There's some established tropes in fantasy games that I'd rather see done away with, I think they can be done much better now. You basically see them in any RPG or fantasy game these days, especially MMORPGS.
1. First and foremost is threat management. In MMORPGS, and to some extend in RPGs, there's this idea that you can have one character wave their hand and shout a lot, and no matter how intelligent a monster, they're going to go for that guy instead of gacking the cloth wearing healer that's keeping everyone alive. trope.
Wouldn't it be neat to see a new system created? Perhaps no threat at all? Well at least no taunts. Enemies would go after what's actually a bigger threat. There would be no 'tank' class to speak of. In stead, it would actually matter where you are standing. Mobs couldn't just go through you. You could actually cover your healer like the paladin cover ability. Heavy armored people would stand in the front in parties to protect the other people instead of everyone just standing around. Spearmen could be lightly armored but stand behind, like in a real battle.
2. Healers: because of the difficulty in really modeling combat in a videogame, there's this concept where if a mob attacks, they basically do generic damage against your life pool. If your life reaches zero you die, but other than that you generally don't show any effect of that giant axe that just met you in the face. What is this supposed to represent? It doesn't represent much of anything. Where did this really come from even? Because of this, you can have healers who cast spells that heal this generic damage that exists somewhere on your body but not really.
Imagine instead a system where instead of a 'life pool' you had a stamina measure. When you get attacked, you defend. This takes from your stamina. If you are very good at defending, it takes less stamina. For instance, an agile thief might have a good chance to dodge and not lose stamina. A person with a shield has a chance to block with the shield. Having lots of stamina greatly enhances your chance to block or parry, which diverts damage but the lower your stamina gets, the less you can block and parry. If your stamina is very low, you're taking most of the hit on your body. If you're just in leather or cloth, a single hit can be lethal, but if you're in plate armor, you can take a few hits.
Instead of healers healing a generic mana pool, this leaves room for all sorts of recovery jobs. Bards could rally the party, giving a stamina boost, priests could do the same with prayers, or have spells that refresh stamina directly. Combat classes even could have abilities like 'second wind' that gives a stamina refresh. Then actual body damage would take longer to repair and be more serious. If you took body damage, your stats would be decreased until you were healed too, as you're actually injured.
I think this would be a little more akin to real life, but not so much that it wouldn't be fun. In fact, I think it would be lots of fun.
What are some other conventions that seem to exist in each fantasy game that we could probably get over or rethink how to do in a more interesting way?
Edited, Oct 22nd 2009 1:48am by digitalcraft