Thread: Sil-Q Review
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Old January 9, 2019, 06:54   #30
Wiwaxia
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I went to make an account to delurk and comment on this thread and discovered I'd already made one... 5 years ago? God.

First of all, thank you half, Scatha, and Quirk for making such a beautiful game and variations thereof, and for talking in detail about what you did and why. One of the reasons I keep coming back to Sil and to lurking this forum is for the in depth discussions of design and seeing how that plays out in practice and continually changes and adapts. I have enormous respect for all three of you as game designers and especially as game designers who incorporate feedback and changes elegantly, and reading what you have to say to each other on design goals and solutions from slightly different approaches to the same game is a treat.

My two cents on the discussion:
I think I'll go through the song tree in advance of the rework and see a bit more of what I think of it. I haven't played a lot of singers, but my general impression of the tree from what I have played and lurking discussions here is that it splits into three categories. On the high end there seems to be a couple "capstone" songs (Lorien and Mastery) that are expensive, evocative, powerful, and strongly change the way you play that form the center of dedicated builds. On the low end there's a couple songs (Elbereth, the old Slaying) that are good for dabblers but also scale well with more investment and can have builds based around them. (Song of Elbereth and its interaction with morale mechanics, incidentally, is one of the best pieces of game design I have seen in any game I've played.) In the middle there's some solid situational songs (Freedom, Trees, maybe the new Delvings) that are good minor themes for singers and potentially worth the investment for non-singers, plus a lot of songs that don't quite fit well in any role (the ones replaced in Sil-Q and the weaker proposed replacements).
I'll see if this model holds with more firsthand experience.

I just tried a few abortive runs with Song of Delvings after Scatha mentioned liking it. I was pretty unimpressed by it's description on paper but I absolutely love it in practice. Having that additional information to work with is nice for seeing where you might get flanked, planning possible escape routes, and spotting special rooms in advance (I look forward to avoiding wolf pens entirely once I survive deeper). I got consistently killed by rushing to it over more reasonable early-game investments because it's so fun to have.

I would love to see Slaying and Sharpness return to Sil-Q on thematic grounds. I wonder if there's a place for Slaying as a "capstone" song, possibly combined with Challenge as Scatha mentioned so that it proactively drew in enemies to keep up momentum in more sparsely populated areas of the dungeon. I would be worried about Slaying-singer/melee builds outshining non-singing melee, and discouraging the variety of possible builds there, though. It seems like there's still a niche for Sharpness as an anti-protection ability for serpents, kemmenraukar, and their ilk, but I have no idea if that could be implemented in a balanced way.

I'd also be in favor of ditching blunt weapons as a category. Having sceptres as a dedicated stat-stick weapon type (i.e. Sceptres of Power) makes some sense thematically, but my impression is that Sil design doesn't really favor stat-sticks. I agree that sceptres and crowns should be rarer, and possibly special-only.

I have to say I do like consumables as they are from a gameplay perspective, even if they don't make complete thematic sense. I'm still holding out for Herbs of Athelas and maybe Niphredil. I like the Sil-Q trend of adding a bit more variety in items and adding more of interest to the upper levels.

I think the question of ease of detecting and disarming traps is mostly a sideshow to the fact that Sil's trap design, with the exception of roosts and webs, is not great or at least certainly not up to the standards of the rest of the game. I might make a thread on this, actually, if there's not a minimum post limit to do so.

Finally, this doesn't quite fit with the current discussion but a thought about Sil I've had for a while is that Morgoth shouldn't be immune to fear, at least until the player has picked up a silmaril, on thematic grounds. His cowardice, and his fear of Elbereth in particular, is frequently noted in canon and I think that cowardice is a major part of Tolkien's conception of evil in general and the way it is often both seemingly unstoppable and pathetic.
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