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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

7/3/2018
This post will surely contain some spoilers, just so you know.

I finally completed what I feel was a great one-captain run of Sunless Skies. I discovered every port, ate some crew, communed with a fluke, went half-mad, clawed my way back from the verge of death after spending a year looking out at the Avid Horizon, dated a devil & looked inside some surprisingly rewarding rat-owned strongboxes. Through it all I wrote my song of the sky (a beautifully written quest in itself) & upon finally finishing was excited both at my own success & at the prospect of starting a new character, to explore this world over again & make different choices, chart different courses.

Then I did. It took about three minutes to die.

Not because of any hostility or loss. I started with a full bank and a gleaming devil-made locomotive. Not because I got lost either, as nothing had moved & the entire map was already revealed. My death was a far more depressing & insidious one.

The death of excitement.

The excitement of bringing a captain up from nearly nothing & making them something of note. The excitement of setting off into the hungry, empty sky & finding those scattered ports, forging paths & finding the best routes. The excitement of fighting for survival with a random tackety scout or fleeing a scrive-spinster.

With how much of my previous captain's life & possessions & chart were carried over, I didn't have to do any of these things. But... these things make up the entirety of the non-text portion of the game! Sunless Sea's legacies gave you hard choices to make on what portions of stats & equipment you could carry over, tied mechanical & monetary carry-overs to in-character actions with the house & your heirlooms. You got a little better, a little more experienced, a little quicker to start with every character in a lineage. Now it seems I complete an ambition & just keep... everything. Except the thrill, uncertainty & exploration that draws me to the game in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, Sunless Skies is shaping up to be an incredible game. I thoroughly enjoyed my playthrough. But with Sunless Seas I enjoyed the next twenty playthroughs after that as well, & I find it pretty disappointing that I don't seem to have the chance to experience that now. It seems, quite literally, all-or-nothing - keep everything & have a rather hollow experience or lose everything by making an entirely new character & lose any of the achievements & unlocked deeds of my previous captain.

Am I reading this right? Am I the only one who feels this? Is the system of inheritance working as intended, or was this some bug? it seems so at odds with the spirit of exploring the unknown that the game is built on.
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Lord Alexander Alderman
Lord Alexander Alderman
Posts: 43

7/3/2018
Out of all the things that will change between Sea and Skies, changing the way inheritance works has to be my biggest worry, Failbetter seems to have embraced the more rougelike part of SS, as I've heard that the manual saves aren't in this game. But keeping so many things when you move on to your next Captain is really going to hurt the game, death is less of a risk if you get to keep so many things. It takes away one of the things that makes rougelikes what they are.
I feel that the all or nothing statement is very much true. We should have less to take with us to the next Captain, it worked very well, I would say, in Seas. You gain advantages, but you could only choose between one or two of the Legacies that give you really powerful things like keeping a lot of money to get on the move again and start exploring more earlier. Or keeping your weapon to kill early game enemies for both removing some risk, and making profit from loot and beast meat. If you can just keep everything, it removes a too much risk, and you don't get to enjoy the quests that would matter if you didn't have everything you needed in the first place. No excitement, exploration, or risk makes for a very boring second play through.
edited by Lord Alexander Alderman on 7/3/2018
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

7/4/2018
Lord Alexander Alderman wrote:
If you can just keep everything, it removes a too much risk, and you don't get to enjoy the quests that would matter if you didn't have everything you needed in the first place. No excitement, exploration, or risk makes for a very boring second play through.


Yep, that's my exact feeling. I like the idea of progress between characters in a lineage - you should start better off than your last character - but just not to the extent it stands at the moment.

So in the spirit of trying to present solutions rather than just problems, would it be possible (Fuzz, I guess this one's aimed at you) to float the idea of choosing what to start with on subsequent captains? Say a series of check-boxes for each main facet of what you carry over (Money, Locomotive, Chart, Bank Contents, Equippables?). That way you could preserve the original intention of players being able to start with everything their previous captain owned if that's what they want, but also give those of us that would prefer to explore things over again in a new pattern or with weaker equipment the choice to 'opt out' of inheriting things like the revealed chart.

For example, I'd happily take the contents of my bank and the equippables I bought for my ship but leave the locomotive itself, the chart and any money I had left over.

Is there a method or reason behind the new 'must keep the chart' thing that just hasn't been revealed to us (yet)?
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Lord Alexander Alderman
Lord Alexander Alderman
Posts: 43

7/4/2018
I really dislike the idea of that chart saying revealed, no more new placements of worlds, even less exploration, the point of the game. Now that I have heard of these things, I'm really wondering if Skies will hold up to Seas with these changes, I see no way that they improve the experience. I do hope that they take this into account, but you can never be sure, being just players using the forums, but they do often reply to these sorts of conversations though.
edited by Lord Alexander Alderman on 7/4/2018
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Konrow
Konrow
Posts: 9

7/7/2018
Lord Alexander Alderman wrote:
I really dislike the idea of that chart saying revealed, no more new placements of worlds, even less exploration, the point of the game. Now that I have heard of these things, I'm really wondering if Skies will hold up to Seas with these changes, I see no way that they improve the experience. I do hope that they take this into account, but you can never be sure, being just players using the forums, but they do often reply to these sorts of conversations though.
edited by Lord Alexander Alderman on 7/4/2018


I'm going to have to agree. There needs to be some sort of loss for death. At least reset the charts. Even just a reset chart would make replaying with a new character would make the experience of starting after death so much better alone. I also think the bank should be all we get to keep. Lose money, lose the locomotive, lose equipment. Maybe even allow us to only pick a certain amount of slots from the bank depending on how well our last captain did. If we keep everything then dying is simply a boring way of resetting in my opinion. My hope is that it is only currently this way for EA to make it easier for us to explore more, test more, and find more bugs easily.
edited by Konrow on 7/7/2018
edited by Konrow on 7/7/2018

--
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Lord Alexander Alderman
Lord Alexander Alderman
Posts: 43

7/7/2018
"My hope is that it is only currently this way for EA to make it easier for us to explore more, test more, and find more bugs easily." But why would they not explain this to us in advance if that was the plan, it just seems like it would be an important thing to tell people like us two, and most likely some others who are less vocal about it, that this is not the direction that they wan't the game to go in its proper release. Usually FB is good at making sure we know what they are planning. So it leads me to think that this is something they want to keep as a feature.
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Waterpls
Waterpls
Posts: 197

7/8/2018
I like that the penalty for death is so weak. Sunless Series is not a proper rogue-like games, there is no variety between playtroughs except in story-telling part. Death penalty only increases amount of grind. In sunless sea that was absurd, you can lose up to 30 hours of playtime in one mistake which is unreasonably high penalty even in rogue-like genre.
Of course there always will be people who think differently. And maybe FBG should consider adding an options in menu that regulate death penalty more precise. After release, if there is no space in current schedule.
edited by Waterpls on 7/8/2018

--
Long grinds: Cider 120/160; Correspondence 21/21; Paramount 4/4.
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Lord Alexander Alderman
Lord Alexander Alderman
Posts: 43

7/8/2018
I do agree that making the early game grind less oppressive is a very good move, and I understand that not everyone who will play finds risk taking exciting. But the issue is about ''new game +'' type things. After completing an ambition with your current line, all the challenge is taken away, and you are then left in a state where you can either start fresh, loosing everything and going back to square one, losing achievements that you would rather keep to get the challenge back. It seems like a death penalty difficulty setting would remedy a lot of these issues. I'm the kind of person who must neat all the hardest modes and uncover almost every option to consider a game done. But I very much agree that those who want a more relaxed experience should get a choice. If any game should have a ''story difficulty'' a game like this most certainly should.
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astranox
astranox
Posts: 120

7/9/2018
What the hell? Where did my post go?

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You don't want to see my lame memes...
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NotaWalrus
NotaWalrus
Posts: 142

7/9/2018
I'm going to be a contrarian and say that I'm glad the roguelike aspects are toned down. They were a bad fit for Sea. There is a reason most roguelikes are light on story and have short runs, Sea is neither.

Now I'm not saying it added nothing to the experience. It did make it tense and filled you with the terror that is the Zee whenever your hull ran low and your menaces ran high, but it also detracted heavily from the experience in other ways.

If you want to experience the feeling of a new playthrough again, but making new choices and writing a new story, then delete your save data (Or selectively delete it, shouldn't be too hard if Sea's save editing is anything to go by) and roll a new character. Sea suffered heavily on repeat playthroughs from having to go through the tedium of grinding stats and money again in order to do the interesting stuff (Which is also greatly reduced since you've already seen most of many of the stories). Skies opts for a more reasonable approach. It knows the appeal of a repeat playthrough will mostly be in seeing the consequences of the choices you didn't pick before, and that the more mechanical parts of the experience will have lost their luster by this point, so it lets you get right to those choices you didn't see.

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http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/NotaWalrus
Ignacious, the Licentious Scholar, he will accept most social invitations, including boxed cats and affluent photographers (but only betrayals), though he is absent-minded and might take more time than entirely necessary. He apologizes.

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Jolanda Swan
Jolanda Swan
Posts: 858

7/9/2018
I loved playing Sunless Sea, and I would like to replay it, but I cannot face the prospect of grinding from the beginning. I want to revisit the story, not spend five hours scrounging for survival.
So, why not do what they did with the saves in Sunless Sea? Allow the player to chose if they want to bestow a simple legacy to the next captain, or if they want to keep everything. Perhaps that way every player gets closer to what they want to do with the game!

--
Lover of all things beautiful, secret admirer of ugly truths, fond of the Parabola Sun... and always delighted to role play.
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Lord Alexander Alderman
Lord Alexander Alderman
Posts: 43

7/9/2018
I very much agree with much of what is being said, I as a person who played very stealthily, and died very rarely aside from things unless they were things I had no idea would happen, like going past the ice wall into darkness. Although I like games where risk is high and you have to use some crafty techniques, hearing others opinions is always important. The only thing that still disappoints me is that I won't be able to go back to square one without also keeping my achievements and other things that persist between captains like legacy items (I'm waiting for the full release to purchase it, so I don't know if things like the Horizon Codex are actually a returning mechanic) using ''legitimate'' means, as opposed to save file editing. I have no experience or knowledge about it, but you make it seem easy enough.
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A Parliament of Hounds
A Parliament of Hounds
Posts: 37

7/11/2018
I can certainly see why some people would like the chart to stay revealed, as it allows subsequent playthroughs to focus almost entirely on story aspects. The reason that players like me can't just start over again to get a new experience (as NotAWalrus suggested) is because (and I'll try to keep spoilers as light as possible here) there are certain things you can do as a captain that open up new options for later captains in that lineage, and if I started an entirely new captain I'd never get the chance to experience those particular storylets, benefits & choices.

I'm not expecting everyone to play the game the way I do, and there are obviously some who really like that the full chart and all possessions are carried over, but there are definite downsides to it for a certain type of player that can't just be solved by starting an entirely new character. As far as editing save files goes, I'm not really a PC player for anything other than Seas games and the occasional round of Darkest Dungeon, so (as simple as that might be in practice) definitely wouldn't be my first port of call.
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Leonora Rothwood
Leonora Rothwood
Posts: 17

7/22/2018
Personally I'm somewhere in the middle. I'm incredibly happy that the locomotives carry over, as the higher level locomotives represent a significant investment that is frankly tedious to regain if lost. The current random lost piece of equipment and losing everything in one's hold is punishing enough for me.

What I dislike, however, is the map not resetting after death. Generally the map configuration makes one particular route around a region optimal for keeping Terror low and fulfilling various Prospects/questlines. A large part of my fun is the exploration and trying to discover that optimal route, so I absolutely agree that the map carrying over sucks a lot of fun out of traveling and makes it slightly grindy, which I am fairly allergic to...

I believe that no longer starting at level 1 is an attempt to compensate for the map being static -- or the other way around; the point is that if the map reset entirely, but captains still started above level 1, level 20 would be much too easy to reach. But with only two regions, it currently does feel difficult to keep progressing once all the ports are discovered. Maybe a solution is to make all regions reset except the one that a captain dies in? That makes starting in the region you died in, rather than in the Reach, a more attractive prospect, since you're already familiar with the map. It feels to me like a good narrative tool as well; the heir to the previous captain has to be in the nearest central port in order to retrieve their ship and goods, but the rest of the sky has drifted in the meantime.

It's just occurred to me that the map not changing is sort of a lore decision as well -- the sky is more stable and orderly than the Neath in many respects. Still, things move in space, and it's not out of the question for locations to shift over time.
edited by LNRothwood on 7/22/2018

--
Leonora Rothwood, the Ink-Stained Wanderer
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ZeroMGA
ZeroMGA
Posts: 7

9/19/2018
So I came back after a long break, when I last played the skies were near empty and Terror climbed faster than my boy trying to get to something he shouldn't get.

The addition of the carry-over lineage was a welcome addition; having never played Sea's I wasn't aware it would be a feature. While I do agree there are areas that could be adjusted to make the New Game + mode of play a bit more challenging, I have to disagree with resetting the map and locomotive. I say this somewhat contrarily because I have to also acknowledge that I agree it does remove a big point of fun and challenge in the game, that of exploring, but I would rather they be kept for the simple reason of it being a lineage/inheritance.

If I was leaving something behind to my child, or apprentice, protege, or anything else, leaving them a map of the stars and my locomotive would be at the top of the list. Since the skies, presumably, don't drastically change between one generation of character to the next, the record of ports especially would be a logical thing to leave.

I guess you could reset the grey cover and leave the ports in the same place, leaving it up to players' remembering where ports were and hoping for the best as they go off into the black?
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