IGD: Roguelikes

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Phoenixwarrior141
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IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Phoenixwarrior141 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:20 pm

(Skipped the censorship IGD [Informative Gaming Discussion] because I saw this, also New Layout!)

Discussion Material (Information on the topic):

Definition of a Roguelike: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roguelike

Some examples of roguelikes;

FTL: Faster Than Light

Steam link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/212680

Rogue Legacy:

Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/241600/

Teleglitch:

Steam Link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/234390/

My Opinions

I love Roguelikes, they force gamers to think differently than they do for other games, imagine if TF2 was permadeath, rolling out a new character each time you die.

Entirely different game.



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Summary

Roguelikes are difficult games that set themselves apart by the implementation of Permadeath, while this is nothing new, Roguelikes are sometimes not well received as the Steam Forums/Reviews illustrate. I feel like the proper Roguelike has more than just Randomly generated levels and Permadeath, it's challenging but fair, punishing mistakes and trying players time and time again, each time instead of giving the players an experience bar or upgrades it hopes experience will actually be an experience, that will teach the player how to get closer to winning the game.
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Discussion Goals (What we want to discuss relating to the topic)
  • Casual Roguelikes? Can they be a thing?
  • Should Roguelikes have multiplayer?


I want to see some difference in opinion here.

Discuss.
Next: Censorship
Last edited by Phoenixwarrior141 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Glabbit
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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Glabbit » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:38 am

Phoenixwarrior141 wrote:
  • Casual Roguelikes? Can they be a thing?
My first thought was 'no, it isn't possible to create casual roguelikes because making them any more forgiving would lose the roguelike aspect'. But then I realised that modern roguelikes already are casual.
Take Rogue Legacy, for example. The entire game is built not on beating the game with a fresh character, but beating the game reliant on the hoard of money and upgrades you have amassed with previous characters.
The game relies upon the fact that you die. It expects it of you.
In the original generation of roguelikes, the whole point would be not dying. Yes, not dying is still somewhat a sub-goal in Rogue Legacy, and also pretty relevant in most other roguelikes (Binding of Isaac, FTL, etc), but the fact that Rogue Legacy almost encourages death so you can spend your accumulated masses on becoming a stronger character in the future and in doing so is not called a sub-roguelike or roguelikelike but still shares a term with the tougher stuff… it seems off.
Gaming as a whole seems to be leaning towards ease and reward lately. Everything's already gone or is going casual. Even Dark Souls II had one of the publishers or devs (I can't remember which) state that they were going to try making it an easier experience. Something about 'survival should be satisfying, but not challenging'?

Trying to make modern roguelikes more casual is not possible when using my definition of roguelikes, because then they wouldn't be roguelikes anymore.
The wiki's definition? Arguable, if you add fancy mechanics like Rogue Legacy did.
I wonder if Rogue Legacy would have called itself a 'casual roguelike' had that combination of terms not been a marketing killer.

On my bashing at Rogue Legacy, two things:
1. I don't hate Rogue Legacy. It's a fun game, but I can't say I truly consider it a roguelike, that's all.
2. Yes, there are other games apart from Rogue Legacy that led me to believe all this. Rogue Legacy is simply the easiest example.

Why I consider many other modern roguelikes to be casual is generally due to to their length combined with the ease of progress. An example of a modern non-casual roguelike would be Dungeons of Dredmor, where whether you reach the last level depends heavily on how you build your character to begin with combined with how you try to maximise the efficiency of your character along the way. That is, planning and skill in execution. Even in the -*shudder*- easy mode actually completing the game can become a challenge. I think. I never tried the easy mode.
Don't ever play without permadeath though, else you're not playing on skill but on infinite trial and error. Complete entropy. So the planning goes out of the window too.

In contrast, FTL is a lot shorter. It's entirely possible to reach the final zone unscathed. Not leave it unscathed, perhaps, but the ease of progression in FTL seems more luck-based than skill-based to me. Sure you'll need the skill to use your weapons efficiently, but whether you find those weapons in the first place really can't be planned. The roguelike area randomisation element is more noticable on your ship and crew than the environment itself. The base strength of your resources relies on luck, and the way the combat system works you're either untouchable or will be ripped to shreds. Clean and unforgiving, but a bit iffy when there's hardly any way to even 'be more cautious' when your hull's hanging off its hinges.
The final battle's pretty ridicutough in comparison to the area directly previous, but that doesn't make it a roguelike, that just gives it a huge cliff of a difficulty curve, depending of course on how much scrap you bumped into along the way. Quite literally. It might be a slightly smaller cliff in some cases, and people might be able to find a setup with which they can scale it, but I digress.
FTL's set amount of areas to go through don't take too long to explore, especially as you're pressured into advancing by a bloody army that's on your tail at all times. The key lies of course in using your time as efficiently as possible, but if you can't find anything useful then you're out of luck.
FTL doesn't feel like a roguelike. FTL's difficulty is a roguelike. The ease of progression is almost randomised, and your skill, whilst influential, really doesn't do as much as one might feel it should.
Not to mention that you're likely to encounter that cliff at the end, just when you thought it was going so well.
Actually, I'm not sure where I was going with this. Yes, it's short, but that doesn't make it casual.
One can casually play it, with the random difficulty, but that just means there'll be slightly more restarting and you'll never surmount that final cliff.

I suppose not as many games are turning casual as I thought.

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Endoperez
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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Endoperez » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:19 am

Yay, roguelike thread!

I once finished ADOM. It's been years and my memory might be playing tricks on me, but I'm 90% sure I did it without save scumming. So yeah. Careful, bad-@ coming through! :wink:



IMO a roguelike game is defined by permadeath, a challenging gameplay with the focus on the player learning to play better (as opposed to the game becoming easier), and randomly generated content...

Difficulty and fairness aren't what defines a roguelike, but they're often what makes it good, interesting and worth playing.

That means FTL is a roguelike (because it fulfills all of these categories), while Rogue Legacy isn't, because character number 200 is vastly improved from the character 100. That doesn't make FTL better. That only means that Rogue Legacy had a different design philosophy that isn't 100% faithful to the sources of inspiration.

The randomness vs skill doesn't matter for that. Whether it's fun or not doesn't matter either. Whether it's casual or not doesn't matter. A roguelike can be all of those, or none of these, and still be a roguelike.

Unfairness? I think NetHack is actually a really bad offender. So much of that game is tied to menial skill, to rote memorizing of all the random content the game has to offer to you, often with abstract and impossible-to-know-without-source-diving uses. If you have to spoil yourself to understand the basic tenets of gameplay (think 'Elbereth' and how much temporary invulnerability to monsters changes the way you play...), then the game is designed to be unfair. I much prefer Dungeon Crawl. About as impossible, but the design is much better.

A roguelike that encourages dying? ADOM, Nethack etc. teach you about the game by the player dying. ADOM, specifically, has never had its source code in the open, so the original generation of ADOMites had to play through the game blind. Every new way to die was a discovery - often a rage-inducing one, but also the only way forward. Once someone's best-so-far character met a Banshee and was instantly annihilated, that was that. Once a player discovers that a Gorgon has an insta-kill ability, he'll know to pay attention to it.

Casual roguelike? Desktop dungeons. Designed so it can be completed during your coffee break. It also unlocks new stuff as you finish it. This new stuff makes the game harder, which is rather awesome. Finish the game as a wizard, and now there's a new, magic-resistant enemy in the game! Good luck doing that again... :lol: So you either try it again, for the challenge, or try a new class that can deal with that enemy because it has other options.

Also, casual is good. It's not what everyone wants, but it's what most people want. There's nothing wrong with that.

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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Endoperez » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:35 am

Any way, here's some roguelikes I personally enjoy:


ADOM
I used to spent a lot of time with this. It's... actually it's designed badly. Without reading spoilers, it's an exercise in frustration. Even with spoilers, there are many things about it that defy logic. For example... a vault of ancient dragons or massive giants isn't dangerous, because they deal damage, and when characters get to endgame they can handle that. A vault of undead is much more dangerous, because some of them can drain your stats permanently, and there's no easy way to recover from that, ever. And if they start draining your stats, they get faster and faster at draining your stats because your stats affect how well you resist that stuff. Ugh.
Still, it's a nice game, and it has a huge, varied world for a roguelike.

Dungeon Crawl
Last I looked, Dungeon Crawl was the best of the best. It's been a few years, there might be a challenger, but Crawl is godly.
It's actually designed. It's not just "let's add this stuff because coolness", but "how can we make the game more fun?". There's a huge difference.
[+] fanboyism-squeee
For example - you can't sell to shops. Shops never buy from you. You can't steal from shops. Shops are menus instead of rooms, you can never steal anything from them.
What does this mean? Well, you don't have to carry half the dungeon with you. If you don't use something, it's useless trash and you don't want to carry it. There are some exceptions, with gods - some gods want you to sacrifice stuff for them, but altars are rare so that only happens for a few dungeon levels up or down from an alar. Contrast with ADOM, where you carry everything precious with you so you can sell it, even if you won't actually use it.
Speaking of gods, Crawl gods are awesome. You can press 'p' to pray, which means you do your next actions in your god's name. If you worship Trog, the blood god, and kill things while praying, he's happy. If you burn spellbooks, he's happy. If you cast spells, he's not happy. If he's happy, he gives you berserking powers and stuff. Elyvilon the healer goddess? She hates it when you kill things while praying. However, praying to her protects you from damage, somewhat. And using the healer powers she grants you, on enemies, pacifies them and gives experience.
So... instead of ADOM or Nethack stuff, where you worship a god by spamming them with trash and monsters, in Crawl, you worship a god by doing what his or her tenets tell you to do. And if you absolutely want to sacrifice a mountain of trash, well, there is a god called Nemelexx Gobex. He gives you a portable altar, so that you can sacrifice all of that stuff without it becoming too boring!
Also, Crawl monsters seem more logical, all the rules are more logical. It just feels so fair...

Ooh, one super-awesome thing about Crawl is the identifying system. You don't know what the stuff you find on the ground does. You can drink them, or put them on, or use them, and find out that way. Sometimes they're bad - for example, an amulet of hunger makes you hungry. However, they never kill you instantly, so it's an actual option! And you can't bless scrolls or potions. Which means they're always going to be just as useful as they're now, never any better - so using them now isn't discouraged! In ADOM, for example, reading your scroll of identify before it's been blessed is a waste.

Desktop Dungeons
Simple, casual, still good.

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Glabbit
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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Glabbit » Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:27 am

Dungeon Crawl sounds fascinating. I'm going to have to look into that.

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Peruraptor
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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Peruraptor » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:43 pm

If you guys like Roguelikes, then I can recommend Tabletop RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, etc.). Tabletops usually also have no character respawns, though this isn't game ending and you can make a new unleveled character, with the addition of a lot of freedom and a lot of storytelling and character role-play. They use the idea of no respawns differently from Roguelikes, but in and interesting way.

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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Endoperez » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:05 am

Peruraptor wrote:If you guys like Roguelikes, then I can recommend Tabletop RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, etc.). Tabletops usually also have no character respawns, though this isn't game ending and you can make a new unleveled character, with the addition of a lot of freedom and a lot of storytelling and character role-play. They use the idea of no respawns differently from Roguelikes, but in and interesting way.
Tabletops are awesome, but this argument doesn't really work.

For one thing, Dungeons and Dragons specifically gives several options of bringing your dead character back from the dead, the first such spell being available to a level 7 character (Druids in 3.5, with Reincarnate). And in most systems, the new character isn't unleveled, but of similar power level to the other characters in the group.

Also, there's very little else that tabletop RPGs and computer roguelikes share.
Roguelike game is not defined just by permadeath, it also needs a challenging gameplay with the focus on the player learning to play better as well as randomly generated content... And tabletop RPGs are missing the last two.

They focus is on storytelling, seeing your character's skills and abilities grow, and having fun. Roleplaying and storytelling is rather close to acting, it's not a skill-based challenge at all. Battlemats and grids and calculating movement in squares only happens in games inspired by miniature war games, like D&D.

Random content in roguelikes specifically means randomness in a statistical manner - you can rely on getting specific sorts of enemies and specific sorts of loot. D&D does that, but for example Shadowrun, Call of Cthulhu and Ars Magica don't. Well, you will eventually find DEATH AND MADNESS in Call of Cthulhu, but the specifics aren't going to follow anything as sane as statistics.

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Re: IGD: Roguelikes

Post by Phoenixwarrior141 » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:36 pm

Holy crap this grew while I was gone...

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