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Default Darkest Dungeon - The Story of the Iceberg.

March 25th, 2016, 01:00
Fair warning: This will be very long and very negative. If you are not interested in an honest review of a game that had nothing going for it except the ultimately unrealized promise of future potential you should Alt + Left Arrow now, as "balanced" reviews are reserved for games that have both positive and negative qualities I can acknowledge. If you believe that this is merely the product of "not liking" the game I also recommend you employ the back button on your browser, because if that is the only problem with a game I will just ignore it. Third, you should be aware that even the vague allusions I made publicly about having this article published put them in such a panic that they immediately ran off, found a media outlet of similar intregity and quality as themselves, and promoted their delusional narrative there in a desperate bid for damage control. Lastly, if you're sick about hearing about how some flash game deceived a bunch of people… you shouldn't have clicked on the thread at all. Without further delay…



Darkest Dungeon - The Story of the Iceberg.

We all know this story right? A grand ship who cannot possibly sink sails forth, ignoring basic caution and common sense. A great disaster happens. So how is all that relevant here? Let's start from the beginning.

Darkest Dungeon started with a series of grand hype and promises, culminating in this campaign in which seemingly every video content producer on the planet had an early preview version of the game and is promoting it. The game had little public presence before this point, it went through Kickstarter and all and performed well there based on the same vague, grandiose promises but it markets itself as a "hardcore Roguelike" yet longtime fans of exactly that didn't hear of it before then.

I, like most people was fooled by this game's initial promises and bought it on Early Access release. The game does a good job of making itself look shiny, mostly by virtue of the narrator. However after even a few hours, that novelty wears off and leaves you with the game itself. And the game does not fare even that well.

Darkest Dungeon is a casual farming game in which you make obvious best choices and grind out effortless victories. The game is littered with newbie traps, with skills and even entire classes being obviously useless. Most of what is presented as legitimate options actually are not. Common newbie traps are using the Tavern at all (leveling it slows skill grinding, meaning you have less accuracy and complain of RNG more oh and they lose trinkets) and not understanding that something like 80% of the curios in the game are just the FTL "Giant Alien Spiders" event with a different skin. Blue option, opt out, or screw yourself. Those are your options. Of course "Giant Alien Spiders" had broken risk/reward on purpose, as that quest was deliberately implemented as a means of punishing those who blindly accept quests without reading their descriptions. Here, it renders nearly the entire non combat exploration mechanic irrelevant because once you understand curios are just a 3 step chart there's nothing left but walking around and fighting.

The entire non combat mechanics of this "game":

1: Is the curio always safe? If yes, 4. If no, 2.
2: Is the curio always safe with a specific item that you currently have? If yes, 4. If no, 3.
3: Ignore it and keep walking.
4: Check it, using item if necessary.

It is worth mentioning at this point that "Town Events", a feature that Kickstarter rules require be in at release but was not and has instead been delayed twice and counting have repeatedly been described and they sound just like these curios, but in town and they trigger after a run. For emphasis - copy pasting one thing repeatedly with various skins takes at least several months, and will be yet another mechanic you simply ignore or follow a basic decision tree that has no situational awareness because such a skill is simply not required here.

The combat, amusingly enough actually fares worse than the non combat. Remember how the vast majority of "options" are newbie traps? Well the ones that aren't consist of damage spam - that is, loading your team with the highest damage (a process that involves stacking several members of the same class, generally Hellion), as well as accuracy and speed and just exploding everything before it can move. Which was easily possible. Should you try being "tactical" or "different" by using any of the other abilities that exist in the game such as stuns, damage over time (bleed/poison), buffs, debuffs, movement effects etc you will be actively punished for your efforts as all of those abilities are mathematically nonviable both compared with the enemies, and compared with the abilities that are actually good. This is so prominent I've specifically praised other games as "anti Derpest" for having a range of viable tactical abilities, in particular bleeding and poison effects that are relevant parts of the tactical metagame.

Not only is the difficulty and balance entirely lacking, but the variety is as well. By the time you have done a single run in each level 1 area you have seen almost every enemy in the game. The only ones you have not are most of the mini bosses (like Ghoul, Swinetaur…) that start appearing at level 3, and the actual bosses. Everything after that point, including the level 3 and 5 bosses is just a copy paste of what you've already encounters and further those mini bosses and bosses do not change the combat formula at all.

If it summons, you spam AoE and kill the summons for free then single target the boss.

If it has a shared lifebar you spam AoE as that deals the highest net damage.

If neither is true you spam single target, generally on rank 3 or 4 (where the boss is).

None deviate from this formula, and further none have high enough stats that they last very long. Even bosses are barely capable of mathematically surviving 2 rounds. So as you can probably imagine, any mechanic based on 2 rounds, or 3 rounds, or more is fundamentally flawed not only for them not numerically being worth using, but for the fight flat out ending before any situation in which they could hypothetically be useful can exist. This also invalidates many skills and even entire classes, anything based on marking I'm looking at you. Some of the whole enemies not being functionally different is a direct factor of the class imbalance, it doesn't much matter if your AoE fodder looks like a skeleton or a pig, and it doesn't much matter what they will do if they get an action because they will not get an action. Most of it however is a separate problem. There's only a few things enemies can do, they're only using a small subset of those things so everything feels the same.

Now what I describe is the game as it existed Feburary 3rd-Feburary 6th of 2015 however over a full year later the formula has not changed, not even slightly. If anything everything I said is more true now than it was then. Power creep has handed out more, and greater, and more common direct damage bonuses while non direct damage abilities have actually been nerfed by the patch that allegedly buffs them (July 15th of last year). It also buffs everyone's base damage. A standard damage spam character now does 23-44 single target and 10-19 single target and 5-9 AoE - or the same damage but against 1 enemy at a time instead of 3. That is how much the massive and many direct damage buffs have made a difference - and it's worth noting they did eventually fix AoE math so that it's actually sane, but as you can see the power creep is hardly checked at all (under the old math AoE spam would be 18-33… which is significantly higher but AoE still got a large net buff over time).

One can simply find any week 1 video of the game and if the maker had a clue they were stacking Hellions and spamming damage in a dark run. This still accurately reflects the modern game, even though you will have a hard time finding people aware of the game's true nature that didn't simply leave in Feburary of last year. Instead you get people that can't math, and nonsarcastically insist that low damage abilities with a high chance of failure (damage over time) or worse, abilities that literally have a single digit percent chance of doing something even when they work (debuffs) are not only worthwhile uses of actions but are better than killing the screen before it moves.

It's important we understand here Red Hook recieved overwhelming feedback regarding these and many other complaints from a large number of early adopters including myself that balance/content/difficulty was entirely lacking, and that each and every one of those complaints was entirely ignored, all critical feedback, or indeed anything other than mindless, unconditional praise and promotion was discarded. Most of those people looking for a hardcore Roguelike realized they wouldn't get it here very early and forgot about the game. Likewise, many of the non hardcore sorts forgot about it after a few days and moved on, picking the next shiny thing. I, being the fool that I was did not, as I still believed in the game's potential even if it was not being realized.

Turns out fixing the broke math and balance in the game was pretty easy and required no real technical knowledge, just common sense and system analysis ability, both of which I have. Fixing the lack of content is beyond the scope of modding, but making the existing content more distinct (instead of every enemy in every area basically being the same, just A has a skeleton skin and B has a pig skin and C has a shroom skin and so on) was also quite possible.

It's something of a meme in this point that I have 1,337 hours in this game. It's important we understand here that I am reviewing Darkest Dungeon as produced by Red Hook Studios. As such, the time I spent making this a real, deep, balanced game and enjoying that is only relevant in the sense that it shows what could have been if the actual devs had done this. Because the base game was and still is a shallow walking simulator full of obvious choices, the negative tone stands.

It's also relevant in the sense that I understand both the problems and the solutions - anyone can make complaint threads on a forum. How many will actually try different things, test them in the field, bang on them, break them on purpose, all with the intention of finding ideas that work in the field, and then proposing them as firetested solutions for the actual game? Exactly. How many will spend what is quite literally a full time job testing your Early Access game without actually being employed by you? Exactly. Now, out of all of those people, how many will become very… annoyed when all of this is disrespected and disregarded entirely in favor of random, incoherent (but shiny looking) changes that miss both the problem and solution, and that the developers believe have absolutely no value simply because pointing out problems with the game is not uncondionally positive, even if it is constructive feedback with actual solutions provided? Answer: ALL OF THEM.

So while I'm sitting here with a perfectly functional and long lasting game filled with actual choices and difficulty, I am watching as the official version steadily becomes easier, more one dimensional, and more incoherent. I'm keeping tabs on it and firetesting it periodically. For example when the new bosses Flesh/Cannon/Prophet were added, I went in blindly with level 0 characters. They trivially won of course. They then trivially beat the level 3 bosses despite just being random damage characters while still at level 0. They probably could have beaten the level 5 bosses, except protection mechanics were different back then so they'd have just hit for 0 and eventually died. The point of this test was very simple - if the game was actually difficult and deep now I'd be punished for disrespecting it so heavily. I wasn't. Indeed, the only thing that provided any resistance is the Ghoul, and that's only because entering dungeons with a 3 level handicap gives 30 stress on entry and -75% stress resist. This was also the Heart Attack patch, yet no one had one (and you couldn't turn them off yet either). So even with what is effectively more than double stress damage + other handicaps (a level 0 character dies after 93 effective stress damage, not counting entry), the game was still a joke. In fact, it was more of one than when I was a 5 hour noob and still rofflestomping everything at the very beginning when I first got the game.

Ghouls have been nerfed since then, incidently enough. More than once. Howl crits for 40 stress on your entire party and no Howl fizzles (it has a 70% hit rate, not counting the miss chance from accuracy) was the only time stress was ever remotely a factor in vanilla.

The disaster zone started on the Corpse and Hound patch, released July 15th 2015. It's important we understand here absolutely every aspect of this patch, not just the corpse meme made the game worse in some way. Either it added another trap option in the Hound(master), it added more power creep in locked positive quirks, it added more grind in various "features"… what's more, nearly all of this was hardcoded, so there was no way of removing the grind and tedium and replacing it with actual difficulty. The corpse meme that everyone got stuck on is that an enemy that doesn't fight back adds difficulty, which sounds laughable when you actually think about it but most don't, the game having self selected out critical thinkers quite effectively by this point. This of course kills discussion about difficulty, because instead of it being about actual sources of difficulty which the game lacks (enemy stat and AI buffs, synergies, and so on) you just have some trash on the ground that does nothing. Of course, streamers/casuals were just using bad teams and clicking on whatever was in front of them blindly, which is the only logical reason I can see why they got this idea at all. Obviously if you're blindly clicking the thing in front of you, putting garbage in front of you would make it "harder".

The real reason this patch is so important is because while people with a background in system analysis like me caught the problems with the game and its decline and some questionable things from the developers early, this patch made them so blatant that everyone noticed. As a result, this patch was met with an overwhelming wave of negativity - and while it was parried by the corpse strawman only about half of it was actually about corpses, the rest correctly identified some or all of the other problems.

It is Red Hook's response however that resulted in alienating a lot of veteran users including myself, and prompted the initial Titanic analogy. Put simply, censorship does not ****ing work. Red Hook did not recieve the memo on this, and instead of merely ignoring the negative feedback (which they describe as "salt", aka just people complaining and not actually valid in their minds) they began actively and aggressively censoring it.

This started a trend that has continued until now. Since July 15th, but mostly concentrated in the month after that patch, and the month before and after so called final release a large number of users were censored, nearly all of which were for being critical of the game's design, current direction, or developer's motives. The highlights include month long censorings for describing the game's design as "lazy ass" with no prior offenses, permanent censorings for remarking on the developer's extensive shady history at the time with facts and evidence and posting a PSA asking that people research their purchases, and various month long and permanent censorings for even mentioning the name of Jim Sterling, who has (or rather, HAD) a rather extensive reputation for coming down hard on abusive Early Access practices which they absolutely became guilty of very fast.

On the other side of things, supporters get a free pass on absolutely everything. You can freely swear, bait, insult, even make death threats. As long as you're an unconditional supporter and your target is a critic you cannot be banned, you can barely even be warned. Further, there were only 2 instances in which a critic was banned and they can fairly be described as a ban instead of a censor. The first guy had a full on psychotic breakdown calling people vermin and threatening harm on them and/or their Steam accounts while spamming something like 20 times in a row. That guy eventually had such a breakdown on me for the most laughable reason imaginable, so his case is only noteworthy at all in the sense that some of the supporters are just as crazy, yet still active and in a few cases friends of the developers… The second guy was deliberately getting himself banned on their official boards, which they don't read and that's what he was proving. After several weeks of spamming, insulting everyone, repeatedly talking about fake and real penises for no reason and impersonating the community manager they finally noticed there was something wrong on their own forum and IP banned him. I'm not sure what's worse, the super quick censorship on the Steam boards and subreddit, or the complete unawareness of behavior that actually is unacceptable on their official boards.

While criticism was heavily censored on the forums, reviews were… not invulnerable, but it was a lot more obvious if they were being suppressed. Cue this game getting overwhelmingly negative feedback in the form of Helpful Negative reviews… and while they started only about 50% of the total it escalated from there and several points literally every Helpful review on the page was not recommended. This all, despite increasingly frequent and drastic discounts on the game and a steadily dropping new and concurrent userbase. The sales did not help matters - all those new people would look at the game, see the solid wall of red, vote recommended and thank them… which just ensured those reviews would remain there for a month and be active for the next sale. Red Hook actually did censor a few reviews, I'm not certain how but very high vote count negatives were buried in such a way that they were removed from the Most Helpful list, yet they still existed and could be found with a link, or by looking at the "Community Hub" instead of the store page. Further, they did this after someone asked if Jim Sterling would investigate a case of Planetary Annihilation doing the same thing but more blatantly, and that was after Jim Sterling covered Darkest Dungeon (and got caught on the corpse meme, instead of revealing the real problems, having that be mirrored by all the other media, and resolving this for good then) so naturally they'd be stalking them as they have a proven track record of doing so and have even admitted it (regarding me and my posts on multiple forums… why read stuff you're ignoring?).

You might have noticed I haven't talked about the actual game for a while. Really, nothing happened with it that changes the core game throughout the rest of the development. Or the first half for that matter. There was one more noob trap class, the Abomination and 2 more reskinned damage spam areas, the Cove and Darkest Dungeon. Nothing changed the formula though and quite a bit reinforced this whole damage spamming thing starting with corpses. A very significant amount of grind was added, and it eventually became apparent for all why when tedium/grind modder Maester Silvio was hired after many of his "features" were specifically implemented in the game during the July-December timeframe. It makes sense, he thought that was difficulty and mismarketed it as a difrficulty mod, Red Hook thinks various things that are not difficulty (like tedium and grind) are, so it was a good fit… but all the rest of us, especially those wanting a difficult Roguelike lose hard. It's all skins, UI. No game, no substance, no meat.

Expectations vs Reality:





In fact the lack of a "game" was so pronounced even the game's supporters would no longer discuss it. They'd pressure a sale from you, they'd attack you if you were critical or skeptical or even a curious newbie who actually did buy but had questions about the game, they'd run around and harass the negative reviewers and try bullying a positive review from them and if that failed just downvoting them away (or trying, at least). Some do not even pretend they are interested in the game itself, and focus strictly on stalking and harassing critics for months. Here is one of many examples of this in action, helpfully provided less than one hour before the time of this writing:



It reached the point where there were literally only negative reviews and negative reviews of the negative reviews. No one could say anything positive about the game, and many people noticed and commented on this. Even the developers themselves are more concerned with dismissing critics than actually talking about their game, the full indie video in November is a fine example, as was a podcast back in July (that guy was eventually hired as Red Hook John… seems they were quite interested in him for his mindless acceptance).

In December, during the holiday sale a developer remark (by the aforementioned John) sparked a vote manipulation campaign on Reddit. In the course of a few days, 100+ negative reviews were downvoted away, and around 20ish positive reviews written on or shortly after December 28th got mass +1s, which quickly turned the page from near pure red > near pure blue. It was so prevalent that outside observers commented on it after investigating (the aforementioned PSA: Please research your purchases!) Said person got swarmed and attacked by supporters and despite remaining calm and mostly civil was still permanently banned by "A Darkest Dungeon Developer" for "Flaming/Insults" while the many supporters also flaming and insulting were not even warned and were instead thanked for their civil and respectful behavior.

http://steamcommunity.com/app/262060…4254449378917/

This false positive wall got the game some illegitimate sales during the sale before release, and remained active until actual release (at which point Early Access reviews are buried). I was ready for this and had a review of the game, without its Early Access shield ready very quickly. It drew a great deal of attention, gathering nearly 3,000 votes and over 300 comments in 1 day (20% of which were removed, and their authors blocked for trolling, insults, death threats, etc). It also drew a great deal of vote manipulation, as the rating dropped 90% > 60% very quickly, then slowly dropped from there. The vote manipulation could not bury it however, so instead the developers did so directly by flagging it. When a review is flagged it still exists and can still be viewed with the link, however it is removed from "Most Helpful" and is dropped well down the page, greatly reducing visibility. As you can imagine, they were not happy that such a thing was so highly visible. Also, you can only see tags if you're the author. Someone else looking at it, or me looking at it after logging out will only see a normal seeming review. It's possible this happened with the others, but I did not recieve a screenshot from their authors proving flag status on them so this is the first confirmed case of that particular brand of censorship. Regardless, this lack of visibility is reflected in the greatly reduced activity (votes/comments) and indeed I don't see those numbers move at all unless I've recently linked it somewhere new.



As for the final release version itself, well I long since got tired of the boring, bland, one dimensional grind so I wrote a basic script that basically runs around and holds 1. Send it with a standard damage spam team and it's the same "experience" as actually being in front of your computer while letting you do something else that actually requires thought and effort. Long story short, damage spam bot vs final dungeon = bot easily wins, proving the game hasn't changed at all. Of course, Never Again requires grinding out more Hellions because those ones are scared of absolutely nothing and I have no interest in doing that, of grinding out 4 redundant clone teams. Grind being repeating the same trivial thoughtless tasks… if the combat and runs were not all thoughtless copy pastes it'd be less grindy even if it were the same length, and I have well north of 10,000 hours on turn based RPGs so I am well versed on both long games and grind.

Now, what Red Hook obviously does want is review bait for their review fodder game. As mentioned at the beginning, it looks ok for about 5 hours then breaks down very quickly after that point. Most reviewers (as in the professional kind, not just users on Steam) give it less than that (and sometimes zero, such as when release announcements contain pre alpha video footage) and then mindlessly praise it. Though who give it more time, even one complete run say something very different, this being a game in which your understanding and enjoyment are inversely proportionate anyone who does grind out the entire thing will reach the same conclusions as me and other veterans about the mechanics even if they were not aware of all the other stuff regarding the developer/community happening in the background. Which is a good part of the reason why Joesph Anderson's review is going viral. He reached more or less the same conclusions about the game but on his own.

The most unfortunate of all is that the big critics fell for this review fodder as well. This is exactly the sort of game they'd blast for being review/Youtube fodder (side effect: after 2-5 hours no refunds), and were they aware of the shadiness would absolutely condemn those abusive Early Access practices and do so with special fervor as they themselves were personally fooled. One actually is aware, but supported them anyways out of pure self destructive spite whereas the other most likely doesn't know, but still seems like a reasonable but strict critic. It's the most unfortunate thing because if an Early Access game is a failure… that's actually normal and expected behavior. If it's a failure, yet is falsely praised as a success by virtue of looking good without being good not only is that very unusual (most cases of Early Access censorship show no subtelty, they showed a little but still generated hundreds of posts of evidence against them), but you'll see plenty of copycats from no talent hackjobs who just spend all their budget on advertising'/marketing, then develop a shiny thing at a glacial pace with many delays and get away with it themselves.

Darkest Dungeon is by far the biggest travesty and scam in gaming history simply by virtue of the sheer dissonance between what it could have been and what it actually was, and the sheer dissonance between how it is described and how it actually is. These problems are so simple, so basic that a bored amateur modder could have fixed them at one point (and still could, if they weren't hardcoded and I had any interest in making such a vile company money). And yet actual devs couldn't do it, even with all the testers and feedback and math behind them. Even with the game being so simplistic you obtain full effective mastery in 5 hours max (meaning, you don't actually understand everything but you understand enough that you easily win, and it doesn't matter that you're making dozens of mistakes along the way) so balancing is a relatively simple process when compared with any game not obviously designed for the mobile platform.

You might have noticed, throughout that entire, very long review I did not mention RNG at all beyond a passing mention. The RNG complaints actually DO have merit, but not in the same way they are usually presented.

1: As mentioned before, the vast majority of skills and even entire classes are useless. Stagecoach gives random classes, with random skills (though you can completely bypass this with backer heroes and get your Hellion spam going Week 1). Early on the Blacksmith is locked and a bit later it's available but expensive. Should the game not give you at least a few useful things, you will fail through no fault of your own because even though say, the Plague Doctor should be a legitimate choice, and her blight and stunning abilities should be valid tactical options they are not.

2: Regarding the usual presentation, of complaints of RNG in combat these are self generated by virtue of falling for the newbie traps either by lack of critical thought, or sheer stubbornness/being different/being "tactical"/etc. It's simple math at work. If an enemy has a 20% critical hit chance, the odds they critically hit you at least once are 20% if they attack you once, 36% if they attack you twice, 48.8% if they attack you 3 times and so on. Critical hits can just as easily be diseases, or debuffs, or any other on hit effect. The more chances you give RNG the more likely that RNG screwage becomes. In normal games this is balanced out by various defensive and recovery mechanics so that that, and simple attrition do not force a damage spam fest. This one intentionally breaks said mechanics and actively punishes everything except damage spam while rewarding damage spam, resulting in a game where you're either bored and grinding, but winning, or bored and grinding, but losing and raging about RNG. And the reason for that is very simple. Using skills that mathematically don't work (anything but direct damage) increases combat length by a factor of 2, 3, or even more. That's more enemy actions and more bad things happening.

Finally, Red Hook is in a catch 22 situation. Even if they forsook their lazy, censoring ways and actually got serious about fixing the game it'd require a complete overhaul, because as it is now fixing the complete lack of difficulty spotlights the imbalance (which some can ignore now, as you can basically 2 man quests anyways so if the other 2 slots are Jester/Grave Robber instead of empty what's it matter?). Fixing the imbalance highlights the lack of depth - while few mechanics are currently worth using, even if all existing mechanics were viable and had a niche there still wouldn't be that much. Fixing the lack of depth requires rewriting the entire game, which I consider an alpha despite looking shiny just because of how little unique content and game there actually is. I really feel for whatever poor fool buys the rights off them and tries making it a real game.

You might have noticed I went through this entire thing and only acknowledged 14 classes. Part of that is because most of it was written when there was only 14, part of it was because the 15th is so unremarkable I only remembered it was now here near the end.

So the 15th class is the Merchant. It has a different, more pretentious name but I won't acknowledge that because I've had quite enough of informed traits. As is always the case with Red Hook design, it sounds ok until you examine it at all and then it very quickly breaks down in an incoherent, nonsensicial, and failure of an execution. Allegedly this class prevents grind by giving you more gold, but is otherwise completely useless. It… technically does that, but not in the intended way at all.

Remember, anyone who understands the game mechanics is spamming Hellions and damage in a dark run. This means you find plenty of gold, and the actual problem is inventory space, or more precisely tiny stack sizes + many different but interchangable types of "gold stacks" (gold, 6 different gems…) So you grind and grind, and then drop most of the loot you grind out in favor of other loot. Getting more loot you'll just drop anyways does not help matters and making gold stacks slightly larger is both more than canceled by the 2 new stacks of gold variants, and made irrelevant by the fact you'll be dropping gold in favor of stacks worth more than 2k anyways.

Further, the heirloom grind is specifically unaffected even though that was the actual grind point. It was affected by a different change, but as that different change results in grinding 15% fewer deeds and 50% more crests on the blacksmith it really at best shuffled the grind, and at worst further amplified it while allegedly reducing it which is also a classic move by this company.

Now, people that don't understand the game mechanics are the ones having gold problems. They're using useless classes and skills, they're leaving the lights on, they're constantly poking the proverbial Giant Alien Spider events, they're wasting money on stress relief, they're not investing money in the gold standard trinkets. They're the ones that actually need this. Except now they have a literally useless character, so the marginally higher gold they get is more than countered by their mismanagement of what invariably goes wrong.

Ultimately even if the class did work correctly and as intended, you get like 5%-10% more gold for 25% less damage in a game all about damage, so just take a 4th useful character. You'll grind more if you die, anyways. And it's not like there's any penalty for that. Even the so called real Rogue NG+, that for some reason they could not give us a year ago when anyone starts the game has such a forgiving time limit people are derping their way through in less than half the alloted time limit. So there's no functional difference here (ignoring that no one actually wanting a Roguelike would grind through Cookie Clicker for 80 hours, so they get Cookie Clicker with 20% higher enemy stats).

Now I mentioned the class does work but in an unintended way. Again in classic Red Hook fashion, it's full of obvious bugs and exploits as they have zero understanding of logic or emergent gameplay.

Enter a Long quest, immediately camp. 3 Merchants spam the give me a trinket skill, 1 whatever uses a no night attack skill. Do this twice and leave. Repeat. They'll get bombed with negative quirks and diseases but those don't matter as this is your infinite gold farm team, like Suicide Squadding but much faster. They'll also get stress but leaving a quest caps your stress at 100 even if it's higher and doing this shouldn't make you go 100-200 so they'll never die (and if they do, replace with more level 0s, they're infinite and free). You might need 4 food (2 per camp) for this. You'll still make much more selling the junk and keeping the few useful trinkets (read: those that promote the alpha strike dark running). As an added bonus this shouldn't even advance the week (other than the week they get afflicted) so you literally have infinite grind time even if there is allegedly a time limit. Completely unintended, but the only time the class actually gains you resources as intended.

Right now, XCOM II is out and as such this game's relevance is rapidly fading. I leave this here as a reminder that overconfidence is a slow, and insidious killer (of games). Hopefully, when they restart the whole desperate, cut rate sales again people will see this and make the correct decision - that is, avoiding the extreme disappointment that challenge gamers and hardcore Roguelike fans have suffered. And if you just want a casual grind AoE spam game, I suggest Diablo 3. It's shinier anyways.

This game only serves as a showcase for karmic irony. It is a "Lovecraftian" game that has only succeeded in emulating its source material by its makers becoming victims of their own hubris, and inducing insanity in a meta sense within its community.



Hopefully you all can respond better than this guy. Never forget that overconfidence is a slow, and insidious killer…

PS: He's the leader of the latest vote manipulation campaign and given his long time irrational unexplained hatred of me there is a small chance he's a developer on their personal account.
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March 25th, 2016, 05:18
Defintely TL;DR Hope you got if off your chest though. Didn't vote on your title because I'm over 12…and 24…and 36…and 48…
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March 25th, 2016, 05:23
I would recommend a relaxing holiday. Without internet access.
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March 25th, 2016, 05:55
I see some people would rather troll than submit useful responses. Aside from the poll, this is not a troll thread.
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March 25th, 2016, 06:17
I'm not trolling, mate - I'm quite serious. This is… excessive. I really think you need to put Darkest Dungeon behind you, and get some distance from this whole thing.
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March 25th, 2016, 06:44
I'll quit pursuing it when something is actually done about it. As is, nearly everyone else that could raise awareness on the matter on a large scale is scared shitless of blacklisting and/or becoming the target of these stalker trolls themselves. If not for that, it'd have been exposed and ended many months ago instead of dragging on and on for seemingly forever.

Once their corruption and lies have been exposed, once I have fought for what I believe in and won, that is when we can bury their corpse. That doesn't do anything but spawn memes.
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March 25th, 2016, 12:20
Why don't you tell us how you really feel?
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March 25th, 2016, 13:35
I enjoyed Darkest Dungeons. Could have used more variety in the monsters and it did get a little grindy. Great beer and pretzel game. I just went in to have fun. Looking forward to Red Hooks next game and I will give them money again for the Kickstarter.
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March 25th, 2016, 14:19
Originally Posted by Celerity View Post
I'll quit pursuing it when something is actually done about it. As is, nearly everyone else that could raise awareness on the matter on a large scale is scared shitless of blacklisting and/or becoming the target of these stalker trolls themselves.
We refused your article because we felt is was not a review but a rant, not because of something silly like being blacklisted or trolls.
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March 25th, 2016, 22:27
Regardless of what you call it, Kotaku articles are not legitimate or coherent, particularly when they are written by a person with a proven history of giving his friends favorable press who is now going out of his way in promoting this devs can do no wrong narrative and those dirty rotten customers dare wanted the actual game that they paid for. If you promote that slanderous trash, but will not cover the truth of the matter it is very obvious what side you are on. Especially if you then insist I lie, as that is exactly what a "balanced" review of such an imbalanced game would be (both in terms of tone and mechanical content).
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March 25th, 2016, 23:17
Giving money to a Kickstarter does not make you an investor. You have no rights in what kind of game they make. They delivered the game I wanted and if they didn't you move on to the next game. I have not even played PoE yet and I gave them a lot of cash. Stupid millennials You just joined this site this month I see. Nice first impression. No one owes you shit. That is some free advice.
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March 26th, 2016, 00:58
Sounds like one of those ever abundant shill plants.

You buy a PS4, open the box and it's a brick. "They don't owe you anything." "You shouldn't have expected a game system in the box."

How dare people expect they get the thing they paid for! Damned entitled kids. Back in MY day, we let game companies rob us straight out of our pockets. AND WE LIKED IT!

You are the reason Early Access is a giant scam. I expect censorship for this, don't give a fuck.
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March 26th, 2016, 01:53
You really should try to relax a bit more. I really doubt Hastar is the sole reason of Early Access being a scam in your eyes.
Your analogy is also flawed. The PS4 is a finished product, which is bought after it is finished, in which case your expectations should match the product, unless you haven't invested time into checking out what you are buying.
Early Access is buying into an unfinished product that will eventually be released. You did read what Early Access means I hope:
Get immediate access to games that are being developed with the community's involvement. These are games that evolve as you play them, as you give feedback, and as the developers update and add content.
You bought into a game that changes over time, based on whatever happens during development. That is quite different from buying a finished product.

As it turns out now, you have spent 1337 hours in the game to find out it wasn't turning out what you expected of it. Why did you do that? It must have been clear to you, quite a number of hours earlier that this game would not live up to your expectations?
Or did you just went on and on with the game, just to reach that specific number?
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March 26th, 2016, 02:15
Ah, so people insulting me is acceptable, telling them where they can go is not. I was being half serious about the censorship remark. That wasn't an invitation. But regardless.

And no, he's not the sole reason. I never said he was. But he is still the reason for being the archetypical Early Access apologist, that defends those who take your money without providing what you paid for.

Now, as for why I have the hour count I do that was clearly explained in the article you didn't read. I'll spell it out for you.

I bought the game based on how it was presented. It became obvious very early (within the first few hours) it was nothing like what was advertised. I went through the entirety of the game, seeing if it would change or get better later. It did not. At the time it was about oh… Day 3 of Early Access. Seeing as the game was firmly behind the Early Access shield, and seeing as I foolishly believed in the devs at the time and believed they would fix these countless balance problems, the complete lack of depth, and the countless examples of placeholder content as that was the entire point of Early Access I did not simply judge the game in its current, utter failure of a state. Instead I waited, provided feedback, and seen what they'd do. For a good long time I believed they would fix their game, after all the problems with it were so simple that I could trivially fix them myself just by employing basic math and common sense, and once they ARE fixed it actually is a long lasting game.

But they had no interest in doing that, no interest in any form of criticism. They only wanted mindless praise they can parrot and quote mine. They only wanted advertisers, they could not admit any wrongdoing. They could not fix any problems as that means they didn't get it perfect the first time. They resented me long before I began suspecting wrongdoing from them and it's quite obvious in hindsight even if I would not admit it at the time. After all, I produced something that only barely resembled what they made yet more accurately fit their own description. It was proof of concept the game needed a complete redesign. They hated that, they could not accept it.

As the article also says, it was doomed by the hubris of the developers. If you're in Early Access, that sort of extensive, math/logic backed feedback is invaluable, or would be if you're not abusing the system. I'm not the only one whose feedback was ignored, but most of the other challenge gamers left in Feburary of last year.

It should go without saying at this point I won't even look at a game until it is out of Early Access anymore, that way if it does this same sort of half a game at best scamwork it at least won't catch me. However, I have personally witnessed the depths of depravity in the indie dev scene and as much as people like giving EA and Ubisoft etc shit for their poor business practices you're aware of their outlook on their customers and they and their communities do not pursue long term personal conflicts with you no matter what you say about them.
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March 26th, 2016, 02:20
Where were you insulted?
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March 26th, 2016, 02:46
If "Fuck off." is offensive, so is most of Hastur's post.
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March 26th, 2016, 13:38
If liking the game, not agreeing with you and thinking that you expect far too much from your investment are insults than I can see how you think it is insulting, but they are not insults.
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March 26th, 2016, 14:37
I have never played a game in early access. I just feel there are to many games out there and I like to play finished products. So if people like me are the reason it is a scam then they are making it up as they go along. I never even beta tested games. I used to give a good amount of money to Kickstarters but now I usually wait till the games come out. Unless they kickstart my all time favorites like Bard's Tale and Wasteland.

I have learned to not get so involved with a game or company. I loved EQ back in the day and they made too many changes I did not agree with and just moved on. Maybe my all time favorite, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, was sold by NWC and HoMM4 was a huge disappointment. I just moved on to other games like Age of Wonders and Civ 4.

I will promise you that as a consumer I do not give my money freely to any company. I wait for the finished product and reviews. If I do not enjoy that product then that company rarely gets my cash again. I get my reviews from sites like RPGWatch that I trust and have the same taste in games as me.

I just don't understand the hate for something like a game. There are issues out there that are too important to me like the mass extinction of animals that is happening now. Lets just agree to disagree and I did not wish any ill will .
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March 26th, 2016, 21:52
It's really quite simple.

You see product advertised as x.
You buy it, because you want x.
You don't actually get x.

Anyone who tells you you're "entitled" for expecting the thing you paid for is the problem. Early Access, Kickstarter, it doesn't matter. Apologizing for their failure is the problem. And that's what I mean.
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March 29th, 2016, 17:21
Originally Posted by Celerity View Post
It's really quite simple.

You see product advertised as x.
You buy it, because you want x.
You don't actually get x.

Anyone who tells you you're "entitled" for expecting the thing you paid for is the problem. Early Access, Kickstarter, it doesn't matter. Apologizing for their failure is the problem. And that's what I mean.
Well, I have to say that I think very few EA / Kickstarters game comes of delivering what they advertised. As you develop a game it is bound to change by time and feedback. I think you got deeply involved seeing as how much feedback you gave them and how much time you invested.

I totally understand people getting upset about that, just look at Unsung Story, and how many people where upset about that.

However, there are a lot of AAA+ developers doing the same thing as well, and they are also starting with stuff like EA, I would say they are even worse with what they promise / deliver at times.

The trolling and fighting that occurred appears kind of ridicules to me though and it also appears to be way over the top against you, but I don't think you benefit from coming of so aggressive in many of your posts especially not in this place.

Further more, I haven't played the game and it doesn't look like something that would be interesting for me, but at least from a business and user perspective, it looks like they were a huge success, very few KS games has this kind of steam spy statistics, so they must have done something right, besides the average play time is 24 hours, which is quite much as well:

http://steamspy.com/app/262060
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