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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 8:14AM Suplyndmnd said

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I don't like my games realistic at all. I'm into the sci-fi and fantasy genre that they provide and i play these games because they're nothing like real life. I have enough real life to deal with on my own that I want to escape into a video game. A game where i can cast spells, take 800 hits and not wind up dead. I play them to be something I can never be. To do things I never could. It's like saying "Do you wish more books were more realistic". No because in a game I can slay a dragon 10 times my size where in real life i'd have to change my shorts +1 if i ran across something like that.

Games are like books and movies and plays. They allow us to escape the reality that we are in and live inside a mystical land if just for an hour or two. That's the whole draw for it to me. Though, it would be cool to shoot fire, ice, and lightning from my hands. That would make the guy in front of me at the drive-thru order faster!

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 8:24AM MrGutts said

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Well you pretty much summed it up for me as well.
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Posted: Dec 21st 2009 8:49AM (Unverified) said

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I think it is more about fun than anything. People who want a casual or PvE experience will gravitate towards survivability in their games. People who want to play PvP are going to want their opponents going down in a reasonable amount of time. It's frustrating to play a character such as a sniper in a game that allows other players to survive direct head shots. Similarly, it would be frustrating in a boss raid to have players dying from any given tailswipe.

It all depends on the game youre playing.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 3:09PM Ghede said

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I'm waiting for a game with variable realism. With separate servers or something. A game where I can craft a one bedroom house in five seconds or a year as the mood takes me. Sometimes I want a game to be easy and fun, sometimes I want it to be realistic.

What can I say, I'm capricious.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 9:15AM Aganazer said

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I guess there are two sides to realism. I think 'M' is referring to the theme and genre and how realistic it is. Space ships or magic are not at all realistic. I agree with M that I prefer to escape what is real in the games I play. That is why I don't like games that try to model reality like the Sims.

Then there is realism within the theme which is making the fantasy theme seem more realistic. How many times can you get stabbed by a sword before you've lost all connection with the world, whether it be fantasy or not? Even an elven mage should get burned by fire, take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, and is generally expected to be effected by the same general physics as anything else in the fantasy game world. I think everyone expects some level of realism to separate a 'world' from a purely abstract setting like Tetris.

When it comes to fantasy realism, I disagree with Kdolo and don't see how PvE or PvP comes into it at all. I hate PvP, but want realism in my fantasy games. I wish Champions Online had a more realistic world design. I wish games would stop using '!' to indicate an available quest. I wish combat wasn't being made longer with so many over the top effects like in Aion. I prefer PvE games with shorter more furious combat like DDO and TCoS. A few sword slashes, a few arrows, a couple direct damage spells is all that a boar should be able to take before it falls over dead. Anything more and I start to lose connection to the game world and get one step closer to an abstract experience like Tetris.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 10:25AM (Unverified) said

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This is a sticky topic not just in games, but in fiction in general.

Realism is a broad brush. There's a big difference between things being realistic, and things being plausible or breaking immersion. What games need to do is set a new yardstick for what is "real", and then stick to it.

In City of Heroes, it blew my mind the first time my level 1 hero jumped a 12 foot fence. I was looking for a gate, when boop! I just popped right over. Now, an unenhanced jump makes me feel glued to the floor, because I'm used to leaping entire buildings. But leaping, or travelling in general, is something everyone does, even the thugs you fight. It's part of the world and its rules.

What I can't stand are invisible walls (zone boundaries, cliffs you can't jump down), repetitive set pieces (funny enough, I play CoH. It still bugs me), or any scenario that would be a tough pill to swallow if it wasn't a game, like when fish would aggro you on shore in EverQuest.

So, in other words, make your fantasy world, make your rules, but then stick to them and I'm good.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 11:23AM jpo said

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I don't like my games realistic at all.

Which brings up one of my biggest MMO pet peeves. Real-Life holidays in my fantasy world.

Seriously?

The only game that this fits in is Fallen Earth.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 11:43AM Sonoran said

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I think there are two types of realism that people pay attention to in the game. There's the realism the Eliot describes in the article i.e.: "how close is this to real life", and then there's another kind: "how consistently does the game implement the the 'reality' defined in it's world".

The second is most important to players in my opinion. If in some encounters dragons died with one swipe and in other's they were nearly impervious, then players would see that as "unrealistic" (really meaning inconsistent). If players can't use their knowledge of the game's lore, and their experience of the game's mechanics to predict anything about how the world works, then things seem random and undefined and poorly concieved and the player is frustrated.

But in regard to the first kind of reality, much as I like fantasy games, I'd like to see a game that tries to present a world that is somewhat close to reality. I don't think there's been such a game yet. I think it would be a kick if someone tried to do it and make it interesting to play.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 11:59AM (Unverified) said

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"But in regard to the first kind of reality, much as I like fantasy games, I'd like to see a game that tries to present a world that is somewhat close to reality. I don't think there's been such a game yet. I think it would be a kick if someone tried to do it and make it interesting to play"

The Secret World?

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 12:10PM Sean D said

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Every game should be realistic to its own created natural laws. I don't mind (and even like for a short time some) games in which you fly, fight magical creatures, buy clones, etc. But when it becomes apparent that the systems of these games begin to counter their lore - or become unresolvable with the lore - I quit. Aion, for example, has flying. Yet, you can't fly everywhere. Why? What lore is there that gives that technicality reason and meaning? Warhammer Online has RvR lakes. What lore is there that gives these lakes reason and meaning? The only game that I feel comfortable saying has remained consistent in this regard is EvE. It could be because I haven't played far enough into the game to find the inconsistencies. I hope that's not the case.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 2:41PM Suplyndmnd said

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I can't agree with you more. However the "lore" I was told about the flying in Aion is because they need to use the power from the aether crystal things to be able to fly. Why? I have no earthly idea. It doesn't explain it anywhere and I never recall seeing it anywhere except when I asked and that was the answer given. Maybe I didn't make it far enough into the game to get this explanation or somehow I missed it but yeah, I never got that either. The game that was supposed to be "earth shattering" letting me fly everywhere had few places that I could fly. That's one of the reasons I quit.
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Posted: Dec 21st 2009 1:15PM (Unverified) said

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I like games to be very realistic but I take realism more at face value and judge it on the graphics. Not sure if that really makes sense but Lotro, Fallen Earth and even FFXI were pretty realistic to me. Humans seem human, trees look like trees, there's no crazy flying mounts, you don't randomly sprout wings, etc. As long as the game looks believable to me, I can accept liberties of realism: magic, new races, etc.

Needless to say I'm really excited for The Secret World.

Posted: Dec 21st 2009 3:53PM Bezza said

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I stand with Matt when it comes to graphics, I like the graphics engine to be as realistic as possible and games like The Secret World and AoC are miles ahead of games like WoW and Champions where low spec graphics and artistic design are used in place of a realistic game engine.

Content wise, the game world has it's own lore and that can be as unrealistic to the real mundane world as the devs want. Which is why i like MMO's, escapism into a unreal world of sci fi, magic or whatever.

The sticking point for me is the physics of the world. I like the physics to be as realistic as possible. Nothing annoys me more than terrain that wont let you pass. Those unaccountable invisible barriers that say "you may not pass". Preset climbing points that preclude climbing anywhere else. I want to be able to purchase or craft mountain climbing gear and scale any mountain I want provided i have the necessary skills to do so.

I want to stand on the deck of the ship while it crests waves and pushes across some distant otherworldly ocean, not be magically whisked away by clicking on a map pin. I want to ride the mount, provided i have the skills etc...

yes... i like to see the realistic physics of the game world I am in, as close to real as is "practicable." Real set withing the lore of the game world. sure i dont want it completely real, permanent death would be a drag, but hey show me a character that will limp when he/she hurts their leg, show me a character that will favour a wounded body part for 10 mins before they fully heal. Yes let me hear the bones break and the flesh rend as that dragon has me for brunch. By all means bring it on.

Posted: Dec 22nd 2009 12:12AM karnisov said

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i like my games about as realisitic as counterstrike. which isn't very realistic but sure is fun.

Posted: Dec 22nd 2009 4:12AM SkuzBukit said

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I like realism in particular areas, the settings, races, stories, action, combat all tend to be pure escapism (or should aim to be) so are expected, even demanded to be far-fetched & verging on the impossible.

However when it comes to things like physics, animations, emotional respones, voices etc then these all need to have a certain reality to them in order to convince you that there is some level of reality i the game, I very much doubt that immersion or roleplaying, or even the most basic "connection" to your on-screen avatar could take place if there was nothing about the avatar that seemed to mimic life or a real organism or simply defied all known laws of physics...of course "stretching" of the basics of animation & physics can work really well in certain settings, but them being based on realistic physics thats then extended is where we can relate to the avatar.

Otherwise you end up in the situation where stuff becomes too weird & becomes repulsive, or simply non-engaging, it has to allow some frames of reference, looking at a game design through mathematical modelling, ragdoll physics, & darwinian evolution as a basis for it's creatures & environments is a solid starting point for those reasons, lack of realism for the stretching of the basic "rules" into unfamnilar territory still has recognisable qualities, ignoring them as a starting point leads everything to look completely nonsensical or illogical.

So, realism is a necessity to an extent, how much you bend or stretch our own reality to fit it depends on what you are doing to that [game] reality & all [alternate] realities need a basic ruleset to make any sense to the participant.

To use an example, Aion, for me is just too far a stretch it's too ethereal & dream-like to engage me as a player, I like a kind of gritty visceral realism that few games provide, AoC graphics appeal to my artistic sensibilities but the lack of variety in the player races, and it's game mechanics are a turn-off, EverQuests variety of races for example was one of it's big drawing factors yet even there I wanted more options for races, WAR was a huge disappointment for me as it just wasn't dirty & ugly enough, was too cartoony & should have been far more organic looking instead of plastic.

But this is all from the perspective of a player that wants a "world" to immerse himself in, I don't want a cartoon, I don't want a plastic model of a world, I want a realistic depiction of an alternative universe that has a realism that looks & plays believable, sand & tumbleweed & dirty run-down towns, with rust blood guts dirt as well as shiny metal, lush landscapes, the contrasts & varieties of our own world transcribed to a new setting, but no less "believable" for it.

Posted: Dec 22nd 2009 4:41AM Jeromai said

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Graphical realism. Yes please.
(Big fan of AoC graphics. LOTRO landscapes are sweet. Failing which, realistic style fantasy acrylic painting will do - Guild Wars, Aion, woot.)

Internal world consistency. Yes please.
(Ties in to the lore aspect. CoH has some nifty stories, especially to explain missing capes at launch and war walls. If you stretch the Aether crystal-flight thing for Aion, perhaps the aether is needed to form the wings from non-existence.)

Tediousness in the name of realism. Pass.
(Games that institute long harvesting pauses or phenomenally long traveling times in the name of 'simulation' lose my attention after a while. If something interesting -happens- while you're traveling, that's different. If I played a minigame to simulate accurately harvesting a herb, that's different. But if I'm just sitting there waiting for 4.7 seconds to be able to move on, that's tedium.)

Posted: Dec 22nd 2009 7:40AM Snichy said

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If a game has poor graphics or looks cartoony, I wont even bother with it even if I hear the gameplay is out of this world. However if it looks great I will always give it a try to see if the gameplay matches the graphics - havent come across any yet (Aion & AoC the most disappointing) but like someone else said, hoping The Secret World is the first, but until then I will stick with WoW until early next year when some alternatives are released (no, I dont consider WoW to be cartoony!).

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