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marurun
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by marurun Thu Jul 01, 2021 7:51 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:Dude, genres are not set in stone. There is no "essential definition" for a genre.


This is very true. I concede that. But I believe that calling Borderlands (any of them) an RPG is blurring those genre lines a bit overmuch. It absolutely has RPG elements, but I think it’s RPG parts are fundamentally subservient to shooting action. It just feels very weird and wrong to me to class the game as an RPG.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by o.pwuaioc Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:01 pm

marurun wrote:
o.pwuaioc wrote:Dude, genres are not set in stone. There is no "essential definition" for a genre.


This is very true. I concede that. But I believe that calling Borderlands (any of them) an RPG is blurring those genre lines a bit overmuch. It absolutely has RPG elements, but I think it’s RPG parts are fundamentally subservient to shooting action. It just feels very weird and wrong to me to class the game as an RPG.

That's a fair point, but at some point it's going to come down to arbitrary assignment of what is "essential."

I know when I was a kid, it was commonly agreed that a game that allowed you to level up stats by grinding was a de facto RPG. Clearly something has changed, and when we talk about primary or secondary elements, or what's subservient to x y or z, we necessarily branch into opinions. I dunno, it's not really an argument worth having. I can even see a justification for talking about Borderlands in this very thread: is there a strategy to leveling? Are there item management hints and tips that can be shared? Is the story interesting? I can't particularly say in this case (BL bored me), but I can see why a purity test could exclude interesting discussion, which is especially important in a dying forum!

Not like there is much overlap among Skyrim and Final Fantasy anyway.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by MrPopo Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:04 pm

In another of my trying to help you understand your own feelings exercising, is real-time action fundamentally opposed to RPG in your mind? Or do all the components of the combat need to have something out of the player's control? Let's look at the Elder Scrolls series. The first three games were real time, but used dice rolls for hitting in addition to checking whether your swing physically connects with the hitbox of your target. Then Oblivion comes along and if you physically hit you hit, and it shifts those dice rolls to cause you to deal minimal damage if the target is heavily armored (which would trigger a miss in the old games). Borderlands uses damage scaling to compare your level with your target level so that practically no amount of skill can account for too large of a level difference, just like how most MMOs like WoW do.

If we remove the combat systems and look at everything around it you'll find that Borderlands is not too dissimilar from a modern JRPG. There's a fairly linear narrative without much player choice in how you follow it, plus a variety of side quests that may or may not be consequential to the narrative. You level up over time so that you are powerful enough to handle the enemies in the next area, which is usually gated behind plot progress. And you have the ability to go back to areas you've already been in to grind or otherwise stomp around for the lulz.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by MrPopo Thu Jul 01, 2021 8:06 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:I can even see a justification for talking about Borderlands in this very thread: is there a strategy to leveling? Are there item management hints and tips that can be shared? Is the story interesting? I can't particularly say in this case (BL bored me), but I can see why a purity test could exclude interesting discussion, which is especially important in a dying forum!

There most definitely is. Borderlands is actually quite similar to Diablo II in terms of how you want to approach character progression. You've got three skill trees that you are incentivized to specialize in one and dip into the other two, and which one you specialize in has a major effect on how you play your character. And the different weapons, both the base type (shotgun vs. sniper vs. rocket) and the various stat mods can be good or bad for a given spec.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by Ack Thu Jul 01, 2021 10:11 pm

I would argue that moving into new areas gated behind plot progress and being able to return to previous areas isn't necessarily a marker for RPGs, as open world games such as the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series also do this. I think the key points are more the leveling and skill progression, the MMO-based method of handling level disparity, and the use of characters as a class system similar to earlier action RPGs.

Yes, the shooting aspect is how it's mostly handled, but the construction of your character and your gearing choices for your build are the real meat and potatoes to me. For example, in the original Borderlands, I played Roland the soldier. I made a point to favor ammo regeneration, large magazine assault rifles, and stat boosts based on kills and crits so that whenever I killed, I'd go faster and faster in my attack speeds, this leading to more crits and more speed. My special ability was used only for a distraction, but I could have turned it around and focused on that if I had wanted or on other types of weapon classes (or even other styles within the assault rifle weapon grouping). That was how I wanted to build a character, but it could have been done in other ways. The point is, I approached building a character as I would in other action RPGs, not how I tend to view them in FPS.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by marurun Thu Jul 01, 2021 10:51 pm

Congrats, Ack. I think you have put things in a way I can best get my head around. Good points all, though. I still don’t think it’s an RPG, but I get holding that view.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by o.pwuaioc Thu Jul 01, 2021 11:45 pm

marurun wrote:Congrats, Ack. I think you have put things in a way I can best get my head around. Good points all, though. I still don’t think it’s an RPG, but I get holding that view.

Next topic: Super Mario Land is a run n gun with shmup levels.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by Raging Justice Fri Jul 02, 2021 12:37 am

Personally, I DO think genres are set in stone, and with most games, one type of gameplay supersedes all others. That's the game's genre. Borderlands may have RPG elements in it, but it's still a shooter. You can call it a shooter with RPG elements, but it's still a shooter. I've played Borderlands, and I've played RPGs. At no point while I was playing Borderlands did I think it was an RPG.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by marurun Fri Jul 02, 2021 7:28 am

Raging Justice wrote:Personally, I DO think genres are set in stone, and with most games, one type of gameplay supersedes all others. That's the game's genre. Borderlands may have RPG elements in it, but it's still a shooter. You can call it a shooter with RPG elements, but it's still a shooter. I've played Borderlands, and I've played RPGs. At no point while I was playing Borderlands did I think it was an RPG.


This is sort of my headspace on this and it’s informed by, believe it or not, my librarian education. When you categorize things in a library you can add lots of subjects (within reason), it you also have to assign a call number, and that call number is subject-based. An item only gets one call number, so you have to determine what a thing is more about than the other things. This breaks down with fictional works because they are categorized by author or title, depending on the medium (lit vs movie vs music). But you’ll notice most public libraries organize their fiction books by genre. And that means they ultimately have to pick one. Is Do Androids Dream if Electric Sheep sci-fi or is it a mystery? Most places have decided it is sci-fi, but a compelling case could be made for mystery. So while I think a compelling case can be made for RPG, Borderlands is ultimately a shooter (to me). I’d put it in the shooter box given only a single assignment. But I’d also put Diablo in Action. For me it’s about the primary mode of interaction.
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Re: What RPG are you playing right now?

by Ack Fri Jul 02, 2021 9:08 am

I understand completely as a fellow librarian (hell, I wrote the genre definitions that Turner used). With Borderlands though, I ask: do you need the guns? If a simple swap to knives and swords was done, how would we feel about it? Are the guns really so integral, or are they just a window dressing means of interaction for the real core of the game?

Going to your Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep example, the science fiction elements are integral; you couldn't have that mystery without the technology. As a result, I see it as Sci-Fi first and Mystery second. Conversely, if we took a definite FPS like Doom and removed the guns, we'd get...well, probably something more akin to Heretic and Hexen, which we still consider FPS. With Borderlands, I don't think we'd feel that way if the central means of proving player dominance in combat was a sword instead of a gun.
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