Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

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Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby Tinker on Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:15 pm

B'cause everything else I just adore, especially the things I wrote in the DD Love thread...

1. Resist Stacking. No matter what you play you're always better off with resist stacking. Some dungeons (VGT for example) practically require you to max resists. But even those that don't (Labyrinth + VT, Naga City + VT, most Vicious in general) are just plain easy if you stack resists. To summarize: I kind of hate how resist stacking is, like, the Joker in the pack, no matter what you play, no matter how hard the dungeon is, if you stack resists, you've mostly won. I go out of my way to score Vicious+VT wins with no resist chars, and it's non-trivial. Resistances are the single most important factor to melee - significantly more important than damage or health or anything else.

2. Vicious Token. I'm actually mixed on this one. I love how it has a "new game+"-esque feature, allowing the replay of lower-difficulty dungeons with a bit more increased challenge. But it distorts stats, meaning that often you'll have different strategies dominating non-VT and VT. i.e. you may have a lot of leeway playing a striker/caster in non-VT, but in VT it's almost invariably brawlers (and, you guessed it, resist stacking!). Kudos to Lujo for going all VT in his new profile with random stuff, though I'm probably farther behind in the learning curve to even fully grasp all the nuances...

3. Astral posted VGT Goat vic. Kind of, it's not actually Astral or the posting, maybe in general the fact that since by now we know that everything that is winnable in DD has been won, there is very little pioneering left to be done. Sure, we can fool around refuting proven strategies and trying to win things in new ways, which is always fun, but there's always the thing about figuring out stuff, which is arguably the best aspect of DD. I half wish I never stumbled upon the forums (curses on you Darvin! j/k), because beforehand I had to figure out everything for myself, and I was proud like a ninja squirrel when I scored my first Vicious or VGT victories. Now it's more "meh" and all, despite the class-A crew posting and encouraging players here.
Last edited by Tinker on Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby sitnaltax on Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:32 am

Man, I think the fact that the game eventually yields when subjected to literally thousands of hours of intense practice, study, and discussion speaks volumes about the quality and thoroughness of the design. Given that a bunch of asymmetry is a big part of DD's design, there was always going to be something better (as it turns out, resist stacking) and something not so hot at high levels (dwarves, I suppose). The whole point of VT was to throw up that huge wall that would encourage/force us to find the most powerful mechanisms and synergies.

I also think the discussion is great; the encouragement is great. As many hints and strategies as get thrown around, there's been plenty of stuff I've learned on my own, consciously and unconsciously. There's plenty of strategy to learn at every level, and it's been a long, long, long trip. Without the encouragement and confidence that various challenges really did have satisfactory resolutions, I probably would have given up at one of many points along the way.

When I imagine changes, it seems crazy to imagine changing DD as it stands. Who would benefit? Clearly the game has hundreds of hours on the path from novice to master. What tweaks would satisfy a master and what would they gain? However, I think the world is ripe for a sequel or spiritual successor. What if you challenged one or more of the fundamental assumptions? For example, what if blackspace only regenerated mana and health came back in some other way? What if scouting--the ability to gain partial information--were a much more important part of the game? What if all the glyphs were different? I think there is a lot of fascinating ground to think about and maybe some cool prototypes or next-generation games in the future.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby Darvin on Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:56 am

curses on you Darvin!

Glad to be of help :-P


I've actually taken a disliking to resist-stacking, and tend to go without it. It does make VGT a real pain in the posterior, though. Vicious Tokens, however, can be completed handily with other strategies. It's only VGT or VT vicious dungeons that actually put you through enough of an endurance run that resist stacking dominates.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby TheSchachter on Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:00 am

In some ways, I feel similarly. I avoided doing VT runs for a long time just because the stats felt so ridiculous that it actually changed the game's feel (as in, it felt completely out of sync with the difficulty progression of the rest of the game). Resist stacking sometimes felt the same way, like those elements cancelled each other out, actually!

I think that hanging out on these forums, where the average poster's skill/knowledge is somewhere above absurd, simply has the effect of normalizing game elements that in any other context are rather extreme, since the most skilled players are still finding ways to challenge themselves. For me, I like the Vicious Token as an occasional masochistic challenge, and it was great to have it be the "final trial" when I was working to rainbow-border all the Hard dungeons... but if you're active on these boards, it can sometimes feel like Vicious Token is the "real game." I mean, we're at a point where you can see strategies being evaluated in terms of whether or not they can win a VT Vicious dungeon! (It really stuck out to me when I read, in Lujo's playthrough topic, the "Michael Bay" strategy assessed as something along the lines of "good, but not quite VT-Naga City good"... to me, that sounds almost like saying" That's a pretty good piece of music, but it's not quite as groundbreaking as Beethoven's third symphony" XD) (Sorry Lujo, I don't mean to single you out! I just remember being amused while reading your topic!).

Which isn't to say that there's nothing left to discover! Stuff falls through the cracks, as we're always finding out. But there's no denying that haning out here, for me at least, has significantly altered the way I look at, think about, and play the game. And that that's a bad thing, quite the opposite! But there are times when the game feels less fresh, and those are usually the times where i feel "confronted", in a way, by those points you discuss in the main post.

Usually, I just take a break. Inevitably, I get drawn back in and go back to thinking about it while at work! Anyway, I guess I don't really have much of a point here other than to ramble about how it's probably normal to feel this way, if my own feelings are any kind of reliable measure :P

(incidentally, I spent all day being excited to get back home and try out this neat strategy I came up with the night before when I tried a PQI and was inspired one of the current trending discussion topics on these forums. I doubt I'm the first one to do it, and it's nothing all that original, but it's really quite fun! And ironically, I tested it out by using the Vicious Token :P I'll share it tomorrow if I'm more awake!)
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby Lujo on Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:36 am

TheSchachter wrote:(It really stuck out to me when I read, in Lujo's playthrough topic, the "Michael Bay" strategy assessed as something along the lines of "good, but not quite VT-Naga City good"... to me, that sounds almost like saying" That's a pretty good piece of music, but it's not quite as groundbreaking as Beethoven's third symphony" XD) (Sorry Lujo, I don't mean to single you out! I just remember being amused while reading your topic!).


Had to :lol:

Actually, the reason I'm running around tacking the VT on PQI stuff (and strange ones at that) is that I can spot unlikely stuff which works better than one'd think, test the power level of various strategies, and most importantly - point people to things which aren't the tried-and-true res stackery, or pissorff spam etc. Due to reasons I'm not much inclined to discuss, it's rather reasy to fall into a habit of routinely going for these things whenever something challenging presents itself, and having proof out there that other stuff can indeed work - i feel like it's a good thing.

The way to keep the game challenging is to broaden your horizons beyond the obvious stuff and the few vicious dungeons. Slapping a VT onto a screwy looking PQI can keep you going for ages, as long as you don't always prep the same exact stuff. I've done a load of VT's so far without even unlocking the Dragonshield! I thought after Astral finally did VGT in, and after Waldo's run, and Sitnaltaxes current run that there's nothing left to do and be all swagy and bragy about...

...but then I remembered that I basically cheezed my way through most of the PQI, and that there are JJ Dwarf Monks, apparently. And that you can, oddly enough, do the second triple quest with a False Beard. If you slap a VT on a PQI run and change up your preps - anything and everything can be either a discovery, an achievement or a first. Or just a satisfying "that went better than expected" moment.

The "not quite good for Naga City VT" part is so that someone might read that and not get themselves frustrated trying to do something like that. I'm not looking for cheeze, we all got plenty of that, I'm just trying stuff out and trying to properly assess it so that people who might enjoy giving it a whirl or two can sorta gauge where it's enjoyed best. If you take Michael Bay to VT NC, you're in for frustration, but if you take him to regular NC you can get it done relatively quickly in a way you might not have done before with preps/race gameplay you haven't tried before. This could give you ideas that you can apply elsewhere or make an item which isn't your go-to thing "click into place", and turn a pedestrian run into a worthwhile half-hour.

I really hope I'm not killing anyone's motivation, though. I still play regular runs, enjoy purist a lot, and VT is the "real game" only for a few standout things. If I say "not for VT" it's more like "not VT compatible" than "not VT worthy", because some aspects of it mess otherwise completely legit and enjoyable strats up.

- The thing I *hate* about it all, well, the thing that's up for discussion, is that I'm not sure how to properly express congratulations and give accolades whenever I see runs which make me want to clap - and even though I'm doing chtulu stuff in my blog thread I still get tons of kicks out of elven rogues, halfling assassins and all sorts of screwy things which feed me ideas for my shennanigans.

Btw, I'm totally looking for an opportunity to crack Dwarven Thieves, if anyone's up for a bit of looking into those, I'd be blowing trumpets for pure inovations (and making notes) even if there's cheeze involved.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby Lujo on Wed Feb 11, 2015 7:52 am

One thing some VT experience does to you is ween you off preps for regular runs, though. It's not that VT is the "real game" it's that preps are kinda overkill. Low-prep and purist regular difficulty is highly legit, and the strange effect is that once you realize that DS gets VT's for you, you don't feel so inclined to HAVE TO prep it on every run. And then regular difficulty becomes fun again ^^

Alternatively, VT extends the life of regular dungeons by a lot. People aren't running it often enough because they're scared of it, but VT Havendale Bridge, Berserker Camp and various other places are as nasty as any Vicious Dungeon. A VT PQI on any of those, especially with a hipster build, is bound to raise eybrows all around.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby caviar on Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:03 am

I can't do much but chime in here. After finishing VGT with most classes a couple of months ago I was so stuck in the routine of prepping DS+patches+compression+quest items+convenient god of choice that I did it on more or less every single other run I attempted. Partially due to habit, partially just because the general resist-stacking formula works so consistently, checking off completion in regular dungeons like a machine, one rainbow border after another. This post-VGT syndrome caused me to quit the game for about half a year after losing any will to keep grinding class badges (which, as TheSchachter said, isn't a bad idea at all to replenish diminishing interest :) ). I've started breaking out of my VGT prep bubble now, doing what Lujo is doing and starting fresh and going VT for more or less everything seems like a great way to rediscover the game.

It's sad to say it, but no matter how good a game it is, it's bound to run out of steam at some point (although it's presently looking be in the four-digit realm of played hours for me, with the sheer amount of options for pushing yourself to your limits with tricky VT PQIs and whatnot). Some new content would definitely help keep interest up, with every present challenge having been empirically proven as beatable. Something like a new set of soul-crushing triple quests would be nice, but even then it'd probably be a matter of days until the collective mass of QCF forum addicts broke through them.
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Re: Three things I *hate* about Desktop Dungeons

Postby Lujo on Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:50 pm

Just don't go trying to randomly VT Cursed Oasis XD
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