Poll: Would you play an RPG that hides stats from the player?

Brawndo

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I was inspired to make this thread while I was re-watching Yahtzee's bit on World of Warcraft, specifically the part where he talks about games being all about numbers instead of whether your sword of doom aesthetically clashes with your elite boss clogs.

In real life, if I was trying to pull together some friends to make a soccer team, it's not like I could know that Johnny has a Strength 6 and Speed 4, and Suzie has Strength 3 and Intelligence 8. Instead, I have to make inferences based on observing and interacting with them, and even then I might be wrong - Suzie might be stronger than Johnny even if he looks bigger.

Would you play an RPG that functioned the same way?

Obviously the numbers would still have to exist to do the necessary calculations behind the scenes, but they wouldn't be revealed to the player. You wouldn't know how good your "One-Handed Melee" skill really is until you start practicing with a sword, or how high your Charisma is until NPCs replied to you in a way that suggested that, perhaps, you really are a huge dick. You wouldn't know that shield A is better than shield B from numbers, but rather from common sense and gameplay experience: "Well, everyone knows wood is weaker than steel, so the steel shield is likely stronger. But I've also noticed from playing the game that my character moves slower with the steel shield, so maybe I should use the wooden shield if I want a skirmisher-type character."

To me, this system better captures the essence of "role-playing" a character than what we currently have. Because what we currently have encourages power-leveling and max-DPS spec-builds and all kinds of other ridiculous shit, like putting together giant statistical spreadsheets and complex formulas (people do this all the time, especially for WoW). So you're not so much selling an experience for players, but more of a challenge to see who can level their stats the fastest or most efficiently by best exploiting the game's mechanics.

EDIT: my "yes - no" poll got eaten somehow
 

NerfedFalcon

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That actually sounds like fun, in a slightly frustrating kind of way. But it'd have to have no official strategy guide, and people would still sift through all the code to post all the stats online and ruin the game for everyone except the people who still want to play it based on DPS > looks.
 

SomeLameStuff

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I wouldn't mind actually. It makes the game a bit more challenging, but fun at the same time.

But I can bet you there will be a stat sheet guide on the internet no more than a week after the game's release.
 

Zhukov

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Sure.

Although I'd rather they just get rid of the stats altogether.
 
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yeah i can see it but a lot of RPG players like that kind of way of playing when i played wow people did not really care about haveing fun just building that lvl 85 a bit more
 

JWW

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Perhaps. However, people would still need little ways to at least guess at their character's proficiency with certain skills.

Dwarf Fortress includes both numbered stats as well as descriptions like "Dabbling", "Novice", and "Competent" up to "Master" and "Legendary. Perhaps the game could include these descriptions rather than numbers. A character could have Good Swordsmanship, Excellent Archery, and Poor Speech skills and that could give the player an idea of how their character was doing. It would give the game a sort of uniqueness and would look aesthetically nicer than just a column of numbers.

Edit: I guess the above doesn't really directly answer OP's question.

I think that would be fun, learning little tricks to estimate the character's stats. I'd definitely give the game a shot, but I don't know how long I'd react to such a system after a while. It's an excellent idea for an experiment.
 

Avatar Roku

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s69-5 said:
Well, since the numbers are what make it an RPG, I'm gonna say: Emphatic no.

Who the hell plays an RPG to not understand the stats behind item A or character B. That would make it an action game... and not an RPG.
But the difference is that the numbers are still there and you still level them by extensive use. You just have to actually role-play to figure out where you stand.
 

skywolfblue

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Zhukov said:
Sure.

Although I'd rather they just get rid of the stats altogether.
Agree.

RPG's are suppose to be about talking to the characters, learning their stories, and acquiring spifftastic stuff that LOOKS cool. Stats just get in the way, making people go for ugly stuff simply because it's +1 damage. Sooner stats go away, the sooner people get to wear what they want to wear.
 

Brawndo

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skywolfblue said:
Zhukov said:
Sure.

Although I'd rather they just get rid of the stats altogether.
Agree.

RPG's are suppose to be about talking to the characters, learning their stories, and acquiring spifftastic stuff that LOOKS cool. Stats just get in the way, making people go for ugly stuff simply because it's +1 damage. Sooner stats go away, the sooner people get to wear what they want to wear.
It's not so much about aesthetics though, I just used Yahtzee's comment as an example. I'm not looking to turn RPGs into a "dress your party to look money" kind of game. Instead, I'd like RPGs be about players making decisions based on common sense and information they've taken from observing the environment or what they learned from NPCs, instead of doing a probability-check off a stat table.
 

King of the Sandbox

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s69-5 said:
Well, since the numbers are what make it an RPG, I'm gonna say: Emphatic no.

Who the hell plays an RPG to not understand the stats behind item A or character B. That would make it an action game... and not an RPG.

Edit: People on this site seem very confused as to what is an RPG (video game). Sorry, but RPG may be a misnomer, but the numbers are still what make it so. "Role play", that is more akin to improv acting, is better suited to the other kind of RP - table top.

Remove the stats and it ceases to be an RPG.
I'd just like to disagree with you very adamantly.

What you're describing is 'Roll-playing' or 'munchkinism', and goes against everything that role-playing is, at least, in my opinion.
 

skywolfblue

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s69-5 said:
skywolfblue said:
Zhukov said:
Sure.

Although I'd rather they just get rid of the stats altogether.
Agree.

RPG's are suppose to be about talking to the characters, learning their stories, and acquiring spifftastic stuff that LOOKS cool. Stats just get in the way, making people go for ugly stuff simply because it's +1 damage. Sooner stats go away, the sooner people get to wear what they want to wear.
The go play an action game or a table top RP and leave video game RPGs alone, since stats are what video game RPGs are all about.
"Role Playing" does not equate to "Stats". Stats might be used as a tool to facilitate role-play in some games, but Role Playing without stats can and does exist.

Dragon Age, Skyrim are examples of games that are definitely "Role Playing" without having the "+1 damage" style stats that typify classical D&D.
 

Kae

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Of course I would, I normally don't pay any attention to stats that aren't damage and agility since I always focus on that, I personally have always hated the managing of armour and health, always bores managing those kinds of stats, and actually managing most stats is kind of boring since most of them don't seem to make too big a change, I still enjoy RPGs but I would be happy with the lack of stat management in at least one RPG game.
 

Puddleknock

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An interesting idea, it would be nice for someone to try this just to see how it would work.

Though granted many RPGs have both stats you can see and hidden stats, so the idea of hidden stats is not entirely new. But a whole game of hidden stats would be different. I wonder if it would work better in a single or multiplayer RPGs?