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A game of survival, trade and exploration in the universe of Fallen London

Mystery Vs. History (Shuffling, Rewards, Replays) Messages in this topic - RSS

KhzDonut
KhzDonut
Posts: 20

8/9/2014
Before I begin, I'm newer to the game, and I haven't played Fallen London at all, or even gotten enough money for a new boat, so that's where I'm coming from experience-wise. Also, being an Early Access, I realize the limitations of judging game mechanics at this early stage, so I hold these opinions tentatively.


Also, TL;DR towards the end Big Grin


I just started my first game since map-shuffling, and I have some reservations about the concept itself (for now, I'll ignore any problems with the current implementation, which I chalk up to being Early Access, so FailBetter totally gets a free pass right now. I expect bugs and balancing, and generally just assume "this will be fixed, no doubt" and so far, FailBetter has delivered.)

One of the thing about the game I love is the sense of danger: Exploration + Perma-death = Fun!

As I played through the first couple runs I began to feel as though I was getting *somewhat* cheated out of the initial personal fear/fun of exploration, because I knew where things were. Likewise with story and quest lines, where I knew the outcomes of certain events, and therefore there was no sense of fear or threat. This is the thing that makes me think that map shuffling is a really good idea.

But as an avid player of Diablo II & III, Torchlight, EverQuest, and World Of Warcraft, I can relate one experience that has changed forever changed how I feel about static vs. shuffling worlds: WoW's "Cataclysm" expansion.

I'm a person who gets very invested in games. For reasons I won't bore you with, virtual worlds feel like home, usually much more so than my day-to-day grind. When my wife and I talk about the places we've been and the things we've done, half the times we're going through screencaps of WoW or Diablo. As far as immersive goes, WoW really beat the hell out of EverQuest. However, in a lot of ways I miss EverQuest more because of the danger and risk. Also because the world was static. Blizzard decided (for better or for worse) to re-work the entire "vanilla" WoW world with the Cataclysm expansion. Now when my wife and I want to go hang out at our favorite spots, half of them aren't there anymore. (Vanilla Darkshore... Oh, how I miss you...)

But this is not a case for NOT having shuffling, it's a case for having the choice NOT to have shuffling (which I'll wager will be an option at some point in the future anyway).

I've already gotten to where the idea of Polythreme being near Godfall, south of the Sisterhood, seems kind of iconic. The Chapel of lights being just next to the Avid Horizon feels somehow "right" to me.


The biggest motivator for me to have a static world is knowing that, at the end of the day, most quests and reward lines will be static. The Serpentine Engine will not randomly shuffle to being a reward for taking the Deviless to London (well, probably not). The level to which shuffling changes the game is necessarily limited, for numerous reasons, mostly too obvious to mention. There's a certain rational disconnect (and I guess an emotional one, too) about this idea that the stories and the history of the world stays the same, but inexplicably the locations shuffle.

I already kind of miss the first Neath. With each successive play, I felt like it was becoming more iconic and "home" and that when I would go to forums to find out about some quest, not only would the quest be something that was universal among players, but the world itself was. That feeling of communal similarity in the world was actually a component of my enjoyment. It had a sense of being very "real" because I "knew" it, and as I knew it better it was easier to have the sense of becoming the experienced sailor. (Zailor, I guess. Though why is it the Zee and not the Zea? I digress...)

The idea that the people and storylines I experienced were relatable in totality to people on the forums gave a sense of realness because of the sense of continuity within the community, and that was extended to the world configuration. Everyone in the game world, as well as the forum community, said Godfall was in the same place. In many ways, that makes Godfall feel very real.

Obviously, shuffling is here, and is here to stay, and I'm not nit-witted enough to think that even if I hated it (which I don't) that it would matter now. It's here to stay, and that's not a problem for me. It doesn't break the game for me (though right now the mechanics DO make the game a little "breaky" but I have no reason to think that's a permanent situation, not with the exemplary development trend)




So, the TL;DR of this is as such:

1. Static worlds feel more real to me, and therefore more immersive, and therefore more fun.
2. Shuffling may benefit from being optional, if "1" is true for a number of persons greater than that necessary to be deemed profitable to be catered to.
3. If Shuffling becomes optional, there comes the option to have not only the "True Neath" along with the randomized/shuffled Neath, but also a series of either Dev-Created or User-Created "Alternate Neaths" which are carefully crafted and balanced.




"Crafted" Neaths - Expanded

One of the things I liked about the original setup of the Neath is that there are SO many places where you can get REALLY nutty about maximing fear generation. Tons of places where you'd find that one little edge of the coast that would get you from point A to point B without generating fear.

I think it would be great to have some way of downloading either Dev-created or User-created "shuffles" that were optimized, tuned, and balanced in ways to alter difficulty or storyline progression in more pointed/guided ways.


In a randomized world, it's not as though those maximizations/fear generation tricks don't exist, but you can no longer express as many of them to the community as relatable experiences or concepts, so you lose a bit of the "experienced Zailor" feeling if everyone's in a Slightly different Zee. Even as a single player game, the community having the same framework within which to discuss maximizations gives the world a more immersive and "real" feeling to me, and really that's what makes this game so great for me. When I turn the lights out and play until 3 AM on a Friday night, this world is the only one that exists. Knowing that I could go talk to any other Zailor on Monday and talk about Godfall as being equally dangerous and fear-generating a trip for either one of us (all other variables being equal) increases my in-game immersion.


Whatever comes, loving the game so far, and can't wait to see the finished product. Slightly hindered by the Emerald update right now, though... In both bug/quirkiness, but also losing a bit of immersion in general.
edited by KhzDonut on 8/9/2014
edited by KhzDonut on 8/9/2014
edited by KhzDonut on 8/9/2014
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Guest

8/9/2014
I do not hate this idea.

One of the things about the shuffling is that islands will always exist within certain groups. Godfall will always be near Polythreme. Station III, The Sisterhood, and the Shepherd Islands will always be close to each other. Lick-A-Monkey Crag will always be close to the Labyrinth of Eels and Pigmote Island. Where they are in relation to each other doesn't change, but where The Chelonate is in relation to The Sea of Voices will change with each shuffle.

To use WoW map references, think of it as though the Zones will always have the same parts, just shuffled up a bit. Dun Morogh will always have Coldridge Valley, Anvilmar, and Frostmane Hold, but they might not be in the same places. It might also have Elwyn Forest or the Plaguelands as a connecting zone instead of Loch Modan or The Wetlands. It's that sort of thing.
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Tara Dresbach
Tara Dresbach
Posts: 59

8/9/2014
Using my actual account now.

I do not hate this idea.

One of the things about the shuffling is that islands will always exist within certain groups. Godfall will always be near Polythreme. Station III, The Sisterhood, and the Shepherd Islands will always be close to each other. Lick-A-Monkey Crag will always be close to the Labyrinth of Eels and Pigmote Island. Where they are in relation to each other doesn't change, but where The Chelonate is in relation to The Sea of Voices will change with each shuffle.

To use WoW map references, think of it as though the Zones will always have the same parts, just shuffled up a bit. Dun Morogh will always have Coldridge Valley, Anvilmar, and Frostmane Hold, but they might not be in the same places. It might also have Elwyn Forest or the Plaguelands as a connecting zone instead of Loch Modan or The Wetlands. It's that sort of thing.

I do like the idea that there might be the ability to pick either a default or shuffled map option, which I think is what you were talking about.

--
http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Tara~Dresbach
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WormApotheote
WormApotheote
Posts: 725

8/9/2014
Well the chapel of lights has a very specific reason for being next to the avid horizon...

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No, I don't pull the Eater of Names.
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Nenjin
Nenjin
Posts: 171

8/9/2014
I could live with this idea, because it's optional. While the routes and locations in the Zee of the pre-shuffle maps is now seared in my soul, I think in the end map shuffling is better, because it can create new opportunities or challenges simply by virtue of what is or isn't close to what.

But I can understand it's not for everyone, and a toggle option at start of game would be fine with me. But I think that would mean FB games has to continue to design a static map as they add content, and might even have to ship that map with the game.
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Mordaine Barimen
Mordaine Barimen
Posts: 670

8/9/2014
Of course, people can always lock down a map layout they like using the Chart Legacy. It's not without its costs, but that would be the point IMO.

--
I'm sorry, but due to policy clarifications, I will no longer be giving detailed mechanics advice on the forums.

If you still need help, try the IRC channel.
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Yurana
Yurana
Posts: 14

8/10/2014
I like this idea. Especially making it optional.

I have already complained on other parts of the forum, that with map shuffling it sometime feels like exploring is punished instead of encouraged. You go out into the unknown, take high risks and if you die no new knowledge about where specific places are is gained. As a new player, I found this incredible frustrating.

As for using Chart Legacy, I personally find this option basically broken. You can't take a stat with you and you don't gain experience, since you already have discovered the world around you effectively crippling you in the early game.


  • --
    A most mysterious individual.


    New acquaintances are always welcome.
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    Kerine
    Kerine
    Posts: 72

    8/10/2014
    I personally like the fact that you'll have to explore and find things again, as I honestly was getting a little bored of everything being exactly where I expected and wanted the experience of going out into the dark as I had when I first played, but I do see the merit of this idea.

    --
    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Kerine
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    KhzDonut
    KhzDonut
    Posts: 20

    8/11/2014
    Kerine wrote:
    I personally like the fact that you'll have to explore and find things again, as I honestly was getting a little bored of everything being exactly where I expected and wanted the experience of going out into the dark as I had when I first played, but I do see the merit of this idea.


    Yeah, I've thought about that and had a bit of that feeling as well. I think map shuffling will really help with the replayability of the game in the long-run. Even if I generally prefer a static world, I'll love being able to have a secondary save game where I can feel that thrill of discovery again. I just want to *also* go back and relive the world that feels iconic and familiar.


    And I know some people have criticized the map shuffling as being broken right now, but I feel like it's hard to really call a feature broken as a CONCEPT when it's still early access. I'm expecting features to be buggy/broken in early access when used IN PRACTICE, but I don't feel like that makes the concept itself broken.

    Though, admittedly, the current state of affairs with map shuffling and some of the other buggyness people have mentioned in the Emerald update have made me less excited to get into a new game right now. I'm really excited to see the combat fixes coming in the next update, and see how shuffling gets fixed up over time.

    And I'll have to screw with the Chart Legacy a bit more, but I haven't had any complaints about it thus far, and I feel like it would be worth the loss of stats to have a map/lock the map down in a shuffling world. It seemed almost pointless with a static world, but I'm sure more features will arise that make keeping your map more valuable, static world or not.
    edited by KhzDonut on 8/11/2014
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    KhzDonut
    KhzDonut
    Posts: 20

    8/11/2014
    Yurana wrote:
    I have already complained on other parts of the forum, that with map shuffling it sometime feels like exploring is punished instead of encouraged. You go out into the unknown, take high risks and if you die no new knowledge about where specific places are is gained. As a new player, I found this incredible frustrating.


    I don't feel like it's punishing a person as much as I just find it oddly asymmetrical with the idea that you can learn a quest line inside and out, and thus gain the rewards you specifically desire from it, but the map changes.

    If anything, it makes more sense for the world to stay the same but the quest rewards be shuffled. I mean... LOGICALLY that makes more sense to me. If I'm a new generation of captain, you'd think there would be a new generation of other people in the world, but obviously that's an impractical (if not nearly impossible) task, especially for a smaller production company. That's what expansions/sequels are for.

    But anyway... Not all things in a game can or should follow real-world rationality, or else it wouldn't be a game, it would be work. Big Grin

    But I share your frustration with the current situation, because so much is unfinished/unpopulated, it makes playing it as a "game" very difficult, and a bit unsatisfying at times, but I expect that from an Early Access. For me it's counterbalanced by the joy of getting to be part of the evolution of the game, even just as a passive participant.
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    Kerine
    Kerine
    Posts: 72

    8/11/2014
    KhzDonut wrote:
    Kerine wrote:
    I personally like the fact that you'll have to explore and find things again, as I honestly was getting a little bored of everything being exactly where I expected and wanted the experience of going out into the dark as I had when I first played, but I do see the merit of this idea.


    Yeah, I've thought about that and had a bit of that feeling as well. I think map shuffling will really help with the replayability of the game in the long-run. Even if I generally prefer a static world, I'll love being able to have a secondary save game where I can feel that thrill of discovery again. I just want to *also* go back and relive the world that feels iconic and familiar.


    And I know some people have criticized the map shuffling as being broken right now, but I feel like it's hard to really call a feature broken as a CONCEPT when it's still early access. I'm expecting features to be buggy/broken in early access when used IN PRACTICE, but I don't feel like that makes the concept itself broken.

    Though, admittedly, the current state of affairs with map shuffling and some of the other buggyness people have mentioned in the Emerald update have made me less excited to get into a new game right now. I'm really excited to see the combat fixes coming in the next update, and see how shuffling gets fixed up over time.

    And I'll have to screw with the Chart Legacy a bit more, but I haven't had any complaints about it thus far, and I feel like it would be worth the loss of stats to have a map/lock the map down in a shuffling world. It seemed almost pointless with a static world, but I'm sure more features will arise that make keeping your map more valuable, static world or not.
    edited by KhzDonut on 8/11/2014



    I actually realize that i've been doing the same thing. That's actually the reason I finally hung up my invictus token that i've been keeping since I started, as I wanted to be able to keep my established game, with no dreadnaught like others, but a merchant ship but also wanted to play an entirely new map and experience the joy of discovering the islands again.

    I also completely agree on the map shufling being "broken". If I hadn't started before and had knowledge of the zee, I doubt I would be able to make it on my current map - every other tile is empty and the admiralty has no sense of direction. This isn't a fault of map shuffling, though, just the fact that the game isn't finished, and I think when you've got a huge map (that may extend even further, given the locked uttermost east ambition) filled with new islands in each tile and the admiralty can point you in the right direction it'll work very well.

    The one other issue I thought of with keeping the default map is that it's kinda boxed up, if that makes sense. Even before the newest stuff was added, it was easy to tell that it was designed for map-shuffling, since there's like 1 thing in the middle of the box with smaller islands around it and generally large gaps between the areas, so the map might not be as nice on the default.

    --
    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Kerine
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    KhzDonut
    KhzDonut
    Posts: 20

    8/11/2014
    Kerine wrote:
    The one other issue I thought of with keeping the default map is that it's kinda boxed up, if that makes sense. Even before the newest stuff was added, it was easy to tell that it was designed for map-shuffling, since there's like 1 thing in the middle of the box with smaller islands around it and generally large gaps between the areas, so the map might not be as nice on the default.



    I've been thinking about that ever since the map shuffling began, and it has been my one reservation about map shuffling that I think does some harm to the game universally; in that it's not something that just goes against my preferences. I get how it might just be me that prefers a static world, so I wouldn't want to force that on people, but the problem that exists with map shuffling that exists for EVERYONE is the fact that if you design the map for shuffling you almost inevitably limit the amount of "uniqueness" the map can have in a broader sense.

    I noticed early on that the map was laid out in sort of "blocks" and it gave some islands a very mundane feel, especially when there were things like Pigmote next to two other very large, very round bodies, in a very grid-like pattern. Islands like the Sisterhood and Chapel Of Lights have much more unique shapes, and if you have a completely unique map, you could expand that concept to a much larger scale.

    Just imagine something like the Mariana Trench, where you have some underwater structure that you can see evidence of on the surface because of the formation of the islands along it. Random placement of "island tiles" would make that kind of thing difficult, unless you had a strip of islands that were always static or designed to go interchangeably along the trench.

    Granted, that's just an example, but I feel like you can make a much more flowing and artistic map if it's not designed for shuffling.

    That's why I thought it would be nice to have (at some point) a map creation system where you could at least move the tiles around with specific goals like that in mind, and maybe at some point the ability to edit certain "location description" text to reflect that. Realizing, of course, that is "two expansions down the line" kind of implementations, and depending on what the dev's have in mind, may totally go against what their current plans are.

    In any case, I'll probably give myself a pause from the game until the next update or so, just to see where combat and map shuffling are at that point. I'm strapped for time as it is right now, and a shuffled map is kind of begging to be a time burglar right now :P
    edited by KhzDonut on 8/11/2014
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