Time to talk about religion again

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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Lujo on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:23 pm

DISCLAIMER: I will not follow this up with another textwal even if I don't agree with whatever anyone posts below. This is quite important, I think.

In the light of the recent developments and discussions and consensuses about the potions and apparent problems with the learning/difficulty curve, we might want to revive this thread in a different light, and a different focus.

The way non-hardcore vets react to nerfs and nerf propositions seems to be related (conciously or unconciously) to a lack of awareness of what tools the players have at their disposal, namely gods. Trisword adjustments, class adjustments, postions adjustments - stuff that the vets could probably agree upon as needed to some degree seem to cause way too much consternation among the non-vets. And I'm not blaming them, but I'm also 100% sure that even if my (or any vet's) assesments aren't correct - our intentions aren't to screw them over, and if we though we'd be doing that we wouldn't be suggesting such things.

While the vets have generally hailed the introduction of a "vicious mode" as awesome (I've went through shock on different grounds, but even I'm enjoing the freshness of the challenges), some of the "not-quite-crazy-enough-vets" and likely the majority of human beings has trouble with the difficulty that comes from transitioning from one boss to 2 boss dungeons.

My assesment is that this has to do with the fact that vets mostly know their way around gods, while the non-vets don't. And this has been a problem forever, and might be the underlying reason the game seems elitist - whether anyone likes it or not, the way gods are introduced probably isn't working well enough. I'd say evidently, but I don't know the metrics (though I'm pretty sure).

I've been complaining about this from day one - the complaints are too numerous to list, but my TT rampage and all talks about "worshiping him just for the gold", the complaints about there not being an equivalent of the alpha pactmaker (a real no-downisde intro god) from the get go, the complaints about the specific way pactmaker is introduced into the game from the recent writeups, the priest complaints all point to this problem. And I've explained in what is a textwall but a generaly well recieved one even by the poeople who don't like me much, that the whole monk business can also bee seen as something which stemmed from this same problem. It's in the potions thread.

Anyway, however late in the development we may be, I think the devs should at the very least reconsider the ways the gods are introduced - whether by adding quests, whether by making their subdungeons not spawn altars which genearally cause a run to crash and burn creating a horrible first impression, but idols as Avatar suggested, or simply moving the pactmaker (with possible adjustments) to the place of a deity you start out with (he has mixed reception even from the vets who use him often).

I also think we need a better way to make pepole figure out they actually need gods then just plonking down a second boss at the second directionals. The way things are now it only causes people to lean more heavily on all the things which make their game playable without mastery of the gods, and that causes balance issues and unsatisfaction later, thus diminishing the rewards of learining how to handle gods. Not to mention that unless you have the current trisword or a small handfull of otherwise needlessly above the curve features unlocked the semi-faithless gameplay is obviously fataly frustrating.

Also, having a class caled "Priest" who is most likely to mess up a run by touching any altar is very definitely sending a wrong message to the average human being. The average human being will take a very long time before he gives GG another chance if they try him out with a priest. I can clearly remember the nasty shock that came from losing all my glyphs, items and potions out of nowhere and did not under any circumstances want risking that happening again - this put gods way on the bottom of my priority list, while they should've been on the top of it, and delayed my development as a player for months and months. Whatever the reasons for the decision to stick with "no early gods" and "no god friendly early classes" I think the downsides of this approach being so strict are severely underestimated.

Also, if allowing people to master the gods too soon or easily would lead to an unsatisfactory expirience - I can assure anyone that the VICIOUS mode challenges even the most decadent and seen-it-all vet, and can probably be depended on to keep anyone who finds the regular game too easy busy for ages (once it's tweaked).

Anywho - I think this, rather than tweaks to particular boons is something that needs the most consideration. Can everyone share, if they remember, their first expiriences with gods, what gods are still puzzling you (when you see someone post obscure feedback about beating something using particular gods) and so on...
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Bloggorus on Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:42 pm

I spent ALL of my time using gods originally with the wiki page open. Checking constantly.

The only reason I stuck with them was because they offered awesome stuff for playing by metagame rules, which I have always enjoyed.

I now know all the gods rules off by heart, but during the time I have been playing this game there has been little to no progress in informing players of the rules of gods from within the game.

I understand the idea of 'show don't tell' in games, but this is seriously ridiculous. State the rules of gods in the gods screen or lose players, that's the ultimatum.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Darvin on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:03 am

I can clearly remember the nasty shock that came from losing all my glyphs, items and potions out of nowhere and did not under any circumstances want risking that happening again

This is another issue; deity punishments are generally nasty. GG is the worst of the bunch.

I spent ALL of my time using gods originally with the wiki page open.

This indicates to me that we should be betting on the codex to solve the problem.

State the rules of gods in the gods screen or lose players, that's the ultimatum.

Perhaps there should be a quest to fill out the codex? Players would be required to find out which actions please and displease a deity to fulfill the quest. The game gets to show and not tell, the player regards these trials as part of the quest, and at the end of it all he gets a shiny codex telling him all about his pantheon.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby The Avatar on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:05 am

I don't know. Some punishments are obscure (like EM hates lifesteal). That would be quite difficult to get, and until you did, you are barred from the codex.
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I speak chaos.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Bloggorus on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:08 am

Darvin wrote:Perhaps there should be a quest to fill out the codex? Players would be required to find out which actions please and displease a deity to fulfill the quest. The game gets to show and not tell, the player regards these trials as part of the quest, and at the end of it all he gets a shiny codex telling him all about his pantheon.


Already exists; god puzzles. Add codex entries for these and the job is done.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Darvin on Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:31 am

The Avatar wrote:I don't know. Some punishments are obscure (like EM hates lifesteal). That would be quite difficult to get, and until you did, you are barred from the codex.

You wouldn't be barred from the codex, you just wouldn't be able to see entries for likes/dislikes you hadn't triggered yet.

Already exists; god puzzles. Add codex entries for these and the job is done.

I think these are more effective in theory than in practice. Having gods as part of natural play may be a better way to approach this, though learning about them in the puzzle packs should be a viable alternative if the player wishes.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Sidestepper on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:02 am

Yeah, the deal with the puzzles is that they don't so much as teach as test your total mastery of the game. It's like being handed Finnegan's Wake as part of your introductory English Second Language class.

The way I learned the gods was by screwing around with selective unlocks, back when alstar spawns didn't have the same restrictions that they do now. I was able to create reproducible god combinations and use the now defunct Scout:Altar to quickly experiment on an on-demand basis.

I don't think I ever would have figured out Tikki Tooki without such methods. He's best entered late, and any time I found him in the wild where it would have made sense to join him was also a time that I had already gotten invested in the adventure and didn't want to spoil it by making dangerous experiments.

We could really use a sandbox feature where we can experiment and learn. Right now you can't just decide you want to learn Tikki Tooki. You have to just play and hope he appears. By the time you find him, you've likely lost interest in the whole enterprise.

And yes, I know about the altar preps and no, they don't count. Prepped Tikki Tooki is a totally different experience.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Ach Wheesht on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:07 am

Bloggorus wrote:
Darvin wrote:Perhaps there should be a quest to fill out the codex? Players would be required to find out which actions please and displease a deity to fulfill the quest. The game gets to show and not tell, the player regards these trials as part of the quest, and at the end of it all he gets a shiny codex telling him all about his pantheon.


Already exists; god puzzles. Add codex entries for these and the job is done.


About this: If the god puzzles are intended to teach about the gods, they are way, way, way, WAY too hard. I've beaten all the vicious dungeons (except gaan'talet) multiple times, and I haven't touched most of the puzzle packs. I only did the halfling/gnome packs cause the rewards are so useful.

I'd love to see some really simple god challenges, which dont put pressure on performing the exact right steps in the right order to win. Even just a walkthrough scenario ala the intro dungeons for each god would work wonders for introducing them - signposts highlighting where and when to use the various god boons.

Teaching the boons is important: I ignored binlor, mystera, dracul, earthmother and tikki for ages because i couldn't find good uses for the boons (except draculs blood swell). GG, taurog and JJ are better in this manner, though the latter two have their own problems (GG for me was always the easiest god to use: piety for normal progression, cheap humility, protection is really useful. Just convert out before potion use.)

The way the puzzles introduce the boons is offputting: they feel very situational, and punishment can seem very hard to avoid. This enforces the "too difficult to use" concept people keep talking about, i think. Have some other method of teaching the gods, and use the current puzzles as "bonus" material.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Bloggorus on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:11 am

Darvin wrote:Perhaps there should be a quest to fill out the codex? Players would be required to find out which actions please and displease a deity to fulfill the quest. The game gets to show and not tell, the player regards these trials as part of the quest, and at the end of it all he gets a shiny codex telling him all about his pantheon.


Has anyone played Waking Mars? That has an amazing codex that you unlock as you discover things. Creates an amazing metagame of experimentation and 'collecting' all the different bits of information about game mechanics.

--> http://toucharcade.com/2012/03/04/waking-mars-review-tiger-style-has-done-it-again-this-time-with-botany/

Probably the benchmark for this kind of thing. I'll shout the devs five bucks to buy it and try it, I would love to see something similar in DD.
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Re: Time to talk about religion again

Postby Lujo on Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:18 am

I've mentioned that the game would really benefit from "Achevements" - god related ones especially. Pick Enlightment and win 5 times, Pick up all Mysterea's boons in a single game, Pick TT at lvl 1 and win, Use clearance X times in a game.

And I also have high hopes for the codex in this regard - just knowing there are blank spots to fill and having a clue about where to look for "stickers" for your "album" would point people in all sorts of directions they're supposed to be looking in but currently obviously aren't.

And the pactmaker subdungeon is probably the worst way to introduce a player to a god concerning all that's been said - he manages to potentially mess up 3 runs, especially if someone is allready tenatively trying to figure gods out.
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