Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other things.

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Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other things.

Postby Kybernetiker » Tue May 30, 2017 5:38 pm

I find the degree of RNG influence in the game overwhelming to the point where it significantly detracts from my enjoyment of the game. Don't get me wrong, I like some randomness and have been playing roguelikes for 30 years, starting with Nethack. But The Curious Expedition has randomness lurking in the wrong places:

1. Shopping in London. *puts on best attempt at fake British accent* This is London, gentlemen, the greatest and finest city in the British empire, if not in the world! It is simply preposterous to assume that basic expedition equipment - like food, firearms, and tools - would not be in adequate supply there, especially for famous ladies and gentlemen with heavy purses.

London should be the place where you can get basically anything, if you can pay the price. Some things may be in shorter supply, hence higher prices, while other things may be available at a bargain.

2. Quests that you get in London. There's exactly one, and you get to take it or leave it. If it is a quest that you are ill-equipped for (anything that requires fighting for a pacifist expedition, for example), you are just out of luck.

3. Recruiting in London. Okay, at least you get three recruits to chose from. But if you are looking for one particular type, there is no guarantee that you will ever see it.

4. Perk selection after the expedition. Okay, you get five to chose from. But it seems needlessly random, as you may not get a single perk that fits your expedition.


Places where randomness is welcome:

1. The combat system. I like it! I haven't seen anything like the dice system before.
2. Map generation. Ok, maybe it's a little bit too random, when the way to the pyramid is blocked by bottomless pits and mountains and requires a detour across most of the map. But random maps are good.
3. Shops in villages. Those are definitely not London.
4. Loot.


Another thing is that I find the inventory system odd, with its huge stacking amounts. You can stuff, what, twenty bottles of whisky in one inventory slot, but to carry one bottle, a rope, a torch and a revolver you need four slots. This punishes players for trying to prepare well. You don't usually need twenty torches during one expedition, but you'll need two or three, and they will take up one of those precious slots. Same goes for situational items like shovels - you don't know whether you will find a treasure map, so your choice is either to leave the shovels at the ship (where you probably can't backtrack to, depending on the map), or waste a whole inventory slot on one shovel.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Groli » Wed May 31, 2017 4:30 pm

1. I agree that the tight selection for seemingly common items feels weird.
Random effects on market price combined with impact from your Fame, Explorer and Companions would be more thematic.

Availability as the limiting factor should be reserved for special items like signature weapons

2. The way the quests come to you feels right, but it could here again be impacted by your Fame, Explorer and Companions.

3. That one feels about right.
Maybe you could be given the opportunity to approach an expensive recruiter in some situations.

4. It's actually a choice of three for most Explorers.
I feel like the reduction in choices here is actually good, as it contributes to replayability by forcing you to play differently from game to game
(this also applies to 3.Companions available)

For inventory management, it's slots or weights, and I think slots is a totally valid option.
My suggestion on this would be to ADD A REARRANGE BUTTON to make inventory management less tedious.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Kybernetiker » Wed May 31, 2017 4:49 pm

The degree of randomness found in the game would be fine in a multiplayer game, where it adds a degree of ... Schadenfreude when the top player suddenly gets a horrible die roll.

But since you're only competing against cheating AIs (I've not seen them getting killed), having a significant chance of RNG influence completely wrecking an expedition with little warning feel like undue punishment. Later on, not taking things from shrines is hardly an option (you need the stones to unlock the pyramid), and getting dangerous shrines can ruin the whole expedition.

Groli wrote:4. It's actually a choice of three for most Explorers.
I feel like the reduction in choices here is actually good, as it contributes to replayability by forcing you to play differently from game to game
(this also applies to 3.Companions available)


Oh .. right. I've been playing Marie Curie mostly. A choice of only three makes things even worse, since it reduces the chance of having useful perks.

The problem is that that there are highly useful, general perks, situational perks, and ones that pale against the rest (Impetus). If the perks were roughly equally useful, the player would want to try different combinations withouth being forced to do so.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Groli » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:05 pm

It's the genre: in roguelikes, you have short, random, brutal lives.
In order to make trying again and again fun rather than boring, there needs to be random variation.
And you learn to be better prepared each time, with the means that you find, in order to face the horrible situations that the game will throw at you.


In normal mode, it's actually not that hard if you play safe.
If I die, I usually know exactly when I started being too greedy or not cautious enough.

I think I'll try Impossible mode, now.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Kybernetiker » Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:48 pm

Groli wrote:It's the genre: in roguelikes, you have short, random, brutal lives.


I've been playing roguelikes for three decades. I have played Hack, Nethack, Moria, Angband, ZAngband, DC:SS, Larn, Omega and many others, in their raw ASCII glory. In a good roguelike, inexperienced or overconfident players get wrecked quickly, but once you know how careful you need to be, most bad situations can be avoided, escaped or overcome.

But in TCE, the RNG just wrecks you. Bad shrine types just destroy your ship (*1) or block your way to the pyramid with the roll of a die. And at some point, you have to grab things from the shrines to unlock the pyramid.

(*1) Just happened to me a few minutes ago, and the same shrine also placed a mountain on Snarfrattle the Hyena, destroying it and leaving me no chance to finish the quest.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Groli » Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:42 pm

The shrines should never destroy the ship/pyramid or remove all paths to them, that's for sure. I'd even consider that as a bug rather than a feature request.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby Kybernetiker » Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:04 pm

Groli wrote:The shrines should never destroy the ship/pyramid or remove all paths to them, that's for sure. I'd even consider that as a bug rather than a feature request.


The ship getting destroyed even gave me the "Your stash has been destroyed!" message that you usually get when missions at which you stored things get destroyed.

The hyena disappearing looked a bit buggy though. It didn't disappear when the mountain spawned on its hex, but when it tried to move.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby UltimateChaos » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:46 am

Kybernetiker wrote:
Groli wrote:It's the genre: in roguelikes, you have short, random, brutal lives.


I've been playing roguelikes for three decades. I have played Hack, Nethack, Moria, Angband, ZAngband, DC:SS, Larn, Omega and many others, in their raw ASCII glory. In a good roguelike, inexperienced or overconfident players get wrecked quickly, but once you know how careful you need to be, most bad situations can be avoided, escaped or overcome.

But in TCE, the RNG just wrecks you. Bad shrine types just destroy your ship (*1) or block your way to the pyramid with the roll of a die. And at some point, you have to grab things from the shrines to unlock the pyramid.

(*1) Just happened to me a few minutes ago, and the same shrine also placed a mountain on Snarfrattle the Hyena, destroying it and leaving me no chance to finish the quest.


I agree that shouldn't happen. I often postpone those shrines though and make sure I have dynamite or have killed anything I want to kill, first.

It's also possible to find those stones in earlier expeditions and save them.
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Re: Too much randomness in the wrong places, and other thing

Postby riadd » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:39 pm

Thanks for the feedback! It's a delicate balance. I'm definetely reading all the comments and feedback. I think the Arctic DLC made huge progress in the direction of being more readable and fair to the player, but there are surely more things we can do.

I'll take another look at the london store loot too.
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