Design notes (wild west update)

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Design notes (wild west update)

Postby Signal on Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:46 pm

The game's started to take form enough that I'd like some discussion about its overall form (which will probably include minor spoilers).

My biggest gripe when comparing it to the alpha is how differently I play. The tile exploration mechanic was probably the most innovative aspect of the game, and certainly my favorite, since the downsides and rewards are so hard to quantify. In the alpha, my general starting strategy was to explore very carefully, conserving as many tiles as possible, whereas I now start off effectively in "vampire-mode," running around and opening up most of the map before fighting anything. The first method is far more fun, with each step cutting into your most precious resource, while the current situation makes the early game makes it feel like a chore, sweeping away black tiles and cleaning up bonuses. Seeing most of the map at the start means there aren't many surprise discoveries to adapt to over the course of the dungeon, making the late-game less enjoyable too, especially with the ability to scout shops and altars (neither of which have particularly strong alternatives).

Obviously I have a choice in the matter, but many of the design changes push me in this direction. Dungeons are so much more open than they were in the alpha. Whereas you might have been able to explore 1/3 of the map without a kill before, you can now see virtually the entire map. Many more tiles are available to explore, too, due to fewer walls and the addition of subdungeons. Seeing 95% of the map needed glyph help in alpha. Now it's practically guaranteed. While I've had some irritating moments getting stuck in the labyrinth, it reminded me of how much I missed that claustrophobic, constricted style of game (though even there you still end up with tons of tiles to view unless rex is creating problems).

Unfortunately, fixing any of this would require some sweeping changes, so I'd be curious if I'm alone here or if other people have had the same issues (and dislike them).
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby PeaceChaser on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:48 pm

Rex was a very clever addition to the game. Something new, different, challenging, enjoyable, and rewarding when you finally complete it.

I did notice that I play, as you say, in "vampire-mode" more often now. Still, are you sure it's not just for a few dungeons, and with certain classes? I'd do that with a rogue every game, because I don't give a hoot about regeneration. I wouldn't dare try that with a monk or BLUDTOPOWA dependent run, or one where I'm using the fire heart or corrosion.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby GG Crono on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:43 pm

I haven't found this to be the case myself. Barring one or two very specific strategies, my gameplay style, at its core, has remained similar to the alpha gameplay, and I've tanked more than once due to running out of dungeon to explore.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby q 3 on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:30 pm

Several of my go-to strategies in the beta depend on (or aren't hampered by) lots of early exploration - Mana Leak, CYDSTEPP Rogue, and various Glowing Guardian shenanigans (Humility + CYDSTEPP or high resistance, level 1 Enlightenment, etc.) all tend to involve searching for a particular item or altar early on, and then getting lots of one or two-kill level ups that allow continued progress without needing much more than the full restore upon level up. Mana Leak in particular is often wasted if used before the full map is revealed, which means I'm often sitting on 100 piety very early on (especially with BLUDTOPOWA) and nothing to spend it on unless I'm going a pure fireball route. But there are definitely viable strategies that involve more limited exploration early on.

I think a large part of it is how nasty the vicious and several of the hard dungeons are, requiring specialized strategies that don't play well with the "take advantage of whatever you find" nature of the alpha. The limited availability of gold and the relative lack of high powered items is a factor, as finding a great item early on in the alpha version could completely shape your strategy. Also, the increased power of most of the deities (and the fact that all of them except Dracul and to a lesser extent Taurog require early worship to get enough piety to fully exploit them) means that I'm often holding off on converting glyphs, getting kills, etc., until I've found my deity of choice.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby Signal on Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:00 pm

PeaceChaser: At least for me, it's been pretty constant, even in the exceptions you describe. As a monk, I sometimes take down a couple higher level dudes early by just chipping away and out-regenerating them (though that feels a lot like plowing through black spaces to me) and then not even need as many unexplored spaces as I would otherwise, due to the regeneration increase. Also, I almost always scout altars and take GG with monk, so humility's making my regen bonus less worthwhile in the early game. With fire heart, I'm happy running to the boss to start him burning, then tagging him again every few squares while still exploring the map since the bonus doesn't care if the fireball's level1 or 10.

It might be that race is mattering a lot more, since I'm virtually always human or orc, who care a lot about getting their item conversions done early, especially compared to the potion races.

GG Crono: Good to know. It's not like I never run out of dungeon, but something like the subdungeon with the level5 guard just gives you so many extra spaces that are guaranteed to be empty and therefore ideal to save for the end that it's frequently not an issue at all.

q 3: I think your points about the vicious dungeons and deities are right. While my approaches are different, I'm often specializing a lot too, which sort of bugs me.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby booooooze on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:25 am

In the alpha, all of the challenge dungeons were beatable with all classes. I'm not convinced the beta vicious dungeons can be done with more than a handful.

But I may just suck.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby bla0815 on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:00 pm

You may rest assured that every vicious dungeon is beatable with every class ;)
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby Deadman on Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:02 pm

booooooze wrote:In the alpha, all of the challenge dungeons were beatable with all classes. I'm not convinced the beta vicious dungeons can be done with more than a handful.

But I may just suck.


Quite a few of them I just can't be bothered trying. Especially the one with 100$ resistance to both physical and magical. I enjoy a challenge and all but some of this stuff just sucks the enthusiasm right out of me.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby fall_ark on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:17 am

Deadman wrote:
booooooze wrote:In the alpha, all of the challenge dungeons were beatable with all classes. I'm not convinced the beta vicious dungeons can be done with more than a handful.

But I may just suck.


Quite a few of them I just can't be bothered trying. Especially the one with 100$ resistance to both physical and magical. I enjoy a challenge and all but some of this stuff just sucks the enthusiasm right out of me.


The Magma Mine boss? He's got two bodyguards you know...and they said specifically that you have to kill them to get near their boss.
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Re: Design notes (wild west update)

Postby Wargizmo on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:51 am

booooooze wrote:In the alpha, all of the challenge dungeons were beatable with all classes. I'm not convinced the beta vicious dungeons can be done with more than a handful.

But I may just suck.


Once you unlock all the top tier items I believe everything is beatable, the dragon shield for example is ridiculously overpowered, as you can pretty much max out resists with any class. A lot of it comes down to luck though i.e. what you get in shops and what gods you manage to roll. Not every dungeon is beatable if you have bad luck.
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