Thursday, 1 November 2007

Roguelike players suffer from OCD in shock poll results

I'm going to preempt the poll results already, with not being very far into the week and ask 'Is it really that important to clear out the level?'. I mean, the one thing I would have learnt from playing Angband, as the maintainer points out:

Breeders are there to teach you two somewhat related but very important lessons: sometimes, running is the best option; and that not all creatures are worth fighting.
I would have expected more intelligent behaviour, picking fights, gaming the system, admissions of stair scumming and so on.

Well, at least except for the stair scumming, I would expect the poll results to not be biased too much, unless the people responding to the clear the level question are also obsessive about having to answer the poll questions on every blog that they visit. So, is this just an indication of a self-selecting survey? Are roguelike players channelling their OCD?

In which case, I'd better start redesigning Unangband. Because I've designed the game to have levels that are deliberately hard due to the make-up of monsters in the ecology. And have nasty features all over them, which room descriptions are there to warn you away from. And rooms that are not easy to tunnel the corners out of so you remember whether you've cleared them or not.

So clearing the level is really non-ideal behaviour, as far as I am concerned.


Mikolaj said...

OCD rulez. For me, in my ideal variant, clearing levels would be normal until late-game, or whenever the monsters get really nasty. I would remember levels that I've not cleared as interesting exceptions caused by Pink Frogs as the major constituent of the ecology, breeders (very limited in my ideal variant) I failed to contain, OOD uniques I failed to scratch, ugly terrain features I'm unprepaired to overcome, full backpack close to dungeon end, a fancy urge to take some risks deeper, a find of powerful equipment that makes low level too easy, etc.

In the long run I find gaming the system boring. I mean it's fun to discover stair-scumming (impossible in my ideal variant with semi-persistent levels), level feelings (almost absent in my ideal variant) bean-counting, shooting around a corner (my ideal variant has symmetric vision coupled with targeting), etc., but in the long run it is a lot of boring micro-management instead of creative reacting to your current dungeon environment.

About picking fights, diving and ironman --- I like that style a lot, but I'll leave that for the second half of the game. At the beginning it's nice to have some peace, regularity and satisfaction when exploring, learning and preparing for the hard part of the adventure ahead. The game is interesting enough for the first 30 levels just going down level by level. Wilderness makes it even more interesting (of course you are supposed to clear every wilderness location! :D ).

Andrew Doull said...

I'm glad we agree on stair-scumming and level feelings.

petebull said...

If UnAngband changes into a variant without breeders, I will almost never play anything else instead.

In the case of Vanilla the most dangerous monster move should be the retreat of an creature to the stairs, only to be back in some turns with a vast amount of escorts.

Also: orcs should lure you to open rooms and spiders should chase you into corridors.

Mixed orcs groups should act very intelligent with regard to monster jobs: shamans should be in the back, casting support buffs and healing spells for their melee companions. Those should leave corridors for the archers to shoot at you.

I'd like to see monsters emerging from the stairs as opposed to the current system of popping up in non-visible parts of the dungeon.