Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bwogyrim #6 (Finishing The Chat With Luke Skywalker)

There's lots more of this chat-versation but maybe I'll share more later. Bwogonauts - I give you the third installment of my Skyrim chat with Luke Skywalker (it picks right up where our previous one left off):

LukeSkywalker: isn't that all elder scroll games?
BWS2K: If doing whatever I want makes me level up, where's the hide-behind-rocks-till-the-dragon-glitches-and-you-run-out-of-arrows-so-kill-it-with-shouts skill?
BWS2K: no no  no - the others didn't have dragons, Luke. Pay attention.
LukeSkywalker: no no the grinding
BWS2K: This is entirely different.
BWS2K: Yeah, but if you remember MW, you were rewarded for grinding in your class skills over other things.
BWS2K: The only way to level up, in fact.
BWS2K: So it's almost like you're, wait for it.... playing a ROLE.
LukeSkywalker: as opposed to being whatever you want
BWS2K: There's give and take to the experience, and it really could be different a second time through.
BWS2K: So you gain an even ground for leveling up but it leaves any and all character restrictions to you, so that if you play OCD like me there's no reason to really play a second time, you've already done everything the first time.
BWS2K: Like Deus Ex: HR
BWS2K: A good idea would have been to allow the leveling up like there is currenty, but only allow theives access to the theives guild (or whatever), or base advancement on attribute and skill levels (maybe they do this, I don't know yet I guess).
LukeSkywalker: hmmm
BWS2K: You can use most bows, but higher level bows have minimum requirements, and only people who chose such and such a class would have access to certain items/areas/quests.
LukeSkywalker: gotcha
BWS2K: Otherwise it's just a giant sandbox of fantasy. Which is totally fine, I'm not complaining about that, but let's call it what it is.
BWS2K: It's still got a huge emphasis on combat, so it's an action/shooter with RPG elements, which really just means you have numbers associated with how much damage you do.
BWS2K: You can craft, which rocks, but it's not -really- as well-implemented as they'd have you think.
LukeSkywalker: sounds like you have a 2 part blog brewing
BWS2K: Vendors still have limited gold, for instance, which means anyone who wants to play something like an armor-maker has to fast-travel all over just to unload all the equipment.

I'm relatively new to the whole world of roleplaying but I think I've picked it up fast - you play someone else. Just like I might play a character that can smash baddies in the face with an iron mace like he's playing Whack-A-Mole at the local arcade (...something BW can't do...), someone from Skyrim might dream of being able to scale a stone wall (...something which ol' BW can do and which hasn't been included in the latest three installments of the Elder Scrolls series... because our simulation technology is getting better?). There's never really anyone that can do everything - that's not the point of an RPG. If you're the kind of person that tries to find every nook and cranny of a level and try every skill/weapon/etc. - and you're able to on the first playthrough - then there's really very little motivation to play a second time. That's important to me because it seems to be a major selling point of games nowadays. That you can spend a jillion hours re-playing as another character should mean something other than "I looked different and I purposely chose all the jerk answers this time just to see what happened." A good RPG will include multiple exclusive choices - even if there's only one ending - that force a player to play the role he chose to play. It's not as bad as it seems though, when you consider that he should also have rewards that aren't accessible to any other race/class/etc. Please, consider the following...

There's such a rich lore to the Elder Scrolls that it's a shame to waste it all in one shot. Imagine if you began by choosing your race, class, age, and profession. Each would have a minor affect on your starting attributes and skills. Now choose a starting location - this will affect not only where you start but a local reputation with merchants, guilds, and vendors. Your humble starting house will be determined by that as well. The older you are, the lower your initial stats may be (and they may even have a lower cap) but the higher your rep with folks in general because you've established yourself in the community (though this may be influenced by your profession, of course). I think in a game that features a pantheon so prominently you should actually be able to choose some sort of religious affiliation too (a patron god or daedra at least), and that would offer certain quests and prohibit others as well. Key behaviors and decisions could be tracked (we're already tracking how many people you kill anyway, why not use that number for something?) enough so that your patron or hometown or family or ex-co-workers would change behavior based on how you play. The same should hold true to guilds (you can't join them all, and some will be easier if you're already a member in a similar one). The main quest, whatever it may be, doesn't need to change from playthrough to playthrough but the experience will - and that's how an RPG should be.

And for the love of twenty-sided-dice Bethesda, we don't always want to start out as a prisoner.

With Brightest of (Exclusively Mutual) Greens,

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