End-game frustration

General Discussion about Cryptic Comet's adventure strategy game

Re: End-game frustration

Postby VoxDei » Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:02 pm

Well, at least I'm glad I didn't go back and try again, I don't know how many times I'd have tried running around the third basement level looking for secret doors. You'd probably have had a bug report from me by now saying it wasn't being generated. Ironically I even fell into a pit once on the first basement level that highlighted what must have been the boss room next to it on the second, but I assumed it had to be something else because it wasn't on the third basement level.

Vic, I understand the desire to add an extra puzzle for the player, and actually I share your dislike of meta-gaming by looking everything up online, but this just punishes the most-likely-by-far approach that a player is to take, without even telling them they're being punished. I was even semi-deliberately throwing myself down the whirlpool on the first floor (when I saw it) as the fastest way to the third basement, so I missed the second basement level entirely on one playthrough. I don't know what event is being referred to that indicates where it is, unless it's the falling-down-a-pit thing (which isn't much of a hint if it requires you to break your legs to get it!), I have not encountered it.

As a suggestion, put an encounter somewhere in the above-ground part of the mansion that lights up the boss room on the map when completed, and if someone descends to the basement (deliberately or not) without completing that they get a message telling them that the room will be very difficult to find without obtaining more information from the mansion? As things are like I say, you're punishing people without even telling them you're punishing them, it's going to make a lot of people very frustrated.
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Re: End-game frustration

Postby Frothy_mikhael » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:09 am

I agree with VoxDei. The only frustration I feel here is my own. Now that I know where the boss level is, it isn't so bad. But the first time I ever beat the game was by going down to the third level, exploring all of it, then coming back up to the second level and randomly stumbling across the boss room. If that hadn't happened I honestly would have quit playing, since I'd had it with losing to the clock in the basement rather than dying to an encounter. The current setup punishes players, and the problem is compounded by the size and labyrinthine nature of the basement. (VoxDei you may want to read and comment on my thread about basement level design issues, since I think it's relevant to your situation).
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Re: End-game frustration

Postby Frothy_mikhael » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:26 pm

Image
https://www.dropbox.com/s/majgbwwhf7hlktz/Exploration%20Paths.png

Above is a link/image to a recent game in which I beat "In the belly of the beast." You can see what the bossroom looks like, so if you consider it a spoiler, don't click.

I would like to draw the community's attention to the three paths that I followed before I found the boss room. The ultimately successful path is in blue, with the first two (unsuccessful) paths being in red, and deviations from the successful path being in red as well.

Path 1 was relatively short by basement standards, but involved long corridors, so there was plenty of backtracking. Path 2 was enormous, convoluted, and branched several times, with each path/room requiring investigation in order to rule out the possibility of a boss room being hidden behind a secret door. Again, lots of long corridors, so plenty of backtracking. Path 3 eventually lead me to the boss room. It's actually pretty straightforward by basement standards... I've had far, far worse. But even this one was (a) not obvious, since there's never any way to tell if you're getting closer; and (b) involved plenty of dead-ends and sidetracking.

The map alone should show why the basement is frustrating. There is little to discover, lots of backtracking, and no way to tell if you're on the right track. It's also very long, which means even a good player will often run out of time in the basement.

This is why I no longer play with standard timing (even post patch). I sometimes go with long games, but mostly I turn off the timer entirely. It would be nice to have time pressure as an added challenge, but the problem with the basement is that your time to final boss encounter is entirely arbitrary and there's no way that skill or judgment on your part can shorten it. So I play without time limits, because they just get frustrating.
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