What makes an actual RPG?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by AccountNameM, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. AccountNameM

    AccountNameM ?

    Mar 23, 2016
    So, I've been messing around in this forum, being fucking stupid.

    Now it's time to actually be serious about something.

    What makes an actual rpg?

    I've seen countless user on this forum complain about how Fallout 4 isn't an rpg, but somehow a borderlands clone. If this is the truth, then what is an rpg?

    For anyone thinking "just read the forums!", I already have, but I want one place where I can read everyone's opinions.
  2. AccountNameM

    AccountNameM ?

    Mar 23, 2016
    Anyone? This is a legitimate post.
  3. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    Well, the reason people say "just read the forums!" is because there are already places where everyone's opinions has been gathered up into one neat pile. Making new threads like this is grounds for why people have to say "just read the forums!". In fact, there's just been this discussion not so long ago, so it should still be in the first or second pages of one of the subforums here.
  4. AccountNameM

    AccountNameM ?

    Mar 23, 2016
    What post are you referring to? I can't find it.

    Personally, I've been reading for 2 months, but I don't know everyone's exact opinion on the matter.
  5. Izak

    Izak I Shot The ALBATROSS

    Jan 29, 2016
    RPG's are video games with deep player agency and dialogue choices that allow you to take your character in a unique direction, one made by you; In this way they're directly comparable to P&P games which makes sense since the first RPG's attempted to emulate D&D.
    Thanks for making this thread by the way, there have been arguments about this on this site for a while.
  6. ZigzagPX4

    ZigzagPX4 The Swiftness of the Ranger

    Nov 22, 2015
    You'll never know everyone's exact opinion on the matter. NMA isn't a huge lumbering mass of hiveminds, it happens to be a diverse community of diverse opinions, most of which just happens to be similar to each other. Opinions also do change. I find myself on having changed my opinions drastically on many things on several occasions, especially as of late.

    This is the post. Now, I know the question is posed differently, but the point is you can't get a factual answer for this anyways - it's all subjective opinion from different perspectives. You can't basically get a solid, unbiased definition for an RPG. That post is your best lead if you want a serious answer.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  7. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish ...I Remember...

    Sep 11, 2010
    An actual RPG allows you to roleplay multiple kinds of characters, makes an effort to distinguish between the characters and has the game react to the choices you make along the way.

    And to make that clear, if an "RPG" goes "no but this is totally an RPG, you can hit enemies with a green, blue, purple or red stick!" then it is not an RPG. Combat-RPG's like Diablo are not RPG's in the slightest. They're hack and slashers and shoot and looters.

    An RPG Needs to allow you to 'actually roleplay'. And how do you roleplay? Well, in a fantasy game let's say I create a brutish warrior who's also quite the charmer. Can I use magical artifacts? Cause I shouldn't be able to. My character isn't in touch with magic. Can I seduce someone? Well I should be able to if I'm quite the charmer shouldn't I? I'm a big beef-cake, so this wagon that's halfway down a ditch needs help being pulled out so I should be able to pull it out. My character, despite his appearance, is friendly and warm, shouldn't the dialogue reflect that? Shouldn't the NPC's reflect that?

    The world should react to the character I created and have the tools and resources within it for me to as accurately as possible roleplay as this character.

    And it should react very differently to my apathetic sorcerer who's only reason for not taking her life out of depression is the main quest which gives her purpose. She shouldn't be able to pull that wagon out of the ditch but she should be able to use her water spell to kill the fire that's engulfing some poor family's house. She isn't a charmer but because of her apathetic outlook on life she'll get along with the cynics of the world a lot better. She comes across as stone-faced, like there's no life behind those eyes of hers, shouldn't that alienate a lot of people? Shouldn't it help with intimidating others? Shouldn't the dialogue be able to reflect this kind of personality?

    The best kind of roleplaying game will always be pen and paper as it allows us to use whatever ideas we have as freely as we want to. But when it comes to video games everything needs to be predesigned so it is up to the developers to account for as much variety as possible so that we can roleplay as many different characters as we can think of.

    That is what makes an 'actual RPG' to me.

    I said this before in another thread but whatever:
    It should allow you to define your character. Your strengths and weaknesses (stats, skills), your personality (dialogue), your sense of moral compass (what choices you'll make during a quest or event and how that reflect the morality of your character) and then there was a fourth criteria which I can't for the life of me remember (appearance?).

    Point is, it should allow you to define your character.

    The less a game differentiates between two characters you've created the worse of an RPG it is.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  8. AskWazzup

    AskWazzup Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 21, 2008
    Fallout 4 is an rpg. A very dissapointing one for the budget it recieved and the huge (somewhat beauthiful) game world they were able to create.
  9. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish ...I Remember...

    Sep 11, 2010
    It isn't an RPG though.
    It's a shoot and looter with RPG elements.
    Just like Borderlands. No one (sensible at least) consider Borderlands to be an RPG.
  10. Walpknut

    Walpknut This ghoul has seen it all

    Dec 30, 2010
    What makes a true RPG? the missile? Maybe the explosive charge? There single use and multi use ones too.
    THe ability to reliably shoot an explosive charge.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  11. AskWazzup

    AskWazzup Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 21, 2008
    Well, then Baldurs Gate is a tactical game with rpg elements. There is no strict definition of what an rpg is, i might as well role play a very fast paddle in the original Pong game, as it gives me the possibility to decide if i want to be a very fast, slow, good or any kind of other paddle. Now of course that's pretty stupid, but Fallout 4 is clearly not in that category. It gives you some choices and some consiquences in the way you move, interact with people, develop your character, or decide the fate of the wasteland, it's just not very good at that.

    I personally don't really care though. If it makes people feel better it can be, or can not be an rpg.
  12. Brivoo

    Brivoo Powered by Radiant AI

    Jan 20, 2016
    I see your point, but I still wouldn't call it a full-blown RPG.

    A game's genre is defined by its central mechanics and motifs. An RPG is a game where the character you create (the 'role' aspect) is intrinsic to your gameplay; Baldur's Gate, Pillars of Eternity and the original Fallouts do these well.

    This isn't done just by the use of the editor at the start of the game; a character is defined by the choices they make, their decisions build their personality and moral standing, resulting in an identity which defines the experience.

    Fallout 4 is a shooter with RPG elements because the choices one makes aren't vital to the game; there's only one decision (the BIG one) that changes the world in any noticeable way and a handful of other ones that are never mentioned again (I am thinking specifically of Covenant, which is one of the better examples).

    That's what an RPG needs; choice with consequence. In Pillars of Eternity, every single choice you make can add to your reputation, changing how characters react to you permanently in various different ways; in Fallout New Vegas, most quests will contribute to how certain individuals see you and how you move in the world, as well as affect the ending and even Fallout 3 (sorry, I don't like to shit on it, but it wasn't exactly the pinnacle of storytelling) managed some sort of blunt attempt at choice and consequence with quests such as the replicated man, the tenpenny ghouls and the OTHER big decision in Bethesda's East Coast (two, in fact).

    TL;DR read the forums
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  13. Kohno

    Kohno Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 30, 2009
    Can of worms: open.

    There's never going to be a full consensus to that question, but one way of looking at it is that an "actual RPG"-ness (speaking of cRPG's) can be to some degree measured through how well it emulates a PnP scenario and how well it accounts for the lack of a human GM/referee (and how much flexibility it loses with that - i.e. house rules) through character systems, general reactivity, gameplay options and narrative/dialog branching, and what have you. Another question entirely is how good any particular game that meets some commonly accepted criteria is at being an RPG (and from there, how well does the genre label fit with the game, if at all - for instance, whilst being labeled as such and regardless of if it actually is one, Fallout 4 is pretty fucking bad at being an RPG).