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

CarbonEagle

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RhanathShadowhand said:
Essence of RPG is the "Numbers".
Even the essence of life is "Numbers". So why would you get rid of it?
While most everything in life can be quantified, you don't see people going around saying "I'm a lvl 10 human with 5 strength" because there is no standard of measure and nobody is going around measuring that stuff. The numbers are hidden IRL and that's what this thread is about. Not getting rid of, just hiding.

I think its an excellent idea. All my favorite RPG's are about immersion rather than min/maxing and whenever stats come up my immersion breaks a little, even though its something i've come to accept as the norm. Oblivion's leveling system could easily be modified to be completely behind the scenes. You just need to make the computer choose the highest stats automatically, level without sleeping (or add a tired meter to strongly encourage sleeping) and remove all notices about leveling and stats. You would probably need to add descriptions of equipment to show that they are magical (eg. if a shield feels warm it resists cold attacks)
 

Fishyash

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Tin Man said:
Besides, playing an RPG without knowing what you're equipping and what it does would be horrible gameplay, and It's very clear that very few people on these forums have any idea in the slightest what game design is all about. In RPGs you have to factor in things like resistances for example. That awesome looking armor you have has a weakness to fire damage, or isn't good against blunt force or ranged weapons. Without knowing how you're equipping your characters and what elements you need to be particularly aware of, you're inserting nothing but trial and error as the core of your gameplay, which is just bad.
This sounds like a misunderstanding.

Now to get a bit theoretical here.

Let's say that there is a game that hides stats and has this piece of armour that you described, without you knowing these details at first glance.

How does hiding stats mean the game is unable to have a blacksmith or enchanter saying "hey, this armour is made by a metal that has this colour which is weak against fire and blunt damage."

No stats were shown to you, but now you know that from now on that piece of armour has such weakneses.

Or you can trial and error it. It is probably more risky but you can find out that as well.
 

viranimus

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Nov 20, 2009
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thought that was essentially what happened in Mass effect 2. Ended up being one of the best games,k but also got cursed for it.
 

trouble_gum

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May 8, 2011
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Yopaz said:
So what you're saying is that the only thing that matters in an RPG is stats? That definition never include what defines a genre?
I have checked the difinition of role-playing games as a whole. There's no mention of stats. No mention of it in table top. Yet you agree that it is the only feature that defines an RPG?

In that case Mass Effect is an RPG rather than an action game with RPG elements. The X-men games are now RPG games because they feature stats, level up, customization and that stuff.
Call of Duty features stats level up and customization so following that definition almost every bloody game released in 2011 is an RPG because by the definition I am arguing against stats is the only part that defines an RPG.
No, that isn't what I'm saying at all.

Stop trying to argue from the position of what is contained within a definition of something. This is a bad argumentative position. What the definition says about something neither includes nor excludes all of that things qualities or constituent parts. To take this argument to its logical extreme: stats are not mentioned in the definition of an RPG, ergo there are no stats in RPGs.

By the definition you cite, yes, Mass Effect is an RPG. It features common elements with table-top RPGs, including: story telling, character creation, character progression, the player controls various members of a party of adventurers, etc., etc. I've never actually played any of the X-men games you mention, though I did watch someone play through a level or two once. Again, by the definition you're so keen on relying on, it contains most of the elements that 'define' an RPG. Story telling? Check. Character progression? Check. Player controlling party members? Check. Replayability and immersion? Check.

What actually matters here is whether the stats are the only thing matters in a computer RPG and, frankly, they are. You can imagine all the colourful detailed background you like for your version of Sheppard, the Dovahkiin or The Courier. You can pretend that you're a edda reciting Bard, wandering the taverns of Skyrim and singing for the coins to buy the bread and apple cabbage stew that sustain you.

But you can't actually do that. Because the game's stats won't let you.

What I'm saying is that hiding the stats from the players of computer RPGs won't do much to prevent people from reductionist, grinding numbers to improve other numbers play. Because, for all that computer RPGs parade the trappings of other RPG settings where you can play as the character you have created, beyond the dots on his character sheet, and that activity will be meaningful to the game world, they rarely live up to this and so, players are reduced to killing X goblins for Y gold and Z XP to get to Level A in order to increase Statistic B.
 

veloper

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Hiding stats is compareable to keeping other useful information from the player, such as:
-not showing the controls
-not explaining the rules
-no feedback (when you succeed)

More choices and features will seem inconsequential and irrelevant to the player and deeper strategies and tactics will not be discovered.
Players who make the effort to figure it out anyway, will have a huge advantage. Most players, will think the game is simplistic and get very little out of it.

It's better to give a little too much information, than too little. A good strategy game and a good tactical RPG will not only make all the party stats available, but will also explain the exact mechanics behind the rules. Only then can a player can use that knowledge to plan and strategize properly.

Hiding stats is a little more suitable for a shooter or an action-RPG, where reflexes make the game and character building is secondary or absent, but even then great players will still visit the wikis to learn the DPS of various weapons and other numbers.
 

lord.jeff

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I would like to point out almost all games have stat even if you don't see them, so hiding states from a player could easily end up looking like an action game or whatever, it would just has a huge focus on leveling up and equipping.
 

Yopaz

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Jun 3, 2009
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trouble_gum said:
Yopaz said:
So what you're saying is that the only thing that matters in an RPG is stats? That definition never include what defines a genre?
I have checked the difinition of role-playing games as a whole. There's no mention of stats. No mention of it in table top. Yet you agree that it is the only feature that defines an RPG?

In that case Mass Effect is an RPG rather than an action game with RPG elements. The X-men games are now RPG games because they feature stats, level up, customization and that stuff.
Call of Duty features stats level up and customization so following that definition almost every bloody game released in 2011 is an RPG because by the definition I am arguing against stats is the only part that defines an RPG.
No, that isn't what I'm saying at all.

Stop trying to argue from the position of what is contained within a definition of something. This is a bad argumentative position. What the definition says about something neither includes nor excludes all of that things qualities or constituent parts. To take this argument to its logical extreme: stats are not mentioned in the definition of an RPG, ergo there are no stats in RPGs.

By the definition you cite, yes, Mass Effect is an RPG. It features common elements with table-top RPGs, including: story telling, character creation, character progression, the player controls various members of a party of adventurers, etc., etc. I've never actually played any of the X-men games you mention, though I did watch someone play through a level or two once. Again, by the definition you're so keen on relying on, it contains most of the elements that 'define' an RPG. Story telling? Check. Character progression? Check. Player controlling party members? Check. Replayability and immersion? Check.

What actually matters here is whether the stats are the only thing matters in a computer RPG and, frankly, they are. You can imagine all the colourful detailed background you like for your version of Sheppard, the Dovahkiin or The Courier. You can pretend that you're a edda reciting Bard, wandering the taverns of Skyrim and singing for the coins to buy the bread and apple cabbage stew that sustain you.

But you can't actually do that. Because the game's stats won't let you.

What I'm saying is that hiding the stats from the players of computer RPGs won't do much to prevent people from reductionist, grinding numbers to improve other numbers play. Because, for all that computer RPGs parade the trappings of other RPG settings where you can play as the character you have created, beyond the dots on his character sheet, and that activity will be meaningful to the game world, they rarely live up to this and so, players are reduced to killing X goblins for Y gold and Z XP to get to Level A in order to increase Statistic B.
OK, so you clearly don't understand me here one bit. I quoted someone who was under the impression that any games without visible stats are action games. He might as well have said that the definition of a role playing game is that you have visible stats. That's why I am discussing from a point of definition. Because I am discussing definitions here.
the numbers are what make it an RPG
This sentence is the source of my discussion and the reason I am discussing definitions, so blame me all you want for discussing from a standpoint of definition, but when you're actually discussing definitions discussing from a definition is usually the right approach.
 

SuperSuperSuperGuy

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Jun 19, 2010
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As an experiment, sure, I'd play. I probably wouldn't like it, though. The stats are what draw me into RPGs. There's something about seeing a number that's much higher than everyone else's numbers that appeals to me and my inferiority complex. Without being able to see the numbers, I wouldn't know what equipment to wear, who to bring along in my party, how to min/max them, when to stop grinding, etc. so I'd probably just look up stat guides online, which really defeats the purpose.
 

trouble_gum

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May 8, 2011
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Tin Man said:
It's MMOs which are all about getting bigger things, but that's because you can't have a strong singular narrative in a game being played by millions of people simultaneously.
Ironic, really, when you consider that a more 'genuine' role-playing experience should be enhanced by other people, rather than reduced to quest grinding. MMOs are, if anything, worse because of the lack of a strong singular narrative so that you're even more aware of just how much you're playing Space Invaders with Orcs and a slightly more varied high score system.

Tin Man said:
And what do you mean by 'real role playing game?' RPGs ARE role playing games ... the numbers are how the game represents it's action and growth elements ... . Make it impossible to see what stats you're affecting/increasing, and it's not an RPG anymore. Video Game RPGs are just pen and paper RPGs, but with a computer god attached controlling and creating everything for you, instead of a DM.
And without the other players, which is a large cause of the removal of what many would consider to be the goal of role-playing, to whit, the interaction between the players' created characters. What interaction there can be in a computer roleplaying game is severely limited, but this has nothing to do with stats or stats-based play. And it's why hiding those stats won't allow for much more in the way of roleplaying, so long as there's only one real person involved.
 

archvile93

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I don't think games have enough interactive variation to support that kind of gameplay. I'm not sure if I worded that well, so here's an example. What the difference between a character with 6 str and 106 str? One shows a higher number coming out of the monster when you punch, however the monster being punched will react in the same way every time regardless of that number. Your idea would work if say the 106 str caused the monster to fly across the room and the 6 str just prompted it to laugh at you, and these kinds of variations were present in other parts of the game, like good swimming stats using a better technique for example. I've never seen a game that actually does this however.
 

Moonlight Butterfly

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Mar 16, 2011
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I'm really not a numbers person so it makes no difference to me.

For me Maths does not equal Magic. I'm happy to have a hidden calculation system. Skyrim is a nice balance of player info and hidden weights.
 

Epona

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An RPG that hides the stats is not an RPG at all, it's an action adventure game.

I remember reading something in a game design book about how it is never a good idea to hide important numbers from the player. Making it hard for the player to know their own progress by hiding a number just leads to frustration. For example, in Final Fantasy VII (which I am playing right now) you have to use your first tier limits 8 times to get the second tier but you can't actually check that number. To go from the second tier to the next level you have to kill a certain number of enemies, a number also not available for the player to see. That's bad design.
 

mjc0961

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Nov 30, 2009
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Brawndo said:
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.
Key word is encourages. In other words, it does not force. You can always ignore the numbers if you want to. But no, they should never be hidden from the player in any way.

Especially by labeling all the stats with hieroglyphics instead of words and requiring players to have the game manual or internet while playing to translate this shit, right Demon's Souls?!
 

Tharwen

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May 7, 2009
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Try playing Lugaru. It's a combat game with no numbers, where you have to judge how well an enemy will fight by how much armour they're wearing and the weapons you can see on them. As your character is hurt, you see him limp, stagger and bleed, and you have to try to work out if it's safe to keep fighting or if you should try to escape and recover first. It's really fun, too.

EDIT: Another thing: It's only OK to hide numbers if the player has some other way to work out the thing that they represent. For example, you can hide the damage value on that artillery unit, but only if you also say that they're great against infantry but weak against tanks or something like that.

I think the Total War series does this very well. There are numbers on all the units, but you can easily play through without even glancing at them, and assuming that the more expensive units with words like 'heavy' in their names are going to be better.

...I think I stopped talking about RPGs a long time ago.
 

FallenTraveler

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I personally think this is a great idea

The best game in recent memory to let me do this was Deus Ex: Human Revolution. With the Praxis system it makes the game less about stats and more about abilities, yes, you upgrade, but you don't have a raw number to look at. I was able to get into my characters head, and I knew there weren't numbers necessarily guiding my every move.
 

Paladin2905

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Hell yes I would.

There was a quest in the (i guess older now) game Space Rangers 2 that involved managing a team of atheletes for a contest, and you had to pit them against each other to determine what their actual stats were. The quest itself was a pain in the butt a first, but once you got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun.

Personally, I think a whole lot of RPGs now are far too stat based, where skills would be a better option. I used to play a bunch of dnd back around 2nd edition, and it was nice to just declare that my character "had experience before adventuring as an archetect" and could use it instead of the 3rd edition problems of "no, im sorry, you can't look at that parapet, column, cieling or whatever without another 3 ranks in Knowledge(archietecture).
 

Phoenixlight

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s69-5 said:
skywolfblue said:
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.
???

While I have not yet played Skyrim (Xmas) so I'll have to get back to you on that, Dragon Age most certainly has stats/levels/numbers. In fact they are at their most anal in DA. A 4.2 armor stat versus a 4.1 armor stat!? Overboard much?

And who says D&D is the be all end all of video game RPGs?

Please name a video game RPG that has no stats whatsoever.
You're wrong, stats don't make an RPG what it is at all, it's the whole experience. If you look at RPG's like Zork you'll notice that they don't rely on giving the player lots of stats to function properly.
 

Neo10101

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Yea, that would be a pretty awesome idea. The only problem is that sales would be kind of tough because there would still be a bunch of people that think "why can't I see my stats? This game sux!" However, to the people who can get into the idea I think it would be an awesome experiment.