I think FTL should be easier

General discussion about the game.
CeeLoGreenisPeople
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:45 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby CeeLoGreenisPeople » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:27 pm

The reason I love this game is because there are *real* decisions that have to be made that have a very significant outcome. You can feel like a genius or a fool because you don't know exactly what is coming. Not being able to save gives you anxiety and tension.

Random encounters are, just that.. random... but that doesn't mean there isn't strategy for dealing with it. The cards you are dealt in poker are random, but what you do with them are what determines skill - and even the very best lose frequently.

If dying every time is frustrating - the solution is easy... change your perception of what success is. If you can get on base in the MLB 1/3 of the time - you're a raging success. If you can beat this game 1/3 of the time, congrats... that's awesome.

The charm of this game for me is this tension I feel before every jump... the fact that there are many very effective strategies and counter strategies... the fact that enemies are random - and may have just the right configuration to take me out.. or close to it, gives me the opportunity to survive against massive odds. These are really satisfying... it takes skill to be good at this game. Everyone learns what can and can't work and what's available to you.

I just started playing with the stealth ship - and made it to the last stand - and I knew it was going to be a rough go with my configuration. I managed to take out the first 2 forms of the end boss.. but my ship was badly damaged and I had run out of missiles. I had to repair before I go fight again... but it was too late... I couldn't repair and fight the boss in time. I was one sector away before the Rebel boss got to the base. So, it turned out I was able to survive, but not well enough to take down the final form. I was *so* close... yet - I had a blast on that run.. I didn't succeed in the traditional sense... yet it still *fun*.

If it took 12 hours to make a run - sure.. throw in checkpoints or save games or something.. but FTL uses the length of each game precisely to make each decision meaningful.

If this game had save games, gave you way more resources, player-choice options for upgrades instead of random items at the shop... if it was simply *easier*... it would have so little tension in the game it wouldn't be as fun to play.
austinwulf
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:22 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby austinwulf » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:27 pm

I am in agreement with the OP. Actually, I don't want it easier. I just want the ability to save my game. Nothing is worse than doing well, and all of a sudden, I get boarded...which my crew seems incapable of handling every time. I've even tried opening the doors and vaccing my intruders to space, but that doesn't seem to matter. Or I hit a nebula cloud early and I didn't have enough juice in my ship to jump out of it.

It completely turns a fun game into a tedious chore. Its like I'm 5 and playing the Atari all over again.
mrguy888
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:33 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby mrguy888 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:51 pm

I think a lot of no win situations that people bring up could be fully avoided either by better play during the crisis or at least definitely avoidable by better earlier play. Did you upgrade your shields when you should have been saving for a weapon to beat 3 shield enemies? Did you play sloppy and take too many needless hits and lose lots of extra scrap to repairs? Did you take a bad path and miss needed stores?

From my experience and from what I have seen in some youtube videos, I think the only no win games are with weak ships in the early game.
Rack
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby Rack » Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:08 pm

In some ways making it easier would help, but really the game needs a much stronger design. The idea is cool, but the implementation is just arbitrary decision after arbitrary decision. Left or Right? Fuel or Missiles? Shields or Weapons? Rebels or Engi? Fight or Flight?

Then after all that you discover one of those decisions might have been wrong. Of course it's possible they were both wrong and you were just choosing the method of your own demise.
mrguy888
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:33 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby mrguy888 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:18 am

The decisions you must make are almost never arbitrary. That is, in fact, what the game really is about. Making the best decisions on how to most effectively use the less than ideal resources that you have been given.
austinwulf
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:22 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby austinwulf » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:42 pm

mrguy888 wrote:I think a lot of no win situations that people bring up could be fully avoided either by better play during the crisis or at least definitely avoidable by better earlier play. Did you upgrade your shields when you should have been saving for a weapon to beat 3 shield enemies? Did you play sloppy and take too many needless hits and lose lots of extra scrap to repairs? Did you take a bad path and miss needed stores?

From my experience and from what I have seen in some youtube videos, I think the only no win games are with weak ships in the early game.


i will say that one game I took to the very end, (though didn't get to fight the big fight) I survived primarily by avoiding a lot of distress calls. Granted, that racing at the end likely cost me a ton of scrap I could have used to make my ship a better vessel for the end zone.

I think I am also looking for something a bit more sandboxy, or at least a free-form version of the game where I am just dorking around space, and maybe somewhere there is the big-boy sector i should only visit after I have my crap together.
Mr_Crac
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:16 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby Mr_Crac » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:15 am

mrguy888 wrote:I think a lot of no win situations that people bring up could be fully avoided either by better play during the crisis or at least definitely avoidable by better earlier play.


What about no-win situations even if you do play well?
dkvn
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:54 pm

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby dkvn » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:29 am

austinwulf wrote:I think I am also looking for something a bit more sandboxy, or at least a free-form version of the game where I am just dorking around space, and maybe somewhere there is the big-boy sector i should only visit after I have my crap together.

I think we all just want Sid Meier's Pirates in Space.

Mr_Crac wrote:What about no-win situations even if you do play well?

Those are fairly rare if you are truly playing well. Besides, losing is fun!
snarke
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:30 am

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby snarke » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:29 pm

mrguy888 wrote:The decisions you must make are almost never arbitrary.


I don't think that word means what you think it means. As per my previous comment, what Rack is getting at is that there simply isn't any information available as to whether to choose, in any particular instance, Option 1 or Option 2 for many of the scenarios. If you've played the game often enough that you've seen all the events repeatedly, and tried both branches of the decision tree, you can choose a branch based on which outcomes you can handle more easily, but you're still dodging a coin flip. Because each event is a black box, the decisions you make are quite arbitrary. (def. Merriam-Webster 3a)

"Oh, it's the ship with the unknown weapon for 65 scrap. Is this one of the times he's going to take my money and then flip me the bird? Who the %(#$ knows! It's a random choice by the computer, and thus an arbitrary response from me."

If I could influence the outcome ("I'll take my two Rock crewmen to the meeting to provide a threat against being cheated", "I'll use my Ion Bomb to disable his engines before the meeting, so he can't take the money and run, and hope that doesn't piss him off and it turns out he has a Glaive beam for sale that he uses on me...", "I'll scare him with my system repair drone...oh, who am I kidding? I have a crew full of Engis. He'll never believe I can kick his ass. Let's not even go there.") then it wouldn't feel like such an arbitrary decision.
snarke
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:30 am

Re: I think FTL should be easier

Postby snarke » Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:48 pm

CeeLoGreenisPeople wrote: Not being able to save gives you anxiety and tension.


Which, I guess, you consider a desirable state. Not being able to save gave me irritation and frustration, which sucked.

CeeLoGreenisPeople wrote:Random encounters are, just that.. random... but that doesn't mean there isn't strategy for dealing with it. The cards you are dealt in poker are random, but what you do with them are what determines skill


And if your cards are crap, in about 90 seconds, Poker hits a reset and you start over again. Your metaphor is a hard-core fail. The longer it takes to play a game, the less chaos ("randomness") it can get away with before people find it arbitrary and pointless. Poker gets away with it because it plays blazingly fast. FTL, not so much.

CeeLoGreenisPeople wrote:If this game had save games, gave you way more resources, player-choice options for upgrades instead of random items at the shop... if it was simply *easier*... it would have so little tension in the game it wouldn't be as fun to play.


I am glad you think so. Now, it should be fairly clear that not everybody agrees with you. In fact, I can state from personal experience that forcing the game to let me save whether it fracking well wants to or not, made it an order of magnitude MORE fun for me. In fact, it took it from "stupid and frustrating" to "very playable and a serious time sink."

Happily, there's really no reason why FTL can't be the "anxiety and tension" game you enjoy as well as a game that Rack and I would like. You could play FTL in "Hard" mode with no saves (that is to say, just like it is now), and we could play it in "Easy" mode (which doesn't presently exist) with checkpointing and/or other features that would make it less pointless for us.

Because trying to convince people who aren't having fun that, no, really, they ARE having fun, they just don't understand that, is kind of ridiculous.

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