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For the RPG Podcast's 100th Episode, We Want to Know Why You Love RPGs

The Blood God wants to hear from you!

Article by Kat Bailey, .

Crazy as it is to write this, Axe of the Blood God is now two years old, and we're about to record our 100th episode!

In the show's first episode, I asked what exactly defines the RPG. For the hundredth episode, I feel like it might be fun to address why exactly we love this crazy stats-driven genre.

Is it the strategy?

The stories?

The loot?

The fact that you can lose literally hours to obsessing over your party composition and team builds?

Pictured: What it's like to play an RPG.

Nadia and I will be discussing our love for RPGs, and we want to hear from you as well! Reply to this post with your thoughts, and we will read the best answers on the podcast. As always, we will be posting the finished episode on Friday.

Not familiar with Axe of the Blood God? Check out our previous episodes here!

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Comments 16

  • Avatar for The-Challenger #1 The-Challenger 5 months ago
    Deleted April 2017 by The-Challenger
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  • Avatar for Danferno #2 Danferno 5 months ago
    I primarily play RPGs for the music and art: bright, stylish characters kicking ass to a rocking butt-metal soundtrack--the crazier, the better. Can we clash car-sized swords on the back of a giant, dead, mechanical god? What about meeting new alien races on the Citadel to smooth space-synth melodies? It all helps me temporarily escape from the drudgery and uncertainty of daily life. And surely to Kat's chagrin, I typically only engage with the battle system's topmost layers--I find min/maxing and grinding to be a big turn-off.Edited April 2017 by Danferno
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  • Avatar for Peace-and-Zen-and-Co #3 Peace-and-Zen-and-Co 5 months ago
    Very few genres treat themselves as UI for their world as RPGs do. They reveal the inter workings of their world and the worlds of the creators behind them. Then, in strategizing within those systems they ask the player to see their own world and it's systems and their character as a role they play. We might not all be Eco-terrorists fighting corporations, fighting for kingdoms, or sexually confused teens, but we have to answer their questions and do quests for them all the same.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #4 Lord-Bob-Bree 5 months ago
    A big reason I've always liked RPGs is for their focus on story. Before anything but text and point-and-click games were really doing it, RPGs gave me big, more-or-less interesting stories to play through. I got to meet so many characters, and experience so many events through them. Their worlds were so much bigger than what other games had, too. Nowadays, that's not really unique to RPGs, but they still tend to be more focused on expansive worlds and storytelling (sometimes to their detriment...)

    But there's also getting a chance to play around with building up teams and characters. From deciding how to divvy up my Djinn in Golden Sun, to finding ways to take advantage of all the ability and equipment choices characters had in Final Fantasy Tactics, they've given me a lot of chances to try things out and make characters my own. And breeding and training up monster teams. Those are always fun, even helping me enjoy otherwise lackluster games (like XIII-2). Hopefully we get another Dragon Quest Monsters..

    EDIT: Whoops, I can't actually delete the in-article comment. Ah well.Edited April 2017 by Lord-Bob-Bree
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  • Avatar for SIGGYZtar #5 SIGGYZtar 5 months ago
    I have to say the bang for my buck, even if I should spend my time more wisely. Anyway, JRPGs were always the games I looked forward to on any console I had because I could never finish a Mario, Metroid or Zelda. Give me a Final Fantasy or Persona or Shin Megami Tensei or Dragon Quest, I'll be playing for months! It's always been this way since I was a kid, as I was not allowed to buy video games as I liked, often waiting for birthdays to get anything, like Pokemon. While I'm not a steadfast gamer, often being distracted by many things including Star Trek or the Simpsons, but whatever I was playing always waited for me to come back, no increase in skill needed. They'll always be there for me, like Seymour.
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  • Avatar for letep #6 letep 5 months ago
    I play RPGs because of the level immersion they can provide. You can spend dozens of hours exploring a world, being told a story, learning the game's systems all the while becoming emotionally invested in the characters, setting and time you've devoted to playing. There's an attachment there that doesn't always occur with other types of game. I have played more RPGs in the last decade because of how many of them are portable now. The DS and 3DS and Vita have amazing RPG libraries and it's so great to be able to chip away at them at your leisure. Not just sitting in front of a television for 100 hours anymore, which nowadays can be hard. So, I suppose this post is both an explanation for why I love RPGs and why I particularly love portable RPGs (I'm looking at you every DS Dragon Quest game!).Edited April 2017 by letep
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  • Avatar for sfalletta #7 sfalletta 5 months ago
    I love the strategic planning that an RPG demands from the player to be successful; but its not just the strategic depth that attracts me to the genre. If I only desired a strategic challenge, I would play a Civ game. I love the personal relationship I have with my character or party of characters.My first RPG was Dragon Warrior and I do not recall it being deeply strategic but the need to level my character to go further in the game was more than enough to spark something in me that demanded more from a game than button mashing (plus seeing my friend easily fly through Ghosts and Goblins on NES made me realize I may not be able to "git gud enuf").Edited April 2017 by sfalletta
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  • Avatar for AstroDemon #8 AstroDemon 5 months ago
    I think I originally liked RPG video games as a kid because I was drawn to anything that had more depth than running, jumping, and shooting things. The first RPG I played was probably Miracle Warriors for the Master System, and I liked some of the lighter games, like Golvellius, and when friends brought over Zelda and Metroid, I was immediately hooked as well.

    When a friend of mine got The Bard's Tale for his Apple IIgs, as well as Might and Magic, I forever became a PC RPG nerd. It was just amazing to me to see the amount of interactivity with an entire party of characters that you could create, and all of them could carry weapons, items, and spells that had different effects on the game. The worlds were huge and I would get lost in those worlds for countless hours. Plus, on the Apple IIgs, the graphics and sound were better than anything I had played before on a console.

    I still love console and PC RPGs, but there is a lot less separation between console and PC these days. When a game like Torment: Tides of Numenera can come out on consoles, life is good.
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  • Avatar for NiceGuyNeon #9 NiceGuyNeon 5 months ago
    For me it's the sense of adventure. For me personally, nothing is better than going on a trip, whether I go alone to hang out at a mission, go with family to explore Yosemite, or travel overseas with friends, I feel most happy when traveling and seeing new sights. But travel is expensive, and games are an easy way to dive into a land and discover new places, often with some friendly faces.

    Other genres tend to not match the sense of adventure and wanderlust pushed by RPGs and that's what brings me in most, whether it's Hyrule, Lordran, Inaba, or whatever else it may be, I enjoy that feel of adventure most.

    Yeah I like party customization, battle systems, writing, character building and all too. But if I had to put my finger on one thing it's that sense of adventure.
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  • Avatar for PlatypusPlatoon #10 PlatypusPlatoon 5 months ago
    You can sing in a grand opera, and then immediately afterwards, go suplex a giant purple octopus right onto its ugly face.

    I mean, that's all I ever wanted to do, as a 12-year-old kid.
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  • Avatar for camchow #11 camchow 5 months ago
    Congrats on the 100 episodes! Definitely one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while I'm working. Especially love the Persona 4 and Chrono Trigger round ups.

    I think the primary draw of RPGs to me is the sense of adventure that can be hard to get with some other games. Whether it's riding around horseback in a modern day open world RPG or flying an airship around an entire world of some classic JRPG. Starting out with almost nothing and gearing up, conquering all sorts of monsters on some grand journey. I never get tired of that. I can even deal with a uninteresting story (like Skyrim or Mass Effect Andromeda) or simple / bland gameplay (like any MMO or Skyrim again) as long as I get a huge world to walk through and explore. Nothing beats the feeling of walking through a large unexplored area of a RPG, running into new monsters and just hoping all your training, new skills and best equipment is enough to survive whatever the game will throw your way. This is the kind of experience modern RPGs are good at providing but great RPGs have been giving us this for ages, take Zelda 2. The feeling of adventure exploring that huge overworld, using all your skills and experience to survive walking from one end of the world to another. Ah now that's an adventure!

    Whether you have a clear goal driven by the plot or just a lust for new loot, at the end of the day it's the world you do it in that really matters most to me and RPGs just so happen to often have the best, most interesting worlds to immerse yourself in.
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  • Avatar for ectorp #12 ectorp 5 months ago
    What originally attracted me to RPGs was not so much a mechanical element but the feeling of going on adventure with friends. The one that hooked me was Chrono Trigger. When I look back on it, what stands out isn't so much the battle system or the writing or what have you, but just the sense that there were characters I knew in that world, and that we were on an adventure together. Many of my recent favorites capture the same kind of feeling: Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Final Fantasy XV, Persona 5, etc. Some RPGs are more solitary affairs (The Witcher 3, Skyrim) and that can be great too, but what I originally fell in love with was the feeling of camaraderie and shared adventure.

    By the way, congrats on getting to episode 100!
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  • Avatar for sleepiest #13 sleepiest 5 months ago
    Big question--I wouldn't be playing if there wasn't a lot to love.

    Dreams. Pokemon was the first rpg I played, it was the first game I dreamt about, and when I do dream about games it's almost always rpg's. There's just something about the possibility space and freedom of adventure that's really inspiring and refreshing. No hyperbole: they help show and renew the meaningfulness of life. A game like TWEWY is especially good at this.

    Beauty. I personally think that the skill trees of Etrian Odyssey 4 are aesthetically sublime, on a level with any accomplishment of great art. There's a beauty in systems and the interactions of rule sets, once you learn to read them, and the only art really dedicated to showing and teaching that beauty are games, and rpg's especially.

    The discovery of your own story, and storytelling beyond narrative. One of my favorite things to do in bravely default was reading item descriptions. It let you inhabit a world, an aesthetic in a beautiful way. And choosing your own story (when that's possible), and seeing a story play out in response to your actions is a wonderful thing: the creation is collaborative, and playing becomes an act of creation.

    And of course they scratch a real deep mechanical itch, and are semi-addictive (looking at you, Persona!). I can't deny that's a part of it
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  • Avatar for link6616 #14 link6616 5 months ago
    Why do I like RPGs?

    I like RPGs because of different reasons. I played the Elder Scrolls to get lost in a world. I played Resonance of Fate for its systems. I played Golden Sun for it's puzzles and graphics. I played Tactics Ogre to be challenged, but I love Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for it's ease too.

    I like RPGs because they so easily fit so many moods. And often a single game can be played to suit your current needs. Even fairly linear RPGs give me the option of lazily grinding when I want to tune out with a podcast, or to progress and get those story beats if I want them.
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  • Avatar for falz3333 #15 falz3333 5 months ago
    They are the strongest kind of multi-media content out there. For instance, Persona 5 is so fantastic because it takes all these disparate yet awesome things like visual art, music, atmosphere, involved storytelling, performance, superb game design, character progression and jams them all together for the player to consume at their leisure.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #16 Kuni-Nino 5 months ago
    It's always for a multitude of reasons as opposed to one. To reduce it to a single reason is robbing RPGs of the variety that I think makes them so appealing.

    For the sake of brevity though, let me draw a direct line through WRPGs and JRPGs where the stark differences between them is enough to consider each a type of sub genre. They both take familiar concepts and wildly iterate on them in nearly opposite directions.

    In WRPGs (at least in my experience), it has always come down to what I consider to be the essence of role-playing. It's about the player's choices and how they choose to define their character in a world where their actions carry weight and consequences. Games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Mass Effect emphasize their player's actions and mess around with their morality. They offer so many different scenarios where the story you forge truly feels like your own. In a sense, it's about the identity you create within the confines of the game.

    With JRPG's you don't have that degree of options. Instead, you're basically running through a story with predefined characters with little or no divergence from the overall narrative. But JRPGs have a similar amount of choices in their mechanics. This is where they are most flexible and progress comes through a mastery of the battle system and finding the intricacies that best fit the style of your party. Games like Final Fantasy X and Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter were about managing the different aspects of their battle systems to find any type of success.

    Whereas a WRPG emphasizes freedom in the story, a JRPG emphasizes freedom in its mechanics. I feel as if JRPGs are constantly trying to find new ways to engage the player in their combat systems which is why turn based combat was able to evolve from Dragon Quest all the way to Final Fantasy X-2. Meanwhile, WRPGs were able to evolve their storytelling which led to games like the Witcher and Dragon Age.

    So to sum it all up, I play WRPGs for their focus on role playing. And I play JRPGs for their combat and aesthetics. They both scratch different itches for me.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #17 SatelliteOfLove 5 months ago
    I've become in the last decade or so a fiend for top QUALITY of aims. Top tier ARPG, top tier TB, top tier dungeons, top tier ambience, top tier puzzles, top tier music, top tier dialogue, top tier characters, top tier art direction.
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