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Editorials - Strange Medicine

Joseph WithamJoseph Witham MemberFull Members
edited October 2003 in Latest Updates
Have fun discussing these articles.

Comments

  • Temple_PriestessTemple_Priestess Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    "The Case for Macros" was a very interesting editorial. I do agree that macroing should be allowed. I currently play Dark Ages and macroing is against the TOS. However, players constently try to sneak in macroing in order to level up skills that would take an insane amount of time to do while one is actually in front of the computer. If game designers don't like the idea of macros, or if many people feel it is unfair, perhaps a change is needed in the game itself, such as lowering the requirements for some skills. (for example, in Dark Ages, I need my Wind Blade to be level 100. It barely goes up one level with an hour or more of hunting. At this rate, if I don't macro, I am looking at *numerous* hours of holding down the space bar >.<;)
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Huh?.... There's a paragraph missing from my editorial. Wait a minute....
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Eeerrr.... Kindly append the following paragraph to the Villainy editorial, just before the last line:

    "The biggest argument for this type of thinking is the concept of 'right' and 'wrong'. Most would argue that the heroes are in the 'right' and the villain/s are in the 'wrong'. However, the line between 'right' and 'wrong' is still blurred as heroes between villains are. It still falls down as a subjective belief. Though it may be a common perception that the heroes are right because they're trying to stop murderous villain, chances are in the process they'll be subjecting themselves to acts that are similar to the villain: killing and some desctruction."



  • Joseph WithamJoseph Witham Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Alright, I fixed it for you. Just remember to check to make sure everything's correct with your article before sending it next time. smile.gif
  • seancdaugseancdaug Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    I has some problems with Mr. Bordreau's editorial regarding the importance of storylines in the Final Fantasy series. First, he mentions how the battle system has remained largely unchanged from Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IX. If anything, the Active Time Battle system, introduced in Final Fantasy IV, was a bigger change than the Conditional Time Battle system introduced in Final Fantasy X. And I'd also like to point out that I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who quickly got bored with Dragon Warrior VII on account of the antiquated battle system (although, to be sure, the story there wasn't much to write home about, either).

    My thoughts on the matter have always been that if your primary purpose is to tell a story, you should work in a medium that is exclusively directed towards storytelling. Make a movie, write a book, whatever.... Video games, by neccessity, involve gaming. As such, the number one priority is producing a game that is enjoyable to play. This doesn't mean that you can't have a game with a good story. Far from it. Even outside of the RPG genre, games like Konami's Silent Hill series provide a well-crafted plot and characterization. But, conversely, it is generally easier to forgive a video game with a bad storyline than it is to forgive a video game with bad game mechanics, simply because of what most people will expect when coming to a video game, after all.
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Macros and such programs ARE an unfair advantage, just as any other "Oh, this just speeds up me getting to higher range of power beyond the intent of the designers and not within the legal game range. Isn't my +7 blade of dragon slaying nice?". The problem is sometimes they are also a valid fix to a badly designed situation. Specifically, the effort necessary to learn and level up basic skills is extraneous. Here, we then have the problem of what is 'extraneous'. Is five minutes worth of repetative action extaneous to level? Maybe, but what if the game intends that you'd do that over the natural course of playing just by playing along. What about 30 minutes then? Again, one would have to see the game. An hour though, perhaps all of us would agree is extraneous? But wait, there are players who actually enjoy that sort of thing, surprising to say. So, it comes down to creating a balance that is sane for most players. Implementing Macros is an admission of failure in game design, IMO. It's admitting you've created a game that has areas too repeatitive and boring that they do not need human interaction at all to do. This is clearly bad. Therefore...rather than implementation of macros in the industry, I'd rather see an overall overhaul in game design. When was the last time you played an RPG WITHOUT a steady growth curve? With a minimalistic one where you generally didn't pick up many skills beyond the base and instead RP'ed with a generally usable character from the get go? Perhaps not an idea meant for MMORPGs, but...if not it, then something else I'd think is needed there. Some innovation in design to improve the overall nature of it.

    Dracos
  • PhatosePhatose Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    I pretty much totally disagree with the editorial on Final Fantasy as a purely story driven medium. I know if I had been playing for the story, I never ever would've finished Final Fantasy. The joy in that game was not to be had by the pathetic inklings of a plot, as discussed by townspeople limited to a single box of text. It was exploring the dungeons and finding that next bit of treasure. If it was about the plot, then final fantasy WOULD'VE been the 'final' fantasy, since not many people would be willing to go through as much as you're required to in FF for the miniscule 'plot' that it offers.

    It also seems to ignore the often large differences in character level gaining. A battle system is nothing if you don't consider the leviling system alongside of it, and between the two, there have been a fair number of changes. Admittedly, it tends to osciallate between various mutations of a job system or a static class system, but the details do seem to matter to most people. I'd even say that given how common random battles are, and how frightfully easy they are, the power gaining system is as important then the pure battle system.

    Have I ever stopped playing a game because I disliked it's battle system even if I liked it's plot? Yeppers. Septerra core. Grand plot, genuinely unique world - and a battle system that bordered on chinese water torture. Plot didn't save that game.

    And the ultimate question - even if I was to agree that gameplay is merely a vehicle (which I don't, and never will) - still becomes "Is it better to have deliver the same story with a boring vehicle, or a fun one?". I don't think it takes a genius to figure that one out, either, and focusing on plot to the point where gameplay is just an afterthought will eventually result in final fantasy becoming septerra core.

    In the meantime - if I want to hear a story, I'll chose a story told in a vehicle that doesn't require me to do busy work to get to the story. And if somehow, I get bonked on the head and develop the masochistic need to constantly interrupt a story I'm enjoying with tedium, I'll do a lord of the rings rubix cube challenge. It's cheaper.
  • Options
    edited September 2003
    To be fair, my article (The True Focus of Final Fantasy) did not say that the only important part of the games is the story. What I intended (and what might not have come across), is that the story - and not the battle system - is the driving factor for continuing to play the game.

    And I believe the battle system has remained essentially the same since Final Fantasy 1. In FF1, you had your characters select one action each turn. When the Active Time Battle system was introduced, your characters still took one action each turn, but it was harder to figure out when a turn ended or began. Special actions sometimes took more than one turn, but essentially, the only factor that ATB introduced was fluidity of combat.

    There have been tweaks in the battle system, such as limit breaks, special moves, and the like, but the underlying essentials of the system (one action per turn, fight, magic, etc.) remain the same.

    The Conditional Battle System <i>did</i> change the essentials by revising the rule of one action per turn.

    So that's it. Hope that clears up...well...something.
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Re: I'm an FF fanboy who doesn't even examine the details.

    You know, to mimic your editorial, it always brings a chuckle to my face to see someone proceed to lecture a group on something as an expert and then proceed to be ignorant or dismissive of the details. Yah, the battle systems were exactly the same. Did you well... ever look at them? I mean closely? Crack past the pretty pictures and hack your way in to look at the underground math? I know I did. It was quite educating. And it's also quite obvious even on a superficial level that they went through the effort of engineering entirely different systems for each of them. I can point to ten thousand games where a hero swings a sword and does number based damage to an enemy. Does that mean they are all the same? No. The differences are in the details. Some graphically look different. Some have different sounds. Others have different underlying math. Some have all three changed.

    Anyhow... regardless of the poor presentation... Don't you think you are preaching to the choir here? This is RPGamer which BEGAN as a Square fansite. Almost synomonous to being an FF fansite back in the day. So those you are preaching to are in large part those who LIKE the FF series and wait with baited breath for each new version. Those who've stopped liking it, aren't likely to be swayed by such rhetoric, so what's the point? Why not spare the lecture and instead go on something more interesting that gets the same point across. An analysis of the unifying priniciples across the FF games or something of that kin.

    Dracos
  • IsraelIsrael Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    First time ever I arrive early! Yay! *dances* biggrin.gif tounge.gif

    For the Final Fantasy Ed, personally I agree fighting is pointless, but in games, sometimes even in real life, some people think you can achieve your goals by fighting. Check out Georgey Bush with Iraq and see what I mean, or the FF battling, and compare. Obviously, both are battles, but in gaming it is adapted as to fit the enviroment. I believe that for games to be good, you need that, either they are a VERY GOOD game, or they have a good plot, as usually it is FF and other titles.

    For me, Final Fantasy has been a wonderful RPG experience, but probably they should make a more *realistic* battle system.
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Israel:

    Sir, you have just compared random combat in video games to the iraq war conflict. I hate you.

    Dracos
  • JCove2010JCove2010 Member Full Members
    edited September 2003
    Here we are back to arguing about what's what in FINAL FANTASY. ?

    I play Final Fantasy for the story as for me the story and exploration is what makes the FF series so cool and FF has some of the most richest stories out there. (I've played all but the first 3 and I am currently working on 1 and 2.) But I agree that the mechanics are what keep us interested to get through the story from cover to cover. Just as dialogue helps keep a novel interesting, mechanics in an RPG can make that interesting, and now they have voice acting (room for improvement, but it's there). Battles can in some way tell us what kind of character were playing what skills do they add to the team that will help them defeat the bad guy. I don't think it's necessarily important for the battle system to change, I like how Square has done it to make it a little more challenging. They add/change bits and pieces to each of the game's battles and that's great. To date FFX, in my opinion, had the best Battle system in a Final Fantasy game.

    BORDERLINE: The Story and environment is what makes the RPG a good one, everything else just makes it more interesting and adds to it. Overall it's all important, story, battle, magic, music, ALL of it.



  • LordKaiserLordKaiser Gaming Freedom Full Members
    edited October 2003
    Well I disagree about that the battle system does not matter because it does. I dislike Crono Cross for that reason and Dragon Quest 1-7. Game play is also another inportant factor besides the story and battle system. A game is the sum of these 3 factors.
    Never buy a game published by D3 Publisher that is not WKCII. They cheated on their fans by releasing a game that they didn't support not even for a year and they released a rushed translation.
  • BloodcatBloodcat Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    Actually Dracos, the best electronic RPGs and the best tabletop campaigns are the ones where fighting IS optional, where victory can be claimed without having to whack everything in sight.

    And as always, I prefer gameplay over story. If the game isn't good, the story is irrelevant. Story is secondary, just like graphics...
  • MasamuneMasamune Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    Which begs the question, if people truly do play RPGs truly are story-driven and people but them for that sole reason... why don't Text Adventure-type games like Radical Dreamers and SuikoGaiden not do better?
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Bloodcat @ Sep. 30 2003,18:33)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Actually Dracos, the best electronic RPGs and the best tabletop campaigns are the ones where fighting IS optional, where victory can be claimed without having to whack everything in sight.

    And as always, I prefer gameplay over story. ?If the game isn't good, the story is irrelevant. ?Story is secondary, just like graphics...[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Cha, your point? I know that quite well. I only well, *points to sig* run a forum on such things. I'm curious as to what would've indicated I didn't. I don't actually care for many of the FF battle systems, but I won't say they are all the same.

    Dracos
  • BloodcatBloodcat Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    Fundamentally they are.

    They use slightly different mechanics each time, but at its core its a menu driven system where your attack power causes lots of damage and your defense causes damage to you to be reduced.

    The differences are largely cosmetic, and the in game combat tactics are all effectively the same in every mainline FF title I have played. (Most of em.)
  • IsraelIsrael Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Dracos @ Sep. 30 2003,12:08)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Israel:

    Sir, you have just compared random combat in video games to the iraq war conflict. ?I hate you.

    Dracos[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Um... I apologize...

    I wanted to do it, but I never thought someone would respond so toughly... sad.gif
  • LordBrianLordBrian Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Fundamentally they are.

    They use slightly different mechanics each time, but at its core its a menu driven system where your attack power causes lots of damage and your defense causes damage to you to be reduced.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    And we're back to the point in which when you ignore everything unique about a system, you'll eventually come to the same thing. Any system that has menus and damage, regardless of how unique the implementation may be, will fall into this description. It's in no way limited to Final Fantasy games, either.
  • BloodcatBloodcat Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    And that's the problem...
  • LordBrianLordBrian Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    If by "that" you mean that you're looking for RPGs to become something other than RPGs, then I agree with you. But you can't take out "having battles with damage" and "menus" and still have an RPG, no matter what kind of definition you use.
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    Well, technically you can take out the 'menu's part. But that thought path would entirely miss the damn point. There are differences in the level of specificness where if you fail to be specific enough you lose any sense of worth from the analysis. Humans all have {Set of features}, therefore all humans are exactly the same. Sure, you could say that, but if you are intending to use that to compare human versus human, it's a rather worthless level of specificness. All RPGs that have HP(Or some like varient) share a feature, therefore they are exactly the same. Again, you 'could' claim that. And on some superficial level, you'd be correct that they all fall into a single category. But if you are comparing individual systems, that is a rather useless level of specification. Now, Bloodcat here is probably lamenting in a rather poorly done fashion the general 'simplicity' of the average console RPG battle system. And technically, if you compare random game systems in it against what are generally totally different styles of implementation, you could argue that all console fighting systems are effectively 'the same'. But again, this would be a poor level of specification for comparing between two console RPG games and generally is a blatant disservice to them overall by acting like it's a crime that a group of games of similar type are indeed of similar type. It also is rather silly in denouncing a discussion comparing ones within that genre of game design.

    To produce another analogy that fits nicely here: To someone who specializes in football, the intricacies of different golf courses seem pointless. They are all the same to his eyes. They all fall into the group {golf course}. Why bother playing more than one? But, to a golf player, one who loves every field, despite their similarities, the subtle differences in each are not so subtle. To him they alter and shift about the very essence of each game played.

    And, I believe that should address the contention that Bloodcat seems to want to bring up here. Regardless of whether you like the systems or not, if you refuse to compare them with at least the appropriate level of specificness, you are always going to get useless data out of it.

    Truthfully though, I'd like to see you manage to produce a computer RPG without menus. I don't think it has been done or can be done. And I don't mean those text adventures. I mean ones where you actually have a designed and defined character. Inventory of some kind. You know, the trappings of what we would consider an RPG. They all use it. It's a trapping of an RPG.

    Dracos
  • AraesAraes Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Dracos @ Sep. 30 2003,05:36)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Macros and such programs ARE an unfair advantage, just as any other "Oh, this just speeds up me getting to higher range of power beyond the intent of the designers and not within the legal game range. ?Isn't my +7 blade of dragon slaying nice?". ?The problem is sometimes they are also a valid fix to a badly designed situation. ?Specifically, the effort necessary to learn and level up basic skills is extraneous. ?Here, we then have the problem of what is 'extraneous'. ?Is five minutes worth of repetative action extaneous to level? ?Maybe, but what if the game intends that you'd do that over the natural course of playing just by playing along. ?What about 30 minutes then? ?Again, one would have to see the game. ?An hour though, perhaps all of us would agree is extraneous? ?But wait, there are players who actually enjoy that sort of thing, surprising to say. ?So, it comes down to creating a balance that is sane for most players. ?Implementing Macros is an admission of failure in game design, IMO. ?It's admitting you've created a game that has areas too repeatitive and boring that they do not need human interaction at all to do. ?This is clearly bad. ?Therefore...rather than implementation of macros in the industry, I'd rather see an overall overhaul in game design.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    Alright, been busy with school and Japandemonium, but figure I ought to at least respond to this.

    First off, you have to decide what you think is unfair. ?Half the point of this entire article is that they aren't unfair because they are available to everyone if they want to use them. ?I can just as easily go download a tool that chooses menubar options or clicks on the screen as the next guy can. ?I'm not somehow specially enabled to do so. ?Hell, this last time I even sat down and just learned the language this particular program used from scratch just so I could write my programs more effectively. ?And when said tool is even available in the game, such as is the case with SWG, then there's even less ground to stand on, as your only excuse not to use it is that you're too lazy to learn its syntax.

    As far as legality, what's there even to measure. ?Within a constantly persistent world, the only thing you can truly base your claims against is that use of such a program would throw the entire world economy out of wack. ?Its not like the program is breaking any inherent rules of the game. ?Does it just give me a +7 blade of whatever? ?No, I still have to do all of the actual play which is required to set up a condition where I might come upon such a blade. ?And the blade itself still has to be a valid item in the game world.

    As far as saying some people like repeatadly clicking a single series of buttons 1000+ times so they can gain one skill level, that's comparable to saying they like watching paint dry. ?However, even that's not enough, as it requires physical effort on your part. ?Admittedly, I'm sure there are some gifted folks out there who can gain amusement from repetetive tedium, but we can't intend gaming to cater to them, and we shouldn't start defining that as anything even resembling fun.

    Which brings me to my next point. ?Macros help to fill holes in games which no developer can possibly hope to completely cover. ?MMORPGs are going to have flaws, they're going to have parts that aren't fun for every person, and they may even require tedium as long as they impose time restrictions on how long it takes to gain skill. ?By their very natures, people aren't willing to "wait and RP" at a gradually increasing skill level, so you have to hard code in stops that prevent them from skyrocketing. ?One of the few good things SWG did was create its resource gathering system to serve as a halter on growth and production.

    In addition, its simply impossible to plan for every contingency of options that a player would like to have in game and make them all fun to do. ?So instead, they should be allowed access to programs or in-game code which can be crafted to accomplish particular tasks in a way which suits them. ?It allows for infinite customization of the in-game UI with little commitment on the part of the designer besides saying "sure, its fine, use macros".

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Dracos @ Sep. 30 2003,05:36)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"When was the last time you played an RPG WITHOUT a steady growth curve? ?With a minimalistic one where you generally didn't pick up many skills beyond the base and instead RP'ed with a generally usable character from the get go? ?Perhaps not an idea meant for MMORPGs, but...if not it, then something else I'd think is needed there. ?Some innovation in design to improve the overall nature of it.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    And as far as starting from the get-go and just playing, I think that it could be a viable idea with the right people and market, but again, by its nature it won't retain long term support as an MMORPG. ?People crave growth, no matter how slow, and the dangling carrot of promised power is one of the strongest forms of the MMORPG "crack" out there for folks. ?Heck, in a couple of years on EQ, I can't count the number of times I saw folks strive to become the best in their class, only to drop the character once they realized there was nowhere else to go.

    Anyhow, my expanded thoughts on that topic and maybe I'll dig into the rest of the articles if my school schedule doesn't kill me first.
  • LordBrianLordBrian Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Well, technically you can take out the 'menu's part.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    I disagree, and I challenge you to name one RPG that doesn't include some sort of menu.
  • vherubvherub Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    action-arcade rpg's, by there very nature absolutely forbid a menu system (gauntlet), granted these plug and play rpgs are paperthin, but would you really want the joker next to you pausing the action of the game?

    but no one is really talking about arcade rpgs, or playing them anymore...
  • RicoRico Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    The latest Gauntlet arcade games (I don't see how the first two are RPGs) have menus between stages to buy items and such.
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (LordBrian @ Oct. 03 2003,06:39)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"Well, technically you can take out the 'menu's part.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    I disagree, and I challenge you to name one RPG that doesn't include some sort of menu.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    That 'technically' was referring to that it's not really core to an RPG. If you'll read further, you'll notice I don't believe it's possible to build a console or computer RPG without one. It's the necessary representation of what is effectively a list of options contained in one's mind in a pen and paper RPG. Technically, the menus themselves aren't core. But I doubt one could produce any sane computer version of an RPG without either menus or live human input interpreting a text stream. Menus are the natural way to represent tables of data and sets of options.

    Dracos
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited October 2003
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Araes @ Oct. 03 2003,00:45)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Been meaning to respond to this as well. Damn busy life and multiple RPGs ^_~. I escape my players and GMs for a moment to answer thy response though laugh.gif

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"
    First off, you have to decide what you think is unfair. Half the point of this entire article is that they aren't unfair because they are available to everyone if they want to use them. I can just as easily go download a tool that chooses menubar options or clicks on the screen as the next guy can. I'm not somehow specially enabled to do so. Hell, this last time I even sat down and just learned the language this particular program used from scratch just so I could write my programs more effectively. And when said tool is even available in the game, such as is the case with SWG, then there's even less ground to stand on, as your only excuse not to use it is that you're too lazy to learn its syntax.
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    Okay, first let's handle all cases other than SWG, where it is not included in the base package. Here what you are saying is open to several rather legitimate analogies to unfair actions. Let me cover it piece by piece.

    First: I can get it just as easily as the other guy. Well, let's apply this to cheat programs. I'll use Diablo as an example. It's practically easier to find cheat programs for that game than to load up the game itself. They are everywhere and there's no reason why some other guy can't get it and use it just as easily as I do. Does this make cheat devices fair? Does this make hacking a fair option? I think this comparison debunks the concept that 'everyone' can do something as any qualifier for fairness. Instead, one should have to ask whether it's fair to your other players to utilize such devices that are outside of the designed scope of the game. A 'fair' action is one that everyone can do without having to modify the game. This assumes the game is balanced, but if it is not, adding stuff external to the design for just a few players does not help the problem.

    Second: One could say the above analogy isn't fair because you are doing stuff solely within the boundaries of a game. Here, allow me to make a comparison within my experience to fighting games. Programmable controllers have been around for ages. They are avaliable to everyone and truthfully allow you to do no action within the game that you couldn't do already (provided you had fast enough and coordinated enough fingers). Are they fair to use? I'd say no. In my experience, taking two people of equal skill who are not just rank beginners, programmable controllers can make a significant difference in the competition that occurs. The ability to do a technique or combo trick by the press of one button as opposed to four or five definitely changes the nature of the game and is unfair to those who are not using it. While MMORPGs are not a competitive game in the same utterly direct sense, I still think such programming both belittles the game and is unfair to the other players in a similiar fashion. You referenced those who absolutely LOVE to build their characters to max. But that joy is reduced if they spend 100 hours doing it and then watch a few hundred people do the same in 5 with a macro that allows them to completely remove all human delay and do the actions as fast as their little code can handle it. It also removes the planning aspect of the game designers on the economy, all of a sudden a single player can proceed to do a certain action which they'd normally expect would take a player X time in Xinsiginficant time. That's not good. All of a sudden calculations on how fast the player should progress through the game are thrown out of whack.

    So, I think I can say in games which they aren't standardly included, it's reasonable to declare them an unfair addition.

    On games which they are, I still think they are a bad patch to a problem that results from poor design. They KNOW how long it's going to take to build up a certain thing. They KNOW task A or B is repetative. An MMORPG, unlike many other forms of game design, has the challenge of millions of eyes stressing their changing and developing game BUT also has the ability to add new stuff in all the time. There's no reason that they should not know that it takes an unreasonable amount of time to go ahead and learn to weave baskets in a setting. If players need to design a macro for it to make it reasonable, then I'd say that's a failure of design. It should not require such to make it reasonable. It's an acceptance that they've allowed what is clearly a not fun mechanic into their game.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"
    As far as legality, what's there even to measure. Within a constantly persistent world, the only thing you can truly base your claims against is that use of such a program would throw the entire world economy out of wack. Its not like the program is breaking any inherent rules of the game. Does it just give me a +7 blade of whatever? No, I still have to do all of the actual play which is required to set up a condition where I might come upon such a blade. And the blade itself still has to be a valid item in the game world.
    [/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    And technically, I'd argue it DOES throw the economy out of whack. I posit to you the .00001 percent possibility of finding a blade in a spring every time you go there. This blade is ubermagical and most won't ever see it, but it's a nifty little thing that a few random souls will find and will slowly but surely remain a small part of the economy. Now...what happens if you have a macro to dash to the spring, dash to the range of it renewing the variable, and dash back as quick as you can? Suddenly, a lot of people have this blade. This is clearly not what was intended and throws the economy out of whack. Or more classically, you know some basic task that gets a certain small amount of gold that normally can't be done fast enough to make it worthwhile longterm. What happens if you have a macro which suddenly CAN do it in an insiginficantly short time? Just the time necessary to process the commands? The absolute minimum time in every case? Well, suddenly it becomes a viable action for getting treasure where it was not intended to be. In this sort of sense, I think that macros do intend have the potential to be a definitive impact on the game economy. In terms of power, equipment, and gold, they allow the building of them in far greater amounts and far less time than would reasonably occur otherwise.

    In which case, I'd make an argument that they are generally illegal (unintended by the designers and capable of wrecking the balance of the game) and unfair(intrinisically unbalancing compared to other players of equal ability without them). They might be useful to fix problems with the design of the game, but I don't think they are the only possible fix or the most desirable one by any means. I think they are an acceptance of failure of design. Regardless, if they aren't in the game and you are using them, you are no longer playing the game that everyone else is. Now, with that out of the way, let's get to the more relevant argument laugh.gif. Whether or not it's feisiable to expect a better design.

    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"As far as saying some people like repeatadly clicking a single series of buttons 1000+ times so they can gain one skill level, that's comparable to saying they like watching paint dry. However, even that's not enough, as it requires physical effort on your part. Admittedly, I'm sure there are some gifted folks out there who can gain amusement from repetetive tedium, but we can't intend gaming to cater to them, and we shouldn't start defining that as anything even resembling fun.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>

    Games should either be servicing to that group or not. If not, then such things are detrimental to the gameplay as a whole and are bad design. If they are designed to service to that group, then macros break the game by wrecking the benefit of that tedium for others. A game design should reasonably service to one or the other. Something that attempt to do both will inherently fail to be the best it can be on both counts. And while it might be acceptable to produce this path which services to those who don't like tedium and that path which services to those who do, all it does is produce complaints from both groups from not being able to follow the other paths. Personally, I'm a far greater fan of a game that chooses a market to appeal to and does it stellarly than a game that does a mediocre job of appealing to contradictory markets.

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    Which brings me to my next point. Macros help to fill holes in games which no developer can possibly hope to completely cover. MMORPGs are going to have flaws, they're going to have parts that aren't fun for every person, and they may even require tedium as long as they impose time restrictions on how long it takes to gain skill. By their very natures, people aren't willing to "wait and RP" at a gradually increasing skill level, so you have to hard code in stops that prevent them from skyrocketing. One of the few good things SWG did was create its resource gathering system to serve as a halter on growth and production.
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    I absolutely agree MMORPGs are going to have flaws... BUT I do not think that macros are the solution to those. It all depends on what you are 'going' for. A game shouldn't be fun for every person. I think it's a detrimental thought path for design. Should I include XP in my football game to appeal to all those RPG fans? Of course not. That's ridiculous. So why should an MMORPG be trying to appeal to everyone? They shouldn't. They generally have a vision behind them when they are made. An expected player group accompanying that vision of what type of people they want to enjoy their game. So, they should be deciding what is important to have in their game. Is Role Playing a paramount importance? Is power leveling? Is it more of a Virtual Environment and not a Role Playing game? If so, then the game should reflect these things. They should be servicing to these crowds. And in servicing to them, they should be able to determine if "Action A is found tedious by most of our players. It's required for some basic thing. This is 'bad'. We should fix this." And they Can do it. They can fix it on the fly so that the next time you log in it doesn't happen. MMORPGs tend to have an entire squad of maintainance designers on hand to support the system. It's practically necessary with the amount of stress the player load of MMORPGs place on the systems. We've seen countless times MMORPGs which do roll backs, modify/nerf stuff, etc. Why would it not be reasonable for them to take into account what they intend various build actions for?

    Those people who aren't willing to 'wait and RP', I'd tell to go find a game more suited to thier playing style. I think if you have to add something to a game to make it playable, that doesn't speak highly of the original game. Again, all my opinion on that, but I think it's very reasonable to say: "If I need to include this external program that plays half the game for me to have fun here, then I'm probably doing something wrong."

    Basically, I disagree with the premise that it's impossible for a game designer to design a game in which the general actions that would be taken by the intended playerbase are not tedious. If that premise was true, then every game would have stuff we refer to as tedious.

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    In addition, its simply impossible to plan for every contingency of options that a player would like to have in game and make them all fun to do. So instead, they should be allowed access to programs or in-game code which can be crafted to accomplish particular tasks in a way which suits them. It allows for infinite customization of the in-game UI with little commitment on the part of the designer besides saying "sure, its fine, use macros".
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    It is impossible to plan for every contigency. So we have ways around that.

    Way A)We simply don't try to appeal to everything. You want to be able to have an army of football playing chocobos who have neon colored crests sticking out of their heads? Well, sorry bub. That's not in this game. We'll think about putting in suggested additions, but some of them will go in and some of them won't and you'll either play the game with what gets put in or you won't.

    Way B)We don't put in a billion options but we make the ones we do put in fun to do. If we put in a warrior class, than damn skippy he better be a fun warrior class. If we put in a mage, he better be a fun mage. If we toss in the ability to make bread, then it better be enjoyable making bread or add to our game in some other very appreciatable fashion. Etc.

    Way C)The common usage of impossible to fulfill contingencies isn't what items we put in or what classes but what people will do with them. There are entire game classes and lectures held on how to handle this. There's been plenty of industry meetings (the logs/recordings/video footage of which are avaliable online to those who hunt) on just how to deal with these problems. I'm personally a fan of the method outlined in the Biting the hand column ( http://www.skotos.net/articles/bth.html ) of not depending entirely on scripted response to move the game along but being willing to play along and deal with a moving and altering environment. MMORPGs often have the advantage of actual administrators live on hand to deal with issues as they pop up. And generally, I'd love to see a lot more of that.

    As regards my 'growth-curveless RPG' comment, that was more a remark to accent how little we tend to think about alternative game designs. It doesn't necessarily matter that they'll all work or be proper for a given game. What does matter is that people think of them. In an MMORPG of a 'traditional' *hah* nature, it wouldn't work. People love the build and play for it. But what about the community that doesn't give a ####? That loves the social environment and interaction? Could we make a game that specifically hones to them and removes the tedium of building up? Why not?

    Dracos
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