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What can GMs learn from Call of Duty?
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Thread: What can GMs learn from Call of Duty?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Blog Entries

    What can GMs learn from Call of Duty?

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    Just off the top of my head - some of the biggest video game franchises available are Battlefield, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy. Being big-bucks games means they have big-bucks resources, namely, marketing departments. And those marketing departments work hard on making games that people will want to buy.

    Since you must design a game for your average demographic, instead of for individual consumers, we're seeing some trends occur amongst these high-grossing games. What trends have you seen?

    I've noticed:
    1) Immediate rewards. Perform a simple task, get an in-your-face reward for it, whether that reward is a heads-up indication or an explosion.
    2) Customizability. I don't know about GTA, but each game listed above gives the player significant options for making his avatar/character unique.
    3) Multiplayer. Players like to have other people around, not robots. Interestingly, it often doesn't matter -who- these people are.

    Assuming that some of these observations apply to roleplayers as well, what can GMs do to "sell" their own games?

    1) We might want to throw out XP like candy. Or, actually throw out candy. What the player doesn't eat, he can exchange for XP at the end of the session.
    2) RPGs are pretty customizable. I think that video games may have taken this cue from RPGs. But while RPGs offer functional customizations, video games also offer visual customizations. Should GMs provide more visual bells and whistles to players?
    3) RPGs were multiplayer from the get-go. But not "massively" multiplayer, and you can't easily roleplay with completely random people. Or can you...
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Near Claremore
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    It's this kind of outside the box, out-of-context thinking I think is valuable to anything, including RPGs. Gaming IS most commonly know from video games, so this is definitely relevant, both implicitly, because gaming, through whatever media, will have many of the same dynamics and features, and explicitly, because most digital media gaming often has aspects of or references to tabletop and roleplaying games, so most video gamers are at the very least, roleplayers-by-proxy, in essence.

    I think the questions from these observations are: Does tabletop gaming support these kinds of rewards and aspecst, that players are inclined toward, in video gaming? And do you want that to apply in your tabletop games? And finally, CAN you make these an obtainable aspect, and if so, how?

    I've read that superhero rpgs are different from most others, especially fantasy, because the genre and so the games' focus is entirely different. Fantasy games are about acquiring treasure and money and stuff (kill monster, get xp and loot), while superhero games focus on the actions themselves and the powers, with gadgets being a method delivery of power - the "reward' aspect is often highly abstract or even negligible ***umed ("No need to thank me citizen, Super Guy fights crime because it's the right thing to do!"

    These comparisons and observations are what allows a GM to understand the properties of the gaming differences to begin with, and then to tailer them to promote the kind of game he wants, and the playing style of his group.
    Abstruse Decapod

    "Why aren't i just be able to write adventures that don't require crap like an Amish rpg?" -myself

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Blog Entries
    I would like to believe that tabletop roleplaying games absolutely support the points mentioned by the OP, regardless of system. In my opinion this is directly related to the GM who is running the game. For instance -

    1. Immediate rewards: Once your PCs have downed the last opponent in an encounter, what's one of the first activities that they say they want to perform? For my group it has always been checking the opponents for rewards/looting the area. This is a prime opportunity for the GM to offer immediately usable rewards to the group, thus resolving the whole "gotta make it to town to buy stuff with all this gold" reward system. If they've been beaten down, throw them a healing potion/spell. If a PC found a different way to approach a problem and was able to resolve it effectively, reward them with something specific (XP, inspiration in D&D 5e, or even an item that was found after defeating an especially tough encounter) rather than distributing a generic or randomly rolled treasure hoard. This will go a long way toward conditioning your players to behaviors that you'd like to see repeated at a gaming table as well, an added bonus for you as a GM!

    2. Customization of PCs are limited only by the GM's rules and their own imagination. Remember the "Yes, and..." rule for GMs everywhere, and use it liberally. For me personally, unless a PC is deliberately trying to introduce something into the game that would absolutely destabilize the game (Vorpal longsword at level 3...etc.) then I'm perfectly willing to try it, if for no other reason that because one of my players was so excited about something that they researched and brought something completely on their own to the game.

    3. Multiplayer by design. This aspect is a given within the realm of TTRPGs, so much so that it would require a fair amount of tailoring to the system and encounters to consistently run a "single player" experience. It just works better with friends!
    "All you need is ignorance and confidence, then success is assured." -Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    1. Immediate reward: Ran a NWOD Zombie campaign once where I awarded the XP per hour of play time.
    1 XP: for just surviving
    +1 XP: for finding food, water, ammo, a weapon, or shelter
    +1 XP: for surviving a Zombie encounter
    +2 XP: for discovering a piece of the world of darkness (aka Vampies, Werewolves, etc)
    +1 XP: for not hiding in a shelter
    +1 XP: for saving another from a zombie

    I allowed the players to level up whenever they want as long as they role played it (aka I was shooting so I should get another dot in firearms)

    The players loved it. But this was very hard to implement in other games that were not survival based.

    2. Customization of PCs: We are talking about Pen and Paper rpg's right? This is a non-issue

    3. Multiplayer by design: Really? for a Pen and Paper rpg's right? what do you play solo with a cloak or something? The ideal group is 3-4 people, RPG's are multiplayer naturally. And I have ran successfully 12 player games. Granted their were 3 GM's in 3 different states using the same setting (NWOD setting that was modified by me) 2 Vampire Groups and a Werewolf Group Started to go south when the Werewolf group wanted to play Final Fantasy online. But possible
    "Stupid should hurt"


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