Sunday, January 21, 2024

Computer RPGs Just Aren't a Suitable Sub for TTRPGs.

Computer RPGs Just Aren't a Suitable Sub for TTRPGs.
If you're like me at all, and I'm willing to bet in this regard you probably are, when you explain to "outsiders" that you're a gamer, they immediately think you like to sit around and play video games all day. In my case, I do sometimes, but I don't define myself by console or PC (like "those" gamers usually do.) Still it's far too hard to explain (many times again...) that I mean table-top RPGS. 

Of course it doesn't help that I have the opportunity to fiddle with the Xbox controller far, far more than I get to sling dice. A lot of times it's just a substitute, but it's far from a suitable-sub. First off, I'm usually a completionist. If I can 100% a game, or think I can, I'm going for it. My gamerscore is currently standing at 99,300....but that's probably more a factor of having an Xbox for so many years than my awesomeness of playing. I do have 38 games 100%'d and some of those were a PITA. IIRC one I had to set my calendar and play on a certain anniversary day (couldn't cheese it by changing my system clock), and some have recockulus requirements (one step beyond ridiculous).

Even though there are computer RPGS, they are just so not the same and I FINALLY got to the point with my current game (Starfield) where I 100%'d it and can walk away. I am so effing glad to be done and I'll admit the game stopped being fun maybe last week when I realized I could crank up the difficulty to the maximum and still play easily. 

There is such a wide divide between TTRPGs and Computer RPGs, and I think I was experiencing all of the issues that highlighted this difference:

  • Save Scumming: TTRPGs don't allow you to screw up and "go back" to an earlier point and try again. Even worse, you can't save at an opportune time to "rinse & repeat" actions to try and try again for a better loot outcome. The RNG (random number generator) gods aren't always so kind, so at one point I tried for a couple hours to get a better pistol, which I never got (but I did get a kick-ass sniper rifle).
  • Cheesing the AI: probably has an actual name, but it's too easy to watch the AI routine do it's thing, establish patterns, or just ...well wait. If I shoot a guy in the head and his buddies see him die, they will only spend a small amount of time looking for you, before just giving up and going back to their routine. I don't think a GM would let the players get away with hiding for a minute......
  • Grinding: This is almost the worst thing with computer games, having to just re-do things over and over because you need to get a certain amount of experience to get that skill you need, or a specific number of widgets to be allowed to progress. While TTRPGs have you doing stuff to get XP to level, I cannot think of a single time a GM has let you re-run an encounter or scenario/adventure over and over. With Starfield a lot of "unique" missions (bounties for the most part) were set in different locations that were exactly like others. It got to the point in Starfield where I knew that on the 6th landing of this one facility there would be a dead scientist, and on a certain table would be a hookah (noticeable because the "tobacco" vials looked like something out of Resident Evil).
  • Achievements: This probably doesn't sound like a problem, and you'd think after this post I wouldn't see it as a problem, but in-game I did some things that I wouldn't have done otherwise....just so I can get that achievement. I think I would have stopped playing last week if not for "needing" to get to level 100, and the cheesy stuff I needed to do to get from where I would've quit at level 65 to that level 100.
  • Bugs: There is a bit of a tie for the actual worst part of a computer RPG, with one part being bugs/glitches in general. Bethesda is kind of known for being buggy as hell, and fixing bugs is something they eventually get around to. On my game there was a power I couldn't use without basically crashing the game, another I just couldn't earn, and so....so much more. In my game there were portions of a city that just....disappeared. I eventually found it. It wasn't so much that it didn't render, just it rendered at an altitude that put in in space. On the plus side one bug kept me from being able to steal spaceships I should be allowed to, but let me get access to a line of starships I was not supposed to be allowed to.
  • Solo play: The other tie for worst part is having to play by yourself. A HUGE part of TTRPGs is the social aspect of playing with others. Sure, there are MMORPGS, but they take these computer problems and ramp them up to the Nth degree.
Let's just say I'm looking forward to getting some face-to-face gaming in next weekend with the NTRPG folks. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition