Have MMORPGs killed the solo stand-alone RPG...?


Video Games

Scarab Sages

I just wanted to throw this out there, and, while showing my age, I wanted to add a plea for the continued development of free-standing RPG for computers and consoles. While I understand the communal fun of MMORPGs, they're just not my things. My RPG computer gaming harkens back to the days of Dungeon Master on the Atari ST, the Bard's Tale series on my Tandy, and all of the TSR D&D games. I had so much fin, and so many hours with those games, that I think about them often.

But where are the immersive RPGs for Mac and PC now? I know about the graphic intensive monsters that are out there - I just want to create party and scour some dungeons...

Anyone?


I concur, good sir, but there is hope on the horizon in the form of Dragon Age. That's a single-player-only classic RPG that is being called the successor to Baldur's Gate. We'll see. The Witcher and Fallout 3 were pretty good too. Classic RPGs on the PC aren't dead yet.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I'd add to that list Mass Effect 2 and Oblivion.

Solo CRPGs are hardly dead. At least, not as long as Bethesda and Bioware hang in there! :-)


I just wish that The Old Republic was going to have a single-player version. I hate missing out on all of that Bioware goodness, but I just can't justify paying for a game more than once (i.e. every single month).

I'll be over in the corner lamenting if anyone needs me.... ;P

Your Friendly Neighborhood Dalesman
"Bringing Big D**n Justice to the Bad Guys Since 1369 DR"

The Exchange

The Dark Eye: Drakensang is decent.
The Witcher is great too.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yeah; folks who have played the witcher should understand why I'm so excited to see the alchemist base class appear in the upcoming "Advanced Player's Guide."


I'd also add Fallout 3 to the list of current CRPGS to be enamoured with. It's not fantasy, and it does implement some third-person shooter mechanics, but it's still great fun as an RPG.

CR


Good single-player CRPGs on the PC:

Baldur's Gate/Tales of the Sword Coast
Baldur's Gate II/Throne of Bhaal
Icewind Dale/Heart of Winter
Icewind Dale II
Planescape: Torment (the greatest CRPG ever made)
Fallout
Fallout 2
Fallout 3/Broken Steel/Point Lookout
Mass Effect
Jade Empire
Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic II
The Witcher
Neverwinter Nights/Shadows of Undrentide/Hordes of the Underdark
Neverwinter Nights II
The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion/Knights of the Nine/Shivering Isles

Forthcoming ones that look great:

Mass Effect II
Dragon Age
Fallout: New Vegas
Alpha Protocol
The Witcher II
The Elder Scrolls V (rumoured to be titled SKYRIM)
Diablo III

Also check out ANACHRONOX if you can find it. Total genius and a huge influence on other companies, but didn't sell very well.

THE OLD REPUBLIC looks interesting as, despite being an MMORPG, it will also have a single-player-focused mode, apparently during which it turns into something similar to KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC with the game instanced and you and your NPC allies able to follow the story by yourself. How exactly this will work remains to be seen, but I trust BioWare to come up with something interesting. BioWare have even hinted that the game will not require a monthly subscription, which would make it a lot more attractive to potential buyers.


Interestingly enough, this problem seems at least partly adressed in Age of Conan. A day/nighttime system, where daytime is for multiplayer stuff, and night is for dealing with your own destiny a la a single player campaign, and you choose at the inn what time you want.

Scarab Sages

Werthead wrote:

Good single-player CRPGs on the PC:

Planescape: Torment (the greatest CRPG ever made)

Absolutely true!!!!!


Ah, Planescape: Torment... Although I most certainly enjoyed the Baldur's Gate games and their more epic storyline, I have to admit that the story of the Nameless One, which un-Ravel-ed (bad pun intended) bit by bit as you progressed through the game and uncovered this and that little clue, felt more interesting. Certainly interesting enough to get me to play the game several times, each one finding new and different things depending on the choices I made.

As for the Dragon Age: Origins game, I am anxiously waiting for that one. From what I have read and seen, it does give a feel of the good old Baldur's Gate charm. Let us see what we will see...

Sovereign Court

No. Quite aside from the pure RPG's coming out soon, such as Dragon Age: Origins, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, many games are adding in RPG elements to their games, to the point where there are plenty of RPG hybrids out there. Borderlands, for instance, proudly boasts of it's RPG/FPS hybrid game design.

There will always be a single player experience in games, be it in RPG's or not. MMORPG's won't change that.

Scarab Sages

Apples and Oranges.

By no means are games like Baldur's Gate dead. I just think the paradigm for success has shifted. Used to be the expectation was a good CRPG would sell well to a certain group, and generally get good reviews and traction.

Nowadays that expectation no longer applies when you include MMORPGs, but it is still valid for the stand-alones.

In other words, Baldur's Gate II is no longer the standard expected by the community. The community is many times larger. And they expect WoW. But those gamers who still expect BGII can still get it, because it worked before and it will continue to work, just not in the same market as WoW.

Scarab Sages

Uzzy wrote:

No. Quite aside from the pure RPG's coming out soon, such as Dragon Age: Origins, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, many games are adding in RPG elements to their games, to the point where there are plenty of RPG hybrids out there. Borderlands, for instance, proudly boasts of it's RPG/FPS hybrid game design.

There will always be a single player experience in games, be it in RPG's or not. MMORPG's won't change that.

It seems that I'll still be able to play my beloved RPGs for years to some. But, maybe, I need to get myself a console finally. I'm without one now, and the great games are coming out for the XBox and the PS3 - do I need to get one?

Sovereign Court

Pretty much. The games market is shifting away from releasing games on the PC for various reasons. It's quite sad. Still, Bioware are going to release Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age on PC, and Alpha Protocol is coming to PC.

Personally, I like my console as I don't have to worry about my PC being unable to run the latest games.

Scarab Sages

Uzzy wrote:
Pretty much. The games market is shifting away from releasing games on the PC for various reasons.

But... The great question is - which console? I heard arguments for both. Oh dear, what to do...?

Sovereign Court

Get both?

Hah, in all seriousness, I'd first see what console any of your friends have. It'll make it easier if you ever want to borrow games from them, or even play online with them. If none of your friends have them, then it's down to the games on both systems, as both the consoles have good and bad points.

Personally, I'd get a Xbox 360, purely because it has Mass Effect. All the other RPG's are coming out on both consoles, even that Japanese RPG called Final Fantasy XIII. Oddly enough, the Xbox 360 also has more exclusive Japanese RPG's, if that's your thing.

Dark Archive

Bibliomane74 wrote:
Uzzy wrote:
Pretty much. The games market is shifting away from releasing games on the PC for various reasons.
But... The great question is - which console? I heard arguments for both. Oh dear, what to do...?

360, for 4 reasons

1) Mass Effect 2
2) XBox Live is faster and easier to use than PS3 Home
3) Some DLC is coming out will be out first on the 360.
4) It doesn't require time to download a game onto it before you play it like the PS3 does.

And out of curiosity, does anyone still play Baldur's Gate 2 for the PC? I do weekly.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mac Boyce wrote:

[

360, for 4 reasons

1) Mass Effect 2
2) XBox Live is faster and easier to use than PS3 Home
3) Some DLC is coming out will be out first on the 360.
4) It doesn't require time to download a game onto it before you play it like the PS3 does.

1) Yup Xbox and PC Exclusive

2) That is debatable, Xbox live has gotten very slow with since they added New Xbox Experience (NXE), and PS3 Home? that is PS3s Avatar chat/media/Virtual Community thingy, there is nothing really on Xbox Live to compare to, If you are going to Compare something Compare Xbox Live to PlayStation Network/Store, which is annoying to use, but faster then Xbox since NXE

3) Yup, Xbox has a tendency to get DLC first and sometimes only.

4) What the Huh?.....
PS3 does not require you to download the game... Are you Thinking Steam from the PC? *Which is a misconception anyway, since you can play games without downloading them from steam if you have the disk*

That Said, if you Like Japanese RPG go PS3, If you are like me and Like Western RPG go Xbox 360.

Sovereign Court

Regarding the 4th Point, I think he's on about the mandatory installation that several of the big PS3 games require. Essentially you have to sit and wait twenty minutes for the game to install what it needs onto the Hard Drive.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Uzzy wrote:
Regarding the 4th Point, I think he's on about the mandatory installation that several of the big PS3 games require. Essentially you have to sit and wait twenty minutes for the game to install what it needs onto the Hard Drive.

I must have never bought any of those.

I Know on the Xbox 360 you can install the game on the HD, Which I recommend, since the game runs a lot quieter. Big problem with the Xbox 360 is that it sounds like a Jet engine when you are playing games because of the loud noise the disk drive makes when it spins. When you install the game on the HD you don't get that sound.

Sovereign Court

Bioshock, Metal Gear, Haze and Resident Evil 5 are some of the games that have a mandatory installation on the PS3, off the top of my head.

I do certainly like the option to install some games onto the Xbox 360 hard drive, it's quite a benefit in the case of some of the bigger games, mainly the RPG's. Quicker loading times are very nice.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Uzzy wrote:

Bioshock, Metal Gear, Haze and Resident Evil 5 are some of the games that have a mandatory installation on the PS3, off the top of my head.

I do certainly like the option to install some games onto the Xbox 360 hard drive, it's quite a benefit in the case of some of the bigger games, mainly the RPG's. Quicker loading times are very nice.

I Install all my Games on Xbox 360 and then just delete them when I am done. Deleting them does not delete the saved games or Game profile/Achievements, so if you want to play the game again later you can install it again and continue where you left off.

Sovereign Court

Yup. But as my 360 is one of the older ones, with just a 20gb hard drive, it's hard to install the games on. But it's very useful, and I imagine I'll do it for a few of the big games when I upgrade.

Dark Archive

Uzzy wrote:
Regarding the 4th Point, I think he's on about the mandatory installation that several of the big PS3 games require. Essentially you have to sit and wait twenty minutes for the game to install what it needs onto the Hard Drive.

What she said!!!


PS3 Slim
PS3's also play Blue Ray. I have neither, so do not listen to me.

Dark Archive

Werthead wrote:

Good single-player CRPGs on the PC:

A bunch of good games...

To which I would add:

This ---> The Temple of Elemental

Classic D&D AND a single player CRPG. Totally faithful to the original module and you can control all 6 party members if you want to.

Just make sure to install the "Circle of 8 mod" (Co8) if you are going to play...(a link is at the bottom of the Wikipedia page)... as it makes everything better...

Cheers


James Jacobs wrote:
Yeah; folks who have played the witcher should understand why I'm so excited to see the alchemist base class appear in the upcoming "Advanced Player's Guide."

Ah! My first thought after reading the short preview of the alchemist class was that it sounded like the shenanigans of Geralt of Rivia.

Color me excited!

Scarab Sages

Lord oKOyA wrote:
Werthead wrote:

Good single-player CRPGs on the PC:

A bunch of good games...

To which I would add:

This ---> The Temple of Elemental

Classic D&D AND a single player CRPG. Totally faithful to the original module and you can control all 6 party members if you want to.

Just make sure to install the "Circle of 8 mod" (Co8) if you are going to play...(a link is at the bottom of the Wikipedia page)... as it makes everything better...

Cheers

Great game. First and most successful use of the full D&D 3.5 rules. You can even ready attacks, charge, cast teleport (awesome), and generally actually feel like you are playing ToEE AND D&D at the same time. Plus, it runs on most systems.


If you're looking for a great old-school series, try the Avernum games by Spiderweb software. There are now six of them (well, five with one coming in the spring if you use a PC), and they are shareware, so you can play a good quarter or so of each for free to see if they are your thing. They have a lot of very devoted fans - they're definitely worth checking out.

Scarab Sages

I read the blog, Tales of the Rampant Coyote", regularly. It focuses on indie games and RPGs almost exclusively. A fringe benefit to the reader is that the writer is himself developing an immersive, party based, story rich single player CRPG. His insight helps show why so few of these come out any more. It also links to some great indie old school roleplaying games like Eschalon books 1 & 2, Age of Decadence and others. I highly recommend the blog and the games.

On the OP's specific concern, he actually just linked out to a blog where they postulated that:

1. most people only played 2/3 or an oldschool RPG. MOst old games were 100+ hours. New ones run 30-50. Thus, there is a lot less room for excess story and "gee whiz" neat details.

2. Console games have shortened attention & diluted the market with "almost RPGs". Adventure games/1st person shooters with some simple RPG trapings.

3. Studio death. Too many development houses have been absorbed or closed. It takes a large, dedicated team to produce a game, and when your studio is now paid by EA, they'd prefer MAdden 2010, since that makes $$$$.

You may not agree, but these are at least some interesting food for thought.

EDIT: cmaczkow is right about the Avernum games. You can find them here

Sovereign Court

"Hell is other people" -- Jean-Paul Sartre

Of course when Sartre wrote that he didn't know about the internet or MMORPGS. They can be fun but there's out people who there who love nothing more then ruining the game for others. I think solo adventures will continue to be popular.


cmaczkow wrote:
If you're looking for a great old-school series, try the Avernum games by Spiderweb software. There are now six of them (well, five with one coming in the spring if you use a PC), and they are shareware, so you can play a good quarter or so of each for free to see if they are your thing. They have a lot of very devoted fans - they're definitely worth checking out.

I'd also highly recommend the Geneforge series (now complete) by Spiderweb software. As well as Nethergate: Resurrection, a game you can play 2x from start to finish and it will be different b/c you're either playing as the Romans or the Celts. These games are fun, addictive, and so incredibly cheap for the money it's outrageous. And the free demo's are absolutely massive. You can't lose.

Played Eschalon Book 1, and Book 2 will be full of enhancements and even more fun.

And if we move away from Fantasy RPG's, and you have a Mac at least, Ambrosia Software I see has an OSX version out for Escape Velocity: Nova. Talk about sandbox freedom for a great game (sci-fi)!

Scarab Sages

I would like to add Vampire:The Masquerade - Bloodlines to the list of great RPGs, as well as Freedom Fore II.
Now I will return to wait for Dragon Age, Mass Effect II and Elder Scrolls V...


Stand-alone CRPGs are pretty much the same as they have always been: few and far between (the best ones even more so). We seem to think there are more MMOs just because they're louder and they stick around for longer (Even failed MMOs stick around for at least 2 years before closing shop whereas CRPGs are usually one-shot experiences), but CRPGs' situation is pretty much unchanged IMHO: Namco-Bandai alone gives us around 2 RPGs per year, and Bioware certainly isn't going anywhere either. Squeenix' productions may be a lot more scarce lately, but since their heart, Sakaguchi-san, left to create Mystwalker studios this is only to be expected (and truth be told, I can't say I care that much about Squeenix).

The genre had a problem some years ago, however, when people got a rather misguided habit of just adding "level progression" to games of any and all genre and call them "RPG"s... worse of all was hearing things like players of Phantasy Star Online saying that dungeon crawler was an RPG because "in real life they weren't robots or aliens" (great, so Super Mario Bros is also an RPG because IRL I'm not a fat italian plumber, right?).


underling wrote:
It also links to some great indie old school roleplaying games like Eschalon books 1 & 2, Age of Decadence and others.

That looks AWESOME! I love isometric games. Thanks!

Scarab Sages

Krypter wrote:
underling wrote:
It also links to some great indie old school roleplaying games like Eschalon books 1 & 2, Age of Decadence and others.
That looks AWESOME! I love isometric games. Thanks!

hey no prob! Happy to turn someone else on to some of the indie goodness that's out there. Check out the blog I linked to above, too. He does a great job of keeping tabs on what's coming out and how it plays.

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