The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby Galefury on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:02 am

Nandrew wrote:What happens when we move to Steam and our audience starts including the sort of gamers who'll grab DD on a convenient impulse purchase during a sale because the world's biggest digital distributor shoved it in their faces? The sort of people to whom absolutely no investment in the game experience is actually required, who are used to triple-A handholding or Popcap-style game refinements? What other factors aren't we considering? How are *they* going to react to DD in comparison to the dedicated and proactive buyers of today? How will we manage them?

Eh, many of them probably aren't even going to play DD after buying it. I wouldn't worry about it too much, as long as they buy it. I've bought lots of games in bundles or in sales and never or barely played them. If there's one game I'm interested in in a cheap bundle, I buy it. I take a look at the other games, and if they seem interesting maybe I play some of them. But many I don't. And even if I try them, if I end up not liking them I drop them as quick as I picked them up.

If you look at the steam achievement stats for games with progression achievements it is immediately obvious that this is fairly common. Two examples that might be comparable to DD are Bastion and Jamestown, two phenomenal and critically acclaimed indie games that are pretty accessible. In Bastion, you get the achievement "The Singer" a few levels into the game. In Jamestown, "Jailbreak" is at a fairly similar point in the progression. About half the players got these (I'm not sure whether players means buyers, people who have installed the game, or people who have started the game at least once). Both achievements are gotten automatically, less than an hour into the game for someone with even a little experience with the genre. The half of players who didn't get these quickly noticed the game is not for them, and stopped playing, much like I do with a lot of games.

I don't expect it to be any different for DD. Don't let it get you down, you cant make everyone happy. DD does a lot of things right: there's a tutorial, most complexity is locked away, and the puzzles challenge people to figure out some of the more complex mechanics. The codex should also help when it's done, not having to check a wiki or guide if you want to look something up is going to help a lot of players. But no matter what you do, there are going to be a lot of people who just don't like DD.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby q 3 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:25 am

dislekcia wrote:Imagine if you could play the same dungeon over and over with a particular seed. People would scum through the seeds until they found the easiest Namtar seed and then memorise that. That's the same sort of game-breaking fallout that we feel an infini-locker would bring to the game itself, it would destroy far more than it enabled. It's mildly frustrating that people can't seem to see that, but I suppose that's why we're the people making this game in the first place ;)


I guess what I don't see is why the locker is any different from the other prep slots. Why don't you change the Church to only have three deity slots, and if you want to have a different deity available to prep then you have to beat a dungeon (or puzzle) while worshiping that deity? Or change the Blacksmith so that it only has three slots and replacing an item means you have to scour random subdungeons until you find enough raw metal to craft the new item?

It's particularly baffling that this mechanic applies only to the Locker, because Locker items are easy to replace. I could actually see your point if replacing a Locker item were actually a feat, like the only way to locker an item is by completing a class challenge or whatnot. But lockering an item that's readily available in shops involves tedium, not challenge. I mean, I guess it's somewhat self-refuting to say I don't care much about this issue, but I am interested in this weird disconnect between devs and players.

Personally, I don't even see what the problem would be with having every buyable item available for purchase and lockering right from the kingdom screen, with no extra charge. Hotswapping the Fire Heart for the Trisword breaks the game? Really? Maybe I just don't get what the devs see as the purpose of preps in general. Are they meant to make the game easier? Involve less scumming? Provide a more persistent, interconnected adventure? Because having preps that grant massive power boosts for a trivial gold price (e.g. the potion preps) alongside preps that involve lots of grinding (locker) alongside preps that can actually be a huge detriment (the church preps) seems like a somewhat incoherent design, at least to me.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby Lujo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:47 am

Not to mention that altar preps made me scum 100% less, and it didn't break the game in any circumstance (edit) except where the challenge was percieved as being too difficult to warrant scuming for half an hour to get the desired altar in the first place (Binlor most often). They solved this very same problem with gods for good, and the game is better off for it.

Took them a million years too.

EDIT: And on the tedium side, relockering a vicious reward is like having an hour-long loading screen in the game, only worse because you have to be sitting there. If you have a hard time acquiring it once, you'll never let it out of your locker - which means nothing else gets lockered and experimented with in that slot, if you're a vet you might as well have a button that starts a blank black screen that sticks on your monitor for an hour. But that would be better, because you could go do something else as long as it isn't a DD run. For short runs, you only get a pre-enchanced edition witcher scene-change loading screen with variable lenght (depending on whether you find the item on the 1st or 5th run, and whether you're scumming with a tinker or a transmuter). And that game didn't sell do all that well before the enchanced edition which pretty much only dispensed with the loading screens.

Could we at least get that? A button which gets us an item lockered and freezes the loading screen for up to an hour? I'd pay rl money for that, I'm not kidding. It would improve the expirience immensly, and I'm not kidding about that, either - it's a fact. I can do a whole lot of stuff with an hour, or even half an hour.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby Naoya on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:52 am

I wonder now; what *IS* exactly the purpose of the locker?
I can think of a few, and maybe get a few from the thread, but I'd rather hear some explanation, since I keep wondering about that.

Edit : Nevermind, my reading comprehensen seemed to have failed, seeing a sthe answer lies roughly below it. *facepalms*
Last edited by Naoya on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby gjaustin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:54 am

dislekcia wrote:Yes, it would solve the problem quite nicely. That's where the locker started and how it was first implemented. People moaned and the slippery slope began.


And I think it was as bad of a design idea as having to farm gold between runs in the alpha. So said "moaning" was justified.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby Lujo on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:56 am

gjaustin wrote:
dislekcia wrote:Yes, it would solve the problem quite nicely. That's where the locker started and how it was first implemented. People moaned and the slippery slope began.


And I think it was as bad of a design idea as having to farm gold between runs in the alpha. So said "moaning" was justified.


I never farmed gold in the alpha - it looked like such a waste of rl time that if something like that turned out to be necessary I would gladly forgo any benefits and be stuck at whatever tier or level of completion it left me. I hate pointless grinding.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby OneMoreNameless on Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:41 am

Okay, so after reading the rambling design article and dislekcia's latest fearful post, it's pretty clear that the dev's decision to ignore this complaint is an emotional one rather than a logical one. The slippery slope argument being wielded is fallacious and a little silly - you are the devs, nobody is going to force you at gunpoint to implement random terrible ideas to replace the one existing scummy behaviour you're being asked to fix. All that we're hearing from you right now is moaning that players are never happy, or broad and tenuously related design theory, or arguments about other changes that are not being asked for. It is a little frustrating for me to spend an hour carefully explaining why these complaints and solutions are unrelated to your 'slippery slope' ... only to be met with a blanket statement that every suggestion has been a slippery slope and no further or specific reasoning being given.

Let me try this a different way.

Desktop Dungeons, right now, has effectively infinite locker space. The player can at any time easily prep any item that they've unlocked in stores. The cost for this prep is (let's say) fifteen minutes of scumming. This is boring for the player to do, but absolutely possible and sometimes they may reluctantly pay it to try something out.

Now imagine that one of the solutions proposed in this topic is implemented. The player will at any time be able to easily prep any item they've unlocked in stores. The cost for this prep will be an in-game resource. This will be fun for the player to obtain, and already possible but now they'll sometimes cheerfully pay to try something out.

The only difference is that you'd be explicitly asking the player for a in-game resource (gold) instead of implicitly asking for an external one (time). Nothing more or less is being allowed than in your current implementation. If anything, that's going UP your alleged slope. Heck, if you really don't want players to be able to start with their choice of items then feel free to go further and randomise the contents of locker slots after each run. That could be thematically fun and encourage experimentation. But the setup you've chosen so far demonstratively encourages mindless scumming and this is a flaw that one way or another you need to fix.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby dislekcia on Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:46 am

Lujo wrote:Took them a million years too.


...

Lujo wrote:EDIT: And on the tedium side, relockering a vicious reward is like having an hour-long loading screen in the game, only worse because you have to be sitting there. If you have a hard time acquiring it once, you'll never let it out of your locker - which means nothing else gets lockered and experimented with in that slot, if you're a vet you might as well have a button that starts a blank black screen that sticks on your monitor for an hour. But that would be better, because you could go do something else as long as it isn't a DD run. For short runs, you only get a pre-enchanced edition witcher scene-change loading screen with variable lenght (depending on whether you find the item on the 1st or 5th run, and whether you're scumming with a tinker or a transmuter). And that game didn't sell do all that well before the enchanced edition which pretty much only dispensed with the loading screens.

Could we at least get that? A button which gets us an item lockered and freezes the loading screen for up to an hour? I'd pay rl money for that, I'm not kidding. It would improve the expirience immensly, and I'm not kidding about that, either - it's a fact. I can do a whole lot of stuff with an hour, or even half an hour.


This is an example of the trollish behavior that Lujo has sunk to recently. This is a public record of the fact that he has been warned via PM.

Please note that we're totally ok with criticism of DD, that's what this forum is for. We're not ok with rampant negativity, useless post spamming and drama. We'd like to thank the other forumites for the really neat fact that we only have to do warnings like this once in a blue moon, y'all are pretty damn awesome (which is probably why we took so long to act in this case, sorry about that).
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby dislekcia on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:21 am

gjaustin wrote:
dislekcia wrote:Yes, it would solve the problem quite nicely. That's where the locker started and how it was first implemented. People moaned and the slippery slope began.


And I think it was as bad of a design idea as having to farm gold between runs in the alpha. So said "moaning" was justified.


And yet so many people loved being able to carry gold over between runs. Apparently the sense of permanence was yet another thing DD did differently to many other roguelikes... Different strokes for different folks. The hard part is trying to find a set of systems that work for both, seeing as we didn't like the results of the gold carryover. Right now, we have a system that only works *most* of the time, breaking down for a few people way late into the game's progress... We say the slippery slope isn't solveable because all the solutions so far seem to result in earlier frustration/devaluation of play for one or both of the types of DD locker users.

OneMoreNameless wrote:Okay, so after reading the rambling design article and dislekcia's latest fearful post, it's pretty clear that the dev's decision to ignore this complaint is an emotional one rather than a logical one. The slippery slope argument being wielded is fallacious and a little silly - you are the devs, nobody is going to force you at gunpoint to implement random terrible ideas to replace the one existing scummy behaviour you're being asked to fix. All that we're hearing from you right now is moaning that players are never happy, or broad and tenuously related design theory, or arguments about other changes that are not being asked for. It is a little frustrating for me to spend an hour carefully explaining why these complaints and solutions are unrelated to your 'slippery slope' ... only to be met with a blanket statement that every suggestion has been a slippery slope and no further or specific reasoning being given.

Let me try this a different way.

Desktop Dungeons, right now, has effectively infinite locker space. The player can at any time easily prep any item that they've unlocked in stores. The cost for this prep is (let's say) fifteen minutes of scumming. This is boring for the player to do, but absolutely possible and sometimes they may reluctantly pay it to try something out.

Now imagine that one of the solutions proposed in this topic is implemented. The player will at any time be able to easily prep any item they've unlocked in stores. The cost for this prep will be an in-game resource. This will be fun for the player to obtain, and already possible but now they'll sometimes cheerfully pay to try something out.

The only difference is that you'd be explicitly asking the player for a in-game resource (gold) instead of implicitly asking for an external one (time). Nothing more or less is being allowed than in your current implementation. If anything, that's going UP your alleged slope. Heck, if you really don't want players to be able to start with their choice of items then feel free to go further and randomise the contents of locker slots after each run. That could be thematically fun and encourage experimentation. But the setup you've chosen so far demonstratively encourages mindless scumming and this is a flaw that one way or another you need to fix.


Apologies for rambling, I wasn't overly happy with that post :(

How would a system that randomises a pool of items after each run not be open to scumming? Surely players would just go through single runs until they arrived at the item that they were looking to prep, right? At which point they'd have exactly the same "time tax" argument against the system.

q 3 wrote:I guess what I don't see is why the locker is any different from the other prep slots. Why don't you change the Church to only have three deity slots, and if you want to have a different deity available to prep then you have to beat a dungeon (or puzzle) while worshiping that deity? Or change the Blacksmith so that it only has three slots and replacing an item means you have to scour random subdungeons until you find enough raw metal to craft the new item?


We actually tried that sort of system with some preps: Witch potions were supposed to require monster soul recipe items (which had a chance to randomly drop when you killed any enemy) that would allow the Witch to make you a limited number of potions per batch; We even played with having an economy around those random drop items by making the Alchemist require them for monster classes (so you had to give him 10 dragon scales to play the Half-Dragon 3 times, etc).

We also had a prototype of a limited Church prep pool, funnily enough. Both systems turned out not to be as much fun as we'd thought and encouraged scumming... DD used to be a whole lot MORE scummy, actually. Designing a roguelike is almost one long battle against scumming. We kinda see it as a victory when "scumming" means completing an entire run instead of dropping in for 2 seconds and restarting. At least that has players engaging with the actual gameplay, even if they do find it trivial eventually.

And hey, that's fine. We all get tired of games. I mean, yeah, I'd love it if DD was one of those games people came back to after a cool-down period and were able to fall in love with all over again, but if all we can do is be fun for some people for a little time, then that's cool too.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby OneMoreNameless on Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:25 am

dislekcia wrote:How would a system that randomises a pool of items after each run not be open to scumming? Surely players would just go through single runs until they arrived at the item that they were looking to prep, right? At which point they'd have exactly the same "time tax" argument against the system.

That throwaway suggestion was exactly the least important part of my two posts, but I'll digress.

I'll call this hypothetical system 'merchant slots'. Merchant slots are unlocked as a gold dump, the same as locker slots. Each merchant slot offers a random unlocked item as a possible prep, and these slots are reset each time the player wins a dungeon run. If the player wanted to (quickly as they could) prep a specific item from merchant slots, they would likely have to complete a number of successful runs and might be tempted just to breeze through easier dungeons until it showed up. This is mildly scummy and on about the same level as farming for gold, but it's still playing the game as intended. Compare to (quickly ...) filling a locker slot, which I've heard involves picking the same most efficient class and restarting runs over and over while doing little more than checking stores. Same time expenditure, but the merchant slot way is more enjoyable during that time. Both slots could also be filled by chance while the player plays normally; except in the merchant slot case the player doesn't have to worry about disadvantaging their current run for the sake of carrying the item on to a different strategy in their next run, so it's less likely to frustrate them.

The greater advantage of the merchant slots though is how they would encourage trying different combinations out. Every few runs the player might see an item available to prep and think "hey, what if ..." and give it a try. It's a bit like the PQI, prompting the player to spontaneously try something new just because they can. Whereas locker slots tend to encourage sticking with the same preps (for well-discussed and not all negative reasons) and possibly missing out on some strategies as a result.
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