D.E.R.P.

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The Daily Expeditition Re-enactment Program is a daily challenge complete with score metrics. It was introduced with the Enhanced Edition (beta testing began 10th March 2015, official release date 20th April 2015). The daily challenge resets at Midnight GMT.

You may also want to take a look at the related new D.E.R.P. Streakbuilding page.

Accessing the D.E.R.P.

The D.E.R.P. becomes accessible by unlocking the Audit Zeppelin in a Kingdom. After the Audit Zeppelin is unlocked, it shows individual statistics, as well as allows access to the daily D.E.R.P. challenges and to the Leaderboard. The D.E.R.P. can also be accessed from the main splash screen without loading any of the kingdoms; any gold award received for completing the daily challenge will be added to the most recently played Kingdom's treasury. The daily challenge resets at midnight GMT, and although runs may be attempted even just before the cut-over, any run not finished and reported before midnight will mess up the results for the given day. Each D.E.R.P. can only be attempted once, and the game communicates with the Daily Servers when the daily is started; and when the daily is finished. If the connectivity fails, the server may not acknowledge completion of a given daily, or it may not allow the attempt altogether.

D.E.R.P. Overview

D.E.R.P. selects a random map, and a random class/race combination; as well as offers four choices of preparations, each selectable from a set of three. The map can be any Normal or Hard map except for Tower of Gaan-Telet; the class/race combination can be anything (including monster classes; the Enhanced Edition Chemist and Rat Monarch classes; and the Goatperson is also playable this way, even though it is normally only available as part of the Goatperson DLC). The preparations can be almost anything that are available from fully upgraded kingdom buildings. What makes the preparations very unique is that some of the normal rules governing preparation choice do not apply. For example, it is often possible to prepare multiple preparations from the same building (that are mutually exclusive during normal dungeon runs). Items that are normally very rare in shops, such as Item: Orb of Zot Orb of Zot, are also significantly more common as daily preparations.

In addition to the level, class, race, and available preparations being seeded random, it is also the case that the stores, glyphs, monsters, subdungeons, and altars are seeded random. This means that which gods you get is randomly decided for everyone once and for all when the D.E.R.P. is generated by the host server. If you read about someone else's run, your run will have the same gods, monsters, etc. The extra/removed glyph from more/fewer glyphs will be the same, the item swap from Quest/Elite Items will be the same, Conjunction will add the same god, and prepared altars will remove the same god (if the prepared god wasn't already present). A spoiler-free run will leave the player at a mild disadvantage, but every D.E.R.P. is winnable regardless and many players are eager to discuss their findings in the forums.

The D.E.R.P. resets at Midnight GMT. Any ongoing attempts that have not yet completed at this time are counted as losses.

Preparation Effects unique to D.E.R.P.

Because the D.E.R.P. allows combinations of preparations that are usually illegal, there are a number of unique interactions and approaches available to players here:

  • Preparing both Extra Glyph and Fewer Glyphs will keep the number of glyphs at 5, however will increase their conversion value to 130 points.
  • Preparing multiple altars is possible, and each prepared altar will spawn relatively close to the starting location. Preparing four altars on a non-Crusader is possible; however, only three of the prepared altars will actually spawn in the dungeon. There is no way of knowing which one of the four prepared altars will not spawn. All prepared altars - even the one not showing up - will carry their normal preparations penalties.
  • The ability to prepare multiple altars means you can ensure there are more than one within close proximity to the dungeon entrance, allowing you to immediately desecrate one god to fuel another.
  • Bet on Boss will work as normal; gold is carried out from the dungeon as normal, as well as the trophy values are awarded as normal. Note though that no items can be kept from a D.E.R.P. run.
  • It is sometimes possible to prepare non-lockerable items like the Item: Dragon Heart Dragon Heart or the Item: Sticky Stick Sticky Stick.
  • Individual potions are never available as preparations (though the Apothecary Bazaar preparation can be), however the Apothecary has an extended potion offering during the dailies, and it includes the three potions normally only available as preparations: Item: Quicksilver Potion Quicksilver Potion, Item: Reflex Potion Reflex Potion and Item: Can of Whupaz Can of Whupaz.
  • Preparations that impact the shop item pool (namely, Quest/Elite Items, Shop Scroll, as well as any individual shop items prepared) can make the items available significantly different to different players, even though the same random seed is used for all runs. For more information on this check out the Shop Spawn page.

Other Challenges

Attempting to build a long streak is only one of the ways to compete in the daily; many players pursue other challenges over and above merely winning the dungeon. Here are some common exploits:

  • Fastest Time
  • Most Experience
  • Least Experience (it's harder than it sounds...)
  • Most Damage Dealt
  • Most Piety
  • No Preparations

It's possible to pursue a combination of these, producing an overall impressive entry even if you're not the best in any one category. Sometimes players do unique things that don't appear on the score-screen. If you do something cool, why not share it with the Desktop Dungeons community?

Strategy

Each D.E.R.P. can only be attempted once. Since the primary overall player ranking metric is the current win streak, a lot of players lean towards the "safe" options when playing. Since the D.E.R.P. never selects vicious dungeons or Gaan-Telet, none of the dungeons in rotations require exceptional endurance. As a result, reliability is favored over power, and short-term boosts are favored over long-term boosts.

Infamous Classes

The preparations system for D.E.R.P. is extremely double-edged. While you might get multiple Elite items or rare gems like Item: Dragon Heart Dragon Heart, the choice of preparations lacks reliability. For example, the Class: Rat Monarch Rat Monarch's crucial Item: Bear Mace Bear Mace is highly unlikely to spawn as a prep, and the only other possible source is a subdungeon. Class: Monk Monk can't depend on having Item: Martyr Wraps Martyr Wraps, etc. Practicing some Purist runs would serve a D.E.R.P. player well.

If you're looking to maintain a win streak, practice some of the trickier classes. You can also cancel out of a D.E.R.P. on the preparation select page and return later, allowing some time for practice runs.

Class: Goatperson Goatperson - No goat is ever safe! Pick as many early-game preps as possible, and thank your lucky stars if you get to start out with Item: Amulet of Yendor Amulet of Yendor. Kill popcorn early and often for food, and leave a glyph or three on the ground for CP. Pay attention to god rotations and avoid punishments.

Class: Rat Monarch Rat Monarch - Practice this class without Item: Bear Mace Bear Mace. Be ready to use gods to the fullest.

Class: Chemist Chemist - Aside from being one of the newest classes, Health Form and Mana Form are devilishly tricky and turn end-game planning on its head. Be on the lookout for gods with refills; if there are none, you will want to achieve the highest XP level manageable with a level-up heal and some blackspace left over. Always remember that potions are largely expendable.

Class: Vampire Vampire - Another sophisticated class. He depends greatly on blood cows and defensive stats.

General

Altars

  • Despite his sometimes debilitating random punishments, God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu is perhaps the best altar preparation / early worship deity (if available). The free Glyph: WEYTWUT WEYTWUT glyph offers a reliable way to de-clog the map; and the sheer power offered by his God boon: Boost Health Boost Health / God boon: Boost Mana Boost Mana help a lot with leveling; and the extra refills granted by God boon: Chaos Avatar Chaos Avatar and God boon: Last Chance Last Chance help a lot during the boss fights.
  • God: Binlor Ironshield Binlor Ironshield is an acceptable alternative to Jehora on cramped maps, especially Dungeon: Shifting Passages Shifting Passages and Dungeon: The Labyrinth The Labyrinth. While Glyph: PISORF PISORF solves many problems, farming up Glyph: ENDISWAL ENDISWAL early is the safest bet, and the piety will easily earn itself back. On maps like Dungeon: Havendale Bridge Havendale Bridge and Dungeon: Berserker Camp Berserker Camp, though, the main bottleneck is indestructible and Glyph: PISORF PISORF/Glyph: ENDISWAL ENDISWAL is unreliable.
  • God: The Earthmother The Earthmother, while being an excellent deity overall, will make you want to petrify plants and/or opponents. Be very careful not to wall yourself off by being over-zealous in pursuit of Earthmother piety. On mazelike maps like Dungeon: The Labyrinth The Labyrinth or Dungeon: Shifting Passages Shifting Passages just stay clear of her if possible. God boon: Entanglement Entanglement and God boon: Clearance Clearance boons are particularly helpful.
  • Although he offers no free glyph, the God: Glowing Guardian Glowing Guardian offers boons to boost Health and Mana like Jehora, as well as boons to refill; and perhaps most importantly, God boon: Humility Humility helps with leveling and often makes reaching L11 stats possible, and it is one of most crucial boons for players aiming for the top of the XP leaderboard.
  • God: Taurog Taurog is a risky deity to worship full-time, since maps with a random boss have a chance to be physically resistant. On the other hand, he's always a safe piety farm, and Item: Skullpicker Skullpicker can easily jump start a run if desired. Additional boons should wait for knowledge of all bosses to be safe, though, as the inventory slot and max MP losses will double-nerf your casting potential. The mean time is also great for clearing out Magic and Mana Burn enemies before joining Mystera or Undead before joining Dracul.

Items

  • Item: Namtar's Ward Namtar's Ward is a very safe preparation if available, the death protection it offers goes beyond its normal utility, and also helps prevent accidental losses ('misclicks'). It is also worth 100 CP when converted, which often outclasses lesser preparations options on its own.
  • The Item: Amulet of Yendor Amulet of Yendor can be very useful, helping to out-level monsters and take a lot of pressure off the leveling; alternatively, it can be preserved until the boss fight to trigger an extra mid-fight level-up.
  • Items that give you Trait: Slow Strike Slow Strike - like the Item: Platemail Platemail or the Item: Really Big Sword Really Big Sword - should generally be avoided unless absolutely necessary. A lot of extra hazards are opened up by losing the first strike against lower-level opponents.
  • Item: Patches Patches is almost never worth it during a Daily. It can teleport the character into a very tight spot, either between tough monsters or even into completely walled-off areas.

Other Preparations

  • Apothecary is a strong preparation in the dailies because the extended potion assortment can make up for the non-customizable potion kit.
  • Elite Items may be worth it just for the shot at having an Item: Amulet of Yendor Amulet of Yendor in store. If you manage to pair this with Item: Translocation Seal Translocation Seal, the item gained will likely be worth two preparation slots, especially if the alternative preparations are mediocre.
  • The Fireball Magnet preparation is extremely useful in the daily, as accessibility of the glyphs can be highly variable

Fastest Time

The default sorting order of the daily leaderboard is fastest time, making it one of the more competitive metrics.

  • Your score is based on the time that the server receives confirmation of your victory, not the moment you slay the boss. As a result, you should finish the run the instant you land the killing blow to avoid racking up unnecessary extra time.
  • Try to ramp up quickly, even if it means attacking sub-optimal monsters or using a potion early. While bonus experience is valuable and conserving resources is important, you need to weigh that against the time you spent looking for ideal victims.
  • Be the proverbial tortoise, not the hare. If you click too quickly you're just likely to misclick and die. It's far more important to keep a steady pace and never stop.
  • Always think and plan ahead. If you know what you're going to do, you won't waste time planning down the road.
  • Skip subdungeons such as the Vegetarian Vampire that require careful consideration and planning.
  • On easier difficulty dailies, the prime determinant of a good time is often how quickly you find the boss. Exploring the map swiftly is very important in these cases.
  • Knowing exactly when to begin the boss battle can be very tricky. If you start too early you might undershoot it and fail to kill the boss, but if you keep leveling up you might be spending time for powers and abilities you don't need.

Most Experience

One of the most common challenges, Most Experience has a very different playstyle than fastest time. Where the former requires rapid exploration and targeting non-ideal enemies to keep pace, Most Experience requires you to carefully take your time and find the ideal enemies to maximize bonus experience. As a result, fast times usually perform poorly in the experience category and vice-versa. If you are pursuing one of these, you should decide which one before you begin the dungeon run.

  • Earning bonus experience and finishing every monster in the dungeon are obviously important. Take your time to ramp up sensibly and find the ideal enemies.
  • Obviously you want to kill every monster in the dungeon, if possible.
  • Deity choice can be paramount to raising your experience earnings. The God: Glowing Guardian Glowing Guardian offers the Humility boon, reducing your level and increasing bonus experience. Both God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu and God: The Earthmother The Earthmother offer you ways to get bonus experience, with slow and petrification. God: Tikki Tooki Tikki Tooki offers God boon: Tikki's Edge Tikki's Edge, which over the long-term allows for lots of bonus experience. GG is best early and TT is good late in the run as long as you can farm a lot of piety while saving lots of popcorn.
  • God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu offers God boon: Chaos Avatar Chaos Avatar which increases your level by one. Interestingly, if you are LV9 or below this does not count as experience earned, but if you're LV10 when you activate it then the bonus does count as experience earned. This makes Jehora a very powerful capstone for for most experience if you can manage it!
  • If it's available, the Glyph: ENDISWAL ENDISWAL glyph is unmatched for its ability to boost your experience gain
  • The Item: Amulet of Yendor Amulet of Yendor is a very good item to begin with, but if you're going for most experience there is almost never a situation you can be without it when it's available.
  • Similarly, the Elite Items preparation could end up making Item: Amulet of Yendor Amulet of Yendor available for you. While it's not possible to know for sure, the items it grants are often very useful anyways so it's not a bad prep.

Most Damage

The third column, damage, has the fewest number of competitors. However, there are still a few who compete in this category and produce impressive scores.

  • Try to level up while exploring as little as possible. You need as much healing as possible, so conserve blackspace.
  • Once you're a decent level, begin fighting monsters but don't kill them, simply leave and let them heal. Even better, if it's a Monster: Shade Shade it will teleport away and lifesteal you later for overheal. A Monster: Vampire Vampire can also be knocked back into the unexplored territory to heal it.


Least Experience

An unofficial challenge, sorting by least experience is difficult to read since losing runs may be sorted above winning runs (and obviously suiciding at the 1st level is unimpressive). However, there are a small number of players who sometimes do compete for this metric, and it's surprisingly difficult to get. Least experience requires absolute minimalism, taking down the boss at a low level. Because many of their approaches are similar, it is possible to pursue both low experience and fast time simultaneously. Least experience is usually regarded as redundant with least damage, since with few exceptions gaining experience requires dealing damage to monsters.

One of the biggest challenges with a least experience run is that the boss(es) will award a large amount of bonus experience for having killed them. Using deity boons to increase your level can counter-act this, as the level increase provided by God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu and God: Dracul Dracul do not count towards your total XP earned. This allows you to earn less bonus experience from killing the boss, making these gods absolutely mandatory for a lowest experience score.

Sometimes on particularly easy dailies players will achieve the absolute theoretical minimum possible experience. This, intriguingly, makes lowest experience the only metric where it's realistically possible to hit the theoretical "best" possible score. Below is a description of how to get the lowest possible experience in order to compete. The amount may vary depending on whether Dracul, Jehora Jeheyu, or both are present in the dungeon. The numbers are also slightly different for a Class: Fighter Fighter due to the class having a modified XP table.

One Boss

This is the simplest case. You should always kill exactly 15 XP worth of monsters to reach 3rd level before slaying the boss. If God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu and/or God: Dracul Dracul are available then activate Chaos Avatar and/or God boon: Blood Curse Blood Curse before killing the boss to reduce the bonus experience. If neither are available this results in a minimum value of 69. If only one is available you will end with 57 experience. If both are available you will end with 47 experience.

This approach is the same for the Class: Fighter Fighter, but with slightly different values due to his different progression tables. You only require 13 experience rather than 15 to reach 3rd level, but you also gain 1 extra experience point when killing the boss. As a result, the Fighter's minimum experience is exactly 1 point lower than for the other classes in every case presented here.

Two Bosses

In this case, your approach differs slightly based on the deity availability.

If neither God: Dracul Dracul nor God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu are present, then the lowest possible experience is 99. You must kill exactly 30 XP worth of monsters to reach 4th level before slaying the first boss. This earns you 42 experience for a total of 72, making you 5th level. Slay 3 XP worth of monsters to reach 75 experience and the 6th level, then slay the boss for 24 experience, totaling 99.

If either God: Dracul Dracul or God: Jehora Jeheyu Jehora Jeheyu are present, then the lowest possible experience is 86. Again, kill 30 XP worth of monsters to reach 4th level then activate your boon to reach 5th level. Slaying the boss will grant you 32 experience, raising you to 6th level with change. Then kill the second boss for 24 experience.

If both deities are present, then the lowest possible experience is 71. Kill exactly 5 XP worth of monsters to reach 2nd level, then activate both boons to promote to 4th level. Slaying the boss will grant you 42 experience, taking you to 6th level, then slaying the second boss awards 24 experience.

The approach with the Class: Fighter Fighter is very similar regardless of which deities are available. Gain 13 experience to reach 3rd level. Activate any boons available to increase your level prior to fighting the first boss. Regardless of which combination (if any) of boons you used you will end up as a 6th level character after killing the first boss and should proceed to immediately slay the second boss. If neither god is available then this results in a minimum possible experience of 93, if only one is available your minimum is 81, and if both are available and used the minimum is 71.

Three Bosses

If neither JJ nor Dracul are available, then the lowest possible experience is 123. This works almost identically to the 2-boss scenario. Slay 6 additional XP worth of monsters after killing the second boss (reaching 7th level) then slay the final boss for 18 experience, totally 123.

Infamous D.E.R.P.'s

Every D.E.R.P. to date has been winnable, with at least some players winning. However, a few have been notorious for their high difficulty or deadly traps.

March 14th 2015 - Half-Dragon in Magma Mines The Half-Dragon runs into a problem with the magic-immune boss in this dungeon. His regular attack deals magic damage, and his only way to deal physical damage is with knockback. Normally this is only an inconvenience, but if the boss happens to be cornered by impassible tiles he can't be knocked back into anything, and knocking things into him can't deal a killing blow! While people who prepared Taurog were able to force him to move due to his cowardly trait, and some people figured out that the WHUPAZ potion can be used to deliver 1 point of damage after he has been sufficiently weakened to finish him, most people were faced with a situation that couldn't be won by any conventional means.

May 14th 2015 - Rat Monarch in Shifting Passages The second highest mortality rate of any D.E.R.P. to date, only 8 players won this difficult dungeon. The randomized boss was Bleaty, which proved difficult for the Rat Monarch to actually land a hit against. Part of the difficulty was that the Enhanced Edition was relatively new, so players had not yet had much time to become accustomed to the Rat Monarch and Shifting Passages is one of the most difficult dungeons in rotation.

September 3rd 2015 - Goatperson in Rock Garden The highest mortality rate of any D.E.R.P. to date, only 7 players won this difficult dungeon. There were very few monsters close to the entrance, however each corridor was blocked by plants. Initial piety generation was very difficult. Since Earthmother was one of the (non-replacable) altars, most players had to endure at least one of her punishments for clearing one of the corridors; players who did not prep the Wicked Guitar had to endure another. Most players simply starved to death on this one. Those few players who have won this DERP are believed to have read the spoilers posted on the qcfdesign forums.