I don't get it

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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:43 pm

I don't get it

Postby Timmy » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:06 pm

I've had the game for 3 days now (12 hrs. playtime according to steam), and I still can't figure out what the right steps are.. Everything in the game feels so random. It's almost like my choices don't matter at all.

I've had runs of getting to sector 8 with just 1 crew member because there were stores everywhere and each enemy gave me 30+ scrap - and I've had runs of being shot to pieces, despite moderate ship-upgrades and a crew of 5+, because of power-deactivating nebulas since I couldn't power both weapons and shields/engines at the same time.

These were the extreme cases of course - but even on more normal runs, while there is some illusion of choice, the truth still remains that, between all the hull repairs fuel and missile purchases, there really are not that many decisions I can make. There is no "play style" of my own that I can develop or apply - I can just try and play the cards the game dealt me right, in order to survive one more sector.

It's kind of frustrating. I don't mind challenging games - but in other games you at least get a feeling of what the "right" decisions are after some play time, so you can avoid making the same mistakes. You get a feeling of whether you are on the right track or not, after a while. With FTL on the other hand it seems that there is no "right" decision (except with regard to spiders maybe) .. you just have to hope for enough luck.
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:57 am

Re: I don't get it

Postby Vind » Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:14 pm

Well - in this game you rarely can explore all system beacons - so you can never tell was it possible to complete this run or not - all is randomized. Even with all-powerful ship you can quickly lose to 3 laser burst III and missile wielding drone with shield 5 before you can engage FTL due to lucky hit to bridge or engine room.Sometimes no amount of your skill can save the ship.
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: I don't get it

Postby Warhawx » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:33 am

Bad luck =/= Bad game design
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:46 pm

Re: I don't get it

Postby hborrgg » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:42 am

Luck involved == learning all about probability :D
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:43 pm

Re: I don't get it

Postby Timmy » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:36 am

Warhawx wrote:Bad luck =/= Bad game design

It's not as easy as that. A lot of games have an element of chance - but they implement it in a careful way, so that the ups and downs of probability don't prove fatal to the player and eventually smooth out.

Take a look at conventional RPGs - you have say 1% chance of finding "Item X" after defeating "foe X". But the game allows you to fight hundreds of foes if you deem the item that vital to your strategy.

Take a look at Minecraft. That is randomly generated too - but you are still guaranteed that the next biome (desert/forest/etc.) won't be thousands of miles away.

And so on..

Now compare this to how FTL works. You have (I'm guessing here) 20% of finding "upgrade X" in a shop and 2 shops in one sector - that means that there's a very realistic ~41% chance of not finding the upgrade during the first 2 sectors. (And that is without considering that sectors often enough have just 1 shop in them). The same applies to the chances of finding "passenger/crewmen X", meeting "foe X"/"condition X" etc.

Thus the game forces you to to pretty much forget everything you learned the last time around, since it will be useless for the current game run.

I understand the necessity for randomness to keep the game exciting. But this isn't the way. I know the dev-team was very small and could not have come up with more foes/scenarios during the game, but this still isn't the right way to stretch out the play-through time. Forcing the player to adopt an entierly new play style every time is anything but exciting - it's tedious. Now combine this with the ability of not being able to save and you pretty much have a recipe for frustration.

The appeal of a roguelike is to learn how to handle the situations. To know when to fight and when to retreat. To be able to prepare for upcoming fights by improving your stats - to learn how to handle the game. But if you have to deal with altered gameplay mechanics each time (since you can't apply the tactics you learned last time) it feels like a cruel joke.
Unlucky Scarecrow
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:01 am

Re: I don't get it

Postby Unlucky Scarecrow » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:53 am

A lot of people enjoy playing nethack, which is more true to the roguelike vein than FTL is. Yet, from personal experience, it is possible (even if it's unlikely) to literally drop dead at any given moment during the course of the game. My favorite example is the spiked pit trap. Traps start invisible to the player, and even searching each floor tile several times before you step on it may not reveal a trap. So there is no way to reliably avoid traps until appropriate gear is acquired. Spiked pit traps also have a chance of being poisoned, and poison has a chance of being instantly fatal.

Nevermind instadeath poison, though; some starting characters may not even start with enough HP to avoid the average damage of a trap, if they happen to run into one early enough. (I've had the occasional wizard die to rockfall traps in less than a dozen turns after starting)

So does that make nethack a bad game? Because every single step you take has a very slim chance of automatically killing you outright until a specific countermeasure can be found?
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: I don't get it

Postby Guswut » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:07 am

If EVERY game ended with you getting to the boss and beating it, would you consider that proper game design?

Personally, I wish the game had the option of different lengths, and an unlimited mode that would end up just giving you an "until you die" game type (perhaps having you start at a sector and able to expand out to any six sectors, and from there, any five sectors. Each ring outward increases the difficulty, or every jump, or the like).
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Re: I don't get it

Postby ftl_raptor » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:58 am

There's room for strategy but there is indeed a lot of randomness. Rogue was just as frustrating and fun at the same time.
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Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:24 am

Re: I don't get it

Postby Aufklarer » Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:40 am

The biggest thing to learn about this game is ADAPTABILITY. Consequences of your actions have implications, some of which you will not be able to put right for the entire game. Your right in what you say when you mentioned playing the cards you were dealt. Outside of that and the randomness you can only do your best and sometimes it wont be good enough, just take pride in actually getting to the mothership with a skeleton crew and 1 laser weapon. At least you made it ;) After all this is a roguelike your meant to fail occasionally.
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Re: I don't get it

Postby misterfanwank » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:28 pm

Warhawx wrote:Bad luck =/= Bad game design

But random chance dictating the final outcome more than skill IS bad game design.

I like the basic mechanics of the game, I like the game's ability to put you into organic "no-win" situations, I like the sense of urgency and survival the game gives.

I do not, however, like how the game often asks me to make decisions with a minimal amount of information. I don't know how this could be fixed, but if a sequel is made I hope this is addressed.

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