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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General RPG » Why Roguelikes?

Default Why Roguelikes?

February 13th, 2019, 05:12
Why are these perma-death games popular? I have Wayward Souls on my phone and I do enjoy playing it for a minute or two but then I get annoyed. The other day I handed my phone to my son and he got a few levels beyond me. He was having a blast.

"This game is really good!".

Then his avatar got killed. He realized he had to start over.

"They want me to start over? I've lost ALL my gear? What… why? This is stupid."

Hasn't touched it since.

What is the draw to these games?
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February 13th, 2019, 05:36
Well, I love NetHack but I always back up my saves so I can continue once I get past level 10 or so. (I thought that's what they meant by "hack"!)
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February 13th, 2019, 05:50
The idea is to learn more about the gameworld each playthrough and to optimize your strategy and build to survive as long as possible. People enjoy the challenge of it. Its a high score mentality more than a complete the game mentality in other words.

Also the dynamic story that emerges from such games can be compelling, if the game allows it.
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February 13th, 2019, 07:23
Some people enjoy things more when the stakes are higher.
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February 13th, 2019, 09:47
They can be fun if they have fun mechanics and interesting tid bits as you get deeper into the dungeon. Nethack was always full of surprises - some old and some recently added. The problem these days is the market is flooded with them and quite a few are real dogs - you play and play and discover that nothing new ever happens.
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February 13th, 2019, 10:43
Well, I can only speculate as to why other people like them.

Personally, when I originally started playing Rogue-likes it was with Moria. What I loved about it was not really the perma-death aspect of it, though it sort of felt a little more tense and exciting because of it.

No, I liked it mostly because of the progression. I love progression in general - and back then, I wasn't quite so picky.

I also really liked the random generation - because I wasn't sick of procedural content yet.

It's really just a CRPG without a story in many ways - and so I would guess people like these games for similar reasons.
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February 13th, 2019, 13:22
Never could stand roguelikes and have no idea those are popular, are they really?

Throwing paint on a canvas randomly IMO is not an art. Some earn a lot of $ from it, I'd never buy any such thing. My problem is I can't enjoy mundaneness of any kind.
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February 13th, 2019, 13:41
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
"They want me to start over? I've lost ALL my gear? What… why? This is stupid
I love roguelikes. I agree with Silver and Caddy. I'd also add that the speed that the game progresses can be faster because you have to start over so often.

I don't know anything about phone games, but ToME is one of my favourite RL on PC and features an unlimited lives mode, a 3 lives mode and a 1 life mode. This is probably the best game for players new to the genre.

It's also probably not something for kids. Even I don't have the patience most the time and most deaths are because I was rushing. Being able to deal with losing all your gear without having a big emotional response is part of the challenge.
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February 13th, 2019, 14:38
He is 15 and pretty good at these things. Finished Doom and Gears if War recently. I just brought it up because he didn’t know it was permadeath and his reaction was hilarious
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February 13th, 2019, 15:03
I am not much of a fan on pure roguelikes with no persistent progress at all, but I welcome roguelike elements / rogue-lites.

And actually that can even be said to checkpoints and limited saving which is not always bad.

In JA2 I was first disappointed that I could just save in combat and savescum the way out of it. And I was happy when they introduced ironman mode in the gold version.
This ironman mode limited saving to when you are not in a combat zone.
Jagged Alliance Rage actually has a problem now with being able to save freely and in addition having a big stealth element. You can just, without any risk run around, and stealth kill everyone without any risk as you can just reload.

I also remember the first time I played Vietcong, a FPS from 2003, which had a savepoint system. And I had a blast trying out different methods to pass sections of the game. No chance to just savescum and weasel yourself through it. You actually had to have a plan (or a whole streak of luck).

And a third example is maybe Witcher 1. What I liked here is that the decisions you make sometimes have effects later on in the game, which you cannot beforehand. You cannot just test out the outcomes and reload. You are actually forced to go with the decisions you make.

A fourth example would be 4X games. I remember that back in the 90s I played colonization with heavy savescumming. The game was no challenge at all.
But since Civ 4 and especially since I also started playing with (=against) friends, it shows that you have to plan ahead in a completely different way as you cannot just reload. So even though you can freely load and save, the games are clearly designed in a way that you shouldn't. And now I also don't reload my games and go with my mistakes (or just start over) in order to increase the challenge (the AI is incredibly bad in these games anyways even on Deity) and to prepare myself for Multiplayer matches.

So for me it's not so much about a pure roguelike experience where you always have to start all over. For me it's mostly about the inability to savescum, which makes decisions more interesting and the games more challenging.
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February 13th, 2019, 15:53
For me part of the appeal is getting to experience completely different character builds and how they play out within a fairly short period of time. For example TOME has 20 or so different classes (estimating) each with multiple detailed skill trees and ways you can build them. They are often massively creative and different from each other. If this were a typical 50+ hour RPG I'd play through it once with only one of the 100s of character you can create and then I'd be done. But in a roguelike I can toy with new character builds and experience how each of those characters plays out without having the play the same game for 1000+ hours to do so.
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February 13th, 2019, 16:20
The appeal for me is the sheer toughness when you compare these types of games to others. You have to be smart, patient, and balanced in your approach to a game that, with every conflict that arises, might be your last. When I get a Wizardry vibe from a current rogue style game, that's when the developers have nailed for me what's so important in a game!!
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February 13th, 2019, 21:32
I've tried repeatedly to play roguelikes, but I never find much joy. Party-based games just seem to provide more opportunities for tactics and role-playing.
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February 14th, 2019, 02:58
I gotta admit, the various ways to die in NetHack were pretty funny. Killed by an hallucinogen distorted kobold zombie. Killed by an iron ball. Killed by touching Stormbringer. Killed by a scroll of genocide….
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February 14th, 2019, 14:00
So young and already educated.

The OP describes why gaming and games have been under assault.

The game was perceived as fun and as soon as failure happened, the fun feeling disappeared.

Tells the kid did not have fun by playing a game but having something else provided to him (like maybe a feeling of being powerful that was destroyed when the avatar got killed)

The possibility of resuming a similar course that was perceived as fun was excluded.
Starting over could not be fun.

Even in types of games that allows permanent progression, players might enjoy restarting a game.

Speaks tons. Because it is not a case of a repeated process that turned stale because of too many repetitions.
Nope, one run, no starting over, and it is deemed too much.

This attitude disqualifies a tremendously large number of games. Cant play hide and seek, can not play football, can not play chess, cannot play video games of the past.

But can read a book, watch a movie and so on…
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February 14th, 2019, 14:42
To "quote" dwarf fortress:
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February 14th, 2019, 19:03
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
So young and already educated.

The OP describes why gaming and games have been under assault.

The game was perceived as fun and as soon as failure happened, the fun feeling disappeared.

Tells the kid did not have fun by playing a game but having something else provided to him (like maybe a feeling of being powerful that was destroyed when the avatar got killed)

The possibility of resuming a similar course that was perceived as fun was excluded.
Starting over could not be fun.

Even in types of games that allows permanent progression, players might enjoy restarting a game.

Speaks tons. Because it is not a case of a repeated process that turned stale because of too many repetitions.
Nope, one run, no starting over, and it is deemed too much.

This attitude disqualifies a tremendously large number of games. Cant play hide and seek, can not play football, can not play chess, cannot play video games of the past.

But can read a book, watch a movie and so on…
Except he plays sports and plays chess. I think you should put down your bottle of bitter pills and just accept that not everyone likes everything you do.
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February 15th, 2019, 13:58
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I think you should put down your bottle of bitter pills and just accept that not everyone likes everything you do.
The legacy of two hundreds of institutionalized double standards.
By self application, there should not be an OP in this thread.
Except he plays sports and plays chess.
Of course he does. Quite a lot of games have been given a cultural utility: building a resume, appearing like a nerd, geek or whatever etc

Does not change anything that when the kid was introduced to one essential dimension in gaming, he walked away.

What next, that people come to christianity for the love of jesus christ, that people moved to the US to flee oppression, slavery…
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February 15th, 2019, 16:15
I simply cannot understand ChienAboyeur's posts. They never make any sense, and are mostly useless.

I wonder why anyone would take time to write such gibberish. I would guess this user is in an ocean of boredom.
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February 15th, 2019, 16:36
Personally, I don't like the random "start all over again" approach.

There is only one "rogue-like" which I do play from time to time, and that is : "Crypt Of The NecroDancer". It's one of the RPGs which are huge fun for me these days.
Which is partly because of the music.

Personally, I've come to think / believe that Blizzard's Action-RPGs are in fact Rogue-likes as well, because their gameplay is based on NetHack (one early "rogue-like"), or at least looks so much like NetHack's gameplay.
And because of that, I think, most Action-RPGs which follow that formula could also be called "Rogue-likes".


Originally Posted by arthureloi View Post
I simply cannot understand ChienAboyeur's posts. They never make any sense, and are mostly useless.

I wonder why anyone would take time to write such gibberish. I would guess this user is in an ocean of boredom.

Looks to me very much like an reply to a different discussion, posted in the wrong window (as if there were *several* windows with different discussion threads open at the same time).

This particular reply sounds to me like an reply to a posting I might - or have - written in the past.
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