Sunday, October 24, 2010

Railroad vs Sandbox

After running a game last night (Sat the 23rd) I got to thinking Railroad and Sandbox games. Here are my interpretations of each of them.

Railroad - setting a direct line for the players to follow with little deviation. The characters have little input on what happens in the game, they just move from plot point to plot point. The beginning, middle, and end of the story have already been planned out.I've played a few of these types and have run a couple I think...

Sandbox - a setting that is completely open, no real direction, just open world. The characters can go anywhere and do anything. The beginning has been created and there is a loose idea on what will complete the campaign but the middle and end are completely open for the characters to dictate.This is the style I really like to run.

Now there are good things with them: Railroad games are always moving forward and the players always know what is going on and what to do. Sandbox allow the players to shape the game and have more control over their destinies. And there are bad things: Railroads don't let the players feel like they are really affecting anything. Sandbox games can leave the players wondering what is going on and what they need to do next, feeling lost in the game.

I like to run games with a Sandbox style but I have to make sure that I give enough information so that the gamers aren't lost in trying to decide what to do next.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dragon Age and Mass Effect

Warning! Warning! Spoilers for Mass Effect and Dragon Age (not many but they are there).

Okay, I've said that Dragon Age is kinda like a medieval version of Mass Effect.  A lot of people said "Oh no, the games are nothing alike other than they were both made by BioWare." Well, sorry to break it to you, but they are more alike than people think.Here are my observations on how they are alike (Disclaimer: Them being alike isn't a bad thing, they are both great games and deserve to suck away hours of your life... you will enjoy... you will enjoy... as long as Action RPGs are your thing). I have only played through a bit of of Dragon Age so far but I'm on my 10th playthrough for Mass Effect (that doesn't include Mass Effect 2). Here we go:

1: The Main Characters join a special elite organization that wields incredible influence/powers as part of the main plot: Specters (Mass Effect), Grey Wardens (Dragon Age)

2: There is a big nasty evil that people don't completely believe is out there: Dragon (Dragon Age, at least at the point where I am in the game), Reapers (Mass Effect)

3: You can pursue a romance with one of your cohorts: I'm not going to bother listing who.

4: There is a place for you to speak with members of your party/crew: The Normandy (Mass Effect), The Campsite (Dragon Age)

5: Your choices carry over to future games: too many to list.

There are other similarities between the 2 that are more than just standard rpg stuff. Though Dragon Age has more RPG elements than Mass Effect. Combat in Dragon Age has a delay, making it like turns in combat, kind of annoying actually.

The games being similar isn't a bad thing, like I said before. But with these specific things in common, I consider Dragon Age to be Mass Effect Medieval... okay Mass Effect D&D

Getting Started

I have finally decided to get off my lazy rear and get a blog so that I can share my odd thoughts on gaming with the world.