Dungeons And Dragons Changed The Way I Game

Shared from Creators.co

Playing D&D has had a profound impact on the way I play video games, for the better I’d say. However, if you talked to me about playing a tabletop game just a little over a year ago, I would’ve politely tried to weasel my way out of that conversation. The premise of sitting down with other people and doing what I felt was a lesser version of gaming was a waste of time in my opinion. The idea that there were others like me that also played D&D would’ve been laughable to me.

Granted, I had the incorrect notion of the reach that D&D has in the world of geekery, for the most part.

My wife and I both take part in two D&D campaigns at the moment, and have been having a blast in the meantime. One we started just after we moved last year. We’ve completed The Lost Mines Of Phandelver and have moved onto The Princes Of The Apocalypse. Our other group, that we have just recently kicked off, is a homebrew campaign from the twisted mind of one of our friends.

But I digress… Let me get back on topic.

D&D Taught Me About Metagaming

For those that aren’t aware of what metagaming is, I’ll give you a brief definition. Metagaming is where the player abuses the rules or knowledge of the game to attain a benefit that he or she shouldn’t have. In video games, this would be the equivalent of using strategy guides, walkthroughs, and exploits to min/max your way through a game. Keep in mind, if this is something that you do, that’s perfectly fine. For me however, it takes away from the experience.

I’ve spent a great deal of my gaming life bending the rules in a game to gain a benefit that I shouldn’t have. Nowhere was this more evident, and funny, than when CDProjekt patched The Witcher III: Wild Hunt to include a tax collector to punish players that abused pearl prices in Novigrad.

Source: Softpedia https://goo.gl/R3Vklc
Source: Softpedia

The fix was hilarious enough that I didn’t care I was being penalized, but it occurred to me that I breached some sort of barrier in the game.

Later, while playing D&D, the Dungeon Master informed us that metagaming would not be tolerated. Old-me might’ve been miffed about it, but after being restricted in D&D, I started imposing those same restrictions in my gaming as well.

I’ve discovered that by not using knowledge that I’ve gained about my games to exploit some sort of weakness or optimize my playthroughs, I became more invested in my gaming. I ended up having more fun not steamrolling through each game I’ve played after learning to accept the restrictions that are placed on me. I learned that while I may be able to make tons of cash by abusing a game’s economy, it doesn’t add anything to my experience at all.

Roleplaying Makes Things More Fun

Before D&D, I would start a game like Skyrim or Mass Effect with the intention of playing a character with the stats that would make things as easy as possible. Mass Effect in particular I would play as a Soldier class, and I’d almost always play as a character with heavy armor in Skyrim. Sure, the ability to play that way is perfectly within my rights as a player, but it made things less interesting.

Multiple playthroughs of both games led to me eventually getting bored because I’d inevitably fall into the same patterns. I’d always max out Smithing and Alchemy to level up in Skyrim, and took actions that I knew would be ideal for increasing my Renegade or Paragon levels in Mass Effect, regardless of what that would lead to. It was so boring though.

Now when I make a character in a game, I consider their background and temperament. I figure out their alignment and use that information to mold how they’d react in certain situations. Would my ruthless Commander Shepard, the butcher of Torfan and military hardass, be respectful to his commanding officer? Would my Imperial character join the Stormcloaks since he was wrongly imprisoned by his own people? What would Jensen do?

Would he take the companion cube?
Would he take the companion cube?

To me, the restrictions of morals and ethics make my choices more interesting. Sure, I could make Jensen could swipe everything that isn’t nailed down, but would he steal from his desperate and oppressed fellow augs? Would a by-the-book Shepard accept money from a criminal in return for killing someone? Would Marcus really kill innocent civilians in San Francisco if it made it easier to complete a job?

Roleplaying gives me a little more to consider when playing through different games now instead of doing things that I know will give me some sort of benefit regardless of the implications.

I’ve Stopped Using Subtitles

This is going to sound a little strange, but after playing D&D, I’ve decided to stop using subtitles in my games. Hear me out (heh)…

Listening to the DM and other players has been an enlightening experience to me. Now obviously I’d be required to pay attention to other people playing with me and the DM (since nobody has invented a system to create subtitles in front of my face yet). However, that same mentality has only recently bled over into my gaming habits.

I’ve personally found that getting rid of subtitles has led to a much less distracting gaming experience. Now I’m able to focus on the environment and characters more, looking for emotions and social cues that developers have grown more capable of mimicking in their games. It has led to me becoming far more immersed in my gaming experiences, much to the chagrin of my wife who doesn’t like trying to wrest my attention away from the screen.

No More Abusing Game Saves

Much like in life, D&D doesn’t generally lend itself to allowing do-overs. If you do something stupid and get stomped by an enemy, you have to live with the consequences.

Video games have enjoyed a different approach for a long time though. In most games, if you screw up, you can just load an earlier save and carry on. However, despite my continued loathing of the rogue-like genre, I’ve grown to begin accepting the outcomes of my decisions in video games, especially on first playthroughs.

If I accidentally kill someone important, use an item that I should’ve saved, or have done something immensely stupid that gets me hammered into the ground like a fencepost, I accept the consequences. This acceptance of decisions that I’ve decided to adopt has led to me being more careful and appreciative of choices in video games.

What Are Some Things You Do?

Have you played D&D? What are some things you do that you’ve carried over into your video game habits? Are there any other things that you do to enhance your gameplay?

 

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Shared from Creators.co

12 thoughts on “Dungeons And Dragons Changed The Way I Game

  1. Making a persona for my RPG character before actually playing sounds like it will be a pain but it would actually help me in the wrong run because I won’t have to agonize over decisions (as much). I will just do what my fictional character would do in the situation! I read about some of these concepts in the past but didn’t give it much thought. Your experiences and recent conversations I have had with my friends is making me consider these ideas a lot more seriously! Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading!

      Creating a character background does make for a little homework up front, but it makes things far less painful in the long run.

      For instance, the Mass Effect playthrough that I mentioned was my last one where I created a Ruthless background Shepard. He is very much a by-the-book type who focuses on the mission before concerning himself with the consequences of his battlefield decisions. It led to him sacrificing Ashley on Virmire despite developing a rapport with her because he had already decided to rescue the STG team and Kaidan.

      Having a background in mind also helps eliminate any metagaming as well 🙂

      Like

  2. Come to think of it, one thing that struck me as remarkable about Dark Souls was, much like tabletop RPGs, the decisions you make are final. If you kill certain NPCs and eventually regret your actions, you don’t get to reload a save; the only way you can revive them is to start the game over.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have always WANTED to play… I dream one day to do this. But duuuude, this sounds like it has awesome effects. And honestly, I always did a runthrough without any help to see how I do unless I become UTTERLY stuck (Ocarina of Time *cough*). The only time I didn’t is when I had a spoiler about DA:O and Alistair thing. Soooo yeah. But I appreciate the game a bit more that way, then do the look up stuff to see what else I could have done and see those effects. ;P

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely changes the way you think. Some people don’t adapt though. Metagaming especially is a big deal in D&D that can ruin the experience.

      I’m just as guilty of looking up answers to solutions that I can’t figure out (I love strategy guides), but I’ve generally tried to figure out the solution before I just to a walkthrough or guide.

      If you can find a good group of folks to play with, I’d definitely recommend playing some D&D.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome post! I unfortunately never had a chance to play D&D (one day I’ll find a group to join…), but I’m a big fan of story-driven games and I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about roleplaying. That’s one of the reasons I try to stay as spoiler-free as possible with video games, especially if I’m joining the party late. I want to be able to figure out “my” character beforehand and just go from there. It increases the emotional investment and really enriches the game experience, like you mentioned.

    When I have the opportunity to have a bunch of save files in a game (like in a Mass Effect type of game) I take it, mainly because I will eventually go back and make different choices just to see all the outcomes available. But I try very hard to just *play* the game, become immersed in the characters, and live with the consequences of my in-game actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Shelby,

    I’m glad to hear you’ve opened up with the help of D&D. I enjoyed reading your blog. I hope to continue reading more of your tabletop content. I myself am new to blogging but I’ve got well more than 20yrs of XP under my belt of tabletop. I will be doing a weekly posting of tabletop articles hoping to answer, educate, or otherwise help new and old tabletop gamers. I hope you’ll have a gander at my articles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article. Interestingly, playing video games changed the way I created adventures as a DM. The likes of Skyrim and World of Warcraft gave me a concept of sandbox open exploration that the D&D books of my youth could never clearly explain to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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