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

Jarlaxl

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I've thought about this before, and my answer is a resounding yes.

I think that it's a new level of challenge mixed with an emphasis on the "RP" part of "RPG." Less like playing field general, more like playing middle school football coach.

I do suggest that you start all characters off on a similar footing unseen stats-wise and let the player develop them as he/she sees fit, or offer visual/story line/personality cues for a character's strengths and weaknesses (for instance, the fighter-type is a burly dude in ripped-off jean shorts and ripped shirts and wants to punch first and ask questions later, the wizard is running around in a bath robe and predicted to bring balance to the world or whatever, the healer looks like Bambi and is timid as hell, etc. - maybe less cliche is in order, but you get the idea.)

Crono1973 said:
Doing something (like hiding RPG stats) just for the sake of doing something different is an exercise in failure.
Well...duh. That's why you design a game around the system.

The greatest strength and biggest weakness of the traditional, stats-driven RPG is the disconnect between game play mechanics and atmosphere/aesthetic/story. Developers can, with proper balancing for the game play experience they're looking for, layer the RPG experience onto any hero-driven experience they like. Of course, as a result of this, there's no relationship between your progress through the game and what you do in combat; the player who never switches out of his Simple Sword and Cloth Armor they got on the loading screen and always selects the melee attack option does just the same (albeit with more effort) as the min-maxer with the Greatsword of Soul-Crushing and Plate Armor of the Dragon Emperor. It's like you trudge through a story line you don't care about to get to the game play, or you just hit buttons long enough to watch the story play out, or, if you like both elements of a game, it's for different reasons and you connect the two by happy coincidence of the title.

Halo didn't replace the health bar with a recharging bar "just for the sake of doing something different." They designed an entire game around that concept, and, well, look at the FPS industry now - we need Serious Sam to come along and remind us that games did something different before Halo.
 

exp. 99

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Crono1973 said:
Doing something (like hiding RPG stats) just for the sake of doing something different is an exercise in failure.
Perhaps, but you won't know if it could work until you try it a few times.

Also, a counterpoint to the people saying that "without the numbers, how do you know what you should know?"

Consider this: it doesn't have to be a game with any degree of combat focus. Social games can work as well. LA Noire tried to do this with the use of facial expressions during interrogation scenes, for one. I haven't seen whether or not they did it well, mind you, but it is possible, just maybe it's more viable for games that don't have as much hack 'n slash.
 
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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.
 

BrionJames

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Yes, it would be a bit more like playing an RPG in reality. Not that I'm necessarily looking for realism in an RPG, but I find the concept interesting. It would make you really have to plan out your adventuring.
 

Epona

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exp. 99 said:
Crono1973 said:
Doing something (like hiding RPG stats) just for the sake of doing something different is an exercise in failure.
Perhaps, but you won't know if it could work until you try it a few times.

Also, a counterpoint to the people saying that "without the numbers, how do you know what you should know?"

Consider this: it doesn't have to be a game with any degree of combat focus. Social games can work as well. LA Noire tried to do this with the use of facial expressions during interrogation scenes, for one. I haven't seen whether or not they did it well, mind you, but it is possible, just maybe it's more viable for games that don't have as much hack 'n slash.
It has already been done many time, any action adventure game has already done it. Hidden stats = no stats as far as the player is concerned because the player has no control over the stats and cannot even monitor them. Just like you can't monitor or change the jump distance of Mario but you can do that with your character in Morrowind or Oblivion.

LA Noire sucked, no really it did. Actually, basing so much on facial animation WAS one of it's major failings. Having to repeat interrogations over and over again because the only way to tell if someone was lying was via facial animations. Extremely frustrating. LA Noire is not the best example to support this idea. On the subject of LA Noire, why do people say that it was original, it was just a big budget version of one of those $10 point and click adventure games.
 

Aircross

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Deus Ex didn't literally hide stats away from me, but it did a good job of not making me feel like min/maxing everything (to some extent) since all mission objectives could be accomplished multiple ways.
 

willis888

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No. I like numbers, and I like games that have them.

Optimizing the stats related to what your character can do is, for me, one of the most fun parts about playing RPG's. Without that, you're just playing a fashion model and dress-making sim, Super Mario Bro's, or watching a pick-your-own-adventure slightly-interactive video novel.

It could be fun to play a game that hides your non-regenerating health total, but it would need decent graphics that showed battle damage on your avatar. Not knowing if that Orc up ahead can kill you by sneezing in your general direction, or if you're pretty much invulnerable to whatever attacks it can dish out would make me think strategically about every encounter.
 

Brawndo

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Alpha Maeko said:
I would play this "blind" game just because it sounds interesting- can't guarantee that I'd keep on playing it, though. I'd probably get frustrated by the small rat who had giant amounts of HP.
But this would go against common sense. The whole idea of hiding stats is not to make the game a frustrating ordeal of trial and error, but rather to reward players for their powers of observation and deduction. So if you saw a small rat, you know you could kill it easily, but it's also probably very fast. But if you saw a large bear, you know it probably has a lot of HP and is very strong.

Dyme said:
100% stupid idea.

What would people do if it was an actually good game? Extract the numbers from the game anyways. And go for maximum efficiency.
A modified random number generator in each playthrough could discourage min/max stat analysis. The background numbers would ensure that a steel sword is always stronger than a wooden sword, by a significant number, but those numbers would change each playthrough so you couldn't just look in the code and put a stat sheet on the game's wiki. Instead, all that matters is that you know steel is strong but heavy, and wood is weak, light, and flammable.
 

Hasido

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King of the Sandbox said:
Of course. RPG's are about role-playing, not roll-playing.
...i have no words with wich to express my approval, so have an ASCII pony: /)^3^(\

OT: you know, i have always wanted to play a game like this, and if it were an MMO, it would be quite interesting indead.
 

Epona

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Think about it. What would Final Fantasy VII be without building up materia to gain abilities (transferable abilities too) and building up levels to raise your other stats? Hiding stats in an RPG is going in the wrong direction.
 

silasbufu

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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.
 

Retal19

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I would absolutely buy an RPG like that. I've often fantasised about an FPS RPG like that too, a proper one in the line of S.T.A.L.K.E.R, not an FPS with RPG elements like Brink or Battlefield/MW3 Online Multiplayer. Something Cold War with Spies and Espionage and stuff.
 

CrystalShadow

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I'd say it wouldn't really solve the problem.

Look up Pokemon. Sure it has stats you can see ingame, but there are also a long list of hidden ones...

Which people have reverse-engineered to determine what the 'best' pokemon are.

If you removed stats altogether, you'd end up with the same thing happening.

Not to mention that without numerical stats to work with, you have to present all the information by other means.

You'd have to make it very clear from hit animations and the like who is doing a lot of damage... Injuries would have to be shown...

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.

You'll notice a lot of RPG's are pretty lazy about this, and just show you the numbers...
Because showing a number is easier than showing appropriate animations that conveys (even in an approximate sense) the same information.
 

Brawndo

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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."
 

stinkyrobot

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s69-5 said:
King of the Sandbox 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.

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.
I don't even know what this "munchkinism" is. Is it supposed to be an insult or something?

Either way, you're right, it is your opinion. Too bad it's incorrect in terms of video games. Video game RPGs have always been about stats/levels/numbers. Perception of choice, talking with townsfolk, etc are just a facet of some RPGs. When a reviewer talks about "RPG elements" in games from other genres, they are certainly not talking about making choices - they are talking about stats/numbers and levelling.

Without stats and numbers, the game ceases to be an RPG and becomes an action/adventure game.

You sound very sure about your self Mr. expert. If you don't mind me asking exactly where it says that for a game to be an rpg it requires everything to be represented by numbers?
 

Epona

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A modified random number generator in each playthrough could discourage min/max stat analysis. The background numbers would ensure that a steel sword is always stronger than a wooden sword, by a significant number, but those numbers would change each playthrough so you couldn't just look in the code and put a stat sheet on the game's wiki. Instead, all that matters is that you know steel is strong but heavy, and wood is weak, light, and flammable.
I really don't think that it will make much of a difference if the stats aren't constant from new game to new game. The Buster Sword has an attack of 18 and the Rune Blade has an attack of 40. I didn't know that until I looked it up because even though I am playing Final Fantasy VII, I am not paying that much attention to each individual weapons stat. Only that the Rune Blade is more powerful than the Buster Sword (and has a double materia charge rate). If the Buster Sword were 18 this game but 15 the next game and the Rune Blade fluctuated for the next game too, it wouldn't change a thing if the Rune Blade were always more powerful since that's really all people look at anyway.

The difference between an attack stat of 15 and 18 is so minimal that most people wouldn't even notice the difference in battle and since the actual damage is randomized anyway...well..you get the point.
 

Shemming

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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?
 

Epona

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CrystalShadow said:
I'd say it wouldn't really solve the problem.

Look up Pokemon. Sure it has stats you can see ingame, but there are also a long list of hidden ones...

Which people have reverse-engineered to determine what the 'best' pokemon are.

If you removed stats altogether, you'd end up with the same thing happening.

Not to mention that without numerical stats to work with, you have to present all the information by other means.

You'd have to make it very clear from hit animations and the like who is doing a lot of damage... Injuries would have to be shown...

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.

You'll notice a lot of RPG's are pretty lazy about this, and just show you the numbers...
Because showing a number is easier than showing appropriate animations that conveys (even in an approximate sense) the same information.
Showing the numbers is also the most accurate way to do it. Also, in 3D RPG's, I want less animations so the battles move faster.