Author Topic: Perk token gains  (Read 2744 times)

Offline Mick

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Perk token gains
« on: February 25, 2013, 08:51:11 AM »
Do perk tokens always fill up from the lowest level first?

I think it might be worth considering a change to this behavior, and instead have a perk token apply to a random level within the range that you've currently unlocked.

Right now, I might be happy with the perks I have available in level 1-6, but want to have more options for level 7. However, if I want to get more perk tokens for level 7, I have to fill out ALL the levels below that one, which feels very... grindy.

Not only that, but if you have to fill out every level in order, then it basically makes all the characters eventually look the same.

Picking a random unfilled level per token would still mean that you wouldn't get what you want right away if you were only concerned with the highest level, but at least you wouldn't be in a situation where you knew the next 10 tokens you gain were going to be a waste before you could start getting the ones you wanted. It basically means that at high levels there is very little incentive to go after perk tokens at all, because you know you're going to be spending a ton of time doing it before you get any gain from it.

Offline Mysterial

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 02:41:34 PM »
I agree.

I'm personally not a huge fan of the game explicitly telling you where perk tokens are right away in the first place (along with absolutely everything else) but at least randomizing which slot you'll get both alleviates the problem you mention and adds a little bit of potential variance.

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2013, 04:16:59 PM »
If the game didn't tell you where Perk tokens were then that element of the game would become subject to trial and error gameplay. In a sandbox like the first game that's fine, but Valley 2 is a race against the (turn based) clock. In those situations I believe it's better to have all the information you can so you can make informed decisions about what to do in each turn.

Offline Mysterial

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2013, 04:36:25 PM »
Except that looking for perk tokens is a free action. ;)

I would agree with you if it weren't.

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 04:54:00 PM »
It may not roll over the turn, but trial and error exploration for perk tokens would probably make them feel grindy and that would artificially pad out the turn length. I think it would end up detracting from the flow of the gameplay.

Access to information generally is a good thing in strategy games.

Offline Mysterial

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 04:58:31 PM »
From my point of view it's part of the sidescroller game, not the strategy part of the game, so I would have rather biased towards having interesting discoveries like finding that unexpected/hidden powerup in Metroid. Aside from infrequent encounters with conveniently placed strong equipment, this game doesn't really have that at all whereas the first one did. It's one of the only places I feel the game went backwards a little bit.

However, it's moot because I doubt they'd change that part even if there was consensus, seeing as it's probably outside the scope of minor changes and bugfixes. So let's get back to the original point. Do you think making the perk received random within all level ranges you have instead of random within the lowest level would be better?

Offline Panopticon

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 05:27:20 PM »
I think on that point I prefer a consistent arc to powering my character up. If it randomized which level the perk token went to I think I'd resent it if the RNG started to "screw me over" by giving me lower level perks.

Offline Mick

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2013, 07:17:40 PM »
I think on that point I prefer a consistent arc to powering my character up. If it randomized which level the perk token went to I think I'd resent it if the RNG started to "screw me over" by giving me lower level perks.

But right now instead of a randomized choice that "might" be bad, it's a non-random choice that usually *is* bad. If I've put off getting new perks, it's often because the ones I rolled for the lower levels were the ones I wanted or close enough. But in order to get high level perks, I have to "grind out" the lower levels in order to catch up.

Right now I resent the RNG when they give me two perks I don't want.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2013, 07:54:57 PM »
If you consistently get low level perks then that's actually good for you in the early game... and if worst came to worst, you'd still end up being amazing by the end of getting all the perk tokens.
Although, if the locations were randomized and hidden from view, then the game needs to do a few extra things.
1. It would need to tell you when you've discovered all of the perk tokens in an area.
2. It would need to seed more perk tokens.

Offline Billick

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2013, 09:35:05 PM »
I think Mick's suggestion would actually make perk tokens less grindy, since then you would at least have a chance to get an upgrade if say the first few levels of perks are all good ones.  Right now I can't bring myself to farm them, even after the caves have been made shorter.  I beat the game on skilled with only 1 perk token found.  I don't think I want to try anything harder if perk tokens are "mandatory" for the harder difficulties.

Offline Mysterial

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 12:27:39 AM »
If you consistently get low level perks then that's actually good for you in the early game... and if worst came to worst, you'd still end up being amazing by the end of getting all the perk tokens.
Although, if the locations were randomized and hidden from view, then the game needs to do a few extra things.
1. It would need to tell you when you've discovered all of the perk tokens in an area.
2. It would need to seed more perk tokens.

What I would do - and again, I understand the ship has almost certainly sailed but it's an amusing exercise - is seed 0-2 in any tile, not necessarily be in the standard location they currently are, tell you if you missed any after completing said tile (destroy wind generator, reach end of cave, etc), and seed more than the player actually can ever use. If the player has max perk tokens, they turn into chests instead. Where currently tiles have the perk token I would replace that with { perk token, guaranteed high value chests, coins, nothing at low chance } instead.

This creates a little of the discovery the game is missing ("wow, this random building had a perk token in it! Lucky me!" or "That area had a token in it? Where? I'll have to search more!") while still having clear search patterns (any purified non-special tile probably has something of value on it). It's true it could get grindy if the RNG hates you but IMO that's a better use for coins then area skipping, which is mostly only useful to temporarily avoid heat/cold. That's why loot games have currency, after all - to normalize random chance.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 12:45:20 AM »
Unfortunately, and I've been told this before by someone on the team but I don't remember who... but actually writing the logic for how the game would determine a "high value place" would be really hard. In fact, there's more trouble in defining what a "complete" region is. Maybe there's still the mapping logic that's just invisible to us, but other than that, what happens if you just enter a region that has nothing for you to do there? That makes up quite a LOT of regions. That, and any of the places that hide chests generally aren't really that hard to reach, so if it's completely random, then odds are you'll end up with a lot of perk tokens for very little effort rather than the challenge spelunking presents. It'd certainly benefit the players in terms of making them more powerful more quickly, but it would be so easy that it'd detract from the game.
Personally, maybe a little compromise would be in order instead. I think I'd prefer it if it were something like buildings in building regions could occasionally have like, a 75% chance of a boss and a randomly extended length that ends in a perk token. That'd be a bit better, because as it stands you only really go there for equipment. yeah, man, gotta get that +15 legendary t-shirt of immolation. I really like having that go-to place for equipment, but I generally stick with what I got until I suck enough to lose it so... idk, I don't end up exploring buildings as much as I maybe should.
But, if we're going that way, I might also like caves having a very low chance of not ending in a perk token, but instead being a tunnel that leads to another part of the map. You'd have to do a run through the tunnel, risking life and limb and morale, to go between the two regions until you linked them via purification, and you wouldn't be able to send survivors through. Could be nice to stumble into a cave tunnel that leads to a level up tower, or a chain of caves and level up towers that you can easily link to your main bit of land. That'd be another element of 'really nice metroidvania surprise'.

Offline Winge

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 08:15:35 PM »
What about making perk tokens fill up "left-to-right" before "top-to-bottom"?  Basically, you would get 3 perk tokens per level until you filled up all levels (could either be current or total).  Only then would you start getting the forth perk.  That would greatly reduce the grinding you mention, without any real RNG risk.
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Offline Mick

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 09:06:59 PM »
What about making perk tokens fill up "left-to-right" before "top-to-bottom"?  Basically, you would get 3 perk tokens per level until you filled up all levels (could either be current or total).  Only then would you start getting the forth perk.  That would greatly reduce the grinding you mention, without any real RNG risk.

I like it. It reduces the grind while being reliable and easy to understand.

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Perk token gains
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 09:08:41 PM »
Well, with the way perk tokens go top to bottom, I actually find that I can save up perk tokens so that on later levels, I automatically get the extra perks. So, I think the game might be filling those slots invisibly... so there might be more to it than simply changing it in that way.