Given all the discussion about RPG mechanics on here I just figured I'd throw in my two cents. Personally I think the use of RPG has taken to a broader scope. There's everything ranging from your classic RPG, using pen and paper, you and your friends creating all the characters and scennarios and playing through them, to what more modern gamers would consider an RPG, a party-based game where you create none of the characters and for the most part the game is very close-ended with a major storyline already in place, bosses to fight, quests to perform, goals to conquer. You also have your action RPG or ARPG, which are becoming more and more advanced as technology becomes more powerful. Its become a very broad category of games. Having said this I think that a gamebook style RPG will be one of the most difficult to create and really satisfy everyone. Take sryth for example. I am, and always have been a combat fanatic. I'm a martial arts enthusiast in real life, and if a book doesn't have an action scene every few chapters, its pretty much garunteed I probably won't like it. Therefore, sryth's combat system is highly disappointing, its simply a series of dice rolls which get very, very tedius after a while with minimal description and detail, even after the battle ends. So far lone wolf has some of the coolest detail to combat I've seen yet. I still play sryth for the exploration and story factor, when it comes up nowadays, but the combat system has always put me off from sryth slightly. The problem here is that you either have to be a combat enthusiast or be willing to go into the realm of unrealism aka final fantasy, later versions of dragon quest to get good techniques and spells and the like going, or the combat falls into the trap of 99% of muds where the unrealistic realism, learning how to bash with a shield or throw a basic kick, for example, becomes irritating. To me, at least. I've also never found random combat to my liking, the entire dice roll system has always bothered me. It makes me think of someone rushing into battle swinging wildly and hoping to god they hit something, rather than a fierce and powerful warrior stalking into battle and striking with careful, measured accuracy as he drives his opponent back and breaks through his defenses. Few games can immitate that, though, and its pretty complex, so its sort of understandable.

Then you also have your grinder types, who refuse to play an RPG unless there's plenty of stats to grind and goals to reach. Sure you can say there's plenty of number crunchers out there already, but I imagine not all grinders are interested in seeing straight numbers rise, for example, I grind to earn new techniques and spells, to power up my character in preparation for a bonus dungeon, in certain cases to level up other party members so they have a fighting chance in places, etc. I love exploration, but I've always thought that gamebook and RPG mechanics just don't seem to work out very well. I am interested to see how Thomas pulls off the combination of mechanics though. My personal favorite is closer to the mainstream version of RPG's as they stand now, where mostly things are close-ended, with turn-based battles and a major overarching plot and party of characters to control to complete said plot and side quests. This leaves more room for plot and character development in my opinion, because the main character can actually talk rather than just having a line about him telling someone this, or performing that action. And it's a lot less easy to fall into the trap that sryth always, always does with making your character look like he'd flee from his own shadow. I'd love to see something like this done in text form, aka planet gambro only without the very strange humor. I still haven't figured out what it is about text RPG's, no matter how advanced, and making them non-serious or humor-based.

Having said all this I'll definitely be checking out thomas's game when it comes out. While I think that gamebook and RPG mechanics clash on general principal just because the style of RPG isn't advanced enough for my tastes, the exploration factor is also nice, and some of the scenes can be really cool if done right and under certain mechanical conditions, aka using disciplins in lone wolf, skills and powers in sryth. So while its not my prefered style of RPG, I am glad to see another good-sounding text game coming up and will definitely be checking this out. Anyhow I think I've rambled on long enough, hopefully all of this made sense and wasn't too contradictory, its too early in the ... uh ... noon for major thinking just yet.

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