Author Topic: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.  (Read 7386 times)

Bear

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« on: December 06, 2010, 06:41:19 PM »
What if you have choices about how you get down to the level where the final boss fight is? 

Say, after level 3, you have a choice about level 4-5 (den of thieves) and level 4-7 (goblintown).  On level 5 (den of thieves) you have a choice between level 6-7(goblintown) and level 6-9(temple of evil).  On level 7 (goblintown) you have to make a choice between level 8-12 (Stinking swamp) and level 8-12 (Tombs of the Reaver) on level 9(temple of evil) your only real choice is levels 10-12 (Tombs of the Reaver).  All levels 12 lead to a common level 13, "The Big Room", where you have more choices to make.  And so on.

Each of these branches has monster and item generation that's strongly thematic, "tilted" toward monsters and treasures and items of particular types.  Your path downward is meant to be influenced by what you think you can handle with your particular combination of abilities and what kinds of treasures and skills you intend to train.  You can miss a particular thing that you don't think you can handle, but it may mean backtracking.  Likewise if you feel like you have to get both of two alternatives, you can backtrack through the second of them (and maybe come down a third).

Now, here's my question.  Assuming that you don't get experience for killing anything too far below your level, so there's no experience reward for doing a lot of backtracking, and a score  bonus for completing the final boss fight faster so you'll actually get a higher score if you don't,  and you have the ability to buff selected equipment when you level, so usually sticking with stuff you found earlier will give you stronger kit anyway...

Do you still feel an OCD urge to go back and forth and back and forth until you've seen every last square inch of the dungeon that can be seen, and had in your hands to make choices among every last bit of equipment that's generated among all the branches?  Do you still feel that you MUST do so in order to "truly win?"  Do you feel that you are being "railroaded" into inefficient play because you HAVE TO do this dance to see all of the content in every game? 

In other words, does this sort of thing frustrate the "completionist" urge so much as to ruin a lot of players' experience of the game?



kipar

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2010, 09:09:28 PM »
Even with all those conditions I'll most likely try to visit every level because:
    - it is safer to clean easier levels then to go forth. When going forth become too dangerous it is logical to go clean skipped levels.
    - it is possible to find something good (more food, more scrolls of teleport, possibly nice spells or jewerly pieces that i haven't found) even on low levels.
    - I don't care much about scores and prefer "mummy-style" play. Usually I like my characters too much and really miss them if they wins\die.
The thing that can stop me from backtracing is some sort of strict timer (The Quest So Far is a good example).

Vanguard

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 1112
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2010, 09:30:30 PM »
I think it'd be fun.  Roguelikes aren't typically about completionism.  A standard roguelike win tends to be more impressive than 100% completion on a game of another genre.  If you wanted to prevent backtracking, you'd just have to make sure that going to old areas offers little or no reward to the player, and presents a disproportionately high threat for how they get out of it.

Ancient

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 453
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2010, 10:41:05 PM »
Partially yes but only a first few times. If I have not seen Stinking Swamp at all yet I will venture just to have some fun exploring it. Getting a rough estimate what location is what should make me press forward. However, I am sure if my character were to go through den of thieves (4-7) and then to the temple of evil (7-9) he would pop upstairs to goblintown on level 8 to see if there is something goblinish in sight to take as a souvenir to appease the completionist inside me.

Score is the very last thing I care about in a roguelike game. Lowering this does not make a slightest impression on me.
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

corremn

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 700
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • SewerJack Extraordinaire
    • View Profile
    • Demise RogueLike Games
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2010, 11:13:09 PM »
Yep, I would go to every branch I could, I dont care about scores.  If you really want to do this dont allow backtracking or make the choices mutually exclusive, you can have one or the other, not both.
And if people care about score, you can actually make some choices "the harder path" which will boost score that way.  So a great score would of taken all the harder routes.
corremn's Roguelikes. To admit defeat is to blaspheme against the Emperor.  Warhammer 40000 the Roguelike

Bear

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 06:53:24 PM »
Well, I'm doing it, I guess.  My basic plan is that different routes should represent different strategies. I guess this is an outgrowth of my idea that "thousanduplet syndrome" is bad and that very *different* characters ought to be viable.  But I'm thinking maybe you don't achieve that by forcing all of them to deal with exactly the same kind of challenges no matter what their choices are.

Which branch you take should reflect what kind of character you've developed so far.  If you're massively stealthy and have elemental resistances, the Dragon Caverns may look like a more feasible plan, whereas if you have an anti-undead sword, excellent armor, and life-drain resistances, the Tomb of the Reavers is probably more feasible.

And each branch tends to reinforce the kind of character development that makes it feasible.  Doing the Tombs is not terribly likely to give you the skills & stuff you need to do the Dragon Caverns and vice versa, so backtracking into a different branch will not usually play to your strengths.

Anyway, Yes, I understand the completionist urge.  But I'm going to very deliberately make a game where it's not the best strategy and may even get you killed.


Darren Grey

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 2027
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone.
    • View Profile
    • Games of Grey
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 10:21:03 PM »
I see nothing wrong with enforcing no backtracking in this sort of circumstance, as long as the character is fully informed about his/her choices in advance.  Players are used to being railroaded in this way, so I don't think it would be perceived negatively.  On the other hand exploring every nook and cranny is a natural tendency in gamers, so to be punished for legitimately backtracking seems bad.

I like the idea of options in general though.  ADOM has a small touch of this in the early druid/elder quest, with different rewards and different enemies which suit different character types.  Would be great to see that on a larger, more complex scale.

Bear

  • Rogueliker
  • ***
  • Posts: 308
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2010, 04:02:04 AM »
Well, I'm not considering actual punishment for backtracking.  That would mean negative experience, items getting debuffed as you level down, etc.  What I'm envisioning is just lowered incremental rewards.

And that's actually pretty necessary, to avoid a huge power disparity between characters who have and haven't done extra branches.  I don't want to deal with the final boss fight being a pushover for characters who have and impossible for characters who haven't, so I need to keep the rewards for doing extra branches pretty low or people will be counting backtracking as an absolute necessity to win the game.

There may be some exclusionary mechanism such as a limited supply of branch openers which get used up as you use them, but I wouldn't want to shut it down so that there'd be no backtracking allowed at all.  So some branches don't require openers, some would have different opening mechanisms or qualifications, and occasionally you'd find an "extra" one which you can use to backtrack and open a new branch.

What I want is a situation where backtracking into extra branches, while not usually the best strategy and maybe not always possible, is an option that someone can choose if they have a good tactical or strategic reason why they need to do it.


Kalantir

  • Newcomer
  • Posts: 31
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2010, 02:47:04 PM »
There is a roguelike which uses this concept called Astral Tower.  Very incomplete, but shows promise

Slash

  • Creator of Roguetemple
  • Administrator
  • Rogueliker
  • *****
  • Posts: 1199
  • Karma: +4/-1
    • View Profile
    • Slashie.net
    • Email
Re: Dungeon Alternatives and how players would deal with them.
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 01:10:50 AM »
Yeah, an OutrunRL would be cool :)

What about level up always when going down the next level? I do that for DrashRL... level diving is actually a pretty valid tactic there