Author Topic: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?  (Read 2150 times)

Troubler

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Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« on: September 26, 2019, 04:00:31 AM »
Strange topic, but something I have been thinking about for a while.
I was playing TOME2 recently and I couldn't get my mind off how lonely and bleak the game seems to be.
There was clearly a lot of work put into it, yet somehow the game has no soul at all. It's like a robot or something.
In comparison DCSS design choices are still very pragmatic and unrealistic, but everything is grounded enough to feel real.

In TOME2 though, the enemies are meandering husks, the towns are cardboard set-pieces, the quests are odd rituals given by disembodied voices, the player a is literal killing machine, and the dungeons all have this alien geometry and follow unnatural rules.
Superficially it seems believable enough, for the first few hours at least, but over time you will see the cracks in reality multiply. Think about this: Standing on ice, perfectly still, cuts you up and stuns you.
That is not a bug though, but just how the game handles that terrain type. Why? Because ice is sharp? It's painful to imagine. Things like this make it seem like an alien made this game.

And to a lesser extent this is how Angband and it's variants all typically feel. It is hard to get immersed, but if you manage to, it is an uncanny world you inhabit.
Sure, they are great at creating tension (mostly due to the time investment though), but are always abstracted in such specific ways it just seems wrong.
Even Morgoth's lair for example, in this unreal bastardization of a Tolkien setting, is just another level. He's just "there" with no fanfare or anything.
You then go over and kill him for no particular reason. I guess you make something up that makes sense. He drops a few pointless artifacts.
You can then explore about 20 more empty levels after he dies. There is nothing down there though, and there never will be...

Anybody else ever get a weird feeling from playing a certain roguelike?
I mean usually the games have a sense of adventure or mystery to them.
But something about all these band variants... They just seem off.

Krice

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Re: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2019, 06:34:56 AM »
Some roguelikes are like that, because they are more arcade-like I guess. As games used to be in olden days. They focus more on character development and gameplay in numeric way and some players seem to like it. You get better stuff, kill more enemies, increase stats etc. I like more about story (in broad sense, not just as in background story of a game) and exploring. Since roguelikes hardly ever expanded into adventure style we don't see it that often.

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2019, 05:19:49 PM »
As Krice points out, I think it has a lot to do with the tradition of the genre as focusing on tactical gameplay over immersion and story. Since the game worlds are typically very dynamic and malleable, I think even the RLs that focus on story (Caves of Qud etc.) end up having a lot of silly content. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, though, I find a lot of the fun in RLs stems from the outlandish situation your character will often end up in.

As always,
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This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

Troubler

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Re: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2019, 12:51:55 AM »
I think that when Moria was inspired by Rogue, the developer tried to introduce more roleplaying aspects to complement that "arcade" gameplay.
A lot of the uncanny aspects of Angband variants could be explained by this.

For example, the townsfolk could have been added to make the town feel more real. Instead they are pests that are inconsequentially mowed down.
And because of that it makes the game seem even more alien than if it didn't have the townsfolk there at all (See Larn).
Your character too is generated with a relatively detailed backstory and pseudo-stats like height and weight.
These seem like an invitation to roleplay your character, but right out of the gates you are just an EXP vacuum.
And of course there is that much despised "haggling" mechanic that has been almost entirely abandoned...

It looks to me like there were some failed attempts to improve roleplaying. TOME2 experimented with adding more mechanics like this as well. The execution there wasn't much better.
I think the "story" roguelikes like Hack, Omega, etc. succeeded where Moria failed. So we think of band variants as being "arcade" roguelikes, but really the existing roleplaying aspects are just flawed.
TOME4 dropped most of the janky roleplaying altogether and streamlined the whole experience to tactics and character development. I don't know how I feel about that decision, but it seems pretty popular.

Krice

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Re: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2020, 10:04:59 AM »
but really the existing roleplaying aspects are just flawed

The reason for this I think is that creating role-playing is hard. This is my experience when I've been developing both Teemu and Kaduria. In Teemu I'm almost desperately trying to create some kind of rpg system and in both projects it's certainly rpg system which is holding down the development pace. It's just difficult for whatever reason.

mouser

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Re: Ever felt weird playing a roguelike?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2020, 02:41:43 PM »
I like both *bands and Rogue (and original Rogue direct derivatives).

Angband has some atrezzo but it clearly very arcade. I don't think it has any actual RPG mechanic in it (like taking, you know, decisions that affect a plot). Strife, which is a First Person Shooter for the ID engine, has decision making that affects the plot and I still don't think it has real RPG mechanics in it....

The only thing that could make me feel weird playing a roguelike is the fact I am playing a game using a curses/ascii interface, in a day and age where everybody needs an ATI 99999 GTX+ to play the most recent Cal of Duty Ultra Commando. And I don't really give a damn.