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Top Ten: RPG Clich

InstaTrentInstaTrent OpinionatorRPGamer Staff
edited January 2014 in Latest Updates
Want to save the world from the ultimate evil? You'd better have spiky hair or you might forget that you're supposed to be fighting random encounters.

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  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited October 2013
    One of the biggest cliches I cannot stand is the holding of the Idiot Ball, to quote a Trope. Basically, when one or more people's stupidity in a situation fuel a small plot line. Example...the scene in Tales of Graces F where
    Spoiler:
    Richard, currently controlled by Lambda, manages to almost kill Sophie because Asbel thought he was back to normal despite having a demonic voice. AND NOBODY BOTHERS TO POINT THIS OUT AND EVEN PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING! They even act shocked when it actually happens!
    I almost just stopped playing the game right there, because it just pissed me off so badly due to how stupid it was.
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  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Honestly, most of these cliches are what I love about JRPG's. Sure, some of them I sort of feel are a bad thing, like the use of annoying characters (Like Cait Sith, or those stupid kids in Lost Odyssey, etc..), yet sometimes they have a good place if done properly (Like Jansen in Lost Odyssey, or Syrenne in Last Story, etc..). Granted, Chu Chu was a rare exception for me, when an oddball character actually worked ok!

    Ultimately, though, in my opinion, why would you want to break away from tried and true story telling methods, that have inspired people for thousands of years? Sure, being innovative and different has its place, but most of the games that strive to do so, would never make my top favorite RPG list. Sure, Pokemon may not have some epic plot behind it, and was still fun for many (mostly children - I'm not a Pokemon fan myself.), but was it truly that awesome of an RPG? Maybe some think so, but here's what I think:

    I believe most jRPG fans care about story first and foremost. Gameplay is important, but I will gladly play a game with bad gameplay, glitches, and terrible graphics, if it has an amazing story that is well told, even if it is chalk full of cliches. And sadly, most modern RPG's are moving away from this. Gameplay driven games (most modern RPG's) can definitely be fun - but they will never truly satisfy me.

    For me, the best RPG's with the best stories, have almost always employed cliches, because they WORK! They work, because they draw out our emotions. But it seems like most RPG's these days strive hard to move away from it, and it really shows, in the lack of emotional depth I find in most modern games.

    When I play an RPG, I want the story to draw out my emotions, and I want to get that horrible feeling in my chest after I beat it, and I get depressed the next week because it's over :P. And that's a feeling I've gotten maybe 2 or 3 times in the last 5 years (Valkyria Chronicles and Last Story. And I guess Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky was up there too.).

    Sure, Mass Effect was great. But when it was over? Meh - it just didn't leave any emotional imprint on me. Not like the good old story driven RPG's of PS2 and before.

    I've played almost all of them, and though many have been very fun - VERY few have been what I've truly been after. And so few story driven RPG's are released these days, it's pretty sad!

    So yes, please give me more story driven, cliche ridden RPGs!! I need more! I'll even put up with a Cait Sith if I must (Granted, FF7 wouldn't even make my top 10 list, personally. :D)! And crazy spiky blue hair? Bring it!

    I will admit, though - I've never been a fan of the silent protaganist, and rarely has it worked for me (Suikoden V being a rare exception that comes to mind. Dragon Quest VIII was pretty good too.)
  • LornMarkusLornMarkus New Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Most of those aspects are matters I shrug at anymore, they don't impress me to any degree but there are a couple of things that annoy me far more. At this point, I am sick and utterly tired of female characters being relegated to the roles of fragile long range combatants/casters/healers. Just today I looked at Path of Exile just long enough to realize that of the seven classes available when you first load up the game only two are female: the ranger and the witch. Every single time I see it my blood boils and I lose every shred of respect for the developers presenting that to me. There's also the sheer impossibility of getting a game with a set female protagonist but that's an issue with games in general rather than something specific to RPGs of any variety.
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    LornMarkus said:
    Most of those aspects are matters I shrug at anymore, they don't impress me to any degree but there are a couple of things that annoy me far more. At this point, I am sick and utterly tired of female characters being relegated to the roles of fragile long range combatants/casters/healers. Just today I looked at Path of Exile just long enough to realize that of the seven classes available when you first load up the game only two are female: the ranger and the witch. Every single time I see it my blood boils and I lose every shred of respect for the developers presenting that to me. There's also the sheer impossibility of getting a game with a set female protagonist but that's an issue with games in general rather than something specific to RPGs of any variety.
    It makes sense for a female character to have those types of roles. Pretty much any game (or story for that matter), where a female takes on a role as some strong warrior, brawler, etc., it's just plain fake. It's a simple fact that a woman can't compare to a man in physical prowess, but she could damn well wield a bow or cast a spell with great skill!

    And I think the reason why most protagonists are male, is the simple fact that most people that will be playing the game are male, and thus it's easier for them to relate with the character. The same reason why most people choose to play their own gender in a game where they are given the choice (Sexy female avatars being the main reason males choose to play a female, when they do!).
  • LornMarkusLornMarkus New Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    MobiusZero said:
    It makes sense for a female character to have those types of roles. Pretty much any game (or story for that matter), where a female takes on a role as some strong warrior, brawler, etc., it's just plain fake. It's a simple fact that a woman can't compare to a man in physical prowess, but she could damn well wield a bow or cast a spell with great skill!

    And I think the reason why most protagonists are male, is the simple fact that most people that will be playing the game are male, and thus it's easier for them to relate with the character. The same reason why most people choose to play their own gender in a game where they are given the choice (Sexy female avatars being the main reason males choose to play a female, when they do!).
    . . . I'm going to walk away from this thread now and never look back, because if I exchange even one more word with you I will end up threatening horrific and unconscionable violence. You are a cancer on this earth and I hope I never have the displeasure of interacting with you again.
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    LornMarkus said:
    . . . I'm going to walk away from this thread now and never look back, because if I exchange even one more word with you I will end up threatening horrific and unconscionable violence. You are a cancer on this earth and I hope I never have the displeasure of interacting with you again.
    Sounds to me like you're the one with the problem.

    I was simply stating the reasons why things are the way they are. I was not necessarily agreeing with all of it.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited October 2013
    I tend to overlook cliches when they're presented, though I will likely not like that game's story as much. Heck, some like "save the world" are so so often you don't even notice them as cliches. That makes the rare RPG that isn't about saving the country/planet/universe/multiverse all that more astounding, but I'm not really tired of saving the day either.

    I do enjoy the odd twist on tropes. I can think of two for the amnesiac protagonist. In the World Ends With You, Neku doesn't even realize he's lost nearly all of his memories until the second day, as his memories were his payment for playing the Reaper games. In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World,
    Spoiler:
    Emil doesn't realize he's lost his memories until the last two chapters or so. Instead, he's been creating false memories for his human guise for the past six months, and all while completely believing he is a boy named Emil and not the Summon Spirit Ratatosk.
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  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    MobiusZero said:
    It makes sense for a female character to have those types of roles. Pretty much any game (or story for that matter), where a female takes on a role as some strong warrior, brawler, etc., it's just plain fake. It's a simple fact that a woman can't compare to a man in physical prowess, but she could damn well wield a bow or cast a spell with great skill!

    And I think the reason why most protagonists are male, is the simple fact that most people that will be playing the game are male, and thus it's easier for them to relate with the character. The same reason why most people choose to play their own gender in a game where they are given the choice (Sexy female avatars being the main reason males choose to play a female, when they do!).
    Lots of combat-trained women would seriously disagree with this reasoning. Although it *is* a bit painful when female characters with stick-thin arms and legs heft gigantic swords. This is why I love the female player character in Monster Hunter Tri/3. She's built athletically and has some meat on her bones, so she looks like a woman who would wear heavy armour and greatswords.

    With anything short of a big ol' battlehammer, skill, practice, and training are more important than sheer physical strength, and women throughout history (no seriously, women have participated heavily in revolutionary and freedom fighting conflicts throughout history) have learned ways to use their smaller stature to their advantage. Hell, a lot of martial arts like Judo specifically teach people how to overcome an enemy who is larger and more muscular than they are.

    Though honestly, Japanese games have been better than Western games in having female melee warriors lately. The ones in the games I've played have even been wearing appropriate attire for the job.
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  • Zeboyd GamesZeboyd Games Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    LornMarkus said:
    Most of those aspects are matters I shrug at anymore, they don't impress me to any degree but there are a couple of things that annoy me far more. At this point, I am sick and utterly tired of female characters being relegated to the roles of fragile long range combatants/casters/healers. Just today I looked at Path of Exile just long enough to realize that of the seven classes available when you first load up the game only two are female: the ranger and the witch. Every single time I see it my blood boils and I lose every shred of respect for the developers presenting that to me. There's also the sheer impossibility of getting a game with a set female protagonist but that's an issue with games in general rather than something specific to RPGs of any variety.
    Correction - of the 6 classes available when you start, 2 are female. The 7th class needs to be unlocked and is female (and is the must versatile class in the game).
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  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Ocelot said:
    Lots of combat-trained women would seriously disagree with this reasoning. Although it *is* a bit painful when female characters with stick-thin arms and legs heft gigantic swords. This is why I love the female player character in Monster Hunter Tri/3. She's built athletically and has some meat on her bones, so she looks like a woman who would wear heavy armour and greatswords.

    With anything short of a big ol' battlehammer, skill, practice, and training are more important than sheer physical strength, and women throughout history (no seriously, women have participated heavily in revolutionary and freedom fighting conflicts throughout history) have learned ways to use their smaller stature to their advantage. Hell, a lot of martial arts like Judo specifically teach people how to overcome an enemy who is larger and more muscular than they are.
    Wing Chun comes to mind, which is a martial art invented by a woman.

    Honestly, I'm not here to get into a debate over the ability of women to do things, especially when were talking about fantasy worlds!

    I just think it's crazy for someone to be offended by the fact that games actually portray women as being...well, women! I certainly don't see it as them being portrayed as inferior.

    Though honestly, Japanese games have been better than Western games in having female melee warriors lately.
    I was going to say the same thing, myself. JRPG's, of all genres, actually do it a lot.

    The ones in the games I've played have even been wearing appropriate attire for the job.
    Now THIS type of thing is something I can understand a lady being upset about, lol. But sex sells, and so that's why they do it. And honestly, being a guy myself, I can't complain, as long as it's not over the top! :P
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    One reason why female archers are so common in JRPGs is that kyuudo (Japanese archery) is predominantly a female sports activity in Japanese high schools, while kendo (Japanese fencing) is predominantly male. There are plenty of exceptions to that, but socially the image is set that way. On the other hand, I have also met plenty of high school girls who practice judo and karate.

    So when I think back to some JRPGs I've played in the past, like Eithea with its mostly Japanese high school cast, it doesn't surprise me that many of the major female characters are archers.

    I think one of the series with the best track record in going against this trope would be Atelier, to be honest. Those games have a history of strong warrior women going all the way back to Atelier Marie. And they even tend to be properly dressed most of the time!
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited October 2013
    I, for one, usually like the Kooky Party Member (Tales of Graces' Pascal comes to mind).

    But one of my least liked cliches is a variation on "Not Really the Bad Guy". It's the "Guy who Betrayed the Party but not Really and he had a Good Reason so we Forgive him Anyway." It often breaks immersion for me. Why are you people just letting him back into the party? He just betrayed you! Don't you have any sense at all? He isn't even acting sorry!

    Just once, I'd like to see one of the main characters in an RPG betray the party, permanently. Something really unforgivable. You know, walk off with the party's inventory and gold, and leave them in the middle of the desert to die. And the next time they meet, no feigned penitence, no half-hearted reconciliation, just a battle to the death.

    I guess I just touched on another one of my disliked cliches. The enemy who you defeat, but who then somehow escapes at the last second, and returns later at a higher level. Rinse, repeat. Sometimes this pattern works, but mostly it's just irritating.
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  • The Last PaladinThe Last Paladin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Some more cliches that seems to be the norm in RPGs (be it western or JRPGs):

    The settings are usually medieval or steampunk inspired: There are of course the exception to the rules like Persona, but for all my 20 + years of playing rpgs it has always been the same settings full of the usual suspects of elves, dragons, castles, etc. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with these things, but I would love to see more unique settings inspired from other cultures other than the Arthurian legends and other related western cultures and myths. So many Eastern cultures, legends, and myths that could be use in this genre that I think game makers haven't taking advantage of. Indian cultures, African cultures, Mid Eastern cultures...too many stuff out there to continue on using the same try and true formulas.

    Lack of diversity: Again, there are some exceptions out there, but still much needs to be done about diversifying characters in RPGs. The world is huge place with very diverse races, but you would not know it playing videogames. It isn't just the rpg genre that have this issue though, but with the amount of imagination this genre can offer compared to others, it still never ceases to amaze me how unoriginal designers can be with the simple aspect of race. Having one ethnic guy in the group doesn't really cut it also in this day and age either as being diversified.

    Not just with race either, but with sexual orientation and gender as well I would like to see more diversity of. I just think game designers are dropping the ball with these things and if they were to open up on this a bit it could kill a lot of the monotony that the genre has been facing as of late.

    I understand though, staying in Japan for about 5 years just how xenophobic they can be with these things and how stuck in their ways they are with stuff that have been successful for them, so it could be years yet before JRPGs get better at this stuff. Western RPGS seems to be more open-minded in these aspect though, so that's something I suppose.
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    The Last Paladin said:
    Some more cliches that seems to be the norm in RPGs (be it western or JRPGs):

    The settings are usually medieval or steampunk inspired: There are of course the exception to the rules like Persona, but for all my 20 + years of playing rpgs it has always been the same settings full of the usual suspects of elves, dragons, castles, etc. Not that there is anything particularly wrong with these things, but I would love to see more unique settings inspired from other cultures other than the Arthurian legends and other related western cultures and myths. So many Eastern cultures, legends, and myths that could be use in this genre that I think game makers haven't taking advantage of. Indian cultures, African cultures, Mid Eastern cultures...too many stuff out there to continue on using the same try and true formulas.
    Again, I think what it really comes down to, is what people want. And what most people tend to prefer, is medieval fantasy style worlds. I think this has especially been made apparent in the MMO setting, where sci fi and other type settings tend to be less popular (of course there are always exceptions.).

    I definitely personally would love to see more Sci Fi type games (And Steam Punk, actually, lol.). I also love recent historical type games, such as one of my all time favorites, Shadow Hearts 1&2.

    But again, though there are SOME annoying cliches, I do feel that many are a good thing, and really help define the genre. In my opinion, to eliminate them, is to gut out parts of the genre itself! And part of my frustration, is how rampant the "anti-cliche" type RPG reviews there have been, which I very often disagree with.

    Look at Last Story, for example. What an amazing game, with a riveting story! If you haven't played it, you should, even if it means buying a Wii just to play it! Yet the reviews for it are like 8/10's? Because it employs too many cliches? It's like reading a movie critique of a (awesome) sci fi! These reviewers must have totally different tastes than I. And I certainly feel they have no clue that many of those things are what made the genre so damn good, to begin with, with such riveting, emotional, and memorable stories.

    A lost orphan who one day ends up winning the heart of a princess? How does that get old?! Fusing 500 demons in Shin Megami Tensei? Now THAT gets old!
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Regarding random encounters - The reason they still use it is because it's the cheapest encounter system to make.

    Now, about Bad Guy, but not REALLY and Earthbound. What are you talking about? The final boss is known to you from the beginning of the game.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    What? No village burning?

    Not sure why the Lich King is included with the "Muwhahaha" villains. Arthas has a heck of a backstory.
  • The Last PaladinThe Last Paladin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    MobiusZero said:
    Again, I think what it really comes down to, is what people want. And what most people tend to prefer, is medieval fantasy style worlds.
    See, I can't ever agree with this kind of thinking and it is this philosophy that I think is hindering on some possible future prospects in this genre and the gaming industry as whole, not to mention that it could be argued that Medieval theme RPGs may not even be the most popular in this day and age, but I'll get to that later. Look, its easy to say "Well people only want this" when that is all that is really being offered to them for the most part. Its like saying McDonald's is the biggest and most well-known fast food chain in the world, thus people only wants to eat Big Macs all the time and not try other type of foods.

    Persona is arguably one of the most popular JRPG series for this generation and it doesn't fit the medieval themed mode, in fact, its probably one of the few games that is influence by more culture than most with all of the different demons that you can summon from different mythologies and legends. The Mass Effect series is of course another obvious example of a RPG that doesn't uses medieval settings at all and is loved by millions. Really, a VERY good argument could be made that the most popular RPGs for this generation has not even been your typical Medieval fantasy ones for both the East and Western Style RPGs. Dark Souls could be thrown in there, but people don't buy that game because it Medieval based, they buy it because of the challenge the game offers in the genre. You take the challenge away from the game, and it just another Medieval RPG that would not be given another look. You take the medieval theme from the game and replace it with something else and people will still be playing the game.

    Even with MMOs that philosophy of people only preferring MMOs with medieval themes is not always true. The reason why MMOs fail isn't because of the themes they have but because of the gaming mechanics. A good example is the MMO The Secret War, a game that is a modern horror MMO with probably one of the best storylines you'll ever going to find in this genre. But as far as being a good MMO, it has lacked in a lot of areas. Everyone that plays the game didn't dislike it because it wasn't Medieval, they disliked it mostly because of some gripe with the gameplay mechanics. There are probably a few other examples of games that didn't meet the Medieval theme and have gone through the same issues as The Secret War did that can be thrown in as well. Furthermore, MMOs in general are not that great of an example to prove that people prefer just medieval type of games because there are constant failing MMOs that uses the Medieval theme as a source every month. People will play a game that is great regardless of what theme is being used. And let us not forget games like Eve online that have lasted a lot longer than most MMOs as well as games that had great longevity like Cox and Champions Online, all non medieval-themed games. In general, MMOs is just not a great example to use anyways because I say only about 20 percent of the ones that are made will survive for a long period of time, regardless of the genre or theme it uses.
  • Daniel36Daniel36 Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    You forgot one.

    Worlds that can be traversed in 10 minutes from East to West and with only about 5 villages and 1 city in them, with a population of around 50, 10 of which are the evil villains. Oh, and let's not forget that every town is important, plotwise... somehow...

    They have GOT to stop creating "worlds"... I'd much rather fight all my battles in a much more believable province than an entire world, especially when each continent ends up looking exactly the same anyways.
  • CidolfasCidolfas Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    The FF Tactics games and Chrono Cross did that quite effectively, and I agree that giving games a smaller scope (both in area and final objective) is something we sorely need.

    Some of the complaints here are not with RPGs per se, but with Japanese culture in general. These tropes are inherent in any Japanese media, including anime and light novels. TVTropes has them here: Genki Girl, Anime Hair, Saving the World, Trauma-Induced Amnesia, The Man Behind The Man, Omnicidal Maniac, and Call A Rabbit a Smeerp (which is actually common across all fantasy and sci-fi, not just Japanese stuff). There are certain accepted tropes in any genre, and some of them, like Anime Hair, just come with the territory. Others are lazy writing and need to be seriously dialed down or removed entirely.

    I categorically disagree (as I am pretty sure every other person on this board will) with MobiusZero's claim that cliches "just work". I have heard (perhaps by Terry Pratchett?) that cliches are the hammers in an author's toolbox. Every story needs one, but you can't build a really good story with just hammers. Cliches can work if they are doled out judiciously, and have enough variety and originality to offset their tiredness. Relying on them to build a story makes it come crashing down to the ground. Tales of Graces F, for example, was lazily built on nothing but cliches, and I found the story to be my least favorite part of the game. On the other hand, while Chrono Trigger boasted several cliches, the presentation, style and writing was fun enough and the details interesting and unusual enough to make them work for the story instead of against it.

    As for the role of women - it's certainly true that women are not as physically strong as men. However, RPG heroes (at least in most games) tend to be unusual specimens of humanity. No man in real life could effectively use a Buster Sword or a Masamune, especially given how slight most bishounen protagonists are; so stretching it to give women the same ability shouldn't be beyond the pale. If the game has a slightly more realistic bent, women could still be given the physical classes, as long as they are portrayed so realistically - i.e. they are heavily trained, well-built, and are not shown as being equal in strength to a muscled bodybuilder. The female-as-magic-user is a cliche buried in hoary old fantasy novels, and its time is well over and done with.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited October 2013
    Pokemon has handled the small world cliche quite well since the beginning. All but one of the games only lets you travel through one "region." Even then, later Pokemon games have at least one town, if not more, that are pretty unimportant and little to nothing occurs there, like Cherrygrove City, Oldale Town and Floraroma Town.
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  • angedelamortangedelamort New Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Really interesting article. But I have to disagree with your last cliche: Random encounters.
    I don't think it can be defined as a cliche. It's a game mechanics and a choice from the game developpers. Whether you like it or not it won't change the fact that some people might still do in this day and age.
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    The Last Paladin said:
    See, I can't ever agree with this kind of thinking and it is this philosophy that I think is hindering on some possible future prospects in this genre and the gaming industry as whole, not to mention that it could be argued that Medieval theme RPGs may not even be the most popular in this day and age, but I'll get to that later. Look, its easy to say "Well people only want this" when that is all that is really being offered to them for the most part. Its like saying McDonald's is the biggest and most well-known fast food chain in the world, thus people only wants to eat Big Macs all the time and not try other type of foods.
    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I fully agree with it. I personally prefer Sci Fi based games over medieval fantasy! My favorite RPG of all time is Sci Fi, even.

    But games like WoW, showed that going for what is proven to work, rather than trying too hard to be different or innovative, is the most successful format. Of course there are exceptions, as I clearly said before, largely thanks to people like you and me, who are hungry for other settings. But overall, I understand why it is the way it is (And I never liked WoW, btw.).

    Persona is arguably one of the most popular JRPG series for this generation and it doesn't fit the medieval themed mode, in fact, its probably one of the few games that is influence by more culture than most with all of the different demons that you can summon from different mythologies and legends. The Mass Effect series is of course another obvious example of a RPG that doesn't uses medieval settings at all and is loved by millions. Really, a VERY good argument could be made that the most popular RPGs for this generation has not even been your typical Medieval fantasy ones for both the East and Western Style RPGs. Dark Souls could be thrown in there, but people don't buy that game because it Medieval based, they buy it because of the challenge the game offers in the genre. You take the challenge away from the game, and it just another Medieval RPG that would not be given another look. You take the medieval theme from the game and replace it with something else and people will still be playing the game.
    Honestly, what it really all comes down to, is the plot. The setting is secondary. You can take just about any plot, and apply it to a different style of setting, but fundamentally the plot itself is what is most important. That is, if you're like me, and care more about the story, than gameplay.

    Even with MMOs that philosophy of people only preferring MMOs with medieval themes is not always true. The reason why MMOs fail isn't because of the themes they have but because of the gaming mechanics. A good example is the MMO The Secret War, a game that is a modern horror MMO with probably one of the best storylines you'll ever going to find in this genre. But as far as being a good MMO, it has lacked in a lot of areas. Everyone that plays the game didn't dislike it because it wasn't Medieval, they disliked it mostly because of some gripe with the gameplay mechanics. There are probably a few other examples of games that didn't meet the Medieval theme and have gone through the same issues as The Secret War did that can be thrown in as well. Furthermore, MMOs in general are not that great of an example to prove that people prefer just medieval type of games because there are constant failing MMOs that uses the Medieval theme as a source every month. People will play a game that is great regardless of what theme is being used. And let us not forget games like Eve online that have lasted a lot longer than most MMOs as well as games that had great longevity like Cox and Champions Online, all non medieval-themed games. In general, MMOs is just not a great example to use anyways because I say only about 20 percent of the ones that are made will survive for a long period of time, regardless of the genre or theme it uses.
    MMO's are a bad example, because in that case gameplay IS more important than plot.

    I categorically disagree (as I am pretty sure every other person on this board will) with MobiusZero's claim that cliches "just work". I have heard (perhaps by Terry Pratchett?) that cliches are the hammers in an author's toolbox. Every story needs one, but you can't build a really good story with just hammers. Cliches can work if they are doled out judiciously, and have enough variety and originality to offset their tiredness. Relying on them to build a story makes it come crashing down to the ground. Tales of Graces F, for example, was lazily built on nothing but cliches, and I found the story to be my least favorite part of the game. On the other hand, while Chrono Trigger boasted several cliches, the presentation, style and writing was fun enough and the details interesting and unusual enough to make them work for the story instead of against it.
    You disagree with me, yet you then point out how Chrono Trigger boasted several of them.

    My point was certainly not that the entire plot should be based on cliches, and of course they can be OVER used. But on the other hand, most of my all time favorite RPG's, used several cliches! Interesting, eh?

    I posted what I did, because I find it frustrating that modern RPG's are moving away from traditional storytelling methods that were so prevalent in JRPG's before, because they are listening to all these critics in the industry, who act as if the use of ANY cliche is practically taboo anymore. Yet many of these storytelling methods are what made the genre so great, to begin with!

    Innovation is certainly important, please don't get me wrong. But right now, I wish the industry would take a step back, and return to some of the things that used to make it so great.

    But hey, maybe that's not what people want anymore, sadly. We live in age where people don't read books anymore, and most gamers just want to pew pew pew. *shrug*

    As for the role of women - it's certainly true that women are not as physically strong as men. However, RPG heroes (at least in most games) tend to be unusual specimens of humanity. No man in real life could effectively use a Buster Sword or a Masamune, especially given how slight most bishounen protagonists are; so stretching it to give women the same ability shouldn't be beyond the pale. If the game has a slightly more realistic bent, women could still be given the physical classes, as long as they are portrayed so realistically - i.e. they are heavily trained, well-built, and are not shown as being equal in strength to a muscled bodybuilder. The female-as-magic-user is a cliche buried in hoary old fantasy novels, and its time is well over and done with.
    Sorry, I often forget we live in an era where men are trying to be women, and women are trying to be men. I guess I just personally prefer it when a game doesn't reinforce those values.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    And what most people tend to prefer, is medieval fantasy style worlds.
    I dunno about that. If we're really talking about "most" people, then I'd have to say they prefer realistic worlds a la GTA5 and Call of Duty. It would be more proper to suggest most people prefer a fun entry in a familiar franchise. The fact popular games like WoW and FF14 are medieval fantasy games is mostly coincidence. The setting is certainly not the most common reason I've heard for why people play WoW. It's almost always "my friends are playing it".
    Sorry, I often forget we live in an era where men are trying to be women, and women are trying to be men.
    I like to think of it as an era where we have the freedom to live in a way that makes us happy and not in a way that is necessary to survive.
  • ascii256ascii256 Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    I do not think that random encounters were a compromise due to graphic and hardware limitations, it was a design choice. Done right, random encounters continue to be an enjoyable aspect of many modern RPGs.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    TG Barighm said:
    I like to think of it as an era where we have the freedom to live in a way that makes us happy and not in a way that is necessary to survive.
    Exactly! Gender schmender, everybody deserves the freedom to be who they are, and greater diversity makes for more interesting characters in fiction all 'round.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Ocelot said:
    Exactly! Gender schmender, everybody deserves the freedom to be who they are, and greater diversity makes for more interesting characters in fiction all 'round.
    Awesome! So if I'm a psychopath, it's OK to give in to my urges and just be who I am? :D WOOT! Hurray for freedom!

    Anyways, I personally don't think that having women as archers, mages, etc., is a "cliche" that detracts from RPG's.

    And as for WoW being popular BECAUSE it's a medieval fantasy style world? I never said that. But it IS a fact that it is the most desired setting for an RPG. Otherwise you wouldn't see it so much.

    EDIT: It's also why it was World of Warcraft and not StarCraft, even though the later was their most popular franchise at the time.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2013
    I was hoping that I wouldn't have to put the standard "as long as you're not doing things that hurt other people" clause in there, because it's assumed by most rational human beings.
    Becky Cunningham, Staff-at-Large
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • MobiusZeroMobiusZero Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Well, I could go on about how it IS, but that's not a debate for this topic :)
  • The Last PaladinThe Last Paladin Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    MobiusZero said:

    And as for WoW being popular BECAUSE it's a medieval fantasy style world? I never said that. But it IS a fact that it is the most desired setting for an RPG. Otherwise you wouldn't see it so much.

    EDIT: It's also why it was World of Warcraft and not StarCraft, even though the later was their most popular franchise at the time.
    Again, your reasoning on this issue I can't agree with. Is it true that medieval fantasy is the most used because it is most desirable or is it MORE true that it is the most used because it has been the safe genre to go to for RPGs? Here's another analogy involving food (sorry for this by the way). If I am on my way to a restaurant I never been in and ordering some food and I call my co-workers and ask them what they want and they tell me "Just get me anything," since they don't have a clue what is on the menu and neither do I at the moment of the ordering, I will always play it safe and give them what is normally popular like hamburgers and fries when I finally get to the restaurant. Not because it is desired but because it is usually a safe food to give to people. Most People tend to tolerate Hamburgers and fries of course and sometimes that is the only thing they can think to eat when they don't know about other choices being offered. If they were other choices however that they knew about, then perhaps they would try some of the other stuff on the menu and may even enjoy it more than the Hamburger and fries.

    To say that medieval fantasy is the most popular one because it is used the most is a very naive way to look at things. It is popular because it is the most generic theme to use with rpgs, its the "safe food" that people accept because there is either nothing else out there or no other offer was given to them. We see time and again when there are other offers though (I.E. Persona Mass Effect, etc) they tend to be quite popular.

    Besides all that didn't you just write that the theme doesn't matter to people as long as the gameplay is good? WoW is popular because of the gameplay and the time people have put into the game over the years not because it is medieval fantasy. People who play WoW have invested so much in their character that they tend to not want to have to go through the same thing with another MMO, despite how good it may be compare to WoW, not to mention that WoW has more content in that game than most games could ever dream of having because of how long it has been out. There's are a lot of reason WoW is a popular game, but the fact that it is a fantasy themed game isn't going to mean much for most people.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited October 2013
    Awesome! So if I'm a psychopath, it's OK to give in to my urges and just be who I am? WOOT! Hurray for freedom!
    I knew your response would be something along those lines. Won a bet because of it.
    Ultimately, if you REALLY think about it, those kinds of people aren't actually happy.

    But it IS a fact that it is the most desired setting for an RPG.
    Prove it.
    And as for WoW being popular BECAUSE it's a medieval fantasy style world? I never said that. But it IS a fact that it is the most desired setting for an RPG. Otherwise you wouldn't see it so much.

    EDIT: It's also why it was World of Warcraft and not StarCraft, even though the later was their most popular franchise at the time.
    Nice.
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