had an interesting discussion going on in the Gaider needs a list thread that I think deserves its own thread.
What is a good balance between a Completionist view and a Role Players view when it comes to RPGs?
First some ground work:
A Completionist view occurs when a player wants to experience everything the game has to offer during one play through attempting to avoid that "I've missed something" feeling. When the game interacts with the choices a character makes in positive or negative ways, it can give the player a "what if i choose something different" thought, especially if that choice led to a reward. This not only breaks immersion, but can also lead to restartist.
An example of this is in our very own Baldur's Gate. When playing a thief, a majority of players will max out Open Locks first to get to that Star Sapphire gem. The lock will just taunt you other wise as you know you won't be coming back to Candlekeep anytime soon to reattempt the lock. To make matters worse, it was revealed that giving your thief an 18 Charisma and talking to the nobles in the inn, that Star Sapphire gem can turn into other valuable jewelry. I personally have not played a thief without 18 Charisma since discovering that, sacrificing a RP component (a lower CHR) for a better starting reward.
A Role Players view occurs when a player wants the game to adapt to the decisions that they have previously made. Playing as a Barbarian Half-Orc wielding a two-handed axe should be different than playing an Elven Wizard with a fondness of pyromania. NPCs should treat these two characters differently, especially in certain situations. When the game treats all characters the same, immersion can be broken. "As if the elven city guard just let my drow character walk through the gate without saying a word to me!" is a good example.
Once again, Baldur's Gate has an example (although minor) of this through it's reputation system and bounty hunters. If your rep is low enough, you get special encounters (such as Nestor in the Ankheg map) that higher rep parties do not get. The game is adapting to how you are playing and giving you a more realistic experience.
These two perspectives can clash, but both have their merits when it comes to designing compelling stories in RPGs.
So where, in your opinion is the proper balance between these two? Which play style do you prefer to follow?
How much should a player be rewarded for making different choices, especially in character creation?
Is there a way to balance the rewards without making your choices seem redundant?