Author Topic: RLs and strategy  (Read 6229 times)

Kneller

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RLs and strategy
« on: March 12, 2015, 10:28:55 PM »
Honestly, do you think there is a significant amount of strategy or logic-driven problem solving happening in a RL? I've played quite a few RLs and think that, while being stupid is going to get you killed fast, even playing smart doesn't help you too much. Considering the amount of hidden information and random number generation, it just seems that this is the foundation of gameplay, with smarts and skill coming in a distant second. Am I off-base here? Convince me otherwise. :)

mushroom patch

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 11:06:59 PM »
I think it's generally true that hidden information has a dominant impact on roguelike strategy, especially in some of the most prominent examples, but even in examples that claim to try to reduce the role of "spoilers."

Roguelike strategy is primarily about getting an understanding of worst case scenarios and playing to avoid them. I find that the strategic depth of most roguelikes is wildly overstated. Monster AI generally isn't anywhere close to what is needed to provide the depth often claimed here and especially on forums dedicated to particular games.

That said, they're often more interesting from a strategic standpoint than commercial titles.

vultures

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2015, 12:48:02 AM »
Strategy, rather than diplomacy, is a mindgame of the battlefield. Relying on your subjects, you're oughta master your opponent's game and beat him to it whilst struggling to maintain your own ranks. Rather than thinking Astral Masters, think spinning plates with a few dogs running amongst the poles. You either make it complex, or play it smart. And safe.

On the other hand, tactics are closer to "playing the good cards" of your character. Putting immediate resources at use, taking cover whilst exploiting the terrain's corridors only to comply with skills honed to pair with perks and traits - it develops a combat style. Remember classes in perpetual RLs? Waves of enemies are as strong as their weakest of kin, but your character is the keeper of the light. Or an unholy unicorn slayer commanding legions of the undead, but that's just your playing preference.

'nough being said 'bout the classics, RLs nowadays offer a vast choice of non-combat "activities". Elona has breeding whilst CataDDA shows you how to pimp your ride into oblivion. UnReal World is a whole'nuther example -- you can avoid trouble at any instance and have a wonderful run. Nowhere close to HoMM3, don't you think? :)

akeley

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2015, 02:06:27 AM »
There`s "hidden information" and RNG in standard strategy games too of course, maybe to lesser extent than in RLs, but still. The lack of randomness is also what can make them more rigid and predictable - in some titles "strategy" amounts to seeing what`s ahead, eventually reloading and tweaking your tactics for next playthrough which will be pretty much the same as the last one.

In RLs, if you don`t play smart - i.e. use logic, strategies and tactics -  you won`t get far. Sure, the "wins" - what people expect to be the outcome of their oh-so-brilliant standard-model strategizing - will be rare, often because of factors outside of players control. But that`s because roguelikes are a different beast and require a different mindset to play - you have to adapt your strategies and resources on the fly, under immense pressure of permadeath - that`s what I consider true battlefield/dungeon strategy.

For me, a true roguelike has to be "unfair" - that`s because dungeons (and life in general) are an unfair place, and sometimes you will spawn as a lil` kobold mage with low INT facing two hobgoblins - and there`s no logic or strategy that could save you. The best ones of course balance randomness of it all really well - nobody likes to play a really frustrating and tedious title. But again, you have to forget about your own awesomeness and just face the music (I`m sure quite a few rogue-likers disagree, but that`s how I perceive the genre)

It`s the same with "normal" strategy games - and a often difference between an excellent one like first XCOM, where you never know where that last doggone alien is, and its new streamlined - and predictable incarnation - in which mobs just stand in one place and wait for you to get in the zone. Sounds like a little detail and yet changes the whole dynamic.

Trystan

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2015, 06:03:39 AM »
I'm pretty sure poker has a lot of strategy but even the worlds best poker players don't win every hand. Over the long run they tend to win more than worse players though.

I think roguelikes are similar. You have to know how to calculate the odds, make the right gambles, and know how much to commit to each encounter. You still might lose, but after a few hundred attempts, you'll lose later and less often.

Although some roguelikes are beaten every time by bots or experienced players.

I never get very far in any roguelike I've played so I could be very wrong.

Samildanach

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 01:05:44 PM »
I'm pretty sure poker has a lot of strategy but even the worlds best poker players don't win every hand. Over the long run they tend to win more than worse players though.

I think roguelikes are similar. You have to know how to calculate the odds, make the right gambles, and know how much to commit to each encounter. You still might lose, but after a few hundred attempts, you'll lose later and less often.

I think that's a good assessment. Roguelikes are about maximising your chances - a skill which comes with experience.

Kneller

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2015, 11:05:25 PM »
I never get very far in any roguelike I've played so I could be very wrong.

You and most people. I don't think really anyone gets consistently far in a RL, though I think it's less due to "challenge" and more to do with the odds stacked against you and just running out of resources (whether it's consumable gear or hit points). I wonder, has anyone made a RL that is more strategy than punishing odds?

mushroom patch

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2015, 11:20:08 PM »
I never get very far in any roguelike I've played so I could be very wrong.

You and most people. I don't think really anyone gets consistently far in a RL, though I think it's less due to "challenge" and more to do with the odds stacked against you and just running out of resources (whether it's consumable gear or hit points). I wonder, has anyone made a RL that is more strategy than punishing odds?

Flat out false. Many people consistently "get far" in many roguelikes.

One common denominator between the better and older roguelikes is that the beginning of the game is often as difficult as the late stages or more difficult by virtue of the player being saddled with a ridiculously bad character, poorly matched to the challenges of the game. This creates an impression among bad players that it's impossible not to be bad, because logically the game must get harder as you go. Actually, the last part isn't true in a lot of cases.

It's often true that unavoidable deaths occur in roguelike games in the early stages, but through experience the set of circumstances a player understands as unavoidable death tends to narrow until it becomes a fairly improbable situation. Again, this tends to be true of the older, better known games.

Emphasis on "punishing odds" as opposed to strategy is often an indication of scrubbiness. Not to say that's your situation, but if you're claiming that no one is consistently successful in roguelike games, I don't know. You should check out games that have online spectating. You'll quickly see you're wrong. I recommend DCSS WebTiles. There's a tournament on and it's a game with particularly silly random melee combat. Just pick a game being specced by a lot of people and you'll usually see a reasonably competent level of play.

akeley

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 05:04:10 AM »
I think it's less due to "challenge" and more to do with the odds stacked against you I wonder, has anyone made a RL that is more strategy than punishing odds?
Some would say that overcoming odds stacked against you using strategies is part of the "challenge".

I wonder, has anyone made a RL that is more strategy than punishing odds?
Sure, there are heaps of them...have a look at the Database. Although, seems to me that your initial "convince me otherwise" wasn`t a genuine query and your mind is already made up. Instead of trying to change the entire genre perhaps it would be better to change your mindset and approach - it worked for me ;)


Samildanach

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 04:59:48 PM »
You and most people. I don't think really anyone gets consistently far in a RL

Debateable. There are veteran Nethack players who claim, in some cases, as much as a 90% success rate. It's all about learning how to stack the odds and work the system.

Although, seems to me that your initial "convince me otherwise" wasn`t a genuine query and your mind is already made up.

Agreed.

mushroom patch

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 06:49:50 PM »
It's not even debatable. Nethack, DCSS, and others have public servers where one can observe games in progress, watch recorded games, and see stats maintained by a third party. These are verifiably legitimate games of which reliable records are kept. It is straightforwardly false that there is no one who is consistently successful (in the sense of "getting far") in roguelike games.

In particular, some of these "nethack veterans" are not merely making wild claims. There is ironclad evidence of the existence of people with very high win rates in various roguelike games, including nethack.

edit: I note, with some dismay, a similarity between the argument being advanced by the OP and arguments advanced by another infamous poster about a year ago.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2015, 07:47:16 PM by mushroom patch »

Samildanach

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2015, 11:32:28 AM »
In particular, some of these "nethack veterans" are not merely making wild claims. There is ironclad evidence of the existence of people with very high win rates in various roguelike games, including nethack.

It wasn't my intention to cast aspersions about players. I just haven't checked out any of the evidence myself, so I can't personally vouch for the veracity of the claims.

vultures

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2015, 01:48:04 PM »
The minute I knew about arcade games, it was obvious to me there are people out there who play fiendishly well because of their reputation and/or share some enthusiasm towards the industry. The thing is, most of these high-profile gamers are resilient throughout any acceptance of various suggestions, meaning you're not invited to judge their ability towards different game genres.
Needless to say, these "ancient dragons" of gaming are not fond of teaming up for fun's sake, but are overachievers often dedicated to the strife of honing their gaming skills. I'll leave that to all'y'alls to (subjectively) discuss and judge upon. :)
Be it as it may, nowadays professional players get paid, and whilst doing so they get to meet professional developers; the latter interact with the community and pick from a vast community of modders. Maybe there's a bottleneck to all that aspiration but I wouldn't know for sure. Considering gaming today, there's a thin line separating the playground and the factory.

Since I'm a profound admirer of fantasy and its subgenres, I'm not gonna lay it out just like that and write how there's nothing better than a vintage / classic game. That would be just ignorant, cuz there are amazing artists just as driven as "early-days" devs were. So yeah, RogueLike titles aren't the only ones worth mentioning, but these are not main reasons for mentioning trendish franchises and their better ends.
A bunch of my friends (including me, of course) adopted casual gaming as a form of leisure, with a side-punch to that consisting of decisive, challenging attempts to finish the game. The first one's all about enjoying multiplayer whilst the other one, well, is considered hardcore gaming. Let's step aside from admiring someone's skill and analyze these "runs". A good one's often described as "combining one's style with particular game's perks". Difficulty setting is stuck to the ceiling, but that's not some macho bullcrap - it's based upon someone's firm belief of what a game should look like, and how it should be played.

Let's face it, playing a character class you're not proficient with in just about any RPG game raises the difficulty bar a few notches. Even though only a handful of (good) titles condone the "random" practice to scenery generation, you could make little or no mistake saying that these computer gaming franchises resemble RL games. In fact, playing a well-designed level sequence rates just about the same as going at some RL challenge generated from a "good" seed. Replay value is a whole 'nutha thing and there's nothing we can ever do about it, really; what does matter in comparison to accomplished RLs is - no saving allowed.

Whether you're impressed with XP/HP pools and creative approaches to overcoming in-game obstacles, or you're a Johnny-type lover of static bosses, mid-bosses and quest items - it boils down to one thing (which is not tactics) - should you, would you, could you share the inspiration of game's creators?
For some reason, it's my opinion that the other type of players are just fans of their own design.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 01:51:39 PM by vultures »

guest509

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Re: RLs and strategy
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2015, 05:42:21 AM »
Honestly, do you think there is a significant amount of strategy or logic-driven problem solving happening in a RL? I've played quite a few RLs and think that, while being stupid is going to get you killed fast, even playing smart doesn't help you too much. Considering the amount of hidden information and random number generation, it just seems that this is the foundation of gameplay, with smarts and skill coming in a distant second. Am I off-base here? Convince me otherwise. :)

You'll hear this once in awhile from new people. You'll need to tell us which game you are failing at.

And to convince you that you are incorrect I just need to point out that various people can beat the major RL's over and over and over. Often using conducts to make the game even harder. If randomness were the decider then they wouldn't be able to beat it repeatedly.

The key to beating most roguelikes is being good enough at the game that you know how to mitigate some of the nastier random events.

Every time you die you need to stop and think about what you did wrong to get in that position, how to avoid it next time or how to use an item to survive it. If you can't figure out how you would have avoided or survived the situation that killed you then you aren't good enough at the game yet. You can go to online forums for the various games and talk to experts who can tell you where you went wrong.