How long should it take from pressing "Start Game" to player's first battle?

Basileus

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@Eschaton
I would say combat is about 1/3 of the core gameplay of a JRPG. It's a genre that's heavier on story than others and interactions with NPCs are also important since that's how you get most of the world-building and sidequests. There's also the exploration aspect with many JRPGs rewarding players for looking around more and finding secrets, whether it's Final Fantasy games hiding loot through secret passages or games that give exp for finding new locations or points of interest.

A player shouldn't be spending more than around 1/3 of their time in combat unless your game doesn't have other systems to interact with or is weak on story and replacing it with lengthy grinding requirements to stretch out story segments. If you are able to make a fun and interactive town, then there is no reason the player can't spend 10-20 minutes exploring and having fun before heading out to fight.

Again, it all depends on the needs of the story/experience. If it's combat-heavy then you can plop the player into battle ASAP if you feel that is best. But if the balance weighs stronger on the narrative/exploration side then open with a good story scene or a fun place to explore. If you have a non-combat mechanic that is really important then it would also be better to introduce that first and delay the combat part a bit.
 

SwiftSign

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There’s more to a game than just combat :) as long as the first parts of a game are interesting and capivating I don’t mind waiting for combat.

In fact, I hate those “unwinnable” matches that start games sometime. What’s the point playing a fight I can’t win?
 

SOC

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In fact, I hate those “unwinnable” matches that start games sometime. What’s the point playing a fight I can’t win?
There are a lot of points. Showing off the battle system, not placing expectations on a new player unfamiliar with the battle system, using it as a powerful storytelling device, making the player use different parts of their brain than just following a story, allowing the player to have more interaction with the game and world... just to name a few.
 

coyotecraft

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@Kes
A battle is one of the simplest methods that simultaneously offers narrative potential (to the developer's advantage) and gets the player on the road to character advancement without challenging their patience. It's the ideal design solution.

@Basileus
I'm not sure what I said that gave you the impression that I was defining an RPG. I'm confident you understand the rules of play, but there's a practical side of this that you're missing. Theoretically, the system could lie dormant for as long as you choose. But while it's in that fixed state the dynamics of it can't be observed, and one could argue that it's not using the system at all.
I don't know if you've played Final Fantasy 13, but it's the perfect example of what I'm talking about. Because it too starts off right away with "battles" but it only looks like an RPG. For the first hour of the game the player doesn't receive any points. Battles are pointless except for 1 area that has an item drop. The only thing the player can really do is advance the story. That's a story objective not a game objective.
I realize the language we use makes that difficult to understand. It's easier to distinguish "a story" from "the book" and that discussing format is a matter dealing with "the book". Printing words on separate pages would be poor book design, not storytelling. But changing the media to games, people conflate the two aspects; "a game" and "the game" become confused.

Some board games make it a rule that players have to roll a 1 or a 6 before they can get on the board. That's a rule of the game, not of board games (genre). Concerning the rules of play, that beginning instance of gameplay rolling dice, can't be classified as a "board game" because you're not on the board yet. It's not gambling because they have nothing to lose. And there's no skill or decision making. The only thing that makes that instance a "game" is the objective to gain the advantage over the opponent; not because it's a "rule" of the game. You can't just make rules and call it a game, see?
The probability of getting on the board isn't that bad. It might take a few turns, a dozen at most, but you'll eventually get on the board. But by tweaking the design of the board or replacing the 6D with a something, you're fundamentally changing the point of the game. Skewing the advantage the players think they are playing for. You "technically" haven't changed the rules. But taken to it's extreme, the advantage of the beginning roll can become negligible, or be so off balance that getting on the board first might as well call the winner.

It's not the "battles" that should start the game, it's the "gameplay" that should start that game. And oh boy, if you think walking around, exploring, interacting with things is "gameplay" like many people here seem think, you and they would be wrong. That's "playing" the "game", as in "reading" the "book". Which is different from playing "a game" in the same sense that your reading "a story."
Going through the motions of the battle system, like how Final Fantasy 13 starts out, isn't "a game" because they player isn't playing for anything! So it's not gameplay.

tl;dr version:
This topic is a matter of format. So when I say "put the battles at the start of the game", it's comparable to saying "leave the glossary at the back of the book" and shouldn't have been interpreted as what is or isn't part of a story.
 

Tiamat-86

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1 of my games on rpg fes had the 1st battle before the game actually started.
it was a game that takes place after the legendary heros failed.
it started with them nearing the evil dude. fight took place, but gets horribly slaughter.
it was to give the player a taste of late game combat abilities

then it went to your main character (no connection to the people that died) a few years later just starting out on the farm.
from there the 1st encounter was about 10min later. after getting to know your characters origin, introduction to quests, chance to shop
and meeting your 1st ally. there was a couple things for lore and break down of encounter rate per region but those were entirely optional.

i think the important thing really though is to not force a bunch of mechanic info on the player.
1 maybe 2 tops at the start. the time before 1st encounter should be quick if your not good at grabbing people with the story alone.
but if the story alone is fun and inviting right off the get go i dont mind waiting to fight.
a wall of humorous text that bonds the player to the character beats diving into the combat system for me.
 
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Kes

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It's the ideal design solution.
There is no such thing as "the" ideal solution, unless you are also asserting that every game must follow a rigid pattern, and there must be no allowance for different tastes or preferences, and no difference between e.g. a dungeon crawler and a story-driven game, and no avoidance of clichés (because we must all do the same thing regardless) and... and...

Is that what you are asserting? That no difference between games can possibily justify starting in a different way?

I also think you are presenting us with a false dilemma - either start the game in the manner you prescribe, or do a full hour waffle like FF13. As I have already suggested, presenting false polarities as the basis for a discussion distorts the possibilities to find a productive common ground.
 
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coyotecraft

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eschaton said:
@coyotecraft is half-correct. Combat is the core gameplay of JRPGs. However, @coyotecraft is wrong in the sense that combat doesn't need to be the only method of conflict resolution.

Ok, I think I see what's going on here. In my first post I mentioned conflict in regard to how the story could contextualize battles from the beginning.
My second post, which was a response to you, was a different rationalization from the standpoint of the game's genre.

@Kes The Topic implicates that battles exist. I don't know what you're going on about with tastes and preferences because all that is subordinate to functionality. I mean if you had to put doorways in a house, you'd logically have one leading outside. 'Cause that's practical and would otherwise challenge the notion of it being an actual house and not something else like a tomb. A door on the floor that opened to nowhere wouldn't be an actual door. We'd still call it a door, only because it resembles the idea of a door. A door that works is "ideal". Unless you're bats-in-the-belfry crazy, you can't possibly believe that every pattern is a viable one. So yeah. Ideals exist.
 

Kes

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@coyotecraft I shall assume that the remark at being bats-in-the-belfry-crazy was a generalisation.

Again you are falling into the same tactic of trying to 'win' your point with false dilemmas. No one said that every pattern is a viable one. You are producing a typical straw man/aunt Sally. You, however, are insisting that one and only one pattern is viable. That is your opinion, and you clearly have no intention of moving from that. It is your ideal, and context appears to be irrelevant, imagination has no place to come up with variations, we have to run with your personal preference or be forever doomed to mediocrity.

So be it.

I am, though, curious about how you have handled this in your own games, how you have managed to distinguish one from another.
 

Basileus

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I am well aware of the practical side of things you are talking about. However, what is considered practical depends entirely on what you want to achieve. Atmosphere and theme are also important to a game. Your opening should help set the mood you want to go for and/or introduce the themes that the story will focus on. Just because combat happens to be the main mechanic to resolve conflict does not mean it must be introduced within 5 minutes of pressing start.

I briefly mentioned Final Fantasy II in my first post. This begins with combat right away and does a good job of showing how powerful the imperial soldiers are while making sure the player's party gets a round in to see their attacks doing nothing. But the important thing to remember is that this opening doesn't work because it shows the combat system (core gameplay mechanic) straight away. It works because it sets the tone for the game, the hopelessness of fighting the imperial army and the dark tone throughout the story as the empire ravages the world until you acquire the power to stop them.

Persona 4 is very hand-holdy but it's opening is also very effective. We see the town and people we will be spending a LOT of time with, listen to an awesome soundtrack, and encounter the murder mystery the plot will center around. Combat in the dungeons and completing Social Links outside the dungeon are the core mechanics, yet neither are introduced right away. This is because doing so wouldn't fit the theme or the plot. It needs to set up the murder mystery before combat can really begin, and the player needs to have a chance to get to know the future party members before Social Links can begin (not to mention learn what Social Links even are since it's based on a power they didn't have until they came to the new town). The needs of the story outweigh some "ideal" about when to introduce core mechanics.

On that topic: Yes, walking around a location and talking to people and interacting with things is still gameplay. Some of us actually happen to like wandering around talking to people, finding things, and looking at some cool scenery. We are absolutely 100% not wrong to call it gameplay. It's called exploration and it's something we enjoy, something we plays games with cool settings for in the first place.

Marketing 101 - Understand your target demographic. There are different types of players and all of them look for different things, even among people that play the same genres. Exploration, achievement, story, world-building, etc. are all common reasons to play. Focus on what types of players you want to appeal to, or what types of players will be drawn to the story you are going for. If you have a weak plot and the purpose of the game is to feel good for mastering a challenging combat system, then definitely introduce that combat system ASAP since that is what you've spent your time on. If you have an okay/average combat system and put all your effort into story and characters, then do whatever is best for the narrative and don't worry if it delays mechanics like combat since it is not important. Just having a combat system doesn't mean it has to be the most important thing.

Knowing your audience's expectations and desires, and what your game is actually good at (hopefully the part you've spent the most time on) should be what decides the opening minutes of a game.
 

Tai_MT

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Personally, I feel like RPG's that drop me into the middle of combat from the word "go" have no idea how to tell a story.

Look, I need some setup of the world before you toss me into combat. Or, at the very least, the hint that at the end of this combat, important story pieces will be revealed to me. I'm not asking for like an hour long info-dump... But, I personally prefer you set up the scenario for me before you drop me into combat. I'm one of those people that needs a reason to be doing combat. Murder for the sake of murder doesn't engage me. I lack whatever primal motivator exists in most human beings that gives us enjoyment from defeating enemies, killing monsters, or winning a game.

"Oh your village is being burned down at the start of the game and you need to fight the badguys" doesn't tell me anything and serves no other purpose than to be the video game equivalent of "Starting in the middle of the action". It's something sloppy writers often do. Or rather... people who don't know what they're doing. That's not to say it can't be done well. Indeed, it used to be used quite well. But, now everyone and their dog does it, so it's become the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) way of designing a game.

Honestly, I need you to set up the reason why I'm fighting now and why I'll be fighting throughout the rest of the game at the beginning. You need to do that before dropping me into combat.

Really, the only reason to get me into combat as quickly as possible in a video game is if you're running a tutorial on how that combat works in your game and I'll need it for the first boss coming up. Or, maybe your combat works differently than it does in other games of this genre that I may have played. At that point, then yes, throw me into combat fairly quickly and teach me how it works. Unfortunately, most RPG combat is just "bog standard", so there's no reason to get me into it as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I'll do the same thing to your game I do to everyone else's... yawn, mash attack, and keep moving forward in hopes that you've got at the very least a story to keep me interested.

I just prefer a dev spend a little bit of time setting up the world for me. Who am I? Who are these people? What life have I been leading up to this point? What's going on in the world? What are my motivations? Who are my enemies and why? Then, once I've got a solid place to stand on, throw me against some enemies, so that I care about defeating them, and getting to the next bit of the game. Basically, if I have to ask, "why should I care?" to your battle system... you've not explained enough about your world or spent enough time trying to immerse me first. "Who is this knight? Why should I care he wants to kill me and my friends? Am I simply meant to identify with self-preservation? Maybe I hate my friends and fellow villagers. Maybe they're jerks. Maybe I want this knight to train me and I'll join his side! Yeah! I could be somebody! Maybe get a parcel of land to rule over!" If I'm having thoughts like that in your combat system... we've got some problems.

Basically, you should be setting up your game like Far Cry 3 and not like Far Cry 4. Far Cry 3 gives you background on who you are, who your family is, your friends, how you got there, what you were doing, why you came... and how you got captured and possibly sold into slavery. You spend the opening minutes of the game getting explained the story to you, escaping the enemy, not even firing a gun, and having your brother killed. You don't even see combat for the first 30 minutes of the game as it's spending this time immersing you and explaining to you why you want to do combat. Why your character wants to do it. Far Cry 4 tells you that you're traveling back to your mom's home country to deliver her ashes there and you had to sneak into the country... then a guy shows up and captures you... tortures a guy... and you run away. Why? Because he's crazy? Then, you join up with people who were trying to rescue you and your character never once asks why... and you end up working for those people without ever asking why or what's in it for you... As you go along the game, you begin to think that maybe being on the side of these rebels is the worst thing ever, but you can't ever revolt... nor does your character have a reason not to swap sides and work with the villain (because he's literally done nothing to you and was even offering to tell you about your mother in the opening sequence before you ran away). All so you can get into combat within the first 10 minutes of gameplay, even though it's against people you have no reason to be killing (and whom you even hear over the radio simply have orders to capture you and not kill you... these orders only change once you've finished escaping), and readily and easily kill.

You need to set up your world. I need a reason to be slaughtering people and monsters. I need to be firmly grounded in your world before you throw combat at me. Because, frankly, if you don't do that, I'm going to be uninterested in your combat in the first place. Like say... every campaign of Battlefield and Call of Duty there is... where the only reason you're shooting people is because they're shooting at you first.

I need more than that. Because, otherwise, I wonder why I can't just leave and ignore whatever events I've found myself in. "Everyone is trying to kill me for this ring. Eh, they can have it. I'm going to go live out my days on the other side of the planet away from this mess. Let the idiots sort it out themselves." You need to at least establish why I can't run away from this fight you've shoe-horned me into. Why it's necessary for me to engage with your combat. To save the world. To care about saving your world. Preferably in the first 10 minutes of the game BEFORE you've dropped me into combat. But, I'd be willing to wait 30 minutes before combat if you need more set-up and you give me more to work with.
 

trouble time

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Knowing your audience's expectations and desires, and what your game is actually good at (hopefully the part you've spent the most time on) should be what decides the opening minutes of a game.
This is good, this is basically what I would say. You need to know what audience you're trying to hook, the experience you want to present for the game , and create an intro that sells it.
 

onipunk

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I don't see how taking 15-20 minutes to get the player into a battle is a bad thing at all. If you use that time well to set up the world, contextualise the character's place in the world and show the player what kind of role they'll be playing in their role-playing game, I don't see how that's a bad use of time. Surely that's a good use of time, to get the player invested and get them to care about the story you're presenting?

It's interesting that Golden Sun was brought up in the original post as I can't honestly say it's a good example of how to do it well. You're playing a heavily-truncated version of the battle system with no access to the deep class system, the Djinn that govern it, or the Psynergy that's a core element of the game. These are all mechanical lynchpins that create the depth of the game and you don't have access to any of it at that point, and on top of that it's a battle you're designed to lose. It doesn't introduce you to any mechanics of the battle system beyond "attack" or "defend" and what it does in the story could easily have been accomplished in ten seconds of cutscene. This is a situation where it feels like they went "we need some interactivity here", even though the interactivity is a facade of what the battle system actually offers.
 

coyotecraft

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@Basileus You can call it gameplay if you want. But only in a colloquial sense. Gameplay doesn't include EVERYTHING required to play "the game", it's only concerned with the "game". I tried explaining using a book analogy to point out the importance of having a language that distinguish between Object and Subject when discussing forms. Turning the page of a book is a requirement for reading, but it's not the same thing as comprehension. Making the books fontsize large enough to be readable aids in the story comprehension, in theory. It can only be a theory because you can't force people to comprehend.
That's what game theory is all about. It's not a modern invention. You can't force people to play along. Like how @Kes wants to make a debate out of this. If I could "win" by sharing my opinion and understanding of the subject, then I've already done that. Kes' comprehension was never required. Kes wants to play a different game and attempts to get me to persuade people too. But from a game design standpoint it has a weak appeal. The context of this mind game began as a topic about battles. No body needed to convince anyone. Even if Kes' position as a Global Moderator granted the power to change the topic, it doesn't give Kes the power to change the meaning of my posts. Just because Kes says I'm presenting a false dichotomy doesn't mean I am. Regardless of anyone's position, bringing this topic's hypothetical question into reality demands a decision to be made. Kes answered by not answering, asserting that people can do whatever they want. Which validates my reasoning default, Or Kes could have a change of opinion. I don't "win" because I was never playing. Kes doesn't "win" ether because apparent I was suppose to change my mind.

But all of this makes a good metaphor to support my position on the topic. If you look at Kes' disagreement with my statement as a "battle" then the mind game would have had a stronger appeal if it started at the beginning of the topic instead of 8 posts down, after I had already posted twice and could just have easily left before it began. Essentially asking the player (that's me) to make an additional investment after already expending one. I'd call it "The Topic: The Game" for added clarity to my other point that the game exists inside "the game" and that everything else inside "the topic: the game" isn't the game, just part of it.
 

bgillisp

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I think the problem is you are looking at this like there is a right and wrong answer to the question, which there isn't as it depends on how you set things up. As @Tai_MT said, he hates it when games give you battles at the beginning. So does that make his point invalid as he doesn't like RPG's that are set up that way? Everyone likes different things, and some are going to like RPG's with battles early on, and some will like them later on. And some want nothing but battles and wish the characters would just shut up so they could go to the next fight already. Are those opinions invalid?
 

Tai_MT

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@bgillisp All opinions except mine are invalid. Clearly, only I know how to design a video game and everyone else is doing it wrong. CATER TO MY WILL TO HAVE LOTS OF GOOD STORIES AND TONE DOWN MECHANICS! STORIES ARE THE ONLY THING INTERESTING ABOUT RPGS!

Well, okay, even I have to disagree with my own opinion there. I genuinely like building my own character, allocating stats, deciding what my characters are going to be, what classes they will excel in, and getting to roleplay a little myself.

It might be worth noting that I'm interested in Fallout 76 not because it'll have some "compelling story" to muck about with, but because they've massively limited your character builds so that you have to make some important decisions each time you level up. You're going to be unable to do much in the game if you can't pick a few options that are combat oriented either, so combat in the game is going to be somewhat important. So, basically, I'm interested in the game because it's got multiplayer and it revolves very heavily around combat.

I don't necessarily hate it when RPG's have combat at the beginning, but I hate how it's being used. I hate how overdone it is. I hate how nobody is using it for its intended purpose. People are doing it because they think it satisfies some "minimal proof of effort" by "giving the player agency as quickly as possible". Contrary to what a lot of game devs say today, I don't buy into their nonsense of, "you should give players agency as early as possible". Extra Credits had some thing about this a while back and it was on Skyrim. How the opening was "bad". I just kept thinking, "I thought it was pretty good. I'm a prisoner, they're telling me about the Civil War... I'm learning about the Imperial side of things, I'm going to be executed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time... I'm thrust into a situation where I can't do anything to save myself except run and jump, then I have to decide who to go with to try to save my own skin and fight the other faction. The dungeon is the tutorial on my skills and that's when I finally get control and the story being told is over". But, Extra Credits was like, "You don't get any control except to look around with your character on this wagon ride, it's boring and unengaging and blah blah blah". I just kept thinking, "Wow, you guys REALLY hate writers, don't you?". Heck, after I escaped the dungeon, I tried to locate the town again and see the aftermath. I tried to find the route the wagon went down so I could approximate where they might've captured me. It cemented me into the world. But Extra Credits? Oh no, they were upset they had no agency when the game began and had to sit in a wagon, unable to do much beyond listening to people and slowly arrive at their execution.

Some people suffer from "instant gratification syndrome" in which they need to be doing something. Right now. All the time. Because having to think thoughts and fill time between doing things is unbearable. I'm not one of those people. I very much like "lulls" in activity. I very much enjoy having the world set up for me and gradually easing me into all the gameplay. Especially when that storytelling can be interesting and do a lot more than "fight 3 rounds of combat against these monsters and then we'll tell you why you're fighting later".

I just think current Indie Devs shouldn't be throwing players into combat as quickly as possible, because they are going to botch it. They don't understand why it's done, and they think you do it so people won't turn off your game in the first ten minutes of gameplay because they can't do something. Look, if you're worried about your players doing that... go pick up Unity and design an FPS. That's your target audience. The RPG crowd is generally very patient and tolerant in letting you, as the dev, get to the combat side of things in your RPG.

But, that's just my two cents. I want people to do it right. If they don't know what "doing it right" is, I just want them to stop doing it until they know what "doing it right" actually is. It'll cut down on the amount of "slog" that exists in a lot of RPG Maker games.
 

bgillisp

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Personally I like an occasional dungeon crawl RPG myself, but when I am in that mood I pick up an Etrian Odyssey or something like that. But besides that...

I think the problem is as simple as don't say there is one way to make an RPG. The minute you do that, the game feels like it was designed by a group of suits who never played an RPG in their life but then told the coders to go make it like this. And when you do that, you lose people that don't want boiler plate formula games. We're indies. We're not going to go toe to toe with Skyrim and do well more than likely, so we need to find our niche and cater to it. So that means drop the boiler plate formulas, as usually those who play indie games are the same people sick of generic AAA RPG #7690 that was designed by a focus group and a bunch of men in suits who have no idea what an RPG is, but they followed this formula that they learned supposedly works somewhere. So we need to cater to our crowd if we want to succeed and not just be Steam release #8901 for the year that gets lost and forgotten about 1 week later.
 

coyotecraft

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@bgillisp You think you can reinvent a genre but you can't. You'd only be creating a new genre and giving it the same name.
It's a matter of classification. It didn't matter how people felt when Pluto reclassified as a dwarf planet. The reality of it didn't change. The reason we have the classification didn't change.
If the games we make are celestial objects, then the genres that classify them are celestial subjects. There's a logic behind it. And you'd be a fool to think like the Ancient Egyptians and suggest a name had power and all you had to do was take it. Because that did not end well for them.
 

Tai_MT

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@bgillisp You think you can reinvent a genre but you can't. You'd only be creating a new genre and giving it the same name.
It's a matter of classification. It didn't matter how people felt when Pluto reclassified as a dwarf planet. The reality of it didn't change. The reason we have the classification didn't change.
If the games we make are celestial objects, then the genres that classify them are celestial subjects. There's a logic behind it. And you'd be a fool to think like the Ancient Egyptians and suggest a name had power and all you had to do was take it. Because that did not end well for them.

Actually, the genre of "RPG" has been "reinvented" about twenty times to my count. Nowadays, it means anything where you get stats and gain levels. They call those "RPG Mechanics". In reality, they're "Progression Systems". Nothing more, nothing less. The clue to what an RPG is... is well... in the title.

Role. Playing. Game. You don't need combat for that. At all. Ever. Judging by your responses, I'm going to assume you've never played a Tabletop before. You know, where the Genre was invented. In board games. Or maybe... in the pretend games little kids play of Cops and Robbers or whatever the equivalent to that was when human beings could first pretend.

All that is required for a game to be an RPG is for the player to invent or to take on the role of someone else and play that character. Or, play themselves, if their character is themselves. Normally, there's a story-driven narrative involved. Not always, but usually. But, the general thing that makes a game an RPG is the ability to interact with NPC's and to make choices that affect the game world. I don't just mean talking to an NPC either. I mean, you can make the decision to kill the NPC, help the NPC, hinder them, steal from them, trade with them, ask different things of them, affect reputation with them, etcetera. In general, a "shooter" like Call of Duty isn't an RPG, because you aren't playing a role. You're taking control of a character, yes, but not playing a character.

But, what is an RPG now? Anything where you gather a party, fight monsters, level up, gain stats, and get new equipment. That's an RPG now. A series of Progression Systems is now classified as "RPG".

Doesn't matter what the definition is. Definitions of words change all the time based upon popular use. Derogatory terms for people who liked the same gender as themselves used to be terms for bundles of sticks or short cigarettes. The world is full of these things (much to my chagrin... I prefer the definition of words stay the same). Just like the definition of "irony" used to just mean, "sarcasm", it now means "when you expect something to happen, but the opposite happens", which really isn't irony... But hey, because of a stupid song, that's what it means now!

In general, the public at large decides what something is and isn't, regardless of what those in "authority" say. That's just how the language evolves over time. Words mean what we all agree they mean. If I say "Mishlorpnia" and tell you that it's the feeling of mud squishing between your toes... If nobody agrees with me, it means nothing. Doesn't mean anything to anyone except me, who wants it to mean what I want it to mean. That's language. Just like money is only worth what we all agree it is worth.

But, honestly, that's probably getting pretty far off topic and pretty deep into existentialism... which is interesting.. but full of a lot of quackery.

Basically, there is no one way to design a good game. Want to know why?

Fun is subjective. It is an emotion. As such, you cannot manufacture it on an assembly line. What was fun in a video game 20 years ago is no longer fun now. What is fun today will not be fun in the next 5 years. What I find fun in a video game, someone else might not. Likewise, the opposite is true. All because fun is subjective. When you make a game you need only a starting point, a goal, a challenge, and a victory condition. What happens in between there is subject to personal preferences.

All "Game Theory" really is... is a means to try to tap into the current collective consciousness of the majority of people who play games in order to cater to them and attempt to boost sales as much as possible by doing so. It is little more than a "Marketing Tool". A revolving door. A treadmill. What works today won't work tomorrow. What works tomorrow may be viable again in 10 years.

Currently, I'm sick of the trends in video games today, so I play a lot of Indie titles. I like to play things that don't feel like they've come off an assembly line. Things where it feels like the developers actually cared, even if they did a terrible job.

But, as such... I personally think a lot of people who put combat within the first 2-10 minutes of pressing "start" on the game are in the wrong genre of game. That's my preference. I need it be front loaded a little first to give me a reason to engage in the combat. Others don't. That's fine for them. But, if lots of people can do this combat in the first 2-10 minutes of pressing start well... maybe I'll change my mind later. Who knows?
 

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