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Genre Wars — the Downside of the RPG Takeover

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-gain-1912-experience dept.

Role Playing (Games) 248

Phaethon360 writes "From Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 to even Team Fortress 2, RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would. This change for the most part has managed to subtly improve upon genres that needed new life, but there's a cost that hasn't been tallied by the majority of game developers. 'The simple act of removing mod tools, along with the much discussed dedicated server issue, has made [MW2] a bit of a joke among competitive players. Gone are the days of "promod," and the only option you have is to play it their way. If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don’t have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love. It really is that simple. If they don’t want to provide a good "back to basics experience," they could at least continue to provide the tools that allow us to do that for ourselves.'"

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248 comments

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830284)

I read the summary, it did not make sense. So, I RTFA, it still does not make sense. Is anything being said here at all??

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830308)

It's just one long rambling whine without a lot of substance. The author is crying because they aren't making games exactly the way he wants them now.

Re:WTF? (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830544)

BS.
The author is bemoaning the fact that games currently suck. The fundamental problem is that they are serving the largest market, and as the market has become more mainstream, the average IQ of the average player has gone down. Computer games used to be the preserve of geeks, or other intellectual types willing to do something as non-jocky as play on a computer. Now, every dolt with a dim sense of consciousness is playing Halo, and their dollars are voting smart gamers out of the picture.

Games like XCom, Syndicate and System Shock will not be made any more, because there's too much money to be made serving Mr. Averagely Average.

Today, a game like System Shock would fail because I doubt even 20% of the current market would have the cerebrum to get through the first 2 levels, let alone have a chance of finishing it.

Furthermore, as game houses become more and more commercial in their decision making, risk taking and breaking the mold becomes less attractive. Why risk development funds on a mold breaking game when you can get instant cash by cranking out another FPS based on the current generation 3D engine?

Consoles are dumbing games down even more, with their painfully limited means of interacting. I liked it better in the old days when game developers had to take risks in order to keep their market interested. Being a "Doom clone" back then was a stigma. Nowadays, being just another FPS is quite honorable if you have bump sketching unobtanium enabled shading 3 days before the next game with it comes out.

Yes, I'm being an elitist snob. Yes I know you're about to mod me down. No I don't care, as long as you get off my lawn while I play 15 year old games in dosbox.

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830630)

Games like XCom, Syndicate and System Shock will not be made any more

Maybe I misremember System Shock. I know I remember playing it a lot and enjoying it very much.

But how different are games like Mass Effect? Have you played Eve Online? To the people who play Eve Online regularly, System Shock might as well be Bejeweled. There's quite a bit more "cerebrum" required in that game, I'd wager.

It sounds like you haven't played a game since 1996. That's OK. You're just rusty and cranky. Don't be afraid to get back on the bike, but be ready to be humbled by the "cerebrum" of a 15 year old CEO of an Eve corp who teaches you a thing or two..

Re:WTF? (1)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830658)

Could this be why EVE Online is a complete niche game with a very limited audience compared to your regular trash console FPS title with a lifespan of 4 weeks?

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830714)

Yes.

--Jirai Laitanen, Guristas co CEO

Re:WTF? (2, Interesting)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831592)

Which is exactly what this argument is about. Gamers who were a niche market are used to playing the kind of games that were made for their niche. Other people came into the arena and started playing games, and developers started making games for this much larger audience. If you are a niche gamer who doesn't like playing average person games, then don't. EVE is a niche game still made for the non-WoW crowd. I'm sure there are others, go play those.

The one thing the niche gamer cannot expect is that people are going to spend mainstream development money on his niche. He may have to look at some of the smaller dev houses and play those games.

Re:WTF? (3, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830638)

Actually, the author said none of those things. He made vague whines about games, and you just substituted in everything you personally hate about games.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830868)

Yea, but MrNaz had some good points, where the first post was a nonsensical rant. It's kind of like Forum with Michael Krasney, where guests call in with incoherent tirades, and he pulls gold out of the garbage.

Re:WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830670)

Games like XCom, Syndicate and System Shock will not be made any more, because there's too much money to be made serving Mr. Averagely Average.

BS. That statement cannot be based on any economic theory or historical events for that matter. It's certainly possible that good games like that really aren't made anymore but the reason you state does not make any sense...

By the way, explaining how little you care about mods doesn't really make me believe the statement :)

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30831362)

Well that was an useless, substance-free reply.

The audience for PC games has broadened substantially since the early 90s. And of course money is a driving force in determining which games gets made. That's not really a point to be argued. There are a huge number of games like X-COM or TIE Fighter which are extremely highly regarded by just about everyone who has ever played them, yet there's been nothing like them made since. The blame probably can be pinned on the games industry as it has developed since then, into something very much akin to Hollywood without the sex and drugs.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831454)

BS.
The author is bemoaning the fact that games currently suck.

I call BS on your BS.

Maybe the Author needs to stop following the mainstream games market and buying whatever EA shovels them year after year.. there are games that don't suck, but most are being put out by smaller companies that don't release for 4 platforms, have for-pay DLC, and aren't capable of having a 2-minute advert during the superbowl.

Also, some of the best gameplay I've had on games are not the game as intended.. hell the only reason I bought some games were for mods that got released for them.. I think I've probably clocked under 10 hours of UT2004 proper.. but likely hundreds of hours on various mods for game.

I guess now I'm dont my pointless rant on the articles pointless rant.

Re:WTF? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831436)

No he's whining that it's not possible to teak the games that are not made exactly the way he wants them until they are the games that he wants. You can't take a game that is close to what you want, mod it so it is, and then run a dedicated server with your version to play against other people. Basically, he's saying exactly the same thing that some guy called Richard said about printer drivers in the early '80s.

Re:WTF? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830310)

The only thing I got from it was "no mod tools == bad". Other than that, no.

Re:WTF? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830926)

Which isn't exactly a shallow argument. It basically takes games from being a platform for fun and tries to turn them into a short-lived money maker. Same price as they were before, but severely curtailed replay value so you have to pay for the next version instead of just making a mod.

Re:WTF? (4, Insightful)

fake_name (245088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830332)

Someone blogged about some things he doesn't like and made the front page of slashdot.

Basically, more games have character progression in them where you improve your character and/or equipment while playing and he thinks this is a bad idea for competitive multiplayer games.

Re:WTF? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830540)

Why? I mean you have some competitions like 100m dash where you only measure one thing, but take a sport like soccer. You want 11 different people with different proficiency at dribbling, passing, scoring, tackling, interception and goalkeeping based on speed, strength and skill. Of course you won't find any poorly trained people, nor will you find teams that are all attack or all defense, but they don't end up as opposite blueprints in one min-maxed combination either. The nerfing and new gear is quite like what happens as some people gain skills, some age and lose skills, some retire, some rookies come in and you have to replan to get the most out of your team. Or for that matter, compare it to a troop of marines if you will. It's actually way more "real life" than playing a game that never changes.

Re:WTF? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830578)

Players already have different abilities (for example I'm no good with sniper rifles but my grenades claim many victims), no need to throw some arbitrary restrictions on there by preventing players from using the same tools.

Besides, this isn't levelling into specific directions, this is merely unlocking new options. There's no specialization happening because a high level player has all the gear to fit any role he wants while a low level player cannot specialize on certain tasks because he's missing the tools.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830830)

So, what you're saying is: In the end, it doesn't even matter.
How horrible.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830674)

Same anonymous coward you replied to here. Thanks for your clarification.

So, nowadays RPG == character progression. I was asuming that RPG was about role playing, but I must be getting old.

RPG? (2, Funny)

Ubi_NL (313657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830292)

I must admit I rarely play these games but I thought all of them had Rocket Propelled Grenades in them since Doom?

Multiplayer-who cares about it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830314)

The article is all about the multiplayer trash. So it doesn't really matter, no one cares about some shitty multiplayer anyway.

Not because of RPG elements (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830324)

The removal of Mod Tools in MW2 has nothing to do with any RPG elements. It is completely feasible for RPGs to have mods, and indeed many popular RPGs have some of the most impressive mods. Also, the summary mentions Bioshock, but that games was a 'spiritual successor' to System shock 1 & 2, and Bioshock actually was LESS of an RPG than those.

I can understand the complaint about RPG elements (in simple form) creeping into other genres, but a similar problem is faced by RPGs; they are being diluted by other genres. Look at something like Fallout 3 for an example. I'd argue that the bigger problem is that ALL game series seem to eventually slowly turn into first person shooters with light rpg elements. It's a lowest common denominator style of gameplay that is pulling in games from all directions.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830478)

Soon they will pull harvesting in(like in dune2 and its successors, or warcraft1,2). I can see the range of possible weapons increase : chaingun, laserbeam, rocketlauncher, scythe, pick, hammer, spade, ... My mousewheel will wear out FAST !

Re:Not because of RPG elements (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830566)

This has been going on for a long time. If one stretched things, they could say that World of Warcraft is a FPS with an extreme number of powerups. However, FPS is a concept is a known quantity. You put out something in this type of genre, and you will almost certainly break even at the minimum.

Finding new ways to do a RPG combat system is hard. There are not that many ways to do combat, so FPS mechanics is one of the most used. Turn by turn combat used to be the RPG mainstay, but for many people, it is too slow a method of resolving conflict. There are other combat systems, but if a game relies too much on arcade reflexes, it might turn people away.

For single player, most likely the best bet for a modern RPG these days would be a system used by NWN and NWN2, where people can pause the action before making their next decision, but if they know what exactly is going on, can still do an almost real-time battle.

What I've not seen that much of are RPGs with RTS mechanics. Picture having your group of people that you start out with at a beginning of the game, and each of them has some ability and weakness. There would have to be more plot and character development for an RPG to separate it from Warcraft 1-3 (adding multiple endings, having side quests), but it could be done.

One scenario using these type of mechanics could be pushing back some orcs [1] who are pillaging some nearby villages. You send in some scouts to see what exactly their weaknesses are (one village has an orc wizard fireballing buildings. Another has an orc chieftain who keeps his band up with heals. Still another has a warrior chieftain.) Then you send whatever guys you have that would be the best against the type of enemy at hand. With different playstyles, one could have a lot of grunt troops and just swarm the villages, send in ranged troops (with some melee in front as a distraction), or perhaps even find a way to use some type of negotiating skill to get the orc tribal leaders to accept a keg of ogre swill as treasure enough so they stop their invasion.

Another scenario could be a castle siege. You have your forces and need to punch a hole in the castle walls, while fending off forces coming from other sides. Part of the RPG would be doing side quests. One side quest earns you better siege engines. Another gets enemy troops to not join in on the fight. Still another side quest just might allow the player to earn such a famous/infamous reputation that they can just bypass the siege altogether and have the opposing side open the doors and surrender.

This isn't to say this has not been done before, but RPG/RTS mechanics are not something seen often in modern games. What sets RPGs apart from "plain old" RTS/FPS games is having multiple endings, multiple side quests, and different consequences for player actions. For example, if a PC is an extremely good diplomat, it may allow for some battles to be skipped or handled in a different way. Similar if a PC does side quests for a reputation. Throwing in some mini-games [2] may be the answer here as a way to help (perhaps use the RTS engine so the player can work as a mercenary general in order to help your side get land or resources in between plot advances.)

[1]: Classic AD&D/LoTR orcs which would be more than happy to stuff any intelligent race in a stewpot. Except dwarves. They are just too hard to clean.

[2]: One recent mini-game I liked was the Risk-like one in James Cameron's "Avatar". It was fairly tough because you had very little territory at the start, so you could either play your chances slowly, or start the mini game every so often, because you got more money as the main game progressed. Mini games have to be done right though. For example, the card one in FF8 a lot of players just skipped for the most part.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830766)

The castle scenario is done in WoW, PvP in wintergrasp is about protecting or storming the castle (depending on who won last match), the attacker starts out with their own set of towers which the faction on defense can attack to end the match quicker, there are several siege engine shops where controlling faction of said shop can acquire engines. And of course you got all your weapons/spells from normal levelling in WoW.

Loads of fun, it does however take quite some time before you are level 80 to join the fight (and have gear good enough to not get instagibbed in the battles).

Re:Not because of RPG elements (1)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830910)

Final Fantasy Tactics and the entire Fire Emblem series suggests "not seen often," may not be entirely accurate. Both are pretty damned popular.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (1)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830672)

I personally enjoy the creeping in of RPG elements in games that traditionally don't make use of them. What I however do not understand is how that has anything to do with the lack of modtools or whatever.
Recently I've been playing a bit of an indie game called Killing Floor, which apparently started out as a mod for UT2k4. This is quite an enjoyable cheap little game with a handful of different classes and a handful of levels for each. Make headshots, and become better with precision weapons, that sort of thing. It gives a nice sense of perpetuity and progress to playing the game. Not sure how much I'll enjoy it once I hit max level. Chances are I'll shelve it, but hey, I enjoyed it while it lasted and it cost 1/4th what a AAA game that would've not last me 8 hours would have.

it's all about controlling the market (2, Insightful)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830850)

Removing of Mod Tools is all about controlling shelf-life for games and monopolising the market for extensions/enhancements for those game.

It's all a business decision - outside MMOs, the current way that Game Producers (want to) do business is:

  • Milk a franchise for as long as you can by periodically releasing newer versions of the same game
  • Have extra post-sale revenue by selling extras for the game (DLC)

In that sense, user mods are "bad for business" since they:

  • Extend the life of an existing version of a game with free content, thus reducing the appeal for gamers to buy newer versions
  • Provide free new content for the game which competes with the paid for content that the Game Produces wants to sell

Games having more RPG elements does relate to the decision of removing Mod Tools in the sense that for RPGs the enjoyement of the game is also related to it's content (as in, zones to explore, items to collect, monsters to fight and levels/abilities to unlock), and thus:

  • In single-player/social-light games, user enjoyment decreases fast once all content has been explored. Without user mods, this means that the lifetime of a game is solelly under the control of the Game Producer
  • A more content heavy type of game is also a game with more opportunity for things like sales of game items, zones and levels. No user mods mean that the Game Producer has a monopoly on this

So I do agree with the TFA that no Mod Tools and more RPG elements are correlated, although maybe not in the way they see it.

Re:it's all about controlling the market (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831612)

They almost have a point, but they're missing something important: the only reason that a lot of people bought Half Life originally was for Counterstrike. People who enjoy modding games aren't going to go away if you dn't support them, they'll just start writing mods for your competitor's games. If they stop supporting mods too, then they'll write mods for open source games (and, yes, there are a few good, hackable, open source FPS games, but their graphics tend to be a couple of generations behind the state of the art). Then people will be able to play the mods without buying your game. They may buy your competitor's game, or they may not buy anything.

Mod support is a great business idea because it lets other people give away products that require your product to work. It's a perfect case of commoditising a complementary market. Your mod tool license can prevent people from charging for the mods, so they are investing effort in making your product better.

Of course, this is only true for companies that wrote the game engine. Companies licensing something like ID Tech 4 and just adding their own content are basically mod authors anyway, they're just paying a large premium to Id to be allowed to charge for their mod.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830944)

The removal of Mod Tools in MW2 has nothing to do with any RPG elements.

Of course it doesn't, it's just a piss-poor bait-and-switch article that starts off pretending to talk about something, anything, other than "Waaah, MW2 is teh suck no 1 bi it!!!!!1!!", then degenerates into exactly that.

When will these anti-MW2 weenies get that they lost? All their pissing and moaning and "I won't buy it!" posturing didn't effect one damn thing about MW2, and the $1 billion sales just prove how irrelevant they are.

It's time for them to move on, find a game that they actually like - there are alternatives - and quit their tiresome bitching.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (1)

MrBogard (1656375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831062)

I wrote this, and I understand a lot of the reactions here. It does come off as a bit of a bitchy rant, but I had good intentions. I actually like the blending of genres myself, I just am worried about the future of competitive games as a side effect. This is where the lack of mod tools has had a tremendous effect on the Call of Duty community. People don't compete in COD4 with perks and attachments. They play promodlive, which not only stripped down the customization of the game, but also rebalanced it for straight competitive play. Infinity Ward forces you to play it *their way*, which while not necessarily a bad thing still limits our "classic" experience.

Re:Not because of RPG elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30831224)

i for one am glad to see the genres mixing up. i've always liked rpg games, but less so fps unless they were very story driven. the main game i'm playing now is fallen earth, which mixes fps combat into an mmorpg, admitedly not the most high grade of fps but the whole thing of being able to craft your own weapons, ammo and armour and having some advantage by being a good fps player (headshots do more damage) one gets the best of both to some degree. it's not really anything new anyway, x3, for example, mixes up space combat with rpg elements and that's not really a very new game. the rpg elements are a nice feature of the s.t.a.l.k.e.r. games as well, but it doesn't go far enough and left me craving for a full blown mmorpg/fps with faction war... then i found out a similar kind of game already exists. however the combat in stalker games is much more realistic, with proper animations and full time first person view and realistic ballistics and weapon reload times and weapon switching.

also gta3 onwards mixes up first and third person melee and firearms combat with story, silly 'fun' games like darts and bowling and dance game type sub-games as well as racing and flying. i think it is not anything other than a product of the increase in capability of game hardware and software that allows multiple game mechanics to be blended together.

Addicted to fake achievement (4, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830338)

But it's the only chance a lot of people would have (thus broadening their market)...

http://www.pixelpoppers.com/2009/11/awesome-by-proxy-addicted-to-fake.html [pixelpoppers.com]

Re:Addicted to fake achievement (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830558)

I'd like to call bullshit on the findings of this article.

I really like RPG games, but I have also mastered FPS games to the point of being routinely accused of botting. Looking back, the time sunken into both could have been used much more constructively.

Two issues here (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830384)

I think there are two distinct issues highlighted in the story, which don't necessarily have a particularly strong connection.

The first is the creep of RPG elements into other genres. I've certainly noticed this myself, and there are a few obvious manifestations. The most obvious is the idea that the player should get more powerful over the course of the game, and that said power should not be subject to resets. If you look at a traditional shoot-em-up, the player picks up new weapons as he plays through the game, but once he gets shot and loses a life, he's generally back to the pea-shooter he started the game with. This model is now almost dead, at least in its pure form. If you look at any recent action game - Bayonetta, for example - some items (such as health potions and the disposable weapons) may be temporary, but as the player gets further into the game, they accumulate persistent upgrades, such as a longer health bar, more special moves and better weapons. In fact, a lot of games give players who have already beaten them the option of starting over, while carrying over their upgrades from previous cycles.

So why has this happened? I think the gaming industry has realised that, now that gaming is primarily an activity that takes place in the home rather than in arcades, people do not like excessive penalties for failure. Allowing a power-curve in games is pretty much established in most genres these days, but resetting that curve whenever a player makes a mistake results in people switching off the console - and loses future sales for games in that series. There are still a few titles that hold out - Mario, in particular, which even still preserves the obsolete concept of "lives" in some installments - but they increasingly look like antiquated oddities. We always seem to get a few odd cases here on slashdot who like to post on threads about MMOs saying "they'd be more fun if they had permadeath", but it's interesting that commercial MMO operators, who have to put their money where their mouth is, have never seen fit to pursue this. I think they know what they're doing.

The second issue is around the restriction of modding, which I don't really see as being at all related to the spread of RPG elements. After all, RPGs are historically highly moddable, from their roots in the pen and paper market onwards. The Neverwinter Nights games were heavily marketed with their modability as a key selling point. However, there does seem to be a trend towards restriction of modding in some genres, including fpses. I think there are two drivers for this. The first, simply put, is a "hot coffee" reaction. As certain countries (eg. Germany and Australia) adopt wildly restrictive attitudes towards video game content, developers are naturally more paranoid about being criticised (or sued) for game content that was actually added or unlocked by a third party mod. The other cause is the desire to deliver a more consistent experience.

I think this stems from the console market. Consoles have many disadvantages compared to the PC as platforms for multiplayer gaming, but they do have a big advantage; consistency of hardware. While there will still be imbalances due to connection quality, the hardware is the same in every case, so there are fewer non-skill-related variables invovled in gaming. In some ways, this actually makes the game more suitable for serious competition. There may be another factor related to something I remember relating to Quake 3; graphical "vandalism". I remember how when Quake 3 had its brief honeymoon with the gaming community (before being buried by Counter-Strike), almost all high level players (and most of the wannabes) played with graphical details that made the game look more like Carrier Command than a modern fps. I remember reading that ID weren't happy about how their game was being shown off, and that this fed into the more restrictive graphical options within Quake 3.

Re:Two issues here (4, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830608)

Eve has "permadeath" of a sort. When you lose you ship, you lose your ship. Fittings, cargo content, ammunition, modifications... Gone. It's like all of your armour and weapons being lost in WoW, especially when you amass Faction modified variants. Insurance covers the ship to a point, but not totally.

You can buy clones for your actual character, but that again doesn't cover stat-boosting Implants. You lose those if your pod is destroyed (character is killed). If you don't have a clone, you lose all of your Skill Points too. For some characters, that can be many years worth of time investment.

Fighting in that game was more stressful in the way your body isn't catered to dealing with: Prolonged periods of suspense and fear, with no way to vent it.

Re:Two issues here (1)

paulhar (652995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830852)

> Fighting in that game was more stressful in the way your body isn't catered to dealing with: Prolonged periods of suspense and fear, with no way to vent it.

You must have been playing a different game to me. (2004-2009)

Prolonged periods of gate hugging, station camping, watching a bunch of dreads reinforce a POS while waiting 20-30 minutes for the FC to decide that it's ok to have them jump in.
Sure, we had fun. We also had suspense, especially when your cloak fails to activate at a gate for some unknown reason and you still manage to escape, or when you decide to try to solo in a low sec system, but as soon as you moved away from carebearing into "serious" 0.0 warfare it became a "we all warp in and watch the repeated warp in, snap back, warp in effect while shields fall and nobody else is on grid... oh look... I'm in a station... didn't even see anyone".

And no, you can't have my stuff.

Re:Two issues here (4, Interesting)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830686)

The second issue is around the restriction of modding, which I don't really see as being at all related to the spread of RPG elements. After all, RPGs are historically highly moddable, from their roots in the pen and paper market onwards. The Neverwinter Nights games were heavily marketed with their modability as a key selling point. However, there does seem to be a trend towards restriction of modding in some genres, including fpses. I think there are two drivers for this. The first, simply put, is a "hot coffee" reaction. As certain countries (eg. Germany and Australia) adopt wildly restrictive attitudes towards video game content, developers are naturally more paranoid about being criticised (or sued) for game content that was actually added or unlocked by a third party mod. The other cause is the desire to deliver a more consistent experience.

There is another reason to consider. While modding is a selling point, it is a selling point that has two drawbacks for the industry: 1) It extends the lifetime of the game, causing the gamer to purchase fewer games. An example is Morrowind that came out in 2001 and is still being modded. 2) Usermade content gives a free alternative to expansion packs and DLC, which may decrease sales. On the other hand, modding tools are likely to generate a larger and more active core of fans.

I think this stems from the console market.

As far as I know, console makers (MS and Sony, at least) hate usermade content on their consoles, making it diffcult (and against the EULA) to mod the games on their consoles.

Re:Two issues here (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830828)

"As far as I know, console makers (MS and Sony, at least) hate usermade content on their consoles, making it diffcult (and against the EULA) to mod the games on their consoles."

Little Big Planet...

Re:Two issues here (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830838)

MS certainly seem to have slackened up a lot on this. Even leaving aside their indie sections on Xbox Live Arcade, we've seen more and more user-created content permitted in games recently.

The best recent example is Forza 3, with its custom car skins. Anything outright offensive (eg. featuring nudity or bad language) will get squashed by the mods, but it's perfectly possible to download user-made car designs covering most conceivable eventualities (or upload your own), including designs which I would have thought have at least the potential to raise trademark issues. Happily, these are all traded using only in-game currency; no doubt a relief to those who remember being asked to play 400 MS points for a new skin for a plane in Ace Combat 6.

Amusingly (and for once, this reflects well on MS in a way), it is quite possible to download car designs with Playstation logos plastered all over them, and drive them around in what is a single-platform Xbox-flagship game.

Re:Two issues here (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831404)

There is a difference in indie and usermade content. Where indie content is usually made by a smaller publisher and sold for money, usermade mods are usually made by hobbyists and distributed for free (at least on the PC). I'm not familiar with Forza, but is the "in-game currency" used to purchase new skins purchased with real world currency, or is it something you get by playing the game? Or a little bit of both?

Re:Two issues here (1)

MrBogard (1656375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831110)

The mod issue is only related here in that Call of Duty forces those RPG elements on to the player. Most clannies in Call of Duty 4 play promodlive, something not possible in MW2.

Re:Two issues here (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831662)

The mod issue is only related here in that Call of Duty forces those RPG elements on to the player. Most clannies in Call of Duty 4 play promodlive, something not possible in MW2.

I, on the other hand, quit playing CoD4 shortly after I hit level 50. The progression was the only reason I kept playing. Once I lost that, the FPS elements were all I had left, and they weren't that interesting to me. I messed around a bit with the .50 cal that unlocks at that level, then uninstalled and haven't touched the thing in a year.

Not that I blame the competitive players for being upset. However, the real issue is with mod tools, the RPG elements are great, IMO.

Re:Two issues here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30831486)

The first, simply put, is a "hot coffee" reaction. As certain countries (eg. Germany and Australia) adopt wildly restrictive attitudes towards video game content, developers are naturally more paranoid about being criticised (or sued) for game content that was actually added or unlocked by a third party mod.

While Germany may have quite insane restrictions on game content, our judges can at least differentiate between the original game and a mod. At least I've never heard about anyone getting punished over some third party content.

Incoherent summary (1)

pangu (322010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830426)

What does adding RPG elements have to do with removing tools for modding a game? That's right, nothing.

Re:Incoherent summary (1)

MrBogard (1656375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831198)

It's only related in that specific example, and I admit I could have been more clear. I knew this was a little messy, and frankly I'm surprised (and delighted) to see it on the front page. The relationship is: 70 levels of perks and attachments are difficult to balance in an actual clan scenario. Mods allowed communities to build new rule sets and rebalance the game around the idea of competition. Without those tools, you're forced to play it their way. This isn't necessarily bad, especially for public play, but it puts a lot of pressure on the way clannies have been doing things for years. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have to adapt to new trends in game design, I'm just worried that game designers aren't trying to please their core fanbases while expanding their markets with these trends.

Enough of FPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830434)

Well. It seems reasonable to me after decade of playing FPS. You know there are only 2 types of FPS. "Shoot everything that moves" and "Shoot everything".

WHAT (0, Redundant)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830444)

The removal of mod tools is because Infinity Ward are a bunch of PC-hating cocktards.

What that has to do with "RPG elements" is presumably left as an exercise to the reader?

(Also, Bioshock is a terrible example, since it's a spiritual successor to a legendary RPG, System Shock 2. In many ways, Bioshock was SS2 dumbed down with more 'FPS elements'. Now shush.)

Re:WHAT (3, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830594)

More importantly because they want to sell us DLC without competition. Not that that's a real reason for removing dedicated servers (and neither is console gaming) since Section 8 has dedicated servers, DLC and a console version.

Re:WHAT (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830598)

There were plenty of games back in the day that didn't have mod tools available for them. They got modded anyway by inventive programmers. It'll happen with MW2 soon enough.

I wonder how "unauthorized" modding of a AAA title will stand up in the modern era.

Re:WHAT (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830982)

I wonder how "unauthorized" modding of a AAA title will stand up in the modern era.

Google bnetd to see how it will stand up.

Re:WHAT (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831476)

I'm well aware of bnetd. That wasn't a mod of a game, that was emulation of Battle.net.

Although I think things like bnetd are fine, Blizzard argued that without a check for CD Keys (which only they had), pirated copies could be played over bnetd. Disregarding the ridiculously overreaching EULA (as all EULAs are wont to be), nothing about bnetd in and of itself was illegal as far as I'm concerned. But Blizzard used the piracy angle to essentially wipe out a competitor.

Mods require that you own the original software because a mod, at the very least, uses the game's engine and some of the code. Many make use of in-game assets as well. They're legally protected for the most part because they're distributed and created for free.

The modding community and the bnetd situation are like apples and bowling balls.

Love (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830488)

I believe that every game has a spark of creativity that cannot be denied.

Some devteams work for ten years or more on the same game... improving it, polishing it, patching it, rereleasing it under new technology, imagining, dreaming, hoping, sketching...

This is love, right?

I think so. I think it's eternal love; like a "soul."

Re:Love (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831650)

Well, some people spend ten years in a living hell of a marriage filled with bickering, friction, conflict, betrayal and sometimes physical conflict.

Now, even in these cases, there is sometimes still what could be called "love" there; but the end product is not something others would consider very beautiful.

What a ramble... (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830494)

I didn't see anything in there that was actually a cause-effect relationship between the "RPG elements" and taking away from the games.

Personally, I love the blending of genres. Now we get games like Mass Effect which combine action similar to Gears of War with a real RPG feel.

Bioshock? (1, Insightful)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830526)

Surely Bioshock should count as RPG elements creeping out of the game, rather than into it? Compare it to System Shock 2, which it is supposedly a "spiritual successor" to. Which has lots more RPG elements? Its the one more convincing and compelling story.

[Grumpy rant]
Every time I play bioshock, even when I force myself, I get bored with it and eventually give up. Maybe its just me, and I'm well aware of all the people that go on about how great it is, but it never felt compelling, and things like pretty unbelievable characters (that artist who froze people sticks in my mind), and the freakin cheap cop out of little sisters leaving teddy bears for you usually quickly ruin the immersion (and fun) for me. I still play Shock 2 however, even though I know the location of every scare.
Ah damn, does the immenant release of Bioshock 2 mean I'll have to stop referring to Shock 2 as ... Shock 2?
[/Grumpy rant]

Just for once! (1)

wernox1987 (1362105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830552)

Can be stop complaining about the dedicated server thing? Honestly, I think IW just wanted to make a console game and didn't want to put the effort into a PC release. Plain and simple, no conspiracy. Inspite of the issues with glitching, I've had a great deal of fun playing MW2 on my 360 as I'm sure PS3 owners have as well.

Re:Just for once! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830736)

... Honestly, I think IW just wanted to make a console game and didn't want to put the effort into a PC release.

There's the nugget of truth. I was just thinking about this yesterday. PC versions require considerable extra work to be done on the game for PC specific features. Things like text chat on multiplayer games, all sorts of configuration menus for the various options PC users expect, testing under multiple hardware configurations, making and testing installers, etc., etc.

So game makers will go ahead and make their console versions and then do the minimum necessary to add the bits required for PC versions. This results in the PC version typically being a shitty experience for the user.

Look at Borderlands for example. The PC version came out a week after the console versions. This was alleged to be for "optimization" of the PC version. This was, of course, complete bullshit. PC version was in no way optimized and had enough craptacular flaws to make PC users realize that Gearbox Software had worked to make the console versions and then in a haphazard, slapdash fashion bolted on the necessary PC bits.

too late MW2=one of best selling games of all time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830560)

It's far far too late to complain about anything with MW2. Its become something like the 4th best selling game of all time (looking at console sales), and has made a butt load of money as everyone rushes to buy an inferior sequel. Its selling much faster than the previous one.

Remember how companies like id said they would be watching to see if its ok to remove features like dedicated servers? The answer is yes. Now everyone will see they can do things like this and get away with it, so they will keep doing it.

Independent games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830564)

It is surprising how many threads on /. I feel the need to answer with the two simple words: 'Dwarf Fortress'. The words 'indy games' are a more general way to convey the same sentiment. So, if the failings and misdemeanours of the monolithic entertainment industry monopoly cause it to founder and collapse under it's own weight... the only concievable response I can think of is to laugh long and hard. You want customiseable games? You want to be treated as a consumer of art and not a generic consumer of products of EA games and others designed to cater for 14-18 year old social misfits with personality problems and rich parents? Well it's still there, never went away, never will. Every time something is corrupted something new and wonderful is created, you just have to know where to look.

Summary unrelated to Headline? (1)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830586)

I don't understand at all how the summary is related to the headline. What do RPG elements have to do with that? I would presume that RPG influences in a game don't stop anyone from making a mod for it? That clearly can't have been the reason why infinity ward did what they have done.

the dumbing down of video games, (4, Insightful)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830628)

IMHO, RPGs, are the most time consuming type of game you can play and serve primarily to feed the the player's obsessive-compulsive instincts for very little, if any, tangible benefit. You basically run around behaving repetitively & collecting as much virtual crap as you can. Your reward is "experience" which can only be taken advantage of with further gameplay. I find the crack analogies to be very compelling.

It's no wonder that game companies want to extend the model to other game genres. They want you to keep playing & paying.

Granted, many games cater to your inner, OCD afflicted hunter-gatherer but few genres keep you on the hook as purposefully and for as long as a RPG will.

The RPGificataion of the COD series started with the addition of "Perks" & levels. I found this to be immediately detrimental to the game. The number of custom servers was reduced dramatically. Few people wanted to run an 'un-ranked' server despite the fact that all the serious players would rank up in a few weeks, after which time experience was essentially meaningless.

This led to thousands of generic servers with more or less the same set of rules and levels.

Yet players clung on, even ranking up all over again for the ridiculous "prestige" levels. The erosion of gameplay had begun, it's now less about the game play and more about collecting meaningless, virtual experience points.

Now throw in the massive growth of consoles and you can see where this is going.

Millions of lemmings competing for bragging rights over virtual perks. No thanks.

I will even go so far as to say this is bad for IT.
I got into this field because of video games. I learned a lot about computers & networks because games, the modification of games, the modification of hardware to make the games run, (and yes, even the obtaining of games for free from dubious sources), were a big incentive for me to figure out out the damn things worked. I wonder what kind of incentive the average young X-Box owner has.

Re:the dumbing down of video games, (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830760)

IMHO, RPGs, are the most time consuming type of game you can play and serve primarily to feed the the player's obsessive-compulsive instincts for very little, if any, tangible benefit.

90% of the games I buy are RPGs. Not only because I like the genre, but also because they tend to last more than other genres. If I pay a lot of money to get a game, I expect it to last at least two weeks of 1-2hr sessions per day (and this is becomning increasingly rare with titles that last 8 hours or less...). If it's less, it's not worth it. And I don't care that much for the multiplayer aspect.

Re:the dumbing down of video games, (1)

Veretax (872660) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830978)

Aren't all games repetitive? FPS: grab weapons shoot at opposition till you die, rinse then repeat RTS: Build your base, build units, defend against enemy incursions, then when your army is big enough rush the enemy base Card games: Get hand dealt, evaluate possibilities try to maximize highest scoring in each round/hand, repeat. Racing Games: Configure car, drive to the front, try to stay in the front. Even Puzzle games can be repetitive.

Infinity Ward can do -anything- they want... (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830652)

If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don't have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love.

With the game almost having made 1 billion dollars, it seems they can pretty much do anything they want: The people will buy it anyways.
For myself, I've decided to boycot the game as I don't agree with dedicated servers, and absence of player-created content. I wish only more people would actually hold to their (announced) boycot...

As for the RPG elements (which I think is an improvement in some FPS games), I think this mainly has to do with creating the same 'addictive' elements that MMORPGs have: As long as you keep dangling that carrot in front of the players, they'll keep playing.

Dead Horse (1)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830700)

Modern Warfare 2 does not have dedicated servers. It will never have dedicated servers.

Modern Warfare 2 does not have official mod tools. It will never have official mod tools.

Modern Warfare 2 has made, so far, over $1 Billion in revenue. That is roughly $800 Million over it's production budget.

Please, kindly, STFU and GTFO. This debate is over.

You haven't added anything interesting to the discussion by noting FPSs have added leveling up to the multiplayer experience.

Weird games comming up.. (1)

Qcaze (735978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830724)

"RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would" - I really hope the such elements won't creep into my F1 simulator.

Re:Weird games comming up.. (1)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830756)

I really hope the such elements won't creep into my F1 simulator.

If you're playing the role of an F1 driver in, say, a "career mode" I don't see how these elements aren't there already.

Re:Weird games comming up.. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831014)

Of course a racing simulator would have RPG elements: as your pit crew complete more races, they become more competent.

Counterexample: DoTA (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830776)

RPG and pro-Gamming or e-Sport can work togueter. There are lots of examples, from DoTA, WoW Arena (and games with "WoW Arenas" design, maybe not wow itself because is a RPG design for PVE).

Adding RPG to a FPS don't ruin pro-gamming. MW2: P2P networking and the un-ability to manage a game to be fair does.

Different games for Different people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30830784)

Maybe all games don't have to appeal to all people. Is it really a problem if MW2 isn't the favorite game of the "competitive" crowd? People who want to run their dedicated servers with mods can do that with a different game, while people who want the controlled experience that MW2 provides can play MW2.

The other way around (1)

timftbf (48204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30830834)

I'm more bothered by FPS elements creeping into RPGs. Prime offender in my eyes was Oblivion, which required far too much in the way of twitch-shooter ability to play to be any fun at all - I still haven't tried Mass Effect (bought, but yet unplayed) or Fallout 3 to see if either of these titles as more playable for me.

Not saying everything has to be turn-based - although it's still very much my preference, NWN-style "close to real-time but pausable" works, as does anything with time limits, action points etc (some Final Fantasy turn-based variations, Eternal Sonata, etc). Anything where the *character's* ability to hit things is determined by *my* dexterity with the right thumb stick, in an FPS style, is a complete non-starter for me, though.

Re:The other way around (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831530)

Fallout 3 is better. The pipboy basically makes it so you can wait out the time to trigger your attacks, almost like a turn based approach. Once it is triggered, all of the attacks that you select from it are set off one at a time. This allows you to run around, dodge and block attacks while waiting for it to recharge and launch your next calculated attack, or... you can go the FPS approach and swing on your own.

Re:The other way around (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831638)

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was still an RPG at heart, though. Fallout 3 is not an RPG. It is a first-person shooter with a lot of RPG elements. It's still a good game, though, but it is impossible to get through it without heavily developing your character's combat skills. In the original 2 Fallout titles, you could theoretically beat the game without a single battle.

At least there's less bitching (1)

Mantrid (250133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831010)

One positive, though I miss visiting regular servers, is that you don't log into some new server only to find all these arbitrary limitations on what equipment you can use. (No martyrdom here pal, oh and no "noob tube", oh and if you kill us with anything else we'll ban that too...)

Well, if people don't like it... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831064)

...then go back to CoD4. Hell, that's what Joel Gardiner [wikipedia.org] did IRL [twitter.com] ...if it's good enough for the cueball it's good enough for anyone, I say.

Money is all that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30831096)

All major gaming companies are trying to add rpg elements to move there games beyond just another 3d shooter. Clearly customers are happy with that, considering the reception of MW2 and others as well.
              As far as removing the ability to mod games as well as local network games, companies know that having those features extends the value of the game for years to come by giving gamers a reason to keep playing the same game they already bought. To the gaming companies that means you will keep playing older games and spend less money on newer games. That is the last thing they want. What they want is for you to play a new game for a limited period of time, get sick of it, be unable to mod it or play locally, then buy the next new game they make. Online gameplay is fine with them especially on the xbox because you are already paying to play online. These companies are here to make money and don't care about long term replay value.In fact the opposite. If you look at World of Warcraft, blizzard basically dropped work on every other game for the last 4 years because they were making so much money on WOW. THey are finally now moving on some new games like startcraft 2 and diablo 3, but that's not where the real money comes from. If all the gaming companies in the world could, they would make all there games online only and require monthly payments to play. Of course the companies conveniently use piracy as the reason for this. But pirates create private servers for WOW and hack games to get what they want. Piracy is a scapegoat to cover there greed.

RPG elements? Where? (4, Informative)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831106)

RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would

No they're not. Games like Deus Ex, like System Shock and System Shock 2 had RPG elements - games that were truly a clever blend of genres that worked perfectly. Shooting action along with a bit of thought too.

The dumbing down started with consoles and Deus Ex 2. It was completed in BioShock. Awesome graphics, great atmosphere, an interesting story, but hardly any RPG elements to speak of. Any trace of RPG elements in (non-RPG) games these days are so watered down that they just dilute the fun of the shooter, rather than adding any element of challenge of their own.

They post anything on this site nowadays. (1)

xmousex (661995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831166)

Especially if it has a few buzzwords thrown in. Blah Blah Blah MW2 Blah. This really is a troll article. And the author makes no sense. RPG = no modding. Its not just misinformed, its in incapability to communicate by the author. He is bugged by something, but doesnt have the right terms or background apparently to actually say what he really means. Let me help a little: no modding = no modding.

How do we vote articles like this off the site?

Oh nevermind. His page was just suspended. LOL

Re:They post anything on this site nowadays. (1)

MrBogard (1656375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831346)

This is a troll post. I did not explain the relationship between mods and RPG elements sufficiently, but there is one. I actually state it pretty clearly, but clearly don't emphasize my point well enough. The removal of mod tools means that clans can't play a rebalanced game without progression. I am sorry. That is only a single example however, and hardly what the entire bitchy rant is all about. I'll take the criticism to heart though, so thanks anyway!

Non-sequitur (1)

JohnnyBGod (1088549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831274)

You can have all the RPG elements you like and still have a moddable game with dedicated servers. Making that claim and including TF2 on the list makes it sound like the author did little or no research.

Re:Non-sequitur (1)

MrBogard (1656375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831432)

I have to wonder if having the bit about MW2 in the description didn't damn this entry. I admit it's not the most well written thing I've ever done, but I'm pretty clearly just using MW2 as a single example. I did not imply that Team Fortress 2 lacked a mod community or dedicated servers. I'm sorry I wasn't more clear from the get-go, and wish I had avoided the subject of MW2 all together. It wouldn't make it perfect, but maybe it would make my point more clear. I also realize that there message that is there is wishy washy at best. Thanks for the comments anyway.

Really? What are RPG elements? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831620)

I hate to break it to the writer and most of the clowns who parrot buzz words in the industry but a roleplaying game isn't defined by stats, swords, levels, or anything other mechanic. Mechanics are separate from the genre. One of the few gems to come out of a reviewer was from a fellow named Desslock. He correctly defined what a roleplaying game was and unfortunately too many people were busy trying to attach RPG to every game going in an attempt to give them some sort of claim to legitimacy. I'm paraphrasing because it was quite a few years ago, but:
"A roleplaying game is a game where the players actions and choices have a meaningful and lasting effect on the game world and that world changes as a response to it"

He also pointed out at that time that there were few if any games which actually even approached being a genuine roleplaying game. Even today there isn't. The only thing that really has a chance to actually be a roleplaying game are sandbox games. The player needs the freedom to make choices and those choices need to have effects. They need to be permanent and the world itself needs to change. A game like Simcity (4 or earlier, not that latest atrocity) is far closer to being a genuine roleplaying game than some of the games in recent years full of swords and magic. Certainly much more than say..WoW.

A fairly linear shooter which adds stats, or levels doesn't include "RPG elements" because none of those things have anything to do with making a game an RPG. The game is an RPG if the player can affect and change the world with choices, not if he can pick up a better sword, or swing it slightly better. You have to play a role, but that role has to have meaning within the game world. All of those things are completely independent of the mechanics. Yes, game makers often try to bundle those things together, but in reality simply adding a sword, or hit points to a game doesn't make it a roleplaying game. It makes it whatever it is with a sword and hit points.

Every time I see some hack writer talking about "RPG elements" I feel like asking them if they think their Cobalt has Ferrari elements because it has doors and wheels.

Beyond nonsense rant indeed. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30831626)

so, rpg elements are creeping into other genres, and ousting mods, dedicated servers etc ?

that is happening, DESPITE rpg games themselves are being made from the start to include extensive modding, and multiplayer ? like how dragon age has modding, and like how unbelievably moddable mount & blade is ? ( to the extent of some mods being entirely different games) upcoming multiplayer server (counter/starcraft style) for mount and blade ?

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