Not really, because the point of a role-playing game is to do things that you the player can't and find ways for whomever your controlling to succeed based on their capabilities rather than your own.Brawndo said: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
The issue of "hidden statistics" games has come up before, largely in PnP games to address the issue of min maxing (which is a whole subject unto itself). It generally doesn't work because it's difficult to embrace the tactical and strategic aspects of a game if you don't know what your working with. What's more people generally know their own capabilities, and RPG heroes are a cut above the ordinary people by their very nature, which entered into the equasion.
Now, it should be noted that while players DO know the statistics of their character in most RPGs they do not nessicarly know the stats of the other PCs in a PNP game and some players delight in keeping this kind of thing secret. What's more the players do not know what the stats of the NPCs are. Someone who is deceptively strong would be described in a fashion suggesting much lower attributes. Likewise a player wanting to conceal his character's abillities from the other PCs for a while for whatever reason might say describe his character moving along slowly with a limp, due to the character faking it, when the character actually has a ridiculously high Dexterity/Speed/whatever attribute... say a thief or assasin disguised as a begger, who hasn't met the other PCs in the context of adventuring yet, or knows someone else insisted on playing a Paladin and wants to try and RP in a fashion to avoid conflicts of alignment as long as possible by not making the nature of the character immediatly obvious ICly.
Occasionally you see problems revolving around that kind of thing as you wind up with some players who want the other players to know nothing about their character and yet do all this stuff, and get butthurt when things progress logically. On another version of that when you play certain games with an advantage/disadvantage system and one player takes Secret Identity as an advantage (as opposed to a disadvantage) which prevents other players from deducing the obvious. A secret identity advantage is sort of like the "Superman" version where even really smart characters like Lois Lane can't put 2 and 2 together that Clark Kent tends to walk off right before Superman appears and then reappears when he's gone (and hides by putting on a pair of glasses and a suit... and I've wondered how the cape fit under the suit jacket so perfectly... but well this is out of context, the point is nobody notices that even if it doesn't)... a cinematic advantage that belongs in certain generes but conceals a character and what it can do from other players in a way that slots them off.