Monday, August 20, 2007

Role-playing game or computer game?

I don't know what I think about this Game Table that they're offering as part of their online content. To me, it just takes the game that much closer to a computer game, and not a role-playing game. There are times where even using miniatures seems to take away from the real spirit of the game, but as mentioned before, they seem to be necessary for the current rules to keep track of the more complex encounters.

I can see the benefits of this system, of course. For those that play long-distance games, this allows a much better interface than the current method, which seems to be ASCII-drawn maps, as seen in forum games and email games. What I worry about is our game group ending up sitting around a table with a laptop on every lap, and all staring forward at the pretty miniatures as they move around, all mumbling over the screen about what we're going to do next. Or worse, that the social aspect of the game gets lost as we all stay home to do the same thing.

D&D certainly has its place on the computer, as the multitude of CRPGs over the years have shown, from the earliest SSI games to Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights. DDO is currently the only game I play. But if I want to play a computerized version of D&D Miniatures, well... I'd program one (and don't think I haven't thought about it.)

I'm pretty sure that this is one online offering from Wizards of the Coast that will not see use by our group. Let's hope the rest of the content justifies the subscription fee, whatever it turns out to be.

1 comment:

Griff said...

I am mixed on this "Game Table" thing as well.

Part of me wants to embrace this as the inevitable seeping of technology. I can even see some benefits (potential as they are since there's no real detail on what Game Table can and will do as of yet).

If someone can't get away, or if the weather is too brutal to drive all the way to the south end of the city, or if one is on vacation and has an internet access we can still play. Albeit in a cold and vacuous way.

I'm also excited about the potential of a mid-week gaming session. Say Wednesday night we hook up online around Gaming Table for a few extra hours of dnd.

On the other hand, I share your fears of taking the Pencil'n'Paper and social aspects away. I make that weekly drive not only to play a game I love but also to discuss tech news, games, movies, mom jokes, and everything else that sidetracks our sessions. Hide that behind laptop screens and I might as well save some gas and just play DDO.