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Revisiting Reckoning: How Kingdoms of Amalur got the single-player MMORPG right

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. Recently, I decided to play Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in remembrance of its one-year anniversary this past...

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Fantasy strategy-RPGs and the limits of 'RPG elements'

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. In theory, fantasy strategy games should be my favorite kinds of games. I am certainly a fan of the fantasy genre...

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Alpha Protocol is the new Deus Ex

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. Alpha Protocol is the new Deus Ex. This may seem like a strong statement, given the original Deus Ex's regard as...

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When sports and role-playing games collide

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. I'm in a tense conflict. My party of five characters faces off against another. The battle is balanced on the...

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Publish those numbers! Why RPGs must be transparent about their mechanics

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. The debate about what makes a "real" role-playing game flares up from time to time, with articles, comment...

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For the love of leveling

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. I gained one thousand seven hundred and twenty-one levels in the last year. Around the end of 2011, fellow game...

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2012: the year in RPGs

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. What a fun, odd year it's been for role-playing games. The genre in theory is looking as good as it has for over...

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Waiter, waiter! There's an RPG in my FPS!

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. It would be easy to say that many of today's first-person shooters are more RPG-like than ever before. Between...

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How Morrowind and KOTOR defined modern RPGs

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. In the early 2000s, two Western role-playing games grabbed the genre and shoved it into new and surprisingly...

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Struggling with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim one year later

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. This week Rowan explores the one-year anniversary of Skyrim, a game that – despite critical and commercial...

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