The Video Game RPG Tropes That Need To Be Slain For Good

Senior Contributor
05.22.15 15 Comments

I’ve been playing through The Witcher III, albeit slowly because I’m the kind of person who racks up every possible sidequest and feels a weird itch whenever there’s something marked undone on a map. And it’s a lot of fun! It’s also got plenty of tropes, though, that while they don’t get in the way of the fun, still need to be hit with a nice blast of Igni.

Weight Limits

This trope has always annoyed me because it tries, for no good reason, to hinder what every RPG player has to do, namely steal everything. The Witcher III is a good example of this: The only way you’re going to find better alchemy recipes and better weapons diagrams is by killing bandits and taking their stuff, and generally, the only way you can find crafting ingredients is going into the woods and ripping up any plant you see. Hell, you can accept a quest from a starving farmer and then rob him blind, and he won’t even complain.

Yet, a video game where the main character’s business card could credibly read “Sex Wizard” is worried players might not believe this guy has a bottomless bag of holding, like this is the least credible thing you could associate with a human lawnmower.

Vendor Trash

Furthermore, if we have to pick up everything, please at least let everything have a use. What’s sad is that The Witcher III has this superb system where once you craft a recipe, you never have to find the ingredients to make it again; you just need some mother ingredient, like Alcohest for potions, and you automatically brew them when you meditate. What this means, though, is that if you’ve stocked up on some ingredient… time to sell it to the herbalist.

Weapon Durability

I don’t mind this mechanic so much in games like Bloodborne because, realistically, repairing your weapon is cheap, and you’re in and out of your main base so often it’s trivial. Video games where you need to hike across hill and dale just to find a damn blacksmith, are a bit more annoying. Especially in a game this stingy.

Again. Sex Wizard. Anybody complaining about swords that never break is missing the point.

Too Many Books

On one level, I get why RPGs leave books lying around, be they quest items or just stuff that broadens out the lore. It adds to realism and it’s easy to let the player decide to read or not. On another level, it’s a little weird that Geralt finds rose petals such a burden when he’s got an entire library on his horse. Anybody who has ever moved books knows what a load that is.

Inaccurate Dialogue Options

This isn’t limited to RPGs: I’m looking at you, Telltale Games. But regardless of the game, it drives me absolutely crazy when I pick a dialogue option to show a little diplomacy, and the main character takes that to mean “Oh, you want me to act like a jerk. GOT IT.” At the very least, let’s have dialogue that resembles what the character actually says?

There will be herping and derping from some about “real gaming” and “actual challenge.” I’m calling BS on this for two reasons: 1) Most of these tropes are holdovers from tabletop gaming, which is a very different beast, and 2) it’s done largely to create fake difficulty instead of an actual challenge. It’s also weird to see these tropes in a game like The Witcher III, which is studied, methodical, and is as much about following trails and gathering information as it is about stabbing things and blowing them up. You’ve got a great game right there… why add paperwork to it?

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