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 dislekcia on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:07 pm

OneMoreNameless wrote: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.


I can show you design notes for the Bazaar that had exactly this functionality ;) Here's why we didn't go with it:

It leads to worse scumming than the current locker/backpack system. You're misunderstanding how most items are earnable from a single specific dungeon run - beat a Silver challenge and the item that challenge originally unlocked is added to your "carried out" item pool when you leave the dungeon. Or you could beat a vicious dungeon for its reward item. The only items that need to be scummed for in a similar fashion to what you're describing above are initial shop pool items (Bloody Sigil, etc) which have a high chance of appearing in any shop and sub-dungeon specific items, which truly are rather rare.

We have done everything in our power to reduce scumming - playing 1 run is a lot less scummy than playing multiple easy runs. It's also a lot less boring playing a Silver challenge or vicious run, so that engages with the actual gameplay of DD much better. Even with Merchant items, people would have better chance of finding items by scumming shop runs with a Tinker anyway due to the higher number of shops than Merchant item slots. Players would still feel like they were scumming Merchant items with otherwise worthless (to them) wins, so it doesn't solve the problem of their gameplay time losing value.

Encouraging different combinations is what the Backpack is for: Players are more likely to see an item they might have a neat idea around in an actual dungeon run (again, larger sample size, plus sub-dungeon item chance, plus influence of shop vetos preventing undesirable items in shops), so having 3 or even 5 "extra" items doesn't help with that too much.

What do you think the impact of allowing players to pay 50 gold to "re-roll" their Merchant items might be?
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby gjaustin on Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:33 pm

dislekcia wrote:
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.


Yeah, I do like the current locker situation and I think it's a pretty good compromise. The gold cost to recover the item provides a nice consequence, without requiring any kind of time wasting activity.

You'll notice (and I mentioned this in the other thread), that I'm not one of the people asking for infinite locker slots. I'm happy with the number we have, I just wish that the later ones were a little less expensive so that trying to unlock them was actually feasible.

I think the reason people are asking for more slots more forcefully now, is that you just added two new items. I don't have exact numbers, but I'd say you've easily double the number of items while leaving the size of the locker the same.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby booooooze on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:05 pm

@dislekcia I don't really have a problem with the current system. Wouldn't mind if the bonus locker slots were a little cheaper, but whatever. I just did a run of BM silver to test your point... bit of a challenge; took two tries (last I did it, BM wasn't restricted to 7 mana to start). Not as fresh in my mind as the vicious dungeons, and I suspect that would hold true for many silvers. But I think the point is fair: if you want a specific quest item or vicious reward, go get it.

There is a slight issue with dev logic when it comes to consumable items. You can't really experiment with Zot, for example, without scumming for it, but there aren't a lot of them, so it's not that big of a deal.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby dislekcia on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:48 pm

Hmm. I'm not sure we tested BM Silver since the mana pool changes. Did it feel like you got lucky on the run that made it? I'll take a stab at it tomorrow and see if we need to poke that. Thanks for the reminder :)

booooooze wrote:There is a slight issue with dev logic when it comes to consumable items. You can't really experiment with Zot, for example, without scumming for it, but there aren't a lot of them, so it's not that big of a deal.


True. But that's why the Bazaar preps exist. Prepping Elite Items really helps a lot if I'm looking for a run based off of a single item pickup strategy. Although I do tend to play out those runs in the "Aequitas-style" rather than scum for things like Zot or Yendor straight up.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby OneMoreNameless on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:57 am

dislekcia wrote:The only items that need to be scummed for in a similar fashion to what you're describing above are initial shop pool items (Bloody Sigil, etc) which have a high chance of appearing in any shop and sub-dungeon specific items, which truly are rather rare.

Serious suggestion: Add an additional quest for each of these items as an alternative to scumming. Each quest could require a themed and perhaps challenging combination of class, dungeon or badge etc. but otherwise function as a standard dungeon run and so be easy to code. The quest itself would unlock after the player both has access to the required classes or etc. and has picked up the item at least once.

Incidentally, I don't really like the idea of the backpack as a shifting alternative to locker slots because it encourages meta-gaming in the middle of your run. Ie. if you see item X and want to prep it for a different run then you have to work around getting and not consuming it during this run, whereas I'd rather just focus on winning that run.

dislekcia wrote:What do you think the impact of allowing players to pay 50 gold to "re-roll" their Merchant items might be?

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

Postby booooooze on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:59 am

dislekcia wrote:Hmm. I'm not sure we tested BM Silver since the mana pool changes. Did it feel like you got lucky on the run that made it?


No. My approach has always been a goblin with a bear mace; I forgot that on my first try. Maybe that's not how it's "supposed" to be done, but it's how I've always done it.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby dislekcia on Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:59 pm

OneMoreNameless wrote:
dislekcia wrote:The only items that need to be scummed for in a similar fashion to what you're describing above are initial shop pool items (Bloody Sigil, etc) which have a high chance of appearing in any shop and sub-dungeon specific items, which truly are rather rare.

Serious suggestion: Add an additional quest for each of these items as an alternative to scumming. Each quest could require a themed and perhaps challenging combination of class, dungeon or badge etc. but otherwise function as a standard dungeon run and so be easy to code. The quest itself would unlock after the player both has access to the required classes or etc. and has picked up the item at least once.

Incidentally, I don't really like the idea of the backpack as a shifting alternative to locker slots because it encourages meta-gaming in the middle of your run. Ie. if you see item X and want to prep it for a different run then you have to work around getting and not consuming it during this run, whereas I'd rather just focus on winning that run.


There's a chance that we'll look at making shop items obtainable via specific puzzles. That solves the problem much more neatly AND fits in with our desire to teach specific game skills via more puzzles.

OneMoreNameless wrote:
dislekcia wrote:What do you think the impact of allowing players to pay 50 gold to "re-roll" their Merchant items might be?

Crappy gambling?


Keep going... How would players respond to that option?
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby Lujo on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:43 pm

Well if you repurpose the bronze challenges to drop the relevent thing after a player has completed the gold challenge, you'd give us a way to easily access 12 items at least, in a non-scumming fashion. If it allready works that way, make a note of making it more clear because one of the guys who's spent the most time playing the game wasn't aware of it, hasn't made the connection and has never found a reason to replay a challenge after being done with it (short of litterly forcing myself by making a new profile). One of the few things I've tinker-scummed for on this profile are the viper ward and soul orb - it never occured to me to redo the puzzles, as the entire concept of the way the locker works had been something that in my head "had no chance of surviving beta testing". Litteraly.

Heck, I even had a thought of replaying a challenge for explicit testing purposes here and there, but could never justify the time investment compared to picking any of the million other runs and shrugged it of uneasily as "volunteer work can only get them so much".

Not to mention that the prospect of having to go through all the challenges again is probably the no.1 reason a bunch of other vets haven't made new profiles in ages. Top 5 at least.
Last edited by Lujo on Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby paplaukes on Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:51 pm

I'll give the question a shot.

If I wasn't in a mood to experiment I'd likely ignore the merchant item.
If I was, it's likely I wouldn't be happy with either the items rolled or gold sink to reach the ones I have in mind.
But damn gambling is addictive... :) I'd reroll just for the heck of it sometimes.
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Re: The horse is not quite dead: Locker space and fun

Postby dislekcia on Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:26 pm

Lujo wrote:If it allready works that way, make a note of making it more clear because one of the guys who's spent the most time playing the game wasn't aware of it, hasn't made the connection and has never found a reason to replay a challenge after being done with it (short of litterly forcing myself by making a new profile).


So you didn't know that doing a Silver challenge again re-issued you with the item that it originally unlocked?
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