What is RPG? one of the cornerstones of the game world? Where did it come from, and how should it be? In this article, which seeks answers to all these and other questions, we will go on a long adventure in role-playing.
Nowadays, almost every game contains RPG elements to some extent. The real video game experience can only be experienced with the RPG genre for some players. What is with such general patterns of having adjectives like Action RPG, Adventure RPG, JRPG, MMORPG and FRPG?
Before moving on to the article, it is worth noting that the definition of the genre in our language is RYO. I will continue to say RPG throughout the piece. However, before starting the article, I wanted to inform you that RYO and RPG abbreviations mean the same thing.
What is RPG? Beginning the Adventure: What is RPG?
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I think it would be best to start the adventure with the definition of the RPG name. The term RPG comes from English and means Role Playing Game, role-playing game. Although most gamers today are familiar with this genre from video games, it dates back to much older than RPG type video games.
Tabletop role-playing games have their origins in ancient strategy games, particularly war games with their roots in Chess (derived from the old Indian game Chaturanga ). From the late 18th century to the 19th century, chess variants evolved into modern war games, most notably a game called the Kriegsspiel. Released in 1971, more than a century later, the miniature war game Chainmail became the basis for Dungeons & Dragons, the world’s most popular FRPG game. According to RPG designer John Wick, Chess can be turned into a role-playing game if chess pieces such as kings, queens, rooks, knights or pawns are named, and decisions are made based on their motivation.
I do not want to overwhelm you with this information throughout the article. For the history of RPG and further reading, you can check the bibliography at the end of the paper and the links in the further reading.
After Dungeons & Dragons took place in people’s lives, the RPG genre entered people’s lives fully. Dungeons & Dragons, the board game that people started to play with pleasure, managed to influence the whole world. The main reason people so love D&D is that the universe and the game in question give the person incredible freedom and pave the way for hours of fun by socializing with people.
What is RPG? Dungeons & Dragons ve RPG
Dungeons & Dragons have become a growing artefact and culture over the years. This work contains many different variations and versions and has a very deep universe, gameplay types, and story.
In this part of the article, I would like to apologize to my friends who are experts in FRP. Although I have tried to fulfil my duty as a DM over the years, I am not sure how accurately I can convey this universe to the readers. However, I invite our friends who have full command of this universe to comment. In this way, we provide readers with additional resources for a healthier reading and more information.
Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) has given people an opportunity for freedom and fun they’ve never had before. For those who don’t know, I would like to tell you what D&D and FRP are first.
What is RPG? What is FRP?
FRP, or Fantasy Role Playing, is a fantastic role-playing game in Turkish. You can play this game with paper, pencil and a pair of dice by gathering with your friends at the table. Although FRP usually takes the medieval theme as its subject, it can also be played by choosing different universe and time units.
People who want to play FRP choose the characters they will bring to life after coming together. These characters usually belong to a race and class. These races and classes are from the middle ages in the D&D universe. Here, I say “the character you will choose”, but it would be more correct to say you will actually “create”. It starts with choosing a race first. If we look at races at a superficial level, they usually consist of many options such as Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and humans. After deciding on your character’s race in the game, you choose its class. These are usually again; It becomes Warrior, Assassin, Mage and Bow.
It is useful to remind you that the classes and races I mentioned above are at a very basic level. If you are fully involved in the D&D universe, you can see that there is a very wide scale. After you decide on the character, you will play in the game, write a name and a story for your personality and start the game, just like in video games. The main point that makes FRP unique is the freedom in the gameplay.
After completing the character processes in FRP, the game manager called DM includes the players in the universe and the story that he has determined beforehand or instantly. DM puts the characters in the game into various situations, and the players react to these situations. E.g.;
- DM: As you started to approach the end of the dungeon, the cold air blowing in your face blew out all the candles, and it suddenly became quite dark. He says what are you doing.
- Cast: Mage; He says, “I want to make the light come on by saying magic words to the crystal at the end of the staff in my hand.”
In another scenario;
- DM: You’ve reached the town. There is a tavern, temple, market area, blacksmith, magic shop and library, one of each in the city. In addition, the town is of medium size and contains many large and small houses.
- Player: I will go to the blacksmith to have my sword damaged during the war repaired and to buy better items with my current money.
As you can see in the simple examples above, FRP forms the basis of many RPG elements that we are familiar with from video games. While playing FRP, players can dialogue with NPCs in the universe, fight monsters, choose the path of diplomacy and follow their ideologies. FRP gives the player complete freedom in terms of gameplay.
Of course, the DM running FRP has a story and a purpose. However, the DM frees players up in the game, allowing players to decide for themselves how they should proceed in the game’s scenario. Many choices that players make during FRP directly affect the end of the game, its course, duration, and everything.
What is RPG? The Involvement of the RPG Genre in Video Games
After the success of D&D, role-playing elements started to show themselves little by little in video games. As the first video game in history, “DND”, which made its debut in 1975, appears. Later in the same year, this game was accompanied by the video games m199h, Dungeon, Moria, Pedit 5 and Orthanc. If you want to take a look at the chronological list of games in the RPG genre, you can access the list from Wikipedia.
What is RPG? DND Video Game
DND is a game written in the TUTOR programming language for the plateau system by Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood at Southern Illinois University in 1974 and 1975.
Dirk Pellett, the game’s developers, and Flint Pellett of the University of Illinois continued to make significant improvements to the game from 1976 to 1985.
In DND, players create a character and enter the multi-level Whisenwood Dungeon to find two ultimate treasures. The game offers players a top view of the dungeon. It also implements many of the core concepts of dungeons and dragons. The white wooden dungeon consists of multiple maze-like levels.
When players complete each level, they are eligible to move on to the next level. However, players can return to previous levels and leave the dungeon entirely.
This structure also makes DND one of the first video games to use non-linear progression.
As players complete levels, they acquire new spells, weapons, and items that aid them in their quest to find the ultimate treasure. Teleporters in the game move characters between dungeon levels. High-level monsters are found at the end of each dungeon, including a golden dragon guarding the ball.
What is RPG? How It Started, How Is It Going?
RPG-type games were first offered to the players as text-based. Over time, the RPG genre has evolved into turn-based combat systems, character management, 2D and 3D.
In text-based RPG games, the game progressed with the choices you made on the text and conveyed the story to the player via text. Although playing the games was very tiring for the players in these periods, it gave a good reading habit to those who played it. At the same time, these games were very good tools for learning foreign languages. I have never forgotten the times when I played Baldur’s Gate with huge dictionaries in my hand.
The turn-based battle system was added as a battle mechanic to text-based RPG games later. In this system, the characters in the game had some numerical statistical values. In the turn-based battle system, the enemies in front of you, depending on the move you made, were in conflict with the player according to the numbers they had.
Almost all today’s players are familiar with the games with the isometric perspective (top view), 2D and 3D games that come after these genres.
The biggest feature of RPG type games that start as text-based games is that the player can affect the story in the game. In text-based RPGs, the player could clash with their enemies or communicate by talking, and all these choices greatly affected the story and course of the game. Also, in old-style RPG games (text-based), players could be quite free to create characters.
All that I’ve written up to this point has been a small glimpse into RPG history. In this part of the article, my aim was to briefly tell you what the RPG genre is and what its history is. In this section, we took a look at the history and evolution of the genre. From this point on, we will look at how the RPG genre is handled today.
What is RPG? What should RPG Video Games contain?
Referring to the previous part of the article, we can make various assumptions about what an RPG video game should contain. Of course, while making these assumptions, it is useful to take the modern game structure as an example.
What is RPG? An Extensive Story Structure Is Indispensable
First of all, for a video game to be an RPG, it must have a deep story structure. For me, the minimum ideal gameplay time (based on the course of the story) that an RPG game should have should be over 120 hours. At first glance, this may seem like quite a long time. However, there is a logical motivation for this situation.
Games in the RPG genre should have long gameplay times. Because in these games, we must feel that our character is on an adventure and that he is developing and changing both in terms of power, emotionally and psychologically during this adventure. RPG games are just like real life. The characters you give life to in the game must have a soul and we must witness their entire development.
What is RPG? An Engaging Open World
Another element that should be included in games in the RPG genre is an effective and living open world. If we are talking about long gameplay and a deep story, it would be a mistake not to talk about a wide world. We will go on many adventures throughout the game and try to complete our own journey. For this reason, seeing different environments, places and atmospheres is a very important dynamic for the player to enter the game. An RPG game whose world is narrow and stuck will start to bore the player over time and will cause the player to leave the game unfinished after a point.
For this reason, it is useful to remember the “like real life” motivation once again. Sometimes the player has to visit some realms and places just because he is curious. He should enjoy different experiences and atmospheres. In order to strengthen the gameplay, the world in RPG games is very vital for my own criteria.
What is RPG? A Living Environment
RPG games are not the kind of game you play just for the story. Of course, the story is the cornerstone of this genre. However, it is important to allow the player to breathe and offer different variations during the game. At this point, a living environment is important. Sometimes it is important to chat with the innkeeper in an inn, sometimes to help a farmer, and sometimes to do errands for a general. In this way, the player can feel like a living part of that world and adopt the game more. This situation can directly affect the player’s enjoyment of the game. Building an effective environment is a factor that can enable the player to live in that game universe, perhaps for years.
Of course, building an effective living environment isn’t all about simple side-quests. Every NPC in the game should have their own life, feel alive. Sometimes it’s important to get paid for helping a child as a bonus after a few years in the game. It is important to make the player feel that the NPC in the game has a life and that the player is included in this life
What is RPG? Influencing Gameplay and Variety of Gameplay
One of the cornerstones of RPG games is, of course, to influence the story and offer variety to the player in the gameplay. RPG games should be just like real life at some points. It must be a result of the actions that the player takes in the game. In addition to this situation, the player should see himself having to make a choice at many points in these games, both within the story and in the open world. Influencing the world and story of the game directly or indirectly is one of the indispensable mechanics of the RPG game world.
Gameplay variety is an important mechanic for RPG games to create the same real-life effect. The player should not be forced to take a linear approach to a scenario he encounters in the game. In RPG games, the player must react to the situations he is in, either secretly, by speaking, or by direct action.
What is RPG? Character Development
As I mentioned above, character development and the feeling of it are very important in RPG games. The player should feel that he is gradually getting stronger and wiser in this adventure he embarked on during the game. In this context, many different mechanics come together to give the feeling of development of the character that the player brings to life.
- Level up: In RPG games, it is very difficult to predict how long a player will play the game. However, in order to be used to all kinds of scenarios, it would be healthy to calculate that the player will play an RPG game for years. At this point, if the level system, that is, the levelling system, is set in character development, limiting the level that can be skipped will hinder the development of the character in the game, and from this point on, it will damage the feeling of both adventure and character development. This can cause the game to become boring and monotonous. For this reason, it would be best to develop certain mathematical formulas for the player to level up in RPG games and not to set a limit to the level that the player can jump to.
- Upgrade and access new items: The enthusiasm for developing items and reaching new items is again a very important issue in RPG games. This is a very important issue in terms of empowering the player and giving the player the feeling of development during the adventure. At this point, this mechanic, of course, may not be as long-term as the level. However, if it is a game that will be played for many years, increasing the limit of accessible items with the updates that can be made continuously can bring new enthusiasm and desires to the player. It is very important that the items increase proportionally in terms of materials, cosmetics and the stats they provide. In addition, the price and time balance of all the items that will take place in the game and can be obtained should be well adjusted. The player should spend ideal time to reach an item of his choice and be able to reach the item. Actor,
- Skill tree: I think the skill tree has become the most fundamental mechanic of RPG games. The most effective method to show the player the development of the character and pass this feeling to him is the skill tree mechanic. Although many different methods can be used at this point, I personally like the rather large skill trees. Thus, in order to reach those exciting abilities that I want to unlock in the game, I can stay in the game a little longer and go on adventures to level up, I can grind. Being rewarded with a good talent after all the work I’ve done is something I really like. Also, if the player reaches more epic abilities as they level up, the character development is more strongly felt to the player.
- Stat point distribution: Unfortunately, this mechanic is on the verge of dying out today. In this mechanic, the player gains a certain amount of stat points (attribute points) after levelling up and distributes these points to his character in the game as he wishes. Although this feature continues to be seen mainly in the MMORPG genre today, unfortunately, it is now becoming a system that game developers use less and less. It is a very important mechanic to be able to distribute stat points, to allow the player to customize his character and to give him freedom in the type of gameplay he will play.
The items I mentioned above are the indispensable building blocks of an RPG game in my opinion. Of course, in addition to these game mechanics, there are many other factors such as storytelling, cinematic presentation, visual quality, atmosphere and voiceover. However, I think that it is unnecessary for this article to deal with these mechanics, which I have listed to form the basis of the genre.
What is RPG? Modern RPG Games
Today, unfortunately, there are very few games that fully reflect the RPG genre. Game production studios now prefer to make a game that is simpler to make and holds the hand of the player compared to old-style RPG games.
Most of today’s RPG games add other adjectives besides the definition of RPG. Especially Action Open World RPG has become the genre we see the most. In addition to this genre, there are genres such as Adventure RPG, Tactical RPG, Survival RPG.
What is RPG? Are Next-Gen RPGs Satisfying?
What is a new RPG? In fact, it is quite difficult to give a definite answer to this question. With the changing and developing technology over the years, the understanding of acting and game has changed significantly. In addition, people now have much more limited time and much more in a hurry. In addition, the vast majority of users prefer to see RPG elements in various games rather than RPG games.
For this reason, we now see RPG elements in many games. This is completely in line with the wishes and demands of the players. Even though people want to play games for a long time, they don’t want to struggle with endless games anymore. Now, instead of being a part of a game or a game universe, people want to experience the experience that the game offers.
I don’t remember from which source I read it. However, according to a study, gamers play only 40-60% of open-world games today.