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Combat Systems in RPGs: Understanding Player Preferences

In many digital role-playing games (RPGs), a key aspect of the gameplay is combat. Combat systems in RPGs can be roughly divided into real-time systems, where time flows normally and all combatants act simultaneously, and turn-based systems, where combatants take turns performing actions.

In this brief on-page survey, we seek to understand the preferences and experiences of players regarding these combat systems. Note that we specifically focus on combat systems and not other areas of gameplay. We also define RPGs loosely; you may factor in games that contain elements from other genres. Use your best judgment in determining whether a game's combat is turn-based or real-time. If there are games that you have trouble categorizing, we would love to hear about them in the last question of the survey.

This survey has 17 questions/statements and only takes around 5 minutes. We will raffle five Amazon vouchers worth 20€ or 20 USD among those who complete the survey and provide an email address. If you have questions or comments about the survey, please contact Dr. Ville Mäkelä at ville.maekelae@ifi.lmu.de.


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1/17: Age


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2/17: Gender


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3/17: Nationality


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4/17: Occupation (if you are a student, please indicate your field of study)


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5/17: What gaming platforms do you use actively?


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6/17: What major game genres do you play actively?


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7/17: How many years have you been an active gamer (approximately)?


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8/17: How many years have you been playing RPGs (approximately)?


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9/17: Please list some of your all-time favorite RPGs


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10/17: Which type of combat systems do you generally prefer in RPGs?

  Real-time Both equally Turn-based

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11/17: Which type of combat systems do the RPGs usually have that you play?

  Real-time Both equally Turn-based

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12/17: Have your preferences for RPG combat systems changed over time?

  I like them LESS than I used to I like them as little or as much as I used to I like them MORE than I used to
Real-time combat systems
Turn-based combat systems

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13/17: How important is a good combat system to your overall enjoyment of an RPG?

  Not important at all Very important

14/17: Please list some digital RPGs that you think have a great real-time combat system (if any)


15/17: Please list some digital RPGs that you think have a great turn-based combat system (if any)


16/17: What features or qualities make real-time combat systems enjoyable to you? If you don't enjoy them, why?


17/17: What features or qualities make turn-based combat systems enjoyable to you? If you don't enjoy them, why?


Free text for any additional thoughts or comments.


OPTIONAL: If you want to participate in the Amazon voucher raffle, please enter a valid email address.

To qualify for the raffle, you must have clear answers to all of the questions in the questionnaire.