The high end potions and the difficulty curve

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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby xspeedballx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:56 pm

They aren't training wheels. They are game features. Alpha did not have preps as we know them. It had farming tons of gold to bring to a dungeon. This game has preps. The game is designed around the preps. The game is not "too hard" because of the preps. The game is too hard without them. The difficulty takes in mind the preps(remember hard dungeons didn't always have a random boss, boost in difficulty because of preps). What you are facing is that the game does not have a smooth difficulty curve once you become good at the game. There are only brick wall challenges or artificial ones left. That might be a design problem. That is up to devs. Preps make the game have a normal difficulty. Better preps require a higher level of entry to get to. What NEEDS to be documents is how to get these preps, how to best use these preps, and the optimal circumstances for all of them, so that the new user experience is complete. And if you think a guide on strats is instant win for any new user you are sorely out of touch.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:17 pm

A guide on strats had me beating stuff in alpha without actually being good at the game. I'm still not good at it in the way q3 or Avatar are - all the game really thaught me is to spot noob-tubes and get through stuff with minimum thinking. I'm just really aware of this and don't feel proud about being sucessful, unless I'm intentionaly avoiding such things.

And yes, what you say is true to a degree, but if there is a way to make it work without the really over the top preps, then that's the way to go. Plently of ways of going about it, but some of the preps are simply too much of a leg up. If it has to be so - fine, system thing. Or time constraints. Or lack of will. Or whatever. But if it doesn't - let's see about making the whole thing as good as it gets?
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby xspeedballx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:57 pm

So clearly you are better at this game than I am. Because guides for alpha nor beta have ever got me to the point of beating things I had no right beating. Generally I tried to apply strategies.. misunderstood them horribly.. learned one thing out of it.. hobbled through a bunch of attempts and succeeded somewhere else.

Good example is it took me about 3-4 tries to get the fairly well laid out Acid Caster strat that was placed recently to work. I am sure the whole thing made perfect sense down to the choices to those who have every piece of the game's function memorized but it took me a few tries. Even after that I only got it to work on shifting passage and can't quite figure out how to apply it to every hard dungeon. Maybe I am just dumber than the average player? I don't know. However "noob" guides are not always the complete hand holding they seem. Sometimes "degenerate" strategies teach you more about how things function than standard ones. Tri-sword "abuse" has taught me more about advanced potion use than ever before having a tri-sword. I spend the majority of my play time basically ignoring my potions until I get to the boss. I got parched on far more encounters than I ever needed to. I came to realize later that there is a resource gain in blowing pots and "advanced" pots early on for high level kills and how to recognize those. I learned it because tri-sword gave me an advantage to learning it.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:04 pm

Probably worth a read, there's actual points in here (ones not herd before).

Well, I was going to make video guides to all piety spikes - Taurog, Binlor, GG, TT, Drac - but then I thought, "wait a second, once you figure some of this stuff out you can beat anything!". Truly, if explained adequately enough, once you know how to use gods the game becomes a great deal easier (it's not just the preps that've changed the game bias towards the player). I actually taped and rendered hours of Gaan'Telet vids only to scrape them because simply showing how easy it was to go bloodswell spam made the whole thing a big letdown.

If I felt like a really evil, careless person, I would've made easy to understand guides to all the stuff that let's you sort of breeze through the game once you got the basics down. At some point the game starts assuming that you have all the gods unlocked, and if you don't - you're screwed. If you do but don't know how to use them - you're screwed. If you do and know how to use them - you beat stuff really hard. If I made vid guides, it'd be a job, but say someone makes easy to understand vids for god use - it'd become obvious how much power the game assumes you have. To someone who simply isn't informed about gods, the game is probably pretty horrible. And finding that stuff out seems to be difficult.

This is what separates what we call vets from newbies - not necessarily skill, or time, or intelect or anything - simply knowing what gods can and can't do for you. It's why I can say "you don't really need the Tri-Sword", or "Tri-Sword is too good" - non vets won't even know what I'm comparing it to. Someone suggested God finding Quests - awesome idea! I personally wouldn't go near the HARD dungeons with no gods at my disposal, and some of them without very specific gods.

Now, as for concrete stuff - what making me sad here is that Bloggorus is right. There's probably a "vicious cycle" of wrong feedback. Game's too difficult - this justifies degenrate strats - they make everybody's life easier - everyone's so relieved that they just got thorugh the horrible Havendale Bridge or whatever - noone reports that the game is too hard - people advance onto the next tier - don't have the skills - the noob-tubes get them through, or if they don't people get frustrated.

I just don't think we'll ever get enough proper feedback unless something is done about degenerate enablers. I don't mind the learning function of the Tri-Sword - I'm just saying that it, by it's existance in the current state, creates a silent justification for higher overall game difficulty than there would be if it were less powerfull. If anything, the vehemence with which paplaukes is defending the potions actually points in that direction. If the game can really make whoopases irrelevant, and it can, it think it should. The real deal isn't if I, or Blog, or you, are right about the potions - the real deal is why is paplaukes so worried, and why are sensible adjustments (from the perspective of both the devs, and guys who have a good overall knowlegde of the game) seen as such hostile moves towards the less expirienced guys?

As far as I can tell - Trisword lets you play Faithless and Warmonger (if my million warmonger PQI's are saying anything), warmonger means no gods but Taurog, which is the same deal as being someone who hasn't unlocked the gods. So do the whoopases - they give enough power to be able to do faithless and warmonger. But as opposed to gods they don't have a prep balancing penalty, and as opposed to glyphs they can be prepped on every run. What they don't have is real variety or number, so the entire support for playing the game without proper knowledge of gods is boiled into a few things which work well enough on their own, and if you mix gods into it - then you're crossing the streams.

Just my textwall.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby xspeedballx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:26 pm

Balanced might be better but is balanced always more fun? Whoopaz is fun. Acquiring it and prepping it IS fun. Using it IS fun. The problem that seems to hold is that there is no scenario in the game outside of Purist where you can't prep and use it to win. Honestly the badge game seems to be somewhat designed to break up strategies and non-healing/mana pots should count against parched. That alone would create enough though when working towards those badges to learn to play without them.

Every badge and every dungeon should not be completed with every strategy, and every strategy should not have the same strength. That is boring. It also leads to the exact problem you don't want which is using the same strategy every time. Can you utilize the same 3 strategies to "finish" the game? Probably. Can you get every badge and every class race combo? Not likely.

Honestly learning Gods *IS* key. It is pretty key in most roguelikes. It is pretty pricky to say "Well I don't want to give you this info because it makes the game easy but without the game is hard, suffer." Say what you will say. More information is better than less ALWAYS. Not everyone will abuse strategies. Not everyone will understand on the first try. Even a step by step video. When I used to use the Alpha wiki I would often read part of a strat to get me thinking and a place to start and ignore the rest. Does everyone play like that? No. But I can't be the only one.

In the day and age we are in games don't succeed on obscurity. Especially not mathy games like this. Games succeed by community, and to a certain degree our community looks elitist and aloof. The Alpha community seemed open and sharing. How did that happen?

Lastly the comments I see from the developers seems that they are as aware of many of the strong strategies as you are and in some cases stuff that has not been thought about yet. Lots of rogue likes have allowed for far and away powerful strategies with work to put them together. Is tri-sword powerful? Yep. Can it win you a lot of dungeons once you get it and learn to use it correctly? Yep. Is it insta-win? Not right away. Is it easy to get? Not necessarily. You are talking about completing a specialized version of hexx ruins which I already described is not that easy.

If you think strategies are degenerate and game breaking why don't you spend time "concisely" documenting:
a) the strategy
b) the scope of places it can implemented
c) difficulty to implement
d) materials and quests needed to have completed TO implement it.

This will give a clear idea I think of what the real problem is.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby gjaustin on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:17 pm

Lujo wrote:Wall o' Complainin'


I lost you somewhere in there. It's like we're playing different games. Particularly where you start talking about needing Gods to beat Hard dungeons.

And xspeedballx is making a very good point. If I picked up the game and now and game into the forums that you complaining about "newbie crutches" in every thread, I'd leave and never come back. If I wanted to argue about things like that, I'd being playing Super Smash Bros.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:32 pm

xspeedballx wrote:It is pretty pricky to say "Well I don't want to give you this info because it makes the game easy but without the game is hard, suffer." Say what you will say. More information is better than less ALWAYS. Not everyone will abuse strategies. Not everyone will understand on the first try. Even a step by step video. When I used to use the Alpha wiki I would often read part of a strat to get me thinking and a place to start and ignore the rest. Does everyone play like that? No. But I can't be the only one.


No, no, no, you're right! It sounds dickish to me, too, one of the first things I suggested when I started posting was the god puzzles (dev's had plans for those on their own), or god tutorials. But the gods being purposefully obscure is something they, for reasons I can only speculate on, decided is unquestionable. So much so that the whole "priest can't be an actual prest because no starting gods" is something I actually understand (was bumming for scout: undead for other reasons).

Whatever the reasons (can be several), the game goes out of it's way to keep them obscure (mybe it doesn't look like that from the dev perspective, but it obviously does from the user interface). And the entirety of the "vet" perspective sort of comes down to knowing you way about the gods. Once you do - game is (mostly) too easy. If you can remember what it looked like - places that you find hard make you want to complain because you know how much power you've been given. If you don't have/know gods - you hit a brick wall.

But there isn't real middle ground tbh. A vet decides to show the newbies how to do a vicious dungeon run purist - he scums for GG, and all his pro play (excellent though it was) sort of doesn't mean much compared to him simply knowing that a certain god will give him an overwhelming advantage. Taurog, the god every newbie probably loves, the first guy you unlock who makes your game worlds easier? The vets want him buffed because that guy doesn't compare to what the other ones do. Now, once you unlock all of them, and get to really know your way around them, the game becomes really, really easy. It's not skill, it's just having them around and understanding what they do.

If all this info was available from the get go I think the game, the way it is and is gonna be most likely, would lose quite a bit of it's draw. God's are practicaly the only thing to explore, and are quite worthwhile in that regard, and you're also probably expected to explore them. However - because they can get you into trouble for random stuff, and big trouble - they have inherent balancing, which makes the alternatives "better". You can't screw yourself over with the Trisword, or rather, you can, but then it's you who screwed yourself over not some god. You don't start out with them, most people probably don't even want to try them out after several bad occurences.

And so Trisword and the potions and momentarily overbuffed glyphs seem necessary, when in fact they're not. And all this is surely intentional, so I feel like explaining it and describin it exactly as it is would be against the, arguably dickish, but not unwise, nature of the game.

And the features like the trisword or the potions can be handled differently - they need more variety in the "can be picked up in the dungeon" department, there could be more "warmonger support" or "faithless support" stuff so that a cap or reduction in availability doesn't mess up the game for whoever doesn't know his way around gods. You can't really make the game challenging for someone who's unlocked the gods and knows their way around them, and have the same game be doable for someoone who doesn't - you can, but if you combine gods and badge hunting noob-tubes you get lvl1bosskilrogues.

TLDR - way gods are handled makes game frustrating for newbies, and creates a large gap that's currently being filled by a few above the curve features. Anyone combining gods and said features can beat anything. In most cases gods are enough. Most of this is intentional. Some guys wonder if also necessary. I think making guides for this would be against the strictly enforced rules of the game itself, and also impossible to do in a way that both honest and flattering. Pretty much it.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby The Avatar on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:49 pm

Gods are the key to winning hard, but only for the first few times. Based on newbie feedback, the consensus seems to be they're too intimidating. They need a better introduction. The first time a newbie hits a god, they go through a difficult trial (that generally makes the run harder, if not destroying it completely, and then they are stuck with a confusing entity that could randomly screw you over (start with TT, take to long to kill a monster). Overall, not a positive first experience. The puzzles help a little, but they're not enough. Now the new player is scared of the god and will not use it's altar, afraid it will kill their run.

Here's my suggestion. First, when you complete their trial make the god give you an idol (like the gate scroll, but not convertible). When you come back to your Kingdom (if your guy dies, you still salvage the idol) the explorer's guild has an exclamation point over it (like the guild with locker items). When you click on the explorer's guild it highlights the god's pack. When you complete the pack, then the god appears in-game. If the pack seems too difficult and people aren't unlocking gods, you could do a god challenge, kind of like the paladin challenges. You play as a guard and start commited to the god of the challenge.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby xspeedballx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:55 pm

I have unlocked all the gods. I know what they all like( Ithink? I usually check the wiki). I still mess them up constantly. Knowing what they do, and heck even knowing how to use them does not even begin to mean you will be able to apply them correctly every time. Funny anecdote. I took an Honor's physics course in high school. My father was a physics teacher. I knew the forumala. I could explain them every time. I failed every one of my tests. Because the teacher would put problems that expected you to mix and match formula's with no prompting. I couldn't do it. He would explain it hte next day and it seemed obvious. I would go home and look at the problem again? Still couldn't do it.

Same thing happens here. You can explain some strats on how degenerate they are. All the great things you do with them. You can show me a video and I may even be able to pull off exactly what you did in the video if I found the same monsters around the same time. Doesn't mean I will be able to recognize it. Doesn't mean I will be able to apply the acid caster strat to something other than shifting sands. This applies to everything in the game, pots, gods, twi-swords. Knowing how Gods works is not enough, having ALL of these tools is enough for an average player to make the game work. A vet is not a player who knows how to use Gods. A vet is a player who knows how to recognize the tools they have as soon as they have them and how best to apply it. They know what tools to look for for a situation. Look back at my thread recently where I believe Darvin tore apart the mistakes I made(I cried a little.. j/k). *I* am certainly not a vet, just a long time player. I can tell you I often NEED all of these features just to complete the quests. I need to reference the wiki for god notes, and I appreciate greatly the non-vague strategies posted even if I only understand pieces of it still. I have no hope to complete most of the PQI's I see. Most badges seem out of my league still. Someday they won't. Someday I will have a handle on recognizing things enough to start doing badges. After that I will have a handle enough to start handling PQI's in general. Later? Vicious normal. Later? Vicious Vicious! After that I can come to the forums and complain I am bored with a game I spent hundreds of hours playing! YAY!

The point is, you have little left to learn and what you know now seems obvious, and you are now looking at the game as a game, not as an experience. Very few games hold up when you look at there gameyness. You come to realize how artificial most walls are. How straight the hallways actually are(was ff13 really more linear than most jrpg's? nope, it just stopped pretending).

I am highlighting my experience because I still routinely find difficult what many of you find easy. I still forget about mechanics, (gg giving magic damage? ALWAYS FORGET). I understand resources management, and understand EVERYTHING being a resource and I succeed because of that because I am terrible at managing resources but good at finding them. I never use Whupaz correctly. I almost always save my quicksilver/reflex(this is changing nwo that I finally have TT again). I often forgo gods because I can't remember punishments when I pick them up. I despise GG because I like potions. I am a bad player. But I can still feel successful and smart any way.
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Re: The high end potions and the difficulty curve

Postby Lujo on Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:56 pm

The Avatar wrote:Here's my suggestion. First, when you complete their trial make the god give you an idol (like the gate scroll, but not convertible). When you come back to your Kingdom (if your guy dies, you still salvage the idol) the explorer's guild has an exclamation point over it (like the guild with locker items). When you click on the explorer's guild it highlights the god's pack. When you complete the pack, then the god appears in-game. If the pack seems too difficult and people aren't unlocking gods, you could do a god challenge, kind of like the paladin challenges. You play as a guard and start commited to the god of the challenge.


I suggested (almost) this exact thing what seems like over a year ago. Before I went berserk, even, I think. On these same grounds. Was sort of told to pissorf (might've been for legit resons, or misscommunitcation).

@XspeedballX: - I get you point, you're sane. You're not bad because you don't play like q3 or avatar. I don't either. I have a question - what do you expect "getting better" would consist of?
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