I recently learned about C:DDA and I was totally sold on the idea and what I heard of. So, I started playing it.
Let me first tell shortly a bit of where I’m coming from. I’ve played dozens of different roguelikes in my life, but mainly I have hundreds of hours in steam-Tome (finished it once) and throughout decades I’ve played versions of ADOM from ages ago, I probably have thousands of hours on it and I’ve finished it with several class combinations.
This isn’t meant to say I’m a great player, I certainly aren’t and I can’t start a blindfolded tourist on nethack and get anywhere. I’m only saying this to say, that I have some experience in how roguelikes work. I’ve also played dwarf fortress, so games that are difficult to get into aren’t new.
All settings are unchanged. My very first character was a basic survivor. Shelter and all. Okay, let’s look at the commands. Let’s get our bearings. I move one step towards the locker which has items. One step. Immediately, the walls of the shelter explode and open to sunlight, all the floor is covered by rubble and the log talks about triffids. I’m as disoriented as can be. What is happening. What did I do. I actually managed to run out, and get killed by the plants outside the bunker, so that was better than real me probably would have managed to.
Well, I’m not one to throw away games quickly, so let’s start again. Same map, survivor. I’m starting from the rubbled ruins of the previous character, so there’s seemingly one starting location only for this scenario. Okay. Plants all around me. It isn’t pretty.
Let’s try something else. Burning building. Poor student. Collect stuff, go outside, there’s a zombie. Hello there, my undead friend. I start to run, and I can outrun it easily. I cannot outrun a blue shocker zombie, who catches me quickly and kills me. Okay.
Let’s try something else. Mall cop. Yes, advanced scenario start, whatever. I hide, move carefully, kill a few zombies when I’m bottled up in a toilet, but I’m starting to get hits and there are monsters everywhere. I run out, manage to get outside and start running southwest, with literally a hundred thirty or so zombies after me. I keep the button pressed and run into a moose and die. Well, that was my fault, no biggie. YASD.
Let’s try something else. New world, this one is cursed. I have a few basic survivors that live for some hours or even one day, dying in a sewer to an endless horde of rats. I start to learn a bit on how the items work and the commands are starting to get to my head, and the potential I see is incredible. For all it’s great combat system TOME is checkers compared to this, and even ADOM is nothing in complexity. I’m sold, again.
Let’s try something else. Unwilling mutant, starting in the middle of nowhere. I pick a direction and go therewards. Eventually something kills my very hungry and very thirsty self, who never found anything except empty woodlands and a lovecraft monster, to my surprise (no doubt annoying to some people, but I love lovecraft so that was fine) that I managed to kill when I had a minefield between it and me, and it triggered 3 mines before it got to me. Lucky break there. But, I’m dead soon anyway. No matter, it would be a hard thing to survive. Luck is a thing.
New game, same mutant, same scenario. I grab a stick and head some way. This time I’m lucky and I find a gas station! There’s food, some little to drink, this is a good start. No enemies anywhere. There are dead soldiers next to it, and I get a helmet, MBR vest and army pants. A mess kit. I can cook things. I’m invincible! Okay, I hope this is a really lucky start and not a common occurrence. You could find Ringil on floor 5 or something in Angband. I follow the road, still only having a stick, the one weak point of my godhood.
A zombie appears northeast. I immediately head southwest, and I lose it. Good, let’s be very careful. This road’s gotta lead somewhere and I’ve time now before I starve. A city lurks in the distance! Careful now with the zombies. What’s that? 3 mi-go are approaching me right from where I was going?
I cannot run.
They catch me easily.
I turn to fight. Despite my helmet, mbr-vest and pants, I’m two-shotted to death.
First of all, none of this isn’t a complaint. I like hard games. Also, this is a free game, and while, for example, dwarf fortress could be more succesful if it had a better and less inpenetrable user interface, the designer gives the game for free and if he wishes to spend time on something else and let only those players play who take the time in learning it, he has a right to do that.
So do you, in all ways.
I also know that unlike normal games with load and save, where the ending should (in my opinion) be harder than the start, roguelike games need to have it the other way around. An experienced player can reach a point in ADOM where he can say with something like 90% certainty that he is also going to win. That’s how it has to be, since a death means 80 hours of lost time.
But man alive, this really isn’t seeming to be an easy game to get into.