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Venerable roguelike ADOM gets major, near-final update

Pro tip: You're going to die horribly.

Ancient Domains of Mystery - ADOM, to its friends - has been kicking around for a good long while. A complex and traditional roguelike in the vein of Nethack, where everything seems to interact with everything else on some level, and death seems inevitable without extensive trial and error.

The past few years have been treating this old workhorse well. While traditionally freeware, it returned to full development thanks to sales of a Deluxe edition of the game via Steam, and a crowdfunding drive, giving paying players access to new builds early. Now a major new update for the game has just rolled out for everyone, bringing all players free and paid alike up to the same point.

For those who haven't played ADOM since the days of ASCII, it feels almost like a new game, and significantly more accessible thanks to an in-game tutorial and a mouse UI that, while still using some text-based screens, allows for much more intuitive play overall. That's not to say that this is an easy or forgiving time; ADOM is notoriously cruel and difficult and will require extensive play and practice to learn just how hard you have to push to complete the game before the creeping tide of chaos warps and mutates your character into uselessness.

While the majority of the changes since the last major version (2.3.8) are bugfixes, there are quite a few new additions to the game which you can see detailed in full here, including 46 new artifacts to discover and several new scripted quests scattered around the game-world. Probably the most worrying addition is the ominous sounding 'Ultimate Nihilist Ending', which I can only presume is a less than cheerful way to end the game, and the patch note "Tone down the frequency of vomiting darkness" doesn't bode too well either.

Developer Thomas Biskup's blog mentions that ADOM 'classic' as it stands will still receive some support and possible bug-fixes from this point on (as will the Deluxe version on Steam), but he's now focused primarily on a sequel, Ultimate ADOM. While his plans for the next game sound perhaps a little over-ambitious (multiple variants of the game across multiple platforms sounds like a lot to handle), I wish him the best of luck, and can't wait to see what comes of the project over the coming years.

This new version of ADOM Classic is free for all, and you can find it on IndieDB here. There is also the commercial Deluxe edition on Steam for £11/$15, which adds difficulty customization, daily challenges and global scoreboards, although no real additions to content or interface otherwise.

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Dominic Tarason