The high end potions and the difficulty curve

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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Sidestepper on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:19 am

I think people are really overstating how preps affect the game for beginners. I hardly touched preps when I was learning. I didn't know how to unlock them, I didn't know what they did, and I didn't know how to leverage them when I found them. My most used prep for the longest time was the simple health pendant. I didn't touch gods at all because they were complicated and usually worse than nothing at my level knowledge. This approach got me through all of the sub-Vicious content. After hearing about how preps let you auto-win I prepped someone to the gills and sent him into Namtar's Liar and almost immediately run back out.

Most of my intermediate gameplay was picking random runs (we didn't have PQI back then) and just screwing around. I found simple combinations that worked, "If I roll a Halfling, then Trisword is really good." But there was never a point where I felt that I had to use prep combo xyz and only this or I would never progress or never have fun.

Even now, I mostly use preps to experiment with specific strategies or as a way mitigate irritating circumstances (eg things like Soul Orb, Burn Salve, Fortitude). For all of the talk about how you are forced into using the power potions and Dragonshield, I probably use those things maybe 10% of the time.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby q 3 on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:56 am

I wonder if there's a difference in how a player approaches deities, depending on how much time they spent with the alpha? In the alpha, deities are introduced (almost?) immediately and don't need to be unlocked. There are a couple of deities who are incredibly straightforward and incredibly powerful (Pactmaker for early worship, GG for late worship). There are a couple of deities who will completely screw you over right away and only slowly trickle down their benefits (Mystera and Dracul). The rest of the deities are generally somewhere in between. The point is, you learn very quickly that deities are important.

The beta, on the other hand, doesn't introduce deities at all until you've cleared a good few dungeons - and you only get them via a slow, somewhat haphazard trickle of subdungeons that can be quite a puzzle to figure out. Early on a player learns to make do without deities, and by the time that changes it can be hard to adapt.

I wonder if one thing that might improve the introduction of deities would be to have one (or more?) deities accessible during the first few tutorial-ish dungeons, then once you get to the main game, make a big deal about how the deities have all disappeared and throw a few quests out to reawaken them. Maybe even have that "original" Jehora as the starter deity, helping the kingdom with the last of its strength.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby FDru on Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:11 am

q 3 wrote:I wonder if there's a difference in how a player approaches deities, depending on how much time they spent with the alpha?

There's probably no direct correlation. I got 100% completion on the Alpha but rarely used deities in the Beta even after unlocking them. I've only recently started experimenting with early worship, whereas before all I would ever do is grab a mid-game JJ (no downsides if you can get Petition right away) or a last-minute Dracul to help with a boss (again, almost no downside) and even then that was uncommon. As such, I ended up having "Faithless" on just about every dungeon before I even started thinking about completion.

Then again, I found the deities in the Alpha to do more harm than good in most situations and mostly only used Pactmaker (and JJ because he was fun).
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:41 am

Bloggorus wrote:
xspeedballx wrote:The big question is, when you increase items, preps and dungeon resources at the same rate as you go up in difficulty, are you actually learning anything?

You might feel like you are, but it is easy to confuse success with acquiring skill.

Modern RPG's are very good at this, giving you the impression that you are improving when really you are just receiving as big a sword as the enemies you are facing.

This is at the heart of all my "stupid this" and "braindead that" ranting. If my "vet status", and the post post post perspective, gave me anything it's a somewhat decent perspective of the relative power level of different features (can't claim to understand nearly everything, I learn stuff from discussions and playthroughs every time). While I was "not a vet", I was looking for ways to save time and effort - being a DD vet was not something I aspired to. I wanted to be who I am, and this is what I think most people want. So I got good at spotting features which let me "cheat" - avoid other features which would take too much of my time, skip the learning curve, skip challenges and all that.

Now, a curious thing happened that every so often one of the things I was using for all the "wrong" reasons, litteraly to avoid having to invest too much time and effort in the game, turned out to be good enough to take me through places which were supposed to be very challenging. The old monk was a good example of that. I knew from moba expirience what % based damage resistances did for a player - in a moba they let you simultaneously endanger/kill 5 other guys, and many teams throw in the towel if an opposing carry tank gets his resistance levels high enough. Other strat is to focus fire him efficently, but mobas are a competitive multiplayer genre where you can do that, and is isn't one, so the monsters had to fight you one at a time. That set of circumstances let me go very far without learning anything.

So the thing was I ended up learning things by accident. When I was told the monk was supposed to be a regen fighting learning tool and that I just got very good with him - I knew I didn't. I just knew that it was a broken mechanic, because I was using it to ignore stuff. So I set out to "optimize" it by literally not unlocking abot 90% of the stuff - guys though that I was doing a speedrun, when in fact I was just making the game not force me to learn a big bunch of obscure and confusing stuff which I didn't even need to beat the VGT - which was the only thing which could challenge my no-brainer strat.

If I unlock the warlord, goo blobs will appear? I don't feel comfortable with 50% res guys around, I think I'll just skip it. If I unlock TT I can worship him after I've killed the boss to safely pick up gold from his boons so I don't run out when I do VGT? Sign me up! If I don't do quests then I don't have expensive items in shops, so I can just convert the cheap ones for CP and not waste time and gold trying to figure out what the expensive ones do? Awesome! If I unlock the paladin and no other guys with glyphs, I can have HALPMEH on every run and not waste time and gold scumming when I reach VGT? Great! Potions clog up my shops? Wont unlock them! (They created the apothecary after all this, the potions complaint was actually pretty legit).

And the game rewarded me for all this! From my "non-vet" or "crafty horse thief" perspective, this was the only sensible way to play - the game was a frustrating and difficult expirience otherwise. Up until that point I was avoiding GG like the plague - trying him out with a priest (seems logical to a newbie, except it isnt) got me into so much trouble that I didn't want to touch him with a 10 foot pole. Then I unlocked him by accident, and started experimenting with him because I was playing literal god mode and felt safe enough. Turned out he was impossibly too good, because he magnified a "strat" which was good enough to beat everything (even the old terribly unfair stuff). I didn't need any more power - and I stumbled onto GG, and I mean litteraly forgot about what I was doing and did his subdungeon unintentionaly and got stuck with him on every run. I stumbled onto something that was on par in power with factual deliberate cheating.

If I didn't go out of my way to cheat for very individual reasons, and then ended up discovering a mechanic by accident, my alternative was even more sensible - give up on the game. It's sensible from a RL actual person perspective. Gods didn't even have puzzles back then, and they were difficult enough for me to get into that I felt i needed hax to even try. And the game expected me to get to know them, and once I did it stopped being difficult very soon. It's why I go out of my way to point out stuff that's working too well as a training wheel / cheat code - it's impossible to know how easy it gets once you get rid of them, and it's impossible to get anywhere without them if you don't really figure the gods out. This situation led me to become a vet by accident - and I never ever wanted to be a vet!

And the vids would only serve one purpose - get people to try gods. You only really need a reason and an assurance that it will work out fine, to break either the "this will cost me" or "this is more effort then I'm ready to invest in a videogame" barriers. All you need is to see them work, and find a reason to try it, and then try it on something else, and then try it on something else, and then after a while you realize that the game is in fact really, really easy and if the gods weren't obscure there would be very little challenge left at all. And you'd be a horrible, horrible game vet. :lol:

So something IS up with the learning curve. It causes unintended reactions from humans, and determining what exactly it is, the way I see it, probably requires curbing the power of stuff that helps people get very far without getting good with gods (and many items, too) - and see what the game looks like then. And a few other things, obviously.

IDEA - The game would be well served with achevements - win 5 games after taking the enlightment boon. Win 5 games after worshiping TT at lvl1. Use a million clearances in a single game. Pick up every Mysterea boon and win. I'm curious to whether the codex will actualy utilize this in-game.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Dreamdancer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:53 am

About the 'newbie-crutches':
My argument would work better, if one could play the guard, so let us assume one could play him in every dungeon. If one starts from the guard, every class gets more than him and only few classes (Monk and Rogue) have some disadvantages to balance the cool stuff. One could be :evil: and say every class is a 'newbie-crutch' :o
Well, we all know that playing the game only with the Guard would be boring. I mean, first think i found awesome were the many classes. Some with the good and items, all give diversity to the game. Think playing DD with Guard only and only the basic items would be boring, after the first play through.

To the potions: Someone said Whoopaz is fun (using it and so). I mean it's cool. At some point you get new quests, and you know: Now cool stuff. You realise, quest isn't so easy. And so one is more happy after beating it and trying out the new tool. (In my case it was so ;) )
But i can somewhat understand Lujo. Strength, Quicksilver and Reflex Pots are really awesome. And i use them on 90% of my run, since they make life easier <- 'newbie-crutch'
I think some of the hard dungeons i could beat without them... Thinking, must have beaten some without the pots, since the quests are mostly in hard dungeons. But before i would do this (not using them in hard), i would want to beat the vicious dungeons, behind them is new content :)
so, from my point of view pots are ok, but i can Lujo.

To guides:
In the beginning, i needed the guides for the gods, in order to learn how to gain and lose piety. Took awhile, till i realised that this is also tacked in the game, but it's not so easy to find this window, if one doesn't know there are some windows (Inventar, Piety track, probably monster, probably stairs...).
So basic god-guides are somewhat needed in my opinion, especially for the people who don't want to learn this by the hard way and try everything out.
To guides put the fun out of the game:
One can make different kind of guides. Explain the basics. Explain more advanced concepts and explain the 'broken' stuff. And it's not always easy to do the stuff you read. I read early about regen-fighting but needed long time to really understand it, and do it on my own. Result is/was i didn't like the Monk a long time...

EDIT: added a missing word
Last edited by Dreamdancer on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:14 am

All I'm saying is that the game can be too intimidating to want to learn about gods (and some other stuff). If the, for lack of a better word, newbie crutches are too good (or badge hunting tools at the same time), what you can expect from the average human being is to stick to them rather than learn what he's supposed to learn. Or just leave the game. In very rare circumstances something like I did can happen and that is taking the third option and getting "success" without having a clue. (It happens with many to a lesser degree, mostly depending on which newbie helper tool they latch onto).

Or that you can reach a point where the game expects you to have learned a big bunch of stuff - and you never got the hint. If a few classes, a glyph or two, a prep or two are too good you can easily end up never really figuring gods out which can eventually get you frustrated enough to leave. More people will than the ones who'll stay.

For most people, ones who never post or keep playing, the further the "auto-prep" stuff takes them there is more chance that when they hit the "you need gods for this" mark, without having a clue about gods or a sense that they're important. After not feeling like you need them for long enough, their reaction is - if this needs gods it's not worth my time.

And it doesn't have to be that way, because it mostly comes from the game not really giving you good enough reasons to want to mess with gods. You can even see this with most "vets" - even they haven't really figured some gods out, and that's always because something else is a more "secure" option. Grabing TT at lvl1 is easy as pie, and can be rewarding - if you know it is. If you don't it looks like suicide. And if you don't want to suicide - no lvl1bosskills for you.

The extra credits guys would be really proud of how gods in this game capture the "leap of faith" concept - you can only really discover them if you mentally give up on the run and just go see what happens. People, however, in this age of science especialy, aren't really inclined towards leaps of faith.

I'm also sure the codex will help with a lot of this.
Last edited by Lujo on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby berpdreyfuss on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:51 am

I also think Lujo has got some good points. I think the solution someone suggested to have more quest which require purist would be a good way to go. Plus the other suggestions to cap the sword or limit the number of potions you can take into a dungeon.

Since I unlocked the potions I took all of the big ones most of the time and this thread made me start to think about trying the hard dungeons purist to see if I can make it.

A lot of the fun in the alpha came by exploring the dungeon and see what random items you would find and how you can use them. It's the same in the beta and I like preps, but some of them like the trisword define the way you're gonna play the dungeon and it is succesful most of the time. Items that disable mana burn for example change the gameplay as well but not so much like the sword.

Concerning the gods: I did finish Gaant-Telet and two vicious dungeons (relying on the trisword) and I still feel I know not very much about the gods and only use them in special scenarios, Dracul at the very end etc. But I think that's fine and I'll know I'll learn that in the future, but it would be earlier if there were more purist quests.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Blovski on Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:45 pm

Hm. I'd quite like prepping the trisword to have specific disadvantages (e.g. one less prepped potion, or less pick-uppable potions). I think anything else will hurt it as an in-dungeon find, which'd be a shame. I think the prepped Trisword is probably the only item right now that's hovering clearly above the norm for vet play (I mean, we differ on basically everything else except the Dragon Shield, which is good for fewer classes)
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