Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fantasy Violence and why it makes good sense

Cops shows on TV are exciting. That’s one of the main reasons we watch them. We know that every police officer (in the USA, not talking about the UK here) carries or has access to a gun. (OK, not “every”, but nearly every, don’t argue the finer points!) So in our willful suspension of disbelief, we accept that cops are shooting it out with the bad guys. But (using data from 2011) less than 12% of police officers will ever fire their gun at a person in their entire careers. Estimates are 300-400 fired weapons amongst 750K police annually. 300-400 fired weapons? That’s like two seasons on Blue Bloods.

But that’s the point. I love the show Blue Bloods, but I think Danny fires his weapon in every single show. So at the very least, the amount of bullets used per season cannot be considered “realistic”. Hey I am ALL for realism! Read any one of the blog posts here and you’ll see that. But I support the increased level of violence, to a point.

The RPGs we play are violent. People attack each other, and people get killed. Most of us like it that way. The heightened violence adds to the excitement, and we don’t play these games to be bored. So I do support having nearly every mission including some violence.

But I also remember playing that really old game when I was a kid. Open door, kill monster, open next door. OK, that was just stupid. Honestly, too many online RPGs are like that too. Go kill 10 green orcs, then kill 20 blue orcs. The kill numbers you amass are beyond belief. It’s really not that I oppose the violence! I oppose the lack of imagination shown by the game designers. Is that really all they can come up with?

My point is this: Sure, the amount of violence that occurs in any RPG campaign is so far over the top that it cannot be considered realistic, but it certainly adds to the fun or action or tension or drama or whatever you want that typically is a major factor in why the people are there to play. Personally, I think pretty much every mission should have a fight in it, but not always in the most predictable place. Do missions need more than one fight? Some do, but in my opinion, the majority do not. Just remember that the bad guys know how to open doors too, and suddenly your multiple fights become one big fight with reinforcements.

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