Darkest Dungeon Make Corpses Optional After Feedback

Developing games in public is a strange thing. Darkest Dungeon [official site] seemed to be advancing smoothly through early access, earning plaudits from its very first version, but in the past month its Steam reviews have started to take a turn for the worse. The culprit is a set of newly introduced features that make the game harder, including corpses and heart attacks. In response to the angst, developers Red Hook Studios have just released a patch that allows you to turn those two features off.

Step below and I’ll explain what corpses are.

The main problem is with a new system whereby defeated enemies, instead of vanishing, turn into motionless corpses that then act as a shield for the enemies still behind them. This is designed so that enemy hordes hold their formation for longer, to stop players simply targeting the lead enemy over and over such that the entire enemy party eventually slides into range of your melee tank up front. One of the consequences of the system however is that it makes the game harder, extending the length of fights. One of the problems, meanwhile, is that the system doesn’t wholly make sense – corpses, though stationary, can be missed by your attacks, and your own defeated adventurers do not become corpses – which increases the feeling that the game is unfair.

Corpses eventually degrade on their own, but when combined with other features including heart attacks for over-stressed adventurers, and increased armour and chance to crit for enemies, a portion of the community felt that a game they liked and were experienced in had significantly changed for the worse.

There are design notes from the developers on why corpses were added in the first place, but in the Steam post responding to the complaints, Red Hook’s Tyler Sigman explained why they’d now decided to give you the option to turn them off:

Just as we were willing to experiment by adding these features, we are willing to experiment with ways to allow you to shape the DD experience a bit to your liking. As many of you know, we have been reluctant to add difficulty related options until now because focusing on our intended version of the game has been our number one priority and our experiments and changes during Early Access have all been in support of iterating on that. But it would be foolish for us to not consider the fact that the Darkest Dungeon community is now big enough to include diverse groups, some of which would like to play the game differently than we might have envisioned. Although we’ve always been unapologetic about how important it is that Darkest Dungeon is punishing, unforgiving, and sometimes not even “fair”…at the end of the day we want those of you who own it to have fun and that can’t be forgotten.

Sigman underlines that they still consider these features being on as their “official vision” for the game.

I find this kind of negotiation between designer and community fascinating. Players are great at telling you whether they enjoy something, though not always why or why not; while designers often have a strong and interesting idea of what they want a game to be, but that doesn’t always correspond to what the player’s desire. I wonder, in the case of Darkest Dungeon’s corpses and heart attacks, whether making them optional is a fair solution or simply a bandage that leaves both methods of playing the game as lesser than they might be if underlying design issues were addressed.

We’ll send someone into Darkest Dungeon to gather some thoughts soon. In the meantime, isn’t the game’s art lovely?

From this site

74 Comments

  1. John O says:

    I still want to buy and play it, but I keep putting it off. I played it for a bit and liked it, but I keep wondering if this is the right point in time to really take the plunge

    • trn says:

      My opinion means diddly squat, but I spent a long time during last week’s Steam sale reading reviews and scouring forums and concluded that it would be well worth waiting for a finished game before taking the plunge with this one. From the sounds of it, the devs don’t know what they want and are buckling under the pressure of two groups of players: those who think that the game is too hard, those who think it is not hard enough. I suspect there will be plenty more changes before release.

      • Montavious says:

        I held off too. Had this game on my list since it came out and have rave reviews. Then saw it on sale and a lot of the reviews went negative. Ill hold off until final release too to see how it turns out.

        • Serenegoose says:

          Dark souls early access patch!

          Enemies now respawn upon resting at the bonfire.

          Gamers cry: OH MY GOD, YOU’VE MADE THE GAME SUCH A GRIND NOW, 0/10

          All this has really demonstrated is that allowing reviews of a game that isn’t feature complete is a fucking terrible idea.

          • Squirrelfanatic says:

            I think it’s fair to push out reviews as soon as the developers/publishers are taking money for their product. What would help though is having reviewers note what version of the game they’ve played, as that would allow for more transparency.

            So I’d say what this has shown is that it’s a bad idea to put in features into an Early Access game and expect review score to be unaffected. I guess you can’t have both: Develop your game “in public” with player input along the way and be safe from criticism or the ebb and flow of popularity of your unfinished product.

          • Serenegoose says:

            I agree. Once your game is out there, it’s fair to critique it, absolutely. I also think it’s complex because the nature of a feature incomplete game is that the added features /will/ change it. Imagine Dark Souls launched with corpses. Would anybody be complaining about them? Maybe. Would it have completely trashed the games review scores with hordes of people wailing that the game and the devs have gone totally off the rails? I very much doubt it. The very act of /adding/ controversial things – even things that were always meant to be there – evokes such a disproportional reaction it’s hard to see a positive side. The whole thing’s just a clusterfuck, as this is ably demonstrating.

          • Serenegoose says:

            Darkest dungeon* I was caught up in my prior analogy, evidently :D

          • LexW1 says:

            If you’re selling it for money, it’s fair to critique it.

            Period.

            If you think reviews of early-access games are bad for early-access games, or bad for gamers, I think you are being a little silly frankly. They’re good for both.

            As for Darkest Dungeons, it’s great, but they DID eff up two things recently. Corpses went live even though unfinished/poorly-implemented (even the devs have said this) due to time pressure, and significantly changed gameplay, and enemies got so tough at the high-end that unless you are an actual serious min-maxer who knows how the game works, you will run into a brick wall, very abruptly (at the low end it’s not too bad at all). Doing that is obviously going to cause some concern. It all seemed rather half-arsed.

          • Serenegoose says:

            I’m not saying it should be exempt? I think overall early access is a bad idea except in very, very few circumstances. I think it can very easily lead to people getting the wrong end of the stick about what the game was meant to be past the point where they’re invested in the game, and getting very loud and angry about that. Which has clearly happened here.

          • Squirrelfanatic says:

            @Serenegoose (first response): Agreed.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Exactly this. It bothers me a bit how easily game design can be swayed by a few loud voices.

            We need more proper directors, guys with a vision who would just shush the noisy ones, and delivering the game they envisioned.

      • John O says:

        Yeah, I agree that waiting for release is probably the best course of action. Still, I wonder if it’ll ever be finished, or if it already was. I remember while playing pixel dungeon there was a sweet spot where my development as a player and the games development harmonized. It’s an odd thing when players and devs manipulate the game at the same time.

      • Perry Noid says:

        I’ve poured about 100 hours into the game since it first went up. It is the first and only early access game I have played. The difficulty is the most common complaint but consider the fact that these are probably mostly people who spent around 2 hours being beaten down by the game and driven to rage review on the game. It warns you right off the bat that the game is difficult and in fact after playing for a while I felt the game was actually too easy once you level up a bit and equip the proper trinkets. So I was happy to play with the updates that made it more difficult and continue to enjoy the fact that the corpses are in the game plus the other enemy buffs and what not.

        I’m not really concerned about the devs pandering because if they are they are doing it without affecting the game as a whole, they are merely providing more options for players to choose how they want to play.

        That being said, I still would not recommend getting into the game until it releases because spending so much time with it as I have while it is effectively in a beta stage will likely spoil the full experience once the game is complete. Otherwise, i think the game is great and whatever they decide to do to pander to the section of audience finding the game to difficult to enjoy is not affecting the players who want it to be as difficult as it was originally intended to be. So far, I’m cool with the decisions Red Hook have made.

    • Jools says:

      I honestly think it’d be hard not to recommend Darkest Dungeon for $20 or less. The game is incomplete and has a pile of balance issues, but if the basic concept appeals to you then you’re almost guaranteed to get 20-30 hours out of it.

      Can I guarantee that it’ll ever turn in the game of your dreams or that you’ll play it until the end of days? No, not really. I’ve put about 25 hours into it and I’m probably done until release. That said, this is a game that ranges in price from around $12-20 depending on whether it’s on sale or not, so from my perspective I’ve already gotten my money and then some out of it.

      • Squirrelfanatic says:

        And that’s exactly the reason I’m holding out for the full release. The game looks incredibly attractive already so there’s no chance in hell I’ll spoil the experience I could (will?) get after it’s done. Until then, I’ve got lots of other games to play.

  2. Hieronymusgoa says:

    the game was awesome in many ways and was hard in an engaging way. now it is quite a bit less awesome because it is ridiculously hard. even my brother who is in my eyes a gaming-masochist (when it comes to difficulty) stopped playing after the new features. the new fast-degrading torches were okay-ish but there is a limit. you basically have to grind together a new group from scratch every time one of the harder bosses wiped you and that process is now even longer with the added difficulty. for me it has become too much effort to progress further so is topped playing it before my brother.

    • tumbleworld says:

      This has certainly been my experience. It was fun; now it isn’t. I don’t think corpses have much to do with it. They’re just another aspect to manage, which is fine in a game of this nature. It’s the overall effect of lots of minor tweaks which together mainly eliminate strategy and options in favour of blind luck. If I just want to wander around a random meatgrinder, the old Bard’s Tale is a lot cheaper.

      • Niko says:

        I’ve had a similar experience – I’ve just started to grasp the game without much metagaming, killed the four bosses with little losses (and it felt deserved), but then they’ve introduced corpses. I want to play, not minmax and crunch numbers to create the most effective party possible.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      It’s been a while since I played it, but even then it was a fairly painful prolonged grind to get anywhere. And a little bad luck or one unnecessary risk could lead to a negative amount of progress that left you struggling to get to where you were before. Dark Souls is one of my favorite games, but Darkest Dungeon takes “make the player work for it” way too far.

      • Hieronymusgoa says:

        same here, loved dark souls 1 and 2 and am playing demons souls now finally. darkest dungeon was, for me, the group-rpg version of that (and the lovecraftian twists are so nice) :) but now it is not anymore what i personally like. if a majority is happy with the changes, then so be it, but it might be a good thing to weigh the critic’s points.

  3. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    My once-middling interest in playing this game when it comes out of Early Access is pretty much gone now.

    Nothing described in this article sounds like a good way to spend my free time.

    • JFS says:

      Yep. Even though I’m all for options (where they make sense and fit in). Think XCOM’s “Second Wave”. Great stuff, for those that want it, and you get to pick and choose while the game still keeps working.

      In this case, though, it all seems a little messy. Dunno.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      That’s more or less how I’ve felt about this game too. Yes, the art is lovely, and yes, the concept is novel, but every review I read makes it seem like it’s a game designed to punish the player for daring to play. No thanks.

      • Coming Second says:

        It’s not like that at all. It’s considerably less punishing than FTL, for instance, and overall the balance of the game has improved significantly since it began EA. The negative reviews are centred around a particular balance patch which has since been scaled most of the way back.

        It’s sad this game has now gotten the reputation which generates these sort of comments, because it’s a cracking little game whose developers are very reactive, communicative and deserve support. The response to the corpses patch on Steam was OTT and really quite unfair.

        • Laurentius says:

          Well i can’t comment on the whole EA experience of Darkest Dungeaon since it’s been a while I played so build change a lot as I assume. But having 170 hours logged into FTL and really trying to like DD I can say it completley the other way round and my opinion on DD is not very good right now. DD is way more punishiable hard then FTL, what’s more it’s not very good imo in giving props what went wrong and where did you make mistake. DD is for me very frustrating, something that FTL definietly isn’t.

        • slerbal says:

          I would have to disagree with you there, I think DD is much more punishing than FTL. DD has become far harder as the game has developed and I have to admit I’ve found it increasingly annoying to play despite having an outstanding look and music and so many other elements I like.

          • Serenegoose says:

            They’re different though, aren’t they? One can say that DD is easier because it’s a long term game, and you’re not reliant on a shop coughing up some good gear so that you’ve simply got enough firepower to get through 3 enemy shields, and there’s no actual failure state to begin with, whereas in FTL you can distinctly lose. But you can argue FTL is easier because it’s less arbitrary with its rules – there’s no critical hits, or stress, and everything is very simple, and if you lose it was only a half an hour anyway, along with little comforts like having to work out what gets a positive result in DD, rather than just selecting the blue option. I’d argue that to someone good and knowledgeable at either game, there’s enough ways to skew both systems towards favourable outcomes, and anybody who isn’t could find both unfairly random.

          • slerbal says:

            @Serenegoose I agree they are different. But I was replying to Coming Second who was comparing them :)

  4. Morph says:

    I only started playing recently so had assumed corpses had been there all along. I quite liked the idea – adding some tactics to combat, and they recently patched it so you couldn’t miss hitting a corpse. I’ll leave them switched on.

    The game is tough and often unfair but I’m completely addicted.

  5. W4nT4n says:

    Not having followed the discussions around the developement of Darkest Dungeon (I avoid Early Access titles on purpose, but that’s another topic), I approve of making those features optional. Especially games based on randomized content need a whole lot of options to give players somewhat of a control over their gaming experience. Also the whole idea of Early-Access is based on getting player-feedback, hence I can’t understand why the developer should ignore the criticism.

  6. Pantalaimon says:

    “Players are great at telling you whether they enjoy something, though not always why or why not”

    Yeah – this is a key point, and a really important thing to note for designers and would-be designers alike. Your playerbase as an entity is extremely perceptive and attentive to problems in game design. Individually they might be be good at suggesting solutions, but you can’t ignore them.

  7. amateurviking says:

    Punishing and unforgiving I can handle. But unfair: nein danke.

    • Xzi says:

      It’s not unfair. You can plan around every mechanic and aspect of the game. It’s the idiots sticking their faces into the wood-chipper, IE the people who want to play Darkest Dungeon without any regard to strategy, who are complaining most.

      • amateurviking says:

        I was referring to the direct quote from the developer:

        “Although we’ve always been unapologetic about how important it is that Darkest Dungeon is punishing, unforgiving, and sometimes not even “fair”…at the end of the day we want those of you who own it to have fun and that can’t be forgotten.”

      • Niko says:

        Idiots, huh.

  8. Boffins says:

    Having recently acquired the game during last week’s Steam “Midweek Madness” discount, I’m newly exploring the game and generally been playing with the corpses on. Love the art, and enjoying the game overall. As a new player, the system doesn’t seem terribly controversial and appears to add some depth to my dungeon-delving tactics, but the controversy itself is pretty interesting.

    Definitely brings to mind the posts by game designer David Sirlin about game balance, (e.g. http://www (dot) sirlin (dot) net/articles/game-balance-and-yomi, or /articles/balancing-multiplayer-games-part-3-fairness).

    Sirlin makes the great point that players should often (always?) be ignored by designers around issues of balance. Everyone will either love their particular style, or be locked into a certain favorite approach. Anything that threatens this style will appear to be “unfair” or “unbalanced”, generating complaints, even if those complaints are unfounded.

    Players take awhile to adjust and discover new tactics, and based on skill level will take more/less time to adjust.

    A great example (based on my gaming habits) is found in the MOBA genre. When new heroes are released, they are frequently selected after release and appear unbalanced (and generate lots of complaints in-game and on forums). After a few days, better players have discovered the counterplay against these heroes. After a few weeks, almost everyone has learned the counterplay and the complaining subsides. The ‘fairness’ and balance of new heroes are generally objectively supported by win/loss statistics on public match tracking sites as well (and developers have much more sophisticated data behind the scenes which they use pre/post release to evaluate the impact on play).

    The controversy has definitely caused me to reflect on the impact/value of Early Access. Feedback and tuning is super important for any game. Generally, that would occur with internal/alpha testing. Not sure if it’s always great to have broader exposure, although for smaller developers Early Access effectively allows a bigger alpha group. As a gamer, I really look forward to devs which have a clear vision for the game (and the talent to execute), who then have the courage to balance/design towards the vision. This may mean responding only slightly to player feedback, especially around ‘balance’ questions. Other factors such as UI may be different.

  9. EhexT says:

    Corpses were hardly unfair. In fact they are a critical piece that was missing before to make movement powers worthwhile. Without Corpses the winning move was “hit enemy slot 1 or 2 for as much damage as possible and watch the enemy slide into the kill zone one after the other”. Movement powers were shit because why bother with a less damaging power to slide an enemy when you can just hit a front enemy really hard and slide the rest that way.

    With Corpses, Movement powers are actually useful.

    • Baines says:

      When only enemies leave corpses, and not your party members, it is kind of unfair.

      If you can actually miss a corpse, it is also kind of questionable, but hit percentages have always been a bit of a weird and wacky thing when you try to apply logic to them. I mean, you really could miss even a corpse in a dark area while fighting other still-living eldritch horrors. And when hit rolls include stuff like deflection and “the damage just wasn’t enough to matter”, you could fail to “damage” even an immobile lump in a calm circumstance.

  10. Sian says:

    What annoys me most about all this are the elitists on the Steam forum who even now call this game too easy and dismiss any criticism of corpses, heart attacks and PROT with the usual L2P comments. Some of them even try telling the designers that they could solve all the balance problems in five minutes if Red Hook just let them.

    As for myself: I’ve backed this game on Kickstarter, played its early iteration, loved it but decided to wait until it’s done before playing more. I have yet to try out the new features, though I can see the impact already from my previous experience.

    See, before there were corpses, you COULD focus down the first line and let the back line move up, but the front one or two spots were often taken by tanky enemies while the back two spots were taken by enemies with AoE abilities, stress inducing attacks and other nasty things. So I’d quite often ignore the tanky enemies and attack the back rows directly anyway. The tactical diversity was already there. Instead of adding corpses, a more interesting way to encourage more people to fight differently might’ve been to make the tanky enemies tougher or the back row nastier – but we’ll have to see whether they plan on expanding on the corpses. I suspect I’ll have them switched on.

    Heart attacks, though… Stress is already a timer on any mission. Heart attacks now just make it so that you can’t take risks at all. For those that don’t know: Certain attacks, receiving critical hits, certain traps and curios, and generally just walking through the dungeons increases stress. Once stress reaches 100 on a character, he’ll either get a buff and his stress reduced or, more likely, become afflicted with paranoia, rage, fear and other ailments, taking away control every so often, inducing stress on the other characters and generally performing worse, though some afflictions carry benefits too. With heart attacks, once the meter fills up again, the character just dies. No roll, no second chance, nothing. Used to be you could let torches grow dim or go out which would increase loot, but also stress. Now that’s not something you can do without the perfect party composition and cheesing the game, from what I read. Anyway, it’s a timer. Don’t want to lose a hero? Don’t stay in the dungeon. Don’t like that, will probably have it deactivated.

    Apropos cheesing: Some say corpses make that easier. During a run, you can only heal HP and stress while camped (possible only a certain number of times depending on the dungeon’s size) or with abilities that are only accessible during fights. If you don’t attack enemies for a certain number of turns, the game starts to up the stress to make you finish the fight in order to avoid players dragging out fights to heal. Now, hitting corpses adds an additional time buffer to that, so leaving one enemy alive to heal up is more viable, apparently.

    • Boffins says:

      Definitely appreciate your perspective Sian, but heart attacks really aren’t that bad once you learn2play.

    • Sian says:

      Forgot to mention: PROT is what they did to make tanky enemies tougher, which apparently wasn’t enough.

      Secondly: I wonder how boss fights go now, specifically the necromancer. He conjures enemies, of course, that act as a buffer between him and the party. I suspect the summons leave corpses too. Doesn’t that block the boss from summoning more minions?

      • Premium User Badge

        X_kot says:

        To your question, yes, minions summoned by bosses leave corpses that block additional summoning.

        But all of this fretting over corpses seems misguided. You can avoid creating a corpse by using a DoT or a crit; plus, several characters have abilities that clear them from the board. Many of the complaints seem to come from wanting to keep using the old strategies and team comps. Recall how people complained when the hellion was changed? She’s still a useful character but not dominant.

        The heart attack mechanic keeps people from farming dark runs with impunity. Previously, as soon as you hit 100 stress with everyone, stress attacks no longer mattered. You could farm dark runs with impunity, laughing at the tempting goblets. Now you cannot be complacent, which seems fitting.

        • Sian says:

          I’ve tried dark runs with afflicted heroes. The loss of control caused me to lose quite a few characters – or at least to flee a dungeon early. Sure, stress isn’t a factor anymore then, but everything else is much harder.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Yeah. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really tried to game the system, but afflictions were always a sign I was on the road to ruin. Heart attacks are pretty much just a hand, not-so-gently nudging me back, saying “Nah, you can’t push your luck in another fight, because this guy’s having a heart attack no matter what. ‘Aint no saving throws for him, so the choice of whether to stop or turn back is a simple one.”

            Frankly the likelihood has probably saved as many heroes as it’s killed for me, but it feels like it takes away the choice. I feel like there should be something a bit less brick-wall-ish than the heart attack mechanic.

          • Shadow says:

            I agree with X_kot, and want to stress the necessity of the heart attack mechanic. Stress is meant to be a sort of second, parallel health bar, and without heart attacks, it means next to nothing.

            Basically, if you’re doing dark runs with afflicted heroes, you’re doing it plain wrong. It’s suicidal, and the game should reward you with nothing short of extermination. And if you expect the game to allow you to survive such a terrible choice for long, I’m not sure what you think you’re playing.

            No second chance? The whole latter half of the 0-200 stress bar is the second chance. The affliction/virtue turning point is your warning that you’re beginning to push your luck.

            Once a good number of your party is afflicted, the sound choice is not to delay the retreat much longer: you’re one bad encounter from losing someone. Now, I don’t know much about you, but not that many people play it safe, and it’s usually the reckless who complain the game doesn’t allow them to plow through anything despite poor decision-making.

          • wraithgr says:

            I’d also like to see a middling option implemented. Say, the hero that reaches 100 stress freaks out and flees back to town, and then needs some expensive treatment to work up the nerve to fight again (maybe a 2-week thing). This would eliminate some of the perceived unfairness, whereby you think you are just pushing your luck a little bit and suddenly you lose a couple of your best party members, have to drop the quest and need to go back to grinding earlier stages just to get the right composition to try again, while still being a significant setback…

          • Shadow says:

            Keep in mind heart attacks take place at 200 stress. If you’re getting there, you’re pushing your luck more than ‘a little bit’: you’re stretching your people’s sanity to the breaking point. And as I said earlier, there’s enough room and time for a sensible decision to retreat back to town if things are getting too heavy.

            It’s just that many get greedy and expect the game to forgive too much, allow them to win the day despite all the cues telling them to dial it back.

      • Coming Second says:

        The enemies the Necromancer summons do leave corpses. He also now has a chance of summoning the much tougher Bulwark and General skellies at higher levels, all in all making him a much tougher boss. Which is good in my opinion, because whilst his L1 iteration serves his purpose as a beginner boss, at higher levels he used to be a total walk-over.

    • Xzi says:

      I’ll gladly admit to being one of those “elitists.” Forgive me for believing failure should be a part of a roguelike.

      • Sian says:

        If that’s your only opinion on the matter, I have no problem forgiving you that, because that wasn’t my point. Failure is absolutely part of this game. I have a problem with people who don’t stop to think why someone might complain about a new mechanic and instead assume they’re too bad to be allowed to enjoy the game. Those are the elitists.

        • Xzi says:

          Certainly the bulk of the complaints stems from aspects of the game’s difficulty or roguelike mechanics. If people didn’t realize that this game had roguelike elements, then that’s understandable. They can refund it. OTOH, if they simply don’t like roguelikes or roguelike elements and decide to whine at the developers expecting their every whim to be catered to, I have zero sympathy. Those people are assholes trying to ruin a game whose genre is already rare enough as-is.

  11. Kitsunin says:

    I think a lot of people were misattributing a larger issue with corpses. The corpses themselves are probably a smart design decision. They put an emphasis on movement abilities, DoTs, and abilities which hit the back rows…which is probably good, vs. the strat of just slamming the #1 enemy (though I kinda thought having tankier/less damaging enemies in the front was already good enough? Doesn’t this mostly just sort of make melee range comps suck?). The issue is that the game has been getting more and more tedious to play. This isn’t that it’s been getting less forgiving or even more unfair (though that exacerbates things) the issue is that battles have been getting slower and slower, and punishments have been requiring more and more grind to get past.

    There’s just too much time spent on boring stuff. You get wiped, which is easier than ever (and it was pretty damn common in the prior to the changes), and then you have to go back to low-risk, boring dungeons, with undeveloped and storyless characters. Meanwhile the balance shifts more and more toward forcing you into particular compositions, or at least away from many (you need to hit the back rows, you need DoT, you need ways to deal with PROT) sapping variety away.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Oh, and crits are less powerful now, too. Again, probably a fine change, puts more emphasis on the stress reduction, but it’s another way battles have gotten even longer. They’re just too damn long, it’s boring it’s boring it’s boring. I thought the game was really well-paced before, but now there’s just so much time re-grinding, battles take too long…it’s just generally gotten a lot more tedious.

  12. Auru says:

    I really think it is a shame they decided to allow these to be on/off features.. the corpses themselves might have led us to a really interesting Necromancer type hero who can manipulate the corpses.. but that’ll never happen now :/

    I find the whole thing quite bizarre, they added more depth to the combat and the backlash was seriously loud :z

    • Sian says:

      I wouldn’t fret over that. Those features are here to stay and will likely be developed further, seeing as that’s their vision and all. A potential necromancer-type hero wasn’t ever discussed at all, if memory serves, so that was unlikely to happen even before they made corpses optional. Maybe way, way in the future.

    • Baines says:

      It looks like they made corpses and heart attacks optional after Jim Sterling posted an article about growing complaints over changes to Darkest Dungeon.

      It led Jim to question whether his Steam Curator recommendation for Darkest Dungeon was still valid, and to question whether or not he should recommend Early Access games at all, because such games can change so drastically over time. (The article wasn’t a condemnation of the changes, though. It was about the issues that such changes create.)

      • Celerity says:

        He eventually withdrew that recommendation after far more troubling news surfaced after the initial and obvious complaints about corpses was allegedly dealt with.

  13. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Yay! Options in a single player game. :)

  14. warkwark says:

    I am apparently the only one in the world who doesnt like the game… I find that having a choice of where to go, and/or lots of unique gear / loot are apparently important for me to enjoy this genre. I just felt the game was thin on choice when I played it. Also I like the idea of the narrator but thought the actual voice acting and lines got old really fast.

  15. King in Winter says:

    Well, interesting opinions.

    I bought DD just a bit ago when it was on sale on Steam, and so far I’ve been enjoying the game. The corpses (and hitting them at 100%) were already in when I started, and I haven’t been minding them too much even though with push/pull enemies hitting the rear ranks can become very difficult at times.

    I guess my opinion may partially be down to my play style. I plan methodically and play very cautiously, most of the time simply refusing to push my luck if I’m not making loss by retreating – taking high stress is not making loss, as it can always be safely removed with enough money. As a result, I’m on week 46 and have dealt with just first two of the bosses (necro and hag), and half my roster is too high level to go into the beginner dungeons. I wasn’t even aware of the heart attack mechanic as the furthest any of my characters has gone on stress has been 160 or so. Similarly, I haven’t ever had a party wipe, the worst result ever has been 2/4 survivors.

    I also do a lot of runs simply for the money, grab a team of zero-levels and put them through the grinder once or twice, depending on stress, and then send them on their merry way. This funds my alpha and beta teams and keeps them alive by assuring enough upgrades and provisions.

    On the other hand, I’ve notived I can just ignore all but direst of negative quirks, and locking the positive ones seems to cost more than I want to put on the table. Trinkets, too, seem safe to ignore as they’re all double-edged swords. There’s just some edge cases like putting -Dodge to someone who is already at zero dodge, and those that buff a character’s important stat while punishing an unimportant one.

  16. Jakkar says:

    Having finally redeemed my access from backing the Kickstarter, I really enjoyed my time with it – just after these things were added. The heart-attack system is exceedingly depressing, eliminating excellent characters without mercy due to a brief run of bad luck, without any chance of survival or sense of style or satisfaction.

    The corpse system, however, felt entirely natural and made sense, given that it’s a game about formations of varied troops with different ranged skills fighting in tight, claustrophobic, dark environments.

    Perhaps they should cause people to trip over and lose morale, instead. Or bleed slipperily. And spread disease. And be lootable mid-combat for goodies.

    Regardless, punishing and somewhat unfinished as it is, it’s a very good game =)

    • Hart says:

      I’m exactly the same way: Corpses feel like they should have always been there, and have severely upended pure damage dealing classes from their positions high above all others. Classes that excell in moving enemies around are much more useful now.

      Heart attacks, on the other hand, are utter trash. SO MUCH of this game relies on immersion, on atmosphere, and on the sanity systems involvement in this environment. The first time a character of mine had a heart attack, it was a complete WTF moment for me, in the worst of ways. It felt out of place, and killed the immersion. Make the character go into a berserk, killing themselves, or allies, or summon creatures out of their insanity, or ANYTHING. This game shouldn’t make success easier, it should make it more fun to lose. There’s a big difference between the two.

      • Jakkar says:

        Anything interesting, anything fun, yes. Simply vanishing? A kick in the teeth of entertainment, immersion or emotional attachment.

  17. Crusoe says:

    Enemies respawning after your group has used a bonfire: that is fucked.

    I’ve played a lot and feel I understand the game and the balance. Heart attacks, I could manage, I thought they were a good addition.
    But I cant imagine respawning enemies not totally breaking the game. Tempted to fire it up to see, but would prefer to leave it, really, maybe for a long damn time. That’s really put me off playing.

    • Jakkar says:

      An unpredictable low-likelihood spawn of new enemies would be fine by me. In fact I’m not 100% sure this isn’t already a feature, having encountered enemies while backtracking a cleared corridor once or twice.

      Total respawn, however, would be insane, given certain map layouts the game generates…

      • Serenegoose says:

        Given there’s no mention of it in the article, I assume they read my comment near the top, imagining a dark /souls/ early access in which there was a furor over resurrecting enemies upon resting at a bonfire being added.

        • Jakkar says:

          Seemingly so. Silly OP. That would be truly mad. In the mean-time, play Dark Souls, or Demon’s Souls. Excellent games, if you like beautiful melancholy, mystery and vicious difficulty.

  18. SaintAn says:

    If they refuse to stick to their own vision of the game and bow down to what casuals want then I’ll have to take this off my wishlist.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Aw boo hoo, they decided to add an optional option rather than insisting stubbornly that the community doesn’t know what it wants (even though they likely don’t). That really ruins their integrity, don’t it? Or wait, I guess it optionally ruins their integrity?

      • jrodman says:

        How DARE those developers compromise their vision of listening to feedback during development by listening to people I personally don’t agree with!

    • Niko says:

      Oh no, the dreaded casuals.

  19. Balanuir says:

    It’s one of the few games that I stopped playing because it’s so damn fucking hard that it’s not fun. I like a challenge, but I don’t like impossible challenges.

    They should offer options to reduce the difficulty, at least temporarily. The game has a big luck factor in it, and too little that you can do about it when you have a series of unlucky rolls. I understand it’s part of the atmosphere that shit happens and characters die, but I feel there is too little that you can do to recover from bad luck.

    Which means I started new games about five times, just because the old game was running into a wall. And if that happens, someone messed up the game design.

  20. Lanessar says:

    This was actually a game I quite enjoyed, right out of the EA release. There were more levels to add, some more mechanics to put in, but overall – it was an excellent game with good art direction.

    The problems I saw with the game were pretty simple. It relies heavily on RNG, which does not make for good core gameplay mechanics. Still, it had charm, almost an XCOM-esque investment in the characters, who could be wiped out at any time.

    Problem I see with the addition of corpses is it just adds more RNG mechanics to an RNG-heavy game. This does make it “harder”, but not “better”.

    My love for rogue-likes isn’t strong, and I was glad I got FTL on sale, because I disliked the gameplay there immensely. With this game, there were easy-to-grasp mechanics which while many were reliant on RNG, I at least had a modicum of control.

    I will say the original version had an easy path by throwing people into the grinder until level 3 with many dying, then building up a couple of A-teams to roll through the rest of the game with a few drawbacks strictly from RNG.

    I can’t be the only one who feels that this is a bad mechanic to build challenge off of.

    That being said, I’d prefer to have the game the developers wanted to make, warts and all, to something watered down and mediocre due to either elitists or “this isn’t a walk in the park”. One thing I’ve learned in twelve years of software dev, the customers ask for things which they don’t want. Trick of great development is figuring out what the underlying issue is, addressing that in relation to the vision of the project, and then implementing something new and interesting. Doing it as requested usually ends up with a lot of wasted work for a “meh” feature people rarely use or appreciate.