Too much Random?

General discussion about the game.
Boozdeuvash
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:48 am

Too much Random?

Postby Boozdeuvash » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:03 am

Everytime I play the beta I feel i'm rolling dice, even playing easy.
- First, you have to avoid getting into random asteroid fields because they seem to systematically have stronger opponents, and with the little rocks flying around its very easy to get blasted even in the first sectors.
- Then during any non-trivial fight a single bad roll (missile taking your shields out instantly, or your weapons,or your drones if you rely on them) can wipe you out or damage you so bad you will need to pay high price for repairs and so you'll be one step back in every sector.
- Using the stealth ship its even worse: randomly find yourself against an opponent using drones in the first sectors you are pretty much toast.
- Then there was that time where everything was going allright, I had an OK ship but did not find a single store with weapons, and I visited a crapton of them; also no drops except a small bomb (yaaaayy...). So I found myself completely outmatched in the last sector. Bad luck.
- Also random series of misses that can ruin even a fair fight.
- event which can randomly insta-kill your favorite crew. I systematically leave the "planetary lunatics" out when I'm doing ok in fear of losing my expert gunner.

There are so many things that can terminate your game because of a bad roll its not even funny. I dont mind a little uncertainty in games, but considering the fact that a single stroke of bad luck can at the end of the line send you back to hangar with all your previous achievements gone and forgotten, its like playing casino and being forced to go all in pretty much everytime.
VladePsyker
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:18 pm

Re: Too much Random?

Postby VladePsyker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:39 am

And just like casino's losing is fun too ;)
shepdozejr
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:52 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby shepdozejr » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:05 am

I completely agree. Even on easy, I lose to the most gimmicky fights. It's total garbage and makes me not want to play the game anymore. It seems like even when everything is going my way and I've made all the right decisions, I still get into one random encounter that otherwise would have been a totally safe move and just get obliterated. It's a lame cop out. It's not true difficulty. It's not fun. It's like when you're playing a strategy game and the computer player gets extra resources. This needs to be addressed on lower difficulty settings. Higher difficulty, sure have a chance to get obliterated, that's part of that game mode that you're signing up for. On easy though, this is total crap. I would not recommend this game to anyone in its current state because of this lame cut-off that seems to happen in every single game, even on easy.

See attachment.
Asteroids, 2 reg missiles, 1 big missile, cloak, 3 shields, pulse laser 2, are you freaking kidding me? ON EASY?
This fight is unwinnable with the first 2 ships you unlock. I had a defense 2 drone and an anti-ship 1 drone out, I had ion blaster 1 and 2 going, and a hull laser 2. Started the fight with full hull and everything. Was absolutely shredded, never stood a chance.

/endragerant
Imxset21
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:00 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Imxset21 » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:10 am

VladePsyker wrote:And just like casino's losing is fun too ;)


I have to disagree a bit.

The problem I have with FTL is that it's currently too luck based. Meaning, I feel like my knowledge, skill, etc. is of no use in how far I get into the game. It's all about how lucky I am, even on easy, not to run into 4 f*&#king asteroid fields in a row, or to run into a 3-shielded ship in the second sector.

To draw a comparison to a game like Dwarf Fortress, another random rougelike, Losing is Fun because there is a skill curve and it positively affects how well you do in either adventure or fortress mode. In FTL, your previous playthroughs teach you nothing about your overall experience after the first 3 playthroughs. Engies are good at fixing, Mantis are good at fighting, and the Boss will f&*ck you if you don't have a cloaking device.

I suppose I just came into this with the wrong expectations regarding skill and time commitment.

The only thing I wish the developers could add that would make it a little less of a dice roll would be if you could choose your own ship design or at the very least systems and weapons at the very start (obviously with a fixed point allocation so as to make it "even"). The current "unlockable" mode is infuriating when you're on your 25th playthrough without ever having run into the Engie cloaked ship or the Mantis pirate etc.

shepdozejr wrote:I completely agree. Even on easy, I lose to the most gimmicky fights. It's total garbage and makes me not want to play the game anymore.


I also concur absolutely with your opinion. I've run into this so many times it's amazing I haven't turned into a masochist.
shepdozejr
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:52 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby shepdozejr » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:22 am

I suppose I just came into this with the wrong expectations regarding skill and time commitment.

^this (easy is not easy by any stretch. please rename difficulties to 'very hard' and 'cruel'. no save on exit feature?)

The only thing I wish the developers could add that would make it a little less of a dice roll would be if you could choose your own ship design or at the very least systems and weapons at the very start (obviously with a fixed point allocation so as to make it "even").

^and this
Nox
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Nox » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:30 am

I think the amount of random is okay - the falldown I see here is that there are no 'longer paths' to take that can work around the problem.

There are many ways to completely fail going into sector 3.

1) Not having a loot bonus module doubles the game difficulty
2) lacking crewmembers
3) bad luck rolls on random loot
4) finding nothing but drone merchants when you aren't using drones

... and a few things that will definitely prevent you winning the later battles that I won't spoil.

It is possible with the game the way it is now to play for 30 minutes and realize "I can't win." which leads to meta-gaming of restarting when you're in a bad position. THAT will definitely discourage replay.

What I have tried to do, and what I encourage everyone to do is when you get to one of those dead-end conditions, head over to http://getsatisfaction.com/ftlgame and post an idea of how the game could have given you a way AROUND the showstopper.

For example - in my current game I have 2 crew members. I'm in zone 5. Obviously, I am screwed. I lost one guy to a single missile strike that killed him on the spot, and another guy to a random event. I have honestly not had a single opportunity to recruit any other crewmembers. I thought about this and made a suggestion on the board for a 'plan b' - what could I do if I had no crew? My idea? A module that makes your drones act like crewmembers. Maybe it's stupid, whatever. Other people suggested more ways to get more crew from slave ships... other people have suggested other 'plan b's ... that's where these conversations need to go.

The devs are actually listening, and incorporating ideas they think they can do and will work. Think about the situation you're in, and imagine "if this game only had ... this", and go suggest it. you might see it get included.
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No good deed goes unpunished.
Wintersong
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 11:38 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Wintersong » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:29 pm

shepdozejr wrote:
I suppose I just came into this with the wrong expectations regarding skill and time commitment.

^this (easy is not easy by any stretch. please rename difficulties to 'very hard' and 'cruel'. no save on exit feature?)

Easy is not as hard as you say. You get much more scrap and enemy generation is "dumbed". Yes, you may get unlucky and meet Chuck Norris in your second jump on Sector 1 (my experience here), or get some suns/asteroids in a row (which isn't affected by difficulty setting) but it's not "very hard" by itself. Of course that knowing the different enemy ships and your ships helps. I haven't reached Sector 8 with the stealth ship yet but I improve with each playthrough (lack of initial shields hurts). The Krestel and the Torus are easier ships but all of them work fine once you know how to work with them.

Once you know the ships, then yeah, all the way dealing with finding Stores, finding those Stores when it benefits you most, that those Stores sell what you need (weapons, crew members, systems), that you don't lose too many crew members to different events, enemy generation, not too many bad beacons on a row... It certainly sucks if you get too unlucky but randomly generated sectors is what the game is about (with the benefits and drawbacks of randomly generated stuff).
Boozdeuvash
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:48 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Boozdeuvash » Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:41 pm

In fact I think the problem comes from the fact that the game mixes two gamedesign elements that are mostly antagonistic:
- you have the absence of saves that make the game nervous and unforgiving. Ideally in this concept you have to be very careful where you go and what you do because the slightest mistake can be fatal.
- and then there is the factor of urgency because you have a giant fleet of rebels on your six that make you rush forward and prevents careful preparation.

I think this combination makes a flawed game design. How can you carefully prepare yourself against the possibility of game-terminating failure (spending more time in a sector to offset the result of a bad roll) if you are forced to move on toward a more dangerous sector?

The simple solution would be to add "checkpoints" like every three sectors, and maybe a single one at the middle on normal difficulty. I think the right thing would be to keep the current no-save but give more time by slowing down the rebels, so that in average you have the time to visit two third of the beacons in each sectors. And the special ships (mantis and stealth) should be obtained through a long, single-sector quest so that you can only obtain them if you have a blasted and aced the previous sectors, as a reward for being both competent and lucky. Right now its all about being lucky enough to go on the right route, find the right beacon and have the right dude on board.
Rhynri
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:24 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Rhynri » Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:55 pm

I agree. I have yet to survive the first sector in the stealth ship... on Easy. Everytime I have encountered a two shield, drones and missiles ship with beam and laser weaponry. 25% of the time in an asteroid field. The initial dodge on the stealth ship isn't high enough to offset the lack of a shield. No idiot designer would build a ship without a shield with even the potential of an asteroid field. I swear that the stealth ship loses systems and starts on fire EASIER than the other ships. Not to mention that it's almost impossible to obtain enough scrap to buy a shield before something comes along and swats you like a fly. Maybe others have better luck than I, but at this point this is less a game and more an exercise in frustration throwing darts at a moving dartboard. As others have mentioned, you NEED stealth to beat the final boss, which defeats the point of the game (playing it how you like). Additionally, so many systems are broken or horribly balanced that the frustration isn't worth it. Two defense drones routinely fail to shoot down two missiles, defense drone IIs are often less effective than tier Is due to lack of prioritizing targets.... Enemies do not have to play by the same rules as the player, which is an indicator of bad game design... especially on EASY of all things. HARD, okay, I get it.
Nox
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Too much Random?

Postby Nox » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:18 pm

This topic was originally about a different build.

It wasn't about it being too hard, it was about there being a narrow set of victory preconditions, and a lot of random outcomes that can simply not deliver that, leading to success being too dependent on a minority random chance, with limited options to circumvent any one of those conditions not being met.

Currently howeverin 0.12.6.7, the initial difficulty particularly with drones is a little high for the stealth ship. We knew that going into it however.
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