... It's pretty damn amazing that Dungeons of Dredmor is as balanced as it is. I confess I've almost never seen a game centered around do-it-yourself skill lines retain meaningful player choice. What I mean by that is that in most games with these sort of "skill trees" (in lieu of pre-packaged character classes), there is usually one or two completely and hideously broken skill combinations. They're just that effective. Now I know some of you might cite particularly overpowered DoD builds but there is still pretty much an ocean's depth of difference between DoD and what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the situation with games where you can mix and match tons of builds, and the developer inevitably has to balance the game around player effectiveness. Guess what happens? A lose-lose-lose situation. Either you leave the broken synergies alone, you attempt to balance the synergies, or you set up the whole game with the assumption players are using overpowered synergies. It's like a game developer Kobayashi Maru. You either give your players a "win the game free" card, you engage in a battle of balance whack-a-mole (which quickly becomes a resource black hole for the devs), or you basically turn the game into an extremely unintuitive and oversimplified version of class picking. That last case may very well be the worst because you not only defeat the point of having a skill tree system but you actually wind up further away from your original goal of more player choice -- and now on top of everything else your game now has an extra layer of unintuitive to no real benefit. Getting back to Dungeons of Dredmor... pardon my language, but holy shit I cannot believe you guys made this work. Granted, DoD does side a bit on letting certain extremely powerful builds have a much easier time with the game than just picking any at random. But that's not necessarily a bad thing since it's enough to make players feel good for their ingenuity, but the performance difference isn't so dramatic that people default to cookie-cutters after their first two or three characters. The first five to ten levels will still challenge you regardless of your build anyway. In other words right from the beginning, the player has a lot of interesting and meaningful choices, but none of those choices significantly alter the experience at first. This does lead to a bit of a syndrome where you basically do the same things at the start of every game, regardless of character, but that's not necessarily always a bad thing. This is where the RNG can shake things up nicely. To really put in perspective how well DoD succeeds at having a skill tree system, you have to consider that the game is beatable pretty much regardless of the skills you brought. It's almost like the roguelike equivalent of Maniac Mansion (wow I feel old referencing that). Thanks to certain deliberately overpowered items and tactics, you can pretty much push your way through the last parts of the game regardless of your character. That's a stroke of brilliance, even if it does mean certain character builds (melee-oriented in particular) wind up obselete in favor of these game-ending solutions. It doesn't matter, though -- it still preserved a sense of player choice for the majority of the game, and well past the point most players bore of their characters anyway. Amazing job, Gaslamp Games. I just wish more people in game design circles recognize what was accomplished here.