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Submitted by LewisDenby 1612d ago | news

BioWare: The RPG “isn’t about stats and loot”

BioWare came under some criticism for streamlining the RPG elements of the Mass Effect series – but to the developer, RPGs are about exploration and decision-making, not “stats and loot”. (Mass Effect 3, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

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TheHater  +   1612d ago
I like my stats and look
TheHater  +   1612d ago
NewMonday  +   1612d ago
but in DA2 the big problems were:

- extensively recycled areas
- only the perception of the plot changes, choices don't actually change events. unlike DA Origins.
Blacktric  +   1612d ago
"BioWare came under some criticism for streamlining the RPG elements of the Mass Effect series –"

MASS EFFECT SERIES. Not Dragon Age 2. You can say whatever you want about Dragon Age 2 but Mass Effect series was an action/RPG hybrid to begin with. Just because they streamlined some elements doesn't mean it's not an RPG. Hell, it's more RPG than some games claim to be today. Even save import feature is a proof of it.
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Space_Monkey  +   1612d ago
@ Blacktric
Infamous 2 has a save import feature, yet I would not consider it a RPG.
TyrionL  +   1611d ago
@ Spacemonkey
You can’t compare the import feature of Infamous 2 to that of Mass Effect. There not even the same sport, much less in the same league. I might as well compare professional Hopscotch to the NFL. In Infamous 2 you get a little boost in your Good/Bad meter. In ME the story transfers. If you killed this guy in one, he won’t be in two, or three, your choices impact the actual events and characters, of the story to the point it can be comp[lately different. So your example is not at all relevant.
Blacktric  +   1611d ago
"Infamous 2 has a save import feature, yet I would not consider it a RPG."

This along, shows how pathetic some people are when they attempt to throw mud at something they don't like (not to mention he joined 17 hours ago). Does every choice you've made in inFamous affects inFamous 2? No. If you took the good path, it gives you a bit of a good karma at the begginning along with a new power and if you're bad, it just gives you some bad karma at the beginning that's all. In Mass Effect, all of your choices matters one way or another. Even the effects of side missions can be transferred from one game to the next which is incredible. But of course, we're at N4G and you guys can't sit on your butts for one second without throwing sh*t at games like Mass Effect and Call Of Duty. Grow up....
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JsonHenry  +   1612d ago
I like it too.

But for me the heart of the RPG has always been about character progression of some kind and a Story to go along with the tale.
Neckbear  +   1612d ago
I do, too.

Also, a role-playing videogame bases itself on stats, loot and NUMBERS first and foremost.

So...yeah, BioWare. At least bother to learn the definition of the genre you're so fond in making.


Which "next level", may I ask? The level where games stop being about adventures based on the core mechanics of Dungeon & Dragons, and instead ditching that for an "accessible" game with mediocre gameplay, badly written romance, embarrassing events and even worse characters?

Right. Okay, then.
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pandehz  +   1612d ago
Lmao dont tell Bioware to define it.

You prolly learnt it from them.

They're trying to take it to the next level not repeat everything they did.
Simon_Brezhnev  +   1612d ago

Bioware is not trying to take nothing to the next level.
evrfighter  +   1612d ago
Next level for bioware is easy mode so the super casuals will buy it.
Heartnet  +   1612d ago
Agreed :)
8bit_Nes_Rambo  +   1611d ago
Bioware is Square enix in training mode. Atleast Square made a variety of awesome games in the 90's. All Bioware does is copy and paste the same formula with updated graphics.
wallis  +   1611d ago
Who cares what an rpg is about. People like stats and loot. Since the dawn of the rpg, for probably five decades, people have liked loot and stats in their games (electronic or board). I don't think bioware have any right to stampede their way into the scene and think that five decades of nerds have been totally wrong about what they like.

So bioware you have two choices - keep on making gears effect 3. Or... Or... and bear with me here... you LISTEN to the people who buy your games and try to make it fit what they want cause they're, ya know, buying the fucking game?
firemassacre  +   1612d ago
its about custmoization, and making your world come to life imo
RedDead  +   1612d ago
It used to be about both or just stats, either one of them was considered an Rpg. ME is a Tps with RPG elements. The exploration part being the RPG element. Times are changing

And before anyone ses "but your still playing the role of someone" Yes of course you are, just like every video game. That's not an RPG

PandaJenkins, I don't mind them doing a TPS with exploration and choices, but when I see an Rpg on a shelf in a store, I expect character progression to be heavily integrated. ME1had enough of it, ME2 did not, Me3 will probably not, they are even aiming to be better than TPS, not other Rpg's.
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Legion  +   1612d ago
Ha... you stole my line on the "That's not an RPG" when referring to the "but you're still playing the role of someone" remark.

It is true that ME2 was not overly focused on character progression. But it had enough of it with the ability upgrades through the game that gave you an RPG progression. You gained abilities through the game as you leveled up. And were able to put those abilities into areas that you chose.

I wish they would have focused more on the armor and weapons though. I love the aspect of RPGs where you are able to find equipment and unique stuff that adds to the gameplay. I basically stood with one set of armor through the whole game because it was better in stats. But it looked like crap and I could only really modify the color.

A little dress up with your action hero ain't such a bad thing. Let me swap out gloves, helmet, boots, etc. and not have to rely on set load outs.
Ethereal  +   1612d ago
I agree. Although the new bench system in ME3 might give us more customization when it comes to weapons. Oh and you can pick up enemy weapons so I suppose more of them are on the way, which is a good thing. Regardless if some of the RPG elements take a back seat, it is still an story driven(non multiplayer) experience with heavy character development and choices that span several games. That within itself makes it an RPG when compared to something like Gears of War.
theonlylolking  +   1612d ago
ME3 will be the greatest RPG ever.
8bit_Nes_Rambo  +   1611d ago
PandaJenkins  +   1612d ago
Finally Bioware you say the right thing instead of just 'making it more accessible'. I have always been a massive RPG fan, of the hardcore RPG's but also the less hardcore ones. One thing that has particularly been annoying me is those who claim games like ME2 or DA2 are 'not' RPG's because they have been simplified in some areas.

The fact is there is several aspects that can make a game an RPG, not all of them have every single one of them and not every aspect of them has to be hugely complex. ME2 was certainly an RPG, even if the loot was simplified and the combat played more like a typical TPS. It just had several different aspects that made it an RPG like they speak about in the quote from the article.

I find it pathetic people call themselves true RPG fans when they can't appreciate the different kinds we get, instead they just bitch and whine all day about how they are all simplified. There is still enough complex ones out there, or ones that have enough depth to keep us who also like those kinds of RPG's happy. But I also love RPG's that are expressed in ways like ME does through the sheer experience and interaction they offer.
SageHonor  +   1612d ago
Well Said!
ViserysTargaryen  +   1612d ago
I agree. There's plenty of room at the RPG table. There's no need to bitch and whine about different flavors of RPGs, just enjoy them all for what they are. The hardcore RPG-ers can play Dragon Age while the action RPG types can play ME.

Its a win all around.
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LastDance  +   1612d ago
I'll look forward to a real RPG like Skyrim or (wow) even two worlds 2.

Don't look forward to excuses.

DA2 sucks
Simon_Brezhnev  +   1612d ago
Witcher 2 is a real RPG hell its the best RPG this generation so far. They always got excuses this generation. Criticize JRPGS, Rate their own games 10, Rate the competition low, and just copy and paste from Baldur's Gate.
BigPenguin  +   1611d ago
I agree, witcher 2 is definitely a cut above the rest of the RPG's. It has a story line more compelling then Mass Effect and DA2, and did not have to dumb down everything to do it.
pandehz  +   1612d ago

Expectations. Thats what the problem is.

Every character based game is a role-playing experience, some developers tilt more towards the roleplaying and thus creating a role playing game.

But ppl EXPECT every rpg to play out the same with a different story or engine.

Its like every terminator movie with a similar formula which obviously did not work. Also for an artist it is generally a fruitless attempt, it only makes sense maybe commercially like cod does.

So yea if ppl are not up for innovation and want to play the same game they played when they were kids only with a newer graphics engine , then they should clearly say so instead of beating around the bush saying "this is not an rpg" and "that element is missing" etc
#5.4 (Edited 1612d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
PandaJenkins  +   1612d ago
Well said. It annoys me that there is some sort of factual consensus that RPG's have to be a particular way. It is also ridiculous that the RPG genre may be the only one that actually is innovated in any way and people whine when there actually is innovation just like when they do with the lack of it in general these days.

I just don't understand why people have to be so uptight about it all. This is coming from someone who LOVES hardcore RPG's and always has since he was a young kid. But it doesn't mean I have to shun anything that is streamlined today for pathetic reasons.

Now if someone doesn't like the changes in any case, well then that's their opinion. But that doesn't stop the games from being RPG's, that is more so what annoys the heck outta me is people making such terrible claims.
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TyrionL  +   1611d ago
I agree with both of you. They say it's not an "RPG" because of the game play mechanics. Well I say it is more of an RPG than most other games this gen. You are playing the role of the main character, and your decisions drive the story, more so in ME than any other game I know. I've never played a game where my decisions in the first game carry over to the second, and third in such a story changing way. Your decisions help shape the story in way I've never seen in a game, and in ways two different people could end up with 2 very different outcomes. I hope more series do this kind of thing. Mass Effect is my favorite new IP this gen, and it is nothing but 100% RPG, no matter how you play it.
Ethereal  +   1612d ago
Agreed, bubbles. It could be the expectation of last gen when grand RPG were just as common as the shooters of this gen. If anyone took the time to realize that the RPG elements that kept you coming back have been deeply embedded into almost any type of game today. Online experience and level progression came from the RPG. Perks and reward that you can show off for completing certain tasks are from the RPG. Funny to see how much RPG we are getting in other games today.
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SolidSystem  +   1612d ago
One thing I love about Bioware games is I actually assume the role of my character in my ROLEPLAYING GAME. I think DND has convinced people stats are necessary for that. I agree with Bioware,

but I also like my stats so that I can build a character I want and dont just have a nice social roleplaying game.
mrdeli  +   1612d ago
I can understand that Bioware is feeling stress over the response to Mass Effect changes and especially to Dragon Age Orgins 2.

I mildy-disliked the streamlining in Mass Effect 2 but overall the game was still awesome. But in Dragon Age I felt like it completely ruined the game. I played the first 4 hours or so and was so disappointed I stopped the game. I am the kind of DA player who did the first game and 2 of the expansions. I had sunk alot of time into that game.

I just felt that Dragon Age II had no soul. I guess I was looking for more deep RPG and less talky-choices.
VampiricDragon  +   1612d ago
than what is an action adventure about?

adventuring and decision making,

by there own criteria, they arent making rpgs
#8 (Edited 1612d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(7) | Report | Reply
pandehz  +   1612d ago
Most games are role playing including adventure as you're replacing the character and making decisions for it.

Hyper-realistically the characters are representations of the player and we control its actions.

In adventure games the role-playing begins from the moment u accept the character, mainly by buying the game. Where u saw the model of it, liked its look , clothes , design and made the purchase.

What Bioware is trying to do is to detach itself from the orthodox way of functioning where u modify every single detail of ur character to the last mana point and instead build a more action/adventure/rpg experience.

It is genre breaking and I like the influence it is having on current generation rpg's.

Im up for it. Go Bioware.
#8.1 (Edited 1612d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
gravemaker  +   1612d ago
then ME is a shooter
there is no exploration AT ALL, there is no critical desicion-making
Troll-without-Bridge  +   1612d ago
Wrong bioware. Exploration belongs to the Adventure genre and Decision making is part of Sims( dating sims, graphic novels etc)

No to mention that every game has decision making, if i want to use X sword and Y armor i am making a decision.
BigPenguin  +   1611d ago
Wrong post comment. Deleted.
#10.1 (Edited 1611d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
mrdeli  +   1612d ago
I guess it's a game mechanic issue. Yes the action is there, and there certainly is adventure in ME and DA. But in a game like Dragon Age, which is like a Baldur's Gate type experience-- the main reason I am in dungeons and doing missions is that I want to level and I want to get better stuff so my party can kick more asses. And when you streamline that piece, and move it more into automation / background, the game starts to just play itself. Walk your characters to the next spot, talk for ten minutes, hit the attack button, go to next spot. Dragon Age should not have been streamlined like this. I'd say in Mass Effect, they should have also left the exploration of planets, that was a very Star Trek type thing and it fit good. They streamlined this with a mining minigame that was alot less complex and well, less satisfying. Just me personal preferences
LightofDarkness  +   1612d ago
True, to an extent. D&D required lots statistical information because you weren't ACTUALLY controlling/performing any actions, it depended on dice rolls versus statistics.

Nowadays, we have controllers that allow to simulate physical interaction better than imagination and a dice roll. You no longer need a dexterity attribute, for instance, if the game is a real-time shooter. Your wrist/thumb accuracy and reflexes can determine whether or not you will hit a target. Which is gained from real-world experience, it no longer has to be simulated in that regard via stats.

Bioware RPGs of late keep the immersion going by separating the player from the need to constantly monitor their numbers and equipment. That's one way of keeping a player in their "role," via seamless immersion. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Diablo, Neverwinter Nights, BG et al, and loot is what keeps me playing those games, but it need not be the only thing that keeps you playing. If they can accomplish the same addictive gameplay through seamless world and character immersion, more power to them.

I personally felt that ME2 accomplished that quite well, although I would have liked a little more in the way of loot and customization (more so with DA2, really). But there was no point in me immediately poo-pooing it because I'm not being assailed by stat-sheets and equipment management screens.
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SolidSystem  +   1612d ago
I agree with you lightofDarkness.

theres a reason I start and stop Dragon Age 1, Im near the end. i hit it hard for a day then I need a break. I spend so much time just looking through bags and loot and trying to figure out where my characters are at (strength wise) that it wears me out.

I'm a avid player of 3.5DnD and honestly character creation drains me quickly, as well as things like buying new loot making sure it doesnt start hurting my arcane casting failure, isnt too heavy...

MassEffect2 was a single ride through the entire game. I was shepard. It was quick and easy to tell if my armor was better or worse for my class. and I could move on. as such I was playing the game for 4 or 5 hours a day then doing it the next day, and the next.
mrdeli  +   1612d ago
One more comment. I really think that if you are going to focus on the choices and decision making, I wish it wasn't such a gimmick in games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Yes everybody made a big deal about importing your save game. But if they really made the sequels different, it would complicate the experience for new onboarders (new people who bought part 2 but not part 1) that is why the "far reaching impact" has not been achieved. The results in Mass Effect are pretty minor, character X my cameo if they survived in part 1, but it's really minor stuff not big reaching stuff which is what Bioware advertises but in my opinion does not really deliver
NiteX  +   1612d ago
Honestly I don't care what bioware calls their games RPG or not I love their story telling far more than any games I've ever played. That's the main reason I can't wait to play SWTOR.
_LarZen_  +   1612d ago
Stats and loot nerds all over the world cry rivers of blood!

Let them bleed out I say....I love Bioware for taking the RPG genra out of the stone ages....!
Darkfiber  +   1612d ago
Yeah, it's about shooting and terrible roll animations, duh.
otacon68  +   1612d ago
Since when?
Clayman  +   1612d ago
Skyrim is our last hope...
dragonelite  +   1612d ago
You know we call that the adventure genre just saying.
omi25p  +   1612d ago
RPG: Role playing game: To play The role of the main character, choosing his decisions, choosing how he acts, choosing what he does. Looting and stats are just added features that are in some rpgs.
ATiElite  +   1612d ago
Bioware doesn't make RPGs......
they make dialogue intense shooters. blah blah blah, pew pew pew.

RPG's are about exploration, Loot, character development with leveling up, and story progression depending on your choices.

Loot plays a major role in RPG's because you may have to give up precious items at times. Bioware's games are no longer RPG's to me. you just talk your enemies to death then do some shooting and repeat.
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bozebo  +   1612d ago
Exploration? lol, that is one word I would struggle to imagine being related to Mass Effect. That is one thing that Mass Effect (1 and 2) needed far more of.

"oh look you can visit this randomly generated planet that has nothing on it... theres another one over there, and over there too!"

Bioware's older RPGs were far better than their new guff. Perhaps when they stop developing for the 360 they won't have a DVD limitation anymore so there might be some content in their games.
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Dlacy13g  +   1612d ago
Get off the 360 argument... that has ZERO to do with why Bioware is doing what they are doing. Through pressures with EA to make a more broad appeal game they are trying to stream line all their RPG's so they will sell better to the masses. Dragon Age 2 is a prime example...
Saryk  +   1612d ago
What I like in a RPG!
Making my own personality! So I want access to all skin tones, eye sets, etc.
I don’t micro-manage my character, but I do care about the look of my character.

I like a good linear story with spontaneous events and an open world with living creatures. Something like Oblivion, Fallout, etc. But doesn't got to be in 1st person perspective!
InfiniteJustice  +   1612d ago
I hate the way people get bogged down in the argument of 'is it an RPG?' Who gives a damn? All I know is Mass Effect is an absolutely brilliant series. Can't we just be happy with that?
Dlacy13g  +   1612d ago
On one hand I get what they about saying that stats and loot. You are playing a "role" in the game and that should be the focus.

HOWEVER... While the genre might be titled Role Playing Games they have ALWAYS been about stats and loot. In many ways you actually could term the genre "Roll Playing Game" as it was all about the dice rolls back in the day. Bioware I fear is losing sight of that.

Also, lets not forget a major part of an RPG is deciding what equipment you need to accomplish the task, and that "decision" was based off your "loot" and the associated "stats".

So please Bioware, re-think your thinking. And if all these changes are coming about due to your deal with EA then please leave them. Form a new studio...and get back to what you do best.
Aysir  +   1612d ago
I love the way everyone thinks they know exactly what an RPG is! It's an outdated term that doesn't really apply to what we play anymore. D&D was first labelled as a role-playing game to deferentiate it to board-games and card-games ect. It doesn't work in a video game sense. Everyone's definition has at least one flaw when you consider all the games that carry the label of RPG. FF7, Baldur's Gate (PC), Oblivion, Eye of the Beholder - all RPG's but all completely different. RPG is an uneccessary term that really needs to be forgotten - because it doesn't set any expectations about a genre.
All the things apparently inherent to RPG's can just as readily be applied to other genre's - does that make them RPG's? No. Mass Effect is a TPS. FF7 is a Turn Based Tactics game. Baldur's Gate is a Semi-Real Time Tactics game.
TheOtherTheoG  +   1611d ago
In my opinion anyway, RPG's are about making decisions for your character. If a game, like Mass Effect, allows you to choose what your character says and his personality, you are making decisions for him/her. Things like skill point management and stats - you are making a decision on what you want your character to be like in a combat situation, how effective you want him to be in certain situations, you are making a decision for him/her. Things like inventory management and loot - you are making a decision of what you want your character to pick up, carry or throw away, you are making decisions for him/her. Exploration - you are making the decision of where you want your character to go, what you want him to do - you are making a decision for him/her.

An RPG isn't just exclusive to 'teh RPG elementz' like loot and stats. Sure, the earliest and most famous RPG's, namely D&D, were based around this, but on that merit does that mean all RPG's must be set in a Tolkien-esque high fantasy setting, with dwarves and elves and magic and dragons, simply because this is what the first RPG's had.

Regarding Mass Effect specifically, most people's disappointments or gripes with seem to occur when they try and shoe-horn it into a particular genre it doesn't seem to fit into - does it have to be only either an RPG or a TPS, can it not be a hybrid between the two, or even better fit it into it's own class, why does it have to be either just an RPG or just a TPS, simply because no-one's tried putting the two together properly, same with Deus Ex, System Shock, etc.
If you do try and shoe-horn it into being an RPG, you'll find that it doesn't have nearly as much stats, loot or exploration as most other RPG's, and yet when you try and shoe-horn it into being a straight up TPS (I've never seen why people use that as an insult against the game, BTW), you'll find the combat mechanics a bit clunky and broken, yet when you stop trying to fit it into a genre and just step back and look at it, you'll find one of the best franchises in all of media.
8bit_Nes_Rambo  +   1611d ago
It's not about pedestrian tps shootin' or superfluous dialogue trees either.
k4rma  +   1611d ago
According to BioWare an RPG is about shooting things.

So whats a shooter about?

I really dislike what has become of BioWare.
Denethor_II  +   1611d ago
My little brother can't stand RPG's, but he loves the Mass Effect series. That say it all for me really.
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