What defines a roleplaying game for you?

So, a friend of mine asked me a question about romance in a game I recently posted about and it got me thinking. What really defines a roleplaying game?

Is it the long hours of epic story that keeps you intrigued all the way through to the end? The million of creative quests that takes you through endless worlds? The ability to make your character look just as you want him/her to look and then some? The companions that would follow you to worlds end and back without question? Is it the thrilling romance/friendship, the mostly deep and detailed romance/friendship that you find along the way with one or more of your companions? Is it the world itself or something else?

For myself, I would have to say that it is the followers and the romance/friendship that makes the biggest part for me in a RPG, the story of course comes as a close second and also shared in second place comes the customization, the need to make my own character.

Now I am really curious to what you think, what defines a roleplaying game for you?

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2 responses to “What defines a roleplaying game for you?

  1. Not too long of a comment from me, but I usually define a role-playing game out from four things and I would say they are ordered in importance here

    1: The world – How immersive is it? Does the world seem to be alive? NPCs going on about their daily tasks etc.

    2: The story – How good of a story it has, does it involve companions, romance, how much it makes you feel involved in the options you pick to move the story along.

    3: The possibility to customize – The ability to make your character look the way you want, clothes, face, scars, body etc, the ability to pick a class that suites you, the stats that suites you.

    4: The possibility of growing – With this I mean the ability of feeling that you get better, your character grows both purely statwise but also along with the story, your character is not sidelined by some NPC stealing the glory.

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  2. What defines a roleplaying game for me? Hmm… Let me just start by, to me, a Roleplaying game is more like a separate real world then a game! When you create your character and enter that world, it’s time to make your mark, just like in the real world! (Although in this world, you’re given the chance to be truly awesome! Be it with magic, swords, bow and arrows, super powers, supernatural beings, etc etc)

    Of course… There are always limits, as at the end of the day, it -is- just a game… For example, the long hours of epic story -will- eventually end, and it will feel a bit like you’ve conquered the world in such a relatively short amount of time. That is why although the story is important, it isn’t what is most important. Character creation however, is more important to me! The way you make your character, the looks, the strengths/weaknesses, and throughout the story the progression of your creations life and personality, -that- may be my most important part of an RPG game. Not the story itself…But the way you integrate into the story! A world may have Dragons invading (Skyrim), or a post-apocalyptic world full of vagrants (Fallout 3), although in reality your character is just another person from that world…Who is going to make a huge difference. (Like we can in real life. After all, we are defined by our actions, be it in any world/time/place!)

    One big part of my love for RPG, is how the choices we would make in real life has consequences, but also for the consequences in the worlds of RPGs if we made the same choice!

    Now, for the reason you said, Romance/Companions, yes they are also a very very big part of an RPG! Why make a mark on the world, without a few companions to call your friends. Admit it or not, even though they’re just code and AI, us ourselves we form a bond with our companions that our character in the game would have also. We like, and dislike, the ways of our companions the same way we would react to people in real life. (That Companion is my best friend! For example.). Romance is gonna affect you heavily too, yes. You invest into the game a lot of time, and with a (good) romance storyline, you will feel those rewards in more ways then you think! Let me take Mass Effect for an example… It was well thought out, in that, it was a slow and steady rise. There were good choices, bad choices, VERY bad choices (Hehe), though even in the event of something so catastrophic, you are given the chance to patch things. Companion/Romance would be my second choice for most important, but in reality…Yes it most likely is the most important.

    Go by the fact that. in real life, …No matter how good a life you have, no matter how much you own, how much you earn, how much of a career you make or how successful your life becomes… You’ll be lying to yourself if you say you’ll die content. The same as a companionship for your Hero, or even Villain, you’ll always need that yearning for a person who’ll always be there. It’s just not a victory without someone to share that last laugh with.

    Now I may have waffled on there a bit, but in a whole, I don’t view games as games! I view them as a kind of … Parallel universe? What we would be like in those worlds, and etched into that code somewhere, is a calling for our imaginations to become something we’ve wanted to be our whole life. A reward for us, in a real world that is broken and strangled, we escape to our true self in a world that really should be this world… If that makes sense heh.

    A great question! And I’m sure you’ll get plenty of responses! I hope people can truly look into themselves and answer this question how they would want to answer it if someone asked them in real life! Game on, and remember! If you don’t like this world, there is always plenty more for you to visit, and create, and bring the best people of your life into! 🙂

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