shifts from completing new and challenging objectives to leveling up, there's a problem with the game. The best games, the gems, usually only last a maximum of 6-8 hours on a thorough playthrough, but always throw a new challenge at you around every corner. Resident Evil 4 is my favorite example of this.

[ Monday, April 23, 2007 16:45: Message edited by: Enraged Slith ]
Posts: 1233 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Guardian
Member # 2080
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Resident Evil 4, that was a game I was saddened by not getting to beat.

Another surprisingly good game for action was Saint's Row. Start off as tough as you'll always be. There isn't that much you really need as far as equipment is concerned. Sure, you had to do the sidequests(missions) to be allowed to advance the story, but a lot of those had nice comic relief in them, so they weren't as bad as just killing some rats or solving the over-tedious yet simple box puzzle.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Law Bringer
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Domain name doesn't resolve here... is the link in the first post correct?

Also, I would like to plug Puzzle Pirates here. One of the MMORPGs where "grinding" has no meaning in the traditional sense. Since all the "skills" are determined by how good you (the player) are at solving a certain time-killing puzzle (jigsaw, something vaguely similar to tetris and four-in-a-row), the only grinding you do is training yourself instead of a number that grows larger no matter what. :P

[ Friday, April 27, 2007 04:59: Message edited by: Dr. Johann Georg Faust ]

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Zorro:

vorpal broad mop of smiting +132
Totally going to make an appearance in a scenario… :P

quote:
Originally written by dagorkan:

Lol...
Gesundheit.

Anyway, the best games are those in which you could go either way. I have to be honest, I don't mind level grinding. But I'm also a freak…

Prime example is one of my favorite games of all time, Final Fantasy Tactics. While it's easy enough to beat the game without leveling up at all, there are some features that can only be explored by training until you're grossly overleveled (that's mainly Calculators, for those of you who have played it).

Bear in mind, playing this game until five or more party members are level 99 and all of their job classes are mastered has pretty much forced me to have a sick amount of patience for such things. WARNING: DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

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Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
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quote:
I'm looking for a date. Interested Ladonna?
Daddy always said not to talk to Mysterious men :P

Number 5 eh? You must be Jeff's Brother or something.

quote:
Alorael, who doesn't understand the [sic] there. Jeff spelled RPGs without the apostrophe. That's now an acceptable pluralization of acronyms, but even if it weren't you can't put [sic] by your own writing. That's bizarre.
Alorael, who doesn't understand sarcasm ;) . To me, the two RPG's that Jeff wrote about are absolute craphouse RPG's, hence the 'sic'.

Anyway, I feel that Jeff stacked the deck by discussing the ****e of the RPG world. If he had brought in other, good games into the discussion, his hate would be effectively neutralised. I would have agreed with him if he said that the current crop of RPG's totally suck, but that isn't what he said. Its just that most companies have stopped making good RPG's.

I personally think Jeff has contracted an online RPG disease. Lots of rest, chicken soup, programming his next game and some time playing a decent RPG will have him cured in no time. ;)

Edit:
quote:
On a follow-up note, one of Jeff's biggest influences is Fallout. I think anyone who has played Fallout and the Geneforge series can see the influence.
I haven't actually played the Geneforge games yet. The slowdown prob I am currently having with number 1 doesn't bode well, but I am attempting to find a solution. The Exile games and Avernum4 certainly don't point towards Fallout though, more like the earlier 80's RPG's. I don't mind that kind of game, especially considering the lack of competition anywhere else.

[ Tuesday, April 24, 2007 00:07: Message edited by: Ladonna ]
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Raven v. Writing Desk
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FF Tactics was a real gem. But level-grinding there was interesting because the stronger you got, the more paths were open to you, the more ways you could combine abilities, the more cool stuff you could try. Also, you generally got increasing returns as you levelled. This is the exact opposite of the Avernum/Geneforge level-up metholodology, where you tend to use a handful of skills and get diminishing returns on them.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
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quote:
Originally written by Ladonna:

[QB]

quote:
Alorael, who doesn't understand the [sic] there. Jeff spelled RPGs without the apostrophe. That's now an acceptable pluralization of acronyms, but even if it weren't you can't put [sic] by your own writing. That's bizarre.
Alorael, who doesn't understand sarcasm ;) . To me, the two RPG's that Jeff wrote about are absolute craphouse RPG's, hence the 'sic'.

[QB]
Uh...

Your explanation just added a dose of bizarreness to your previous comment. (SIC) means, in Latin, thus in the source text. It is used when quoting from a text which uses an alternative spelling or has a misspelling. Hence the bizarreness of your original use and the incoherence of your explanation.

Sorry to harp on this, but it wouldn't be Spiderweb's Message Boards if someone didn't.

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Number 5 eh? You must be Jeff's Brother or something.
But by that line of logic, Terror's Martyr (number 4) would be even more closely related to Jeff. And that is a scary thought.

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quote:
It is used when quoting from a text which uses an alternative spelling or has a misspelling
Misspelling. Not RPG's. Wrong word. Sarcasm.I can tell you are a literal thinker, not a lateral thinker. ;)

But your post count is +1....

quote:
But by that line of logic, Terror's Martyr (number 4) would be even more closely related to Jeff. And that is a scary thought.

Do tell. What is the story with Terror's Martyr?

And who is 2 and 3?
Posts: 20 | Registered: Wednesday, April 18 2007 07:00
Veteran*
Member # 5
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2 is Krizsan, which is Spidweb #2, pretty much. 3 is Schrodinger.

Trust me, I ain't Jeff's brother. If I was, he'd prolly disown me anyways.
Posts: 455 | Registered: Tuesday, May 17 2005 07:00
Guardian
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FF Tactics... Wow... Just wow. Popular game, but if you ever did have to lv grind on it, pull up a cot & a pillow and get comfortable, cause those fights took for-freaking-ever. Even longer than Fire Emblem's.

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Come on Pilgrim #4:

FF Tactics was a real gem. But level-grinding there was interesting because the stronger you got, the more paths were open to you, the more ways you could combine abilities, the more cool stuff you could try. Also, you generally got increasing returns as you levelled. This is the exact opposite of the Avernum/Geneforge level-up metholodology, where you tend to use a handful of skills and get diminishing returns on them.
That's very true. The JP system in FFT was pretty ingenious, in that, not only was there a skill which doubled your JP gain, but as you gained job levels, you got more and more JP. Plus there was the spillover JP… *rant rant rant*

quote:
Originally written by LF:

FF Tactics... Wow... Just wow. Popular game, but if you ever did have to lv grind on it, pull up a cot & a pillow and get comfortable, cause those fights took for-freaking-ever. Even longer than Fire Emblem's.
Eh. You just gotta have a method. And a crapload of time and patience on your hands.

Level grinding isn't necessary by any means, but for some reason I've had all my characters at level 99 by the time I finished every game, except the last one (wanted to try something new :P ).

Oh. And Calculators can cause the battles to take about 15-20 seconds, if you do it right.

[ Tuesday, April 24, 2007 09:58: Message edited by: Nemesis. ]

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Do not provoke the turtles.
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My website: Nemesis' Refuge
Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Guardian
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Personally, I like 5's set up better than tactic's cheap knock-off. but both were better than 3's. Dear god that one sucks...

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"I don't understand a word you just said. Try speaking American. It's the only language I understand."
Posts: 1918 | Registered: Sunday, October 13 2002 07:00
Law Bringer
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WoW and Final Fantasy are the iconic MMORPG and iconic single-player CRPG (or more specifically Japanese CRPG), respectively. You can complain that they're no good and inflict countless imitators that are equally bad on us, but you can't redefine RPG.

—Alorael, who has argued before and will doubtless argue again that RPGs are not, in fact, based on playing a role. They're defined by system mechanics, and WoW and Final Fantasy both have RPG mechanics. Levels are a good indicator, although not every game with levels is an RPG and not all RPGs use levels.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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Calculators were ridiculous. But they were possibly less ridiculous than Orlandu, who himself was possibly less ridiculous than Beowulf. CHICKEN!!!!

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