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TOPIC: 2014 Feedback (spoilers)

2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #1

Here's my feedback - both good and bad.

Overall, I was happy with the adventures, but there are some things (many avoidable) that could be done to make things smoother and more enjoyable.

I've intentionally not listed any times or days here to avoid calling anyone out directly.

Overall:
Costuming was spectacular across the board - as were all of the NPCs. Kudos! All of the animatronics were amazing.


Pre-run:

Token exchange/transmute
I understand that occasionally things are not available. But please, Please!, put a sign up with what is not available. Not having transmutes is bad enough. Waiting 45 minutes to find that out is frankly inexcusable.

Mustering-room:
While I understand that the number of tokens makes it very difficult to write up the party card, the accuracy of those cards is important to people who spend lots of cash and time on tokens. Balancing that is difficult and I don't really have a suggestion. I'm probably going to be forced to print-out the online stuff and simply provide the DM with the online party card - which means no trading/xmuting/purchasing at GC. :(

Zephyr (combat-hardcore):

1st room:
Nice visual puzzle. Way too many choices for a 12 minute room. A 5 by 5 puzzle with each tile having 4 possible orientations is not brute force solvable. With the clues and obvious help (i.e. colors), the puzzle became doable, but any mistakes would likely doom the party. I also did not like taking push damage during the puzzle. We walked up to the puzzle and there was no justifiable reason for intermittent damage. If anything, there should have been no damage at all. If we were close to failing, we would have left and come back after resting at an inn.

2nd room:
Another puzzle in the combat path? Odd. The pipe puzzle was interesting since it was intended to be brute force solved. We had the basic concept but ran out of time. Take full push damage. Two straight rooms with long hard puzzles to solve. Not a good way to start, esp. for the character who died in room 2. This may have been hardcore, but it was hardcore combat. No combats yet, just puzzles - with no time left to heal. Very bad choice of room order.

3rd room:
First fight. Wind Elemental. Nice way to get the NPC back. =)
Mood-wise, this room really could have used a fan or something, but probably should have been room #2.

4th room:
Ball room. Bard lore clue was very useful for the first time in my memory. Would have been rough w/o the clue due to time.

5th room:
Construct. Very nice animatronic. We quickly got into the fight, but failed to kill it because we only got thru three rounds of combat. We are fast and honestly a bit pushy, so three rounds was not our fault. We were destroying the construct comfortably, but didn't get to kill it.

6th room:
Second pipe puzzle. Still not sure how we ran out of time on this one. Got half way through and ran out of time. I think in clear multi-part puzzles like this, the push damage should be pro-rated on the puzzle completion.

7th room:
Zephyr bridge. An audacious puzzle/combat mix. When we split up, it was more this looks cool than an intelligent decision. The DMs should have specified 4 puzzle-ish tasks and 6 combat tasks. I thought the visuals were awesome and the props stellar, *but* I think both groups were too busy to enjoy any of the details. Me and my companion failed on the bellows task most of the time, and never even really got to look around the room at other happenings. This would have been an awesome place to have a crossover between the puzzle and combat runs of the dungeon.

Overall: The puzzles were all negative experiences for different reasons. The combats were flavorful and interesting. The last room, while imo a miss in execution, was inspired and amazing.


Viper's Pit (combat):
1st room:
Pillars. Great entry level, cooperative puzzle. We solved it after trying many different things - but it was quick enough that it one wrong choice didn't doom the party.

2nd room:
Snake combat. Felt bad for the snake, boy did it die quick.

3rd room:
Egg puzzle. Took us way too long to even change the color of an egg. Since failure is so painful, multiple guess puzzles are risky. I think this one was actually a good idea though the strength of the magnet required may have been an issue. If I ruined a cell phone or heaven forbid my credit card early in a con, I'd be very upset....and struggling for cash/meals.

4th room:
Skeleton sarcophagus. Mass melee combat. I liked the multiple minions attack angle. They were still having some issues with equipment, so I'm not sure what the fight was really supposed to be. We blew up the sarcophagus and then the Bard/Mage AoE'd the skeletons in one round.

5th room:
Blood puzzle. Wow. I mean wow. Easily the most impressive room of the entire weekend. The blood flow was a little slow, which made me worried about running out of time, but in the end, Wow. This is why I play True Dungeon.

6th room:
Medusa. I for one never tire of seeing iconic villains. We were able to beat the Medusa fairly easily, with only one person failing their gaze saving throw. The back-stabbing elf was a nice touch. But, again, the Bard lore was less than helpful - in fact, the clue led the party to ranged weapons which was significantly more dangerous than melee weapons - resulting in a wonderful Rogue statue.

7th room:
Not sure what happened here. Too much fog. Can't see....breathe..... The gas killed all but 3 people in 2 rounds. The costume and animatronic were both outstanding.

I have no problem with a TPK in the last room. That's part of the fun of a challenge, but three rounds of 7/14 damage (28 assuming 2 made save throws) kills everyone in the game except for the barbarian (and presumably the Monk).

If I need to buy a specific token to have a chance of succeeding, let me know and I will buy 10 copies of it. I would be willing to bet actual money that no one beat this room (above non-lethal) without at least 6+ ioun stones of anti-toxic gas.

Overall: Much better experience, though the last fight was so unfair to be anti-climactic. We were only a few points away from not even killing the summoner and getting to see the big bad.



Suggestions:

1. Room length. Twelve minutes just isn't long enough given the complexity of puzzles and the depth of the combats. Going back to 15 minutes would require some trade-off to increase revenue, but I would pay $5+ per run or even 11 or 12 players for something that felt less rushed. Getting in only three rounds of combat and running out of time is frankly unacceptable. Perhaps having some additional playtesters for the puzzles outside of the normal groups could be useful to gauge expected solve times.

2. Dungeon design. Normally, this is very solid. The early rooms are easier, leading to appropriately stronger challenges later. The order was good on Viper's Pit, but seemed off kilter for Zephyr.

3. Puzzle design in general.
Historically, there have been three types of puzzle interaction:
a. Puzzles where there is damage per failed attempt (or similar).
b. Puzzles where there is push damage per failed room.
c. Puzzles where there is push damage per time passing.

Mixing all of these together is a bad idea. All three have different strategies for completion, so choosing the wrong strategy is usually a guaranteed fail.
I would suggest rarely using (c) unless there is an obvious in-game reason (countdown, falling rocks, etc.)

The occasional use of (a) seems fine, but most puzzles should be (b) imo.
Make sure that the puzzle matches the feel. For example, the circuit puzzle in Zephyr-1 should have been a (b) not an (c).

4. Props. This is always a touchy subject for me. I come to TD for the immersive nature of the adventure. Most of the time the props are great, but sometimes they are too complicated for their own good. The only thing that we saw as an issue was the sarcophagus room which was clearly having issues though we couldn't tell what it was supposed to be. The DM did a good job of pushing forward. Then there was the truly awe-inspiring blood puzzle. For every blood puzzle, there is an egg puzzle. While I realize that sometimes there will be some misses, I think this is the direction TD wants to be headed.

5. Bard lore. Please start creating printed Bard lore like the clue in the Rogue's puzzle box. Please. They should be written down so that the exact content is the same and there are no telephone game style changes in the message. Just when I thought it was safe to listen to the Bard clues again, they go and get someone petrified. This happens at least once every year. Please?

6. Token pulls. This suggestion is not going to be popular. It's difficult to balance treasure pulls when some are pulling 12 per run and others are pulling 2-3. What I would suggest is that there are two treasure boxes per run. One is stocked with rares and better. The second is pretty much the current treasure box. Each player may use a treasure token once to pull from the loot box. All other pulls are from the normal treasure box.

7. Negative play experiences. There were a few of these this year - much more than normal. Some of it is just details - like the first puzzle in Zephyr not doing Shock damage while clearly lightning/power based. I know some of this is to make sure that groups are taking damage, but if I have a bunch of damage prevention tokens that never come up, why am I buying them? I would suggest making most of the non-push damage in basic types that can be mitigated somewhat. This also includes the poison gas room. One token meaning life/death is token power creep that we do not want to see - even on Nightmare.

8. Multiple runs. I don't know how many people run more than once per dungeon, but it's getting to the point that you cannot be successful without doing so. The current setup (puzzle vs combat) and xp systems are encouraging people to run 4 or more events on the weekend. Since the TD tickets sell out quickly, the audience is there to bring new people in, but people running many times blocks new players from getting involved. While I don't think attempting to prevent multiple runs is a good idea (or even
possible really), anything that can be done to continue to bring in new players will help refresh the community and should help token sales.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #2

togashimattsu wrote: I know some of this is to make sure that groups are taking damage, but if I have a bunch of damage prevention tokens that never come up, why am I buying them?


100% agree with this. Push damage is one thing but changing all room damage to eldritch because people have damage mitigating tokens isn't a good thing to do.

togashimattsu wrote: Multiple runs. I don't know how many people run more than once per dungeon, but it's getting to the point that you cannot be successful without doing so.


It can seem that way but I was pleasantly surprised with my group on an early Thursday puzzle run. The group consisted of myself and 9 newbies. I had no clue what the puzzles were except for the switch one (friends with the designer / builder) and did not know the solution or even how it was supposed to work.

The group of new players solved every single puzzle! It can be done without prior knowledge but it sure isn't easy. However, isn't that a good thing?
You can't fix stupid but you can TPK it.

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Last edit: by cdsmith.

Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #3

I had a few damage-reducing items including: -20 from darkrift, and -10 from shock, sonic, cold, and fire (Supreme Ring). Out of 5 runs and TrueGrind only the shock helped me one time (unless I missed something).
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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #4

cdsmith wrote:

togashimattsu wrote: I know some of this is to make sure that groups are taking damage, but if I have a bunch of damage prevention tokens that never come up, why am I buying them?


100% agree with this. Push damage is one thing but changing all room damage to eldritch because people have damage mitigating tokens isn't a good thing to do.


I strongly agree.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #5

togashimattsu wrote: 7th room:
Zephyr bridge. An audacious puzzle/combat mix. When we split up, it was more this looks cool than an intelligent decision. The DMs should have specified 4 puzzle-ish tasks and 6 combat tasks. I thought the visuals were awesome and the props stellar, *but* I think both groups were too busy to enjoy any of the details. Me and my companion failed on the bellows task most of the time, and never even really got to look around the room at other happenings. This would have been an awesome place to have a crossover between the puzzle and combat runs of the dungeon.


No, no, no! Crossovers between puzzle and combat is bad, especially if your success depends on the other party. Very few things more infuriating than that one Iuz Snake year (2008?) where even if your team successfully solved the room, you still "lost" if the completely random team in the other Puzzle/Combat run didn't get it.

I would be willing to bet actual money that no one beat this room (above non-lethal) without at least 6+ ioun stones of anti-toxic gas.


Eh, super tokened out players might be able to handle the damage due to all the +HP items (like Charm of Synergy) and extra healing (Eldritch Set + Divine Lenses), or being able to one-round the bad guy.

1. Room length. Twelve minutes just isn't long enough given the complexity of puzzles and the depth of the combats. Going back to 15 minutes would require some trade-off to increase revenue, but I would pay $5+ per run or even 11 or 12 players for something that felt less rushed.


I don't think that is feasible. IMHO, TG is already at its max price point with $48. Once you hit the $50 mark, that is very significant.

And considering how many people already think 10 players is too much, I think going to 11 or 12 would result in too much backlash.

3. Puzzle design in general.
Historically, there have been three types of puzzle interaction:
a. Puzzles where there is damage per failed attempt (or similar).
b. Puzzles where there is push damage per failed room.
c. Puzzles where there is push damage per time passing.

Mixing all of these together is a bad idea. All three have different strategies for completion, so choosing the wrong strategy is usually a guaranteed fail.
I would suggest rarely using (c) unless there is an obvious in-game reason (countdown, falling rocks, etc.)


Oh maybe puzzle rooms could be clearer which of the 3 it is.

7. Negative play experiences. There were a few of these this year - much more than normal. Some of it is just details - like the first puzzle in Zephyr not doing Shock damage while clearly lightning/power based. I know some of this is to make sure that groups are taking damage, but if I have a bunch of damage prevention tokens that never come up, why am I buying them? I would suggest making most of the non-push damage in basic types that can be mitigated somewhat. This also includes the poison gas room. One token meaning life/death is token power creep that we do not want to see - even on Nightmare.


Just think of it as generic, untyped puzzle damage.

Most damage reduction or protection tokens are mainly used for combat.

Unfortunately many tokens are rather overpowered and can too easily shortcircuit puzzles or other encounters.

8. Multiple runs. I don't know how many people run more than once per dungeon, but it's getting to the point that you cannot be successful without doing so. The current setup (puzzle vs combat) and xp systems are encouraging people to run 4 or more events on the weekend. Since the TD tickets sell out quickly, the audience is there to bring new people in, but people running many times blocks new players from getting involved. While I don't think attempting to prevent multiple runs is a good idea (or even
possible really), anything that can be done to continue to bring in new players will help refresh the community and should help token sales.


I think your argument would have made more sense two years ago. But since last year with going to 4 physical dungeons, tickets have been plentiful. Even days before GenCon, you could still find plenty of available tickets. So even if people do choose to do multiple runs, they're not really blocking new people.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #6

cdsmith wrote:

togashimattsu wrote: I know some of this is to make sure that groups are taking damage, but if I have a bunch of damage prevention tokens that never come up, why am I buying them?


100% agree with this. Push damage is one thing but changing all room damage to eldritch because people have damage mitigating tokens isn't a good thing to do.


Poor design choice. TD should have realized that lots of the tokens they print could be unbalanced, in for example, puzzle rooms.

Alternatively, they could simply have been more specific by having a lot of the damage prevention tokens specifically say "in combat."

Not to mention, we STILL barely ever see trap damage or mechanical trap damage, despite the number of tokens that help against it.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #7

Kirk Bauer wrote: I had a few damage-reducing items including: -20 from darkrift, and -10 from shock, sonic, cold, and fire (Supreme Ring). Out of 5 runs and TrueGrind only the shock helped me one time (unless I missed something).


The mechanical ball thing in Zephyr Combat shot out lightning that could be prevented with shock resistance.

True Grind's Rakshasa had a Lightning Bolt spell that was occasionally used.

From a DM perspective, Darkrift damage tends to be a poor choice for energy type. Once again due to failures in the token design process. Slapping on -10 Darkrift damage to the Topaz Trilliant was completely unnecessary and simply results in most Purpled out players automatically having extra Darkrift reduction. So on higher level difficulties, if you want Darkrift damage to actually do something, you need to up the damage, which then disproportionately affects those without the Trilliant.

So the poor design decision of the Topaz Trilliant really hamstrung the viability of the Darkrift energy type.

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Last edit: by Incognito.

Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #8

Regarding the eldritch damage every three minutes in Zephyr Room 1:

I was one of the NPC/DMs for that room. You will notice that if you failed the puzzle, you received no further push damage. The push damage (eldritch) came every three minutes instead of at the end of the room.

I anticipated that players would be annoyed by this, especially if they solved the puzzle after minute nine, taking the full push damage even having solved the puzzle. (At least the DM marked their success on the party card to cause something positive later in the dungeon.)

I just want it to be clear that that was your push damage, which always comes as eldritch, not something additional intended to thwart your tokens.
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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #9

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Incognito wrote:

1. Room length. Twelve minutes just isn't long enough given the complexity of puzzles and the depth of the combats. Going back to 15 minutes would require some trade-off to increase revenue, but I would pay $5+ per run or even 11 or 12 players for something that felt less rushed.


I don't think that is feasible. IMHO, TG is already at its max price point with $48. Once you hit the $50 mark, that is very significant.

And considering how many people already think 10 players is too much, I think going to 11 or 12 would result in too much backlash.


Agreed and quoted for truth. Its not that TD isnt worth $50, but with my friends at least they do raise the point that theres a lot you can do at gencon for $50. Also fitting 10 people with backpacks into the smaller rooms/transitional hallways is already hard enough. To say nothing of getting them into and out of rooms.

Deaterrae wrote: Regarding the eldritch damage every three minutes in Zephyr Room 1:

I was one of the NPC/DMs for that room. You will notice that if you failed the puzzle, you received no further push damage. The push damage (eldritch) came every three minutes instead of at the end of the room.

I anticipated that players would be annoyed by this, especially if they solved the puzzle after minute nine, taking the full push damage even having solved the puzzle. (At least the DM marked their success on the party card to cause something positive later in the dungeon.)

I just want it to be clear that that was your push damage, which always comes as eldritch, not something additional intended to thwart your tokens.


Again quoted for truth, as I understood it push damage was intended to prevent players from just sitting through a room by giving them an incentive solve it before they took damage. Spreading the push out like this removes the incentive since your going to take it anyway and makes healing much harder for less geared parties. Its not push anymore, its just the X damage you take in this room no matter what.
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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #10

It wouldn't be so bad if spread differently. Half at the midpoint and the rest if you fail, for instance. Or even a few when you walk in, if you must, but constantly interrupting people to adjust their HP while they scramble... I hope that doesn't become the norm.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #11

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Have friends who didn't spend $50 all gencon for events and had a full schedule.

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Re: 2014 Feedback (spoilers) 9 years 10 months ago #12

My group was able to beat Room 7 Viper on Hardcore with no casualties or poison gas damage reducing Ioun Stones... so it was definitel possible. Not sure if we just got lucky or if we were just working that well together... if course 2 Wizards with the Mad Evokers Charm and effective healing always helps.

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Last edit: by Chris Von Wahlde.
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