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Five RPG Mistakes That Shouldn’t Keep Happening

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1. You just saved the world, but nobody cares.

mavenUnfortunately, Skyrim is still one of the biggest offenders. You’re a powerful badass with the voice of the dragons, the Archmage leader of the Dark Brotherhood clad in Daedric armor with a bow that can take down a giant with one arrow. And yet, to most folks, you’re still just that random Altmer that showed up to Whiterun in a Stormcloak uniform raving about dragons. Similarly, in World of Warcraft, it took six expansions for your character to finally receive real recognition for their heroic deeds. While we don’t necessarily need a bard following us around or beautiful women throwing flowers over our heads, it shouldn’t feel as if everyone in the world had their minds wiped following our murder of the token villain of the game.

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2. Clunky AI.

One of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s glaring gameplay flaws is the AI’s incompetence. Party members don’t stand still when you want them to, archers overuse their leap back ability, and the mages occasionally charge in to pretend to be offensive tanks. Solas, where did your health bar go? Character AI in video games isn’t perfect, but sometimes it feels as though the devs took a step backwards. By now, the issue of frustratingly dumb AI is a bit unforgivable, especially if older games did it better.

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3. Overly restrictive terrain.

This might not be one of the RPG mistakes present in every game, but it’s still a staple of some open world single player games and MMOs. Final Fantasy XIV doesn’t allow you to swim, cross hills and mountains, or jump down any kind of distance. If you want to get down those stairs, you’re going to walk down them like a civilized person, not by jumping over the side. It isn’t too big of a deal, but it’s a little jarring in an open-world game to suddenly find invisible walls everywhere you go. World of Warcraft has the right idea – if players want to throw themselves off of tall cliffs or go AFK underwater, that’s (literally) their funeral. Invisible walls and a lack of interaction with the world pulls immersion to a grinding halt.

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4. The entire world consists of nine hairstyles.

Destiny and Dragon Age: Inquisition had about the same number of hairstyles, but Destiny handled it far better than Inquisition, ironically enough. While Inquisition opted for bland, flat hairstyles, of which more than half of them were various patterns of bald/shaved, Destiny gave us a diverse collection of possible hairstyles, all unique in their own way. We don’t need long flowing manes or a hair gel factory, but games seem to have become increasingly lazy about hairstyles lately, especially if the devs opted for the rendering ease of shorter hairstyles. There’s a lot you can do with shorter hairstyles, and there’s only so many ways you can shave a person’s head.

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5. You only need ten of these, but we’re going to make sure you don’t gather them too quickly.

Quests with low drop rates are getting a bit old, especially now that we don’t have nearly as much time to spend on questing as we might have years ago. When Farmer Bob asks you to go collect eight bat wings, then those bats should be dropping wings each time you slaughter one. Players shouldn’t have to sit there for 45 minutes murdering bats in a quest that should’ve taken ten minutes. It does nothing to lengthen the game and only adds unnecessary work and padding. Grinding shouldn’t be so viciously forced.

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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  • Tony Michael Gryskevicz

    The last one is because the developers put it there. Its called a ‘Time Sink’. Its when they pad games out so gamers will opt for hours spent. This makes it look like people play the game religiously but the actual time invested is doing mediocre things such as collection. WoW did this in spades because they figure “The more time we make people waste doing unnecessary things, the longer they will have to pay for the account to complete said tasks and quests to advance and be able to do anything fun.”

    • Josh Otanda Henderson

      Their reasoning matters not it’s still frustrating and is the reason I don’t play mmorpg’s anymore.

  • Randy Bull

    I think the hairstyles thing has a lot to do with the setting of the game. Like Dragon Age is old-timey and you’re going to war. Long locks just doesn’t seem to fit in (or be very practical). While Destiny has more of a bounty hunter feel. You want that crazy hair? You can have it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they did get lazy. Just my two cents.

    • Michael Giza

      Vikings.

    • Goldpenny’s Graffix

      I’m not trying to sound like a jerk but… Native Americans, vikings, Japanese samurai, the Scotts, the Irish all had no regulations on hair styles and some cultures were even known for having long hair, long beards as a sign masculinity and power. Not to mention the biggest flaw the hairstyles are the SAME for men and women. Seriously, my fiance plays and hates the way her character looks because the hair is ridiculous. Not all women have long hair but if you want to go historical it would be very unnatural for a woman to have close cropped hair. I mean sure it would be unnatural for a woman to be fighting but that brings me to another point; this is a fantasy, there weren’t mages hurling lightning and fire at people, not in any time frame. So bearing that in mind it seems to me like it was just laziness, especially when they actualy had more choice options in the 2nd and 1st entries in the series.

  • Laina Inverse

    #1 is definitely annoying. I mean, they comment on all the recent happenings (or less recent when you’ve moved on to another quest), but nothing about you being Archmage, or right hand of either Ulfric or Tullius?

    and good god #4. YOU CAN DO SO MUCH WITH SHORT HAIR! They had better styles in the first two games! (And I say this as someone who questioned the logic of the looped braid style, even though I loved the fuck out of it.) We don’t need thirteen styles of buzzcut. Unisex hair isn’t bad, but seriously, there’s no originality to ANY of it. 8|

    • Michael Giza

      Lets be honest here. They have better hairstyles in Mortal Kombat and Soul Caliber.

      • Goldpenny’s Graffix

        Lol, yup.

  • Dosbilliam

    Reminds me of some MMO I played that I don’t remember the name of. The quests were on the level of “Kill 60 of this enemy” but the enemies died in one hit and were more common than grass, so it was kill-click-kill-click-kill…took a boss for me to have something that didn’t die when I looked at it funny, and that’s as a DPS Warrior-style character.

  • Richard Ranft

    I’m on board with AI that won’t get out of fire and contrived terrain restrictions. These are really annoying. The rest is fluff – I mean, DA:I, do you want many unique areas to explore (something they really stepped up on from DA2) or hairstyles?

    • Goldpenny’s Graffix

      Well as so many games have proven you can and should have both. But more importantly, if I can’t get invested in my character or the enemy’s (because they share the same hairstyles to, a point you seem to have missed) then a myriad of maps/zones isn’t gonna make a difference. This is no more evident than titanfall. Great game mechanics, fun newish way to traverse the environment and literally dozens of maps couldn’t save it from becoming stale and boring due to lack of character customization (literally all the characters looked identical to the point that many people couldn’t tell the difference between enemy pilots and specters) and a nonexistent story cost this game a potentially huge fan base. So, I agree hairstyles might seem trivial but in an rpg of any sort if you’re going to dump 50-200 hours into it with the same toon, I want it to look as close to my real world visage as possible or just however I feel most comfortable.

      • Richard Ranft

        Let me clarify – I feel that story and world content trumps character customization, though both are important. What follows is further clarification and can be skipped….

        Sorry – I’m old. I’ve played pen-and-paper RPGs for decades, so character investment for me isn’t so much about what my avatar on screen looks like. Titanfall sounds like a grievously extreme example of lack of customization, especially for a multiplayer game, but I was under the impression that it isn’t a RPG – it’s listed as a FPS. As is Destiny.

        I agree strongly that more customization is always better but given the choice between the dev team spending hundreds of man-hours on hairstyles or spending those hours on story or world-building I’ll take the latter. DA:I is a “special case” in my mind – Bioware was hammered so hard over their lack of unique locations in DA2 that they paid special attention to correcting that, and succeeded wonderfully. I’d have to create a new DA2 character to be certain but I don’t think they gave any ground in customization between them.

        • Goldpenny’s Graffix

          I’d have to agree with you, I started playing d&d when I was 7, then Nintendo and the zelda games so I understand how far gaming has come. But it’s still appalling when something that has become standard, the norm, in an rpg game is left out. Dragon age 2 had the potential to be great but it recycled the same maps and took such a cheap short cut that gamers couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed and ripped off. Then to make a game that surpasses not just it’s predecessors but blows away the competition yet stumbles over something as simple as character customization that could have easily been recycled? Meh, it just seems that there is a new trend with publishers and developers to see how much they can get for how little they can put out. I may be too harsh, but it’s hard not to be when one game delivers so well and another fails so completely. Either way, hairstyles might be a trivial thing to argue over, specially when I agree with your point.

          • Richard Ranft

            “Meh, it just seems that there is a new trend with publishers and developers to see how much they can get for how little they can put out.”

            This is exactly the case. There is a budget that constrains both time and money spent, and it usually means something must be sacrificed. Add to this the standard corporate fear of blazing trails….

            We’re not arguing! We’re discussing. 😉