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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:12 pm 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Do the Etrian Odyssey games not allow you to respec points so you can experiment with builds more easily? Or is it one of those games like Diablo 2 where investing points forces you to stick with that skill for the rest of the game even if you discover it kinda sucks?


You can rest your characters, which refunds all of your skill points in exchange for a few experience levels, or you can retire them, which destroys the character and lets you create a new one at a lower level but with better base stats. The new character will start at either half the original character's level, or level 30, whichever is lower. In Etrian Odyssey 1 the costs were unreasonably high for what you got, 10 levels to rest and the stat boosts from retiring were puny, so assigning skill points to bad skills really cost you. 2 lowered the rest cost to 5 levels and massively increased the benefits from retiring. 4 lowered the resting cost again to an almost negligible 2 levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 5:22 pm 


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BryanM wrote:
Diablo 2 implemented a respec system in um.. lookin' this up like a cheater... 2010.


Oh, my bad. It's been forever since I've played it and I suspect it was long before the respec system was implemented.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:24 pm 


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Blinge wrote:
Or for another actiony title.. See if you can get your hands on The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for NDS.. and enjoy your carpal tunnel.


Gonna repeat this with a video for you guys to check out too.

https://youtu.be/XneHAiOqHcI

Other than Baroque I think this is the closest answer we've got for OP
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:41 pm 


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I can personally vouch for Wizardry 8. It's very long and fairly tough, but completely worthwhile. But be warned, the enemy encounter rate is downright murderous.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 10:17 pm 


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Blinge wrote:
Blinge wrote:
Or for another actiony title.. See if you can get your hands on The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for NDS.. and enjoy your carpal tunnel.


Gonna repeat this with a video for you guys to check out too.

https://youtu.be/XneHAiOqHcI

Other than Baroque I think this is the closest answer we've got for OP


Yeah that looks great Blinge, but I opted for Lands of Lore. £5 on GoG for 1 & 2
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:33 pm 


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Y'all just need to play Nethack.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:56 pm 


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Adom is the best hacklike imo.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:18 am 


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Is ADOM beatable without a guide/spoilers? I don't mind if it takes a long time and requires lots of notes, but being able to finish it spoiler-free is a must for me. I hear NetHack is outright impossible without guides so I lost interest in playing that.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:00 am 


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I've spent some time in Labyrinth of Refrain now. Overall I like it. The biggest problem is that combat is a bit bland. Cast heal when your HP gets low. Defend if the bad guy spends his turn powering up. Use blunt weapons on armored monsters. Not a whole lot of thought involved. The monsters do tend to do a lot of damage, often taking out even your tough characters in 2 hits, which helps make things more exciting. They make it convenient to autofight through battles, which is nice because that's what I'm doing in most of them. If you want one guy to cast heal while everyone else autofights, you can easily do that. One unique feature is that sometimes you get a critical hit that takes a limb off of whatever you hit. This can happen to you as well and there's no way to recover inside the dungeon. You're stuck with a cripple until you go back to town and buy an expensive replacement limb. I like it but it does make the game way more luck based. If you happen to chop a boss's arm off you're in for an easier time, if an important party member gets decapitated you're shit out of luck.

There are tons of things you need to do to prepare for combat. Lots of complicated ways to modify your characters and items. I've never played a Nippon Ichi game before but I'm given to understand this is normal for them. Anyway at the start you have room for 5 dudes in your active party, but over time this will increase up to 15, with room for even more in reserve, ready to be switched in. Your characters are arranged into squads, called covens, which grant various benefits. Different covens allow more or less characters to participate, increase or decrease stats, and grant spells and special abilities. Very few abilities come from classes, if you want a healer or a magic attacker, they need to be in an appropriate coven. I'm not a fan of the system. A lot of the time it asks you to choose between covens that give stat boosts, covens that let you bring a lot of characters, and covens that give you good abilities. 15 stat-boosted fighters with no special abilities isn't an interesting team to play but it does burn through encounters pretty well.

In addition to that you can bet your experience from earlier battles on later battles, getting a bigger payout if you win but losing it all if you wipe or run away. You can choose whether to sharpen or flatten a character's growth rates for their class, eg. give a fighter tons of HP and strength but no magic power, or balance their growths evenly in all stats, and this can be adjusted freely. Seems to me you want double sharp growths on anything with good HP. There's a way to combine multiple equipment items into one super item and an option to reset a high level character back into a super level 1 character and all kinds of things like that.

For the most part you're better off experimenting with that stuff for yourself, but I do have two tips to avoid some nasty trap options during character creation:

Spoiler: show
Give your characters even lucky numbers for the sake of much faster experience gain in the late game.
Never use moon stance, it brutally tanks your HP. Sun stance is good for people who will never use attack magic, magic attackers should use standard.


I like the exploration. Your party moves very quickly and it feels good just to zip through the dungeon, vacuuming up items as you pass by. All enemies are visible outside of battle. They're very oblivious and most can be easily ambushed. They eventually introduce strong, Etrian FOE-style enemies you're supposed to avoid, but those are even more oblivious and overall they're not handled nearly as well as FOEs are. Anyway the dungeon has most of the things you'd want to see in this type of game. Pits that drop you 3 floors down and instantly kill half your team, obstacles that help or hinder in escaping from enemies, lots of traps and treasure. One cool feature is that you get the ability to destroy walls fairly clearly on. Doing so costs some of your limited magic and it doesn't work everywhere, but it's nice to have the option to bypass things you don't want to deal with, and it's convenient to create your own shortcuts.

There is, unfortunately, very little danger of death by attrition because at any time you can warp back home and then back to where you were in the dungeon. For me, the threat of running out of supplies and being hopelessly stranded miles underground is one the biggest parts of a dungeon crawler's appeal. The dismemberment system I mentioned earlier could have made for some interesting situations if you had to make long excursions, but you don't. Warping back does cost some of the mana you've gathered but it's almost never enough to justify walking all the way back to the entrance.

The story feels even more disconnected from the gameplay than in most dungeon crawlers. You control a party of self-made generics working in the service of the real main characters. There's very little overlap between people who appear in cutscenes on the surface and those you encounter during gameplay in the dungeon. Labyrinth of Refrain also does that JRPG thing where you have to sit through about an hour of cutscenes and dialogue before the game properly starts. Fortunately once you get going the story takes a back seat to dungeon crawling.

It's not bad. Not a must-play but I'd say it's worth playing.

Ruldra wrote:
Is ADOM beatable without a guide/spoilers? I don't mind if it takes a long time and requires lots of notes, but being able to finish it spoiler-free is a must for me. I hear NetHack is outright impossible without guides so I lost interest in playing that.


The normal ending is doable. There are a few gotchas but it's nowhere near Nethack's level. With good roguelike fundamentals and some persistence you can do it. You'll want to go in with an utterly experimentative mindset. Try interacting with all kinds of things in all kinds of ways just to see what it'll do, even if there's no promise of a useful outcome. Even the potion of uselessness is beneficial in one specific situation. The Mad Minstrel's rhymes will give you clues for how to deal with a lot of obscure stuff. Unspoiled ultra endings are a lot less likely but the ultra endings aren't fun so I wouldn't worry about it.

Strictly speaking even Nethack should be beatable through sheer dedication, but we're talking easily 3 digit hours, probably 4 digits of largely brute force trial and error and there's no reason to put yourself through that. There's a cheat option called wizard mode that you could use for easy experimentation. That could speed things up quite a bit. Do wizard mode experiments count as spoilers? That's for you to decide. Yet even Nethack can't compare to the sheer cruelty of the original Rogue, where more than 90% of all characters are doomed to die through no fault of the player whatsoever. Even Rog-O-Matic, the AI created to play at a superhuman level, couldn't win consistently.

Ragnarok is another Nethack-based roguelike that can be beaten unspoiled. I've done it. It has more gotchas than Adom but you never need to figure out anything as obscure as, say, figuring out all the uses of one of Adom's altars. A lot of the trial and error is just like, you get cheapshotted by a monster, so next time you use a scroll of extinction to wipe them out.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:05 am 


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Necronopticous wrote:
Y'all just need to play Nethack.


um, where's the graphics?
the graphics gotta be tight bro.

I am a bit confused actually I saw the.. ascii(?) stuff in one video but then there were textures/isometric view later. :?
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:16 am 


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Many roguelikes, including Nethack, have options for both ascii and tiles.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:27 pm 


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Blinge wrote:
Gonna repeat this with a video for you guys to check out too.

https://youtu.be/XneHAiOqHcI

Other than Baroque I think this is the closest answer we've got for OP


Somehow missed that. Looks really good, thanks.

How's the control scheme? Playable without a NDS?


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:55 pm 


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Not sure, I only played on my actual DS.

You can use the face buttons on the right to work the camera, but i found that to be too clunky compared to using the stylus as a mouse. If emulators can handle that with mouse movement it should be fine!
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 11:06 pm 


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Ruldra wrote:
I hear NetHack is outright impossible without guides so I lost interest in playing that.

You are missing out! Nethack is my favorite game of all time, and that is largely due to the core reasons behind why it could be considered "impossible without help" (e.g. nigh unfathomable depth), not in spite of them. If you would ever reconsider, I did briefly work on a short series of videos with my friend Wes @ PC Gamer that I think functions as a good entry point:

NetHack from aaaa to Zruty

You'll have to excuse the audio & video quality! :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:06 am 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
The PS1 version has an autofilling map you can use instead of having to make your own. There is also the option to play it the "classic" way by disabling the automap if you want to be hardcore. As someone who's played the first game obsessively, I can say that the PS1 version is the best release I've played of the original Wizardry trilogy. See the automap in action here at 33:06: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgTxnITkd-A&t=33m06s


This looks pretty interesting, I think I'll try it once I'm done with Labyrinth of Refrain. Is there anything I should know going in or is it best to play blind?


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:53 am 


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My favorite part of Labyrinth of Refrain is how each of the labyrinths do feel like they're from different worlds. The three towers is labyrinth hell with its verticality n' overtuned out of balance bosses n' stuff, while the crypts are a relaxing labyrinth heaven before the final dungeon.

In, say, the Persona Q series the labyrinths never really resemble a logical space. It often feels like someone wanted to fill in every square possible on the grid paper with no unused space left over, and to be fair I think that's what the maze designer was going for.

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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:17 am 


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I'm gonna start playing this beauty for fun:

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I love the cover.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:54 am 


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Necronopticous wrote:
Ruldra wrote:
I hear NetHack is outright impossible without guides so I lost interest in playing that.

You are missing out! Nethack is my favorite game of all time, and that is largely due to the core reasons behind why it could be considered "impossible without help" (e.g. nigh unfathomable depth), not in spite of them. If you would ever reconsider, I did briefly work on a short series of videos with my friend Wes @ PC Gamer that I think functions as a good entry point:

NetHack from aaaa to Zruty

You'll have to excuse the audio & video quality! :wink:


It sounded okay but I was listening on my tablet which basically has tin cans.
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:41 am 


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Been playing lots of dungeon crawlers lately.


Finished the postgame of Labyrinth of Refrain. The postgame is honestly kind of shitty and I'd recommend stopping after either the normal ending or the true ending. There isn't really much in the postgame in terms of new ideas, and since your party will likely be max level by the end of the main game, the way to progress is to reset them to level 1 for higher soul clarity and grind to 99 again. You need to do this about 5 times to max a character out. You can probably get by with 2 or 3 times, but I don't even like doing it once. At least Etrian only rewards you for the first max level reset. That is, aside from EO2 where you need to retire at max level 29 times to be truly maxed out. Don't do that.


Also been playing the PS1 version of Wizardry 1. Pretty appealing for something so bare bones! It's a big relief to make it back to town after a long excursion. I definitely prefer dungeon crawlers where you need to retreat to a safe zone over ones where you just go to sleep right there inside the labyrinth. The big problem here is that it's quite a grind to get your characters to the point where you can cast the two highest tiers of spells. Combat is very luck based and a full party wipe is extremely punishing, so you don't want to go ahead unprepared, but you also don't want to kill murphy's ghost over 9000 times to hit level 13. The class change option sounds like a cool way to circumvent grinding and customize your characters, but it's largely a trap option. It will annihilate your stats and due to how HP growth looks, you're likely to gain 1 HP per level from that point forward. Furthermore, it will age your characters a few years and this is a game where aging is utterly disastrous. It's probably worth rerolling most characters for a younger age if they start out at 19. You might think you can roll up a team of elves to circumvent this, but joke's on you! Not only do elves suffer the same aging penalties at the same point as other races, they're actually the race most likely the die of old age early on.

The legitimate reasons to class change are to get spells on characters who otherwise wouldn't get them and to access the advanced classes. The samurai class can be accessed during character creation and that is probably a better idea than starting as something else and then changing to a samurai. Lord probably isn't worth the trouble. Ninja's stat requirements are insane and you're likely better off farming the item that changes you into a ninja instead. If you want a thief to open chests, it's not a bad idea to start them as a mage or priest to pick up some magic and then switch to thief. Their agility will suck, which will hurt their thieving (probably best to start as a gnome or some other high AGI race) but at least they'll have something to contribute during battle. Likewise bishops are garbage at fighting and if you want a bishop to be your ID bot, start as a priest or mage and then switch. If you're ok with a bit of tedium, what you should really do is just leave a bishop in town to identify things and bring real classes when you go to the dungeon. Or even just pay the shop to ID your stuff. You don't need money past the early game.

You could do really well with something like Samurai Samurai Priest Priest Mage Mage and never class changing anyone. Only real problem is you'll never open a trapped chest without getting hit by something. Have a priest identify the trap and just take the hit as long as it's nothing too awful. Make sure to give everyone high vitality at chargen, especially the mages. A middling IQ won't hurt your spell progression too badly. A vitality below 18 will leave you vulnerable to one hit kills all over the place, and resurrection means either losing a point of vitality or aging your character. A resurrection attempt is also more likely to fail and leave your character permanently lost with a lower vitality score. Age, rather than race or class is what decides your stat growths, so a pack of 16 year old wizards starting with around 14 vitality should hit 18 vit without too much trouble. HP gains are retroactive (kind of) so hitting 18 vit later on won't leave you crippled long term.


Tried out Wizardry 7 as well. Always been interested in its giant open world and crazy list of features, but god damn is this one of the worst UIs I've ever seen. The mouse controls are functional, if slow. The keyboard controls were made by a pack of raving madmen. Wouldn't be too bad if you could use the mouse for the parts of the UI where the keyboard controls are too insane but you can only use the keyboard controls after turning the mouse off! I've got a pretty good tolerance for that kind of thing but I don't know if I can play this.


Also tried out Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. This is badass. The encounter rate is too high and the game isn't afraid of taking cheap shots, but it is nonetheless very good at what it does. Recruiting and fusing new pokemon is fun. Combat is exciting and changing your team to exploit the enemy's weakness is much more efficient than grinding out a few levels. You get extra turns for hitting an elemental weakness, so even on turns where your party needs to buff and heal, you're rewarded for being aggressive. Very cool, I'll keep playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:53 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
Also tried out Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. This is badass. The encounter rate is too high and the game isn't afraid of taking cheap shots, but it is nonetheless very good at what it does. Recruiting and fusing new pokemon is fun. Combat is exciting and changing your team to exploit the enemy's weakness is much more efficient than grinding out a few levels. You get extra turns for hitting an elemental weakness, so even on turns where your party needs to buff and heal, you're rewarded for being aggressive. Very cool, I'll keep playing.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:45 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
Finished the postgame of Labyrinth of Refrain. The postgame is honestly kind of shitty and I'd recommend stopping after either the normal ending or the true ending. There isn't really much in the postgame in terms of new ideas, and since your party will likely be max level by the end of the main game, the way to progress is to reset them to level 1 for higher soul clarity and grind to 99 again. You need to do this about 5 times to max a character out. You can probably get by with 2 or 3 times, but I don't even like doing it once. At least Etrian only rewards you for the first max level reset. That is, aside from EO2 where you need to retire at max level 29 times to be truly maxed out. Don't do that.


I really like remort systems, but yeah LoR's is really poor. Since classes don't have active skills, just passives, it doesn't feel as cool as it does in other games. Worse, you have to rotate each character across a bunch of different classes perfectly memorizing every single skill list you want for all ~15+ characters, since they don't retain access to every passive they unlock. Even worse - one of main reasons to use all classes is so you can use all weapon types, as the best weapons you have of each type are leagues beyond the fusion fodder chaff below them. So when you class change, you either use a sub-optimal weapon or jumble up your equipment everywhere. Also, good luck remembering which class you want each character to be.

Every single time you level up a bit (and your army of guys level up all the time, it is an army game desiiiigner guy) you have to live in terror of having to parse the "do you want to replace a skill with this different skill" prompt, and spend brain cells mulling it over. Even if the good and the worthless skills are mostly obvious... It becomes very fatiguing, very fast. Incredible interface nagging.

There's no excuse for this, even if they were focused on other aspects of the game and they weren't heavily invested in this new ip. Inactive skills that can be slotted in have been standard since what, Final Fantasy 5? Before that?


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:28 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
Recruiting and fusing new pokemon is fun.


So fucking triggered rn ahahah.

Also nice write up of Wizardry 1, especially the classes and ageing bit. I wanted to play it before, and now I don't. :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:51 am 


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BryanM wrote:
I really like remort systems, but yeah LoR's is really poor.


I don't see the point. It's just an incentive for more grinding. Etrian 3-like subclasses or FF5-like job systems gives you everything good they offer without any of the pain. I actually like the premise of putting the player through fluctuating periods of high and low power, but not if it ultimately just means you have to farm one hundred metal slimes. Maybe in a roguelike with a strict time limit it'd add some interesting strategy since you couldn't get away with grinding freely.

Blinge wrote:
So fucking triggered rn ahahah.

Also nice write up of Wizardry 1, especially the classes and ageing bit. I wanted to play it before, and now I don't. :lol:


If you don't class change it won't be a problem, natural aging is very slow and you're not going to need to resurrect enough times for its aging penalty to mess you up much.

A more detailed explanation of how it all works for anyone interested:

Spoiler: show
Whenever you level up, each stat has a 75% chance of changing. Each stat that changes has an AgeInYears/130 chance of going down, otherwise it goes up. A stat at the maximum of 18 can't go any higher, but has to fail two rolls in order to go down. When you create a character you get a random number of bonus points to add to whatever stat you want. With a bit of patience you can get ~19 points, enough to max your favorite stat with plenty left over to play with. A new character will spawn with high stats because of the bonus points and because they're young they should be able to max most of the stats that matter over time.

Class changing reduces your character's stats to the baseline for their race and this time you don't get any bonus points and it also ages them by about 5 years, increasing the chances that their stats will decrease on a level up. If you change your high level gnome thief into a ninja, he'll go from all 17s and 18s to 7 STR, 7 IQ, 10 PIE, 8 VIT, 10 AGI, and 7 LUC. It's almost inconceivable that he'll ever get back to all 17s and 18s.

You could plausibly get a class-changed character's stats back if you level them up, and then deliberately let them get hit by a level draining monster so you can re-level them and pray to RNGesus until he returns to you your 18s, but that is stupid. It'll also tank your HP.

You keep your HP and spells between class changes, so you can go fighter -> mage to get a mage with tons of HP... if you're willing to accept a mage whose low IQ makes them learn spells slowly and whose low AGI means they'll go last every round. Imo the latter is the bigger problem, it's imperative that you cast your doomsday spell on the enemy party before they do the same to you. And if you ever get touched by a level draining monster that bonus HP you worked so hard for will vanish into smoke.

Reviving your character with a priest spell permanently reduces their vitality by 1. If they're already high level and have lots of HP this isn't too big of a deal, and if they were low level and went from 18 VIT to 17, they'll probably recover just fine. You can also revive a dead character at the temple in town which ages them by between 1 and 52 weeks. Again, not a big deal if you don't make a habit of dying, and if you're already high level then being old doesn't hurt much. Both can fail, reducing your dead character to ashes, and a failed attempt to restore ashes will leave the character permanently lost. The chance of failure is based on vitality, so there's another reason to max that.

It's worth mentioning that some stats do little or sometimes even literally nothing unless they're very high or very low. You take penalties to accuracy and damage for a strength below 6 and bonuses for a strength above 15. 6 strength and 15 strength perform 100% identically. Vitality below 6 will annihilate your HP while 16 will give you a nice bonus, 17 doubles the bonus, and 18 triples it. Again, no change in HP growth from 6 to 15, though it will still influence your resurrection chance. Agility helps you deal with traps and other hazards, where every point matters, but it also affects your speed in battle, where you'll see no improvement from 8 to 14. Pretty strange!


I don't dislike Wizardry 1 but these days it's more a of game you'd play for historical curiosity than for its own merits.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:13 am 


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Vanguard wrote:
I don't dislike Wizardry 1 but these days it's more a of game you'd play for historical curiosity than for its own merits.


This is exactly why I'd try it.. When I do, i'll be hitting you up for tips..
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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:42 pm 


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@Vanguard, that's a really good write-up of Labyrinth of Refrain. Even though I think I liked the game more than you, all your points are well made and fair. Two things about the game that won me over were how it starts as a very simplistic Wizardry clone, then they keep complicating things in cool, clever ways (buying new limbs, exp gambling, covens, etc). Second, I thought the game played really well on the Switch undocked, making it a really good commuter game. And actually, I thought the kind of simplistic combat helped with that, in comparison to say another Nippon Ichi title, Disgaea. With that, there were times were I would set-up my party and then it was time to go in to work. I wouldn't get to actually attack until my lunch break.

Spoiler: show
RE: Lucky numbers and stances. When I started the game, I didn't really know what I was doing, so I let the cpu roll pretty much all my characters. LOADS of odd numbers and moon stances. I got SCREWED late game.

PS and I totally have a crush on Madam Dronya, sue me...


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:41 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
I don't see the point. It's just an incentive for more grinding.


..exactly!? "You know what this game all about grinding needs? More grinding!"

Nothing worse than that hollow empty feeling when I'm halfway through an Earthbound game, learn the last skill my characters will ever learn, and realize there will be zero rewards from combat then on out.

Dragon Quest 3 has a reasonable system - it's optional, and is only useful to do once or twice. Disgaea games, it's just another way to make numbers go up, and it's optional there as well. (Honestly I think LoRefrain might have been going for the Disgaea thing where you level up a weapon to carry a character through the grind. However, developing weapons in LoR is a lot more work - even going into a map with high mana they're rare drops.)

The traditional way these systems are supposed to be used is as a reward to continue playing the game from the beginning, like in MUDs. Short games with randomized elements, Diablo-esque stuff, are especially suited to this. The early game is far more fun as rewards are gathered more quickly - it inherently has more variety than lategames that are always stagnant. (In heavy long games, it's better as an optional something a little extra, Dragon Quest 3 style.)

The argument against a subclass system as implemented by Etrian Odyssey 3 and on is thus: You can't want what you already have. In EO3, a fairy appears a quarter of the way through the game and just gives you a skilltree handout. Doesn't really feel earned.

The maximal reward strategy being "punch metal slimes in the face for four hours" is actually an entirely different, separate issue.

m.sniffles.esq wrote:
With that, there were times were I would set-up my party and then it was time to go in to work. I wouldn't get to actually attack until my lunch break.


Heh, those hours spent in the base just learning how all the systems work. If they make it to Disgaea 10 you could have a semester long class on the dozens of vectors of progression that game would have.

Quote:
When I started the game, I didn't really know what I was doing, so I let the cpu roll pretty much all my characters. LOADS of odd numbers and moon stances. I got SCREWED late game.


Fucking over the player at character creation, when they literally know nothing about the game, is simply bullshit. I went in blind, trusting the developer's track record of making fair games.

The moon stance I at least foresaw as being a bad deal if the bosses were remotely difficult (and it did turn out it's only viable with high levels of soul clarity). At least stances can be fixed. Unlike the lucky number thing.

What were they thinking.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2020 7:30 pm 


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Fucking over the player at character creation, when they literally know nothing about the game, is simply bullshit. I went in blind, trusting the developer's track record of making fair games.

The moon stance I at least foresaw as being a bad deal if the bosses were remotely difficult (and it did turn out it's only viable with high levels of soul clarity). At least stances can be fixed. Unlike the lucky number thing.

What were they thinking.


My starting five were all cpu rolled, only one didn't have the moon stance and none had an even lucky number. And, since those did okay at the beginning, I just kept letting the cpu roll the character for every new puppet I got. I think the 12th was the first I actually rolled myself. People have defended all you state above by saying "the cpu isn't screwing you on purpose, it's random" (okay, fine) and "You can't change the lucky number because such things are controlled by fate not human forces" (then why can 'human forces' set the number in the first place? They don't let you change purely to fuck with you)


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:27 am 


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Lucky numbers wouldn't be a big deal if not for the soul clarity system. If you aren't doing the postgame an odd number is fine. On the other hand, moon stance is a disaster during the main game, but you could probably make good use of it in the postgame. Late game enemies can oneshot most characters even with sun stance, so why not trade some of that useless HP for more damage? Dodging and blocking and a supply of 99 jitterbugs are what will get you through late game problems.

BryanM wrote:
..exactly!? "You know what this game all about grinding needs? More grinding!"

Nothing worse than that hollow empty feeling when I'm halfway through an Earthbound game, learn the last skill my characters will ever learn, and realize there will be zero rewards from combat then on out.


imo if a game is going to include experience levels at all, they should have a small effect on your sheer power and your character should mostly grow by picking up new abilities. Low power growth keeps early game enemies relevant for longer and makes it more realistic to try fighting something a few levels ahead of you. If your numbers are going to go up a lot then it's better to handle that through hunting for items - not farming them! - or some other system that doesn't reward repetitive behavior. The roguelike Sil has a good method for experience gain. It awards a bunch of experience for the first time you kill a monster, 1/2 as much the second time, then 1/3 and so forth. Killing the same enemy quickly becomes a waste of your time.

BryanM wrote:
The argument against a subclass system as implemented by Etrian Odyssey 3 and on is thus: You can't want what you already have. In EO3, a fairy appears a quarter of the way through the game and just gives you a skilltree handout. Doesn't really feel earned.


I think you mean a badass cyborg, the leader of humanity's war against Cthulhu, appears gives you your new skill tree. I don't mind that subclassing is dropped into your lap. You still need to earn skill points to make use of it. Certainly better than hiding a cool feature behind needless grinding. With that said it could be cool if stuff like subclassing had to be actively pursued. Like there's a nasty but avoidable boss in the first stratum and you get subclassing once you beat him. With strong builds and a team that exploits his weaknesses, maybe you can take him out early.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:25 pm 


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Vanguard wrote:
imo if a game is going to include experience levels at all, they should have a small effect on your sheer power and your character should mostly grow by picking up new abilities. Low power growth keeps early game enemies relevant for longer and makes it more realistic to try fighting something a few levels ahead of you.


I do think it's kind of interesting how a fixed numeric growth in say a Dragon Quest game is nearly exponential proportionally at the start of the game, and trends toward logarithmic as the level ups become a smaller percentage of your numbers.

Defense stats I think are a major way of making weak creatures irrelevant. In Dragon Quest clones (just games with similar kind of combat and balancing), the slimes will eventually do less than 1% damage to a character. While in Dungeons and Dragons (2nd edition at least), Goblins can still do ~10% damage to a character if they can manage to hit them.

The accelerating returns Defense often gives in games often makes it the most powerful stat.

Levels are indeed kind of a bland powerup system. You don't often see much variety from it as a core progression system - ie, magically augmenting your body like in Chinese cultivation novels, transitioning into a monster as you gain power like in horror, etc.

One of the observations of a low fantasy game like Kingdom Death is that magic is everywhere and infuses everything, and while the magic is magical, it doesn't work like Harry Potter nonsense where you can wave your hands in the air and have anything happen. It just causes biological organisms to grow at accelerated, stronger, and weird ways. If you want to launch a fireball that can incinerate dozens of goblins all at once, you have to lug around a physical object capable of carrying and launching the fuel necessary to do that; you can't simply wizard up anything, stuff takes up space, magical items have durability and wear out like anything else, etc.

If only Berserk could have maintained such a philosophy.

Quote:
I think you mean a badass cyborg, the leader of humanity's war against Cthulhu, appears gives you your new skill tree.


Subclassing isn't really canon to that game. It doesn't get mentioned outside of this brief aside, no NPC is seen using it, it doesn't give the water people a massive advantage in the war etc. Canonically, there's nothing keeping your wizards from picking up a spear or warriors from picking up a book on space magic theory. The guy's a watery tart in a video game who throws a sword at you.

It gets very weird when you apply the abstraction that the game layer is supposed to represent literally. Guess that's why there's an entire sub genre based on the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Dungeon crawler recomendations
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:37 am 


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I found a handy tool for Wizardry 7 that makes it a lot more playable.

The main benefit is that it displays the automap in a window as you play. Normally to see your map you need to press u, then the number of the character carrying your map kit, then mash the down arrow to scroll through their inventory in a window that inexplicably only shows three items at a time, then control the cursor using the space bar(?!) and move it over the map kit, and finally press enter to open your map. This is almost unbearable for something you'll want to use so frequently. You also need to find the map kit in order to use it, and you need to have a character train the mapping skill to use it effectively, but Cosmic Forge doesn't change any of that.

Cosmic Forge also has nice optional features like bugfixes and the ability to edit basically everything in the game. I'm not interested in mechanical changes, though I do appreciate the option to replace Wizardry 7's generic fantasy portraits with something more kawaii.

Spoiler: show
Image


With the automap issue sorted, playing this is a lot more tolerable. I'll stick with it at least long enough to see what it's all about and I will report back.


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