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

Epona

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Shemming said:
How would this method handle enchanted weaons? Like, armour that boasted your speed. It seems it would bw hard to notice certain effects, even if this would be interesting.

Possibly have an option to take gear to a blacksmith to find out its exact stats?
One of the biggest irritations of the Dragon Quest games is that you have to go find a priest to find out how far away you are to the next level up. Other RPG's, even JRPG's, show this information in the status screen. This would be the same type of irritation.
 

Shemming

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Crono1973 said:
Shemming said:
How would this method handle enchanted weaons? Like, armour that boasted your speed. It seems it would bw hard to notice certain effects, even if this would be interesting.

Possibly have an option to take gear to a blacksmith to find out its exact stats?
One of the biggest irritations of the Dragon Quest games is that you have to go find a priest to find out how far away you are to the next level up. Other RPG's, even JRPG's, show this information in the status screen. This would be the same type of irritation.
This is only about gear, it would add some choice about what to loot and sell, if you didnt know exaclty what it was worth.

I would want to know levels tho. Hiding stats yes, but not level.
 

Epona

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Shemming said:
Crono1973 said:
Shemming said:
How would this method handle enchanted weaons? Like, armour that boasted your speed. It seems it would bw hard to notice certain effects, even if this would be interesting.

Possibly have an option to take gear to a blacksmith to find out its exact stats?
One of the biggest irritations of the Dragon Quest games is that you have to go find a priest to find out how far away you are to the next level up. Other RPG's, even JRPG's, show this information in the status screen. This would be the same type of irritation.
This is only about gear, it would add some choice about what to loot and sell, if you didnt know exaclty what it was worth.

I would want to know levels tho. Hiding stats yes, but not level.
I think the player should have as much information as possible at his fingertips in an RPG. It should be easily readable of course so you could easily disregard information you don't care about while easily finding the information you do care about.

Hiding stats or making them hard to access (like the Dragon Quest example) is a throwback to only being able to fit so much on a 320x240 resolution display.

I stand by what I said earlier, important information about the progress of a game (or a character) should be readily available. Most games hide the HUD for example, but if you stop moving, it will pop up again.
 

chadachada123

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Brawndo said:
silasbufu said:
I was actually thinking about a system in an RPG, in which you don't find alot of magical items, weapons, armor etc, but when you do, they would have a very special property, and the only way to find out what it is, should be for you to search lore about the item by asking people with high knowledge, by searching through books, or by simply using them and seeing what happens.

Just a thought.

Statless altogether sounds a bit difficult, but I would certainly try it out.
That's the whole idea. Imagine your typical medieval fantasy RPG: your character has a choice of backgrounds, and one of them is blacksmith. Whenever you picked up a weapon, you would be given a lot more textual, qualitative information than a character with a background as an alchemist. This way you are playing a ROLE and not an avatar of floating "Armorer: 12" and "Metallurgy: 15".

*Blacksmith picks up a sword*
"The sword is well balanced and made of high-quality, extremely durable steel. It has a diamond shaped point which will allow it to break apart chainmail links with sufficient force."

*Blacksmith finds a mushroom*
"It's brown, smells like rotten eggs, and breaks apart easy in my hand."

*Alchemist picks up a sword*
"The sword is heavy and only sharp on one edge, the other is blunt. It appears to be steel, but could very well be iron."

*Alchemist finds a mushroom*
"This is of the Cobalt species. You know it has curative properties, but in large doses the innate toxin can cause blurred vision and temporary paralysis."
I would love to see this mixed with the battle system from Dark Souls/Demon's Souls. There, it's all about hit detection and skill and less about essentially turn-based fighting like in World of Warcraft or D&D. Not that those aren't fun, but I want something more awesome.
 

Hyper-space

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King of the Sandbox said:
Of course. RPG's are about role-playing, not roll-playing.
Oh snap!

But yeah, obnoxious stats (NUMBERS EVERYWHERE) stand in the way of complete immersion.
 

vivster

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no i would not
it pretty much undermines the main gameplay mechanics and one of the big reasons why RPGs are so addictive
it's all about progress... seeing progress activates the reward receptors in your brain which makes you happy
and by seeing ever higher numbers you get the shots you need to keep playing
 

Macrobstar

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gmaverick019 said:
s69-5 said:
Avatar Roku said:
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.
Again, too much hassle.
I'd rather know the stats at a glance so that I can better equip my character for whatever situation. Hiding that from me would be an excercise in frustration (and plenty of fail/re-loads) which would probably cause me to catapult the game into another time zone.

Edit: Even the purposefully cryptic Dark Souls gives you extensive stat screens for all equipment and yourself as a character.
this, i play my rpg's because there is awesome stat building/charts that i can look at and ponder about deciding my next move/level on what i need to do here and there.

there is nothing wrong with action games, but this certainly is less rpg than fable even is.
I think your missing the point, the stats are still there and all the complexity that comes with them its just that instead of saying "Level 18 sword" it would be "A high grade piece of military weaponry, clearly better than the average weapon" etc. In my mind this would make it much more complex and immersive
 

Phoenixlight

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Crono1973 said:
Yes, stats make an RPG. You can get story and action and adventure from non RPG games, what sets RPG's apart are stats that represent character progression. Take Zelda for example, it's an action adventure game with an RPG element, that RPG element would be the heart containers. You have 20 hearts at the end of the game, you can take more damage than you could at the beginning with 3 hearts. It's the NUMBER of hearts that represents the RPG element, the character progression. Granted, Zelda is very RPG lite compared to real RPG games.

Without stats, Final Fantasy would be action adventure games, not RPG's.
RPG = Role Playing Game. You can make RPG without having numbers flash up on the screen. In your example of Zelda, the character could physically change as you progress through the game and be able to take more damage as a result. You wouldn't be explicitly told that you can now withstand 9 normal hits but it would be in the game and still be an RPG.
 

w00tage

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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'm afraid that you've been mis-educated. It's actually the other way around. Statless play is the original, "pure" form of RPGs, as can be seen by childrens' make-believe games. "I'm going to play Batman!" etc. - pure role-playing game right there. All the numbers, etc. we find in gaming RPGs have been added by developers because "my guy wins because he's Batman!" isn't a valid gaming model for adults. So they created a stat mechanism for a frame of reference, then they added dice rolls to add tension and provide a foundation for strategic and tactical thinking.

But these are just mechanisms that serve purposes in role-playing games. Tabletop RPGs use dice, computer gaming uses number tables, some with and some without random factors, and the OP here is talking about yet another mechanism. There's nothing to stop your character from increasing their abilities and those abilities from affecting the outcome of your gameplay without you ever seeing a stat.

I see this as an evolutionary step, and a very good one. When your only reference for the abilities of your character is the feedback you get from actually using it, then you're bringing the model closer to reality, and that's a good thing for immersion. It will be essential to have features like training so the player can connect with their character's abilities before testing them in combat, but that's not so hard.
 

w00tage

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vivster said:
no i would not
it pretty much undermines the main gameplay mechanics and one of the big reasons why RPGs are so addictive
it's all about progress... seeing progress activates the reward receptors in your brain which makes you happy
and by seeing ever higher numbers you get the shots you need to keep playing
Dude, the progress that should be triggering the reward is the accomplishment of a purpose like "I saved the kingdom!". Not the counting of the beans that you've gathered.

The fact that these people have to resort to substituting bean-counting for adventure and accomplishment means they have FAILED YOU as game designers. Please, consider trying a game where actually making a difference provides you with a feeling of accomplishment. Play games, don't let game companies play you.
 

w00tage

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chadachada123 said:
Brawndo said:
silasbufu said:
I was actually thinking about a system in an RPG, in which you don't find alot of magical items, weapons, armor etc, but when you do, they would have a very special property, and the only way to find out what it is, should be for you to search lore about the item by asking people with high knowledge, by searching through books, or by simply using them and seeing what happens.

Just a thought.

Statless altogether sounds a bit difficult, but I would certainly try it out.
That's the whole idea. Imagine your typical medieval fantasy RPG: your character has a choice of backgrounds, and one of them is blacksmith. Whenever you picked up a weapon, you would be given a lot more textual, qualitative information than a character with a background as an alchemist. This way you are playing a ROLE and not an avatar of floating "Armorer: 12" and "Metallurgy: 15".

*Blacksmith picks up a sword*
"The sword is well balanced and made of high-quality, extremely durable steel. It has a diamond shaped point which will allow it to break apart chainmail links with sufficient force."

*Blacksmith finds a mushroom*
"It's brown, smells like rotten eggs, and breaks apart easy in my hand."

*Alchemist picks up a sword*
"The sword is heavy and only sharp on one edge, the other is blunt. It appears to be steel, but could very well be iron."

*Alchemist finds a mushroom*
"This is of the Cobalt species. You know it has curative properties, but in large doses the innate toxin can cause blurred vision and temporary paralysis."
I would love to see this mixed with the battle system from Dark Souls/Demon's Souls. There, it's all about hit detection and skill and less about essentially turn-based fighting like in World of Warcraft or D&D. Not that those aren't fun, but I want something more awesome.
Perfect. That's the kind of approach that makes "role" a meaningful word in role-play.
 

Epona

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Phoenixlight said:
Crono1973 said:
Yes, stats make an RPG. You can get story and action and adventure from non RPG games, what sets RPG's apart are stats that represent character progression. Take Zelda for example, it's an action adventure game with an RPG element, that RPG element would be the heart containers. You have 20 hearts at the end of the game, you can take more damage than you could at the beginning with 3 hearts. It's the NUMBER of hearts that represents the RPG element, the character progression. Granted, Zelda is very RPG lite compared to real RPG games.

Without stats, Final Fantasy would be action adventure games, not RPG's.
RPG = Role Playing Game. You can make RPG without having numbers flash up on the screen. In your example of Zelda, the character could physically change as you progress through the game and be able to take more damage as a result. You wouldn't be explicitly told that you can now withstand 9 normal hits but it would be in the game and still be an RPG.
It's bad design for the character to change without the player understanding why. What if you were just running along in a Mario game and out of the blue you became Super Mario and then a few steps later you shrunk again? Would that be good game design?

Also, taking the phrase "role playing" too literally makes Pac Man a role playing games as you assume the role of Pac Man and control him.
 
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Macrobstar said:
gmaverick019 said:
s69-5 said:
Avatar Roku said:
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.
Again, too much hassle.
I'd rather know the stats at a glance so that I can better equip my character for whatever situation. Hiding that from me would be an excercise in frustration (and plenty of fail/re-loads) which would probably cause me to catapult the game into another time zone.

Edit: Even the purposefully cryptic Dark Souls gives you extensive stat screens for all equipment and yourself as a character.
this, i play my rpg's because there is awesome stat building/charts that i can look at and ponder about deciding my next move/level on what i need to do here and there.

there is nothing wrong with action games, but this certainly is less rpg than fable even is.
I think your missing the point, the stats are still there and all the complexity that comes with them its just that instead of saying "Level 18 sword" it would be "A high grade piece of military weaponry, clearly better than the average weapon" etc. In my mind this would make it much more complex and immersive
if that's what you truly mean, then personally i completely disagree, that seems insanely boring to me and i'd rather see all the insane numbers/stats that go along with everything i have and am working towards throughout the game.
 

Jarlaxl

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CrystalShadow said:
In short you'd have to at least give people hints as to how well or how badly various characters are doing at things which are visual analogues of the actual stats.
Actually, I would be very interested in playing a game like that.

Crono1973 said:
I stand by what I said earlier, important information about the progress of a game (or a character) should be readily available. Most games hide the HUD for example, but if you stop moving, it will pop up again.
The appropriate denial of information is just as important as the inclusion of information for creating an experience of immersion.

There will always be people after all the information they can acquire, and games are always going to be numerically governed - as CrystalShadow mentioned, Pokemon is a great example of this - but many players will differentiate information based on the experience they are trying to facilitate, and the availability of information will influence this.

When you make information available, it calls attention to that particular data and systematizes it. Let's go back to Pokemon. The "known" information consists of the statistics such as Attack, Special Defense, Speed, etc. The unknown data consists of EVs and IVs which are meant to, through the stats, reflect the individuality of any given Pokemon, so I can compare my Rattata to yours, and mine is unique through, among other things, its statistics. These features have been reverse-engineered for the sake of min-maxers, but this information is not thrust in your face, so you can safely ignore it for the sake of immersion if so you choose. If EVs and IVs were made public knowledge, they would just become another part of the systematic knowledge you already possess and would be unable to capture the experience they currently do.

It doesn't work to say "make that information available and ignore it if you choose:" players are presented with a system, and will capitalize on it. They work within the parameters of available rules; hidden rules work their magic through their very transparency.

Even in your mention of HUDs, there is a conscious decision to make that information available, but the designers chose to make it available when relevant. You can't look at a map when you're running through a jungle, for instance; that HUD feature is specifically designed for the experience of the game and making it feel a bit more realistic while not violating practicality.

In short: choosing which information to give the player and which information not to give the player are significant decisions in game design, and dictate much of how the game plays. If an RPG were to be made where stats were unavailable, the game would have to be entirely designed to accommodate such a style.

I'm not saying that we should do away with the complete information offered in some RPGs - there will always be a demand for that - but it would be an interesting change if an RPG were designed to de-emphasize numerical information.
 

Epona

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Hyper-space said:
King of the Sandbox said:
Of course. RPG's are about role-playing, not roll-playing.
Oh snap!

But yeah, obnoxious stats (NUMBERS EVERYWHERE) stand in the way of complete immersion.
Sitting on your couch, looking at a TV screen with a controller in hand stands in the way of immersion. Your cell phone going off in a medieval world stands in the way of immersion, etc...

So say you get a game with hidden stats, will the fact that there is magic stand in the way of immersion?
 

Epona

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Jarlaxl said:
CrystalShadow said:
In short you'd have to at least give people hints as to how well or how badly various characters are doing at things which are visual analogues of the actual stats.
Actually, I would be very interested in playing a game like that.

Crono1973 said:
I stand by what I said earlier, important information about the progress of a game (or a character) should be readily available. Most games hide the HUD for example, but if you stop moving, it will pop up again.
The appropriate denial of information is just as important as the inclusion of information for creating an experience of immersion.

There will always be people after all the information they can acquire, and games are always going to be numerically governed - as CrystalShadow mentioned, Pokemon is a great example of this - but many players will differentiate information based on the experience they are trying to facilitate, and the availability of information will influence this.

When you make information available, it calls attention to that particular data and systematizes it. Let's go back to Pokemon. The "known" information consists of the statistics such as Attack, Special Defense, Speed, etc. The unknown data consists of EVs and IVs which are meant to, through the stats, reflect the individuality of any given Pokemon, so I can compare my Rattata to yours, and mine is unique through, among other things, its statistics. These features have been reverse-engineered for the sake of min-maxers, but this information is not thrust in your face, so you can safely ignore it for the sake of immersion if so you choose. If EVs and IVs were made public knowledge, they would just become another part of the systematic knowledge you already possess and would be unable to capture the experience they currently do.

It doesn't work to say "make that information available and ignore it if you choose:" players are presented with a system, and will capitalize on it. They work within the parameters of available rules; hidden rules work their magic through their very transparency.

Even in your mention of HUDs, there is a conscious decision to make that information available, but the designers chose to make it available when relevant. You can't look at a map when you're running through a jungle, for instance; that HUD feature is specifically designed for the experience of the game and making it feel a bit more realistic while not violating practicality.

In short: choosing which information to give the player and which information not to give the player are significant decisions in game design, and dictate much of how the game plays. If an RPG were to be made where stats were unavailable, the game would have to be entirely designed to accommodate such a style.

I'm not saying that we should do away with the complete information offered in some RPGs - there will always be a demand for that - but it would be an interesting change if an RPG were designed to de-emphasize numerical information.
Making the stats available in a status window that can be easily ignored (for those who don't want to look at stats) is not forcing it on you. However, the reverse is not true. Hiding stats from everyone because a few people don't want to see them can't be fixed for those who want to see them.

Pokemon displays your stats at every level up BTW. It also has an XP bar on screen the whole time you are in battle. You watch it increase after every battle. Many RPG's don't push stats as much as Pokemon. Many will just say "Level Up" and leave it up to you to go check your stats inside the menu. That's as close to hidden stats as I want to go.

RPG's with stats visible has lasted many many years. If they start making RPG's with hidden stats, I bet they won't last as long. There is a reason RPG's are stat heavy, it's because people like them that way.
 

Epona

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gmaverick019 said:
Macrobstar said:
gmaverick019 said:
s69-5 said:
Avatar Roku said:
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.
Again, too much hassle.
I'd rather know the stats at a glance so that I can better equip my character for whatever situation. Hiding that from me would be an excercise in frustration (and plenty of fail/re-loads) which would probably cause me to catapult the game into another time zone.

Edit: Even the purposefully cryptic Dark Souls gives you extensive stat screens for all equipment and yourself as a character.
this, i play my rpg's because there is awesome stat building/charts that i can look at and ponder about deciding my next move/level on what i need to do here and there.

there is nothing wrong with action games, but this certainly is less rpg than fable even is.
I think your missing the point, the stats are still there and all the complexity that comes with them its just that instead of saying "Level 18 sword" it would be "A high grade piece of military weaponry, clearly better than the average weapon" etc. In my mind this would make it much more complex and immersive
if that's what you truly mean, then personally i completely disagree, that seems insanely boring to me and i'd rather see all the insane numbers/stats that go along with everything i have and am working towards throughout the game.
Agreed.

"A high grade piece of military weaponry, clearly better than the average weapon" may as well be saying "An image of a sword made of pixels" because both descriptions don't tell you much about the gameplay benefits of that sword. For the record, seeing a 3D rotatable image of a sword in Skyrim is equally as useless to me. I am not building a museum to store this pixelated sword in, I am playing a game and need to USE the sword, not look at it.
 

SnakeoilSage

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I'd enjoy it. If the stats were represented by physical appearances would be pretty cool. Strong characters have bigger muscles, agile characters get a sleeker look, smart characters get, I dunno, bushier eyebrows?

lol You can work with it. Say you only had five stats: Strength/Power, Agility, Toughness, Magic and Awareness.

Strong characters get stronger, agile get a sleeker and toned look, tough characters get covered with scars, magic characters get auras of energy around their hands and aware characters get a halo of light around their heads.
 

Jarlaxl

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Crono1973 said:
Making the stats available in a status window that can be easily ignored (for those who don't want to look at stats) is not forcing it on you. However, the reverse is not true. Hiding stats from everyone because a few people don't want to see them can't be fixed for those who want to see them.

Pokemon displays your stats at every level up BTW. It also has an XP bar on screen the whole time you are in battle. You watch it increase after every battle. Many RPG's don't push stats as much as Pokemon. Many will just say "Level Up" and leave it up to you to go check your stats inside the menu. That's as close to hidden stats as I want to go.
Level-up statistics have nothing to do with what I said, and for the first generation or 2 of Pokemon, such statistics were not included.

With regards to your first point, I'll reiterate what I said, hopefully with more clarity, since I addressed that point.

There exists, in the world of any given game, a system. This is the summary of, for the purposes of this discussion, three features:

1) Rules made known to the player
2) Rules kept hidden from the player
3) Ways the effects of the rules are made known to a player

In your typical RPG, feature 1 is laden with stats, abilities, numbers, etc.

Feature 1 also governs the player's experience with the world, which is huge, since that is essentially what a game is - a system of rules. I don't get the option to negotiate in Devil May Cry, for example. Whatever rules are given to the player - in the case of your typical RPG, stats - are how the player interacts with the world. These rules cannot be ignored, as you suggest, since that removes the interactivity element of games - in other words, it negates the point of a game.

Feature 2 typically has a few things going on (for instance, a sea serpent is resistance to fire spells), but nothing monumental - these are more flavorful than anything, which is perfectly acceptable. Feature 3 consists of spreadsheet-esque pages of stats and typewriter-style combat logs where you are told what happens.

Pokemon follows these features, but add individuality to any given Pokemon in the form of Effort Values (statistics added based on the sorts of Pokemon you defeat) and Individual Values (randomly generated additions to stats over the course of a Pokemon's life).

Now, what is being suggested is the shift of rules from feature 1 to feature 2 and, most likely, a change in feature 3. The ultimate effect is a new RPG experience where one must look for non-numerical signals of progress.

Given how numbers are the *only* indication of progress in your typical RPG, this is a proposal to play with that norm and find new, inventive, integrated (and I think better) methods of conveying information of progress to the player.

RPG's with stats visible has lasted many many years. If they start making RPG's with hidden stats, I bet they won't last as long. There is a reason RPG's are stat heavy, it's because people like them that way.
To which I reply: let's try something different. I believe that RPGs would be dramatically improved with streamlined and more interesting information on progress. As it stands, I find that RPGs are often sub-par storybooks you have to do algebra for if you want to keep reading. There's little connection between world and system. There's room for improvement.