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Old August 18, 2013, 10:56   #1
jrodman
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tome 4, frustrating

Well, the game is totally different from when I wrote of Tome 2 as wildly capricious. But it's still wildly capricious.

First game. Dwarf berserker. Gave me a 'get out of the dungeon alive' start, which was a complete pushover. From there I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Tried a "continued" dungeon where the normal enemies were cake and the boss was completely impossible.

Had a quest to "go south west of foo-town" with no description where foo-town was. Eventually stumbled across it. Randomly the l key to go east stopped working. (???) Found myself killing level 18 creatures at level 5 successfully, no real idea how that worked.

After I got bored fighting only ants and snakes with no challenge in the old forest and and gotten level 10, decided to go back and fight the boss in the dungeon who was also level 10. It was still completely impossible.

Ran into a bandit quest. All the NPCs going in were STUPIDLY easy. Trying to complete the adventure was COMPLETELY impossible. Tried all kinds of variations of my skills and the game kept resurrecting me. Made me just more frustrated. Told the whatsit in the sky that I just wanted to die.

This game is so wildly untuned. It's probably worse than Tome 2.x. Bizarrely Dungeon Crawl, which I started playing again recently, has gone in the other direction, being as smooth as butter.
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Old August 18, 2013, 17:06   #2
Philip
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The 'l' key not working has happened to me too, don't know why. It went away after a while.
The Mouth is not killable by normal means, you have to kill 11 of the slimy crawlers it spawns. It's really kind of easy if you know how. The explanation of this is not immediately obvious, though.
The old forest is intended to be mostly easy, at least until you meet the boss.
Level 18 creatures aren't necessarily hard to kill, it depends on what skills they have. Almost everything behaves like PCs in abilities.
The bandit quest was easy because you are a berserker. Berserkers can take a lot of punishment, and will give it back. Mages and archers have more trouble. The boss and his four friends were the game telling you that you need to move around the map, kill minor enemies, heal up, and then kill the boss.
Try the tome wiki for advice on where to go, and when. Fizzix of this forum made an excellent playthrough with a cornac cursed. Cursed are not availible immediately, but can be unlocked by a level 10 character.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:05   #3
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Originally Posted by Philip View Post
The Mouth is not killable by normal means, you have to kill 11 of the slimy crawlers it spawns. It's really kind of easy if you know how. The explanation of this is not immediately obvious, though.
Bad mechanic for a roguelike.

In angband you can run into stuff you don't know how to deal with. The obvious response is to leave. In this game it's sitting there along the path you were told to pursue, and not avoidable.

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Level 18 creatures aren't necessarily hard to kill, it depends on what skills they have. Almost everything behaves like PCs in abilities.
Bad design. it's hard enough to pleasantly bring up their stats, let alone having to compare them all to yours. In a game where I fight 10 things, this might be forgiveable, but without any analysis hints it would still be tedious. In a game where I fight thousands of things, it's just wrong.

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The bandit quest was easy because you are a berserker. Berserkers can take a lot of punishment, and will give it back. Mages and archers have more trouble. The boss and his four friends were the game telling you that you need to move around the map, kill minor enemies, heal up, and then kill the boss.
On my *many* tries, I did attempt this. When they keep teleporting me back into them, that's the game telling me that this option is not availalble.
The game is undercommunicative in many ways. In angband if I'm teleported, there's an explicit message I advance through manually. In this game I get poofed around and often don't have any idea which dude did it.

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Try the tome wiki for advice on where to go, and when.
Bad design. This should be in the game.

Crawl, for example, you may want to do the branches in an order other than you discover them, but they're quite finite and they don't lie to you in difficulty (bandit quest) and you aren't signposted to go to the wrong ones. Also you don't get a "YOU FAILED" message if you go in a bit and then decide it's too hard and leave.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:12   #4
DaviddesJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
Bad design. it's hard enough to pleasantly bring up their stats, let alone having to compare them all to yours. In a game where I fight 10 things, this might be forgiveable, but without any analysis hints it would still be tedious. In a game where I fight thousands of things, it's just wrong.
I think "bad" and "wrong" are overstated in this case. Because some people do enjoy exactly this thing that you dislike. But what comes to mind as a useful solution is a "combat advisor" that crunches the visible numbers and gives you a quick summary of how difficult this particular opponent is for your particular character---its average damage to you per round, your average damage to it per round, stuff like that.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:30   #5
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I'm sure some people enjoyed haggling too. I did.

But not after the 700th time.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:44   #6
Philip
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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
Bad mechanic for a roguelike.

In angband you can run into stuff you don't know how to deal with. The obvious response is to leave. In this game it's sitting there along the path you were told to pursue, and not avoidable.
Well, if you aren't keen on there being specific monsters that aren't killed by bashing them repeatedly, Tome4 might not be the game for you.

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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
Bad design. it's hard enough to pleasantly bring up their stats, let alone having to compare them all to yours. In a game where I fight 10 things, this might be forgiveable, but without any analysis hints it would still be tedious. In a game where I fight thousands of things, it's just wrong.
Experience will tell you how tough stuff is, and you shouldn't be meeting OOD stuff unless you wander into the wrong dungeon or into a vault, so maybe you should expect this kind of thing.
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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
On my *many* tries, I did attempt this. When they keep teleporting me back into them, that's the game telling me that this option is not availalble.
The game is undercommunicative in many ways. In angband if I'm teleported, there's an explicit message I advance through manually. In this game I get poofed around and often don't have any idea which dude did it.
It does tell you, there is a log in which you will see, x monster used y talent, and it should be visible there what happened to you.
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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
Bad design. This should be in the game.
The wiki isn't necessary. It's a game of exploration, go and explore. Die, and then get further with the next guy. You're not supposed to win with your first or every character. I just thought that you might like it. Much of it even is in the game, you just have to look around, read lore etc.

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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
Crawl, for example, you may want to do the branches in an order other than you discover them, but they're quite finite and they don't lie to you in difficulty (bandit quest) and you aren't signposted to go to the wrong ones. Also you don't get a "YOU FAILED" message if you go in a bit and then decide it's too hard and leave.
Nothing lies to you about difficulty. There isn't quite enough information about difficulty, but you aren't misled. You got a YOU FAILED message simply because you did. You undertook a quest to save some dude trapped in some tunnels, and you didn't. As simple as that. Failing a quest doen't kill your character or anything.

I can't think of a situation when you are 'signposted' to go somewhere, so I'm not sure I understood what you meant there.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:53   #7
DaviddesJ
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I don't think it's much like haggling. Haggling is exactly the same process every time, there is no learning and no judgment associated with it. And, even with all that, it's not "bad design"---some people like it and some don't.

The TOME combat model is different because it exists for a reason (having different enemies have different strengths and weaknesses makes the game more interesting to play) and because you can get better at it (seeing at a glance whether an enemy will be easy or difficult usually depends only on a couple of numbers, if you look for the right things). As I said above, I can agree that there is room for interface improvements, so that the computer can do automatically things that you would otherwise do for yourself over and over. But that's not the same thing as saying the design is bad or wrong.
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Old August 18, 2013, 21:56   #8
DaviddesJ
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Originally Posted by Philip View Post
It does tell you, there is a log in which you will see, x monster used y talent, and it should be visible there what happened to you.
However, it's much harder to follow the messages than in Angband. And a pain to pull them up after they disappear.
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Old August 18, 2013, 22:23   #9
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Well, if you aren't keen on there being specific monsters that aren't killed by bashing them repeatedly, Tome4 might not be the game for you.
Patronising.
The problem is the game actively suggests you have to kill the boss by creating a new add every time you kill it off. The right way to do this is a message "THE FOO WEAKENS" when you kill off the add. The message has to be obvious, like a click through or large letters.

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Experience will tell you how tough stuff is
Yes, I've played roguelikes since 1991.

There are many approaches that can make this more manageable. In rogue, hack, and crawl, the list of opponents is quite short. The number of times you will die because you don't know what they do is limited in this way.

In Angband, a game with a long list of opponents, we have monster memory. At the very least the native depth of the monster is available as a rough guide. The monster list shows out of depth monsters in red.

I'm not seeing much to make this less annoying here.

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The wiki isn't necessary. It's a game of exploration, go and explore.
RPGs are also games of exploration in which dying is a possibility. At least the old ones. They didn't spring a quest on you the moment you walk out of the first town that's certain death.

The problem, as before, isn't that some things are dangerous, it's that the placement and progression is entirely haphazard.

In crawl, I can go into the elven halls 3 totally unprepared. But I have to FIRST get through around 5-7 levels of the dungeon of increasing difficulty. Elven Halls 1 and 2 are be good hints about 3 as well. If I'm paying attention I know to turn around.

Bandit quest enemies going down by breathing hard, and then the next part being a wtf pwn, that's the opposite.


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You're not supposed to win with your first or every character.
Patronising. This is a website where people play Angband.



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You got a YOU FAILED message simply because you did. You undertook a quest to save some dude trapped in some tunnels, and you didn't. As simple as that. Failing a quest doen't kill your character or anything.
I went into a forest next to my starting area. The game gave me a breadcrumb quest to go in there. The first person made me choose to help them or not before I could even see the first monster. After seeing the first monster, I realized the game had signposted me to death again, so left.

"YOU FAILED"

As the player, I made the right choice, to leave. I succeeded. Sorry I didn't fall for this breadcrumb deathtrap.

That the breadcrumb is there at all is probably wrong. That you have to choose to help before you have ANY idea how difficult the area is is very poorly conceived. That you can't say "sorry dude, I'll help you later" is obnoxious, because that's what the experienced player will do, by choosing not to enter the deathtrap.
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Old August 18, 2013, 22:33   #10
DaviddesJ
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Originally Posted by jrodman View Post
In Angband, a game with a long list of opponents, we have monster memory.
Doesn't TOME gives you complete information about every enemy, when you meet it? That's more data (or, at least, as much) as the Angband monster memory, or spoilers.

I even agree with some of your criticisms, but I don't see what you expect to accomplish by lecturing and talking down to people. "Here's what I would like better" comes across a lot better than "You stupid git, here's everything you did wrong."
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