Conversations in RPGs

How much do you participate in the conversations in RPGs? This question was triggered by Dragon Age. I find the desire to know everything wages a fierce battle with the desire to just get on with the game.

If it’s a one player game, I’ll read all the dialogue and watch all the cut scenes, at least the first time through the game.

Anyone who looks like what they say is going to be interesting, or advance the story, I talk to and actually read what they say.

Which generally means any named character.

I follow the whole tree for anyone I can talk to. You never know where the flags are hidden.

I prefer the banter between the NPCs than when the PC was talking to me. I do go through the entire tree (when possible) but I don’t listen to everything. I read faster anyway…

In single-player RPGs I like to read and absorb everything I can, including the journal/codex. In MMOGs I tend to skip to the objectives and ignore the rest.

In Dragon Age, I keep hitting the X button to speed through the dialogue. Then I make the choice based on my options when it’s my turn to speak.

My girlfriend listens to every word in Dragon Age.

It really depends on the balance of gameplay to dialogue. I think Dragon Age does it well - it’s very wordy, sure, but usually if your attention span starts dropping, you can just move on to the slaughtering, and come back/read the Codex once the slaughtering has become old again. I do confess however that, as in most RPGs, I turn on the subtitles and skip-read through the dialogue rather than listening to it most of the time.

Some games, however, cram hours and hours of dialogue before you get the option to play at all. And then hours of small talk before you get to play some more. I’m looking at you, Persona 4. At least Metal Gear’s endless cutscenes were entertaining to watch…

I read and do everything I possibly can without going crazy. Some things are too insane for me to attempt though, like FFIX’s Excalibur or Star Ocean 2’s level 255

I dunno, that hour-long boat scene in MGS4 was pretty terrible.

Ugh. There’s good gameplay in there but that two hour long intro was a bad idea.

I try to see the whole tree but I rarely actually watch/read the whole thing.

I just finished Gothic 3. Loved the game, but the dialogue was annoying as hell. Tons and tons of detail tangientially related to the mission you were receiving… and about three words about what direction you were supposed to go in to retrieve the item/battle the creature/find the person.

I would read the codex in Dragon Age if they use bigger fonts. The entries in Mass Effect are well done and it was really astounding for me that they had voice overs for the main codex entries. Some of the quest notes and journals in DA are quite well written.

I’m finding myself avoiding games with long conversation trees. NWN2, Mass Effect, The Witcher, I never finished because I felt the dialogue was excessive, and yet to some extent required.

It’s not that the conversations are bad, just that a job + girlfriend + house to fix tend to make one notice when I spend half the gametime clicking on every NPC to get a quest out of them. I loved Baldurs Gate back when I was fresh out of college and unemployed.

I do this too, even if the voice actors are good. It’s just really boring watching two robotic heads yakking at each other. Varying the camera angles would help but not too much - remember, the camera in the classic sitcom never changes position but people still watch them anyway. It’s just that even a really bad actor is still more dynamic than the most emotive CGI character. The unnaturally stiff faces don’t help, either, but let’s not forget Mass Effect. The faces may have been good but this time it was the bodies that were robotic, the typical speakers were always standing stiffly at attention with perhaps some minor emoting with the hands.

Yeah, I hate RPGs with extensive conversation trees. I’m trying to get through Mass Effect, but it’s going slowly, because I’m tired of the conversations. I hate multiple endings too; it blows when I don’t get the “real” ending because I didn’t choose “b” for the twenty-fifth conversation in the game which only opens up when you talk to the old man in the hut, who only appears at night after getting the optional party member and equipping him with the special helmet.

Couldn’t make it through KOTOR either. I think I’m the only person who actually likes linear games.

I like RPGs with a lot of dialogue, though I tend to dislike when it’s unclear what were the pivotal responses. These days, I don’t have quite the same zeal for shaking the dialogue tree to get a feel for all the possible conversations.

When I play Mass Effect anymore I find myself practicing the “head turn and walk-off” that ends every conversation.