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20-01-2016, 05:52 AM #1
It's Released So It's Old Now: Darkest Dungeon
This is just a thread to talk about Darkest Dungeon, whether you're just starting now or you've already had your fill in Early Access.
I'm picking it up for the first time and my first run was going surprisingly well...until I accidentally went to a dungeon that was way over my head (I didn't realize it defaulted to the hardest one available and my level 1s weren't up for it). So I had to sacrifice one of group to escape or lose everybody and then it was all down hill from there. The wagons didn't come in so I had no fresh troops and then I got a morale drop from abandoning the quest so the survivors were on edge.
Nobody has died yet on my second attempt but I'm having worse luck. Monsters are deciding they want to crit every other turn and my best front line fighter steals everything he sees.
20-01-2016, 06:12 AM #2
This is a game that I put some effort into a while ago and told myself that I'd go back to after it came out in full. Haven't tried it since the full release yet though. I was thinking the other day though... does this game have a legitimate ending? Or is it just... live as long as you can?
20-01-2016, 06:33 AM #3
20-01-2016, 12:16 PM #4
(Posted this in What are you playing thread so if you've seen that don't read this)
I dipped back into it yesterday, I can’t believe it’s basically a year since I bought it, that’s the real horror story here.
I left it more or less untouched, save to dip into it for a few runs late last year to check out whether corpses where really an issue (they’re not), and I was delighted all over again, really glad that I left it til final release. My first run was a comparative cakewalk though, I was worried I might have been too hubristic when I went back to explore a room in a completed “Scout 90%” dungeon and got into a nasty fight, but I had plenty torches so just used them to leaven the RNG Damage, at which point it was pretty straight forward.
I think people who have issues with the difficulty simple aren’t using all of the information they have available, that fight being a case in point. The way it was going before I lit the torch I was going to have a member at Death’s Door, but implementing one little mechanic changed that at a stroke-you have to remember it’s there though.
Likewise I think people forget about things like retreating, party order shuffling, all that stuff. The stuff that makes an enemy backline infuriating can be replicated by you if you build the party for it. Worsecase, if someone is having the shit beaten out of them and there’s not a healer to help them before next turn, depending on the enemy’s reach you could just *move them out of harms’ way*. It’s not always about how much damage you inflict. In a game which is all about the long game, so long as you understand the mechanics, a retreat will always bring an eventual return. On the other hand, it will also require the investment of yet another expedition, and all of the potential risk and exhaustion that entails.
I love that it’s a game of dramatic momentum like that: You’re riding this wave of steady attrition, investing in holding patterns and buffs slowly upping your chance of delivering a match winning crit or some similar effect, but the longer you stick around, the more the fight will turn against you. It’s basically impossible to ever feel comfortable for that reason, and the second you do, is the second you need to go; but then maybe not, maybe you’re actually well on top here, and why not probe just one room further?
People complain about a lack of a fail state, but I honestly think it's ingenius. It's not a game about winning or completion- it's a game about commitment to enormous sacrifice. Both narrative, but also in a meta sense. There is no big bad coming to get you, no clock ticking towards an eventual climax to prompt you into anrendal decision making and obligation. Just the steady metrnomic thud of the cost, measured in time and life spent, to eventually reach a point of closure.
Can you commit to that? And if you don't, can you live with your not doing so, with the disaffection of stasis and the knowledge that everything up to that point, all the minds and body broken in your service, was essentially pointless?Do we put that on a game that says that there are people falling out of windows and when they hit the ground we kill them and we say that is a Fallout and they are falling out of cars
20-01-2016, 12:56 PM #5
20-01-2016, 01:02 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jan 2016
Even if half of them consist of "lulz, git good, scrub!" and the other half "the devs killed everyone I've ever loved and then broke their game, which is even worse!".
20-01-2016, 01:23 PM #7
From where I'm standing, it's a fairly clear case of a certain population of the audience trying to strongarm the game into being something that it manifestly never intended being-basically an accessible cool dungeonlike X Com rather than the brutalising trudge that it has always communicated itself to be.
Red Hook has made a lot of concessions which it never needed to-making the most complained about features, corpses in particular, optional, and basically reducing the difficulty through similar slider options-but has maintained it's line that it's meant to be unforgiving and brutal. It seems that in some quarters, RPS feature on it included, this creative integrity has been interpreted as an unbending make game hardcore for it's own sake attitude, which I think is ridiculous.
There was also a hell of a lot of people treating each update as though they had paid for the final release, as opposed to paying for the role of tester-complaints rather than criticism. Most common complaints being that it was boring because you just do the same thing over time, or that it's too hard because of random chance elements. Both of which are integral to the fundamental mechanics of how the game plays out, and the narrative itself, as an explicitly grueling attritional crusade.
And, to cap it off, a team of five people produced this in a year, two of whom lost parents at intervals of development. And yes, there were complaints about them taking time off on those occasions as well. I have no time what so ever for that level of frankly ghoulish entitlement. I'm glad those people didn't feel they get their money's worth. Fuck em.
My take, in all honesty: It's such a wonderfully presented game, all things considered (team size, budget, originality of concept) probably the one with the best aesthetic going at present, that lots of people just wanted to enjoy all of that goodness while being able to blast through it as though it were any other generic dungeon crawler/party-inventory game that escalates into a power play scenario. To Quote The Simpsons, when Lisa complains to Marge about her new school being too hard:
Marge: But honey, I thought you wanted a challenge?
Lisa: Duh! A Challenge I could DO.
Last edited by sonson; 20-01-2016 at 01:26 PM.Do we put that on a game that says that there are people falling out of windows and when they hit the ground we kill them and we say that is a Fallout and they are falling out of cars
20-01-2016, 02:49 PM #8
- Join Date
- Feb 2014
- London, UK
DD absolutely is intended to be "finished"/won in the sense of having an ultimate goal - it just didn't have that until very recently. In fact, without that ultimate goal, the power of the game is limited, because it's just "how long until you get bored?" (because really, it's not that hard or "grueling" - it's not even my top 10 "most grueling" games I've played, personally) rather than "Can you keep churning through these guys until you finally get to the end? The end which might be so far away and might destroy most of your progress trying to reach".
The second paragraph is one of those groups of people, and I think they were kind of created by the devs, because when DD first went into EA, it was quite a lot more accessible and less trudge-y than later, and it sold a very large amount of EA copies on the back of that. Ultimately a game will communicate through it's gameplay a thousand thousand times louder than any "but devs said..." so people believed it was more Dungeon X-COM (which is a game that should, really, exist) and less Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay meets Angband. Ironically I bought it because I believed it was the former, but love it because it's the latter.
Equally there have been very loud and pushy people screaming that the game needs to be trickier and trickier (not harder in a conventional sense, quite), and balanced around treating ever-more obscure and exploit-y strategies as "the norm" (when in fact you'd need to be reading reddit or whatever to even know about most of them), and that any straightforward or sense-making strategy needs to be nerfed into the ground, which is pretty bananas, and was essentially demanding very bad game design.
I'm really looking forward to playing through with the actual end-of-game in place, myself. The whole thing is wonderfully put together, even though it could still stand a bit more polishing.
Last edited by LexW; 20-01-2016 at 02:51 PM.
20-01-2016, 02:53 PM #9
I dipped back into it yesterday, after only playing for a handful of hours back when it showed up in Early Access.
God, I -adore- the setting and the narrator.
I went into it fearing just how much of an impact the whole "corpse" mechanic that so many people whined about would have, and at least for now, it's not that big of an issue. I find it interesting, actually. Of course, I've barely began my exploration on these damned lands, so maybe later on it'll become a real problem, but for the time being I'm cool with it.
20-01-2016, 02:59 PM #10
- Join Date
- Feb 2014
- London, UK
20-01-2016, 03:23 PM #11
I think if you read what I said in context and my other post in this thread, it would be pretty obvious that I'm not confused by soemthing as rudimentary as whether the game had a final objective or not. I mean, it's in the title of the game. And, for a year, it's been waiting there on every expedition screen, said Darkest Dungeon. And In reading the various updates, where it was repeatedly mentioned that the Darkest Dungeon, the final stage would follow, much as the cove did etc, much as the town events etc are set to follow now. Do you think I missed that?
Frankly-I'm not that dim.
And- I stopped playing specifically because I knew that without that end point, then yes, given the systems at play, it would just be repetitive actions leading to limbo. Good job I waited til the game was finished to go back I guess, rather than expecting it to be finished in a testing phase, which is what Early Access is.
If other people decided to keep playing a game without an ending, something that was explicitly communicated would be the case from the very start, and expect that to somehow not become repetitive? That's on them. Is there any game that, unfinished and relying on a set of core systems wouldn't also become repetitive in the same circumstances? I think it again comes back to people confusing early access for a finished product, which is entirely their error.
"But people believed"... things change in EA. IF those people wanted that game you say they were being sold, then a) They could have waited for reviews *of the finished product* to see if their expectations lined up, as one tends to do with games in general or b) they could have bought into a cheap EA with the knowledge that the product they had was subject to change. What I saw on the forums was largley c) impatiently buy something that was unfinished and complain because it wasn't what they wanted it to be, now. You'd be correct though in that I haven't seen a lot of EA's, which is why I stated as much in the post you quoted.
The point I was making that you grabbed out of context was that while the game offers closure in the form of a final objective, as with any game, it's heart and soul lies in the slog and sacrifice to get there in the feeling that creates. A lot of people missed that, because they were looking for the traditional cues related to the game they wanted to play, rather than a game which communicates caution, pressure, grind and inevitable loss at every available opportunity. They were expecting it to be 2D Diablolite I think- all cool lore and visuals and shit and then you get to beat a big demon at the end, sweet. Basically- they just wanted the theme as superficial dressing to another ARPG/turn based combat game, as opposed to one where the theme dictates the whole flow of the game.Do we put that on a game that says that there are people falling out of windows and when they hit the ground we kill them and we say that is a Fallout and they are falling out of cars
20-01-2016, 03:34 PM #12
I hate roguelikes, but you guys are really selling DD to me.... argh.
20-01-2016, 03:38 PM #13
20-01-2016, 03:40 PM #14
20-01-2016, 04:13 PM #15
I think the main reasons I dislike this is lack time and amount of games available to me to play. I adore Sunless Sea, but death comes too easy and the early parts of the game are a bit tedious and monotonous. I also really really like Invisible Inc. and I am currently trying to understand the benefits I accrue at the end of each campaign (successful or otherwise, I am only on my second campaign and I I think I just gave up on the first one).
Still.... I think I'll get DD in the summer sale to see what it's like (I promised myself no game purchases till then except Dark Souls 3).
20-01-2016, 04:20 PM #16
Like Souls its a grindy came of trial and error though, and aye there's no more reason to buy it now than at any other point if you have games to play, like any game it will only become cheaper as time goes so if you're not intending to play it on release there's no point getting it.
20-01-2016, 04:25 PM #17
- Join Date
- Feb 2014
- London, UK
Last edited by LexW; 20-01-2016 at 04:31 PM.
20-01-2016, 05:11 PM #18
My issues lie with people complaining about difficulty, expectations etc on the basis that their expectations were not driven by what the game communicated itself to be. The game does not raise expectations through poor execution and interpretation issues, as I’ve stated at length. It’s very clear about what it’s about. It is that game, and never claims to be anything else.
Your RNG vs "I fucked up" example actually demonstrates that very well. XCOM allows for that moment to be felt in a very specific window, whereas DD's has it's own approach to the issue- you lost to RNG *because* you fucked up. I was the same when I started playing, I was playing it like any other turn based party management system, and felt as though it was outrageously unfair or capricious.
Then I took some time to experiment and look into the mechanics and actually learn how to play the game it is. I didn't go to any reddit forums or wikis or anything like that, just simple stuff like "I'm constantly failing expeditions, so I need to do everything to make them as stable as possible, so I will bring lots of food and torches on this expedition", or "I've lost three heroes due to unecessary exploring, I should stop doing that" or "The courtier doesn't do any physical damage but my party is always getting fucked up in those fights, why is that?" And everything in the game told me how to work through those puzzles, until I internalised them as strategy to help give me a stronger start etc. Much, I suppose how one learns XCOM, or indeed any game.
It takes some time to get used to, but a few hours quickly reveals that the RNG is really nasty- so all of your strategising should take that into account. Nearly always people complaining about the RNG failed to grasp that you have to play the game on it's own merits, and if you do, it's actually fairly straight forward to establish ballast, there are lots of proven, obvious strategies that prove it.
The Diablolite analogy is a bad example, agreed, trying to draw the wrong analogy. That said XCOM confusions, yours and others, are not down to the game, or developer, saying “This game is like XCOM!” they’re down to people thinking “this sounds like XCOM!” rather than playing the game on its own terms, at which point it becomes clear that it isn't.
I bought the game in EA in January, I think at the earliest jumping on point. I’ve completed XCOM before, it was pretty apparent after an hour or DD that it was very much its own beast, through everything it was doing. If someone is playing DD for an hour at that stage and thinking “This game is like XCOM!” then, a few abstract familiarities aside-its turn based, there’s a campaign, units get upgraded, injured and can die (i.e it belongs to a genre basically) they’re not paying attention and they’re not measuring the game on its own merits.
Those features also belong to Bloodbowl in just as much depth as they do to XCOM. You'd probably agree with me that comparisons between XCOM and Bloodbowl are somewhat misleading though, as is suggesting that Early Access DD started out similar to Bloodbowl because it has a campaign and rosters and heroes and enemy team lineups and random rolling. I mean, it's accurate in the abstract, but playing both reveals them to be very different pretty quickly.
I can see why people would make the comparisons sure. That's a judgement call though, nothing more than that. They could have either waited to see on release if that judgement was corect; or they could have taken a risk and gone into EA, in the hope it worked out to be what they hoped it would be. But that's entirely fulled on the back of their hopes, and nothing more than that.
And if anything, it's probably closer to XCOM now than it was at the start. I certainly don’t think it’s got harder. Probably easier, because the increased number of classes mean that you can devise a greater number of strategies to offset the odds. In the earliest builds you were far more prone to RNG because there was basically only two approaches that worked-stun lock-burst-heal, or Crit Posse-, and if you didn’t get the heroes with the requisite skills for them on your roster, you would have to rely on sub-par combinations that didn’t synergise with existing classes, trinkets etc.
And I find it ridiculous to criticise Red Hook for having an EA policy as though that’s some sort of trick. The game has improved as a result and been generously filled out throughout. Some people might not like that game but again- they either should have been more patient, or adjusted their expectations on the basis of what was communicated to them. Or you know, just been prepared to say “Hey, you know what? This isn’t for me. I’ll play one of my many games that is for me instead”.
Last edited by sonson; 20-01-2016 at 05:34 PM.
20-01-2016, 05:16 PM #19
I am really excited to get back into this game, and am looking forward to trying out the new dungeon type (Cove) as well as having an end game. The corpses were definitely a point of contention, but without them, it makes pulls and pushes really pointless. That was my initial disappointment when I played EA at the very beginning, was that my Bounty Hunter served no real purpose, other than to take out Large enemies. Now, with the corpse changes, he shifts the fight constantly, and allows my other heroes to get to work.
The point on slog and grind is absolutely true, and essential to the game. A group of heroes are committing to a cause, and sacrificing themselves (mentally, emotionally, physically), to meet the end goal. That "feel" the game gives isn't necessarily directly tied to it's difficulty, but connects to the overall design and theme of the game. The audio cues from the narrator, having a graveyard with lost heroes, afflictions and disease that build over time, and the nature of dwindling supplies in the dungeon all point to the fact that things are desperate, and sacrifice is required.
20-01-2016, 05:49 PM #20
- Join Date
- Feb 2014
- London, UK
A) Word of mouth
B) Experience of play
So this is a fundamental point of disagreement. The game is clear it's going to be dark, spooky, and so on, that PCs will get killed, but doesn't necessarily quite deliver how vicious the RNG can be until it happens.
I think this issue matters more to you than me though.
I suspect those who got most "burned" actually did really well playing it like XCOM for quite a while, didn't really feel the RNG, then suddenly got their best people TPK'd by RNG and flipped a table. If they'd been murdered from the get-go they'd have understood better.
Anyway for better or worse people thought it was more tactical and assumed EA would lead that way - hence all the "No make it more XCOM!" stuff. You can say they were dumb until you're blue in the face but it's not going to change what happened, and it seems kind of mean-spirited at this point. Esp. as there were times when it felt more tactical and less grindy (around when I bought it - later than you did).
I'm not saying EA is a trick. On the precise contrary, I'm saying if you choose to take EA cash, you have to accept that EA has consequences, which make include angry (but safely virtual) pitchfork-wielding mobs. You seem to be really concerned about those mobs, which is, to me, rather silly-seeming. Also, in the end DD benefited from them, I'd argue - discussion of the game has drawn people to it more than away, and even the whole "I WANT DUNGEON XCOM!" crowd helped because the lack of a real Dungeon XCOM is why a lot of them picked up DD (they'd likely have ignored it otherwise), and many of them (like me) really liked DD (and those who didn't tried to convince the devs to make it "fairer", but oh well, the devs are smart enough to know what to go with). I mean, I feel like you're almost accusing the devs of "selling out" with the no corpses feature etc., but I think it's just being smart.
As noted we disagree re: what was communicated, and it's probably pointless to argue that further! :) Either way, an excellent game was produced, so I think long-term almost everyone will be pretty happy. Hopefully RH will continue to polish things too. Not all KS/EA teams do, but they seem likely to.
Last edited by LexW; 20-01-2016 at 06:05 PM.