[MUD-Dev] Role-Playing Games Are Not Dead

Brian Hook bwh at wksoftware.com
Thu Nov 22 15:00:17 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

At 07:50 AM 11/22/2001 -0500, Michael Tresca wrote:

>    1) It's the official rules.  Very few games can claim that
>    (beyond Baldur's Gate).

Assuming, of course, that it matters to you.  Most players I know
that are serious RPGers laugh at the D20 rules.

>    2) It's a tool for building worlds, not just a universe we
>    either participate in or leave.  In short, I don't have to play
>    YOUR game, I can make mine.

No, it's a tool for building worlds just like those in NWN but with
some basic substitution.  You don't have the facility to create a
new genre (sci-fi, horror, etc.), new monsters, new art assets, etc.
It's just remixes of the same basic song.

One thing I will say about this thread: saying that a hobby is
"dead" means a lot of things to a lot of different people.  For some
people, "dead" means "not particularly commercially interesting".
Wargaming is "dead", but there are new wargames that come out
occasionally, and people still play them.  Flight simulators are
"dead", but new ones are released on occasion and sometimes one or
two do okay.

Will we ever have a world where people just STOP playing RPGs
period?  I doubt that, just like TV never replaced books completely,
nor did movies replace theater completely.  But there is a pretty
big swath of land between "does it exist" and "is it as popular as
it used to be".

> If a player don't have time or energy to get involved, that's the
> player's problem.

It's also the game provider's problem if they've made something that
has unreasonably high levels of commitment from the players.  That's
a personal decision, of course, both for the player and the
developer, but I won't fault someone for wanting to make something
with the complexity of Diablo as opposed to the complexity of, oh,

> It may be true that it will never be a widespread popular hobby,
> because it requires exercising one's imagination pretty
> vigorously.

"it will never be a widespread popular hobby" can, in some circles,
mean "dead".  Or, "for all practical purposes, irrelevant".  That's
a subjective call.

And the rationalization that its lack of popularity is because of
some higher cut off on the playerbase's
intellect/imagination/whatever smacks of elitist denial.  It may not
be popular simply because people don't like it.  It may not be
popular because it requires too much time or money.  A full set of
the 3e rules plus a couple supplements is more expensive than
subscribing to EQ for a year.

> I read "You hit goblin hard.  Goblin misses you.  You barely hit
> goblin."  This is not exercising my imagination.

Um, actually it's exercising your imagination by leaving more of the
descriptions up to you.

> Novels would be a thing of the past, because why bother to read
> when you can actually see it? Same arguments apply.

There are many more fundamental reasons that novels have survived.
They're portable, can describe sweeping epics in long, long LONG
detail that is impractical for other media, they can be "paused",
they're relatively inexpensive to create and publish, etc. etc.


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