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> The Ultimate TES game, What would you like to see Bethesda do?
gpstr
post Apr 4 2015, 05:23 PM
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I agree - indies are the future of gaming, at least from our niche market perspective.

This industry, very quickly, became like the movie industry. It puts out the same sort of product, and for the same reason - failure is too expensive. Because of the staggering amounts of money they put into projects and because their hope for profit is all wrapped up in one specific product, it pays to do what they can to ensure that that product will appeal to the widest possible range of potential consumers. That leads to making a product that's superficially glossy and appealing, but underneath that superficial gloss, has been pounded into relatively formless mush. It can't be truly challenging and complex and unique because that carries too much risk of alienating potential consumers. It has to be as vanilla as possible.

Like with the movie industry though, the fact that that's what the major studios do opens up a market for smaller companies who can and do take risks - who can and do make products that are almost certainly only going to appeal to a niche market. They don't have enormous headquarters filled with overpaid executives and bloated staffs and they're not interested in shelling out all the necessary money for the marquee stars, so they don't have the expenses of the major studios, and they aren't run by boards of directors whose only measure of success is profit margin, so they don't have the stifling caution of the major studios. They can and will make truly creative products, never expecting nor needing them to appeal to anything beyond a niche audience.

Beth actually once was such a company, and that company made Arena and Daggerfall. They aren't that sort of company any more though, and that's just the way it is.
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Renee
post Apr 5 2015, 01:48 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Apr 4 2015, 12:05 AM) *

I expect that the next TES game will not even have Magicka or Stamina. Instead all spells and special attacks will have cool-down periods between how often you can use them, like Mass Effect and other console games. Health might stick around to determine how many times the player can be hit before dying. But they might find a way to simplify that as well.


The next TES game will only have one bar, which will represent Health, Magicka, and Stamina. huh.gif It will also have one of the ideas glargg thought of awhile back: a Beat All Quests button, for people who are too lazy to even fast-travel.

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Winter Wolf
post Apr 5 2015, 07:38 AM
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It has been years since I considered ES a role play game. Can I play a pirate and raid ships off the coast of Anvil? Or perhaps a guard that uses corruption to work my way up the Imperial ladder? Or join the fishing guild the works off the northern coast of Skyrim? Or join the Talon Merc or Enclave?

Of course not. These things are beyond the scope of a current Beth game. Instead we must approach the games as nothing more than a really fun exploring game that allows use to open up inventories and collect cool items and store them back at home, slowing raising our character level and (hopefully) becoming more powerful. These days that is all we can really hope for in Beth games.

It is the character design at the start of each ES game that is the most worrying trend of all. Beast race, Human, Mer, there is no difference now, just like Caucasian, African-American, Asia, etc mean nothing in the Fallout series. That is something I am really worried about. Skyrim has set a very bad trend.

And remember that Dungeon and Dragons never allowed us to run around in Heavy Armor as a mage and do the crazy things that ES allows. The do-everything-you-want attitude that Todd preaches is in fact the ruin of the game. The whole rule book for role play has been thrown out the window in this new era of fantasy games.

Perhaps it is mass market appeal as gpstr suggests.





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gpstr
post Apr 5 2015, 08:56 PM
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QUOTE(Winter Wolf @ Apr 5 2015, 12:38 AM) *

It is the character design at the start of each ES game that is the most worrying trend of all. Beast race, Human, Mer, there is no difference now...
That, along with the elimination of attributes, is the biggest reason that I decided long ago that I simply was not going to give Beth any of my money in exchange for that product. They deliberately designed Skyrim so that the only differences between starting characters were purely cosmetic, and that makes the sort of roleplaying I do flatly impossible. I have exactly zero interest in deciding what my character is going to become, then metagaming all the appropriate box ticks when the perk fairy comes so that my character ends up being that thing. That's sterile and phony and it's exactly the opposite of the way I play. I want to create a character who ALREADY possesses specific qualities, then just take him or her out into the world and see what happens, and Beth completely destroyed the ability to do that, and did it explicitly - as stated repeatedly by Todd and Pete - so that it would be impossible for players to make "bad" characters. Which just demonstrates, all by itself, how little they AND their intended customers know about roleplaying. Roleplayers know that there's no such thing as a "bad" character.

QUOTE
And remember that Dungeon and Dragons never allowed us to run around in Heavy Armor as a mage and do the crazy things that ES allows. The do-everything-you-want attitude that Todd preaches is in fact the ruin of the game. The whole rule book for role play has been thrown out the window in this new era of fantasy games.
Well... I have to say that I couldn't care less what D&D allows or doesn't allow, but aside from that, yes, mostly. It's not just "do-everything-you-want" since "do-everything-you-want" is actually a good quality in an RPG. The ever-growing problem with TES games is "do-everything-you-want-with-no-difficulties-and-no-consequences." That's the problem, since it makes choices ultimately meaningless. All it comes down to is whether you want gray skin or pink skin or yellow skin or fur, or whether you want round ears or pointed ears, or whether you want to be tall or short. Beyond that, the choices are utterly meaningless, since the character is just going to be whatever results from the boxes you tick when the perk fairy visits.

QUOTE
Perhaps it is mass market appeal as gpstr suggests.
I'm 100% certain it is. Skyrim was deliberately designed to provide an expressway to Uber City for the benefit of all those players who aren't interested in taking the scenic route and just seeing where they might end up. That's the trend the games have followed since Daggerfall, and that trend isn't going to stop now.

-------

And to drag this back on topic:

So - my ultimate TES game?

That'd be a spin-off title, so it could be made by a relatively small and unconstrained team of creative talents without the necessary restrictions of having to turn a profit on a triple-A title.

It'd be a fully 3d game world.

It'd have a fairly wide range of attributes that would depend on a number of starting options - race, gender and age, at least. It would have an even wider range of skills, which would also be affected by starting options, and could be further customized by the player at character creation.

The upshot of all of that would be that the player could create virtually any starting character, but within the constraints of the choices made, so that, for instance, the Orc most inclined to be a mage still would be at a "disadvantage" to the Altmer most inclined to be a mage, while the Altmer most inclined to be a warrior would still be at a "disadvantage" to the Orc most inclined to be a warrior. And those inclinations would carry throughout the game, so not only would different races, genders, ages, whatever be at an advantage or disadvantage starting out, but would have higher or lower maximums for those attributes or skills. No Altmer, no matter who it is, should EVER be as strong as the strongest Orc. Period.

Then it would provide an open and unscaled world with reasonable hints on where it was safe to go and where low level characters are sure to die and just let the characters loose in that world, to sort things out for themselves. It would have a wide array of factions and long and involved faction quest lines (for those so inclined), and with meaningful and significant relationships between the various factions and it would have scads of side quests. It would likely not have a main quest at all.

And there's undoubtedly a lot more, but that's the gist of it.

And Beth is NOT going to make that game, or anything even vaguely resembling it. But I predict that somebody else will.

This post has been edited by gpstr: Apr 5 2015, 09:13 PM
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haute ecole rider
post Apr 6 2015, 12:48 AM
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After sitting down and reading through the last several posts, I have to agree with all the valid points made here.

One thing I hated about both Oblivion and, yes especially, Skyrim, is that one is forced into the MQ. It starts whether we are ready or not. You start Oblivion with Emperor Uriel already dead (well, as good as) and you start Skyrim with Helgen in ruins (or as good as). You need to load up Arthmoor's excellent alternative start mods to have Kvatch before it's ruined, and to have a sky free of dragons, for as long as you want.

I would prefer to see the "MQ" actually be relegated to the same status as the "side quests." Yes, the MQ would give us the primary reason for buying or playing the game, but it should not start until we are ready to start it.

A TES VI game that would be linear and "Failure is not an option" in style would be the basic game. Then the DLC's would be the ones to give it the RPG flavors. If I brought TES VI alone, it would be just the MQ - mainly just to "beat" the game. Then I would purchase the DLC's to 1. change the trigger for the MQ to be determined by the player, and 2. to provide roleplaying possibilities for those of us who love to role-play and deal with challenges and opportunities presented by different races and, yes, even different genders and ages. A teen Bosmer will have a different skill set than an aged Imperial, for example. What about an adult Nord in the prime of her life versus a wise old Jarl?

A game that combines both Destri's storyline and gpstr's suggestions would be totally awesome! I would def get that game (and this is a player who doesn't hang out at Game Stop or even play anything other than TES IV and V, except maybe the occasional *gasp* casual game).


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Winter Wolf
post Apr 6 2015, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE(gpstr @ Apr 5 2015, 08:56 PM) *

Well... I have to say that I couldn't care less what D&D allows or doesn't allow


Why is that? All games that aim to be fantasy role-play had their origin in table top RPG's. Most of the head of the game designing departments are in there mid to late 40's and all would have grown up in that Tolkien and D&D world. We would have none of the ideas like race, attributes, leveling or character class without it, and it it is crazy for Beth to throw game role-play out of the window just because it is a single player game where they want you to do everything.

I am reading 'Magician' at the moment, a book that came out in 1982 and I am staggered at the amount of ideas tha Elder Scrolls stole from it. The game world we see today is built on the past, whether we like it or not.

I do agree with the mass market problem. I would love to play characters that are built around a character class and are forced to have multiple characters to experience the whole game element. And they would have unique quests with real meaning, not just the jack-of-all trades experience that gaming is today.

This post has been edited by Winter Wolf: Apr 6 2015, 01:02 AM


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Acadian
post Apr 6 2015, 01:09 AM
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I will say that I like TES better than D&D when it comes to 'classes'.

In TES, all options are open. Buffy is extremely focused and specialized, but her skillset is simply not possible in D&D. Her focus is stealthy bow +magic. In my mind, those skills require quite a bit of dedicated focus and her 'price' is that she has no ability with armor or melee, and even her magic is poor at classic slinging fire/ice/lightning. I've had a gut full of games with 'classes' that say if you touch magic, then a bow or sneaking is off limits and that if you pick up a bow, you must back it up with light armor and a sword. Ugh.

I want all the skill options to be available and am perfectly happy setting and building my own class limitations rather than having them dictated by game developers.

Heh, I just want TES to get the obtrusive quests outta my face. wink.gif


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gpstr
post Apr 6 2015, 03:17 AM
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@haute ecole rider - I just have to say that I DETEST Arthmoor's Alternative Start. I used it on one character with whom I had no intention of playing the MQ and ended up essentially forced into it when the old guy showed up and forced a note onto him, then turned the guilt screws on him to get him to go to the prison. With the way that Arthmoor handled that whole process, it was literally impossible to entirely avoid the MQ and essentially impossible for any reasonably decent character to even turn it down. That mod actually puts even MORE pressure on the character to do the MQ than the vanilla game does. I think it's a terrible mod and I wish I'd never used it - it ruined that character.

That out of my system biggrin.gif - I like the idea of a linear "main quest" main game and roleplaying DLC. It's sort of a shame to consider having to buy additional content just to get an RPG, but at this point, that might be the only option (other than an indie game). As I've noted, there's just no way that mainstream publishers are going to put out a complex and nuanced game - they have to be guaranteed a profit, and the only thing that's guaranteed to be profitable at that level is failure is not an option vanilla with a coating of flash and dazzle.

@Winter Wolf - D&D is just one approach to roleplaying. I certainly don't want to see something as innately creative as roleplaying constrained to the standards that were set by one form of it, no matter what that one form might be. By its very nature, roleplaying is virtually unlimited. I see nothing to be gained by imposing traditionalist limitations on it - by, for instance, barring "mages" from using "armor" because that's what D&D did. The only things I care about as far as anything like that goes are variety, balance and internal logic. I couldn't care less what the specifics are, just so long as the reality that's being created is internally consistent and amenable to a variety of effective characters.

@Acadian - I agree wholeheartedly. I have no problem at all with some manner of limitations - with the sorts of things you've done with Buffy - because those make sense to me. By their nature, characters who specialize, and particularly characters who specialize in difficult fields, should have limited abilities in other fields if for no other reason than just because they don't have the time and energy left over to dedicate enough effort to those other fields to get good at them too. But the idea that there's some sort of force that somehow entirely prevents a character from one "class" from even being able to handle a weapon or item that's somehow designated for some other "class" just makes no sense at all to me.
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Winter Wolf
post Apr 6 2015, 11:17 AM
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I guess the problem that I see is that I can play an archer character with illusion support or an Illusionist mage with a back up bow and in ES they are exactly the same. That is madness! There is no advantage or penalty for playing either way and we end up with the exact same character. And the difference between a jack-of-all-trades character and a mystic archer is a lot smaller than you might think. It really just comes down to how many hours I choose to play like Buffy over the whole length of the time I play the character.

The correct way to role play is through character classes and not through self-limiting means that the game system provides. Education and profession should always be the determining factor in deciding who our character is, whether fantasy, real world or sci-fi.

It is a shame that Beth sees character classes, attributes, magic schools and specialization as too much work to put into the game. Look how horrible they designed the intro of Oblivion. In fact it was so bad they still had to put a custom class option in the game! And in most cases we had to use it just to fix the broken leveling system...

And what did they do about character classes in Skyrim? Oh yes, they took it out.

How is that an improvement?

No wonder we feel that Skyrim is 100 miles wide and one inch deep.

Good luck with Elder Scrolls VI and your 'freedom' gameplay.

This post has been edited by Winter Wolf: Apr 6 2015, 12:38 PM


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SubRosa
post Apr 6 2015, 06:50 PM
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Long before my days of computer gaming, I played pen and paper RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons included. That was back when it came in two flavors, Basic and Advanced. TBH, I think it is one of the poorest RPGs ever made. It was just the most well known RPG, and so I think it acted like a gateway drug for many gamers like myself, who moved on to better games, like Shadowrun, or the Champions/Fuzion/Hero system, Call of Cthulhu, or Marvel Superheros. The 3rd edition ruleset of D&D is a big improvement over how it was in the past. But it still lags far behind the other games out there, especially with magicians.

One of the things I always disliked about D&D was the class system. Because real people don't always fall into narrow little boxes, especially ones made by someone else. Even with multi/dual classing it could be difficult to shoehorn a character idea into what classes a game provides. Knights of the Old Republic was like that. Why couldn't a play a Jedi who was good with a lightsaber and at using computers? Nope, only a Jedi Consular can fix machines. nono.gif I have always found games that allow you to define your character how you want - by picking your attributes, skills, and so forth - were much better. Because it is my character after all. Why should some guy sitting in an office dictate to me what she can or cannot do?

However, some games that have classes allow people to create their own, which I never had a problem with. Because you could define your character however you wanted. Shadowrun was like that with its templates. Basically it was a set of stats, skills, gear, and so forth you started with. When you created a character you could use a ready made template like a Street Samurai (who was all into combat skills, physical attributes, and cyberware), or you could make your own template using the rules they provided for how to assign skill points, attributes, and so on. Once you started playing the templates no longer mattered, as you could invest your experience points in raising any skill or attribute you wanted. But just as gpstr noted, you could not raise everything with the limited points you had. You had to pick and choose what your character's strong suits would be. That kind of game I love. Like the Fallout games, where you choose your attribute points, and then pick 3 tag skills. Then you take whatever perks and raise whatever skills you want every time you level up.

One of Skyrim's biggest weaknesses is not the lack of classes. It is the lack of ways it offers to define your character at the start of the game. The lack of attributes is far more glaring here. But even working within the game as it is, they could have allowed you to give your starting character extra points to either Health, Stamina, or Magicka. They could have given the option to start with one or more Perks. They could have allowed you to have a 5 or 10 point bonus to half a dozen skills. They could have allowed you to start with a Standing Stone Power, or choose from a list of Novice spells. All of these things would have gone a huge way to defining a unique character at the start of the game. Coincidentally, these are all of the things I do when I create a character for Skyrim, using the console and my own modded starting room. None of my characters in Skyrim ever start the game alike.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Apr 8 2015, 08:14 PM


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ghastley
post Apr 6 2015, 07:17 PM
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Good point about the "unallocated points at startup". Most of the D&D games let you re-roll until you get an attribute balance you like, so why not just give you a set of points to distribute?



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gpstr
post Apr 6 2015, 07:32 PM
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It's a fact of life, and thus of a roleplayed life, that not only do people have inclinations and aptitudes, but time and energy are finite things. Not only are people inclined to be more skilled at one or another thing, but they only have a limited amount of time and energy to invest into doing things, and which things they choose to do will have a great impact on how skilled they are at one or another thing.

It's not necessary that a roleplayed character be constrained by a set of little boxes first outlined by Gary Gygax 40 years ago. It's only necessary that they be constrained by inclination, by aptitude and by the finite nature of time and energy.

The first - inclination - is, or at least should be, entirely within the hands of the player. If the player decides that the character is inclined to do this and not do that, then so be it. It's certainly possible for a player to choose an inclination that makes no sense within the context of the character, but in my opinion, that's just really the way it goes. I don't believe that that choice should ever be denied the player, and I really have no idea why anyone would wish to deny players that choice. It's not necessary to playing balanced characters, since balance is achieved through other means anyway, and it's certainly not rewarding for a player to be told that s/he is not allowed to choose this and must choose that instead, so I see nothing to be gained by even attempting to constrain it.

The second - aptitude - should be within the hands of the player, just so that players can play the characters they want to play, but it has to be constrained in some manner, just because there are natural limits to aptitude. And yeah - I think that being able to distribute points between a range of "attributes" is the best way to do that. If it's a game with different races and genders, as most are (and as TES is), then I think there should be different ranges for different attributes between the different races and genders (so that, for instance, the strongest Altmer still won't be as strong as the strongest Orc), but the actual distribution of the starting points should be entirely within the hands of the player. Balance is maintained by having a pool of available points to work out of, so that any notable increase in one attribute can only be at the expense of another. And as SubRosa notes, this is the place where Skyrim fails utterly, and that failure is in fact the biggest reason that I simply refused to give Beth my money for that product. Whether simply in order to save themselves the time and expense of devising and coding a workable attribute system or to save casual gamers the risk of picking a "bad" set of aptitudes, or, as I suspect, a little of both, they simply eliminated that whole aspect of character creation entirely.

The rest - necessarily finite time and energy - is actually the easy part to do, though it's potentially difficult to do it right. All it requires is some sort of skill/experience/level/etc. progression, and all that really does is scale the game time to the time the player will spend playing it. The amount of time the character will be able to invest in pursuing one or another skill is already constrained by the fact that the player can only spend a finite amount of time playing. So it's really just a matter of scaling the two well and matching them up with a workable growth curve. That's something that Daggerfall and Morrowind both did pretty well. Vanilla Oblivion is only so-so - the growth curve is a bit too steep to make for a good, lasting game - the time from being a beginner to being uber is too short. But with a bit of careful major-choosing, it's possible to get the curve down to a more comfortable pace. I have no idea how it is in Skyrim.

So...as far as this specific aspect of all that goes, that's my ultimate RPG - wholly unconstrained ability for the player to pursue whatever inclinations s/he might prefer, but with the actual results of that pursuit being reasonably constrained by the aptitudes of the character and the time and energy spent pursuing them. I see absolutely nothing to be gained by creating some predefined set of arbitrary constraints when all the constraint that's necessary to play believably limited characters can be handled otherwise.

As but one example - my Breton spellsword Lydia. Lydia wanted to be a swordfighter. That was her inclination. Nobody told her she couldn't be - there was no "class" designation that prevented her from doing it - that's what she wanted to be, so that's what she pursued. And it was a hellacious struggle. She had terrible strength and terrible blade skill and could barely manage to survive at all. Grudgingly, she had to shift to using magic a fair bit early on, which was easy enough for her, since she had a racial predisposition to it. And again, there was no arbitrary constraint that said she couldn't do that either. All there was was the fact that she knew that the time and energy she spent casting spells was time and energy she didn't spend swinging a sword, and thus was just that much further from her goal of being able to swing a sword. So she tried to limit her magic use, just so that she could keep gaining skill with a sword, so that she could do what she wanted to do in the first place. And so she kept plugging away at gaining skill with a sword and filling in the gaps with magic, and finally reached the point at which she could make it through the world without having to use magic at all, just relying on her sword skill. She was a great challenge to play, and ultimately a very rewarding character.

That's all the constraint that's necessary to create a believable and interesting character, and it existed not because of some predefined box into which she was stuck at the beginning of the game, but simply because she started out with a particular set of aptitudes and a particular set of inclinations, and invested a particular amount of time and energy into pursuing those inclinations. That's all that's necessary and all I want (as far as that particular aspect of a game goes).

This post has been edited by gpstr: Apr 6 2015, 09:19 PM
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Winter Wolf
post Apr 7 2015, 11:24 AM
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QUOTE(gpstr @ Apr 6 2015, 07:32 PM) *

I have no idea how it is in Skyrim.


That's all the constraint that's necessary to create a believable and interesting character, and it existed not because of some predefined box into which she was stuck at the beginning of the game, but simply because she started out with a particular set of aptitudes and a particular set of inclinations, and invested a particular amount of time and energy into pursuing those inclinations. That's all that's necessary and all I want (as far as that particular aspect of a game goes).


Skyrim actually did the leveling far better than Oblivion, in terms that the game speed of inclination matches the output to achieve the results. In Oblivion every skill leveled at a different pace and if you chose the wrong matching majors then you were in big trouble (as you know).

The problem with your second paragraph is that we could both play opposing characters with different inclinations and yet end up at the same place after 50 levels. ES does not have the scope through only adding attributes to the mix at the beginning to fix that. After 50 levels the game will simply flatten out to the uniform boorishness that ES always becomes.

QUOTE
One of Skyrim's biggest weaknesses is not the lack of classes. It is the lack of ways it offers to define your character at the start of the game.


Okay. These are my thoughts.

First- Bring back character classes. After all, how can you play a role without any role to play. Simple right? As I said above simply adding attributes will not address the leveling out that happens over the journey of a Beth game. Changing the beginning will not change the end. Try playing 300 hours of Fallout 3 and then see how different our characters turn out. I doubt they will be any different.

Second- Scrap the silly start-in-the-jail idea. That is nothing but lazy game design. So typical of Todd and his team and those who accept it.

All characters should start at 0 level and be involved in apprentice/training in their chosen profession. Join the parade ground in the Imperial Legion, work for a local footpad thief, go to class in the Arcane University, etc. Room should be allowed to achieve honors or be a trickster like Maxical, it all depends how you wish to play it.

Guild Quests should only be open to those of that profession. However, if a warrior class wanted to join the Dark Brotherhood there should be ramifications for doing so. Perhaps they insist that you murder one of your colleagues to prove your worth and the Legion becomes very annoyed as a result.

Cause and Effect.

And if you wanted to abandon your apprenticeship then that is okay as well. But that would mean you miss out on the specialization perks or attributes that belong to that profession. This is where you would simply add the points at the start of the game. I say make those adding points meaningful.

Perhaps skill caps at 80 for those who run away and later on they must make a costly visit to a master trainer to get that skill up to 100. Just like real life where if you skip school you pay the price later on.

Multi-class skill sets (Mystic Archer) would be allowed for combat, but there must be a penalty for doing so. Buffy should not be allowed to achieve the same level in archery that a specialist would get to. Sorry folks, but that has always been the rules of multi-class. In the same way the highest level spells should only be available to those who specialize.

That is one thing of many that role play should be. Do I specialize or multi-class. This do-anything-I-want attitude of ES is ridiculous.

Spellmaking and Enchanting should be in the game, but I would only allow the mage class to access it. Warrior and Sneak class would either have to pay for the service or find better weapons and equipment then is currently found in standard ES game, helping them keep up to speed. While playing a mage the said weapons would not appear, thereby depriving them the advantage.

I would bring back attributes, gender differences and also consider personality traits and likes/dislikes. Anything to brake up this boring same pot that Beth forces us into. I would scrap health regeneration and bring back armor and weapon degrading. I love using repair hammers!

Lockpick and Security needs to go back to the way it was before. I loved the auto attempt feature which made the character play the game instead of me. And the Open Lock spells must make a return. A mage using picks is wrong on so many levels.

Role play should always be about choice, variety and cause/effect. It is far deeper than simply adding attributes back into the game.

Marriage and Adoption is a complete waste of time and serves no purpose. Instead I would put effort in putting retirement into the game. Perhaps each time you start a new game the system asks you if would like to retire the last character. If you choose 'yes' one of the in-game homes is taken out of action and your character lives out their life there. A good aligned character can be spoken to with dialogue options, an evil character will be more reserved. And you might even see them around town when you visit.

All quests would reset with the new character and if you wanted to keep playing that old guy you could still reload an earlier save.

I haven't even looked at fixing the Main Quest story writing to suit an evil character or those abysmal fetch and carry quests that Beth love to use. But it is not hard.

Of course, if Elder Scrolls is not a RPG and is nothing more than a exploring and collecting game, then just leave it as it is!

Oh, and gpstr, you will probably find that a spin off series will certainly work. If for no other reason the it will now be a 10 year wait between ES games. Five years to Fallout and another five to the ES.

I cannot see that happening, at least in the long term. Beth Game Studios will break into two companies, one to build each game. So you might get a different direction yet!

This post has been edited by Winter Wolf: Apr 7 2015, 11:55 AM


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gpstr
post Apr 7 2015, 04:17 PM
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QUOTE(Winter Wolf @ Apr 7 2015, 04:24 AM) *

The problem with your second paragraph is that we could both play opposing characters with different inclinations and yet end up at the same place after 50 levels. ES does not have the scope through only adding attributes to the mix at the beginning to fix that. After 50 levels the game will simply flatten out to the uniform boorishness that ES always becomes.
The game flattens out later because all the races and genders have the same maximums. It flattens out because an Altmer with maximum strength is exactly as strong as an Orc with maximum strength, which is exactly why I've said, more than once, that the races should have different maximums.

QUOTE
First- Bring back character classes. After all, how can you play a role without any role to play. Simple right?
I don't need classes to play a role. I have no idea why you think I do.

Read this post: my characters. Every one of those is a role. Every one of those is a rich and detailed character with strengths and weaknesses and virtues and faults and things they're good at and things they're not good at. All of them are roles. None of them are classes.

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Multi-class skill sets (Mystic Archer) would be allowed for combat, but there must be a penalty for doing so. Buffy should not be allowed to achieve the same level in archery that a specialist would get to.
It's not necessary to "allow" or "not allow" that. I addressed that in my last post - it's just a function of time. Even in Oblivion, even with its balky leveling system, those penalties already exist, simply because every single moment that your character spends doing one thing is a moment that s/he doesn't spend doing another.

One of my characters on that list - Jibran - is a swordsman. That's all he is. He uses no magic and no bow - he has no ranged attacks at all. The only thing he's ever done in combat is swing a blade. That's it. And consequently, he's far and away the best melee fighter I play. He leaves everyone else in the dust, just because while they've been gaining skill in a bit of this and a bit of that, he's been gaining skill in blade and only blade.

Now - if I kept playing characters long enough, they'd all catch up to him sooner or later, and if I played with a vanilla style build, it'd be sooner rather than later. But that's because the system in Oblivion is poorly designed - because skill progress happens too fast. If the system had been designed better - if it hadn't been designed to accommodate people who just want to be uber in a few hours - then no other character could ever catch up to him, just because they'd still be splitting their time between different things while he'd still be investing all of his time solely into the blade.

You're right that specialists should end up more skilled than hybrids. The place where you're wrong is your insistence that there has to be some sort of arbitrary rule that decrees that. If the game is designed well, then that takes care of itself, and that's as it should be.

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Sorry folks, but that has always been the rules of multi-class.
Again, I could not possibly care less what has or has not "always been the rules."

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Role play should always be about choice, variety and cause/effect.
Yes - it should - and that's exactly why I detest the sort of rules you're demanding.

Yes - there has to be cause and effect and there have to be advantages and disadvantages and benefits and penalties, but for a fulfilling game, and specifically in order to allow the "choice" that YOU have just advocated, that cause and effect and those advantages and disadvantages and bonuses and penalties need to be worked into the game organically - NOT just slapped on top as arbitrary rules.

Here's a Sufi proverb that's exactly on topic:

"In the desert, there is no sign that says 'thou shalt not eat stones.'"

You seem to think that such a sign is necessary. I say that all that's necessary is to design a game that's balanced and accurate enough that, just as in reality, it takes care of itself. And then, if I decide I want to play a character who eats stones, I'll play a character who eats stones. And s/he will suffer the natural consequences. That's what I want. What I don't want - what I resent with every fiber of my being - is someone else decreeing that I am not to be allowed to do that at all.

This post has been edited by gpstr: Apr 7 2015, 05:15 PM
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Burnt Sierra
post Apr 7 2015, 06:28 PM
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QUOTE(gpstr @ Apr 7 2015, 04:17 PM) *

I say that all that's necessary is to design a game that's balanced and accurate enough that, just as in reality, it takes care of itself. And then, if I decide I want to play a character who eats stones, I'll play a character who eats stones. And s/he will suffer the natural consequences. That's what I want.


I think everyone would like that to be honest, after all, everybody here is a fan of role playing games. Emphasis on role playing. The closest game I ever played to what your suggesting was probably Fallout 2, back in ye olden days of choices and ideas over incredibly pretty graphics (hell, not even that ye olden, less than 20 years ago). Now, the emphasis is on real time action. unsure.gif Which I guess is what most people want. Not me, but I'm not the target demographic these days.

Maybe one day... Hopefully...
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mALX
post Apr 7 2015, 07:28 PM
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QUOTE(Burnt Sierra @ Apr 7 2015, 01:28 PM) *

QUOTE(gpstr @ Apr 7 2015, 04:17 PM) *

I say that all that's necessary is to design a game that's balanced and accurate enough that, just as in reality, it takes care of itself. And then, if I decide I want to play a character who eats stones, I'll play a character who eats stones. And s/he will suffer the natural consequences. That's what I want.


I think everyone would like that to be honest, after all, everybody here is a fan of role playing games. Emphasis on role playing. The closest game I ever played to what your suggesting was probably Fallout 2, back in ye olden days of choices and ideas over incredibly pretty graphics (hell, not even that ye olden, less than 20 years ago). Now, the emphasis is on real time action. unsure.gif Which I guess is what most people want. Not me, but I'm not the target demographic these days.

Maybe one day... Hopefully...



I've fallen off the demographics target too, but I kind of took myself out of even attempting after seeing Skyrim.

If it was an example of the future of TES, I didn't want to keep following it down that direction it was heading. I agree with you that the trend is moving away from freedom/autonomy/and choice and without these it suffocates roleplay.





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Destri Melarg
post Apr 7 2015, 11:04 PM
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My two cents:
QUOTE(Winter Wolf @ Apr 4 2015, 11:38 PM) *

It has been years since I considered ES a role play game. Can I play a pirate and raid ships off the coast of Anvil? Or perhaps a guard that uses corruption to work my way up the Imperial ladder? Or join the fishing guild the works off the northern coast of Skyrim? Or join the Talon Merc or Enclave?

Yet it remains a 'role play' game. It may not be the role you want, but Bethesda does give you a role to play. Hell, they even force the role upon you. You are Dovahkiin, and it is up to you, as the role-player, to decide what that means in your particular play through.

'Rosa mentioned Mass Effect earlier and I think that's a perfect example of a game that is basically on rails in the sense that you have no freedom at all in the ways in which you proceed, yet it still provides a deeply satisfying (well, to me at least) role-playing experience.

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The whole rule book for role play has been thrown out the window in this new era of fantasy games.

How can you argue for more freedom while lamenting the fact that the game doesn't follow a rule book? wink.gif

QUOTE(gpstr @ Apr 5 2015, 12:56 PM) *

QUOTE(Winter Wolf @ Apr 5 2015, 12:38 AM) *

It is the character design at the start of each ES game that is the most worrying trend of all. Beast race, Human, Mer, there is no difference now...
That, along with the elimination of attributes, is the biggest reason that I decided long ago that I simply was not going to give Beth any of my money in exchange for that product.

To each his own. Personally, I find this to be a trend worthy of applause. Taking attributes out of the game works when those attributes become a hinderance. gpstr's argument that the strongest Altmer should never be as strong as the strongest Orc insinuates that the argument works for the other attributes as well. To say that my Orc can't be as charming as an Imperial or my Redguard can never be as smart as a Breton is simply ridiculous (not to mention the fact that it comes close to being insulting). Such constraints on character are exactly the opposite to the freedom we all claim to want. I would love to see attributes return, but only if those attributes can be chosen as they are in the Fallout series. Then one of the previous mentioned constraints can serve your role-play by giving your Orc/Redguard something to perpetually fight to overcome. However, that decision should come from the player. It should not be a mechanic built within the game.


QUOTE(haute ecole rider @ Apr 5 2015, 04:48 PM) *

I would prefer to see the "MQ" actually be relegated to the same status as the "side quests." Yes, the MQ would give us the primary reason for buying or playing the game, but it should not start until we are ready to start it.

I second this whole-heartedly (as does Acadian, I suspect)!

Speaking of our esteemed GM… it behooves all of us to take as example what Acadian has managed to do with Buffy. Sure, there are mental gymnastics required to achieve it, but he has managed to create a character who would be any role-players dream within the so-called limitations of Skyrim’s character/leveling system.

QUOTE(SubRosa @ Apr 6 2015, 10:50 AM) *

One of the things I always disliked about D&D was the class system. Because real people don't always fall into narrow little boxes, especially ones made my someone else. Even with multi/dual classing it could be difficult to shoehorn a character idea into what classes a game provides. Knights of the Old Republic was like that. Why couldn't a play a Jedi who was good with a lightsaber and at using computers? Nope, only a Jedi Consular can fix machines. nono.gif I have always found games that allow you to define your character how you want - by picking your attributes, skills, and so forth - were much better. Because it is my character after all. Why should some guy sitting in an office dictate to me what she can or cannot do?

This is exactly the problem I had with the old class system!

QUOTE
One of Skyrim's biggest weaknesses is not the lack of classes. It is the lack of ways it offers to define your character at the start of the game. The lack of attributes is far more glaring here. But even working within the game as it is, they could have allowed you to give your starting character extra points to either Health, Stamina, or Magicka. They could have given the option to start with one or more Perks. They could have allowed you to have a 5 or 10 point bonus to half a dozen skills. They could have allowed you to start with a Standing Stone Power, or choose from a list of Novice spells. All of these things would have gone a huge way to defining a unique character at the start of the game. Coincidentally, these are all of the things I do when I create a character for Skyrim, using the console and my own modded starting room. None of my characters in Skyrim ever start the game alike.

This seems like an empty gripe when you consider that the game does give each race a starting bonus to half a dozen skills, and everything else you want can be addressed within a few minutes/hours of leaving Helgen Keep. In a game that encompasses as many hours as Skyrim that isn't a deal breaker IMHO.

I can't believe that I (of all people) am the devil's advocate in this thread. embarrased.gif


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Winter Wolf
post Apr 8 2015, 11:14 AM
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QUOTE
It flattens out because an Altmer with maximum strength is exactly as strong as an Orc with maximum strength, which is exactly why I've said, more than once, that the races should have different maximums.

I like this idea and will certainly love to see it incorporated into future design. However, it still doesn't address the problem that happens with skill as it raises.

The game as it currently stands is a spreadsheet of values where you gain by everything that you do. The problem of that is that the level cap of Beth/Obsidian games has increased dramatically in recent years. Look at where it has gone- from 30 to 50 and now to 100+ with Legendary Skyrim.

Now what that means is that to reach that cap you will need to lift all skills to even get close to reaching a high level. And this is the key- what will happen if Bethesda decides to only unlock items (enemies or equipment) at a very high level, say 50, or 80 or even 90th level. And what if half the quests in the game have a level cap?

On Oblivion we were lucky that everything unlocked by around level 25, but what would have if Beth had designed it that everything unlocked at level 40?

My way of thinking is that a Warrior class should only receive a skill increase if he used the skill that was connected to his class. He should not receive an increase for using lockpick, or backstab or destruction magic, things that don't belong to his class. I would never advocate a rule that said, only a certain class can do a certain thing. Sure use that magic spell or backstab, but it means nothing to the level progression of the warrior.

And then all the equipment, bonuses, perks, quests, whatever, could be tailored to suit each respective class. Without having character classes Beth has no idea what we are going to do and so cannot design a game that has any proper merit or level design progression. By the time we reach anywhere near the level cap every character is uniform and boringly the same. The problem is far worse than just saying, make each race unique and have different attributes.

QUOTE
Read this post: my characters. Every one of those is a role. Every one of those is a rich and detailed character with strengths and weaknesses and virtues and faults and things they're good at and things they're not good at. All of them are roles. None of them are classes.

That is certainly an impressive list. But I fail to see how having classes would ruin that list? Character classes would be connected to skill and character leveling, not to things like personality traits.

QUOTE
Again, I could not possibly care less what has or has not "always been the rules."

The reason you say that is because you don't care for character classes. I get that. But a game that had character classes in it would certainly have to care about the implementation. Sorry, but I thought we were discussing 'the ultimate TES game'? Perhaps not.

QUOTE
What I don't want - what I resent with every fiber of my being - is someone else decreeing that I am not to be allowed to do that at all.

What are you getting so worked up about? I understand your passion for RPG but not why you think that I am forcing anything on you? If I was saying 'you', it would mean, 'you, the player,' not you, gpstr.'

Anyway, I was responding to a quote from SubRosa in my last post, Hence, the quote tag. SubRosa and I have discussed Fallout many times and the whole post flowed from there. Why would I mention 300 hours of Fallout to you?

This post has been edited by Winter Wolf: Apr 8 2015, 12:12 PM


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SubRosa
post Apr 8 2015, 05:48 PM
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QUOTE(Destri Melarg @ Apr 7 2015, 06:04 PM) *

This seems like an empty gripe when you consider that the game does give each race a starting bonus to half a dozen skills, and everything else you want can be addressed within a few minutes/hours of leaving Helgen Keep. In a game that encompasses as many hours as Skyrim that isn't a deal breaker IMHO.

The trouble there is that every member of each race is an exact duplicate. Apparently there are factories out there rolling out elves, humans, orcs, etc..., since we all start out with the factory-standard model. That would explain why the children all look the same... I find it very un-i... (sorry Renee, but here comes the 'I' word) immersive.

But more than that, the bonuses they give the races rarely match up with who my character is at the start of the game. The characters I create are people, with their own personalities, histories, and stories. Not toons I roll to beat the game with (Ph3R M3 n00Bs!). Because of that I could work past the inability to customize my stats at the start of the game. I play a person, not a bunch of statistics. However, it makes it difficult to do that working past, precisely because what my character can or cannot do from the very first moment in the game does not match who that character is in my head. For example, one of my earlier characters was Hera, who was an Altmer barbarian. She was raised from childhood in the wilds by a Nord mountain man named Alp, and was a truer True Nord™ than any Nord could be. So she was supposed to be practiced with two-handed weapons, armor, and so forth. The things her 'uncle' Alp taught her from childhood. She wasn't supposed to know the first thing about Illusion, or Enchanting, or Alteration, and so on. Yet she started with Two-Handed at 15, and Illusion at 25. WTF? The Illusion I could ignore, since I would never use that. But the 15 in her main weapon skill made those earlier levels more difficult than they should have been for someone with her proclivities and background. Because of experiences like that, I now use the console and creation kit to tailor make every one of my characters.

So I really don't want a blank slate to begin the game with. Nor one that is exactly like what some guy sitting in the DC suburbs thinks every elf is supposed to be like. I want to think about who my characters are as people, what they like, don't like, can do, don't want to do, and so forth. I spend days, sometimes weeks, just figuring out what they will wear (take a look at some of my character cosplay topics in the Fan Art forum, I have three separate topic for just one character's outfits). In the end (or should I say at the start?) I want the character I play to fit that vision in my head, right from the get go. I shouldn't have to wait until 5 hours into the game to be able to play the character the way I envisioned them being at the start of the game.

This post has been edited by SubRosa: Apr 8 2015, 06:21 PM


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Callidus Thorn
post Apr 8 2015, 05:49 PM
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I have to say, I agree with a lot of what gpstr's posted. And it's always nice to see someone else who refused to buy Skyrim biggrin.gif

Personally, I think for classes we need something of a hybrid: The setup from the older TES games, pick your skills, favoured attributes, and specialisation at the start, and from then on all your skills count towards your leveling. It would have to be combined with something like nGCD of course, to handle attribute growth, perhaps set up to give smaller attribute gains from minor skills.


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