I’ve been a gamer for 19 of my 22 year life. I’ve played games from numerous genres ranging from the old school platformers to the wondrous action-adventure titles to the more recent role-playing and first-person shooter games. I’ve played a range of consoles but my roots are dug deep into the wide world of PC gaming.
I want more.
Specifically, I want more of the medieval fantasy I’ve come to love in book series such as The Black Company, The Witcher and Lord of the Rings. When merged with gaming we get titles like Baldur’s Gate, PlaneScape: Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age and The Elder Scrolls series.
I’ve played so many “sword and sorcery” type games but the craving for me is completely overwhelming. As cliche, tired and repetitive as the genre has become, I have never lost the deep and rich love I have for the genre. From time to time I get bored with one of them to go shooting in Borderlands or even a Saints Row title but I always come back, craving for the swords and magic I so love to wield.
The problem? I still want more.
After playing so many RPGs though, it’s hard to tell what I actually want. Sometimes it’s the gameplay, other times it’s the storyline, but there’s no reason a game can’t incorporate both of these to an extremely satisfying effect. So after long discussions with myself, I decided what I wanted was something around the lines of the following:
I want a game with Diablo 3′s skill system.
Diablo 3 isn’t the greatest game I’ve played in the past 10 years, but I enjoyed the way Blizzard handled it’s skill system none-the-less. It’s not perfect, but I believe Blizzard at least made a decent attempt at promoting more build diversity by switching to the skill/rune system.
I’m also a very big fan of the simplified action bar and whilst many think of it as “too simple”, I think it’s perfect for what the game is. It’s simple, sleek and stops players screens from being overwhelmed by ability buttons as was the case with many MMOs such as World of Warcraft. Whilst it may be too simple for some of the more hardcore players out there, I like it exactly because the rune system still promotes clever build strategy whilst also being sleek (we can argue how well Blizzard achieved that diversity but they did at least try).
I want a talent tree like in pre-Cataclysm World of Warcraft and numerous other traditional RPGs.
Now, this might sound odd considering what I just stated about simplicity, but the talent tree has been apart of most role-playing games since the dawn of the genre and being somewhat of an old school role-playing fan I still enjoy the way it works, albeit it could be changed to work with the above.
I enjoy Diablo 3′s rune system and even the idea of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria’s talent system, both of which try to simplify and free the talent system by getting rid of bloated or “filler” talents that do nothing but increase damage done, reduce damage taken or boost a specific stat by a flat percentage. The thing is, I actually love these “filler” talents when done in small amounts.
Being able to pick from a pool of new abilities and skills every 10-15 levels in Diablo 3 or Mists of Pandaria is, in my opinion, a very cool thing to do, but the thing I loved about talent trees is they made up for those levels where you didn’t get any new skills or abilities. The “filler” talents were filler because they literally filled up the gaps. There doesn’t have to be many of them (one given every one or two levels) but each time I got one I felt like I was progressing just a little bit further.
I want a game with combat like Skyrim.
I’m being very general here, as combat in Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls games in general can be quite tedious, but overall I feel that Skyrim’s combat system is much more visceral and dynamic than the standard “Press 1, 2, 3, then 1 again to win.” style of games most common in MMOs and RPGs like Dragon Age have.
What I like about the game’s combat in particular is it’s camera mode (first-person mainly) and the ability to run or engage in combat at any time, in real-time. Real-time is fantastic. Even if abilities on an action-bar have a cooldown or what-have-you, being able to attack in real-time with left or right mouse-button attacks just feels more exciting, which is partially why I enjoy Action RPGs so much.
Being able to actually dodge and evade attacks by skill rather than some obscure “Dodge” stat would be nice as well, which is something Skyrim doesn’t have by default that would’ve been awesome to go along with it’s Block system.
…among other things.
To re-cap, I want the following:
- A diversified skills system that has few active abilities but the option to change these with a good amount of variety.
- “Filler” talents to go with them, to give the impression that players are progressing just that little bit more, and;
- A more visceral combat system that rewards players for utilizing the environment and actual combat skills, rather than simply relying on a stat to dodge or land a hit.
But among other things, these have to go with what we already have in role-playing games today: Good storylines, captivating dialogue, memorable characters, clean, smooth and user-friendly interfaces and all the other hub-bub some may take for granted.
Alongside these I enjoy multiplayer capability, especially co-op modes, that don’t impose on a players ability to also do an activity solo when they want to. Raids, dungeons and bosses in general are fun and you should be rewarded for being able to find a group and kill a difficult boss in that group, but being able to experience the dungeon or whatever without a group would be nice to. MMOs can be great fun but also punishing if you’re not in a guild or a group, and I think making what seems like an online game also accessible to solo-minded players is a boon, not a downside.
* * * *
I understand many of these aspects already exist in games, I also understand I’m incredibly picky, but that’s what you get when your library is filled with games from the same genre.
I love role-playing games and I love most of the new ones that get released. I still enjoy them today just as I did yesterday, but what I would like is a fresh new take on the genre without disrupting what old fans like me have come to know and love.
I want more, but it’s hard to pin down exactly what I want. Do I really want an amalgamation of games I’ve enjoyed, or would I prefer something I’ve never seen before?
It’s something worth thinking about.