Learning The Definition Of Role-Playing

Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -

Hey guys, and welcome to yet another of my blogs. As promised, I'm trying to keep them more regular and a little shorter, so consider this the first bite-sized chunk of my summer.


Morrowind's visual style is pretty... unique
In case you didn't already know, I've decided to start playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (specifically, the Game of the Year Edition on Xbox). I poured around twenty-five hours into Oblivion earlier this year, and I was really enjoying it, but one thing seemed to hold me back. After gaining a few levels, I found myself struggling to keep up with the game's enemies, which seemed to be getting rapidly stronger (much more so than myself, at any rate). As they left me behind, rendering me unable to hold my own against them, I came to realise that I hadn't set out on my adventures in Cyrodiil with a real vision of what I wanted to achieve. Instead of thinking about what I wanted to do in Oblivion, I'd just charged in and tried to bolster as many stats as possible. I hadn't given any thought as to the role I wanted to play. Call me crazy, not knowing that I had to pick a role in a role-playing game, but that's genuinely what happened.

Truth be told I was probably just used to playing JRPGs, where the roles are often pre-defined and the player has nothing to worry about. Games like Final Fantasy IV don't offer any flexibility in a character's role whatsoever, giving them a fixed class from the start. Some JRPGs offer a Job system, but these aren't really that much more flexible in the long run. While they do allow you to put any character in any role at any given time, all the important decisions regarding stat distribution are made by the game on your behalf. In Oblivion and Morrowind, those decisions are up to you. Whether you want to focus on combat, magic or stealth, you have to organise the stat distributions of your character and ensure that they grow in the way you envision. That's a big responsibility as a player, especially when your decisions can effectively break the game and leave you stranded (just like I was in Oblivion). Thankfully, it's a responsibility that I'm now ready to live up to. 

Vvardenfell, here I come!
Anyway, the point of that little aside is, I'm not going to make the same mistake with Morrowind. I've been thinking long and hard about what I want my character to achieve, and what kind of experience I want to get out of Morrowind. I decided I wanted to focus on combat, and on creating a strong character that could look after himself in the harsh environments of Vvardenfell. So after a couple of trial runs with default characters to get the gist of which stats do what, I've finally decided to settle down, create a finite character and start questing. My final character choice is DanK the Dark Elf (not a traditional name for a Dunmer, but we'll roll with it), a charismatic warrior-type with a penchant for enchanted swords and alchemy. My intention is to focus on creating a combat-oriented character, placing an emphasis on fighting, collecting loot to sell for cash, and brewing potions to keep me fighting fit.

In summary, my character sheet looks a little like this:

Name: DanK
Race: Dark Elf (I opted for this primarily to fit in in Morrowind, seeing as it's natively inhabited by Dunmer)
Sign: The Lady (Chosen due to the significant boosts it gives to Endurance (for carrying all that lovely loot) and Personality (to establish a better rapport with traders when it comes to selling said loot))

Class: Adventurer (the default name for the game's custom class)
Specialization: Combat (slice and dice first, ask questions later)
Favoured Stats:
  • Strength (selected to bolster my attack power and carrying capacity)
  • Agility (selected to increase my chances of landing successful hits in combat)

Major Skills:
  • Block (for defensive purposes in combat)
  • Enchant (I'll be using plenty of enchanted weaponry, so this stat will come in handy)
  • Alchemy (so I can concoct all manner of nifty potions for healing and stat-boosting)
  • Security (so I can get into those locked chests and rooms to pilfer extra loot)
  • Mercantile (this will help me out when it comes to getting good prices for my loot in shops)

Minor Skills:
  • Short Blade (one of two weapon types I intend to excel in during my time with Morrowind...)
  • Long Blade (...speaking of which, here's the other one)
  • Heavy Armor (to keep me safe in those tough combat situations)
  • Armorer (so I can repair all my damaged equipment and keep it in good condition)
  • Athletics (this should ensure carrying all that loot doesn't fatigue me as much as it could)

So there you have it - that's the guy I'm going to be spending the next month or two with. Without any further ado, I'm off to explore the land of Vvardenfell and seek my fortune. I'll keep you posted as to my progress, no doubt. In the meantime, thanks very much for reading guys, I'll see you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition (XBOX)
#1 Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -

Hey guys, and welcome to yet another of my blogs. As promised, I'm trying to keep them more regular and a little shorter, so consider this the first bite-sized chunk of my summer.


Morrowind's visual style is pretty... unique
In case you didn't already know, I've decided to start playing The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (specifically, the Game of the Year Edition on Xbox). I poured around twenty-five hours into Oblivion earlier this year, and I was really enjoying it, but one thing seemed to hold me back. After gaining a few levels, I found myself struggling to keep up with the game's enemies, which seemed to be getting rapidly stronger (much more so than myself, at any rate). As they left me behind, rendering me unable to hold my own against them, I came to realise that I hadn't set out on my adventures in Cyrodiil with a real vision of what I wanted to achieve. Instead of thinking about what I wanted to do in Oblivion, I'd just charged in and tried to bolster as many stats as possible. I hadn't given any thought as to the role I wanted to play. Call me crazy, not knowing that I had to pick a role in a role-playing game, but that's genuinely what happened.

Truth be told I was probably just used to playing JRPGs, where the roles are often pre-defined and the player has nothing to worry about. Games like Final Fantasy IV don't offer any flexibility in a character's role whatsoever, giving them a fixed class from the start. Some JRPGs offer a Job system, but these aren't really that much more flexible in the long run. While they do allow you to put any character in any role at any given time, all the important decisions regarding stat distribution are made by the game on your behalf. In Oblivion and Morrowind, those decisions are up to you. Whether you want to focus on combat, magic or stealth, you have to organise the stat distributions of your character and ensure that they grow in the way you envision. That's a big responsibility as a player, especially when your decisions can effectively break the game and leave you stranded (just like I was in Oblivion). Thankfully, it's a responsibility that I'm now ready to live up to. 

Vvardenfell, here I come!
Anyway, the point of that little aside is, I'm not going to make the same mistake with Morrowind. I've been thinking long and hard about what I want my character to achieve, and what kind of experience I want to get out of Morrowind. I decided I wanted to focus on combat, and on creating a strong character that could look after himself in the harsh environments of Vvardenfell. So after a couple of trial runs with default characters to get the gist of which stats do what, I've finally decided to settle down, create a finite character and start questing. My final character choice is DanK the Dark Elf (not a traditional name for a Dunmer, but we'll roll with it), a charismatic warrior-type with a penchant for enchanted swords and alchemy. My intention is to focus on creating a combat-oriented character, placing an emphasis on fighting, collecting loot to sell for cash, and brewing potions to keep me fighting fit.

In summary, my character sheet looks a little like this:

Name: DanK
Race: Dark Elf (I opted for this primarily to fit in in Morrowind, seeing as it's natively inhabited by Dunmer)
Sign: The Lady (Chosen due to the significant boosts it gives to Endurance (for carrying all that lovely loot) and Personality (to establish a better rapport with traders when it comes to selling said loot))

Class: Adventurer (the default name for the game's custom class)
Specialization: Combat (slice and dice first, ask questions later)
Favoured Stats:
  • Strength (selected to bolster my attack power and carrying capacity)
  • Agility (selected to increase my chances of landing successful hits in combat)

Major Skills:
  • Block (for defensive purposes in combat)
  • Enchant (I'll be using plenty of enchanted weaponry, so this stat will come in handy)
  • Alchemy (so I can concoct all manner of nifty potions for healing and stat-boosting)
  • Security (so I can get into those locked chests and rooms to pilfer extra loot)
  • Mercantile (this will help me out when it comes to getting good prices for my loot in shops)

Minor Skills:
  • Short Blade (one of two weapon types I intend to excel in during my time with Morrowind...)
  • Long Blade (...speaking of which, here's the other one)
  • Heavy Armor (to keep me safe in those tough combat situations)
  • Armorer (so I can repair all my damaged equipment and keep it in good condition)
  • Athletics (this should ensure carrying all that loot doesn't fatigue me as much as it could)

So there you have it - that's the guy I'm going to be spending the next month or two with. Without any further ado, I'm off to explore the land of Vvardenfell and seek my fortune. I'll keep you posted as to my progress, no doubt. In the meantime, thanks very much for reading guys, I'll see you around.


DanK

---

Currently playing - The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind - Game of the Year Edition (XBOX)
#2 Posted by NickL (2246 posts) -

good luck with your role playing! i seems to have the same problem right now with oblivion... i just made a guy without thinking about him...  i hate how oblivion makes me join guilds to get certain benefits though... it does not make for good role playing

for instance, i kind of want to be a thief, but at the same time be a loner, but i cant do that if i actually want to SELL anything i steal... just really annoying


#3 Edited by Claude (16254 posts) -

Be warned, when you come up against enemies that are a higher level than you, you will be dead quickly. It's best to run away to live and fight another day.

*Edit* I'm talking about Morrowind of course.

#4 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

People who pretend that a videogame could actually have roleplaying in it are funny.

They are called role playing games because of where they come from. Not because of what they are.

#5 Posted by natetodamax (19207 posts) -
@Meowayne said:
" People who pretend that a videogame could actually have roleplaying in it are funny.They are called role playing games because of where they come from. Not because of what they are. "
In the words of Billy Madison:

"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever *read*. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having *reading* it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
#6 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -

natetodamax, I love RPGs. But being able to change a handful of variables, paths and skins doesn't make you roleplay.


#7 Posted by Nasar7 (2682 posts) -

Just so you know, the reason you were having a hard time in Oblivion against enemies has nothing to do with you, the leveling system in that game is broken and the situation you describe is the inevitable result. You have to get around it by "beating the system" and power-leveling, something I don't find fun. That's why I dislike unmodded Oblivion. But I disgress.


Morrowind, on the other hand, is one of my favorite games of all time. It's much more of a "pure" RPG than Oblivion is, and I suppose very old-school by today's standards. And like Claude said, enemies don't scale in Morrowind so you can very easily venture somewhere you probably shouldn't be for your level (ie super high level monsters). It adds a thrilling sense of danger, but be careful. Have fun!
#8 Edited by PureRok (4235 posts) -
@Meowayne: Sure it does. I roleplay in my mind all the time. Of course, I also spend a lot of time talking to myself and creating fake scenarios while playing these kinds of RPGs. I get no real reward besides some entertainment. Just because you don't have an imagination, doesn't mean others don't either.
#9 Posted by dankempster (2253 posts) -
@Meowayne said:
" I love RPGs. But being able to change a handful of variables, paths and skins doesn't make you roleplay. "
I can kind of understand where you're coming from, but isn't what you're describing the video game definition of role playing? Giving players the freedom to choose their role within the gameworld, as well as their path through it? That's my view on the matter, anyway.
#10 Posted by SolemnOaf (535 posts) -

From the sounds of it, you just haven't quite yet grasped the nuances of character-creation in an Elder Scrolls game.  Picking Dark Elf to "fit in" and choosing Endurance so you can carry more loot when it's Strength which determines your carrying capacity are a few not-so-subtle hints of this.  Picking Mercantile as a greater skill?  The Lady?  You could get an equivalent bonus just by levelling up endurance and personality-related skills 10 times in your first two levels.   You're just not grasping the fundamentals yet, and if Oblivion was too much for you, good luck in Morrowind.

In Oblivion I found I could start my character with the lowest point-total skills so as to achieve the highest level possible by the end of the game.  With Morrowind, I had to choose skills that would make my character less of a wimp at the beginning or else the first few hours were grueling.  It's really important when choosing your Minor and Major skills in Morrowind to pick ones that are going to give you the appropriate stat-bonus upon levelling (hint: Endurance).  Oh well, there's a few pointers anyways, here's another; RTFM!

#11 Edited by dankempster (2253 posts) -
@SolemnOaf: Let's see, where to start... I guess the beginning would be best. Yes, I went for Dark Elf to fit in (I thought I might get some kind of racial bonus when speaking with other Dunmer), but also because that seems to be the class Bethesda wants you to play as. Hell, it's set as the default when the Choose-A-Race screen comes up. If that's an error on my part then it's one I'll have to live with for the next two hundred plus hours. I will also concede I made an error with Endurance, although the health and fatigue benefits it actually offers are in keeping with the combat-oriented character I've set out to make, so no harm done there. As for the placement of Mercantile as a Major skill, I did that because, from what I can gather, Major skills increase quicker than Minor ones, so I figured that making the ones I'd use less into Major skills and the ones I use more into Minor skills would ensure a more balanced degree of levelling in those stats. The Lady gives me a useful initial stat boost, especially considering the Dark Elf starts with a pretty low Personality stat, and while some of the other signs may offer more interesting perks, a lot of them seem to be magic-based, and I don't intend to spend much time (if any at all) dabbling with magic in Morrowind. I'm not an expert in these matters, but I also doubt I could pull off a stat increase of 25 in two levels, even if I did resort to power-levelling.

In case you hadn't gathered, this is not only my first time playing Morrowind, but also my first attempt to get to grips with creating a character in this way. Of course there will be room for improvement in my methods, and of course I still have a lot to learn. To be perfectly honest, I haven't tried to create a character that will dominate through strategized power-levelling. I've tried to create a character that best reflects the way I intend to play the game. That was kinda the whole point of the blog, in case you weren't aware. For what it's worth, I'm three or four hours in now, I'm loving the experience, and my character seems to be playing the way I wanted him to, which is good enough for me. Oh, and regarding your ever-so-insightful "RTFM!" comment - I'd love to, but with my copy of the game being second-hand, it didn't come with one. Not being completely reckless, I did check out some stat information on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages, but again, I refuse to consult character-creation guides because (in case it wasn't already obvious) I want to play the game my own way. That's the beauty of games like Morrowind and Oblivion - they give the player the freedom to choose for themselves in almost every aspect of gameplay. I will not allow somebody's elitist perspective on the game to put boundaries around that freedom, even if it does mean sacrificing a more powerful character in the process.
#12 Posted by Potter9156 (941 posts) -

Creating a custom class alone does not equate to Role-Playing. The character you're playing is a jack of all trades.

#13 Posted by ElectricHaggis (630 posts) -

I've been meaning to play Morrowind for a while now.  Oblvion remains one of my favourite 360 games.

#14 Posted by HistoryInRust (6316 posts) -

@Dank

If I remember correctly, the natives of Vvardenfell will hate you regardless of race because you're an outsider even if you're a Dunmer. The Dark Elves of Morrowind, especially the tribal Elves, are pretty xenophobic. One of the themes of the game, when I think about it.

And, on the note of "playing the role" and "playing said role incorrectly"--with Morrowind, I had to use a sort of trial-and-error management system to figure out what I wanted as well. Once I hit level 10 with my axe-wielding Nord, I knew I wasn't satisfied with the direction I'd taken, so I switched to a magic-casting Wood Elf. Who was also highly proficient with one-handed long blades.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry about your decisions. You may have to abandon this character for a new one, but ultimately you're playing to get enjoyment out of the game.

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