Forum > Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion

'B-but that didn't come up in the playtest'

<< < (2/4) > >>

Bedrockbrendan:
I think it really depends on what you are talking about. If the core combat mechanic doesn't work, and that was somehow missed in playtests, or if no one noticed it just examining the system, that is a problem). But there are edge cases that might not come up even after a ton of playtests. Most RPG publishers are small, and limited to testing things in their own groups, perhaps a few groups of fans who are willing to run the system and give feedback, but that is a much more limited pool of playtests than when it is released into the wild and you have hundreds, thousands or more play testing it, and play testing it with different approaches and ideas. That said, play testing is really important. It shouldn't be an afterthought.

I try to be as thorough as I can when I playtest stuff (I often do a ton of isolated combat only, narrow scenario-only, etc; plus full campaigns, plus one-shots, etc). I have also found it useful, just for vetting purposes to do different things like get a group of players together and have them all select monsters from the monster section to fight one another (just so I am getting as many eyes on the entries, the powers, etc). And I usually have more than one group of players to test things with, as well as a few people wiling to run things in their own games. Even then, I feel like if I had more resources I could do much more thorough play testing. And I would love to have the resources to do revised editions because I track what I find and notice, and need to update after a game is released (I am very seriously thinking of doing a second edition of my games soon). We also work at crunching the numbers and the probabilities.

I will say this, play testing definitely improves a game. And there is an art to it as well. When I first started, I ran a lot of playtests but I knew less about the process, was more easily distracted by things that weren't really problems. The longer I did it, the better I got at knowing how to playtest well. One area that really stands out for me is a game where we had four characters paths (basically character classes) and one of them was a scholarly character. I had a lot of ideas for this character initially, and they looked very good on the page, but they didn't translate into anything enjoyable at the table. It literally took playtesting to make this path work in game, in a way that I found satisfying. And the result was one that I think is the best in the game.

But I think a lot of this is less ivory tower and more a resource issue (at least with the majority of publishers, who are not large). I can't speak to WoTC level play testing. Obviously companies like that can playtest at a much larger scale.

HappyDaze:

--- Quote from: Steven Mitchell on October 14, 2021, 08:50:46 AM ---I'm fairly forgiving of things that would have been difficult to find without extensive, blind testing.  I'm not forgiving of things that would have been easily found by the designer actually trying to use the rules at their own tables.  Especially since at least part of the time, the "reason" for such rules surviving into the published product is that the writer didn't use the rule as written.  I don't mean sort of used it.  I mean fudged it entirely or never got around to testing that subsystem.  If you don't use it at the table, why the hell is it in the product! 

--- End quote ---
I'm not at all forgiving of issues raised by multiple playtest groups that the designers just ignore feedback on and publish in an untouched form because none of the playtesters obviously undestood what they were going for (but the buyers will...surely...). Later an "expanded" version of whatever it was will be in a suppliment (and playtested just as badly). FFG was a big offender on this one in their Star Wars lines.

GriswaldTerrastone:
Well, to be fair, there's ALWAYS something unexpected or unaccounted for, no matter how dedicated a designer is to fine-tuning a project. Especially in today's environment.

Naburimannu:

--- Quote from: HappyDaze on October 14, 2021, 11:13:51 AM ---I'm not at all forgiving of issues raised by multiple playtest groups that the designers just ignore feedback on and publish in an untouched form because none of the playtesters obviously undestood what they were going for (but the buyers will...surely...). Later an "expanded" version of whatever it was will be in a suppliment (and playtested just as badly). FFG was a big offender on this one in their Star Wars lines.

--- End quote ---

There's nothing TTRPG-specific about this, sadly, and it's not just computer games, either: even the largest software companies regularly ignore tester feedback with that same sort of rationale.

Omega:
Its usually the little things that get missed even in playtesting. Sometimes its an obscure combo of powers that are only a problem in some weird one off situation. Other times its tied to the core somehow and is not necessarily a problem in the normal sense.

Some do playtest, but not much, or not in useful ways, or all the feedback gets ignored. Pretty common across the board, and in no way limited to RPGs.

And sometimes theres the weird stuff that isnt really a playtest problem. Instead it is a proofreading error that creeped into final print. 5e D&D first print run had alot and those were corrected in later print runs.

And then theres Bruce Baugh and Lizard, the slacker designer team for White Wolf and "oh we didnt write rules for that. The players will do it for us." d20 modern GW where your character can and will die from the environment just from walking outside, even in full enviro gear.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version