Author Topic: Grinding  (Read 17165 times)

Vanguard

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Grinding
« on: July 04, 2009, 07:48:42 AM »
What are your thoughts on level and item grinding in roguelikes?

Most rpg games allow the player as much liberty with this as they like, but since roguelikes are heavily designed around providing a challenge, a lot of them provide limiting factors.

The original rogue did it with food.  Spending too much time hanging around the same level killing monsters would eventually result in starvation.  Adom does it with corruption over time.

Angband and its variants tend to put no limitations in place, meaning that if the player knows what levels they need specific resistances at, and basic tactics for dealing with the more troublesome enemies, the game essentially boils down to a patience test for the player.  Is this desirable?  Is it better to have a way for less proficient players to be able to get through the game, at the expense of losing some of the challenge?

Some games, like Mage Guild and DDRogue from the last 7drl competition avoid the issue by tying progression to finding specific, non-respawning items in specific levels of the dungeon, and others may similarly tie it to going down levels in the dungeon or otherwise progressing with the main story.

I, personally am planning on giving fewer experience points per kill as the player's level gets closer to that of their enemies, and no experience at all for enemies whose levels are beneath the player's.  For items, I'm going to make it so the items used by spawned enemies are of lower quality than those carried by unique enemies and the items spawned when the level is first generated.

So again, what are your thoughts on this facet of roguelike design?  Is it the developers responsibility to make sure the player doesn't take the longer, easier path through the game?  What are effective and ineffective ways of going about doing this?  Ultimately, what makes the game more fun?

PaulBlay

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 10:43:11 AM »
What are your thoughts on level and item grinding in roguelikes?

Making monsters worth less (or no) EXP when they are weak in comparison to the player character is a well used system and one I have no great argument with.  You get a similar result by using somewhat exponential growth in EXP needed for a new level and keeping monster EXP unchanged. (If it takes 20,000 EXP to go from level 29 to level 30 but only 1,000 to go from level 1 to level 2 nobody is going to grind rats in the tutorial dungeon that long ;-).

I would advise against going too hard down against grinding though.  Different people have different likes with games and personally I tend to dislike games with actual or implied time limits and prefer to wander aimlessly while messing around.  I often give up on games that force me to go faster than I like.

In the case of Angband it's worth noting that although people can take it slowly turn count is very important in competitive contexts.  Also diving deep for high-level items is a common tactic so the current system is certainly not discouraging people from facing dangerous dungeon levels.

Slash

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 01:23:23 PM »
Drash gives player exactly one level up after going to the next level, which is awesome for balancing stats as you have a firm idea on what level the player can be at the different phases of the game. Killing monsters give no XP, and power diving is discouraged because finding new armor is needed to survive (and in latter level, exploration is required to find different gems that allow passage into the next level)

Nahjor

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2009, 06:44:00 PM »
Grinding really bothers me, when I encounter it as a player. If there is the possibility for profitable grinding, than I feel like I'm getting penalized if I don't grind; this, in turn, makes me feel like the game is punishing me for playing it in a fun manner. Likewise, hard time- or turn-based clocks bug me, since I like to wander around and explore...when I start getting punished for running out of time, I feel like the game is preventing me from playing in a way that I find fun.

Personally, I think the goal is making the game in such a way that the most fun thing to do is also the best thing to do, strategically. Granted, this is kind of an unattainable state, since people find different things fun, but seeking that goal has been a guiding principle for my game design choices.

Vanguard

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2009, 11:13:44 PM »
Making monsters worth less (or no) EXP when they are weak in comparison to the player character is a well used system and one I have no great argument with.  You get a similar result by using somewhat exponential growth in EXP needed for a new level and keeping monster EXP unchanged. (If it takes 20,000 EXP to go from level 29 to level 30 but only 1,000 to go from level 1 to level 2 nobody is going to grind rats in the tutorial dungeon that long ;-).

They're similar, but giving no exp at all for low level enemies is more absolute, more certain.  Whether that's necessary or even better is up to the game designer to decide.

I would advise against going too hard down against grinding though.  Different people have different likes with games and personally I tend to dislike games with actual or implied time limits and prefer to wander aimlessly while messing around.  I often give up on games that force me to go faster than I like.

I agree, I like to take things on my own time.

Drash gives player exactly one level up after going to the next level, which is awesome for balancing stats as you have a firm idea on what level the player can be at the different phases of the game.

That's a good solution.  It resolves all grind-related issues, and as you said, it's great for balancing.

I also think that's a great way to go if you're trying to encourage playstyles other than "kill everything."  Traditional exp systems are bad for when you have a stealth/speed/teleporting character that avoids fights as much as possible.

Grinding really bothers me, when I encounter it as a player. If there is the possibility for profitable grinding, than I feel like I'm getting penalized if I don't grind; this, in turn, makes me feel like the game is punishing me for playing it in a fun manner. Likewise, hard time- or turn-based clocks bug me, since I like to wander around and explore...when I start getting punished for running out of time, I feel like the game is preventing me from playing in a way that I find fun.

Yeah, I agree with you on both points.  If a game requires me to grind to make progress, I'll probably stop playing.  Likewise, if I can't be doing what I want to do because of time or similar restrictions, I'm not likely to stick around with that game for long.

Personally, I think the goal is making the game in such a way that the most fun thing to do is also the best thing to do, strategically.

I think this sentence epitomizes good design.

Ex

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2009, 07:57:24 AM »
I don't like games that force me to grind in order to survive. However, I don't like being prevented from grinding if I want to. Angband is nice because if I want to, I can hang around a certain depth indefinitely. Or I can forge ahead. Having the option of both is what I really prefer. I like being able to go at a self determined speed.

But, I also enjoy games with static levels. MetroidRL and CastlevaniaRL are pretty awesome because they feature static levels AND respawning monsters. It's like the best of both worlds..

Vanguard

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2009, 08:33:12 AM »
But, I also enjoy games with static levels. MetroidRL and CastlevaniaRL are pretty awesome because they feature static levels AND respawning monsters. It's like the best of both worlds..

The game I'm working on will work something like that.  Stages will be generated only once, and for every "day" in the game levels will generate a new set of enemies for them.  Enemies will only spawn every time the player sleeps back on the surface, which will be the only way to fully heal.

mariodonick

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Re: Grinding
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 05:02:35 PM »
Quote
You get a similar result by using somewhat exponential growth in EXP needed for a new level and keeping monster EXP unchanged. (If it takes 20,000 EXP to go from level 29 to level 30 but only 1,000 to go from level 1 to level 2 nobody is going to grind rats in the tutorial dungeon that long ;-)

Yep. This is LambdaRogue's way, although people told me that in 1.4 esp. the deeper levels force them to grind, just because there are too many monsters around and the levels are too big. I actually LIKE to have to slay dozens of monsters at the same time, so I made LR this way. 1.5, however, has smaller levels and less enemies, to beat this grind.

Item grind, by the way, is somehow prevented in LR, 'cause random items and treasure chests are only created once you enter a DLV for the first time.
https://mariodonick.itch.io/lambdarogue-the-book-of-stars
-- LR: The Book of Stars graphical roguelike RPG