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View Poll Results: What sort of wilderness do you like (see OP for details)
No Wilderness 8 21.62%
Single Level (Scaled Up) Wilderness 5 13.51%
Multiple Level (Grid Based) Wilderness 6 16.22%
Abstract Wilderness 5 13.51%
Grid Based Wilderness with Connected Dungeons 13 35.14%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 5, 2010, 12:25   #1
Dean Anderson
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So - what are your thoughts on wilderness?

Some variants have introduced wilderness to the game. Usually this also involves multiple towns and multiple dungeons.

There seem to be a few ways of doing this that I can think of...

0) There is no wilderness. You have one town above one dungeon and that's it!

1) Wilderness is done at a different scale. There's a single wilderness "level" which contains many towns and/or dungeons. When you enter one of those (like entering a shop in the town level), the scale switches back to normal. I seem to remember a couple of old variants (Kamband? Kangband?) using this style of wilderness.

2) Wilderness is done at the same scale as the dungeon/town. There are multiple wilderness levels arranged in a grid and you go from one to the next by walking off the edge. Each town takes up an entire grid to itself. However, dungeons are not done that way. Each dungeon is a stand-alone stack of levels beneath a grid location. My old Cthangband worked like this (although it also had towers going up in some locations as well as dungeons going down).

3) Wilderness is abstracted. There are multiple wilderness "locations" - some of which are towns and some of which are dungeon entrances - but they are not directly connected in an edge-to-edge manner. Instead, when you choose to leave one you are given a choice of which one to go to, and you are sent directly there. You may have a chance of a random "encounter" on the way, in which case you'll be placed in a small randomly generated outdoor "level" with the monster or monsters. I don't know any roguelike that does this, although it's done by a couple of non-roguelike games.

4) Wilderness is done in a grid manner as in option 2, but the grid is fully 3d. This means that you can - for instance - go down from the town to level 3 of the dungeon, move horizontally from level 3 beneath the town to level 3 beneath the wilderness, and then come back up and arrive in a wilderness level. With this method, each location in the grid has a maximum and minimum dungeon depth and you may need to travel underground to get to where you want to go. I don't know any game that does this.

So what do you guys think? Are wildernesses a good idea? Do they make the game more interesting, or are they a tedious obstacle?
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Old December 5, 2010, 12:44   #2
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I'm a purist. Vanilla and O are my favourite variants. Wilderness just screws the game up as far as i am concerned, cause then you have more dungeons and it all snowballs until it's unplayable.
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Old December 5, 2010, 13:28   #3
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I voted for no wilderness; the only variant I have played a lot with wildernesses was TOME 2.x and I didn't particularly like all the moving around between different towns and dungeons.
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Old December 5, 2010, 14:01   #4
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I voted for option 5. I'm currently playing FA, and I really like the addition and flavor of the wilderness and multiple towns/dungeons.
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Old December 5, 2010, 15:39   #5
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I like wilderness in variants that have it, but don't miss it in variants that don't. Case and point is FA, where I don't see myself ever playing the no-wilderness mode. I'd love to see a bit of 'option 4' added to FA. Horizontal underground movement would be cool.

However, I like the Z+ implementation of wilderness the best. Many terrain types and roads leading places, randomly generated (I think). There is no switching of scale or screen when entering a town, and no switching of screen on the main map ever! This means that monsters can chase you... and chase you... all the way back to town if you last that long. Towns are part of the wilderness, just walled off to prevent monsters from entering. Dungeons are handled in the typical style, staircase down = new level (new screen).
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Old December 5, 2010, 17:11   #6
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Generally speaking, I find wilderness to not be as interesting as dungeons, exploration-wise. I don't think that means that the concept of wilderness is flawed; just that the implementations I've tried so far are. A few thoughts:

1) If there's only one scale and no greater wilderness map, then I can get completely lost and unable to find any towns -- no good.
2) Wilderness as multiple stitched-together 4x4 zones means that stepping across an arbitrary point respawns all enemies, which lends itself to scumming dangerous wilderness zones for experience.
3) If the player is expected to return to a town after having left it earlier in the game, then the towns should be relatively easy to backtrack to. Lots of mashing run is not much fun.
4) If the wilderness is large, it needs to be easy UI-wise to cover large distances. I recall from way back when I last played Cthangband hitting 478478478478 to head in a NW direction despite the trees in the way that are blocking running.
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Old December 5, 2010, 18:09   #7
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I've always been a fan of wilderness, whether as an alternative to the dungeon or as a means of traveling from one town/dungeon to another. It adds a lot of flavor and gives a feeling of scale, as well as a fun sense of exploration. That said, it can be nice to go back to Vanilla where you just have one town, the dungeon, and that's it for the sake of simplicity. I'm glad both are around.

I voted for 3D grid wilderness. That would be awesome.

I love the wilderness in FA where you can find things like buildings, camps and the like out there, sometimes filled with better-than-average treasure.

I don't think wilderness ever becomes too much of an obstacle or tedium as long as Word of Recall is done right.
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Old December 6, 2010, 02:25   #8
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One of the flaws in V is that there's nothing to explore.

What I mean by that is, of course you explore the dungeon, but in a sense, learning the dungeon is totally irrelevant because as soon as you leave the level, it's gone. It's a whole other element to the game and if it's done right, it enhances things.
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Old December 6, 2010, 03:56   #9
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I voted multi-level grid based, because that's closest to what FA is, so I felt kind of obliged to.

Funnily enough, before I started FA I didn't like wilderness, and I had to put a lot of thought in to get it the way I wanted it. And I'm still not sure I'm entirely happy with it.
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Old December 6, 2010, 05:40   #10
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I can't stand playing variants with wilderness. The dungeon is where the game happens.

I do intend to try playing FA sometime soon but I'll play no-wilderness mode.

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