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Default What's the point of roguelikes?

December 14th, 2016, 18:07
I've been watching an ADOM stream recently and I just don't get it. The player says ADOM has more functionality than any RPG can implement, but I don't see it. It looks like a very average boring dungeon crawler.

Go to a cave to find my puppy? Kill a dark druid in another cave? I've watched him play as a bunch of different characters, and the gameplay was all the same, except that one of his chars could cast a spell.

Now I don't intend to insult the game, I'm just trying to create a picture of my thoughts on it. What am I missing? I know that roguelikes are loved by a lot of people and that ADOM is considered the best or one of the best. Surely there is something special about them, apart from permadeath.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:31
I don't thing Adom is that good. Check out Tales of Maj'Eyal it has good variety of skills and build and world is always the same, only individual maps are randomized, it has story and lore. I think that is best true roguelikes can offer atm so check that out if that doesn't seem interesting than I don't think any other will either. There are of course games with roguelike elements like FTL but that is another story.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:31
Random levels, character creation/customization, loot, exploration, combat, etc., except you can play the game many times over as it randomizes certain elements.

It's just a different style of game. I like playing some of them once in awhile. They can be fun.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:34
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Random levels, character creation/customization, loot, exploration, combat, etc., except you can play the game many times over as it randomizes certain elements.
So it's about randomness? Because everything else you described can be found in most RPGs. I guess I really don't get it.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:39
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
So it's about randomness? Because everything else you described can be found in most RPGs. I guess I really don't get it.
Depends on the game. Some games have different randomized elements. It could be the type of character you get to play, the level design, the placement of certain things, etc.

It's just about a game that usually has RPG elements but isn't always the same every run through. People do "runs" of these games, sometimes several in one sitting, and each run is different than the last.

Diablo is an example of an early roguelike-style RPG. You can play through the game several times and explore different levels each time, find different loot, etc. The point is just having fun. You can play a typical RPG if you like or any other genre. Whatever's clever.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:40
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
So it's about randomness? Because everything else you described can be found in most RPGs. I guess I really don't get it.
I only got turned on to them a few years ago by an old Watcher named Skavenhorde. Up to that point, I thought they sounded dumb. After playing a few of them, I realized that I what I tend to enjoy most about RPGs is the min/maxing of skills, the exploration and difficult challenges that I can surmount with high quality tactics. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup was the first roguelike I played extensively (has tiled graphics, no sound), and I loved it. After taking a break for a year or so, I came back and finally won it (and even posted on the Watch about it somewhere). To me, it was more fun that slogging through Dragon Age (the first one), even though the story in that game was very interesting. The combat just didn't have the intensity of a roguelike.

TL;DR: If you like difficult tactical combat with real consequences, roguelikes are probably for you. If you like great stories and think combat is a necessary evil, they probably aren't for you.
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December 14th, 2016, 18:42
Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
I only got turned on to them a few years ago by an old Watcher named Skavenhorde. Up to that point, I thought they sounded dumb. After playing a few of them, I realized that I what I tend to enjoy most about RPGs is the min/maxing of skills, the exploration and difficult challenges that I can surmount with high quality tactics. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup was the first roguelike I played extensively (has tiled graphics, no sound), and I loved it. After taking a break for a year or so, I came back and finally won it (and even posted on the Watch about it somewhere). To me, it was more fun that slogging through Dragon Age (the first one), even though the story in that game was very interesting. The combat just didn't have the intensity of a roguelike.

TL;DR: If you like difficult tactical combat with real consequences, roguelikes are probably for you. If you like great stories and think combat is a necessary evil, they probably aren't for you.
I agree that most roguelikes are combat-oriented and rely on tactics and have tough encounters. It is almost like playing a randomized dungeon-crawler. You can play Wizardry 6, 7, Elminage Gothic, etc., but they are the same every time. Or you can play a randomized crawler that also adds the permadeath option to make things a bit more tense and tactical.

But yes, they usually don't have much of a story and are based on gameplay first. They can be fun. There are a few cool ones on Android as well.

Also, it's not all about min-maxing. You can usually be creative in your skills just like a typical RPG and flex your creativity to create and outfit your characters. It just focuses more on that rather than an RPG story.
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December 14th, 2016, 20:01
I think I begin to understand. It reminds me of how I play the Elder Scrolls games. Never finished any of them, but it's fun to create very different characters. The only issue for me is the limited amount of guilds and quests, which I separate among all characters to avoid repetition. Quest mods help.

It would indeed be interesting to imagine such a game with randomized elements.

I'm not sure I'm ready to try out a roguelike myself, for now I'm just watching the LP and it's really interesting with all the commentary and explanations.

Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
TL;DR: If you like difficult tactical combat with real consequences, roguelikes are probably for you. If you like great stories and think combat is a necessary evil, they probably aren't for you.
I like both, so maybe they're for me, after all.

I dislike how you cannot save, though. Not because of the concept, but because sometimes electricity fails. I tend to save very often in games out of habit and feel upset if I can't.
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December 14th, 2016, 20:07
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
I think I begin to understand. It reminds me of how I play the Elder Scrolls games. Never finished any of them, but it's fun to create very different characters. The only issue for me is the limited amount of guilds and quests, which I separate among all characters to avoid repetition. Mods help, though.

It would indeed be interesting to imagine such a game with randomized elements.

I'm not sure I'm ready to try out a roguelike myself, though, for now I'm just watching the LP and it's really interesting with all the commentary and explanations.


I like both, so maybe they're for me, after all.

I dislike how you cannot save, though. Not because of the concept, but because sometimes electricity fails. I tend to save very often in games out of habit.
Usually roguelikes don't have serious investments in a save, though. Sometimes they do, though. Depends on the game.

Do you have a console, Elel? Something like the Xbox 360? There are some really cool indie roguelikes on there, including one of my favorites called Cursed Loot. Very fun game, simple enough to play but addictive and neat.

There's also a ton on PC and mobile. I also like Dungeon Hero for Android. Simple, colorful, nice touch controls and free to play, cheap to upgrade if you like and just a fun game to mess around with. I could give more recommendations if you'd like. If you have a tablet that is about 8" big or so I'd recommend playing on that (or just PC, obviously).

And watching LPs of roguelikes can be fun. My friend has a good one for a PC one called Rogue Legacy -

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December 14th, 2016, 20:13
I think DCSS was saving periodically. If the game crashed (which was almost never), I had virtually all of my progress. The best part of DCSS for me was that I was able to beat it without ever reading anything about the game other than the extensive manual. Lots of deaths, sure, but I always wanted to start another run almost immediately, and I was learning things with every run. When I had 30+ hour runs that would end in death, though, I would just kind of stare at the screen in shock… and then take a break for a bit.

Another good introductory roguelike that I enjoyed was Dungeons of Dredmor, with cute graphix and a simpler interface than most. I'm far from an expert on them, though. I have a huge backlog of roguelikes to play that I haven't gotten too yet. I'm saving ones like TOME and ADOM for when I have a huge chunk of time to devote to them, hopefully next spring.

One last thought on saving: I save frequently in normal games, too (probably comes from writing papers in college and having something go wrong), but sometimes I play games with more rigid restore rules, which can give you the intense combat feeling of a roguelike in almost any game. For example, in Fallout Tactics, I could only save at the end of each level. In Bioshock, I could only save each time I found one of those regeneration tubes. (I could save other times for safety, but I could only restore a save at those designated points). For me, it just makes the game more intense. It's best for games that are really well designed from a difficulty perspective such that if you play carefully and intelligently, you can complete the level on the hardest difficulty your first time trying with just a tiny sliver of health left and think, wow, what an accomplishment!
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December 14th, 2016, 20:16
Originally Posted by Jaguar View Post
One last thought on saving: I save frequently in normal games, too (probably comes from writing papers in college and having something go wrong), but sometimes I play games with more rigid restore rules, which can give you the intense combat feeling of a roguelike in almost any game. For example, in Fallout Tactics, I could only save at the end of each level. In Bioshock, I could only save each time I found one of those regeneration tubes. (I could save other times for safety, but I could only restore a save at those designated points). For me, it just makes the game more intense. It's best for games that are really well designed from a difficulty perspective such that if you play carefully and intelligently, you can complete the level on the hardest difficulty your first time trying with just a tiny sliver of health left and think, wow, what an accomplishment!
I LOVE that in games like that! I tried to ask Ghostlight to add in limited save options in Elminage Gothic (which isn't a roguelike, but a difficult Wizardry-style dungeon-crawler RPG) to add that sort of element. Bard's Tale IV will have options for that, and that will be awesome.
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December 14th, 2016, 20:18
If you play in an emulator, or a VM, you can snapshot the state at any time, and effectively create saves for any game.
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December 14th, 2016, 20:25
I own Tales of Maj'Eyal, and it has decent depth for a game of it's genre, but I am not all that sure that roguelikes are for me. They seem very close to "video games" rather than "real" cRPGs. I find much more of a mental challenge in a tactical turn-based game like Wasteland 2 or Battle Brothers, for example.
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December 14th, 2016, 20:55
Originally Posted by beldurax View Post
I own Tales of Maj'Eyal, and it has decent depth for a game of it's genre, but I am not all that sure that roguelikes are for me. They seem very close to "video games" rather than "real" cRPGs. I find much more of a mental challenge in a tactical turn-based game like Wasteland 2 or Battle Brothers, for example.
Given that I have watched every extant Dr. Who episode more than once (even Hartnell/Troughton, although not the most recent season I don't think yet), and you have Tom Baker in your signature pic, I find it impossible to disagree with you (I still have my picture with Jon Pertwee from an early 90's convention).

You could definitely argue that games like Kings Bounty, Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics, etc. have more strategy, IMHO just because you control more units and therefore have more options. I have always liked "one man (or woman) against the world" type games as well, so many roguelikes scratch that itch.

It may be that roguelikes also remind me of what I believe is the first RPG I ever played, Age of Adventure (AKA a combo of Ali Baba and Return of Heracles). They weren't roguelikes, but the graphical approach matches today's roguelikes. http://www.mobygames.com/game/c64/age-of-adventure
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December 14th, 2016, 21:03
What's the point of roguelikes?
It's like asking what's the point of printed logarithmic book in age of computters.
Some people adore to be tormented. If dark ages torture machines were selling, they'd buy those and pay to, dunno, EA for example to use those on them.
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December 14th, 2016, 21:43
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
If you play in an emulator, or a VM, you can snapshot the state at any time, and effectively create saves for any game.
This is a great idea! Less frustration would be nice for an introdution to the genre.

Which is a good roguelike that can be emulated? I think current emulators encompass all consoles and handhelds except the newest.

If possible, I would like to try the best one. At least the best one that can be emulated. I like to start with the best games of the genre, just in case I never play another one

As for a VM, I have Win95 and Win98, I think. But I didn't play with VMs much. However, it's a brilliant idea to use a VM for savestates. Very crafty.

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
It's like asking what's the point of printed logarithmic book in age of computters.
Some people adore to be tormented. If dark ages torture machines were selling, they'd buy those and pay to, dunno, EA for example to use those on them.
That made me laugh so much, because although watching an ADOM LP is enjoyable, I keep thinking that if I played it myself, I'd be bored out of my mind. It will be interesting to test how true it is.
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December 15th, 2016, 00:09
The point of roguelikes is they're a kind of puzzle which are quite difficult to beat.

They aren't RPG's. Some use a few elements but they're aren't RPG's at all. They're more akin to glorified platformers. You're supposed to play them over and over with the randomness being part of the challenge. To get good they also usually require a pretty in depth knowledge of the intricacies programmed into them. For example you can dip this item in this potion and get this result, that sound means there's this type of thing on this level, this monster does this so don't attack it this way, I can create an ice bridge with this spell to get over a river but can't carry more than this much or it'll break etc etc.

This stuff can take a long time to work out - well it used to, now days you can find all these tricks on the net. But still, even knowing all the tricks doesn't make the games a cakewalk, that's the attraction for some people.


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December 15th, 2016, 00:12
What's the point of roguelikes?
High replayability? diversity? action?
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Last edited by luj1; December 15th, 2016 at 14:29.
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December 15th, 2016, 00:51
I guess the whole point of roguelikes is so you can play without having a point to playing.

A bit like in Civilisation games where, once you've won the game, it asks you if you want to keep playing anyway.

I'm not a great fan of roguelikes, I like my beginning middle and end, I feel that if a game doesn't have a specified end then I tend to get an empty feeling after playing it too long, similar to how I get with MMOs, but with games with an ending I feel like I've experienced a whole product and can move on with a sense of wholeness and worthwhile.
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December 15th, 2016, 02:00
Wa? Most RL's I know of have winning conditions and usually when you do that the game for that character ends. I suppose you could play some endlessly and ignore the winning conditions but you can do that with any sandbox game.
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