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  #1  
Old 02-06-2011, 02:01 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Default Tweaks to pacing and items

There have been a couple of posts on the forum that made me think about the following issues.

The first is whether the expansion's pacing is too fast. It made me think of my 2nd town with the expansion, which started out with 4 quests and ended up with around 100, taking several hours to complete. I think the problem is that in vanilla DC, there was one front: the dungeon. If you took too long killing the bosses, they'd invade, and that made sense. With the expansion, taking a long time allows a greater chance of things happening in the town as well. The longer you take, the greater the chance of having a traitor in town who'll set traps, create gates etc. This is not as logical to the player. Also, while he's dealing with town issues, the monsters develop as well. If the player gets stuck fighting through a particular level and dying a lot, he'll see his shopping list of tasks growing continuously. Even though the rate of tasks expiring may be slow (because a slow pace was chosen), the game has prepared never ending quests for him even while he's struggling to finish one task, and this causes frustration. Eventually, after killing the bosses, the player has to fish for a few last mandatory tasks such as destroying machines, and in the meantime more bosses appear. While this can be fun under the right circumstances (e.g. when fast pacing is selected or in high levels), it can make a low level town feel like it drags on forever. Does anybody feel this has happened to them?

The second issue is item drops. I saw it mentioned on the forums and tried to start a new town to check it out. Of course there may be hidden modifiers causing this, but on my first town, which everyone knows is always crappy (or at an introductory level, depending on your perspective) since it takes 1-2 hits to kill anything and all of the creatures ganging up on you can barely make a dent in your hit points, I got tons of magical items, then elite and then 1 or 2 artifacts. This was without any treasure finding elixirs. The item count was insane. I soon didn't need to look at any items anymore. It reminded me of my 22 level necromancer, who has been carrying artifacts of all sorts since level 14 or so and hasn't needed to check item stats since, since nothing comes close. Legendary, elite and even magical items should be rare, not just because they're so cool but because they ruin the enjoyment of upgrading. I feel like the criticism leveled at the game that it drops too many items and that too many powerful items are dropped may be true, and the rates should be reduced.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2011, 08:23 AM
Caal Caal is offline
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Regarding pacing, you may have missed my post here:

http://www.soldak.com/forums/showpos...3&postcount=42

Regarding items, I have also previously posted two small mods (which I have since combined into one) which now a) reduces the drop rate for high level items, b) increases the number of random modifiers on these items and c) raises the bar for reputation increases, making it harder to get the newly enhanced items on rep gains. If you're interested I will re-post it in the mod section.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:35 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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I did see your post Caal -- it's one of the posts I referred to above. I was just afraid that it'll get lost in that thread and preferred to have the discussion in a dedicated thread.

Your mod sounds great! How well does it play balance-wise? I'm more interested in getting people's feedback about the problems (assuming that they exist), so that they can be tweaked by Shadow in the main game if need be.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2011, 09:28 AM
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Maledictus Maledictus is offline
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I remember somebody saying this elsewhere but: I think the default pacing (read: the piling up of problems that only I seem to able to solve) should be slower. The constant pressure is what's keeping me from enjoying my surroundings and what it is I'm doing. There is this point where the player's achievements are nullified by the new problems that appear, and that cuts into the enjoying. I know this is a major part of what makes the game unique, but sometimes it's too much. Maybe a more tweakable pace setting (instead of just slow/normal/fast) could help.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:10 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Regarding the pacing, if I were to try and express the problem better: in vanilla DC, the dungeon attacks and you defend. If you fail, the dungeon will deliver the finishing blow -- you just weren't good enough for this random town/difficulty. If you're good enough, you'll get through the quests and kill the bosses.

With the expansion, you may not be fast enough to defeat the dungeon & traitors, but on slow/normal pace and a lowish level, they won't necessarily finish you off either. Instead they'll just produce more and more quests (one traitor after another, one machine after another) drowning you in tasks but not attacking the town in a way you couldn't defend either. Eventually you may or may not save the town, but you'll feel burnt out since your expectation was a low-medium difficulty and that's not really what you got.

One possibility is to have an evil budget (aka a Murphy's budget): for a low level, the game will decide that only X number of bad things (or perhaps Y experience points' worth of bad things) can go wrong at a time.

Another possibility is to have the game react to how well you're doing by slowing down the challenge if you're failing, or alternatively, increasing it so the game can deliver the finishing blow.

A further option is that every town would have a certain amount of experience's worth that needs to be done to redeem it. Rather than keeping the division of optional and required tasks, and demanding that you seek out that last hidden machine, the town would need you to redeem it from a certain amount of evil points' worth. Killing bosses and halting uprisings would count for the most, but other tasks would count as well. That means that even though you may end up with a long shopping list of things to do, you don't actually have to do all the tasks on the list, at least in the lower levels.

Last edited by Bluddy : 02-06-2011 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:09 PM
Caal Caal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
I did see your post Caal -- it's one of the posts I referred to above. I was just afraid that it'll get lost in that thread and preferred to have the discussion in a dedicated thread.
No problem. Sorry to doubt your powers of observation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
Your mod sounds great! How well does it play balance-wise? I'm more interested in getting people's feedback about the problems (assuming that they exist), so that they can be tweaked by Shadow in the main game if need be.
I'll re-post it in the mod section. I've been tweaking it for a few months now and I have it at the point where I like it. But you're certainly free to tweak it to your liking.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:22 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Darn it, why'd I place this thread in the vanilla DC section? Anyway, my suggestions are here: http://www.soldak.com/forums/showpos...05&postcount=9
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:30 AM
Archon Archon is offline
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In agreement that quality item drops are far to frequent with the default settings in Din's Curse. Right now I play with the "unlucky" character mod stacked on top of the "rare items" mod for a magic drop that feels just about right (character finds a lot of "dungeon junk" which make unique and magical items mean much more when found). I would not mind a bit of a decrease in the default Din's although probably not at the unlucky+rare items level .

I like your idea of an "evil budget" or just have a random cap on the number of traitors that could be generated in a town (If there is not already a hidden random cap on the number of traitor quests that could be generated in any given town) which would give the player some breathing room near town completion.

I also play on "very slow pace" not to avoid the quest chaos, more because I prefer the slower respawn of the monsters and I agree with Caal's post that respawning seems a tad bit faster in DW. Not really sure but I think that respawn and quest pace are tied at the hip. In a future game I really would like to be able to adjust respawn pace and quest pace independently from one another. This would also allow each setting it's own speed value; for example a "very slow" respawn pace could be much slower than a "very slow" quest pace allowing people to essentially play a spawn once style popular in games like Diablo while setting the respawn pace to "very high" would allow the player to play a style more reminiscent of Recettear / Sacred.

Last edited by Archon : 02-08-2011 at 07:17 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2011, 06:22 PM
eides eides is offline
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I'm concerned that some of these caps might make the game too same-y. I like that some towns are quick and easy to finish while others snowball out of control. For those that don't like it, I'm assuming the penalty for abandoning a town is enough of a disincentive that they feel like they have to keep slogging through?

What we probably need is a way to moderate the town difficulty while in the town...maybe a quest that shows up after a (reasonably long) time that allows the player to adjust the town parameters and reduce the NPC angst or boss breeding.

For towns that are dragging on due to hidden bosses, maybe a quest to build a special totem that will draw the bosses into town (a "Come and get me" act).

Still need something to help with towns that drag on because of time spend tracking down upteen machines though...that can drag out a lot.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:55 PM
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Maledictus Maledictus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
Does anybody feel this has happened to them?
Yes, by now I know what you mean. I've yet to finish my first DW town. Started again a few times, am now running a small town on slow pacing, but I simply can't finish. I get swamped by quests and progress seems non-existent. People dying left and right, so reputation goes down regularly.
In DC I was fighting the dungeon, now I'm also fighting the town. It almost feels like it's too much. I'll roll another town, see how I fare then.

Edit: decided to tough it out some more. Continued the town, town caught the plague, town caught the plague (again), fixed plague one, in the mean time I missed several quests because the plague cure items took some time to spawn, people died, started curing plague two, and then things got a bit better. Had 5 quests all in the same level, so that sped things up a bit. Still a long way from saving this town, though. So, things seem to take more time in DW, which is not a bad thing, I suppose. Seems I need some adjusting...

So, can plagues 'stack'? If so, isn't that a little much? One plague should do it, I think. I didn't see the effect of 2 plagues stack on my character though.

Last edited by Maledictus : 02-09-2011 at 07:57 PM.
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