Gaming Psychology 2: RPG vs. FPS
Video games have a diverse range of topics, styles, and genres. No wonder why people start preferring a particular style or genre to simplify how to choose a game to play. Some like an expansive, beautiful world to explore, discover, and adventure in, while others prefer action-packed games with lots of fighting and some explosions here and there.
If you’d ask gamers why they chose the games they play, they’d say either “to escape the stress of the real world” or “just for fun.” Perhaps some would say they’re venting out anger or some other emotion, and others could just be in it for crushing the competition. Now, depending on what they say, they’re likely to prefer certain games that differ from the others. In this edition of Gaming Psychology, we’ll compare the differences between FPS and RPG MMO games.
For Those Who Want to Escape (RPG)
Exploring other worlds, whether it’s the far reaches of space or a post-apocalyptic world, role-playing games (RPG) are a match. In fact, RPG is the genre of a majority of MMOs, such as World of Warcraft (WoW), and other successful series of games that have been around for years.
RPG’s are mainly characterized by putting the player in a customizable role in a preset story. In gameplay, it differs from other games because it adds a strategic layer through the management of skills, status, or both, along with equipment and item/resource management. Those mechanics are usually accompanied by a leveling system or gathering mechanic to obtain skills or better equipment. Depending on the game, strategic positioning of the avatar could mean victory or defeat.
RPG is usually by a narrative that complements the chosen role. In Guild Wars 2, for example, the player can select a backstory for their character, which weapons to use (it affects what attacks the avatar can perform), and which build to specialize. That’s on top of choosing what race and class their character could be. Choices made during character creation can change the events that will happen in the character’s narrative. Even then, through choices made during some key moments, a player’s play through can vary wildly to another player’s.
For Those Who Want to Vent or Like Action (FPS)
The other set of gamers like fast-paced action; they don’t care for the story or managing too many things compared to RPG gamers. In fact, these gamers prefer first-person shooter (FPS) games, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). FPS requires a completely different skill set. These are the types of games that need practice. Even though some strategizing is involved (more for stealth action games), it relies more on muscle memory and reflexes than the RPG category. Also, FPS gamers enjoy and take pride in crushing the competition.
Another FPS example is Overwatch: in a simple deathmatch, a moment’s distraction can spell doom. The team-based missions require more strategy, but not to the extent of an RPG since all the character’s skills are available at the get-go (some just need a bit of charging). A player’s survival in this type of game requires good hand-eye coordination and reflexes, something that isn’t needed for RPGs.
Where Lines are Blurred
Some games straddle the line between these two genres: RPG and FPS. Borderlands is a shooter with RPG elements in the form of inventory, equipment, and skill management. Destiny is a shooter MMO that also borrows elements from RPGs for character progression. The more recent iterations of Fallout are RPGs with shooter elements (FO4 plays more like the reverse). Stealth action games, including Dishonored and Thief, require greater thinking than typical action games, though an option to aggressively rush enemies exists for both. Then, there’s the aspect of competitiveness in the PvP features of various MMOs, in addition to their narratives.
It’s good to try new game genres to have new MMO perspectives. Once you’ve explored different games for both RPG and FPS, you’ll realize that the genres often blend in various ways. The diversity keeps gamers occupied because new twists to old mechanics and stories bring fresh life.
Read More: Console vs. PC Arguments: Gaming Psychology
Play what you prefer, and according to your mood. There’s such a wide range of games that at least one would be a good fit. Other game genres that went unmentioned in this article include the following: (1) real-time-strategies, (2) puzzle games, (3) survival, and (4) management. With the blending of genres, you’ll find more games that you never thought you’d like.
As always, happy gaming!