Stats force you to roleplay. Without stats, there's no real need since your own skills as a gamer are most important. For example, in Risen, I was able to defeat all the fighters in the Bandit Camp without upgrading any of my combat skills or attributes. This is bad because it means that my personal skill completely bypassed the limitations of my character, removing the whole role-playing aspect of the game. RPGs are about choice and if I can do everything, my choices aren't all that meaningful.
That said, I do agree that an RPG can
be made without stats. It would just have to offer lots of high level choices outside of character development. However, in the context of this debate, stats are considered a key part of RPGs.
As for STALKER, it isn't open-ended enough to qualify as an RPG. You can join two factions but there isn't much high level or low level choice aside from that. You can't talk your way through situations and stealth is rarely a viable option, nor do you really have any high level choice in the missions themselves. You either do them or you don't.
Deus Ex was an awesome game and while it was definitely more open-ended than STALKER, it still wasn't quite open-ended enough to qualify as an RPG.
Regardless of the fact that a projectile is equally deadly when fired by a trained veteran killer and a complete firearm neophyte, there are tons of things that have to go into figuring out whether that projectile makes its way to the target, and this is where stats would come in.
Are we talking about chance-to-hit here? I'm not sure how far we're going into RPG territory for this discussion. Does the player still have precise control over their movements and aim (like in Mass Effect and Deus Ex) or is it more hands off, ala Fallout (1&2) and Baldur's Gate? If we're talking Fallout-style, then I actually do agree that stats and realistic damage models can work, since if you have low stats, you won't be able to hit anything. Conversely, if the player has more control over their character, the importance of stats are negated because you can always compensate with your personal skill and tactics.This comment was edited on Nov 8, 2009, 21:25.