Persistent elements

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Persistent elements

Postby Waterd103 on Tue May 07, 2013 12:20 pm

Ive been playing the alpha version of the game on recommendation. I loved the idea, except for a fatal flaw. Persistent elements. In the alpha version there is only one though, Gold, But i hear more are comming. However even if it's one, gold, to me is a fatal flaw. I like my games to be self contained runs.

In a minor flaw I also hate unlockables and would like an option to unlock everything from the start. However, this one is not a big deal, since at least when i unlock everthing i can finally play the full game. But persistent elements are going to be there forever.
I would like a mode with ZERO persistent elements. At least in my particular case that is going to be the difference between becoming a regular playing and not playing ever again.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby dislekcia on Tue May 07, 2013 1:45 pm

We completely re-engineered the way gold works across runs in the beta. The way people were farming up in order to have their max gold amount before trying a "serious" run was rather annoying. In the beta you have an amount of Kingdom gold, but only a specific amount enters the dungeon with you each time, depending on the level of your bank. Shop item costs have been extensively re-balanced in order to make this approach work...

I think you'd probably feel worse about unlocks in the game, seeing as DD is full of those now. Unlock classes, races, preparations, gods, items, quests and dungeons. I can understand that you may dislike unlocks, but the way we've designed DD, they drive a lot of progression and tone the skill-curve down to something slightly more manageable (so players aren't bombarded with a billion things to learn right from the word go).

We feel it's more fun that way. You'd have to ask current beta players what they think about that... ;)
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby Waterd103 on Wed May 08, 2013 5:03 am

In any case unlocks are a minor bug, however the persistent elements are critical. I do not seem to understand if you did remove the persistent elements or not, since i don´t know what kingdom gold is at all.

About the unlocks, that is not a deal breaker to me, however maybe i´m too old but i´m suffering the ¨current¨ era of game design where everything is unlockable. Before you didn´t need to unlock the full game i could play tetris, minesweeper, starcraft or counterstrike at full without having to unlock anything, now everthing is locked in everygame and is really driving me nuts.

I hope at least this game have a mode where there are exactly 0 persistent elements once everthing is unlocked.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby keithburgun on Wed May 08, 2013 5:23 am

I agree strongly with waterd; persistent elements that increase the player's power over the course of his career are a very bad idea. This means that the game is effectively becoming EASIER, despite the fact that the player's skill has increased. Why would you *want* this to be the case? This is one of those things that really hurts the longevity of videogames in general, IMO.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby dislekcia on Wed May 08, 2013 12:43 pm

DD's Kingdom is all about persistence. This is the "menu" that you choose where you want to go adventuring from and how. As you unlock new races, classes, items, preparations and dungeons, the Kingdom changes and that determines the starting situations for dungeon runs that you go on. In some cases, players can alter their intial starting situation by equipping specific preparations at a cost of Kingdom gold, things like starting with a fireball glyph for a fee or paying the Blacksmith for a starter sword or shield, etc. This stuff is primarily designed in order to prevent (or at least minimise) the impact of scumming on the game. Personally, I'm inclined to think that if players are scumming for favorable starts, they didn't find the game too easy ;)

There are only two Kingdom elements that could be seen as persistent for the player: Gold brought into a dungeon, which is capped at 35 gold maximum and only available if you have a Bank in your Kingdom - if you run out of Kingdom gold, the Bank can't extend you a loan, so shit gets harder; And your locker items - when you exit a run, you have the choice to store the items you would have sold in the Adventurers Guild Locker instead, making that item available for future runs, at a cost to your Kingdom (not in-Dungeon) gold. If you die while using a Locker item, you have to pay a replacement fee to make that item available again.

keithburgun wrote:I agree strongly with waterd; persistent elements that increase the player's power over the course of his career are a very bad idea. This means that the game is effectively becoming EASIER, despite the fact that the player's skill has increased. Why would you *want* this to be the case? This is one of those things that really hurts the longevity of videogames in general, IMO.


This is a problem we noticed with that iOS clone of DD: The dude copied our concept of preparations (which we'd only written about at that point) by giving players weapons as rewards for finishing dungeons with each class. That totally broke the game's difficulty progression by making later runs easier in exactly the way you're talking about.

We've avoided this problem in DD a number of ways, most notably through starting the game at a player-positive handicap, so everything is easier when you start out. Then, as you unlock things that add power-gradients to your potential, the game tones down on that handicap so that everything gets harder: Shops unlocked? Game gets tougher. Gods unlocked? Game gets tougher. More races and classes unlocked? Game gets tougher AND adds more complex, trickier monster types and abilities to the pool.

Then there's the new dungeons. There are WAY more dungeons now, things that we simply couldn't do in the alpha are in there now, roughly split into 4 different types of way to fuck with the player's expectation of how they're supposed to be playing the game. Dungeons are the game's difficulty progression, modulated by quests that ask players to do really strange/hard/tricky things. So yes, once you've got all your preps unlocked you can go back to the Den of Danger, spend 200 Kingdom gold to enter fully kitted out and utterly ROFLstomp the dungeon. That's cool if that's what you want to do, some players love playing that way. You'll probably just about break-even on that expenditure though.

But the harder dungeons, the ones that ask you to kill more bosses, deal with respawning bastard monsters, choke you out with plants or chase you down like a rat in a maze, those are where the quests will be directing you as a player at that point in the game. We don't do power creep in the normal sense, a late-game class is going to be harder to play than an early game one, not more powerful. Everything is predicated by forcing you to become a better player, then giving you more hard choices to make. It seems to be working, given the kinds of debates players have here ;)

Then, of course, once you're really good, you can pay to equip the Vicious Token that makes every single dungeon you take it into (including the "easy" starting dungeons) ludicrously difficult.

So no, I'm not crazy worried about persistence breaking difficulty.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby Lujo on Wed May 08, 2013 1:03 pm

Yep, they worked out pretty genious ways to make the game harder as you progress. One of the ways to speedrun roflstomp stuff at various points of development was to keep your unlocks to a minimum to keep the game in the state of player biased handicap for as long as possible. And "veto" slots were introduced which reduce the number of item unlocks. You wouldn't believe how much effort went into testing all this, let alone designing it. And as for designing it - the ammount of times you'll go "WTF you got to be kidding me, you can't expect me to possibly do this!" and then later get better or figure something you've been missing out and beat something impossible is unbelievable. Game's deep, man.

Just try it :)
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby Waterd103 on Wed May 08, 2013 3:33 pm

I can't just "try it" one i have to pay, second and the real issue (not that 10 bucks are really an issue, however are if im gonna hate the game)I don't care about "campaign" mode. I care about whatever is the "normal" mode (if the only mode in campaign then there is no game for me in first place). And it seems to have access to the normal mode i need to spend hours and hours unlocking stuff. So i can't "just try it"
I did try the alpha game though and outside of the Gold system, it seems Excellent. But ti seems the new game is just almost a different game completly, hard to know at this point because i didn't play it.

(btw what i mean with normal mode is the mode that you are supposed to play in regular runs, like the one that is balanced around you trying to play again forever like rougelikes in general are)
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby dislekcia on Wed May 08, 2013 4:47 pm

Waterd103 wrote:I can't just "try it" one i have to pay, second and the real issue (not that 10 bucks are really an issue, however are if im gonna hate the game)I don't care about "campaign" mode. I care about whatever is the "normal" mode (if the only mode in campaign then there is no game for me in first place). And it seems to have access to the normal mode i need to spend hours and hours unlocking stuff. So i can't "just try it"
I did try the alpha game though and outside of the Gold system, it seems Excellent. But ti seems the new game is just almost a different game completly, hard to know at this point because i didn't play it.

(btw what i mean with normal mode is the mode that you are supposed to play in regular runs, like the one that is balanced around you trying to play again forever like rougelikes in general are)


That last part? That's every dungeon outside the initial tutorials. That's how we built it all - to be replayable as much as you want.

I think the modes you're talking about as a "campaign" and "normal" might be a misconception. There's nothing like the old Lothlorien campaign from the alpha in the beta. New dungeons are unlocked as you progress as a player, those then challenge you to get better - every single dungeon is a specific kind of "recipe" for the random generation system, so you can just keep playing whichever dungeon you want for as long as you want. You pick where you want to play, with what, whenever.

The only things in the game that depart from the normal gameplay in the alpha are the beta's wholly optional puzzle and challenge systems.

Refunds are easy :) If you don't like the game, just ask. There's also quite a few Let's Plays of the beta around the web as well, if you'd like to see what the game is like now without risking a purchase.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby keithburgun on Wed May 08, 2013 5:07 pm

So yes, once you've got all your preps unlocked you can go back to the Den of Danger, spend 200 Kingdom gold to enter fully kitted out and utterly ROFLstomp the dungeon. That's cool if that's what you want to do, some players love playing that way.


Why is there an option of "utterly ROFLstomping" the dungeon, ever? What value does that bring to this system which is otherwise a thoughtful strategy game? In that situation, where you have such a power, the game is reduced to a no-brainer chore, it seems to me.

And if I don't do this, I'm essentially creating a house-rule for myself to make the game harder. It's like "hey, Zelda isn't easy! You don't HAVE to pick up the heart containers, you know." I really am against this philosophy of "if you want it to be hard, make it hard yourself", because I feel like that's forcing the player to do some of the work of the designer. It's no longer "is this a good move", instead it becomes "is this a good move, but also, I should make sure not to bore myself". That's the designer's job! The player shouldn't have to stop making strategy considerations to worry about whether he's turning the game into a flat chore. I want to be able to play MY BEST, use every tool available to me to play the best I can, and yet it's still difficult and interesting.
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Re: Persistent elements

Postby berpdreyfuss on Wed May 08, 2013 5:35 pm

The ROFLstomping only applies to the early dungeons which are easier. If you go there fully prepped it's more like playing the beginning of Zelda with all the heartcontainers.
There is a difficulty curve and in my opinion it is very good. The vets will ROFLstomp easy or even hard dungeons without preps. Because they learned about the mechanics of the game. And there is a lot to learn which a beginner just can't know right away, so it makes sense for the easy dungeons to be there.
Your last sentence describes where I am right now with the vicious dungeons, I go in fully prepped and still struggle very much. For others it might be the vicious vicious dungeons.
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