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February 23, 2018
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Wishlist for the Next Big Western Fantasy RPG

by Axel Cholewa on 07/15/12 07:31:00 am   Featured Blogs

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There have been a lot of great discussion and articles about the latest fantasy RPGs like Dragon Age, Amalur or Skyrim, but some issues I always had with these and other games have never been adressed. Here's my wishlist.

The Little Details

While I liked the comic style of Amalur, the atmosphere of Dragon Age or the freedom of Oblivion (and probably Skyrim, but I haven't played that), they all have in common little "glitches" in the cohesiveness of the world, such as:

  • Wolves attacking me right away.

Wolves simply wouldn't do that. They'd maybe stand on a hill watching the intruder of their territoy, but they'd not rush in and try to kill foes twice their size, especially not in a pack of just three animals. A little more realism in the Fauna wouldn't hurt, I think.

  • Giant rats carrying coins, plate armor or mana potion.

Random loot is okay, but only inside certain realistic boundaries. If I know that giant spiders always (or at least most of the time) give me a certain substance of their web that I can use for a climbing potion, I know where to look for that. And if I don't need it I don't want to loot one only because there's a chance that I can find a better maul in their belly.

Consequences in the World

I love the dialogue system of Mass Effect or Dragon Age 2, but they are only one part of the gameplay. The rest doesn't seem to have that big an effect on the world. So

  • Make gameplay matter.

If I kill a tribe of orcs without anyone telling me to, that might just open the gates for some nasty creatures which only that tribe knew how to deal with. All of a sudden, the world -- and the player -- might face another threat. Maybe the neighboring elves who always fought that orc tribe are overwhelmed by those creatures and in dire need of help.

  • Let the world live on its own.

It always annoyed me that the best way of saving the world in Oblivion was to never start the main quest. Evil only breaks lose when the player follows the main plot, otherwise nothing particlularly dangerous happens. When the player is supposed to save the world, there should be a sense of urgency. Make things happen without the player being there. You can let him know what happened later on.

  • Don't make all choices obvious.

In Dragon Age: Origins the player could decide to help a village or to abandon it. As cool as that is, it's an obvious choice between to alternatives. It could add depth to the game world if the player wasn't told that the village was attacked soon, if the player would just be in the village when it was suddenly attacked. If he heard about the attack later on, knowing that it happened only a day after he was there. Having that knowledge beforehand turns it into an acitve decision. While that is exciting in that very moment, the world could truly come alive if the player would have a more indirect influence on the world.

These are just a few things I wanted to get off my mind. Probably someone has already thought about this or maybe even wrote about it in a comment or two on this very web page. Still I hope that these thoughts might prove helpful for someone out there.

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