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PC RPG Coverage

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  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    Well there's a forum rule that says "Send news to news@rpgamer.com" I think we still have that one... This rule is not enforced currently. Talk to the admins if you think that should change...

    Did you stop reviewing PC games due to general lack of interest? That'd be the day when the console guys can finally say "We won!" Does RPGamer review only console-like PC games (Recettear comes to mind)? Though Mount & Blade is decidedly not console-like, it was reviewed awhile ago. The policy might have changed since then. The other policy I know of is: RPGamer does not review free PC games at all. I can't say I can name a site that does though.

    Anyway, read the Mount & Blade review, played it, had a good bit of fun.

    We still review PC titles. It's just very challenging to find folks willing to review PC games. I know for me personally, I don't enjoy gaming on my PC and very seldom do I do it (and when I do game on my PC I have to wear my brace, joy). We do have people who enjoy PC games and are working towards reviewing them, though this year the flux of console games has been so great that it's hard to also keep up on the PC side of games. At least, that's my perspective. However, there is no policy stating that we've stopped reviewing PC titles, and as for PC reviews, if there's stuff people want to see reviewed let us know and we'll do our best to tackle it.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    RPGamer doesn't have a policy for or against PC Games par se. When I was reviewing, I never got a memo saying "Let's focus more on Console games" or anything like that. RPGamer is a volunteer effort, for the most part, so as stated before, our coverage will tend to lean towards what the staff has interest in and puts the most time into.

    It doesn't help that there really aren't any large PC Exclusive RPGs anymore. Heck, there are few large PC RPGs period. A quick scan of GameRankings only shows a handful, most of which had console versions. There are certainly a number of indy efforts out there, especially if you count the RPGMaker stuff... but I'm not sure that's something our readers, or our writers, really want to see a lot about.

    If there's a PC RPG from the last 12 months that we didn't cover, I encourage you to write about it here. You might inspire on of us to take it on!

    PC Fanboys will be elated to know, however, that we do have a monthly "PC Pitstop" Section on RPGBacktrack where we talk about a PC RPG classic game.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Indeed, I'm not sure which PC games we haven't been reviewing, unless you're talking about MMOs or RPGMaker games, which we simply don't have the staff to keep up with. PC exclusive titles such as the King's Bounty games and Divinity III are reviewed on PC, and multiplatform releases are reviewed on the platform of the reviewer's choice. I just dug out our coverage spreadsheet, and these are the PC RPGs that we cover that have been reviewed by our site this year:

    Divinity II
    ME 2
    DAO: Awakening (and one piece of DLC, Leliana's Song)
    Alpha Protocol
    Puzzle Quest 2
    Recettear

    These are the PC RPGs that didn't get a review:

    Disciples III: Renaissance (Did an impression, decided not to review the full title because of its great length and wanting to prioritize the upcoming ArcaniA: Gothic 4)
    Puzzle Chronicles

    Upcoming PC RPGs for the rest of 2010 are:

    ArcaniA: Gothic 4 - It's on its way to me, I will be reviewing it unless it fails to be compatible with my graphics card (the demo was a problem in that regard)
    Fallout: New Vegas - This will definitely get a review
    World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - A MMO that will most likely be reviewed because enough of us play WoW to do so

    So, in conclusion, our most abject apologies for failing to review... Puzzle Chronicles.
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    Daaaang... we missed Puzzle Chronicles? I'm all over it. Really. Just wait for that one. Coming out ANY day now!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited October 2010
    jcservant wrote: »
    If there's a PC RPG from the last 12 months that we didn't cover, I encourage you to write about it here. You might inspire on of us to take it on!
    I don't necessarily blame you guys for not covering these in the past since they're independent games (although definitely for-profit) but here is a few I can think of off the top of my head:

    Knights of the Chalice: Party-based dungeon crawler based on the 3.5 OGL

    Avernum VI:Isometric turn-based sandbox RPG

    Din's Curse: Diable-clone with dynamic quests

    Eschalon: Book II: Traditional isometric turn-based RPG


    Pretty sure all of those were from the past 12 months. Avadon: The Black Fortess was also announced this year by the maker of Avernum/Geneforge, and there is also Age of Decadence: an upcoming RPG by the co-developers of Dead State, a game this site already covers.
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Ocelot, did you miss King's Bounty Crossworlds?

    Also, I request an impression of the Territoire demo from Gaijin. I'm not good enough at Japanese to do it myself.
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    @ ThroneofDravaris - I know Paws was playing Din's Curse, I don't know if she plans to review it at some point or not. She mentioned it a lot though on RPGCast when she was playing it.

    @flamethrower - Paws is (or was?) playing King's Bounty: Crossworlds. Again, I don't know if she'll be reviewing it or not. But she's been talking about it on RPGCast the last few times she's been on.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    I am most familiar with the first two you mention here, since I have played the demo to both.

    First, Knight of the Chalice. It was cute, but it felt like a really simplified version of Gold box games. While it had some great implementation of the 3.5 ruleset going on, it only had a couple of classes, and I think 4 party members (from what I understand, these limitations weren't just because I was playing the demo). The fact that I couldn't choose from more races and classes was a big turn off, since, after all, that was one of the prime sources of fun of the gold box games it emulates.

    I am also familiar with Avernum games. They are very deep, very long, and very ... what's the word... old skool. lolz. They use graphics that would look in place in 1995 or so. The older Avernum games didn't even have great mouse support. Keyboard shortcuts/commands FTW! My concern there is investing soooo much time (because those games are long), in a game that really look very, very old. From what I understand, Spiderweb is a 1-3 man organization, so I understand why they can't do better in that area. But that other side of the equation is that its very slow and deliberate. It's one thing to play a game that looks old which is fast (30 second hero, and that new one on the xbox that cost $1)... it's another thing when you know you're going to be starting at it for 40-100 hours. It doesn't help that spiderweb games aren't super cheap either, usually $25+ for the newer ones.

    I'm not saying there isn't a market for these games. Obviously there are when Avernum is on its six game. However, it is clearly a very targeted audience....even more so than some of the retro style games (like Cladum: This is an RPG) hitting PSN/XBox marketplace lately. It isn't like these games are hitting it big causing big developers to want to jump on board and make their own old skool PC gamez. So, the question would be, is it really the best use of our limited times and resources, as RPGStaff members, to buy/play-through & review these guys.... and better yet... would any of us *want* to :)

    (To be honest, I wouldn't mind doing some of them if I had a LOT more free time...and I do mean a LOT).
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited October 2010
    As I said, I'm not mortified that you guys haven't covered them; I know from reading sales figures just how niche these games are (typically they plateau at around 5000). I'm just throwing those names out there on the off-chance anyone on staff is interested in them.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    Personally..I think it would be really cool to do a review on one or more of them. It would certainly give us more cred as an RPG site ("We even review the HARD KOREZ rpgz!"). However, there are a number of things on my 'to play & review' first list. I will say that one of those is a series of PC RPG games that weren't really covered too well back in the day, on the site, and did sell quite a few more than 5,000 :) Now...if I can only get some decent free time. I have worked almost every weekend for I don't know how long now :(
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    Here's a suggestion for all you PC RPG loving folk: If you come across a PC game that you'd think we'd be interested in reviewing, post about it over in Roleplaying Games section of the forum. Considering most of the staff reads all areas of the forum, it'll give us a chance to check out things you guys are interested in and make an assessment. :)
  • EmeraldSuzakuEmeraldSuzaku Member Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Why, jcservant, are you planning on hitting Wizardry and/or Ultima? :P

    Speaking of which, I should really make another attempt at the Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord sometime. Instead of drooling over Etrian Odyssey, as it were.

    But, yeah. I never really saw any intentional bias or ulterior motives in reviewed games. Just that there are far, far too many RPGs out there to review them all here, and thus you get reviews playing to reviewer interests. Pretty normal, really.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Yeah, I know there are a lot of small indie RPGs, and now that I'm in charge of the news department and actually have other people working on news with me, I hope to cover more of them. I can't promise reviews, but I do want to at least cover the better-looking ones in terms of news (especially if y'all give us a heads up via the news e-mail). I was hoping nobody would bring up Spiderweb Software, though... I keep waiting for them to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into at least the 1990s in terms of graphics and game design. :-p
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Why, jcservant, are you planning on hitting Wizardry and/or Ultima? :P

    We're working on scheduling some PC Pit Stop specials (I'm the PC Pit Stop co-conspirator with JC) for the bigger old series. Our first one will be on Might and Magic in November, and since I'm a gigantic Ultima fan, I'm sure we'll do an Ultima special sometime. Wizardry is definitely on my watch list, too, though I'll need help because I didn't play a lot of them. Perhaps we could tap you for a guest host. :D
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Ocelot wrote: »
    I was hoping nobody would bring up Spiderweb Software, though... I keep waiting for them to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into at least the 1990s in terms of graphics and game design. :-p

    Have you see the screenshots for Avadon? It's probably still a step behind Eschalon in terms of production values but it seems to be a significant step up from their previous games.
  • The Crow WizardThe Crow Wizard Member Full Members
    edited October 2010
    jcservant wrote: »
    However, it is clearly a very targeted audience....even more so than some of the retro style games (like Cladum: This is an RPG) hitting PSN/XBox marketplace lately. It isn't like these games are hitting it big causing big developers to want to jump on board and make their own old skool PC gamez. So, the question would be, is it really the best use of our limited times and resources, as RPGStaff members, to buy/play-through & review these guys.... and better yet... would any of us *want* to :)

    (To be honest, I wouldn't mind doing some of them if I had a LOT more free time...and I do mean a LOT).

    No one is running out to make the next great JRPG, either. I think that being one of the few places that reviews something like Eschelon (Which is a retro style game, in the vein of Ultima) would generate enough traffic to justify itself, since it would be one of the few places that did. Whereas when it comes to something like, say, Dragon Quest IX, your chances of being the place to go to read impressions or news or a review about it are slim, since everyone and their mother's cat has a 36 page blog going far more in depth than the (understandably) small staff of RPGamer can hope to go into.

    I think that the perception that there are few if any PC RPGs being released is a very console-centric one, and while it's understandable that someone that spends all their time playing console games wouldn't really know about something like Eschelon, the fact that something like Recettear gets covered shows that a passionate RPG fan will play and enjoy niche small-dev games. Looks like you guys just need to put the word out that PC gamers are needed. Do that, and you'll realize that there is a world of content that's not being covered, and could be. There is no such thing as too many things to cover, just not enough people to do it with. I think if the people involved will stop with the "We -do- cover the PC RPGs that -matter-" and instead say "We cover what PC RPGs we can, and we understand we miss a good chunk of them because of our staff makeup", there will be a whole lot less enmity surrounding this subject.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    @Throne: It's definitely looking better. Can't wait to try the demo on that one.
    I think that being one of the few places that reviews something like Eschelon (Which is a retro style game, in the vein of Ultima) would generate enough traffic to justify itself, since it would be one of the few places that did. Whereas when it comes to something like, say, Dragon Quest IX, your chances of being the place to go to read impressions or news or a review about it are slim, since everyone and their mother's cat has a 36 page blog going far more in depth than the (understandably) small staff of RPGamer can hope to go into.
    Point taken...but I think you still don't understand how we choose the games we cover. We don't ponder what will get us the most hits per hour we put into the site... we don't even sit around wondering what our audience wants to read the most. We mostly review just about any review copy of games that come our way, plus games we go out and buy with our own money. So, in order for some of these games to be reviewed, such as Eschalon, there needs to be a staff member who really has a desire, time and resources to do it. Have you applied lately :) ? You never know!

    I think that the perception that there are few if any PC RPGs being released is a very console-centric one, and while it's understandable that someone that spends all their time playing console games wouldn't really know about something like Eschelon, the fact that something like Recettear gets covered shows that a passionate RPG fan will play and enjoy niche small-dev games.
    To each his own, but you understand that I, personally, do a lot more computer gaming (when I have time) than console gaming. That's why I was able to discuss two of the four games ToD listed from personal experience. I keep an eye on these things :) Realistically, if you compare the number of RPGs on the CPU vs. consoles/handheld platforms, you find the consoles getting quite a bit more. They're just a more viable platform for making money... and even more indy games are popping up on them, such as Breath of Death.
    Looks like you guys just need to put the word out that PC gamers are needed. Do that, and you'll realize that there is a world of content that's not being covered, and could be. There is no such thing as too many things to cover, just not enough people to do it with.
    Hmmm...I could give you my viewpoint here...but it would be out of line. Let's just say there's a lot going on 'under the hood,' and the number of people we 'hire' and how we advertise those positions is a process that we are comfortable with.
    I think if the people involved will stop with the "We -do- cover the PC RPGs that -matter-" and instead say "We cover what PC RPGs we can, and we understand we miss a good chunk of them because of our staff makeup", there will be a whole lot less enmity surrounding this subject.
    Ummm...I'm not sure if anyone used "PC RPGs that matter," but if they did, I can understand why. It should say "PC RPGs that matter to them as fans of RPGs."

    Look, we have almost two dozen staff members. And, despite my impressive knowledge of PC RPGaming, there are a number of them who blow me out of the water. Yet, none of them are rushing out to play and review the Avernum series or Eschalon. Why? There are certainly a number of factors that come to mind, but it really boils down to not having the desire, time and/or resources.

    And something tells me, if we hired another dozen, they'd probably feel the same way.

    Remember, RPGamer is a site run by a staff of volunteers passionate about RPGs. But there's a reason why these games sell a few thousand when even Breath of Death sells 30k...and your typical Dragon Quest sells dozens of times more.... These indy PC games, such as Spiderweb games, have a very limited appeal.

    Now, if you KNOW someone who wants to donate the time and money to play these games all the way through (that's one of our criteria), and write the reviews to the rest of our standards....encourage them to send Mac an email. My guess is, however, you'd be hard pressed to find one friend who's sitting around playing these games all the way through for kicks and giggles....must less one willing to volunteer to write up the reviews.

    On another note...There was an indy review site I used to go to in order to read up on indy games like the ones mentioned above. Last time I checked, they hadn't updated in months. Seems we aren't the only ones who have an issue getting these things covered. Do y'all know of any sites that regularly cover these niche games on a regular and consistent basis?
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • DravDrav A Serious Man Full Members
    edited October 2010
    As I mentioned earlier, RPGWatch and RPGCodex are very good for niche CRPG news, even if they don't review everything they cover. I don't really use Gamebanshee at all but they also seem to have game pages/news articles for all these games.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Yep, which is one reason I don't feel a gigantic compulsion to heavily cover indie PC RPGs here. There are already a couple sites that do it better, far better, than we could. Those sites already attract the audience that's interested in those RPGs. It's not a large audience, and (just look at the Codex forums, if you dare) it comprises of a fair number of people who are extremely hostile towards Japanese-made RPGs. I don't think we, as a staff/site, are interested in trying to compete with those sites, nor do I think that the community on those sites would necessarily mix well with the community on this site. Y'all who are involved in this discussion already read those sites, so other than feeling that our lack of coverage of some of those games somehow slights PC gaming, why would you want us to cover them here?

    In the end, it's a circular argument. We cover and review most major PC RPG releases. We cover and review more console RPG releases than PC releases for a constellation of reasons that have already been hashed through on this thread, but none of those reasons is, "We hate PC games, don't cover them, and don't play them." Occasionally somebody asks why we don't cover PC games, and when we say that we do indeed cover PC games and provide a list of the releases we've covered recently, somebody else comes along with a list of all the small, indie PC releases we haven't covered (usually those lists are full of small, indie PC games that came out a year or more ago, too). It's not good enough that we've started picking up more small PC games and more indie releases in general, somebody will always think they aren't the "right" ones or just want more.

    In the end, RPGamer is, as JC has been saying, a volunteer-run site with limited resources. I think we do a pretty darn good job of providing general RPG coverage for both consoles and PCs. We're never going to be able to satisfy either extreme end of our readership. It's not the best site for PC/WRPG-exclusive gamers who have the time and interest to play a lot of indie/retro titles on that system. It's also not the best site for console/JPRG-exclusive gamers who do a lot of import gaming. The only reason why a lot of unlocalized JRPGs have game pages on our site is that they were probably covered by our Japandemonium column at some point. So hey, if somebody really does feel strongly about indie PC gaming needing to be covered by our site, why not apply by pitching a column for them? :)
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • EmeraldSuzakuEmeraldSuzaku Member Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Ocelot wrote: »
    We're working on scheduling some PC Pit Stop specials (I'm the PC Pit Stop co-conspirator with JC) for the bigger old series. Our first one will be on Might and Magic in November, and since I'm a gigantic Ultima fan, I'm sure we'll do an Ultima special sometime. Wizardry is definitely on my watch list, too, though I'll need help because I didn't play a lot of them. Perhaps we could tap you for a guest host. :D

    Perhaps, indeed. :D

    It's such a fun series. And it's still coming out in Japan o_O
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    One point that may be causing confusion in this thread -- the way games get news updates and they way they get reviewed are two very different things. Becky, as head of news, decides which games RPGamer covers, and as she outlined already, people add news updates to a project database and newsies or any staff member with the desire can write up a news piece on them.

    Once a game is being covered, reviews are done differently then news. First, games are much more likely to be reviewed if the publisher gives us a free copy. We got a free copy of Mount & Blade to review, which was given to me and is why it has an RPGamer review. Other indy publishers, as far as I know, haven't been contacting us or asking us to review their games. So really, you can blame the publishers in many cases more than us. This is more of a PC issue than a console issue because even if SE doesn't give us a free copy of DQIX, there's a damn good chance a reviewer on staff is planning to buy it anyway.

    Second, reviewers need to finish the game. Personally, I have a much easier time making myself finish a so-so handheld game than a so-so console or PC game. If PC games like Disciples III or Puzzle Chronicles are bad, lengthy games, even if a reviewer plays them, he might not finish them, and so there's no review.

    The problem I see in this thread is that "cover" is being used to describe both News and Reviews. News people determine which games are "covered" by RPGamer. Reviews, which are a much larger time sink and can cost us money, are more a reflection of which games publishers give us free copies of, and which are decent enough to finish. So if you're arguing about our coverage, be clear about whether you're talking news or reviews, and if you're complaining that some crappy PC game that I'd have to pay $20 for and then force myself to finish when I could be playing a fun game instead doesn't have a review... well, you can join the review crew here and review that yourself.
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed Full Members
    edited October 2010
    Well, I was using "coverage" loosely for both news and reviews. Every game we decide to cover requires creating game pages, staff time to keep track of release dates, and generally asks for at least some ongoing news coverage. It also means that the game goes into our coverage database, which means that we're encouraged to find somebody to review it. I consider it a symbiotic relationship, especially since all staff are able to write reviews (though our dedicated reviewers write a lot more reviews than the rest of us.) So again, coverage decisions for indie titles come down to questions of time and interest. To use Spiderweb Software as an example again, it's one company whose RPGs I specifically choose not to cover (newswise) because it would take too much time away from our coverage of other games of greater interest to both our staff and readership. If I ever have a news reporter with a deep interest in Spiderweb Software games, they're welcome to take on those games as a project and would probably be encouraged to review them, as well.
    Becky Cunningham, Happy Snappy RPGamer Alum
    Twitter: BeckyCFreelance
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited October 2010
    7thCircle wrote: »
    So if you're arguing about our coverage, be clear about whether you're talking news or reviews, and if you're complaining that some crappy PC game that I'd have to pay $20 for and then force myself to finish when I could be playing a fun game instead doesn't have a review... well, you can join the review crew here and review that yourself.

    I second this motion!!
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
  • Scott WachterScott Wachter Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2010
    Guys I think we need more typewriter game coverage Zork for typewriter.
  • Michael BakerMichael Baker RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited November 2010
    Ocelot, did you miss King's Bounty Crossworlds?

    Also, I request an impression of the Territoire demo from Gaijin. I'm not good enough at Japanese to do it myself.

    Just reading through this thread now. Sorry, flame, but if my little laptop can't manage Recettear well enough to be playable, I doubt I can get Territoire to work. I do intend to start covering more indie J-games from next month though.
  • RosestormRosestorm Full Members
    edited January 2011
    Well, do to copious amounts of free time on my hands I tend to play a lot of PC games and I have to say if you want to know why we don't cover a lot of western indie games, Spiderweb Software is a good example, some of us such as myself don't like oldschool PC games or others such as the ones from Spider just suck. On that note Ocelot and Macstorm tell us what to cover so if they ever decided that we should then we will. As far as the King's Bounty issue, if any of you truly played that game for five minutes you'd know that that game is a strategy game at heart, it has some RPG elements in it sure, but strategy is the more prominent feature of that game. When a game is clearly debatable as to whether or not its an RPG its fully within our discretion to not cover it.
    -A lie would be considered the truth if only more people believed it.
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