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

DracoSuave

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Anyone who likes the concept of an rpg that hides the stats from you probably has never actually played an rpg that hides the stats from you. It's hell. It is absolutely absurd. You have no idea if you're making correct decisions.

Let's say you have four equip slots, and you change them out. Suddenly enemies aren't goind down as fast. Why is that? Is it your hat? Is it your cloak? Is it a set penalty from the hat and cloak? Is it because your sword secretly sets things on fire and these are fire elementals? Is it because your sword DOES NOT set things on fire and these things need fire? Is it because the enemies attack your feet and only feet, so every other piece of armor doesn't matter?

Or is it simply because they're higher level? You don't know. And going around trying 16 different combinations just to see if you can hit a fucking orc isn't compelling game play. It's not solving a puzzle; it's not high adventure.

The idea of removing stats to facilitate play outside of equipment only makes it more of a guessing game. That's not game play. That's just dicking around cause of an obtuse system.

Discovery requires tangible feedback, not guesswork. The stats allow tangible feedback in a meaningful immediate way. I'm okay with new items having unknown stats that can be uncovered through discovery, but hiding the stats completely is fail. It does not work for rpgs. It never has. It never will.

There's a difference between mystery and obsfucation. There's a reason why rpgs have gone away from the 'mystery' and 'arcane' systems that require a fucking degree in cryptography to decypher; it's because it's absolutely shitty game design.

The only reason you don't think this games didn't and don't exist is because no one fucking cares about them enough to talk about them. They're obscure and dead for a reason.
 

Epona

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RedEyesBlackGamer said:
Dense_Electric said:
I don't consider JRPG's to be RPG's. One of the single biggest misnomers in the gaming in gaming, if you ask me. They tend to be more like interactive films, offering the player even less choice than your average first-person shooter.
But they offer complete freedom in terms of combat and character progression. So, yes, they are RPGs. You want choice? Play a table top game. The "choice" in video games is laughable in comparison. And less choice than shooters? Play something in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
Absolutely.

Going back to the older JRPG's you can see how weak the stories are but it isn't the stories that make you play multiple times, it's the combat system and character customization in regards to combat. People go on about BioWare but really, what are 10 or 20 abilities when you can learn 60 or so spells and you have 8 or so characters to customize.
 

Daffy F

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It'd be quite fun to have a go, I'd definitely give it a shot - providing the game itself were up to scratch. I think it could work, if you gave it frequent and easy save features that is. I mean, there's going to be a whole bunch of trial and error here. How else would you figure out your favourite armour isn't good enough to block attacks form a certain boss without trying it first?
That said, I don't think big companies would consider such an idea to be 'marketable' and therefore this idea coming to fruition is unlikely.
We can dream, though.
 

Irony's Acolyte

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Sure. I think it would be a pretty cool idea. And it's not like I play RPGs for the stats and numbers. I play them to role-play a character in an interesting setting. Numbers help you get a good feel for when something is better than your current equipment just by looking at it's stats, but it's always possible to try it out and get a feel instead.
 

wammnebu

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It would definately help with role playing.

the other thing i would suggest is maybe instead of objects having hard stats they would have RND modifiers. This would probably prevent most games to devolving into some sort of accountancy.

So that rather than weapons having a specific damage, they could have a range
 

Epona

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SnakeoilSage said:
Crono1973 said:
Aesthetic effects that would not sufficiently replace stat numbers as they would not be as precise. You could have both and that would be fine but on it's own, your idea would pale in comparison to number based stats. Even a health bar type of stat system would be more precise than altering your avatar. Plus, it would not sit well with those who prefer to design the perfect character at the start of a game and not have that character altered outside of their control throughout the game.
Stat numbers impose a mechanical system on something biological. As much as we love playing with math, any equation that attempts to accurately measure these things would be flawed to begin with.

And people who want to make the perfect character have to be the most boring gamers I can think of.
Well, what I am saying is that some people will spend hours in the character creator (not me) trying to make a perfect looking avatar. Those people would likely not appreciate having the game altering their avatar every time they leveled up.

If you managed to design the perfect character in Dragon Age but then after a few level ups your female warrior looked like she belonged in the WWF, you might be upset.
 

w00tage

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vivster said:
w00tage said:
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.
it comes down to immersion then
when i wrote this i was mainly thinking about jrpgs
i will never be able to feel like that I accomplished something in that bizarre world of scripted events
the things i can see and grasp however are how my stats increased and that is something I did
i beat the games' challenges and was getting better and better
i look at the number of increased strength, i look at the number of defeated monsters, i look at the number of items i have collected and i look at the number of steps i made
those are all numbers that show me that i have accomplished something, that i have progressed
some saved world in a distant fantasy will never be as real to me as the numbers i directly influence

it's a bit different in wrpgs though
i'm a lot more immersed in them and all i do is for me and my character and the numbers are but just a little indicator to me on how i can progress further
Fair enough, but look at what you said - "i will never be able to feel like that I accomplished something in that bizarre world of scripted events". That's the fail I was talking, and it's totally on the game company.

I found myself in the numbers game trap for years, and escaped at a substantial cost to a friend relationship. I tried to help him out but he just stayed stuck in that world that he'd mastered with math, because he'd mastered it. Eventually he did mostly leave, and we did hook up in other games which were about adventure and accomplishment, and we did start having some good times again, for which I'm very glad.

So it IS possible to get out of the math trap, and while it can definitely be a journey, it opens up a world of new fun to have. Plus, you're in control then, not the game company. You can always play the math simulators again, but you can also play anything else you want, because your reward center works with more than one kind of game.

Sorry if it looked like I was lecturing you, but I really see that kind of addictive mechanic as harmful and want everyone to at least be able to have a choice.
 

Headdrivehardscrew

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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.
Agreed.

In a way, Skyrim is already at least halfway there... the behind-the-scenes levelling and proper scripting make it possible that you don't insta-die ten seconds after you gain control of your character. The numbers are still present, but I haven't been able to fully understand them or care much about them so far (100hrs, two characters). I can figure things out by simply charging the bear with my weapon of choice and my gear, and I see the results are significantly less exciting if I try the same endeavour bare-handed and very naked.

To a notable extent, the hiding-the-stats-dice-and-higher-math approach works quite well. I have encountered numerous issues, but this hidden numbers business wasn't one of them.

I still think the inventory system sucks hairy moose bottom and spiking your blades/arrows with nasty smelling poison hardly ever leads to satisfactory results, but, in a way, Skyrim does a lot of things surprisingly well, so that's just one more detail it isn't brilliant at.

Deadspace put the health/oxygen bars on the backpack of the player character. Albeit new, it basically just included the info on the 3D model instead of using the classic HUD overlay. That was pure aesthetics, simple facts for rather simple game mechanics. But since RPG titles are supposed to offer a more holistic and more complicated approach to what does how much damage and why and what prevents how much damage and why. Trying to put all of that out-of-view risks removing the strategic element, and it would make real-time battles hairy, difficult or near-impossible. The player character would have to shout "I FEEL TIRED!" or "NO MORE MANA! YAAAAAAH!" to communicate that things are amiss. Gaming life is easier with health(life)/magicka(mana)/stamina bars. Life is red, Mana is blue... you don't mix that up as long as no one goes IP legal battle on you.
 

Brawndo

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DracoSuave said:
Anyone who likes the concept of an rpg that hides the stats from you probably has never actually played an rpg that hides the stats from you. It's hell. It is absolutely absurd. You have no idea if you're making correct decisions.

Let's say you have four equip slots, and you change them out. Suddenly enemies aren't goind down as fast. Why is that? Is it your hat? Is it your cloak? Is it a set penalty from the hat and cloak? Is it because your sword secretly sets things on fire and these are fire elementals? Is it because your sword DOES NOT set things on fire and these things need fire? Is it because the enemies attack your feet and only feet, so every other piece of armor doesn't matter?

Or is it simply because they're higher level? You don't know. And going around trying 16 different combinations just to see if you can hit a fucking orc isn't compelling game play. It's not solving a puzzle; it's not high adventure.

The idea of removing stats to facilitate play outside of equipment only makes it more of a guessing game. That's not game play. That's just dicking around cause of an obtuse system.

Discovery requires tangible feedback, not guesswork. The stats allow tangible feedback in a meaningful immediate way. I'm okay with new items having unknown stats that can be uncovered through discovery, but hiding the stats completely is fail. It does not work for rpgs. It never has. It never will.

There's a difference between mystery and obsfucation. There's a reason why rpgs have gone away from the 'mystery' and 'arcane' systems that require a fucking degree in cryptography to decypher; it's because it's absolutely shitty game design.

The only reason you don't think this games didn't and don't exist is because no one fucking cares about them enough to talk about them. They're obscure and dead for a reason.
It wouldn't require guesswork if items were intuitive or were described properly using QUALITATIVE terms instead of numbers. You are still getting tangible feedback, but you are not boiling everything down to quantitative attributes. If the game lore or an NPC priest tells you that silver is good for warding off spirits, how is that any different than labeling a Silver Dagger "+5 vs. undead"?

Numbers are a crutch for people who are too afraid to use their powers of deduction to make decisions on incomplete information. They need to be told what every item does down to minute details so they can chart out a max build. They need to be in control 100% of the time.

I'm not saying every RPG should be like this - there can still be stat-heavy math simulators. But I think this type of game could be very innovative.
 

Epona

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wammnebu said:
It would definately help with role playing.

the other thing i would suggest is maybe instead of objects having hard stats they would have RND modifiers. This would probably prevent most games to devolving into some sort of accountancy.

So that rather than weapons having a specific damage, they could have a range
What difference would that make. Damage is a random number already. If you do 100 damage to a specific enemy one time, the next time you may do 105 or 94 because the damage is not a constant.
 

Epona

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Brawndo said:
DracoSuave said:
Anyone who likes the concept of an rpg that hides the stats from you probably has never actually played an rpg that hides the stats from you. It's hell. It is absolutely absurd. You have no idea if you're making correct decisions.

Let's say you have four equip slots, and you change them out. Suddenly enemies aren't goind down as fast. Why is that? Is it your hat? Is it your cloak? Is it a set penalty from the hat and cloak? Is it because your sword secretly sets things on fire and these are fire elementals? Is it because your sword DOES NOT set things on fire and these things need fire? Is it because the enemies attack your feet and only feet, so every other piece of armor doesn't matter?

Or is it simply because they're higher level? You don't know. And going around trying 16 different combinations just to see if you can hit a fucking orc isn't compelling game play. It's not solving a puzzle; it's not high adventure.

The idea of removing stats to facilitate play outside of equipment only makes it more of a guessing game. That's not game play. That's just dicking around cause of an obtuse system.

Discovery requires tangible feedback, not guesswork. The stats allow tangible feedback in a meaningful immediate way. I'm okay with new items having unknown stats that can be uncovered through discovery, but hiding the stats completely is fail. It does not work for rpgs. It never has. It never will.

There's a difference between mystery and obsfucation. There's a reason why rpgs have gone away from the 'mystery' and 'arcane' systems that require a fucking degree in cryptography to decypher; it's because it's absolutely shitty game design.

The only reason you don't think this games didn't and don't exist is because no one fucking cares about them enough to talk about them. They're obscure and dead for a reason.
It wouldn't require guesswork if items are intuitive or were described properly using QUALITATIVE terms instead of numbers. You are still get tangible feedback, but you are not boiling everything down to quantitative attributes. If the game lore or an NPC priest tells you that silver is good for warding off spirits, how is that any different than labeling a Silver Dagger "+5 vs. undead"?

Numbers are a crutch for people who are too afraid to use their powers of deduction to make decisions on incomplete information. They need to be told what every item does down to minute details so they can chart out a max build. They need to be in control 100% of the time.

I'm not saying every RPG should be like this - there can still be stat-heavy grinders. But I think this type of game could be very innovative.
Oh wow, insult time I guess eh?

People who enjoy building their stats in RPG's are now using a crutch because they are afraid to think for themselves? Wow, I never knew that I was using a crutch back in 1994 while I was grinding AP in the desert to learn magic from Espers.
 

Zaverexus

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I actually would really like this. I thought about doing this for my DnD campaign a couple of times, but I've had some guys who would not like that. I've seen it done, though, but more with rolls. The DM rolled everything and you only got to know if you succeed or fail, if that.
 

IankBailey

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JaceValm said:
I'd love for something like this to work. It might not but I'm going to put a hypothetical comparison:

Current RPG:
Expertly Crafted Steel Longsword: DMG: 36 WG: 4 GP: 3,800

Hypothetical RPG
Expertly Crafted Steel Longsword: You look upon this fine blade with admiration reserved for a kingly weapon. From the shining tip to the beautiful pommel set with a sparkling sapphire you can see that this blade is a work of art ready to carve out its own legend. As you touch the blade for the first time you are surprised to see a tiny droplet of blood fall from your fingertip. This thing feels like it could slice through metal and bone with the slightest suggestion as it feels so light in your hand.

Current RPG:
Worn Out Iron Longsword: DMG: 7 WG: 9 GP: 120

Hypothetical RPG:
Worn Out Iron Longsword: You look down at this faithful blade passed through many hands and now in yours and wonder of the life it has led, was it once a soldiers sword, on the frontline of many a battle? Or perhaps once the blade of an adventurer who delved into the deepest depths of darkness seeking fortune at the point of this sword? This heavy, workmanlike sword is nicked and scratched all over, speaking of a plethora of unknown deeds. Whether through overuse or neglect this blades once sharp edge is now dull and unimpressive, now worthy of a down-on-his-luck bandit or an old farmer looking to protect his land.



Does the descriptions match the stats? Are they more exciting? Does it let you think more about where the blade might have been made and how it ended up in your possesion. Will it become your weapon, the one you become known for as you make your own legend? Or will you sell it on to a trader to get more coin. May you just leave it behind lest it weighs you down on your journey. As you eventually part ways who will hold this sword next?

I do go on a bit don't I?
Those are all pointless words... Wanna know why? Games are visual at this point they aren't text based. That's why you only need the stat box. The jewel encrusted sword vs the worn sword can easily be shown with difference in visual style. That's why you only need the stat box. Those words are all well and good if your playing a text based adventure but at this point all those things can be shown with visuals.
 

Spitfire

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Macrobstar said:
AbundantRedundancy said:
That's a great idea in theory, but it would be very problematic in practice. Consider you're in a raid, for example, and you don't know which spells or weapons do the most damage, and which armor has the most hit points. The most likely result, is that you'll get your ass handed to you, over and over again, until raiding has stopped being fun, and you'll move on to something else, in frustration, be it exploring different content in the game, or worse, playing a different game altogether.
You can tell power without stats by gathering more info on the spell or by testing it yourself.
Thats a problem that could be solved very easily in our hypothetical rpg, plus I think we're talking skyrim type game not MMO
As far as I can tell, the only game that the OP is referencing is an MMO, so I don't know what gave you that idea. Regardless, testing every ability and weapon in any RPG, would be way too time consuming, and not very fun. You could replace stats with detailed descriptions of things, but that would require a slower and more meticulous play-style, which, admittedly, could work in a single-player RPG, but would be disastrous in an MMO.
 

Macrobstar

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AbundantRedundancy said:
Macrobstar said:
AbundantRedundancy said:
That's a great idea in theory, but it would be very problematic in practice. Consider you're in a raid, for example, and you don't know which spells or weapons do the most damage, and which armor has the most hit points. The most likely result, is that you'll get your ass handed to you, over and over again, until raiding has stopped being fun, and you'll move on to something else, in frustration, be it exploring different content in the game, or worse, playing a different game altogether.
You can tell power without stats by gathering more info on the spell or by testing it yourself.
Thats a problem that could be solved very easily in our hypothetical rpg, plus I think we're talking skyrim type game not MMO
As far as I can tell, the only game that the OP is referencing is an MMO, so I don't know what gave you that idea. Regardless, testing every ability and weapon in any RPG, would be way too time consuming, and not very fun. You could replace stats with detailed descriptions of things, but that would require a slower and more meticulous play-style, which, admittedly, could work in a single-player RPG, but would be disastrous in an MMO.
I assumed it was SP, agreed it wouldn't work for fast paced raids, but you'd have to learn the best stuff before the raid
 

w00tage

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DracoSuave said:
Anyone who likes the concept of an rpg that hides the stats from you probably has never actually played an rpg that hides the stats from you. It's hell. It is absolutely absurd. You have no idea if you're making correct decisions.

Let's say you have four equip slots, and you change them out. Suddenly enemies aren't goind down as fast. Why is that? Is it your hat? Is it your cloak? Is it a set penalty from the hat and cloak? Is it because your sword secretly sets things on fire and these are fire elementals? Is it because your sword DOES NOT set things on fire and these things need fire? Is it because the enemies attack your feet and only feet, so every other piece of armor doesn't matter?

Or is it simply because they're higher level? You don't know. And going around trying 16 different combinations just to see if you can hit a fucking orc isn't compelling game play. It's not solving a puzzle; it's not high adventure.

The idea of removing stats to facilitate play outside of equipment only makes it more of a guessing game. That's not game play. That's just dicking around cause of an obtuse system.

Discovery requires tangible feedback, not guesswork. The stats allow tangible feedback in a meaningful immediate way. I'm okay with new items having unknown stats that can be uncovered through discovery, but hiding the stats completely is fail. It does not work for rpgs. It never has. It never will.

There's a difference between mystery and obsfucation. There's a reason why rpgs have gone away from the 'mystery' and 'arcane' systems that require a fucking degree in cryptography to decypher; it's because it's absolutely shitty game design.

The only reason you don't think this games didn't and don't exist is because no one fucking cares about them enough to talk about them. They're obscure and dead for a reason.
Allow me to cite the Oblivion mods that remove the leveling system as contrary examples. Exactly what you describe as obfuscation happens in those. Regardless of your stats, you can never tell how tough an enemy is relative to you, so stats really lose all meaning. You find out whether you could defeat something the hard way - by trying and succeeding, or trying and running your @ss off after the first hit takes 60% of your health lol.

VERY popular mods, and for a reason - you can't use math to predict the outcome of your fights. You actually have to engage and learn from the results of your actions, then remember them, and that makes it a superior RPG experience to the stock game. "Ok, I beat a black bear and a cougar pretty easy. Now let's try that brown bea-HOLYCRAP MY FACE RUN RUN!!! Whew, I lived. Ok, well, armor class of X isn't enough, that's for sure. I'll need at least twice the AC to survive, or an equivalent agility boost".

If you go with the OP, instead of "armor class X" you get "leather armor isn't enough, I will need metal armor, possibly plate, to survive, or an equivalent agility boost". That's absolutely understandable without any numbers attached to the items, and I don't see any reason this concept would negatively impact gameplay.

Even if you leave the leveling system in (yuck), this still works provided you can deal with the necessity of raising armor protections in accordance with the player level (double yuck). But in that case, it's the complete artifice of leveling that is the driver here, not any need of the gameplay.
 

Zhukov

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RedEyesBlackGamer said:
Zhukov said:
Sure.

Although I'd rather they just get rid of the stats altogether.
That is a terrible idea. It would completely take away character progression.
Yeah, you don't say. And I wouldn't be sorry to see it go.

Like I said to the last guy, I play RPGs for story, character and (sometimes) the gameplay, not so I can experience the excitement and cerebral depth of giving my fighter +2 to strength and endurance.

I don't particularly mind the presence of stats, but they're just busywork to me.
 

dubious_wolf

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I prefer stats. Obviously "In Real Life" you don't have little stat numbers displayed to discern a persons abilities. But then "Real Life" has physical feed back. I know how much I can bench press, how far I can run, how flexible I am and generally what I can/cannot do.
Video games don't have this, and while that may seem obvious, it's important because you can't discern this from a video game because there isn't an physical feedback. by using health bars, magic bars, strength and agility measures, players can assess how capable their character is at performing a task.
I was a little pissed when Bethesda took may stats away. I'm over it now because it's not worth the ulcers.

Additionally if I had to "practice" to see how "good" my character is at every single skill there would be an unnecessary amount of time I have to spend in order to "start" playing. I don't play RPG's video games to spend months patiently practicing and honing a skill to perfection to finally go out and take on a small group of bandits hold up outside the village. I play video game RPG's to escape from the doldrums of the world I'm in and pretend that I'm a warrior-god-king, who can slay an entire nations worth of people and stock pile enough virtual gold to bail out all of Europe three times over and still have enough to pay for a New York Suite and several concubines.

If I wanted the "satisfaction" of figuring out how bad I was at something I would go take broadsword lessons... Or attempt to pickpocket my friendly neighborhood police officer.


Edit:
I would also like to add that I have never "played the numbers" in my experience with RPG's. the beauty of a numbers system is there is no requirement to do so. I vaguely pay attention to hard numbers when comparing equipment or statues. But the numbers are there for those who enjoy playing "mathhammer" Everybody wins.
 

DracoSuave

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First off, 'combatting minmaxing' is an incredibly stupid argument to make about a video game. Part of the rpg gameplay involves the collection of upgrades, be they general upgrades (this dagger does three more damage than this dagger!) or situational upgrades (this dagger does less damage unless I'm attacking demons!) and you need some way to meaningfully communicate that to the player.

Yes, finding better equipment IS part of the RPG experience.

I mean if you want a game where you have cosmetic concerns and items don't mean that much, that game does exist. Grand Theft Auto.

You're confusing 'sandbox' with 'rpg' which is bad. Skyrim works because the system is made MORE accessible. It's wide open.

But if you want a game where items are meaningful, you need to adequately communicate that to the user. You get good challenging gameplay by making the pool deeper, not by taking a shallow pool and muddying the waters. Guide-Dang-It is shitty game design, and this entire thread is seeking to make inventory Guide-Dang-It in a genre that's often ABOUT inventory management.

It's obtuse, and it's 'this'd be nice' style fantasy. How's this? Go research and find the games out there like that. Play them.

Come back to me with your review. Was it as fun as you thought it would be?