As a new player, dungeon feels too long


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Temple Termagant

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 07:46

As a new player, dungeon feels too long

So back when I started playing crawl, I was learning controls, and learning to play the game. I did the tutorial etc to learn controls and then I actually got around to playing the game.

For a while it was really overwhelming because there were so many buttons to press. However eventually I did get over that problem. As I got over this problem though, I ended up getting deeper into the dungeon. D:4, D:5, etc... each new floor felt like a milestone. But once I reached d:6, d:7, it really felt like I wasn't going anywhere. Nothing interesting or new was happening, it was just a large expanse of dungeon. Now, initially I had come to play crawl because I had heard of the many branches, etc... that the game had and it had mirrored an idea for a game that I had a while back. However as I played I didn't encounter any of these new and interesting places. I kept dying over and over and all I got to see was the same stuff, over and over again.

I ended up quitting playing due to this for about a year. Repeatedly going from d:1 to d:7 within the course of 50 or so games was really, really, really boring.

Later on I found the roguelikes discord and joined it because I figured I could talk about the game I was working on. I saw it had a DCSS channel, so I went and started playing the game again as the conversations about the different branches got me interested once again.

After another 40 games or so I've started to be able to reach lair, and go a little deeper, with my record being dying on d:15 and clearing lair. This is where the game was fun and interesting. It was fun to be able to see the lair branches. While they were absolutely waaaaay too much for my character at the time, it still felt rewarding to be able to even see these branches at all.

However every time I day I really have a hard time wanting to go start another game as I know it's going to be another 8-11 floors of dungeon, equivalent to a whole hour of grinding in the dungeon to get to lair.

I know that part of the design goal for this game is to eliminate grinding. As a result, I think that something should be done. A couple suggestions from me:

1. Just overall reduce the size of the dungeon. Cut out 2-5 floors. In order to balance this, make earlier monsters provide more experience. This way we can get to the interesting parts of DCSS faster.

2. Take some of these floors, and make branches out of them, You could for example take 6 floors and make some early branches for the player to explore earlier on. If you need ideas for what they could be, we already have the sewer and the ossuary, maybe instead of just having those be portals, you could just turn them into branches for the player to explore.

3. If you still want to keep dungeon length, then you can do 2 without removing floors, adjusting EXP gains as necessary.

I know that more experienced players can probably just blaze through the dungeon super easily due to being really familiar with it. However as a new player, it's getting rather tiring to only see the lair one in every 10 games = 1 in every 10 hours of play time on average right now.

Let me know what you think.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 08:13

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

While I can sympathise with your feelings on only seeing L and other cool features once in ten or so games, your post is a lot to work through. Yes, it does feel boring when you have to make your way through the same D:1-8 (or 11 at times) just to get a chance at being mauled by a hydra. It is frustrating for a promising starter to get paralysed by Grinder and just message through another splat without any way to resist. It is certainly time intensive when you want to put another 3 chars into the position to actually go for runes.

But you have to make a difference between "grinding" in terms of a dull grind for more XP and "grinding" as taking a lot of real life time to achieve a milestone in the game proper. The anti-grind features of the game focus on discouraging the former. The latter is a matter of perspective more than anything: DCSS is a long-term game. Any critical situation your char faces can (and should) be thought about carefully before committing to a solution. My own games take a long time (10+ hours) precisely due to IRL pondering, when the actual execution takes a few taps on the touchpad and button presses. Sure, a lot of veterans can wrap up an entire game with extended in less than 5 hours. Speedcrawlers can win in less than two. That certainly doesn't have to be you, just play and splat, and win, and topple ziggurats at your own pace.

Your suggestions are interesting, I wouldn't mind 2) becoming mainline. Working through an entire ossuary-like level could be fun and engaging. It would require quite a bit of content development for that to become real, though.
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 08:30

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

If you want to just explore the game, you can use a special mode, it is called "Explore" mode and is activated via "+". It is identical to standard mode except one thing - when you die you get a warning "Really die? [y/n]".
http://crawl.chaosforge.org/Explore_mode
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:03

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

You feel that the dungeon is long, and nothing interesting happens? Maybe you haven't seen the latter parts that feels even longer, and interesting things are even more rare.

By the way, I think you also do not agree with the original design philosophy behind crawl, where dying is considered to be interesting. So "interesting things does not happen" and "I die a lot" are contradictory according to the original philosophy of crawl, I think.

Are you aware that with "o" you can automatically explore and with <tab> you can automatically attack? It is really suboptimal (you will die more) but it really helps with speeding up the game.

I agree that the levels themselves are a little bit big in crawl. A game with smaller levels would work better. Auto-explore is not a good feature in a game, rather it shows that something is not good in the first place.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:19

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

sanka wrote:Auto-explore is not a good feature in a game, rather it shows that something is not good in the first place.


Why? Some players like to explore rooms manually, others hate it. Personally I don't even consider playing roguelikes without autoexplore feature. Similar issue with food management (some players like it for roleplaying, others hate it for being annoying), it should be also optional and fortunately it is in DCSS.
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:28

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

I also do not play without autoexplore. But in crawl the interesting part is the positioning game which autoexplore ruins a little bit. So I feel that with smaller levels we could have a game where autoexplore is not so mandatory (I mean it feels mandatory for me, because the levels are large.) Of couse I would not remove autoexplore for those who would use it even in much smaller levels.

I could be wrong - I haven't tried to play with, lets say, 1/4 size of the levels as of now.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:31

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Starting a fight from a bad position due to use of autoexplore is arguably even more interesting, we can treat autoexplore as yet another kind of trap, similar to shaft and teleport.
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 10:57

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

As you gain experience, you'll realize that it's only the part of the game you call boring now that has any real interest. What interest there is in the rest of the game is mostly the novelty of getting to these places the first few times. In fact, unless you think about the game in terms of winrate, you may never even recognize the interest in the early game.
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 12:47

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:Repeatedly going from d:1 to d:7 within the course of 50 or so games was really, really, really boring.

Do you like any roguelikes? I ask because, while I haven't played any roguelikes besides crawl, I'm under the impression that high difficulty + permadeath is a staple of the genre.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 14:43

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

^ Crawl is significantly harder than "rogue-lite" games such as FTL or Binding of Isaac and for most will take longer to play. Those are also very good games that challenge players in different ways than crawl and fun in their own right. Perhaps for those with poor reflexes Isaac is actually harder. Really it comes down to preference.

In terms of the dungeon, you get different monsters as you progress down. In fact I think it is the branch with the most variety in that regard. While layouts differ significantly in other branches, this is true to a lesser extent even in dungeon sometimes...but what really makes areas is how the layouts sync with the monsters found in them.

If there are any candidates for shortening, I would say the S branches, slime, hell branches, depths, and Zot are all worse offenders than dungeon. In contrast to the difference between d:6 and d:12, there is very little difference between say Snake:1 and Snake:3 beyond staircount...and between Gehenna:2 and Gehenna:6 there's basically none. Same enemies, same potential layouts, etc.

Dungeon is not only significantly different every 5 levels, but this transition isn't rough and the monster variety within those levels is greater. Also, shortening areas and boosting XP isn't quite a 1:1 free balance change.
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 15:10

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

I'm surprised that no one mentioned that Dungeon used to have 27 levels ! Things are now better with Depths:1-5 replacing Dungeon:16-27

I also like a lot Lair and S branches, Orc, Elf and Vaults.

And my favourite places are optionnal vaults : Sewer, Volcano, Ice Cave, Lab, ...
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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 16:59

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

mopl wrote:I'm surprised that no one mentioned that Dungeon used to have 27 levels ! Things are now better with Depths:1-5 replacing Dungeon:16-27

No one mentioned it because it is completely irrelevant. The OP is mainly discouraged by amount of total time (adding all attempts together) it took to reach lair.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 17:09

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Sorcerous wrote:While I can sympathise with your feelings on only seeing L and other cool features once in ten or so games, your post is a lot to work through. Yes, it does feel boring when you have to make your way through the same D:1-8 (or 11 at times) just to get a chance at being mauled by a hydra. It is frustrating for a promising starter to get paralysed by Grinder and just message through another splat without any way to resist. It is certainly time intensive when you want to put another 3 chars into the position to actually go for runes.

But you have to make a difference between "grinding" in terms of a dull grind for more XP and "grinding" as taking a lot of real life time to achieve a milestone in the game proper. The anti-grind features of the game focus on discouraging the former. The latter is a matter of perspective more than anything: DCSS is a long-term game. Any critical situation your char faces can (and should) be thought about carefully before committing to a solution. My own games take a long time (10+ hours) precisely due to IRL pondering, when the actual execution takes a few taps on the touchpad and button presses. Sure, a lot of veterans can wrap up an entire game with extended in less than 5 hours. Speedcrawlers can win in less than two. That certainly doesn't have to be you, just play and splat, and win, and topple ziggurats at your own pace.

Your suggestions are interesting, I wouldn't mind 2) becoming mainline. Working through an entire ossuary-like level could be fun and engaging. It would require quite a bit of content development for that to become real, though.


I personally wouldn't mind even creating content for something like that to be honest. I've done it before in my own hobby roguelikes and wouldn't mind doing it again here.

tealizard wrote:As you gain experience, you'll realize that it's only the part of the game you call boring now that has any real interest. What interest there is in the rest of the game is mostly the novelty of getting to these places the first few times. In fact, unless you think about the game in terms of winrate, you may never even recognize the interest in the early game.

I keep hearing this but it makes no sense to me to be honest. You don't have a lot of options in the early game, you don't have/know any consumables, and most d:1 encounters can be boiled down to a science or a list of reactions. I haven't had nearly the engaging experience in early dungeon as I have had later on in lair, bottom 3 floors of the dungeon.

sanka wrote:You feel that the dungeon is long, and nothing interesting happens? Maybe you haven't seen the latter parts that feels even longer, and interesting things are even more rare.

By the way, I think you also do not agree with the original design philosophy behind crawl, where dying is considered to be interesting. So "interesting things does not happen" and "I die a lot" are contradictory according to the original philosophy of crawl, I think.

Are you aware that with "o" you can automatically explore and with <tab> you can automatically attack? It is really suboptimal (you will die more) but it really helps with speeding up the game.

I agree that the levels themselves are a little bit big in crawl. A game with smaller levels would work better. Auto-explore is not a good feature in a game, rather it shows that something is not good in the first place.


On the other hand all those other branches are ones you see waaaaaay less frequently. So therefore there are more chances to be put into situations you're not used to. I've watched several 15-rune running players die to a new situation when running through dis, or pandemonium, where what was being thrown at them was unfamiliar. Dungeon to start absolutely does this. However as you see dungeon every game, you end up exhausting more and more of those new situations until there are far less of them to go through. You'll go through say 100 dungeons before seeing one dis.

Randomly dying to grinder and not being able to do anything about it isn't very interesting. It's frustrating.

On another note as was probably clear in my main post, some of the reason I play crawl is due to wanting to see the various branches, early dungeon doesn't have that at all. Hence some of my suggestions.

Yes I do use those, thanks.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 17:14

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

mopl wrote:I'm surprised that no one mentioned that Dungeon used to have 27 levels ! Things are now better with Depths:1-5 replacing Dungeon:16-27

I also like a lot Lair and S branches, Orc, Elf and Vaults.

And my favourite places are optionnal vaults : Sewer, Volcano, Ice Cave, Lab, ...


I honestly have only ever seen the equivalent of like 2 turns in each one of the S branches, orc, and none of elf or vaults. This fact disappoints me.
VeryAngryFelid wrote:If you want to just explore the game, you can use a special mode, it is called "Explore" mode and is activated via "+". It is identical to standard mode except one thing - when you die you get a warning "Really die? [y/n]".
http://crawl.chaosforge.org/Explore_mode


Also a part of the reason I'm playing crawl is learning how one of the more mainline played roguelikes plays, such that I can design my own better. As a result, learning how permadeath effects the gameplay, etc... is something to learn about. Thanks for the suggestion though, if I get bored enough of dungeon, I might just try that in order to more reliably get to lair+. Not bored enough to do that yet though.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 17:38

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

If you play offline you can also make copies of the safe file, and restore old saves after you die. This allows you to see later branches more often. I sometimes play with the conduct that I make a safe file every time I enter a new branch.

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Post Tuesday, 21st May 2019, 20:54

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

You'll go through say 100 dungeons before seeing one dis.


There are players with winrates significantly higher than 50%. If I started a new account today and picked random combos with good gods rather than spamming mummies and going for cosplay challenges I might even crack 50%. Really good players have gone on 30+ win streaks, well ahead of my current proven ability and probably carry 80-90%+ win rates.

Over time dungeon becomes more consistently winnable, but never totally safe. Probably the highest source of death for experienced players is D:1, followed by D:2 maybe. You then see the occasional peak/valley (Zot is pretty dangerous for example).

Thus the typical time you might play before lair when using a good species is ~30 minutes or less. With a difficult one an hour at most, even including the occasional death the average still wouldn't be > 1 hr. Certainly not 100 games, unless you're using one of those scripted bots.

As I said, shortening dungeon would lose some variety it has that honestly some of the other branches (including your Dis example) lack. If you're dying 100 times just to reach lair, you're either a) not adjusting to mistakes or b) still encountering novel situations after all. It must be one of those two!

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Post Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 02:13

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

If you are playing crawl to create/improve a roguelike you are developing, you are better to study its source code IMHO. Then, for instance, you will see how monster generation is controled and will realize that dungeon is really unique, there are no monsters that can be generated on both D:1 and D:15 so your complaint is rather weird to me. Do you want to change look and feel of different floors of dungeon so that players had impression of advancing?
Actually having dungeon with 15 floors instead of 8 floors and then another branch with 7 fooors makes crawl easier because entering a new branch is more dangerous due to having only a single entry point, I would not expect you to suggest making crawl harder if you already have problems reaching Lair with easy combos.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 03:26

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Learning about the gameplay and design of crawl is a totally reasonable step in developing ones own ideas about roguelike games with an eye to writing something oneself. If that's what you're doing though, make sure to approach the game critically with an eye to moving the ball forward. Also, just as a matter of using your time effectively, you really ought to look at a good guide to crawl tactics, like patashu's, to move your study along as quickly as possible. You should be able to win pretty quickly with the right guidance.

I don't think there's that much to learn from the crawl source outside of information about the game itself, but playing with the source and creating your own crawl variant is a valuable way to develop ideas.
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Post Wednesday, 22nd May 2019, 05:57

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Dungeon is probably my favorite branch of the game. There's a lot of variety (instead of a few gimmicks like the lair branches or Orc), and it's not Oops, All Bullshit like Depths.

In my mind I tend to sort it into pre-Lair (10 and below) and post-Lair (10+). On the later levels you can start to see nastier stuff like slime creatures, ugly things, unseen horrors (if you don't have SInv access), tengu, etc. that look a lot easier after you've dipped into Lair.

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Post Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 17:49

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

I'm gonna argue that a good permadeath game NEEDS to be long.
In a game like Spelunky, I don't care if I die because an entire run is 30-45 minutes long. If I die, I can restart and get back again to where I died very quickly. I don't mind taking risks because I don't have a lot to lose.

But if I invest hours into developing my character in a game like Dungeon Crawl, then every non-trivial situation is tense because a lot of progress is on the line. That's what makes it fun.

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Post Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 20:37

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Oh man - it is too long, but the beginning is perfect. Floors 1-8 *are* the the interesting part of DCSS if you wanna be reductive about it. They're when tactics matter most, every consumable counts, and the ratio of hard fights to trivial fights is pretty high. I fully 100% agree that the game should be shorter, I don't understand why lair exists in its current form, I've enjoyed the branches slowly shrinking over time. (Random "lair" levels on D would be enough for me - I think the length of lair would stand out as "wrong" more if it wasn't technically a separate branch but rather floors inserted inline with D.)

Don't sweat that you've seen the monsters before - focus on mastery before seeing everything. Know what tactics to use for an ogre, a gnoll pack, a pair of orc priests with an entourage, etc. All those situations will test you and they'll test you differently based on your character and skill choices. 1-8 are the deepest, most interesting meat of the game, don't dismiss them as simple or boring or random until you've mastered them!

I doubt I qualify as an expert but, while I can generally make decisions quickly, I'd hardly call it blazing through 1-8. They often involve a lot of careful thought if you don't want to die and make a new character. It doesn't feel like grinding to me - if anything the later branches feel like "grinding" because a much larger fraction of the fights are completely trivial and can be won by holding down tab. This isn't true in like, rune floors, but short of that the game loses a lot of pacing around end of lair/vaults/depths.

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Post Friday, 24th May 2019, 08:21

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

johlstei wrote:Oh man - it is too long, but the beginning is perfect. Floors 1-8 *are* the the interesting part of DCSS if you wanna be reductive about it.

I would add to this that the DCSS vaults* are also interesting: For all the flaws the game has, its wealth of vault variety remains its strongest draw, in my opinion.

*(floor generator vaults, not Vaults the branch)

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Post Friday, 24th May 2019, 16:25

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

The game in general is too long, at least from my POV. But Dungeon always struck me as fairly well made. I have more issues with Orc and Lair, and, more in general, the amount of time branches outside D, U and Z take.

When I feel bored in dungeon, it normally is because of classes that require you to cast the same spells the same way, and/or leave you with gaping holes (Wiz for not having better attack spells, AE for having to care about the bounce effect every time).
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Post Monday, 27th May 2019, 09:38

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:Randomly dying to grinder and not being able to do anything about it isn't very interesting. It's frustrating.


I have been through this feeling, as I guess most other crawl players. So it is a natural feeling. But it is wrong.

You do not "randomly" die to grinder, you die because you play badly. And the veterans are trying to tell you that learning to play well in the first ~8 levels are the most interesting part of crawl. The "extra branches" lose their interest very quickly once you can consistently reach them.

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Post Thursday, 30th May 2019, 01:50

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Dying early game due to lack of luck isn't that rare. The most experienced players who are also careful will have the majority of deaths very early on. Dying later on in the game is more likely to be due to mistakes rather than purely bad luck of the rolls. So here's what happens, the players who can more consistently stay alive through the later part of the game start to think the later part of the game is more boring because they aren't challenged as much as they are in the first few levels of the dungeon..... except, that they aren't so much challenged on D:1, as they are simply excited by the prospect of getting killed.

So this boils down to people who are more bored with the game getting more thrills off of pulling the lever on a slot machine. Whether or not the label "interesting", should be applied or not to match with "more random", or not is a separate matter. Personally, I probably get more thrills off the early game because of the danger, but I feel that the label "interesting" should be reserved for a high degree of challenge where there are also a lot more options and where skill and experience play a larger role. That's just a challenge to build, and most games these days fall much shorter than dungeon crawl in this regard, or they are outright designed to coddle you through a script. I don't think the number of levels ought to be messed with too much otherwise you just strip too much content and then you have some kind of pocket game.

It's hard to do much about the random factor at the beginning of the game without giving players more tools to begin with and changing the scale of the entire game (like if you jumped in at mid-game). The thing to be done to combat boredom in mid/late game for more experienced players is only to increase the degree of challenge through even better game play. Crawl is already a pretty advanced game, so it's not like it's asking some trivial thing to make it so much advanced. Even if you could, then you'd reward the most experienced players and punish newer players with a longer learning curve, so there is some trade-off.

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Post Thursday, 30th May 2019, 14:20

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

svendre wrote:Dying early game due to lack of luck isn't that rare.

This is meaningless because technically almost every death can be attributed to bad luck OR bad play depending on your point of view, since death is generally a combination of bad luck and bad play. When a player does something suboptimal, such as fighting two adders at once instead of taking one up a nearby stairs to fight it individually, the player may either live or die depending on combat rolls. If the player dies, technically with better luck the player would have survived, but with better play the player would have been much more likely to survive.

svendre wrote:The most experienced players who are also careful will have the majority of deaths very early on. Dying later on in the game is more likely to be due to mistakes rather than purely bad luck of the rolls. So here's what happens, the players who can more consistently stay alive through the later part of the game start to think the later part of the game is more boring because they aren't challenged as much as they are in the first few levels of the dungeon..... except, that they aren't so much challenged on D:1, as they are simply excited by the prospect of getting killed.

So this boils down to people who are more bored with the game getting more thrills off of pulling the lever on a slot machine.

Why are you more eager to attribute early game deaths to luck than late game deaths? In my opinion, even for the most experienced players, both early and late game deaths can be attributed to mistakes. The reason there are more deaths in the early game is just because it is harder - that is, the ratio of player power level to enemy power level is much lower. Later on, when this ratio is higher, you have a comfortable cushion to absorb the effect of bad luck AND bad play. Without this cushion, there is indeed more potential for bad luck to screw you, but also more punishment for mistakes. The latter is what makes the early game more exciting, not the former.

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Post Thursday, 30th May 2019, 21:14

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

Why are you more eager to attribute early game deaths to luck than late game deaths?


Because statistically, early game deaths due to luck are far more likely than mid-late game deaths. The reasons should be self-evident, but I'll list the most relevant ones:

- You have few or no consumables yet, which are a hedge against bad individual battles
- You initially have no pillar/valid retreat path, which is a huge source of safety in crawl (I guess technically you don't "die" if you leave the dungeon, but it still counts as a loss w/o the orb)
- It is possible to start the game as a felid and lose 1v1 to a bat as your first encounter :p

The fewer options available to you, the more the outcome depends strictly on RNG among the options you can possibly choose.

That's not to say most early deaths are luck. Most aren't. But this is by far the most likely time where luck was the more dominant factor to outcome. It becomes increasingly hard to justify deaths as pure RNG the longer you get into a game.

A better estimate for why the early game is more interesting than late game is that you have a higher volume of interesting/meaningful choice (those that can influence the outcome of the game) per time spent playing crawl IRL. Your skills aren't set yet, you haven't chosen spells (if any), probably don't have a god yet, and haven't solidified 80% or more of your gear. Early game you must do all these things, and still mind your tactics. By late game, you rarely do anything but execute tactics, and they're probably the same tactics you were using the past two hours, back when you were still deciding how to approach the character.

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Post Sunday, 9th June 2019, 06:24

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

sanka wrote:
zardecil wrote:Randomly dying to grinder and not being able to do anything about it isn't very interesting. It's frustrating.


I have been through this feeling, as I guess most other crawl players. So it is a natural feeling. But it is wrong.

You do not "randomly" die to grinder, you die because you play badly. And the veterans are trying to tell you that learning to play well in the first ~8 levels are the most interesting part of crawl. The "extra branches" lose their interest very quickly once you can consistently reach them.


I hit "o", it stopped when grinder moved into view and paralyzed me. I then died.

This was a choice of whether or not to hit "o" for autoexplore. Not a tactics thing.

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Post Monday, 10th June 2019, 16:19

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:
sanka wrote:
zardecil wrote:Randomly dying to grinder and not being able to do anything about it isn't very interesting. It's frustrating.


I have been through this feeling, as I guess most other crawl players. So it is a natural feeling. But it is wrong.

You do not "randomly" die to grinder, you die because you play badly. And the veterans are trying to tell you that learning to play well in the first ~8 levels are the most interesting part of crawl. The "extra branches" lose their interest very quickly once you can consistently reach them.


I hit "o", it stopped when grinder moved into view and paralyzed me. I then died.

This was a choice of whether or not to hit "o" for autoexplore. Not a tactics thing.

Randomly dying to autoexplore once doesn't demonstrate anything. Want to give a representative sampling of the ways you've died, or is this just about pulling out the single one that would confirm your hypothesis if we foolishly generalized a single example?

PS Most people who cite autoexplore deaths actually do have turns after, even when they describe them this way. Do you have a ttyrec?

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Post Monday, 10th June 2019, 16:37

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:I hit "o", it stopped when grinder moved into view and paralyzed me. I then died.

This was a choice of whether or not to hit "o" for autoexplore. Not a tactics thing.


Why do you think autoexplore is not a tactics thing? Surely it is not a strategical decision, you can freely change from autoexplore to manual exploration.

Using autexplore is tactics, and a very bad one. There is a reason why streakers rarely use autoexplore early on.

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Post Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 03:05

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

so i think this is fairly ontopic: while dungeon as a whole is by far the best branch, Dungeon:1 specifically is extremely lacking in Exciting Stuff(tm). very few substantive vaults can generate there. like half the items in the game are banned or nearly banned from generating on d:1 (except in vaults, but vaults with item level bonuses almost never generate on d:1), often for no discernible reason - seriously, even if monsters absolutely must be able to pick up and use wands/weapons from the ground, and yet we absolutely must not allow d:1 monsters to get artefacts... why is it nearly impossible for books or staves or misc items or scrolls of torment to generate there?

however deep the tactics might be, it should be pretty easy to see how a player that doesn't consistently reach Temple will quickly get bored of D:1. super restricted monster set, no artefacts or other "cool" items, and this has actually gotten worse over the versions with more and more items getting banned from D:1, not to mention the loss of post-level-generation spawns.
now, perhaps this is a good thing for players that are completely new to the game; they can't get overwhelmed by weird items or monsters immediately if you refuse to generate any weird items or monsters until D:2. but once they've already played their first five games, well they still have to do D:1 in all their subsequent games, so...

i think if you're still bored on d:8 then you actually just don't really like the game though.

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Post Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 18:24

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

So I've played the game some more. Think problem might be more of the advice I got of "spam a single character until you win". I chose GrEE as my spam thing, and as a result all of my early interaction fell into very few categories:
1. Sandblast the enemy
2. Tab the enemy
3. Use random consumable.

After 100 games of spamming "Za", this choice tree can end up being rather boring. Especially when I've found quite a lot of early dungeon stuff doesn't threaten a gargoyle(I could tab adders and ants to death). There are of course, threats like orc priests, but I found the list of things that can't kill you was a lot bigger than the list of things that can.

So what do you do when you're bored? Pick a new character combo. So I picked DrTm.

Adders are a lot scarier when you're not a gargoyle. I've grown to respect things that can poison me.

The amount of interesting things that you can do is different here too on earlier floors.

1. Run into a threat
2. Yes you can tab, but do you need tab enhancers to kill something?(spider form, Beastly appendage)
3. Do either of those tab enhancers make you vulnerable in some other way(spider form rP-).
4. Okay if you cannot kill it with just tab, do you need snakes. If so, how many snakes? Have to conserve arrows.

In addition skill training is kind of ambiguous compared to the EE start(where you train only earth magic until LRD). You want fighting, Unarmed combat, transmutations, etc... You can to pick and choose in that regard more in early floors.

I've found that this particular start provided a lot more of a varied decision tree then the previous one I was playing.

So when bored, pick a different character.

sanka wrote:
zardecil wrote:I hit "o", it stopped when grinder moved into view and paralyzed me. I then died.

This was a choice of whether or not to hit "o" for autoexplore. Not a tactics thing.


Why do you think autoexplore is not a tactics thing? Surely it is not a strategical decision, you can freely change from autoexplore to manual exploration.

Using autexplore is tactics, and a very bad one. There is a reason why streakers rarely use autoexplore early on.


How am I supposed to know that as a new player. Bring handed a tool, and then being told it's bad to use is rather counter-intuitive.
Scuka wrote:I'm gonna argue that a good permadeath game NEEDS to be long.
In a game like Spelunky, I don't care if I die because an entire run is 30-45 minutes long. If I die, I can restart and get back again to where I died very quickly. I don't mind taking risks because I don't have a lot to lose.

But if I invest hours into developing my character in a game like Dungeon Crawl, then every non-trivial situation is tense because a lot of progress is on the line. That's what makes it fun.


The tension that I had when I had reached D:15 for the first time was fantastic. Also killed emotionally when I ended up dying there(beware ettins with dire flails).

When I die on d:4 there isn't nearly that tension because I know it's just d:4.

cliffracer wrote:Dungeon is probably my favorite branch of the game. There's a lot of variety (instead of a few gimmicks like the lair branches or Orc), and it's not Oops, All Bullshit like Depths.

In my mind I tend to sort it into pre-Lair (10 and below) and post-Lair (10+). On the later levels you can start to see nastier stuff like slime creatures, ugly things, unseen horrors (if you don't have SInv access), tengu, etc. that look a lot easier after you've dipped into Lair.


Won't deny that late dungeon was pretty interesting. It was mostly the early dungeon I was talking about.

tealizard wrote:Learning about the gameplay and design of crawl is a totally reasonable step in developing ones own ideas about roguelike games with an eye to writing something oneself. If that's what you're doing though, make sure to approach the game critically with an eye to moving the ball forward. Also, just as a matter of using your time effectively, you really ought to look at a good guide to crawl tactics, like patashu's, to move your study along as quickly as possible. You should be able to win pretty quickly with the right guidance.

I don't think there's that much to learn from the crawl source outside of information about the game itself, but playing with the source and creating your own crawl variant is a valuable way to develop ideas.


Link? I'd love to read that.

I have some tactics down, like:
1. Lead enemies into known territory
2. If you can make a unit count advantage(summons, etc..) fight in an open area.
3. Fight in hallways if you can't.
4. Running away is the most powerful thing in the game, abuse the heck out of it.
5. Play like a total wuss *oh no a rat ahhhh!*

Would be interested in learning more.
johlstei wrote:Randomly dying to autoexplore once doesn't demonstrate anything. Want to give a representative sampling of the ways you've died, or is this just about pulling out the single one that would confirm your hypothesis if we foolishly generalized a single example?

PS Most people who cite autoexplore deaths actually do have turns after, even when they describe them this way. Do you have a ttyrec?


I'm not saying that most of my deaths are to RNG. Just that RNG has killed me, and that it was rather frustrating at the time. Also going to point out that a newer player is going to have a very hard time distinguishing between a mistake death, and an RNG death. This has been pointed out to me several times where what I thought was an RNG death turned out to be a mistake that had happened many, many turns before.

Think last real RNG death was my last game. Start of dungeon had a single hallway leading out. Go down that hallway and run into a hobgoblin wielding a +4 dagger of venom. I was playing DrTm, and as such I had 2 options. 1 leave dungeon and lose, 2. Fight the goblin. 1 hit later and I'm lethally poisoned. Clearly an RNG death. Crap happens.

Is every game like this? No. When I started playing there were a lot of situations that looked impossible, but were just that I shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Other death I had, the difficulty rating thing rated a pack of gnolls as a white difficulty monster. So I thought oh a d:1 hobgoblin level encounter. How very wrong that was. I died quickly.



The one main bit of criticism I have right now for the game is that it's seemingly impossible to calculate how much damage you are actually most likely to take from fighting a monster. Last time I asked about EV I got told "you want to find out if this encounter is possible? Go get a unit tester and test it 10k times". This makes it rather difficult to look at a threat and go "this can kill me, while this other thing can't". It's rather ambiguous.
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Post Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 19:52

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:lots of text


I thought about this for days, trying to figure out a way to say this in a nice way.

If you can't reliably reach Lair, your opinion about DCSS game design is not worth taking into account.

Hundreds or thousands of people play this game seriously for years and have Very Good Ideas which are STILL not taken seriously, unless they implement it themselves or have a dev implement it for them.
(p.s. this is stupid some dev please make it not stupid) - minmay

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Post Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 09:46

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

sardonica wrote:If you can't reliably reach Lair, your opinion about DCSS game design is not worth taking into account.


I absolutely disagree with this statement.

The developers have expressed that they wish to make the game (relatively) newbie friendly. An opinion of a beginner is very important because even moderately experienced players like me have a very hard time to imagine what it is like to play the game as a beginner. Of course, we may simply know that some of their opinions are simply not well founded and due to lack of experience, but even these highlight shortcomings about the friendliness of the game! They often got to the wrong conclusion because the game is opaque about its mechanics.

Some examples of very valuable feedback from zardecil's post:

1. About autoexplore being a newbie trap:
zardecil wrote:How am I supposed to know that as a new player.

Yes, I think this is true: autoexplore has a controversial role in the game. On one hand I would not play the current game without it - it is too boring. On the other hand, it makes it much harder for new players to understand that their position *before* the battle is important - autoexplore frequently places you in positions which are really bad (fortunately most of the time the enemy is popcorn, so it does not matter).

Game design: I think that the levels could be made smaller.
Advice: if you want to win, use manual exploration early on, and on some select dangerous levels, and autoexplore later, when your character is much stronger and you have blink scrolls etc. to help you when autoexplore places you in a bad spot.

2.
zardecil wrote:The one main bit of criticism I have right now for the game is that it's seemingly impossible to calculate how much damage you are actually most likely to take from fighting a monster. Last time I asked about EV I got told "you want to find out if this encounter is possible? Go get a unit tester and test it 10k times".

Really good feedback. It is really hard for a new player to estimate the danger level of enemies. An exeprienced player may not notice it because we know intuitively how dangerous enemies are, and the devs may not beleive us that more feedback is necessary.
While there is more information nowadays, but it is far from enough. For example, zardecil is on the spot that it is hard to estimate the effectiveness of EV! FR: display monster to-hit chance somewhere. (Feel free to make a new topic for each separate suggestion. Try to find out ways to improve the current situation, and argue that it would really help you as a new player. Of course, it may not lead to anywhere as developers do not really read this forum.)

3.
zardecil wrote:Other death I had, the difficulty rating thing rated a pack of gnolls as a white difficulty monster.

Good feedback: as an experienced player noted many times, the difficulty colouring is *really* misleading! Do not trust it! But it is better to hear it from a new player, as they demonstrate that having these colours are indeed bad. Experienced players do not need it, and it harms new players.

***

A little bit of advice.

1. You have reached D15. I do not know if you have entered Lair before it. The usual order is go down to around D11, then clear Lair.
If you can semi-consistently reach the end of Lair, then you are actually close to your first win. Yes, there are many levels beyond, many new monsters with mechanics that can kill you the first time, but regardless: the rest of the game is way easier.

2.
zardecil wrote:Start of dungeon had a single hallway leading out. Go down that hallway and run into a hobgoblin wielding a +4 dagger of venom.

The dungeon entry is the most dangerous part of the game, and yes, you can die without being able to do anything about it with a non-owerpowered character. Fortunately deaths like these are really rare, and it is not like you ended a 20+ streak :-)

3.
zardecil wrote: Also going to point out that a newer player is going to have a very hard time distinguishing between a mistake death, and an RNG death.

While it is true, this is what gives the charm of the game! And experienced players give you the following bit of information exactly to help your judgement with this part: there are accounts with very very high winrates. There are players with very long streaks. Experienced players say that easy starts like certain berserkers or deep dwarfs can be streaked indefinitely without much difficulty. Also, they mostly judge the easyness of a combination by its ability to survive D1-D2! Because that is the place where deaths like yours with the poison dagger hobgoblin happens.

Therefore while dying with a DrTm to a hobgoblin blocking your way in D1 may happen, these deaths are really rare, and the rest of the time you can simply attribute your death to bad play. However, it is really hard to figure out *how* bad your play was: for some deaths you may not realize what could you have done better. But this is exactly which gives the game some depth! Try to improve by avoiding those deaths that you know how to do, and hope being lucky with those that you do not yet understand.

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Post Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 15:07

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

sardonica wrote:I thought about this for days, trying to figure out a way to say this in a nice way.

If you can't reliably reach Lair, your opinion about DCSS game design is not worth taking into account.

Hundreds or thousands of people play this game seriously for years and have Very Good Ideas which are STILL not taken seriously, unless they implement it themselves or have a dev implement it for them.

If you think this thread should be in CYC, then report it as such. No need to be a dick.

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Post Friday, 14th June 2019, 02:18

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

As duvessa mentioned, the weirdly gimped nature of D:1 really needs to go. Slogging through a morass of bats and hobgoblins and daggers and leather armors gets really dull really fast.

Put it this way: would the game suffer much if you started as an XL2/XL3 character on D:2, and everyone began with 1-2 class-determined escape/healing items? I would personally find that a much more interesting start. Wider variety of starting enemies, and you have actual options in combat right out of the gate.
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Post Friday, 14th June 2019, 03:08

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

d:1 works okay if you play for winrate and I'm sure the winrate play perspective is the strongest influence on its current design. It's boring and repetitive if you lose a lot of games between wins, but it tends to be pretty fair and consistently interesting if you do something like winrate play with random combos. From this perspective, it's the rest of the game that's the problem.

There's no reason you couldn't start the game with a more developed and powerful character. That would open the door for a totally different set of backgrounds among other things. It would be an interesting fork concept in my opinion.
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Post Friday, 14th June 2019, 03:15

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

ion_frigate wrote:As duvessa mentioned, the weirdly gimped nature of D:1 really needs to go. Slogging through a morass of bats and hobgoblins and daggers and leather armors gets really dull really fast.

Put it this way: would the game suffer much if you started as an XL2/XL3 character on D:2, and everyone began with 1-2 class-determined escape/healing items? I would personally find that a much more interesting start. Wider variety of starting enemies, and you have actual options in combat right out of the gate.

  Code:
Vanquished Creatures
  2 giant cockroaches (D:1)
  4 goblins (D:1)
  A hobgoblin (D:1)
  3 jackals (D:1)
  6 kobolds (D:1)
  2 ball pythons (D:1)
  A bat (D:1)
  3 frilled lizards (D:1)
  4 rats (D:1)
26 creatures vanquished.


You climb downwards.
A worm comes into view.
There is a stone staircase leading up here.
You are a level 3 Hill Orc Fighter. You are 8% of the way to level 4.
Play time: 00:01:17 (886 turns)

I'm not sure the length of D:1 specifically can really be called a "slog" in the context of a game that takes a fair number of hours. (this coming from someone who has played nearly every day for the last 8-10 years)

I mean that's a little like calling the race/class selection screens tedious. Yes, you do have to do it every game, and the options are pretty much always the same, but calling it out specifically as a time waster is reaching a bit. D:2 isn't sufficiently more varied over D:1 as to make it astonishingly more interesting or anything, you could pick nearly any point later in the game and call it "the point at which things start to get more interesting" I don't find D:2 significantly more interesting than D:1
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Post Friday, 14th June 2019, 08:28

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

ion_frigate wrote:Put it this way: would the game suffer much if you started as an XL2/XL3 character on D:2, and everyone began with 1-2 class-determined escape/healing items?

Imo the game would really suffer. D:1 is one of the most interesting levels in the whole game. If you can make it through D:1 and especially gain a level in the process, you have taken a huge step towards winning. D:2 might be more dangerous, and it is especially if you didn't gain a level on D:1 or are playing a challenging combo. So D:2 is really cool too.

The actual problem imo is generating bats and rats after D:1.

I think after V:5, D:1 and D:2 are the most fun floors in the game. If only those silly item generation restrictions would be removed, they would be even more fun.
...DDAs}{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}
{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAM
BaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe

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Post Sunday, 16th June 2019, 21:09

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

sardonica wrote:
zardecil wrote:lots of text


I thought about this for days, trying to figure out a way to say this in a nice way.

If you can't reliably reach Lair, your opinion about DCSS game design is not worth taking into account.

Hundreds or thousands of people play this game seriously for years and have Very Good Ideas which are STILL not taken seriously, unless they implement it themselves or have a dev implement it for them.


Yeah so trust the 60% wr player with 10k games to give meaningful feedback about new player experience. Good idea.

sanka wrote: 1. You have reached D:15


Yeah, I cleared out lair before going there. Turns out amulet of harm, while getting hit by an ettin dual wielding +4 dire flails is a really fast way to die. Felt bad.
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Post Monday, 17th June 2019, 08:36

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:Yeah so trust the 60% wr player with 10k games to give meaningful feedback about new player experience. Good idea.


Well, damn.
There is always something new to learn.

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Post Thursday, 20th June 2019, 00:44

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

zardecil wrote:After 100 games of spamming "Za", this choice tree can end up being rather boring.

As a side note, I recommend macro-ing '1' or whatever to 'zaf', which saves on fingers in the early game.
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Post Thursday, 20th June 2019, 14:29

Re: As a new player, dungeon feels too long

damerell wrote:
zardecil wrote:After 100 games of spamming "Za", this choice tree can end up being rather boring.

As a side note, I recommend macro-ing '1' or whatever to 'zaf', which saves on fingers in the early game.

Or setting up and using automagic..
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