Let’s Talk About the Corpse in the Room

Aug
20

Let’s Talk About the Corpse in the Room

Let’s talk about the corpse in the room.

When we deployed the Corpse & Hound patch in July, it brought quite a bit more upheaval within the community than we were expecting, centered largely on the corpses and heart attacks features, and to a lesser extent some of the other combat related changes such as the introduction of more armoring (PROT) for some enemies and the increasing of monster crits.

While many of you have enjoyed these new features, it’s very clear that many others do not. In some cases, you feel that it has fundamentally altered your personal experience with the game–turning it from something you loved into something you don’t. The feedback has been clear that sometimes this comes down to a single feature even. Simply put: that’s a huge bummer for all of us.

Our obligation and promise to you has always been to try to make the best game possible, and we take that very seriously. We have an internal compass – a strong vision for Darkest Dungeon that has guided us every step of the way from inception to now. That compass was just as integral in producing the Corpse & Hound content as it was in features before that. Furthermore, we’ve always considered the ability to experiment as a huge benefit of Early Access.

However, we recognize that being for sale in Early Access also brings other important obligations. The Darkest Dungeon community is very large now, and quite a bit more varied than we would have ever expected! We’ve always been humbled by this show of enthusiasm and support. You have given us your hard-earned money, and when we make large changes, we acknowledge there is the potential for you to feel like you had the rug pulled out from underneath you.

We believe that corpses and heart attacks are important mechanics for the game, not only for the reasons initially discussed in the Corpse & Hound design notes but reinforced by our observations since. However, today we are introducing a set of gameplay options (accessed via the normal Options menu) which allows you to turn them off.

Just as we were willing to experiment by adding these features, we are willing to experiment with ways to allow you to shape the DD experience a bit to your liking. As many of you know, we have been reluctant to add difficulty related options until now because focusing on our intended version of the game has been our number one priority and our experiments and changes during Early Access have all been in support of iterating on that. But it would be foolish for us to not consider the fact that the Darkest Dungeon community is now big enough to include diverse groups, some of which would like to play the game differently than we might have envisioned. Although we’ve always been unapologetic about how important it is that Darkest Dungeon is punishing, unforgiving, and sometimes not even “fair”…at the end of the day we want those of you who own it to have fun and that can’t be forgotten.

For clarity, our official vision of the game leaves these two features ‘on’ by default.This does not mean the features are the best they can be yet, but we feel they are important in context of the broader experience. Those of you who would like to enjoy the game without corpses and heart attacks now have the option to. In addition, we’ll be collecting metrics on their use so we have a better understanding of the entire community.

We’re acutely aware that the addition of these options will not solve every issue with the game or even every concern that sprouted from the Corpse & Hound update itself. We’ve been active throughout Early Access and you can continue to look forward to continued content drops and gameplay iterations in the future.

We are going to continue to pursue our vision for the game–after all, that’s why we are all here in the first place. But if we can do better at providing ways for different people to enjoy the game in a way that suits them, we’ll be on the lookout for how to do it without compromising what the game is all about. It’s one of the benefits of making a single player game, really. Modding will eventually help with that as well and we remain excited about that, but we don’t yet have the infrastructure to officially support it.

Finally – we want to say a sincere thank you for your support and feedback – we care passionately about our game, and our community. It’s obviously a challenge to meet the needs of different groups sometimes, but we know that your passion is coming from a love of the game. We encourage your thoughts and observations – positive and negative – throughout this Early Access experience. Please rest assured, we will continue to read and carefully consider your posts, tweets, and emails as we push towards our full release.

Delve deep and keep to the light,

–the Darkest Dungeon team

This topic contains 58 replies, has 45 voices, and was last updated by UmbraVelum UmbraVelum 1 year, 3 months ago.

  • Author
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  • #77606
    Cipherz
    Cipherz
    Participant

    I want to say I really enjoyed the changes you guys made to the game in regards to prot and corpse. I think the vast majority of people who were complaining initially were used to the easy aoe clears and the one-shot crit builds which were bad for the game in my opinion. I definitely like the corpses because it means positioning and class choice matter even more so I’m glad you guys are defending your design decisions and leaving it in the “default” game. I would keep going in the direction where classes and positioning matter the most.

    One big thing that I think you guys should fix is being able to retreat from combat when you get surprised. I think you shouldn’t be able to retreat for at least two turns or something along those lines so that the %chance to surprise/not surprise trinkets or camp buffs are even more relevant. Also making more advanced tutorials available and teaching people how to position better and what targets to focus might help a lot of those people struggling. That’s all I can think of for now.

    Anywho, keep up the great work!

    #77607

    Agrivar
    Participant

    I have still not made my mind about corpses (maybe I’m just extremely fortunate, but they have not impacted in a great deal my dungeon runs, maybe because my favored parties have heroes with skills that can clear corpses extremely fast), but I think that the “Heart Attack” mechanic would have been better received if it had a “Death’s Door” equivalent: instead of reaching 200 Stress killing you automatically, you would have some chance (as big or small as the developers wanted) to survive (and roll again for a possible heart attack when suffering Stress again).

    Also, I think that the “Heart Attack” danger can sort of snowball if you suffer some streak of bad luck as two or more combats in a row with monster groups composed of more than one Stress-inducing enemy (i.e. a row of two combats with two Bone Courtesans in each) who focus on a same hero, and that hero developing and affliction that inflicts continuous Stress to the entire group. One of the thing that differentiates the “Death’s Door” and “Heart Attack” mechanics are that, with the “Death’s Door”, you can use food to regain lost Health points outside of combat, and there are some skills that help to prevent a badly wounded hero from becoming the focus of enemy attacks. But, AFAIK, there is no way of recovering from Stress outside of combat apart of camping (and the successful interaction with some map items, like disabling traps).

    Maybe it would be a good option adding some provisions that can diminish Stress. A flask of Alcohol is the obvious one. Maybe each one of these provisions should have the drawback of increasing the chances of gaining some specific quirks (like Alcoholism). Currently, heroes already can involve in some vices in the hamlet to recover from Stress. Maybe they should be able to do the same inside the dungeons, although in a much limited way?

    And just as a matter of “aesthetics”, heroes being so fragile that can die of a heart attack doesn’t sounds “right” to me. Reading the backgrounds of each class, many (if not most) of the hero classes represent individuals who are not “novice adventurers”, but veteran from military camnpaigns (Man-at-Arms, Crusader, Arbalest), used to blood and death (highwayman, bounty hunter, hellion), or just not very sane (Leper, Jester). So, when reaching 200 Stress, I don’t think that their reaction would be dying of a heart attack, but going totally insane as their minds crack by the combination of the horrors seen at the estate’s dungeons and the horrors they have seen in the past. Maybe it’s for all those “Call of Cthulhu RPG” adventures played in which your character always ends death or insane, but when a “DD” hero dies from reaching Stress 200, I would find more proper to see a text saying “X goes insane and disappears into the darkness to never be seen again” than a text saying “X dies of a heart attack”.

    #77609
    AllWillBeOne
    AllWillBeOne
    Participant

    Awesome, thanks!

    #77614
    Cipherz
    Cipherz
    Participant

    And just as a matter of “aesthetics”, heroes being so fragile that can die of a heart attack doesn’t sounds “right” to me. Reading the backgrounds of each class, many (if not most) of the hero classes represent individuals who are not “novice adventurers”, but veteran from military camnpaigns (Man-at-Arms, Crusader, Arbalest), used to blood and death (highwayman, bounty hunter, hellion), or just not very sane (Leper, Jester). So, when reaching 200 Stress, I don’t think that their reaction would be dying of a heart attack, but going totally insane as their minds crack by the combination of the horrors seen at the estate’s dungeons and the horrors they have seen in the past. Maybe it’s for all those “Call of Cthulhu RPG” adventures played in which your character always ends death or insane, but when a “DD” hero dies from reaching Stress 200, I would find more proper to see a text saying “X goes insane and disappears into the darkness to never be seen again” than a text saying “X dies of a heart attack”.

    I really like the idea of just changing the name of heart attack to something like complete insanity. Where their mind is so far gone that they’re no longer function-able. That’s a fantastic suggestion. I don’t know if I’m too on board with a second chance though, you have to have a lot of bad luck chained to get to 200 stress or a lot of poor decisions. Maybe they could have a second series of insanity where they might start attacking your team or pass every turn and can no longer be healed by stress healing or be stress healed in town.

    I definitely like the aesthetic change though.

    #77620
    Clantuna
    Clantuna
    Participant

    Just the fact that you guys are having this kind of trouble, proves that youve done a great work.

    The game has grown to a point where different groups enjoy it in different ways. You have succefully recognice it and act accordinly.

    Congratz on your work, your success and your attitude toward the community!

    " I was done. Done with the horror that sieges us, done with devil that punish us and done with god that never protect us."

    #77627

    RedHookTyler
    Moderator

    Thanks for the comments and discussion, all!

    //------------------------------------------------
    Tyler Sigman (@tylersigman)
    Co-Founder and Game Designer
    Red Hook Studios
    ------------------------------------------------//

    #77638

    Samson17
    Participant

    I’m glad that you guys are addressing some problems with the new patch, but I hope this wave of backlash doesn’t faze you too much. It is very normal for players who have settled on a way of doing things in a game to complain if that method no longer works. I think I speak for a lot of players when I say that the game is still great and working well. It has its problems, but that’s what early access is for: problems followed by fixes. Keep working on the game and it will work out. The worst that will happen, in my humble opinion, is that you may lose some of the early access players who just can’t adjust to the finished product (and that is also pretty normal, by my understanding). Keep up the great work!

    #77667

    Sentinel
    Participant

    Thanks SneakyPie for a update on the matter of the heart attacks and corpses. And most of all thanks to the development team for recognizing the need to accommodate different play styles and allowing for it.

    Now one can decide what aspects of the game you prefer. Personally, there are ways to work around corpses for example but I was never a big fan of the heart attack idea. Though I can understand it does add more realism.

    Keep up the good work folks. As always I’m a loyal fan and supporter of this game and can’t wait to see what other pain you have cooked up for us!

    Sentinel

    #77732

    Tzami
    Participant

    Do or do not.

    There is no try

    #77736
    Raraknid
    Raraknid
    Participant

    And just as a matter of “aesthetics”, heroes being so fragile that can die of a heart attack doesn’t sounds “right” to me. Reading the backgrounds of each class, many (if not most) of the hero classes represent individuals who are not “novice adventurers”, but veteran from military camnpaigns (Man-at-Arms, Crusader, Arbalest), used to blood and death (highwayman, bounty hunter, hellion), or just not very sane (Leper, Jester). So, when reaching 200 Stress, I don’t think that their reaction would be dying of a heart attack, but going totally insane as their minds crack by the combination of the horrors seen at the estate’s dungeons and the horrors they have seen in the past. Maybe it’s for all those “Call of Cthulhu RPG” adventures played in which your character always ends death or insane, but when a “DD” hero dies from reaching Stress 200, I would find more proper to see a text saying “X goes insane and disappears into the darkness to never be seen again” than a text saying “X dies of a heart attack”.

    I really like the idea of just changing the name of heart attack to something like complete insanity. Where their mind is so far gone that they’re no longer function-able. That’s a fantastic suggestion. I don’t know if I’m too on board with a second chance though, you have to have a lot of bad luck chained to get to 200 stress or a lot of poor decisions. Maybe they could have a second series of insanity where they might start attacking your team or pass every turn and can no longer be healed by stress healing or be stress healed in town.

    I definitely like the aesthetic change though.

    That’s a brilliant idea actually ! That would add more “terror and madness” atomsphere to the game.

    I just don’t understand why people complain about heart attacks. Do they know that you have to reduce stress in town before going into a dungeon ? And yes you gain a lot of stress in dungeon, but generally once you have an affliction, the quest must be finish quickly somehow, because it has a snoball effect with team’s stress. Yes, because of stress, quest will be failed, but that’s one of DD goal, isn’t it ? How people complaining can’t understand that ?
    Only once I had to leave of dungeon because of a heart attack (my favorite vestal with 195 stress, I almost had a heart attack :p). That’s clearly not a big problem for me.

    But thank for the change anyway DD team, you’re making efforts for the community and that’s great. 🙂

    “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.”

    #77738

    Schlagathor
    Participant

    First of all, i really like the game. With about 60 hours into it now i’m ready for the new horrors of the Cove. Furthermore I would like to add that the corpses and heart attacks are really good mechanics. First the heart attacks. In the early stages of the game i had no care for stress. 700 gold in a tavern to fix it after a run and in the dungeon self it dindt matter.)also props to the new eco changes) Now i actually have to watch the stressmeter and build my party so i dont only have some heals, but also stress heals. Some of my earlier party’s arent compatibel with the new stesssystem. This i like, it makes it more tacitcal. Same with corpses. Some enemies would be useless when you got rid of the first row. Fungal arty would blight my back row(with low health hero’s), but be useless when they moved to the front and started escape clouding into nowhere and not even tickeling my tanks in the front. Corpses fix this, but i can see some people wouldnt like this. They would plan to pull them into the first row to begin with. I like to plan for their original positions( rather take an occultist with arty than a Leper who reks everything that gets to the first row like a conveyor belt to an oven). Heart attacks and corpses make the game harder and the choices you make with which hero’s you give a spin matters. The option to switch it off will give the best of both worlds. Give people the choice how they like the game. Personaly I like it hard, but i can see some people will soon give up when the lose Hero’s time after time.(and it hurts so much more when you name them :'() then the Prot and crits. the prot is fine now, but in hound master patch it was a bit to much. i used a 4 maggot encounter as a pittstop to heal my party because it would take so long to kill them with melee only and put out low damage. Now they are fine again, keep Prot in these levels. Some enemies are tough, but not brick walls. The crits were a bit to much aswell. maybe you can distibute the crit ratio more over diffrent enemies? When i see a Giant on my level 5 hero’s all my alarmbells start to ring because he hits like a truck now. i focus him over the back rows. Maybe make it so that not all enemies hit crits often, but some enemies are better at critting then others. this will make you focus a damage dealing enemy more and not worry about RNG endlessly critting you into Oblivion with 2 enemies left. You can choose, kill the health rekking front row giant or the stress causing witch in the back. Whichever your party can endure the best.

    The fact that you guys posted this update proves to me that this game will be fine. I trust you will figure out how to balance the game and give everybody a hard, but just time in these dark dungeon. To this point i never regretted my purchase.

    #77739

    frankffs
    Participant

    As a level designer for a company that I will keep anonymous for various reasons, I believe you made the right decision.

    Not altering (by force) the current game state in regard of the Corpse & Hound patch is a good thing.
    Allowing players to turn on and off the heart attacks and corpses is another!

    So far, I`ve been following closely the developments that you guys have made to the game and it keeps getting better. The possibilities of this game are endless, New heroes, New areas, New monsters.

    I would like to tell you that, as a professional that works in the industry, I love what you have done so far, keep up the good work!

    Btw: The artwork of the whole game is amazing.

    #77740

    Destructorz
    Participant

    Just to add another perspective: I’ve just purchased the game and have played an hour or so. I’ve come to the game expecting a “rougelike” as mentioned in the description and if anyone has played a true rougelike game, you come to the game expecting to die and die a lot.

    My first dungeon run resulted in 3 out of 4 characters with stress over 100 and the accompanying afflictions. I felt lucky to have made it through without losing anyone. And that’s exactly how I should be feeling in a roguelike: lucky to survive. I’m going to need to pay close attention to upgrades and party management if I’m going to be able to nurse my heroes through these dungeons. If I fail, it’s a chance to try different builds and learn more about what works better against those corpse piles or what have you.

    Admittedly, the balance between a challenging game and a potentially “unfair” one is very fine. The potential reward needs to outweigh the risk and occasional failure. So far, however, the balance seems right. Time will tell.

    We’re pretty privileged to have a bunch of developers SO open to crafting an experience that is attempting to meet the needs and desires of a myriad of gamers. Let’s hope they can retain their own vision and passion for this amidst all this too. Keep making it the game YOU want it to be too guys! Enjoying it lots so far!

    #77748

    GrowdanBowl
    Participant

    It’s great that you heed the voice of the community, but I’m very glad that you’re sticking to your guns on the corpse mechanic. It just adds another layer to team composition, which is such a huge part of the game. It also makes certain classes much more viable. I’ve been having a blast with my Plague Doctor in the recent patch, whereas before I really wanted to like her, but I just couldn’t find any room for her in my parties. Should you decide to keep the options for turning off mechanics in the final game, please just make it so you choose which features to have active when starting a new estate. Ad hoc difficulty adjustments don’t seem to fit what I perceive to be the philosophy of the game.

    So, when reaching 200 Stress, I don’t think that their reaction would be dying of a heart attack, but going totally insane as their minds crack by the combination of the horrors seen at the estate’s dungeons and the horrors they have seen in the past.

    This just sounds so very right to me too. For this to become really awesome you could have an alternate “graveyard”, the Asylum, where you could peek behind iron bars into damp cells containing your once valiant heroes, now broken and insane, muttering dark prophecies and screaming in the night.

    #77788

    Unraveler
    Participant

    Just don’t forget to give rewards (Achievements or unlockable contents) to those who put corpse and heart attack on pls 😀

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