14 Nov 11
Aequitas

Item Design

TriSword

So with a recent patch to the Desktop Dungeons beta, we toned down many of the items that people delighted in using. Most of the delight was caused by these items being “no brainers”: they were so out of balance with the rest of the item pool that there was never a reason to pick anything else. Any item being a “no brainer” in  DD is probably a bad thing, since the game is designed around a core concept of give the player meaningful decisions. Here we created a meaningless decision, because there’s no reason to not take that item. This had to be remedied.

In the end we changed some things, fiddled with some knobs, and came up with what we think are some much more balanced items. We took out items that got better over time (with either leveling or monster kills) because there was no decision there: you were going to level up, and kill monsters anyway. We added some items that get better when you use potions, because using a potion early (not saving it for the boss) makes for a meaningful decision. We made some items smaller, because they weren’t being used when large, so now you need to decide if potions or the small items are more important. We also removed/changed items that were just “a better X”, because the less powerful items became obsolete.

While we’re on the subject of meaningful decisions, let’s talk about lockers. There is, and will forever be, someone who asks the question “Can we get more lockers?”. The simple truth is that no amount of lockers will suffice, until we reach a point where there is a locker for ever item in the game … and then, the choice of whether to locker an item will have become meaningless. If we do our jobs right, then you should yearn to locker every item. You should cry out to the heavens “Why can’t I locker just one more thing!”. By limiting your lockers, we force you to make meaningful decisions about the next run, or the next 6 runs. So no, at no point will you ever have enough lockers to satisfy you … and that’s ok.

At least you’ll be making meaningful decisions.


4 Responses to “Item Design”

  1. Dan Says:

    “The simple truth is that no amount of lockers will suffice, until we reach a point where there is a locker for ever item in the game” – Best to do that as soon as possible then.

    “and then, the choice of whether to locker an item will have become meaningless” – But this is not a fun choice in the first place.

    “By limiting your lockers, we force you to make meaningful decisions about the next run, or the next 6 runs” – This runs contrary to your stated intent of DD being a “coffeebreak game”

    “at no point will you ever have enough lockers to satisfy you … and that’s ok.” – no it’s not.

    The way I see it, if you feel you need to start with an item to complete one of the harder dungeons, you can. If it is in a locker, great, if not then you have to play another, easier dungeon, until you find the item then take it home and locker it. Then you can finally attempt the dungeon you actually wanted to play in the first place. In effect this is a tortuous UI requiring you to spend at least several minutes and possibly hours to do something that should take seconds.
    Or to put it in terms of your above post: You will be doing one or more dungeon runs in which you will not make one single meaningful decision.

  2. Michał Lewtak Says:

    So cool to still see the Trisword joke image that turned into an actual item in the game.
    Also, good job with the rebalancing.

  3. RavenBlack Says:

    Totally agree with Dan on this one – I would suggest though that for a simplicity of starting-a-game interface, the lockers stay the same and instead there be added a “Vault” containing all the items you’ve ever brought out. This way you can retain the 100 gold cost to change a lockered item, making it something better to avoid if possible, but also save the player having to meaninglessly grind/farm for the specific item they want that they’ve already unlocked before.

    Hell, you could make it cost 500 gold to retrieve a thing from the vault and I’d still rather do that than a frustrating pointless grind.

  4. playhavock Says:

    I love alpha – and will buy this when it comes out – is there any editor for the alpha version?

 

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