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  #1  
Old 01-19-2011, 04:37 AM
Dewfreak83 Dewfreak83 is offline
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Lightbulb Expansion is missing something...

First off, I would just like to say that I have become a huge fan of Din's Curse, Soldak Entertainment, and the developers/designers at the company (all 2??).

I have enjoyed Din's Curse so much I have purchased a couple of copies for friends, and continued to pass on the word. Once it is on Steam... I'll purchase it again for myself!

But...

I cannot say I would right out recommend the expansion to anyone at this time. I realize it is a beta, but personally I don't find the expansion currently adds enough elements that set it from the core game.

New monsters cool, new quests cool, new class cool... but primarily I would like to see some more of the mechanics leveraged or expanded. At the moment, I don't really care all that much about NPC happiness... but it does have potential.

Posts like: http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3275 should be looked at closely, as they add some great mechanics that would make some of the new seemingly minor NPC changes more interesting.

A few other ideas to churn over:
  • Epic Quests: Introduce the concept of a class specific quest-line. Each quest builds on the previous to reach a final quest that gives a powerful item for that class. These quests are rare and difficult. Each quest in a quest-line is tied closely together to buildup a story. The quests could be spread out over towns.
  • Boss Lair: Once a monster becomes a boss he obtains a lair. A lair would either be an entrance or portal (depending on what is technically feasible with the engine), which would lead to the boss's lair. The lair layout is meant to be more "cookie cutter" than a random level, as it is meant to denote something that was built. The lair has guards and other champions to guard the lair. The longer a lair is around the stronger, the richer, and more mischievous the boss gets.
  • Outposts: Add a quest to create a small outpost in a remote dungeon level. This outpost provides increased intel (for town defense), more items to be bought and traded from the depths, greater mining capabilities. This would also allow a few more unique quests such as defending the outpost, or getting supplies to/from the outpost. To make things difficult, the gate for that level is replaced by the outpost - making quests more challenging that require a currier or defender.
  • Embue: For saving a town, Din offers to embue one item with a user-chosen enchantment. This would allow a user to create his/her own "set". Each Embue is linked and the affects are chosen from a list by the player, this "linking" is what creates a set-like crafting experience and helps to create a stronger reward for saving the town.
  • Battlefield: A quest designed to further make saving towns rewarding. For each town saved a set of recruits, supplies, or defenses are added to Din's/Your battalion. Onces on the battlefield you cannot leave until the quest is passed/failed. Forces response until all recruits/reinforcements are dead. The battlefield takes place outside of town, to really create a battle-field. Some towns will donate warriors to fight, some totems for defenses, and some vendors for resupply. The more towns you save the stronger your forces are. If the battlefield is lost, the town is then heavily invaded. Items depleted on the battlefield are not recovered - and therefore saving more towns is important. Winning battles raises moral and makes the current town give much more support than normal once saved, as well as persuades previously rescued towns to send a resupply.
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2011, 04:44 AM
pnakotus pnakotus is offline
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If Din's starts getting anything even vaguely looking like a story I'll probably stop playing. The core of the game is emergent questlines, not fixed narratives of boredom.

Giving the players even more rewards when the game is currently so easy also seems very inadvisable. While I think increasing player workload by having to manage an outpost worth of defence and quests would improve difficulty, some people already struggle with the pace of the game.

I'm not hugely sure what you think 'lairs' add to the game. Is it just a branched level? Because bosses already surround themselves with guys, etc. Allowing them to add more traps or increase the power of guys around them has merit - maybe allowing them to 'promote' guys on their level to named badguys would result in value for raiding lower levels.
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2011, 08:32 AM
abomination5 abomination5 is offline
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I agree that the expansion doesn't add too much to the existing game. Personally, I can't complain since I've gotten so much enjoyment out of the original game that I would be willing to pay more for that alone. However, Demon War gives you significantly less bang for your buck then Din's Curse at this point. The town was supposed to become significantly more interesting but that aspect is still pretty weak right now.

Some will be resistant to changes but I would guess that many would welcome some more 'meaty' additions to the game. Yes, adding new rewards would make the game easier but the game could be made more difficult in other ways. I still believe that more elements could be added without giving the player too much to do. Some people are overwhelmed already but for them there is slow pace and the no stress option. Besides adding new content, the game could definitely benefit some UI improvements and a balance overhaul.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:24 AM
Sinister Stairs Sinister Stairs is offline
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I don't regret purchasing the expansion, but on the other hand I don't feel I would have missed out on anything if I hadn't.

A couple of posts have echoed my thoughts on the townspeople: I just really don't give a crap about them. If anything, I find them irritating and despise their laziness.

Do you recall Sir Galahad's quest to exterminate Camelot's rat infestation? Or Gandalf's epic race to mine gold for Thorin because he was too lazy? And who can forget Drizzt's harrowing journey to deliver flowers to his grandmother.

I like the new town quests because they're different, but they're hardly heroic. So many quests involve doing somebody's job for them (Help the armoursmith build special armour, help the miner mine, etc.) the expansion should really be called Din's Butler: Menial Labor.

What would make the expansion more interesting to me is if townspeople seemed to have lives of their own instead of always whining for me to solve their problems (e.g. townspeople donating to other starving townspeople; or the mining quests were changed to escort the miner to the vein and protect him as he mines, etc.)

I guess I should say, I like the concept of the menial town quests, but I want a reason to care and want to help them.

Other ideas: Instead of a simple pithy, "I am sorry you died" how about they escort me and help retrieve my Soulstone? If the townspeople also joined in stamping out the infestation instead of just standing there as the bugs crawl over their feet.
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2011, 09:38 AM
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fiesher fiesher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnakotus View Post
If Din's starts getting anything even vaguely looking like a story I'll probably stop playing. The core of the game is emergent questlines, not fixed narratives of boredom.
I do agree with the above quote. But the OP had other points which does add to the depth of the game (But with added prerequisites IMO), e.g. Specialized Imbue(Random Stat or property on an item?) upon Freedom or if the town was saved without an NPC death.

As long as the newer additions add to the depth of customization, while maintaining the super-replayable (read: random) theme, I'm on the bandwagon too.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:03 PM
Dewfreak83 Dewfreak83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnakotus View Post
If Din's starts getting anything even vaguely looking like a story I'll probably stop playing. The core of the game is emergent questlines, not fixed narratives of boredom.
Amen to that sir. Emergent is an excellent way to describe Din's. I'm a huge fan of the intertwined events/quests that depend on your actions. The purpose of the suggested "Epic Quest" is to add more goals and replay value for for the player. The player would want to go through Din's quests with other characters in hopes of unlocking the Epic item for his class. For those that can relate think of Everquest's Epic: it was a very special, hard to get, weapon that not only had amazing stats but also provided a unique skill. It was impressive and rewarding to have your epic. Furthermore, with the quests being a quest-line, it can still be based on the emergent feeling... depending on how you solve the previous quest (choice between killing the boss or finding the artifact that traps the boss's soul) the following quest changes and is dependent on your actions. If anything, the main goal would be to create a stronger relationship between quests/events that emerge as they are specially designed to do that. By "story" I don't necessarily mean narrative - as I rarely ever read the narrative in Din's or any other RPG... one of the best things I like about Din's is how it tells its stories or events through actions... someone is actually shrunk from a curse, the town is raided, if my curiosity is peaked as to why or whom I can look at the details as to who is being a pain in my butt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pnakotus View Post
Giving the players even more rewards when the game is currently so easy also seems very inadvisable. While I think increasing player workload by having to manage an outpost worth of defence and quests would improve difficulty, some people already struggle with the pace of the game.
The goal here is diversity in the quest types. Perhaps the other unique thing about Outposts is that they are player-managed. You may give orders for you Outpost working to build defenses, or mine more gold, or scavenge more items - but you must hire folks from the town to work at your outpost for a particular role (builder, miner, guard, trader, etc). As far as the pace goes, the outpost should be mostly self-sustaining with the occasional quest to help it - but gives the player something else to look forward to personalizing or becoming involved with. This also opens the door for other more diverse or unique quests - if anything just in a unique environment (the outpost). As far as the pace and difficulty level, these are both fairly customizable by each player in the game settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pnakotus View Post
I'm not hugely sure what you think 'lairs' add to the game. Is it just a branched level? Because bosses already surround themselves with guys, etc. Allowing them to add more traps or increase the power of guys around them has merit - maybe allowing them to 'promote' guys on their level to named badguys would result in value for raiding lower levels.
One of the key words you used relating to Lairs is the word raid. The goal is to give the player the feel that he is raiding some's place that is both important and powerful with lots of potentially good loot to be found... if he can get to the Lair's vault (key dropped by the boss?). The lair also breaks-up the monotonous feeling of all the levels. The lair follows a different theme (instead of a cave/rock, its walls and floor are cement and tile). The boss should be extremely difficult, where most players could not just walk in and destroy him - instead quests are often given to hinder or assault the Lair until the player is strong enough to attack the Boss directly. For example the Lair may have a research room where nasty things are made that are of course affecting the town and so the player is sent to "close it down".
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:11 PM
Dewfreak83 Dewfreak83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abomination5 View Post
...the game could definitely benefit some UI improvements...
I second this notion. The UI really takes the quality of the game down a notch. In most cases it is border-line ugly and lacks some usability. One example is that when I talk to a town person - there are a ton of options/buttons... but I probably don't care about most or can't even do most (not all have quests for example so why add the clutter). It seems the strategy forward for the UI is to just add more gross-looking blue buttons (keying back to clutter).

But... its because the game play is so great and the fact the UI is bearable is why we all still love and play Din's!
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:28 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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I actually think the UI is very user-friendly. Sure it's not perfect but aside from some minor quibbles, it's much more streamlined than many other ARPGs I've played and very easy to figure out and use.
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Old 01-19-2011, 02:15 PM
pnakotus pnakotus is offline
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The NPC UI is pretty bad, since there are now about 12 buttons and in most cases the player only wants to use two. 'Talk' could be made more useful if NPCs could give you hints about other NPCs (traitors etc).

The idea of having 'reverse towns' around monster bosses is pretty neat, but I'm not sure it needs an extra level of its own. If the bosses are allowed to change the level they're deployed on, move deeper if they feel threatened, store loot they need for plots, add traps, guards etc I think you'd get a similar effect without needing to branch it off. I don't mind that the bosses are currently just kind of chilling out in corridors, but I can see the scope for adding interactions with the map - especially the 'raid' idea of messing up the boss's guards/loots/preparations/etc.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:19 PM
Dewfreak83 Dewfreak83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnakotus View Post
The idea of having 'reverse towns' around monster bosses is pretty neat, but I'm not sure it needs an extra level of its own.
Part of the push for the Lair to have a level of its own is to create a more horizontal level versus the normal vertical levels (down deeper and deeper you go). These "horizontal" levels are key to breaking up the "I'm just going down deeper and deeper with the same looking theme" - but throws in an occasionally "expanded" level that introduces a different look and feel.

I know if I was an all-might powerful boss that commanded a legion of followers I would use those followers to create myself a place to call my own - to better organize, defend myself, and finally create total destruction on the town... without having to worry about all the ruckus going on outside in the dungeon. Kill the boss, not just because he'll send invasions or make nasty machines... he'll create a lair that will make killing him even that much more difficult. It is just further progression for the "leveling" of the monsters and a way to introduce new quests, a change in scenery, and perhaps other mechanics down the road.
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