What Makes a Good RPG?

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What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 8th, 2017, 7:53 pm

RPG Maker MV went on sale on Steam for only $30 this week, so I finally caved and bought it. Maybe something will actually come of this, maybe I'll get bored and/or frustrated and quit. But, before I start, what would you guys say make an RPG good? Just to give me some guidelines to work with, you know?

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby Zachwave » June 9th, 2017, 6:50 am

What makes something good is subjective but my opinion on the matter is:

1. Think outside the box. While the story can be similar others or may reference bits of culture you shouldn't make it the most important part. Your main story beat should always be original. Don't fall for typical tropes(an ancient evil awakens...) and cliches (save the princess).

2. Less is more. While I do love lore, I would never fully dump my world onto a new comer immediately. Let a game; or a RPG for that matter gradually put you into that world and let the player find stuff on their own. You will have to eventually explain some things to people but in a tasteful and thoughtful way is quite achievable. Perhaps NPCs are gossiping, or you run into a wise man? Up to the creator but small bits are better than a Star Wars title scroll always!

3. If the story is strong - make the combat light (or vice versa). While you're limited to what you can do with RPGmaker, I still believe it to be the case. Don't make it too grindy if you want people to make it to the end. I always find that combat in RPGs should be exciting and have a point. Grinding and long fights should always be optional.

I hope that paints a picture. I've always wanted to make my own game but having no time and zero sprite work experience, I'll have to put that in hold :)

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby JustLikeHeaven » June 9th, 2017, 10:19 am

Good question....

I think most people will say that a "great a story" is the most paramount thing for any RPG. I would sort of disagree. Yes, the narrative is incredibly important, but it's not the end all be all.

For me the thing that makes any RPG is interesting characters. Both NPC and playable. When I think of my favorite RPGs of all time, the first thing that usually pops into my head are my favorite characters from the game. If you aren't invested in your party members, you will be hard pressed to continue playing, regardless of how good the story is.

When it comes to scale, I tend to think smaller scale is better than OMG HUGE OPEN WORLD!!! When I think of Chrono Trigger, one of the most impressive parts is how you feel like you help or impact each new town/area you come across. It makes the game have weight, because you feel like your actions have saved lives, or helped people. It also sticks with you because the stuff that is there feels important and well crafted. If you're just constantly going on fetch quests or menial tasks it tends to get boring quickly.

Combat is the final thing that is worth noting. If the combat isn't satisfying, again a player will probably lose interest. This goes hand in hand with characters leveling up. You want the characters to be getting new abilities and powers at a clip that feels right. The game should be challenging, but clever use of abilities (using your head) should always be an option. I've always been fond of combat systems with a real time element. Another fun thing is when two different party members (or more) team up for a powerful attack.

I'd say in general stay away from cliches and genre tropes UNLESS they're in the game and you intend to subvert them in a fun/interesting way. For example, the pre-destined hero that has amnesia is completely over played, but if you could think of a clever way to surprise people of what they're expecting with this genre trope...that's always fun. Anytime, a game can trick you, or surprise you...either narratively or gameplay wise is usually very memorable. It's also hard to do.

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby ActRaiser » June 9th, 2017, 3:54 pm

Did you ever play Knights of the Old Republic?

It may have had one of the most memorable twists ever. PM if you haven't played it and I'll give away the spoiler. You certainly don't need it but that game is one of the best games ever made IMHO for a ton of reasons.

1) Great combat
2) Great NPCs
3) Great writing
4) Great overarching story/plot
5) Great characters
HK48 had some truly memorable lines. "Meatbag" brilliant humor

It didn't have the fly anywhere, go anywhere that I really loved about Final Fantasy 2/3 (V and VI) but it didn't matter. I used to really love the idea that once you got out of the initial "training" zones you could then explore wherever you wanted. That was always awesome to have a sense of go anywhere, do anything. The challenge then comes in the order in which you tackle stuff and present things to your audience. Hence, I'm sure in some small part the more focused the stories are the tighter the exploration aspects. It makes it easier to handle all of the prior possible permutations of what one could do.

Have you played Mother/Earthbound?

It takes everyday life and turns it into an amusing and pretty cool RPG. It definitely doesn't follow the trope of medieval, long time ago, fantasy settings. The other cool aspect is its breaking the 4d barrier at an unexpected time.

In my humble opinion, I'd try to figure out what made all the other "great" RPGs so good and then take the best parts and come up with your own idea. The other key thing here, is try to keep your scope really small. Else, you'll never finish your initial game. An RPG that takes 2-3 hours to complete but is completely engaging and memorable is going to be a way better game than a 40 hour slug fest that no one will get through and, frankly, you're not going to finish building it either.

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 9th, 2017, 4:07 pm

Thanks guys! Just keep in mind that I'm essentially working with the RPG equivalent of Mario Maker. I can make some cool stuff with it (or will be, if I ever figure out the system), but I can't do anything that isn't already built into it, and what they have is pretty basic.

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby scotland » June 9th, 2017, 6:35 pm

My advice is go simple. Think about simple gameplay that is open to strategy. The best games - of any kind - are pretty basic with lots of strategy. From sports to board games to video games. Think about RPGs people replay alot, after they knlw the story. Why do they replay it?

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby Stalvern » June 10th, 2017, 12:44 am

A good JRPG is one that isn't built around hassling the player. As such, there are almost none of them.

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Re: What Makes a Good RPG?

Postby GTS » June 10th, 2017, 1:04 am

First I'd say a sense of wonder. The best way to accomplish that is through music and graphical tone. Secondly, make me feel for the characters. Easier said than done.

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