Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Game of Dungeons v5.4: Magic Items

I'm still plugging away at this game, trying to grind my character to a super-high level.  Belal is my 208th character, and he's currently sitting on close to 3,000 hit points and 10 million gold.  It's not a massive total, but it's enough that I can delve into the dungeon and return with the maximum amount of gold that I can carry, without a great deal of risk.  I'm exercising patience, and trying not to extend my playing sessions too long, because as long as it's taking, starting from scratch is going to take longer.

The Chosen One!

Reading back through my posts on The Game of Dungeons, I realised that I haven't discussed magic items much.  There is quite a good variety, with some significant effects on gameplay.  One item in particular completely changes the way I approach the game once I've found it.

There are the staples, of course: swords, armour, helmets and shields, all with bonuses ranging from +1 to +3.  As you'd expect, these increase your effectiveness in combat.  They're not that essential, given that most monster-killing is done with spells, but having a good set of arms and armour increases the level of monster that you can kill without suffering damage, and helps you to conserve those spells.  So they are pretty handy.

There are loads of different magic rings as well. The ring of protection works just like armour.  There's one that lets you float over pits, and another that increases the power of your spells.  The ring of invisibility helps you flee from enemies, as does the ring of swiftness.  The ring of regeneration heals you with each move you make, and the ring of luck increases your chance of finding more magic items.  They're all useful, and the ring of levitation cannot be dispensed with.

There are magic boots that reduce the frequency with which you encounter monsters, and increase your chance of running away from them.  The magic lantern lets you see secret doors.  There's an amulet that tells you when you're next to a transporter to another level, and also gives you a rough idea of how likely you are to succeed in any combat; I find it especially useful, and it was even moreso back before I'd mapped everything.

The bag of holding is the real game-changer, though.  As I've mentioned before, the strength of the monsters you encounter increases based on the amount of gold you're carrying.  With a Strength of 18 you can carry 1,800,000 gold, and the enemies max out at around level 300.  Eventually you'll get to a point where you can handle anything the dungeon can throw at you.

The bag changes that, by increasing your carrying capacity a hundredfold.  With the ability to carry more gold comes the attention of stronger foes, and they just keep getting stronger the more gold you carry.  Without the bag, you can afford to get a little complacent.  Once you have it, the rewards are bigger, but the risk returns in spades.  It's really easy to get carried away and overwhelmed by hordes of powerful enemies.

It's actually a really clever little bit of game design.    Just as I thought I'd mastered the game, I found the bag and suddenly it got difficult again.  I don't anticipate getting back to a point of complacency, either; I've not even come close to carrying my maximum gold with the bag.  And not only does the game get harder with the bag, it gets even harder again once you find the Orb.  I continue to be impressed by this game.  It has a surprising amount of hidden depth for such an early effort.

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