If you think about it... the degree of balance in this game is amazing

Discussion in 'Dungeons of Dredmor General' started by Midnight Tea, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Ok, I'll give this one more shot because of:

    It is. And among all multiple misunderstandings and misinterpretations, some of you guys actually hit the spot, but I want to clarify which spot it was, since most of you seem to be convinced that you've nailed it with stuff which didn't and is missing the point in many ways. It will include thespianising, which is indeed an awesome word, but very little malice or spite.

    1) Facepalming.

    I actually considered making a bunch of rage comics for the first time in my life, just to illustrate in a clear way eaxctly how frustrating, and why this whole thing was. Rage comics however are in general a rather condescending form of expression, so I'll just quote your own stuff at you. Why "facepalm" at Kazeto, even if he agreed with some of what I said? Because of this:

    Me: Dredmor is underneath it all a very charming skinnerbox that uses humor to sugarcoat some of this.

    Guy who made the game before a number of people at a public event explaining the inner workings of DoD: Dredmor is underneath it all a very charming skinnerbox that uses humor to sugarcoat some of this.

    Kazeto applied to the guy who made the game:
    Me: Facepalm at Kazeto for apparently not being able to tell an elbow from an ****, yet ready to practicaly stone a person to death because "OMG! You mentioned a skinnerbox in relation to a game I love, *********, and THEREFORE A WITCH!", after said person repeated something that is both obvious AND documented as being stated by people who made and sold this game to Kazeto. What in the world was my reaction supposed to be, but to conclude Kazeto must be a hugely subjective jackass?

    2) More skinnebox vs less skinnerbox

    Me: Skill inflow losing frequency and impact, thus shifting the rewards for rather bland procedurally generated microgoals in rather bland proceduraly generated levels too much into the domain of looking for loot which may or not may be usefull makes the skinnerbox nature of DoD stand out and making the game significantly more bland and uninteresting, as opposed to the portions of the game where the rewards were steadier and more about what DoD is actually attractive for (skills, the topic of the OP).

    Plenty of folks: "Who cares?"

    Me: But making default rewards for microgoals actually meaningfull to the player through a mechanism like "It belongs to the museum" every time you get one, as opposed to the reward being meaningfull only every so often would make the game less of a skinnebox?

    Plenty of folks: "Sayes who?"

    One of the introductory slides at the conference where the guy who made the game: "Stimulus is irregular, hence more effective", at 8:21, right after the "Dreadmor is a skinnerbox".

    Guy who developed the game after explaining the concept of a skinnerbox: (paraphrased just reduce necessary typing) "what skinner learned is that if the rat only sometimes gets the pellet (...) then the rat is more enthusiastic consistently about what you want him to do" and "so by making the rewards (humor) irregular we encourage you to play, and play, and play sort of building this repetitive stimulus sort of a behaivior".

    Some of the folks: So it's a skinnerbox, who cares, all games are.

    Me (looking at the OP and Kazeto and whoever):
    Then other folks: Just because you can't find use for content doesn't mean there isn't any, you're just a powergaming munchkin who's too used to skinnerboxes!

    Me: Well is there any purpose behind all the rewards for microgoals?

    Other folks:
    Me: So in other words, looking for a standard meaningfull way to get any use out of the rewards which ties into skills rather than generic consumables/ammo which is only put there so anyone can kill Dreadmor is subjective, while being completely subjective about what you do with your rewards while acknowledging they have no application outside the outlines allready put down by me and indentified by others as bland and generic (quote anyone who ever said that the engdgame gets boring) + insisting that anything but a supremely subjective approach to how you percieve rewards would ba a matter of bad taste - is somehow less subjective.

    So I am in fact being offensively subjective by being objective AND THEREFORE A WITCH! (cue torches, pitchforks and Kazeto)

    Psiweapon likes this.
  2. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Guy who made the game at the conference after explaining the skinnerboxy principles and how they shouldn't be used for evil at just before elevenish minutes in:
    Make sure you have content!

    Me: The rewards for microgoals, also known as content, lose all meaning other than the ability to be hoarded as... do it yourself achievements (looks around before Kazeto or anyone with linguistic allergies starts frothing)... excanged for zorkmids in order to buy other junk which makes some objective sense to wear but futher reduces the possibility something interesting will drop as it reduces the need for it, or converted into consumables which then serve as a failsafe for any builds not cheezy enought to help you complete the game helping to create the illusion that everything is equaly viable? But is not actually interactable with the way actual, say, conent would be?

    Plenty of people either realizing or not realizing what they are saying: Yes and this is a good thing!

    Me: But you all despize skinnerboxes?

    Everyone else: Yes!

    Me: But performing a progressivley more repetitive and meaningless task for rewards which can only gain tangible value if it is attached to it by any of you individualy is prefferable to making the same task less meaningless sipmly by upping the chance that the reward would have more tangible and diverse and interactive application?

    Enough people: Yes! And not conforming to groupthink makes you subjective, so go make yourself a mod or something!

    Me: But I'm not inherently subjective enough! I can make my own fun by doing what I've been doing for a year, making a new character when the game gets boring and doing all the stuff you keep missassuming I don't do, like using traps and stuff to clear zoos during the parts where the game still gives tangible rewards, and purpusefully making non-munchkiny builds or shooting myself in the foot to keep it interesting! I'd only invest time and energy into something like this if I knew there is demand for it, but if people wan't a skinnerbox, I'll just move on. I never ever managed to talk anyone who hasn't played a base game to try one out with a mod unless it's a "game's been offically abandoned, mod's the real deal" expansion like thing (which I've played dozens of)

    Essence: If you're looking to have a constructive effect, you need to start by being constructive -- in other words, suggest solutions.

    Me: Thinks about how exactly to manage to be constructive with reactions like:

    at simply pointing out that the sky is blue. If I can't openly diagnoze a problem which would motivate me to participate, and if groupthink is thick enough you could bounce concrete footballs off it, all I can do is look at you guys and facepalm.

    Everyone who actually agreed with something and feels I painted him in the wrong light here - I'm actually sorry. The points about the limitations of the game studio, the point about the skills system being linked with the class buffs, the thing about scalling traps... If this problem is to be remedied in a thorough fashion it would take a lot of work, and wouldn't be backwards compatible with the original game if another expansion came out which would mean more work to keep it updated, and I'd have to learn how to do it and then devote a chunk of my life to it - at the expense of may family, work, bookwriting, and all that. If I could wrangle all the reasons for why stuff hasn't been touched for almost a year and all the "this and this can't be done" and it turned out it was doable, I wouldn't mind participating, but alas, I guess it's just not ment to be...

    Oh, and for the inventory tetris - if I'm actually addicted to something in the game it's picking up any bit of junk and neatly arranging it in my pocket dimension. I find it fun in a completionist sort of way, which is why I'm a bit subjectively annoyed at the fact monsters respawn and thus mess up may "clean the place out" habit that I do for a lark. I don't really mind not being able to use any of it, but do enjoy the early levels drive to make you use just about anything not nailed down to do stuff. Which is why I never have trouble with zoos and chests of evil and open them asap - I'm ussualy so loaded with junk I can probably beat any of them at any point. It's just that picking all that crap up takes time, and then losing all of it to gain one single piece of junk I most likely cant even chuck at someone is a big subjective letdown.

    Tbh, if zoos awarded endgame ammo instead of useless junk it'd find that hilarious :D
  3. Kazeto

    Kazeto Member

    The problem of yours now is that many of your answers here seem to be based on DoD being a "skinner box" akin to games that were classified as "skinner box" ones (like "Farmville") before someone came over and said "hey guys, you know, all games are 'skinner boxes'". If we are to have a constructive discussion about that, we have to decide - either you use "skinner box" as something that means "game", in which case your arguments don't make much sense for the most part (and you could've just used the word "game" instead); or you use "skinner box" to mean what it meant before the definition was expanded to fit pretty much all games, in which case your arguments would have made some sense if not for the fact that DoD is not such a "skinner box".

    "Dungeons of Dredmor" is a game, yes, and therefore is a "skinner box" if we go by the new definition. But all this particular bit means is that game designers who are aware of it have a higher chance of making people play their games for longer time periods, and for players it does not matter that the game is labelled as a "skinner box" according this this definition (one that can be summed up as '"game" = "skinner box"') because for us it is still a game. And at the same time, "Dungeons of Dredmor" is not a "skinner box" game, according to the old definition (which does not equal the new definition and essentially equals '"game that forces you to come back regularly via giving you immaterial goals and rewards you would not have gotten if you were not playing it every 'x' period of time" = "skinner box"', look at Facebook games that force you to come back every day or even few hours or miss a reward in them if you want some examples of games that are "skinner box" games according to the old definition), and thus suggestions that make some things easier to obtain/use "because DoD is a 'skinner box'" will not be accepted if they go against what is currently established.

    As I said before, you appear to have gotten used to playing old-definition "skinner box" games and you are trying to push the changes that most of us would not want that appear to you natural because of something that I am almost certain is a misconception. Because either you are comparing DoD to Farmville and asking for changes because of that (in which case people are going to deny the connection in the first place) or you are saying that DoD is a game and therefore the changes have to be made (in which case the changes don't really make much sense from our perspective).

    And that thing also goes to show that you face palming at me saying that DoD is not a "skinner box" game is a proof for you mixing the old and the new definitions. Because you having used these definitions interchangeably is the only explanation for why your first posts were what they were. So no, I was not saying that the sky was blue, I was merely pointing out that the definition your posts seem to be based on does not count DoD as a "skinner box" game, whereas the second definition is pointless whether you want to discuss changes based on the "skinner box" status of games.

    As you might or might not have noticed, I did promise not to burst into flames and charge at you, so I don't see why would I want to label you as a witch. I merely think you are pushy with your convictions, which would (if pushed through) result in changes that the majority of players would not agree with, and all that is because you seem unable to accept that a change that just you want to be made can be made as a mod and not as an official change.

    Also, some people might consider "FACE PALM, HEAD DESK." and similar additions to posts to be insulting, so if you really want to convince people that you are not whining, I would advise you against using those. Personally I don't care, though - you aren't able to get far enough to insult me, and neither is any other person on this forum, because regardless of how I might sometimes appear about things I am trying really hard not to take things personally when there is a chance they might not be personal arguments.

    And getting to another point, it is your opinion that I am a "hugely subjective jackass". It is your opinion, and you are entitled to it regardless of whether I agree with it or not. I also won't get mad at the fact that you might or might not be holding such an opinion of me, because there's no point in getting mad. So no getting stoned to death today, and not getting stoned to death ever.

    And here goes the point where I come back to the original argument. You have made a suggestion that something should be changed "because DoD is a 'skinner box'" and you appear to have failed to see that the change is not one most players would like. There are some players who would be highly dissatisfied if such a change was made, and now that we've come to it the argument should've switched from "whether this game is a 'skinner box' by old definition and we are all idiots, or whether this game is not a 'skinner box' by old definition and you are the one stubbornly failing to see the difference between two definitions you were using nigh-interchangeably" to "how many people would be opposed to the change proposed, and why", but it has not because the stupid (pardon the adjective chosen if you do not think the little war that is happening right not is not stupid seeing as it could've been something more constructive, regardless of whomever is at fault there [though again, it is not like nothing will come out of this discussion either; it is merely that it would have been easier to get to the end if this discussion went into a different direction from the start]) war we are waging started instead.

    And here is the really important part (if you don't care about my opinion, just read the below part and ignore the rest of my post):
    So, if you want to continue this discussion in a manner that would be more beneficial for both you and us, please consider not replying to our comments directly and instead just answering the below questions (as that is what will put this discussion on the right track; please also note that the questions I ask here are not ones that I would want you to answer [because in some of my early posts I agreed with some of those and thus I would need no answer for questions related to what I agreed with] but rather ones I feel would benefit from being answered without any mention of the whole "skinner box" business so that people who are literally "against you" in this discussion would be able to see why you propose such changes and reply to these proposals with their opinions about them):
    - Why do you think that "It Belongs to the Museum" ought to be made into a public skill (ignoring the game's elusive "skinner box" status), and what do you propose to players who do not wish for it to be made public?
    - What do you propose to be added as the "goal" that you mentioned you wanted for the players to have on every floor?
    - What do you propose to be done to "Chests of Evil"?
    - What do you think ought to be done to traps to make them what you envision them to be?
    - How do you see the "skill points for reaching non-level goals" working?
  4. Rakankrad

    Rakankrad Member

    My own answers to Kazeto's questions. Note that I'm loving the game as it is already and how easily it can be modded for players to improve on the base game since the devs can't do everything (how many are they again?).

    - "It belongs" I've already talked about in my previous post.
    - Goals are tricky. I use the room mods, so I already get -some- elements of goals in the form of Perfect Obsidians.
    - CoE are fine as they are (well, when they're not "bugged" and spawning stuff that is way harder than they should)
    - The only thing I'd suggest a "change" for is for traps, personally. Add encrusts that uses them. There's a mod already that does it, but it's obviously not "perfect" and doesn't include every traps.
    - Skill points for reaching non-level goals is pointless in this game. By the time you reach floor 15, you've pretty much got every single skill points already.
    Kazeto likes this.
  5. Wootah

    Wootah Member

    I have never maxed my trees. Ever. Beat the game 3 times now once vanilla twice RotDG. just thought i would add that.
  6. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    (Agree on the stupidity of war, that was what was causing me to facepalm. I brought the term sandbox into it because games can go from "sandbox" to "famrville", to name the extreme ends, and the problem I see was that at some point of the game, which starts as a nicely balanced affair, the gameplay gets reduced a distinctly skinnerboxy routine wich bores me to tears. There are no multiple deffinitions of a skinnerbox as a concept, its just a question what other characteristics the game has - farmville has none, and dredomr has or has place for more. The jackass comment was part of a parargaph, and the context is important, but ty for the reply, and TBH it was the OP who overreacted first, and he sort of also figured out that might not have been called for allready :) And I did post the first post a bit drunk, so I didn't help much there.)

    - Why do you think that "It Belongs to the Museum" ought to be made into a public skill (ignoring the game's elusive "skinner box" status), and what do you propose to players who do not wish for it to be made public?

    1) If it were public, nobody would force people who do not want to use it to use it simmilarly how the rest of the self-imposed challenges work. Noone is forcing noone to fisk stuff, use traps or interact with vending machines - some people do, some people don't, but they all have a choice regardless of their build. If having acess to that ability didn't require you to devote a whole skill tree to it, then people who want to have it aren't one skill tree short.

    2) As I've stated over and over, the rewards for microgoals like zoo's and inconcequentia quests come in two parts - XP from killing monsters, and artifacts. Zoo's are technicaly just big groups of monsters in one place for all practical purposes (serving as resource sinks notwithstanding, but as long as you can shut the door and have any sort of AoE it lets you rack up kills in very efficent ways). Inconsequentia monsters are just spawned by inconsequentia and the XP gained is variable to non-existant depending on the type of quest.

    But the rewards in terms of items are very often very irrelevant, and items being mostly non-interactive, as opposed to many skills, and there being a limited number of slots... I've been over this at least 2-3 times in this thread, thechnicaly, named loot as rewards, within this system, offers less objective satisfaction. I'm not in love with "It belongs in a museum" as such, and I wouldn't insist on the stat* points from getting levels - just that interactive, or build-specific rewards can only be achieved dependably by having it at your disposal. Gettin XP for killing stuff is what I get for killing any stuff, getting closer to my next skill by transmuting the artifact is the only real objecitve reward the game offers after a certain point.

    Even if that skill point is "meaningless". You can still have it, maybe cast samthing with it, do stuff with it. It's a lot more interactive than the current rewards.

    It's telling that clearing a monster zoo and getting a stash of exotic arrows would be more rewarding than most of the stuff you can actually get ATM. This is of course silly, but it's allso true - if a microgoal rewarded me with giving me my ammo back, rather than by giving me an artifact which is useless to me other as a self-declared achievement or means to buy more ammo. Oh wait...

    3) If it belongs in a museum wasn't public, but the rewards for clearing zoos, ETC, came in the form of skill points which didn't increese your level, then all (or more of) the skill trees could go up to 7-8 skills with rewards spread out a bit. There'd be more skill points to go around (say 1 per floor or whatever), and math could be done to determine what can be purchase for this extra skill point depending on what level you are at. That would probably solve the issue of the "quest for procedurally generated loot lottery" gameplay being supported by the game mechanics, while allowing people pursuing more dependable and tangible goals stay interested. Not to mention that they wouldn't be stuck with archaeology, and could actually enjoy not havign to compare hats to the fedora I'm personaly sick of it :D.

    (If that isn't enough, or clear, or whatever, I don't mind going elaborate, concise, or whatever on it. Just please don't assume I didn't think about it, am overusing something, have limited myself to a specific playstyle or stuff like that, pls.)

    - What do you propose to be added as the "goal" that you mentioned you wanted for the players to have on every floor?

    Well, as I've suggested, there are multiple ways and facets that would allow for "questier" quests. If the whole "unwashed masses just want grind" thing is an issue, adding a checkbox simmilar to "no time to grind" would give people a choice. Where there's a will, there's a way. I personaly don't use "no time to grind" but I don't consider it moraly offensive for the option to exist at all*

    Stuff I came up with, but am not sure if it's feasable or not, and what it would entail:

    1) Floors giving/letting you choose floor specific perks after certain stuff is done. There is allready Krong for this, but one floor could refresh bookshelves (or spawn them) at the point in the game where whoever develops it decides it wouldn't advantage the player too much. The floor which allready seems to give more ingots could give you a simmilar crafting components buff. Hidden catches of consumables, or even small pemanent stat boosts for doing all X on a level are not a bad thing - you can ignore them, you can do them, you can even make them potentially backfire, but whatever it is there needs to be more stuff you can do in there.

    2) Diggle god statues - ok, so theyre part of the expansion pack, but couldn't they appear in smaller incarnations hidden/protected at earlier levels? Tied to inconsequentia like qests? Gargle blasters can allready give you a perma buff for a paltry sum of 400 and using up the copious booe thats lying all over the place, how about if simmilar mutually exclusive buffs (not necessarily powerfull) were present at lvls 1-10, the way diggle gods work? If you could piece togather parts of a map that "reveals them" or pick up parts of a talisman which "summons them" (which just change the way an item looks like in your inventory) that would be a nice thing to hunt around for on any level.

    3) If Dredmor could actually spawn in different incarnations every run (he's allready pretty ludicrous the way he is), or show up at various points in a dungeon, doing errands or titheing stuff to the shrines could reveal stuff about what your going to have to face, letting you choose your equipment and skill progress better - not for powergaming reasons, but because it would make a player happy that he found somethign which he knows might be plenty usefull without resorting to a wiki or looking for the exact same stuff every time. Mini quests could actually involve multiple solutions to making the shrines "talk" with hints contained in the graffiti like scrolls - one would talk if you hit it with fire, one if you tithe stuff to it, one if you bash it with an axe, one if you get it drunk enough - all the more reason to be glad to see junk despite what you decide it means to you personaly.

    4) The second part of that idea is not necessarily linked with the first one - having more meaninfull tings to interact with in the dungeon in ways wihich don't translate to "bash it over the head" in every sense, could alleviate some of the traditional limitations of a graphical rougelike (I've herd they turn into Diablo too easily :) ).

    - What do you propose to be done to "Chests of Evil"?

    To be honest I haven't a clue. What I do know is that the game offers so many solutions to anything that can jump out of there that it so much of a win-win situation atm that it's incredible. Since I'm generaly always too tempted to leve any kind of content lying about I can't bring myself to stop opening them compulsively, but I'd rather have it more diverse rewards than either a big chunk of XP from killing a monster, a nice to ridiculous chunk of XP for transmuting the artifact, or a completely free weapon at any point. It's sort of a "content killer" for me personally, as you can too often get more "value" or "reward" for finding a dwarven express post than clearing an entire floor.

    I don't know what their original purpose was, but if it was to help (or kill) struggling newbies and give munchkins everywhere something to scour the dungeon for it's doing a good job. If it could give you anything from a sewer brew to what it gives now I guess it would feel a lot better to me. (Again, personal view of it).
  7. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    - What do you think ought to be done to traps to make them what you envision them to be?

    Well, I got a couple of issues with them.

    1) Depending on your level of trap affinity (or whicheverone lets you pick them up) they completely change what category of interactable object they belong to. And they go from murderous hazard (or for some people even worse than murderous - corruptible) to a inordinate supply of both XP, zorkmids, generic zoo-clearing power and lutefisk, and with Tourist potentially food :D

    XP's the main offender here, IMO, because just a smidgeon of trap affinity on lvl 1 turns a caltrop eruptor from something that can seriously **** you over into more XP then you get for killing two guys. You have to step on it to activate it, sure, but still - imagine if weapons and armor either did damage to you or worked the way they work except they also gave you XP for picking them up.

    So they either pose no challenge at all, give you generic consumable damage and XP, or they become the only thing which can endanger some of the munchkiny builds, and the choice upon the player is whether he will play with them as a hazard or as something which he likes seeing. Considering how so much of the stuff you run into is rather bland, generic and not very usefull (objectively, personal sentiments aside, this game is notorious for vast quantitites of vendor trash just about any build will run into), moving the traps into the "not only useless but also dangerous" territory is a bit masochistic.

    Thinking of gathering trap affinity as a micro-goal for floors which rewards you for it with XP is ok I guess, but compared to simply getting it from skills which are popular and usefull for other reasons (the "tinkering is overloaded with content" thing that got misunderstood) makes not picking those skills up another self imposed challenge - as evidenced by so many people simply sticking thief skills into every build and valuing non thief skills which give trap affinity as better than they are on account of that.

    2) Using the traps as a means to damage the enemies is something I'm personally fond off, simly because I'm in fact a huge fan of self imposed challenges (which is probably why I can never figure out all the "you need to account for zoos in your skill build" mantra that surrounds build discussions). However, it's painfully noticeable that the game supplies much more efficent ways to deal with monsters and groups of monsters in terms of damage, applicability, and all that jazz. We got AoE arrows, AoE skills, AoE throwables everywhere, and they are all much less fidly than traps which often need help from non-trap related skills to function simply on account of mechanics.

    An example of this is how "push" skills like the one from Unarmed work well with traps because you can actually push a trap towards your target, but I have not in all this time I've been using them, noticed anything simmilar in the Tinkering tree which you are supposed to craft them with, or any other thef skill for that matter. Making them easiet to use, placeable 2 squares away, placeable directly underneath a monster (is it possible allready, hmmm?) would deffinitely make up for this "why bother when X does the same thing with less hassle" (subjective reasons for challenign yourself notwithstanding).

    3) As was noted, they have scaling issues. Making them scale to stuff, making different ones craftable by different skills and so forth would deffintiely make them more viable and interesting as content. Lettin you craf advanced versions from simler ones would also be fun, and making hunters lure reduce affected targets trap sight by a ridiculous ammount would make it an actual hunters lure, deffinitely useable and could possibly warrant giving it an "enrage" buff to whoever it hits (inlcuding yourself, lol).

    I got more on traps, but I have to go soon :D

    - How do you see the "skill points for reaching non-level goals" working?

    I allready epxlained the basic idea, essentially, deepening te skill trees a bit, making the passive progress a bit less powerfull, but not counting skills gained in this way into level bonuses. As I've said, if you could gain one of these per level somehow, or if say a potion wich gave you a skillpoint was awarded for each zoo cleared (or could be gained instead of the artifact or whatever), I would see no need to make "It belongs in a museum" global, or needed in any build unless you really want to go Archeologist for some reason.

    And there's plenty more ideas, some of which were probably discussed, suggested, begged for, declined or made into existing mods which I'm not aware of, but ty for letting me be constructive. :)

    And @Rakankard - the thing about skillpoints really depends on your build and the way you go through the dungeon. Wouldn't you know it, it's actually a subjective thing.

    I'll also proofread is, in too much of a hurry right now :(
  8. mining

    mining Member

    Worth noting: I've played builds with 5 trapsight and 20 trap affinity (KRONG) and died to traps. /truestory
  9. Essence

    Essence Will Mod for Digglebucks

    Maybe I'm deeply stupid -- that's been known to happen a lot -- but I don't understand the whole idea that IBIAM needs to be a skill that everyone has access to in the first place. Are you saying that the ability to gain an extra 1-2 character levels by the end of the game is so important that everyone should have it? Or that the ability to 'translate' (pun intended) Inconsequentia, Lutefisk, and Krong rewards (i.e. artifacts) into skill points (via XP) is so much fun that everyone deserves the pleasure of doing so?
    Rakankrad and Kazeto like this.
  10. Oh yeah, well searching for new argumentative points in your walls of text is a skinnerbox! (/shameless tldr announcement)
    lujo86 and mining like this.
  11. SkyMuffin

    SkyMuffin Member

    I'm just going to generally agree with the idea of shifting focus onto more microgoals. With the introduction of Interior Dredmorating, Wizardlands, and Minibosses, the game has been moving more in that direction, which I feel is a positive one. Right now I would say that the player (especially a non-NTTG player) spends about 75% of their game play just blazing through room after room and fighting monsters. That does eventually become bland, and I think we can all agree that it could be better. Introducing new goals, making Inconsequentia more interesting, shaking things up (maybe with that Dredmor-fight-every-5-floors idea), etc....I think it's a good thing. Dredmor has some very nice groundwork already laid. It can only get even better.
    Midnight Tea, Wootah and Kazeto like this.
  12. lccorp2

    lccorp2 Member

    The thing about microgoals is that they should always feel optional, that the player won't feel like they're missing out on something crucial if they elect not to play. From my rune puzzle rooms to the Dreadmorpedia logic riddle to the portal puzzle I recently introduced, while the rewards can be tantalising, my personal opinion is that something as crucial as skill points shouldn't be awarded through microgoals that are easily missable or not aceesible to all. All my miniboss encounters are optional, and IIRC the pirate ghost in Ruigi's swashbucklers' mod is, too.
    BDSb and Kazeto like this.
  13. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Agree with all you guys said, except I only agree with the general philosophy of "not awarding skillpoints on easily missable stuff", because it's current mechanism of gaining the skillpoints by clearing zoos (rooms with a big concentration of walking XP packs), or doing inconcequentia rewards ARE missable unles you clear floors, and the whole trap issue is about how any build which doesnt somehow secure trapfinding "misses out" on quite a lot of expirience and thus skill points. Just saying.

    And a much needed tl:dr of all that coming up, it's quite possible.
  14. Wootah

    Wootah Member

    Inconsequentia should give experience for quest rewards on top of the items... And the lutefisk god might need to be retuned, because it is pretty monotonous skoling everything. I would rather they turned down the chance of it spawning and then turned down the amount of lutefisk required so it wasn't too hard to dump in the maximum.
  15. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    Also best ever accusation of trolling I have ever seen :D

    Working on a very concise way to explain this. RL stuff interfearing. Part of the latter is what I'm saying, but not necessarily for reasons of fun. And stupid probably doesn't have anything to do with it, but being subjective without noticing might :)
    Essence likes this.
  16. lujo86

    lujo86 Member

    So, massive TL;DR

    - Why all the textwalls

    First sentence in my first post:

    Cue rest of the thread up untill recently, like clockwork. Booze gives me powers of cairvoyance, I guess, even though being a patient lurker and having previous expirience with this community might have something to do with it :).

    And also someone stated that just pointing fingers at stuff is not constructive, so I'm trying to be constructive.

    - About "It belongs in a museum"

    This, but leaving it in the territory of "fun" leads to polemics about the subjective nature of "fun", and specualtions about wether one can or can't make their own, etc. It goes deeper than that.

    What I am saying, that, objecively, the current reward system for microgoals in a game which:

    only supports one kind of gameplay after a while, and that is of a turn based diablo clone. However:

    is also true.

    To my knowlegde, the gameplay supported by microgoals which only give named weapon can be found in many games, and is the bare essence of the dreaded "pure skinnebox" games the way Kazeto interprets them. Furthermore, the vast variety of items that can be gained are essentially "art swaps" with funny labels for something you can put in a slot to passively increse youd damage per swing or ability to tank a certan type of damage. Since these mostly give passive bonuses, and mostly make you better at whacking monsters over the head, the variable in your dungenon delving expirience they most often affect is simply your DPS (damage per swing). The gameplay stayes the same, and is, as has been generally agreed upon, a bit sparse.

    Some people find this fun, and that's all fine and dandy, and they are well supported by the game in the current state. In other words, if someone personally likes this, his "needs" or "likes" are fullfiled as far as the game is concerned. Claiming this is supposed to be enough for everyone, or that "this is the way god intended it" is a matter of personal opinion, because there is proof that this doesn't have to be all there is to it. Since this is the same gameplay which can be found in many other games (but not all games such as some have stated - 20 years of gaming has thought me that not all games are skinneboxes), insisting on this principle as the only morally right one is far more objectionable than, say, using "It belongs in a museum" in every build.



    Which is the opening sentence of this thread, and one I agree with, and so does anyone who picks up archeology regularly. Because at the point where the "diablolike" gameplay takes over so much, the other guys say:

    Even if without that lousy skill point, for too many possible builds the only things to pursue are rewards which are too often build specific, more useless the lower in the dungeon you go, have less potential applications due to the limit of stuff you can equip, or belong to a group of stuff that was put in there to make every build artifically viable. None of these accusations against the rewards is subjective in any way, Anyone could whip up a table and compare.

    The only mechanism in the game that lets people who find skills as such more rewarding than the objectivly less rewarding loot, ATM, is "It belongs in a museum". Now, the issue people seem to have with it is powergaming, that it is somehow makes you more powerfull.

    If having more skills made you more powerfull, why would the game have need for all the failsafe ammo and consumables which lets anyone complete the game in the first place? A drop from a CoE has very little chance of affecting the ammount of player choice of how he interacts with game objects, or expanding his repertoire of moves and tactics, while it has quite a large chance of instantaneously obsoleting any tactics you've been using untill you found that item, and possibly even any of the tactics that would've made sense if you had any objective reason to use them untill the weapon loses effectivness.

    I'm using CoE as an extreme example, but if instead of a content killer like the ones they supply I got a potion of alchemical inspiration, so that I could turn a bunch of my junk into healing and mana potions, it would objectively make more of my actions (all of those which led up to me having all that junk) make a lot more sense. If for clearing a zoo I got a skill point, I could maybe pick up a utility skill from Paranormal investigator or the perception capstone, or slowly increese my BGH, or pick one more level in a crafting skill, or get any of the flavourfull ways which increese the meaning of all the content which otheriwise wouldn't have it.

    If the impending "diablo" of the lower levels forces me to always collect and stack the same non-build specific junk, and by the time I got my "core build" togather the XP starts getting harder to come up with, the viability of all sorts of builds, and the meaningfull choice level that attracts (some) people to dredmor loses all meaning. And it doesn't remotely have to be that way.
  17. lujo86

    lujo86 Member


    Ways to get gear through microgoals rewards - Lutefisk god, Inconsequentia, Zoos, CoE, Island Artifacts, Shops, Vending Machines...
    Way to get skills through microgoals - It belongs in a museum

    Ways to interact with the environment through named gear - wack stuff over the head abut 80% of the time, sell for stuff you buy by selling anything, and buy generic solutions to interacting with most of the environment in limited ways or other named gear
    Ways to interact with environment through skills - craft stuff (give meaning to junk that otherwise doesn't have it), push stuff, find stuff by destroying walls, various teleports, find recipies, turn stuff into other stuff, use up your mana and drink to refresh it for various effects, whack stuff over the head, buff yourself in various ways, have pets, charm monsters, give monsters ability to drop various loot, push traps under monsters, lure monsters into traps... become stuff!

    Cost of having "It belongs in a museum" available: One skill tree.
    Mechanical point of having it available: Fiddling with more skills at relevant times
    Benefits of having "It belongs in a museum" available: Giving content meaning
    Concequences of not having "It belongs in a museum": Potential for having any objective use in any sense out of microgoals significantly lower, window of time to pick up fun, utility skills while they have actuall meaning shrinks significantly, amount of tedium between significant changes in tactics from skills increased
    Power issues from having "It belongs in a museum" available: Skill acquisition being tied to leveling up tacks class bonuses onto skills which make you more powerfull regardless of your build and outlook on powergaming
    Necessity of using a global It belongs in a museum button if there is one - about the same as always picking up archeology, nobody's making anybody do anything and anyone can play the way they want and focus on what they want

    Diagnosis - Add more ways in which players can interact with things which aren't linked to leveling. "It belongs in a museum" isn't a problem, and wouldn't be even if it was global (who'd force anyone to use it?). The problem is that it's the only way to gain rewards which are mechanicaly meaningfull to people who play Dredomr for it's incredibly fun and flavourfull skillset. It feeds of meaningless content and turns it into a meningfull one, while skills like Tenebrous Rift and CoE weapons take contet which has some meaning (entire floors of monsters) and reduces them to easy packets of XP (and you don't see me calling out actual munchkins who cram them into every build for it).

    Matters of playstyle to those of you who are murderously bashing on archeology - for the love of god, please stop telling people who are forced to take the only outlet that keeps the stimulus which attracted them to the game in the first place (DoD skills) flowing, that taking that outlet makes them powergamers and munchkins. It doesn't, because they aren't necessarily, or even probably, looking for "phat lewt and stat bonuses" but trying to explore the game for what it is actually original for.

    Just because your playstyle is supported so well, or because you think lvling up 3 skill trees untill you become unkillable, or picking up high lvl throwables every time is fun doesn't nearly make it fun for everyone. Anyone interested in exploring skills who is forced into sacrificing a skill tree slot because of this probably has better reasons to be annoyed at the game than you.

    About crafting skills - I also suspect that this si why I'm personally annoyed with crafting skills constantly being buffed by adding more and more tiers of end-game gear. There's no lack of gear in this game.

    Modding - I'm currently investigating the suggested mods, but being a moron, I started them all up at the same time. Doing a nice random run. Thanks to everyone who suggested them, I think I can use some of their content to point out why I'm so hesitant to mod this thing on my own. I don't actually want to change the game too much, jsut add more support to the gameplay areas that are severely lacking and have been for too long...

    EDIT: And as a special point of why make It belongs in a museum global in some way - for all the reasons stated I want to be able have the "skills centric" outlet available when pressing random and going down the dungeon. As long as it's the only way to turn microgoal rewards into skills in any way, ofc.
    Essence and SkyMuffin like this.
  18. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    Ooh, this got interesting. (Just everyone don't be a dick to one another, alright?) So, thoughts:

    Balance, who to blame
    To first point: I think the balance of Dredmor came from running it through a mill of very dedicated and generous testers. I recall a lot of the early SomethingAwful crew in particular, and of course Lekon who basically beat our game over and over and oh god the beatings.

    So I'd blame you guys - the early testers, community, and modders who have discovered more in the mechanics of the game than we thought possible. We're just smart enough to listen to feedback and act on it, is all.

    ROTDG, levels 11-15
    Yeah, in hindsight, a naive extension of the dungeon is not how I would do this if I knew what I know now. We built the whole game from the ground up to go from level 1 to 10 and then tried to extend the mechanics past that point after-the-fact. And these mechanics aren't really built to extend like that (eg. percentile effects like dodge/crit/counter, the limited length of skill lines, unsophisticated damage scaling).

    Our desire was to give hardcore players a more hardcore place to take the game, but this didn't give much to new players nor was the execution quite so clever as we'd hoped, especially on what ended up to be a timescale limited by hitting the Winter Sale deadline. I think we should have done the expansion with a bit more restraint and focused more on enriching the experience as a whole, not just the later levels, and made super-hardcore challenges opt-in, as we did with Conquest of the Wizardlands which of course benefited from our experience making ROTDG.

    Lutefisk, Museum; unintended consequences
    Basically, we can't help making what we think is a hilarious joke and adding some silly mechanic that ends up being the core of the game for a bunch of people. Our hope would be that it'd just be there and be funny and have a fringe use, but what ends up happening is these skills either make the game a tedious grind (see: lutefisk abuse via stack-splitting; I still maintain that we should never have allowed stack splitting because the only reason anyone wanted it was to abuse Skoling) or it made a "must have" skill (Museum, re. comments by lujo86 and others; though the idea of having a generic handy way to convert useless artifacts into XP is not necessarily a bad one in such a game, it was never a core mechanic we built for).

    So as much as we might hope people can just ignore such skills and get on with playing the game for its own sake, well, players will optimize the fun out of a game.

    Chests of Evil
    -- Were supposed to be nerfed in various ways. And I swear Nicholas and I worked out adjustments to the item generation. No idea where this went, and I'm unhappy that these are still dominating the game.

    If I made them strong enough to be useful vs. enemies they'd instakill the player at inopportune times and therefore be extremely frustrating. The solution is to make two sets of traps: crappy dungeon traps and awesome player-crafted traps.

    This would require some mechanics overhaul and a large itemDB overhaul across like every expansion. It's unfortunately not a terribly reasonable thing for me to do at this point as I'm trying to finish a whole other game, ya'see.

    Various criticisms by lujo86
    I actually agree with most of this, though not all the solutions. I recall another thread w/ criticism re. ROTDG and, yeah, nailed it. We're not blind to our mistakes or offended that they are recognized.

    Just ah, be civil guys. (Back to work!)
    BDSb, Bnips, TheJadedMieu and 5 others like this.
  19. Wootah

    Wootah Member

    Thanks for replying David.

    Of course I am going to have to counter you on stack splitting. When you are transmuting, either mushrooms or gems, and you don't want to change the whole stack, you HAVE to split or inventory management becomes a nightmare.

    I have almost 200 hours into the game now and I don't even bother with the lutefisk shrines. I think I have pulled 3 rewards from them. in the combined 200 hours of play. If the benefit cap was something reasonable like 100 lutefisk per shrine and there were only 3 shrines the entire play through (floors 1-15) then you would only really start to collect when you knew there was a shrine nearby and then dump the maximum in and get a good (or even great) item.

    We don't want traps 1 shotting players. I am fine with them not doing that much damage to players or monsters... but can we somehow change how sneakiness works since a lot of monsters can walk on them and not trigger them late game.
    Turbo164 and Kazeto like this.
  20. Rickton

    Rickton Member

    I think the issue with It Belongs in a Museum has less to do with the skill itself and more to do with the fact that most artifacts you come across you don't need.
    It seems like you're a lot more likely to get weapons than armor as quest/lutefisk rewards (and, obviously, CoEs). These weapons aren't always that useful, especially if you're playing Unarmed or a Magic-heavy build. Basically, this means that a lot of the time, unless you have IBiaM, the pointless sidequests really are pointless. Sure, you can sell artifacts, but after a certain point, you usually end up with more money than you know what to do with anyway. XP on the other hand is useful the entire game, unless you manage to max out your skills.

    If there was more variety in quest rewards (not even just giving equipment more often, it'd be cool if there were special legendary consumables or enchanted thrown weapons/projectiles or whatever), or if it weighted more heavily towards weapons you have the trees for, it'd be more likely you'd get something you can use, which would make IBiaM a bit less of a must-have.