This was originally posted on June 30, 2014
More than a year ago I started the series “My 10 Favorite RPG”, and the ulterior motive behind that series was (and is) THIS POST.
I have to be honest with you though: I wrote the entire series last year. I took more than I year to publish all the entries because:
- I wasn’t really in a rush to publish anything, having them in my “drafts file” was enough.
- I usually published a post in the series when I had nothing else to post, and I hadn’t updated the blog in a while.
But now things are different. Now that I’m working on a commercial game, it’s time for the “My top 10 Favorite RPGs” list to fulfill its purpose: The creation of my initial Magna Carta
What’s a Magna Carta?
A few years ago I read the book No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, and while I wouldn’t publish a novel written in 30 days, I learned a lot from the book. One of the main things I learned was the concept of a “Magna Carta.”
The author explains how important it is to be 100% aware of things you like and things you dislike in a story. Even better, it’s a great idea to have a written list at hand whenever you are writing and revising your story.
I decided to take that concept to heart and apply it to my game development efforts. Without further Ado; Let’s begin.
Things I like in an RPG
- Sublime Elements (I’ll have to explain this one)
- Innovative Combat systems that manage to maintain a Turn-Based mentality.
- Serious Plots (Directly or Indirectly)
- Especially plots where I can be emotionally engaged.
- Gameplay > Story (Emotional Connection is a big plus) > Music >>>>> Graphics
- Multi-party configuration systems and/or missions
- Unobtrusive tutorials.
- Moral situations/decisions
- Well refined gameplay (Combat System, Interface, etc.)
- Interacting with NPCs (“Bioware” style)
- Organizing the equipment/abilities of my characters is something I enjoy a lot (maybe a little bit too much?)
- Strange and new settings beyond the usual medieval style
- Interesting characters and relationships with said characters
- Carefully crafted and cohesive worlds
- Including Atmosphere
- Interesting Plot Twists
- “Paragon” Paths
- I’m just not interested AT ALL in pretending to be a “bad guy” in a game. I’m 100% sure this might come back to haunt me sooner than later when I don’t provide enough options for players with different tastes.
- Plots that are interesting from the very beginning, and where the objective is clear from the start.
- Situations that made me think and learn about myself.
Things I dislike in an RPG
- I hate to feel that I’m just playing the game to discover how the plot will unfold while hating the gameplay.
- Excessive Random Battles.
- Not being emotionally engaged with the story.
- Getting lost in the “Game World.”
- There are exceptions to this rule, but in general, I play RPGs for their story. Gameplay alone won’t satisfy me.
- Exceptions: Pokemon, Mass Effect 2
- Level grinding
- Plots without an overarching theme/story.
- Dumb/Pitiful protagonists (I’m also going to have to explain this one)
- Entirely Comedic Plots
- There must be a balance between the complexity of the combat system and the frequency of the combats. The longer a single battle is, the less frequent they should be.
- Easy to learn but difficult to master combat systems are the ideal. Complexity in this genre is hard to avoid though.
- If the combat system is fun enough, The player (or at least I did) will “level grind” on his/her own.
- I tend to like stories that are inherently interesting with mysteries that progressively unravel themselves.
- The more you interact with a given game world, the more you’ll be emotionally involved with it.
I’m going to come back consistently to this post to add/remove a few items, but this is it for now.