Friday, January 3, 2014

Tackling the new quests & maps for ADOM

Part of the crowd funding results have been quite a few new quests (and maps) to be added. Five of the quests have been explicitly labeled as "quests that will be created with the community" but as usual I would like to use a combination of comment feedback & ideas mixed with my own decisions to create the final implementations.
The following additions will get added to ADOM over the next weeks to come:
  • five community quests (a quest is a mixture of a mission together with a couple of new maps, usually around two to eight new maps)
  • six new mini maps (basically special locations consisting of but one map)
And then there are the new special quests:
  • the ultimate nihilist ending
  • the Rolf quest
  • the volcano quest
  • a new special boss monster / quest / map system
  • the immortalization of the mega legend donors (which will get interwoven with a larger story arc I'm working on)
For the latter I don't seek any input right now. But for the former (the five community quests and the mini maps) I'm highly interested in ideas and feedback. My general design goals for these quests are:
  • filling "boring" levelling parts of ADOM
  • adding new interesting beginner quests and maps
  • providing more in game information about actions that todays usually require external spoilers (at east according to common opinion)
So my basic questions are:
  • Which PC level ranges are right now the most boring according to your impression?
  • What kind of maps or quests for beginners might be particularly helpful / useful?
  • Which kind of tasks and later quests are currently very hard to understand / solve without additional external spoilers?
  • Are there any in game story topics / legends that you would like to see covered in more detail?
And naturally the advanced question is: Do you want to see any specific themes or quest types begin covered by the new quests?

I already have a couple of ideas floating around but I would love to get feedback from you!


  1. For me there is a pretty big drop off around the TOEF if the character isn't a beast/has certain items

  2. I have been playing for 20 years and I'm not kidding. My input is this: I love going to the SMC first. I survive the first level, and if i'm lucky I get to the bottom and come up again in High Mountain Village. Thing is, I'm always a lawful dwarf paladin, and the reward for me on that floor is pretty much the shop. Maybe on that 8th level in the SMC there can be an alternate wormhole to another, say, 3 levels deep where something cool happens (involving an octopus/squid/cephalopod please), and then the escape pod to the same spot on the other side of the river on the main map. Returning to that spot would take you to L8 of SMC regardless of how you left it. That would make a 20-year veteran really happy :-)

  3. For a general thing, probably one of the most newcomer friendly and ultimately pace-improving things you could work into the mix of early game activities would definitely be a primer/rewards to take the "need" out of undertaking monotonous herb bush farming in the big room. Pretty much the entire game is dashing and diving from place to place or actively in pursuit of questing but that room's situation just lulls things into a crawl---without anything "interesting" to it unlike, say, the mischief that can be wrought in the Casino.

  4. I would love another early game quest that allows a PC to gain experience/levels without generating a guaranteed artifact. Obviously this is to help with possible pre-crowning because this is, in my humble opinion, one of the most exciting aspects of the game. In that vein, it would be really cool if there was a quest you could do to raise your piety.

    If there was a quest that could win you a random skill, that would be a cool gamble early in the game as well. Perhaps there's a bard in town that needs you to rescue his pet and as a reward teaches a random skill that you don't have.

    Maybe this next part is too much but I have to admit that I've been playing ADOM for many years and (although I'm embarrassed to say it) I've never made it past the TOEF. Sad, I know. I've gotten close a few times, I swear! Anyways, if there was an early quest that earned some useful items for the tower (ring of ice, arrows of dragon slaying, even a fireproof blanket!) I think it'd go a long way.

    One theme that I think could be expanded on, especially in the early game, is a nature based quest: Venturing inside an ancient tree, stopping a pack of dire wolves, etc. I'd just like to see a way for druids and rangers to have something special to do early game. (I know there's the druid in town and keethrax, but I'd really love a quest that takes place IN nature)

    Hope some of these thoughts are helpful!

  5. Boring: Depends a bit due to differing race/class XP requirements... but I think somewhere around L15-25 when Darkforge can be too hard, TOEF still out of reach, especially if you don't want to dive past the dying sage yet.

    Good for beginners: A quest with a master archer where you have to missile otherwise weak monsters who have nasty melee attacks, teaching beginners the primary way for dealing with such monsters.

    Hard to understand/solve: ToEF always a big hurdle, unspoiled newbies probably don't even know about rings of ice or how to hunt them, or about stacking fire resistance / ways to get immunity. It's far from a cakewalk even when you do get all those things.

  6. I'd like to see the opportunity to earn/find Food Preservation, Alertness, and Music. If you found a way to make those attainable through game play (besides wishes), that would be great.

    it would be nice to have a guaranteed source of teleport control, too, but I don't know if that would be too overpowered.

    1. Blink dogs(TC) and pixies(T-itis), my friend, blink dogs and pixies.

      TC is one of the easiest intrinsics to come by.

  7. Kranach annoys me, since I'm an anal completionist. I usually hit the SMC and puppy cave in that order, then walk around the wilderness until day 10 or so looking for him. More often than not, I never find him.

    Maybe you could include a mechanic where you ask the Hole in the Wall locals for clues about where he'd be (near the river, in the southern swamps, the northern hills, terinyo, etc). walking around there would give a higher chance than normal to find him. The location would be different every time and of course the increased chance would not kick in until you'd actually put in the legwork.

    Since haggle is so completely useless, maybe rework it as 'persuasion'. It would work the same on shopkeepers, but also make it more likely that you'd get useful information, or any at all, out of the people you're interrogating.

    This would also be a good way to handle the obscure information. It's not like people blab about the location of the magical orb of power to every dink with a sword who blows through town.

    As for grindy business, deciding whether to get past khelevaster always annoys me, especially as so many other decisions (mainly getting crowned early or late game) depend on whether you can save him. Maybe this is sacrilege, but including a guaranteed AoLS (perhaps with some horrible cost if you go that route) would save many hours. Roguelikes are tough enough, being able to beat the game shouldn't (entirely) rest on the whim of the RNG.

    One idea? You have to feed the ratling artifacts to progress to crowning. I'd say have the guaranteed AoLS also require a number of artifacts to craft. It would take the pre-Khelly ratling fodder, like Big Punch, The Torc, and the Phial off the table. You'd have to feed him good items that you might prefer to hold onto. You're guaranteed to have a shot at AnDoR, but you'll have to part with a lot of very dear items to do so.

    1. You don't need to save Khelavaster to beat the game.

      Ultra endings should remain shrouded in mystery and difficult to achieve in general to avoid giving the impression that they're the "expected" way to win when closing the gate is more than hard enough for any but the most dedicated of players.

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    4. @ Silfir, (edited and reposted because of horrible grammar)

      Sure, I wouldn't want to put in an air conditioned people mover to the Plane of Chaos, but keep in mind that this is a game. Success is judged on how fun it is to play. Difficulty is an entirely different axis of measurement. We can keep the difficulty and make the game more fun, which was my impression of why Thomas was soliciting ideas.

      I've been playing since I was in middle school in the late 90's. At this point I'm good enough to more or less guarantee myself to have to deal with Khelly, and it's really annoying as an adult with other time pressures to realize I've sunk the hours required to get even that far and that I'll have to settle for the consolation prize. I actually haven't played in over a year just because I can't justify the time.

      I like that ADOM is difficult. What I don't like is that ADOM demands a time investment and can lead to scenarios where content is off limits. I don't mind playing Binding of Issac and dying because of a series of crap rooms because I'm only out 30 minutes or so. With ADOM it's 10 hours or so, about a week of free time before you find out, sorry, your ending is in another castle. There's no reason to take content, which I'd assume Thomas worked pretty hard to create, off the table just because you didn't roll the right number on the computer's million sided dice, and don't have the patience/time to justify rerolling it over and over again until you hit.

      It *should* hurt to have to get the guranteed AoLS. A real Sophie's Choice, but one you're guaranteed to be allowed to make. Make people give up their bracers of war and the rune covered Trident to make it happen. No reason you still can't reach and beat Andor, but it'll be that much more of a pain. If you have any other ideas (Lose access to class powers maybe?) I'd be glad to hear them.

      As for the shrouded in mystery, I hope you don't mean the situation now. I doubt anyone's gotten to Andor except through the guidebook/wiki.

      Your first win you should probably not know any better than to close the gate, but by the time you win, you should have a very solid idea how to get an Ultra.

      You should know:
      a) Ultras exist
      b) AoLS's exist.
      c) Khelly was necessary for the Ultra ending - you could probably handle all that with a scroll when he dies mentioning a plan he had to 'go beyond the gate and handle chaos once and for all'

    5. I think your problem is you're a completionist. The game should make everything easy to complete because of that! That said I hope the new quests aren't as annoyingly luck-based as the Kranach quest or the dwarven elder's random monster-slaying quest. The Kranach quest in particular is a very bad introduction for new players.

    6. When did you start treating ultra endings as the "default"? Can you think back to when you started playing ADOM in the first place - wasn't it very much like Binding of Issac is today, that you're new to the game and start out dying every 30 minutes and diving back in? That's EXACTLY what ADOM still is to players new to it.

      Of course your approach is going to change over time. In my case, I grew into a bit of a minimalist; when I do play I try to get to the ending as safely as possible and without needless diversions. I'm not interested in ultra endings AT ALL. I certainly don't think we should encourage in any way the mindset that they're the "true" endings, or that the regular ending is a consolation prize (wtf). Ultra endings are meant specifically for players that are already hooked and are into that sort of thing; not players who are still this side of sanity and only just learning how to stay alive.

    7. As Seldon said, it's not about making it easy. It's about making it hard in a way that is fun. Grinding (either in-game via things like stairhopping, or by playing ridiculous numbers of ordinary games) just to have the opportunity to *start* on certain game content is not fun. The difficulty should come mainly from requiring skillful play. A certain luck component is OK, but currently it's too much. I've beaten the game normally twice, and have not once found an amulet of life saving (or a wish) before needing to proceed past Khelavaster.

      It'd be fine if, upon attempting an ultra (or even just some of the game content that leads up to it), my character got stomped due to imperfect play, but I shouldn't have to quit my day job to play the game enough so that eventually the RNG lets me start. That's not fun. Sure, there's plenty of game left after losing that content, especially after the new stuff is added (which I hope is mainly not on the ultra path) -- but that doesn't strike me as a good reason for imposing such an arbitrarily harsh luck-based barrier to entry to certain content.

      It could still be maintained as a special bonus not applicable to all games, but should be more common than it is today. E.g. instead of a guaranteed amulet hidden in a difficult quest, there could be a 1/4 or so chance of the amulet appearing -- and you have to do the difficult quest before you find out if it's there (maybe with some other reasonably nice non-ultra-opening consolation prize if it's not). And if that's not "hard enough", add more (mostly non-luck-based) difficulty post-Khelavaster.

    8. Thanks Scott, you've pretty much stated exactly what I was trying to say. Glad I'm not the only one.

      Darren, I'm not a completionist. I don't have the time to be. I haven't beaten the game with all races and classes (there are a few that after a couple playthroughs, I've NEVER played again, because I don't like them) likewise for certain weapons.

      I've beat the game a few times, the normal way. I've actually not ever achieved an ultra ending. It's the only game-related content I've not experienced, and it's the only content I'm interested in seeing when I start a new game.

      Silfir, Once I've beaten a game, I'm more or less done with it - again, finite time. I would never replay a game I've beaten on a less challenging manner, just to get a win, of whatever degree. That's not meant as any sort of criticism, we just play games differently. You haven't made it clear though, how the proposed change would affect your enjoyment of the game as you choose to play it. There's at least two people who would have more fun with ADOM if content was skill rather than luck dependent. If there's no one who would have less fun, why not change it?

      As for the BoA comparison:
      Sometimes you don't have enough keys or bombs to get at everything in a level, including very important treasure rooms. You know why that's ok and Khelly isn't?
      One, any treasure you can't get at only makes the game more difficult, it doesn't exclude any action or gameplay choice you could otherwise make.
      Two, it takes about two hours to get to the Final boss, the 4th or so level post-vanilla ending. It takes about 3 times that to even get to Khelly assuming you're actually trying to win (i.e. checking every nook and cranny for the AoLS) and you're only at the 1/3 mark. There's a reason why actual games of chance - slots, craps, roulette, poker rounds what have you - are decided in minutes or less.
      Three, in every BoA game, the 'Ultra' ending is guaranteed - assuming you've beaten a series of successively harder bosses. The only impediment to a shot at the big bad is your past performance, and the only thing between you and the maximum win is your skill in that current game.

      My thesis, in a nutshell is:
      The game requires a significant investment of time. The odds of success are VERY low. That's the point of the roguelike genre, but it should come from the difficulty of play. Reducing the odds of success still further by adding in an arbitrary McGuffin that is only rarely generated, is in effect cheating. Death in a roguelike should leave you with the feeling that your failure to achieve your goal was your fault. Make the extra content harder however you like, but don't just randomly decide who gets to see it.

      Basically, I'm operating on the principle that Thomas wants to make it a more fun game for everyone. If he were to come out and agree with you on every point, my response would be 'Well, then this isn't the game for me", and just go find something else to play. In effect I already have; I haven't played in over a year, and only sporadically before that - I only came to this discussion through the indiegogo backer updates. I don't have any skin in this argument. There's a fun game I remember fondly but consider myself to have exhausted, since I consider the necessary time to roll up a game with an AoLS a non-starter. If that barrier were removed I (and probably a few others) would jump back in with both feet.

    9. Forgot our 'Sandalwood Box', did we? Seems like it.

  8. I have played many, many games of ADOM over the years, and I tend to find the early levels the most exciting, because they seem the most dangerous and unpredictable times, in the sense that more of what you encounter tends to have a meaningful effect. If I survive the first several PC levels, I will occasionally not feel much danger until about level 13-16, which is usually about the time I tend to quit playing, usually because at about that point (having done the Pyramid, Graveyard, and a bit beyond the Dwarf city), the next things that I know to do seem extremely dangerous and challenging in ways that need focus on optimizing a character who at that point has insane amounts of items and it just seems a bit overwhelming and like I'd prefer to just start a new character. I tend to wish there were more I could do that would be worthwhile and sort of interesting but would not involve my probable destruction due to facing mid-to-end-game challenges that are even more difficult than my extremely-powerful character is strong. At that point, I wish I could exit the chain and go on different adventures, but that's sort of out of the scope of the game and I realize the game is about ridiculous escalation and risk and probable horrible sudden death despite great powers, which is cool but I personally tend to not want to jump into such challenges. So if I do keep playing, I tend to be trying to get more powerful or durable or fireproof before facing the super-hot dungeon, and that tends to seem to me tedious.

    Things I think are particularly hard to understand without using an external spoiler FAQ:
    The difficulty increases in the Small Cave.
    The puppy rescue time limit.
    How to cross maps with rivers and very hidden staircases down.
    The whole backlash of killing two many of a specific type of monster thing (still makes no sense).
    Being a weaponsmith and what's needed to get the eventual marginal ability to forge and fix things.
    The later special locations and their challenges... I can't even imagine how much time it might take to figure those out myself.
    The weird herb growing system, and what the various herbs do in various states of holiness.
    The religious rules... there should be some knowledgeable devout people who could be consulted to be told what the rules are.

    It seems like maybe there could be some more quests available for people just before the end-game challenges, which could have significant but alternative types of challenges and potentially useful rewards to help characters who might need or want to do something other than go face their dooms. Sometimes characters at that point are missing some important elements, and could use some alternative risks with potential redeeming rewards that are difficult or impossible to find in other ways. You know, I could spend hours trying to maximize the use of Increase Attribute potions and wishes or other gamey grindy techniques, but I would rather if there were a way to have some other serious risk that involved direct adventure instead to provide possible rewards that if I survived, might make me feel up to plunging into the super-hot dungeon.

    Of course, it might be nice if I didn't feel compelled or tempted to do both... maybe some adventures should be available to characters who are otherwise messed up, such as highly cursed or tainted or damned characters - places they could go to risk destruction but possibly get some redeeming benefit, but would not be a path for people who are saintly and abusing blessed increase attribute potions. Etc.

  9. Oh, and it might be good to look at the player-made ADOM FAQ and make redeeming quests for any skill or abilities or artifacts or whatever that are listed as "useless" there. :-) It'd be nice if there were male and female love stories possible, requiring appearance and/or charisma and/or alignments and race and gender requirements. Crucial uses for haggling, people who only talk to upper-class or lower-class people (i.e. starting wealth level), Haggling, etc...

    1. The idea of personal quests that require appearance and/or charisma is so brilliant! A reward for these stats would be super cool because right now they're not particularly important. Good suggestion!

  10. This has been said before probably, but I find level 18-25 to be a hard part to get past because I've gotten a lot of the good stuff, but I'm not really prepared for the harder levels to come. This has to do with the dying sage and the TOEF which are major challenges, but also even once I go past those, it seems like the only option is to dive in over my head without any real opportunity to prepare other than grinding in the endless dungeon or the like.

  11. Someone also mentioned herbs. I think Conway's rules of Life are pretty obscure to start with, and expecting someone just starting to realize that's why the bushes are disappearing/exploding all over is a little much. Maybe a primer on herbs/farming thereof.

    (removed and reposted since it didn't fit my convo with Silfir)

    Also, more sacrilege. I'd have gardening (which is guaranteed) allow you to speed up the blooming of the herbs. They're way to valuable (if you aren't a mindcrafter they're 'only' HP, PV, DV, speed, to-hit, and access to the Library.) to ignore in the early-mid game, but sitting around holding '.' (or even practising music, if you can) is super tedious.

  12. I'm playing ADOM unspoiled and here are some things I just cannot figure out.

    1) The "goal". The fool talks about walking north-west to retrieve one of the best. The cave to the northwest has the scroll which tells me my goal is some number of paces away, and the fool said I'd need a weapon of mass destruction to come closer to my goal. I've searched the whole level and even tried digging in the walls (wand of digging/pick-axe = weapon of mass destruction?) but found nothing. The confusing part is that the goal is usually over 100 paces away but the screen is only 80 characters wide, so the goal must be at least 1 screen away? I've searched the mountains and fields adjacent to the cave entrance but found nothing.

    2) The red rooster. I've searched the forests and the towns at dawn for the red rooster but simply cannot find him.

    3) The S level in the forboding dungeon. Around 2 or 3 levels down, the level splits into 2 paths, D and S, which then rejoin on the next level. I've walked everywhere in the S level spamming the search key but found nothing. I don't understand the significance of this alternate path.

    4) Weapon differences. Perhaps I didn't pay enough attention to the message logs while fighting, but I can't tell if there is any difference between a 1d6 sword or 1d6 axe or 1d6 dagger or if they are all identical. It would make sense if weapons had their own special effects (like increased chance to cause bleeding with axes or increased crit chance with daggers, maybe this is already the case and I just haven't noticed...).

    5) Some herbs. The purpose of some herbs still eludes me. This is fine I guess since I'm assuming it just takes a lot of trial and error to discover what everything does, but not knowing the purpose of moss of mareilon in particular is causing me a bit of grief. This is because the fool mentions two uses for moss of mareilon (proof against the undead and rubbing it might get you moving) but using it next to undead had no apparent effect on the undead, nor did it affect my speed or the energy used to move around.

    6) Equipment. I've not been able to find a use for brass rings and amulets, wedding rings, money belt (I can only assume that this increases any gold I find by a certain percentage) and girdle of greed (which only seems to make haggling fail 100% of the time). Don't even get me started on the Si...

    7) Oak tree with medium sized hole. I made a 2'10", 74 pound hurthling and emptied his entire inventory and waited until he was starving and he still could not fit into that hole. I even had a 6 foot elf that weighed about 6 pounds due to corruptions and he could not fit either (his torso could not have been wider than a garden hose at 1 pound per foot). I don't know how much thinner a character can be. Do those stats have any significance (weight, height) or are they just for role-playing?

    8) Ratling dealer. I don't understand why he sells something for 50k that can be obtained for free in the pyramid. Apparently you can trick him in some way to get it cheaper? I have not been able to figure out how to do so.

    9) Ring of stones. Where to? I have no idea how to use this.

    1. Keep your innocence! I can't remember when I was still unspoiled.

    2. A lot of the problems you've mentioned people are talking about in the larger context of how little information on game mechanics you are - ever - given.

      A little trial and error never hurt someone, but here are some hints.

      1) I remember being new and how infuriating water damage was. The goal in that dungeon will help you hold onto scrolls, books, etc, and prevent rusting.

      2) The Red Rooster is VERY late game content, and optional. Don't sweat it until you've beaten the game at least once.

      3) As far as I know, the S and D level split serves no purpose. Perhaps you'll be the one to discover it. Otherwise, enjoy an extra dungeon level worth of EXP and loot.

      4) Level up two weapons to, say level 5 or so, then check your weapon mastery screen ctrl-W. The differences should be obvious, and yes, they will lead to, and compliment different play styles.

      5) As for herbs, I would not recommend using cursed ones until you know exactly what they are doing. Blessed ones have a much stronger effect, but that should be obvious to you. As for MoM, try ginning up multiple blessed ones, either with herbalism skill or by using other means (there's at least one available to everyone). Use one every dungeon level or so. You should start to understand the effects after a bit. If it's still not clear, gin up a bunch of cursed ones, and do the same, the contrast should help.

      6) Some items are 'useless' but I'm not aware of anything in the game that doesn't serve a purpose, or that can't be re-purposed. More experience and lateral thinking is necessary. In that order.

      7) You were on the right track with the elf. Maybe people will get mad at me, but - there are two weight related corruptions. Both are necessary, and no. height and weight are irrelevant. There is one personal characteristic that is *rumored* to have an effect, but probably doesn't, or it would be confirmed by now.

      8) Law of supply and demand. You'll understand in a few more playthroughs.

      9) See Red Rooster hint.

  13. I like the idea of another skill or two which could be earned as an early game reward.

    How about this: the "choose just one quest" in the first town could be expanded. You could have one quest for a half decent set of armor, one for a couple of spell books, maybe another for another skill.

  14. I would LOVE a new quest involving the Terinyo town drunk. You could trigger the quest by giving him a lot of potions of booze (loosens his tongue a bit). Maybe he knows where a treasure is buried. Maybe he drinks because he lost his wife while adventuring in the infinite dungeon. Maybe he was once a great adventurer but foolishly attempted to read the scroll of omnipotence. Maybe he isn't a drunk at all but is instead secretly a great alchemist. You could hint at the quests existence by having him say something like "you buy get a drink and I'll spin you a yarn that'll knock your socks off " when chatted with.

    Fortunately ADOM is in good hands! I hope you have a great 2014 Mr. Biskup. God Bless!

  15. Thinking about Steam accessibility and getting more players in, it would be nice to have good starting directions, like "good first character(s)" and a tutorial quest/instructions to go to Terinyo and talk with the "village elders" or whatever in order to get the ball rolling and suck in newbies. Possibly able to opt out of this during character creation if experienced players want.

    I'd opine that 20 years ago we entered every game knowing nothing but "explore a bit and figure it out", but now we expect a bit more introduction or guidance to get started - I'd hate for new players to miss out just because of lack of a starting kick in the pants into the right direction and expectation.

    I also think it'd be useful, on death of a character, to have a cryptic question or statement "hint" to expose the player to something they didn't get to or might have missed, things like references to the pyramid if they never passed the river, or oblique remarks about Chaos, or anything else that the mad fool might sadly say when standing over the player's corpse. Basically anything to try to suck the our unfortunate player back into easily starting another character immediately. (The "revenge your dead sibling" quest! Hm, maybe a quick way to start with the same/similar character build?) Early deaths are expected, come quickly, and it should be cheap to dive right back in, especially if the player learns something interesting or excitingly relevant right after the character died. Of course, this could also be a good way to taunt and mock experienced players who got pretty far, so everyone wins. ;-)

    Kudos on all the hard work! I hope some of our ideas end up being useful.

    1. Yeah, it can be a good idea, One Way Heroics does that (although only sometimes randomly, not in 100% of deaths). It shows you a friendly NPC that you haven't reached, saying things like "Oh, come on, when am I going to get a chance to act?", and the tutorial fairy saying something like "Just be patient, I'm sure he'll get further next time" :) And it does contribute to making you want to play more when you're starting, because you think "hey, I'm apparently missing NPC's and quests and story, not only more monster killing".

      It also has another interesting feature on death which is advice, for example if it detects that you've been killed by a really strong enemy the fairy tells you that you should run away from impossible fights, if it wasn't so powerful she gives you a different hint, etc.

  16. Guaranteed sources of an amulet of life-saving or the alertness skill would make nice quest rewards. The amulet presents interesting gameplay possibilities because you have to weigh wearing it and preventing a possible game-over versus holding it in your inventory for the dying sage.

  17. I find the worst parts of ADOM for me are when I don't have an item or skill I need through normal gameplay and it puts the brakes on my progress with no quests to get them. Examples:

    1. Crossing the lake for Ring of High Kings and not having a wand of frost or spell. Bridge building is still too much of a pain to do it.

    2. Not having detect traps or disarm trap for pyramid and dwarven graveyard. Have to go to grind pickpocket in infinite dungeon to get it which takes a long time. I would rather have a more fun quest that results in getting detect traps.

    4. Not having enough fire resist/ring of ice/blanket for ToEF.

    Other things I think should be looked at:

    1. Khel should not automatically die if you talk to him for the first time.

    2. Item destruction is still overly punishing.

    3. There is no way to find out how to defeat the various bosses/uniques. Perhaps books could be found or NPCs could talk of rumors and such to hint at how to kill the bosses or at least counter their most powerful attacks.

    That's all I have for the moment, thanks!

    1. 1. A book of frost bolt and wand of ice can be obtained from the Druid.

      2. You really don't need detect traps for those areas - try it sometime and you'll find them a lot more fun.

      4. I'll grant you that, but at the same time, doing the TOEF without a ROI/blanket is a load of fun/adrenaline rush.

  18. Ok - Boring grinding bits to work on -
    Just before ToEF.
    ----trying to hunt rings of ice, fireproof blankets.
    Just after ToEF.
    --- - I just finished ToEF recently as a level 21 high elf priest, and am not sure what to do now. . need to level badly but don't know where. . .

  19. Hi! I've been playing ADOM for about 10 years already.

    I'm not a perfectionist, but I just can't allow myself to let Khelly die. It seems so unfair to me. Besides that a bonus for saving Khelly is pretty nice so when I get to him without AoLS/RoDS I just start to search for those items in different dungeons infinitely. And it's soooo boring. And I have no other option because letting Khelly die and not getting additional SoCR-s and ignoring ultra ending seems a lot more boring to me. And very often I do not find AoLS at all. I just keep leveling until 30-s or even 40-s in infinite dungeon for example and then just quit because I still do not find an AoLS or die because of lack of concentration while being bored. It is very disappointing!

    So, if you'd want to make me happy, you'd include some definite way (maybe very difficult, but still) to get a single AoLS in the early game. Thank you.

  20. Concerning unspoiled newbies: Something I forgot because working around it is just so ingrained: the healing skill. Newbies basically must get it to get anywhere; I've gotten a couple of ultras and I don't play without it unless I'm messing about with candle. Not having that regen makes the game horribly tedious and frustrating, and it must be 10x as bad when you don't really know what's going on.

    A completely fresh player has no idea that this one skill grants massively increased HP regen. He doesn't know what races/classes starts with and without it. He doesn't know that just by picking of 1 of 2 PCs to talk to, he'll enable or permanently lock the quest to acquire it (I always thought this was especially dumb; you don't get a prompt or a warning, it's just based on who you talk to first. I never knew there even WAS a druid quest until I was guidebook spoiled; I knew that the elder would give me a quest, and I never saw a good reason not to get it right at the game start, not realising that it shut off another quest entirely).

  21. Some sort of hints/guide to Wishing would be nice. I pretty much always look this up now, despite having played since I was a kid. For one, I can never quite remember the *exact* wording to get many of the items/skills I want, as some of them are not always the same as the underlying skill. It also doesn't help that I can't quickly check my bags/talents/etc for what I even currently have either! I know there's a limited interface, and failure is all part of the process, but it's a shame when I typo/misremember the specific phrase required during a pool wish and miss out on the opportunity.

    Otherwise, I'd like to see more water levels. There's the sea dragon cave that has an entirely new set of monsters and rules (ie, the treasure on the floor) but its the only one (that I'm aware of). Adding blue stairs that can be found in dungeon rivers which lead to small flooded sub-levels (independent from the main dungeon depth) would be a good way of teaching players about underwater levels *before* the main quest.
    These levels can be a new means of obtaining rare items, a guaranteed method of gaining a certain type of wealth (they always have juvenile water dragons hoarding gold down there, and they automatically go aggressive if you take it), a shortcut/passage way to another section of the dungeon (or even surface, allowing an exit only path back out of the dungeon) or just another level to explore of depth appropriate gains. Either way, more underwater stuff would be fun!

    On the note of under-utilised details. Someone above mentioned more wilderness based quests/goings ons. I agree with this, having more events (other than straight up random encounters) in the wilderness would be fun. I get that you'll run into a lot of hostile people out in the wilderness, but you can run into other interesting things too.
    Like being able to find a witches huts that you find in a random swamp tile, but it always appears randomly (so its hard to find again, but possible), that has a cool NPC witch with a potion shop, who might curse you if you're Lawful.
    Or coming across an encampment of warriors in a field, who again move on when you leave, but can be found again later if you go looking (perhaps with some changes due to the time difference, more signs of corruption/injury etc). They might attack Chaotic PCs, but teach weapon skills to anyone else.
    Even just stumbling across a fairy ring that surrounds the player with quicklings or pixies. They might teach you music, or tell you cryptic things (like fortune cookies) or just play a trick on you - so when you leave the circle its much later and you're in another part of the map!
    So, basically, just more oddities to the wilderness encounters.

    1. I really like another water level. The random ones sound fun, but I also think there should be a guaranteed one by l15-20 or so (offshoot from the water temple?)

  22. There are a few things that I would like to see as quest rewards, or that are the most difficult/tedious parts of the game in my opinion.

    1) As people have commented, the time in the game before you go to ToeF is kind of lackluster. You're not really able to do much to do besides grind levels.
    2) Late game, in my experience, is quite annoying. I see it as a race against the clock to win before you get overcome by corruptions. The levels themselves are largely easy. Casino provides you with endless cash, as long as you can handle the corruption over time. The last level... every time I reached it, I read a Scroll of Familiar Summoning and watched a Greater Earth Elemental with a bunch of levels slaughter everything without breaking a sweat. I wouldn't mind the very-late-game being tougher, but with some way to at least slow down the corruption.
    3) Mindcrafters are difficult as it is, but getting a Mindcrafter through the temple of elemental mana seems next to impossible to me. Seeing as they can't cast from hit points. Since there are already heavily specialised items like the ring of karmic absorption, I wouldn't mind a late-game quest giving access to a ring or amulet that protects from mana drain.
    4) A few ways to get certain weapons would be nice - quests seem perfect here. Getting powerful whips and quarterstaves is extremely difficult, especially seeing as some classes have a comparatively easy access to powerful artifact weapons of the more popular types. In a game where a well-played barbarian has a decent chance to get Vanquisher, IMO one of the best weapons in the game, well before reaching Dwarftown, I'd LOVE a way to get a Whip of the Snake or a powerful quarterstaff for my duelist or monk or even ranger.
    5) I don't think it can be helped completely, but the artifact and regular weapon balance is seriously skewed. Artifact weapons are often VERY powerful, some are pretty easy to get (Big Punch, Dwarven Rune Axe, crowning rewards), and with the game rewarding specialising in one weapon type a LOT, risking the loss of a weapon usually means that I stick with the first good artifact that I get. I think 99% of this problem is that weapon/armor destruction is just WAY too easy to happen. Anything that'd at least give an option to remedy that is good in my book, because in practice, I find that non-artifact weapons and armor are just now worth the hassle, no matter how good they are.
    6) I would love a place/quest/item/change in the game that'd make smithing more accessible. I tried to make items with Smithing a lot of times, and the results were less than spectacular. I have completely given up on smithing items. It's difficult, it requires a lot of digging around for ore, and I never created a worthwhile item with it.
    7) Joining the Thieves Guild is boring (usually involving spamming your Pick Pockets at 1 at hordes of monsters), tedious, time-consuming and the rewards just do not seem to measure up. I think the head of the Thieves Guild would be more interesting if he was connected to at least a quest or two, and/or if he moved to new towns as you progress through the game? "joining a guild" is not much fun if it can trains a couple of skills.
    8) Speaking of which, new in-game guilds and quests related thereto might be fun and flavourful.

    I think that's about it. There are probably more things, but these are the elements of the game that stick out to me as boring/slowing things down, and that could possibly be remedied with a new quest or a map, one way or another.

  23. 1. The two worst points for me are around the first dwarven quest (if the RNG doesn't cooperate) and the ToEF, since both can be bottlenecks in terms of progression. It's unwise to travel beyond the forest/halls before doing the first dwarven quest, and impossible to get beyond the wall of flames prior to the ToEF.

    This can lead to the double problem of having nothing to do other than grinding beforehand, and then having too easy a time of things afterwards because you over-leveled in the process. It's typical for people to prepare so thoroughly for the ToEF that if they beat it, then it's plain sailing through the CoC up until the mana temple and blue dragon caves. I'd love to see some extra optional side branches added to the CoC below the wall of flame to make that stretch of the game more interesting.

    I'd also like to see some alternative quests for around level 10 or so that aren't reliant on having the RNG spawn the right monster for you to kill. I love that part of the game after the first quest, because the quest rewards are so well tailored to the challenges you have to face next, but if the RNG doesn't co-operate then it's a slog. This is pretty much the only point in the game where I will ever quit a character out of boredom or frustration. There really aren't any other good options at this point other than "sit and grind and hope", so some extra quests here would be nice.

    2. I remember when I was a new player, it took me a ridiculously long amount of time to discover the search command. I kept on discovering dungeons with dead ends in them, at which point I'd just turn back and go somewhere else.

    It would be cool if there was an early-game maze type dungeon (like the pyramid or dwarven graveyard) where the quest-giver warns you that there are many secret doors and that you'll have to search for them.

    3. I've been spoiled for so long now, it's difficult for me to remember what was and wasn't easy to figure out. One thing that I will say, though, is that there are some parts of the game which go from being deadly if you don't know how to deal with them to being trivial once you do. Things like the banshee or the battle bunnies can easily kill an unprepared player, but are no threat at all to someone who knows their secrets. I would like it if that sort of thing were kept to a minimum.

    4. The high kings. Who were they, what was the significance of their ring, and who is the eternal guardian?

    Gnomes, drakelings, hurthlings, high elves, grey elves, mist elves. Other than the player character and the occasional shopkeeper, we see nothing of any of these races.

    The druid order that Guth'alak belongs to and Keethrax used to belong to. We hear of this early on, and then it's never mentioned again.

    The orb guardians. Are they lawful creatures that were corrupted, or have they always been creatures of chaos? If the latter, how did they come into possession of the orbs?

    Karmic dragons. I just think these are cool.

    1. Agree that things that go from deadly to trivial are bad. The Banshee is such a joke in melee that we used to let her kill 1000s of trees. Should it even be possible to bypass the challenge of the bunny level like it is?

    2. The only thing that makes the bunny level even acceptable in its current form is that it *can* be made trivial. There is absolutely nothing fun about getting stuck in a horde of battle bunnies because you can't do anything about them spreading.

  24. From my point of view, ADOM's herb growth mechanism may not be obvious to new players. This may encourage players to use spoiler sites.
    A gardening quest at Terinyo may make things easier. In such a quest, a gardener teaches the PC about basics of herb growth, i. e. the Game of Life,
    but not about herb effects. He gives the task to create a specific (useful) herb pattern in his own garden, which may be located in a special map,
    to which the gardener follows the PC. In order to do the quest, the gardener provides seeds. The PC may experiment in the garden.
    However, no herbs may be eaten or used. All herbs are taken from the PC when leaving the garden.
    In order to make experimentation less annoying in the garden, the gardening skill is treated as it was at 100 (due to the gardener's advice)
    and herb replication speed is increased. On succeeding with the quest, the gardening skill is granted to the PC.

    1. Herb farming is boring, I think it's better to discourage it than to teach how to do it, much less incentivize it!

    2. I think that this is a fantastic idea. Either tack it on to the Keethrax quest if you learn gardening from the druid, or add it somewhere else.

    3. I have to agree with Al-Khwarizmi; herb farming isn't inherently a fun mechanic. We've already restricted the impact it has on the game by limiting stat growth somewhat, making it less of a perceived necessity to slog through. If we give it the special attention of an introductory quest we create the appearance that herb farming is somehow integral to the game experience - if that were true, THAT'S what we would have to fix.

      Right now, the lack of explanation about how herbs grow works pretty well; players can either just pick the bushes apart and treat them as just another one of many items they find along the path, or if they are really interested, do some experimenting or research. Some things just work better if they aren't spelled out.

      If there really has to be more of an instruction on herbalism or gardening, the perfect place for that would be the relevant skill descriptions in the manual. ADOM has a great manual.

  25. > adding new interesting beginner quests and maps

    Brainstorming from real historical curiosities for random or set maps (using google image search for inspiration!)
    * Stonehenge/Skara Brae: Random 'ruins' in the wilderness or swamp
    * Machu Picchu: mountaintop quests
    * Celtic Tower: Hermits or elves or warriors or wizards or puzzles...
    * natural spire: alternate to a tower...
    * Sinkhole caves: not that there is a lack of caverns. :-)
    * Petrified forest / mesa verde / grand canyon: ...
    * Shipwreck / sunken treasure: something with the north lake beside the water dragon cave (or even Ys / Atlantis!)
    * madagascar landscape: ... cool images, but I'm drawing a blank
    * ice cave: looks cool, and an early balance/forshadowing to the later ToEF?

    Also, what was the history of Terinyo or Lawenilothehl. Are they built on anything, remnants of a lost large civilization, or just recently cleared peasant villages in the woods? Any beginner immersion quests in the back story?

  26. 1. Evil quests for Chaos Knight!

    Hotzenplotz/Kherab/Black Unicorn should have special assignments for CK (at the very least CK should be able to get "Kill Jarod" from Hotzy).

    Maybe Srraxxarrakex can give special assignment as well.

    2. More underwater stuff, Sub Level of water-caves with more adventures.

    3. Mid game quests that gives a "ring of earth" or "ring of lightning" which protect equipment from lightning / acid attacks respectively. These can take place in an acid-based level for extra danger.

    Alternatively, a very difficult late mod-late game quest (lots of traps/item destroying monsters) quest that provides an artifact necklace that stops item destruction of any kind.

  27. As far as I'm concerned, predetermined maps themselves and quests lose their luster after a while. ADOM is a dungeon crawler (as one of the posters in the forum as summarized it very effectively) - so give us some more dungeons to crawl. I think enough people have said so far that there is a lull around the mid-game where the ToEF is really the only next thing on the agenda, but the players don't really feel safe going there yet and really want another place to level - let's assume that's the consensus. The best possible solution for that in a dungeon crawler is to add a new dungeon to crawl.

    That doesn't preclude the existence of a quest - quite the opposite! The main purpose of the puppy dog quest for most players isn't saving the puppy at all (sadly), it's to unlock the new dungeon. Same goes, all things told, for the VD and DD; both are just about the safest places you can be in the early game, before you make the long hike to the CoC.

    So, a new dungeon, mid-range (starting at DL 15 perhaps, and ending at a ToEF-equivalent 25-30), with a bitchin' boss fight at the end. Unlocked through some sort of quest giver, restricted by level or reaching some sort of milestone - find the water orb, etc. And really with no bells and whistles, just the full range of dungeon features. Maybe an increased vault generation rate. Vaults are bitchin', too.

    Basically, I want to crawl dungeons until the end of time. That's where ADOM's replayability comes from more than anything.

  28. Wow, lots of good suggestions in the comments above. Rather than posting a lot of answers, I'm going to quote here some ideas I really liked:

    Kevin Gillese said:
    > One theme that I think could be expanded on, especially in the early game, is
    > a nature based quest: Venturing inside an ancient tree, stopping a pack of
    > dire wolves, etc. I'd just like to see a way for druids and rangers to have
    > something special to do early game. (I know there's the druid in town and
    > keethrax, but I'd really love a quest that takes place IN nature)

    PseudoFenton said:
    > On the note of under-utilised details. Someone above mentioned more wilderness
    > based quests/goings ons. I agree with this, having more events (other than
    > straight up random encounters) in the wilderness would be fun. I get that
    > you'll run into a lot of hostile people out in the wilderness, but you can run
    > into other interesting things too.
    > Like being able to find a witches huts that you find in a random swamp tile,
    > but it always appears randomly [... or] coming across an encampment of
    > warriors in a field [... etc. etc.]

    Yes to making the wilderness more eventful. These suggestions fit nicely the need for mini maps.

    Unknown said:
    > I'd like to see the opportunity to earn/find Food Preservation, Alertness, and
    > Music. If you found a way to make those attainable through game play (besides
    > wishes), that would be great.
    Oddtail said:
    > new in-game guilds and quests related thereto might be fun and flavourful.

    Other good ideas for minimaps, once you salt them with some randomness: a minimap with a guild, which is random (out of some set of alternatives) in each game, and where you can learn some skill in exchange for items/quests. For example, in one game you could find a guild of archers, which asks you for a load of logs and can teach you Archery or Fletchery as a reward; there could be a shop which sells things useful for archers: missiles, potions of dexterity, necklaces of the eye. In another game, you find instead the mighty Society of Trollish Bridge-builders, which assign a quest and teach you Food Preservation as a reward. In another, an hurtling community, which will teach you Cooking or Gardening if you can give them some gelee royal. And so on.

    Underwater maps seem very popular. I especially like the idea of Quadko:
    > Shipwreck / sunken treasure: something with the north lake beside the water
    > dragon cave (or even Ys / Atlantis!)

    Another nice one from Quadko:
    > ice cave: looks cool, and an early balance/forshadowing to the later ToEF?

    Maybe in this cave you can get something useful for the ToEF; ice creatures surely love items that protect from fire.

    wmbeher said:
    > There is no way to find out how to defeat the various bosses/uniques. Perhaps
    > books could be found or NPCs could talk of rumors and such to hint at how to
    > kill the bosses or at least counter their most powerful attacks.

    This could be a good new use for the book of Confucious: giving rumors about boss monsters.

    Seldon T. Scranton said:
    > Your first win you should probably not know any better than to close the gate,
    > but by the time you win, you should have a very solid idea how to get an Ultra.
    > You should know:
    > a) Ultras exist 
> b) AoLS's exist.
    > c) Khelly was necessary for the Ultra ending - you could probably handle all
    > that with a scroll when he dies mentioning a plan he had to 'go beyond the gate
    > and handle chaos once and for all'

    Something along that line would be nice. The only drawback that I see is that this could spur a newbie to try and do an ultra right away; maybe there should be a counter, such that the scroll is generated in the game only if the player has already closed the gate once or twice in previous games.

  29. Lots of great ideas here.
    I have only one major request for the new quests and maps:
    Please, please, PLEASE give the PC another major decision point in the mid-game. One reason the early game is so interesting is that the player has to make decisions that have ramifications throughout the game.

    I think the mechanic of "mutually exclusive dungeons" is a good one for this. For example:
    Add another outdoor settlement somewhere in the west side (that's 1 minimap), such as a troll town in the mountains with a few other races thrown in. Maybe it has to be searched for, like the quickling tree.
    You can choose one of two quests: (C) recover an ancestral relic guarded by L monsters/monks in a monastery, or lead a diplomat to dwarftown (temporary companion, like the puppy) to establish normal relations (L).
    Rewards could be things like another manual of bridge building if yours got lost, an anvil, Food Preservation, and so on. There is also the possibility of a double-cross, as with the unicorn quest.

    I trust Thomas to come up with something interesting. But it is choices like these, more than anything else, that get me involved in the PC's story and keep me interested in playing.

    Regarding other issues:
    * I agree that another couple of randomized wilderness locations would be nice.
    * There were lots of good ideas on the forum for new types of Greater Vault, some of these could be recycled into mini-quests.
    * A lawful-themed vault or mini-dungeon could play very differently depending on whether the PC is L or C, which would be nice.
    * I think the problem with new players not knowing ultras exist could be solved without hand-holding if the oracle were a little more talkative. Maybe she could at least alert the PC to K's importance, while not explaining that he needs to be saved, and have another message or two that activate when certain game conditions are met (e.g. medal obtained, PC is L or N champion too early for ultra...)

    Finally, bits of lore that I would like to see expanded on with the new content:
    * the Mad Minstrel's past and future. Maybe there is an NPC who knew him before he became mad? What is he going to do with the weird tome? Is there any way for a bard character to surpass him and use the tome himself?
    * The two mad doctors must be related, right? Maybe they're rivals, or brothers, or something bad would happen if they got together...
    * Who is the god of thieves, and where is his/her temple?
    * There are tons of ratlings in the DC. Where do they live?
    * What the heck is up with the Casino? That is such a (literally) random thing to find deep in the dungeon.Who built it, and why?

  30. This may sound lame, but it took me weeks to figure out how to please the Healer. I am not a native English speaker, and back then in 1999 I had no internet to look up what "exert mercy" meant. But even if I had known that, I think newbies should get some more hints on how to please the healer. It is likely the first quest, and such a vital one, that I feel it needs special care.

  31. I also had trouble figuring out the healer quest. In fact, I only saw the solution in a video while watching a Let's Play. When learning the game, I wrote down as many of the fool's sayings as I could because it seemed like the only source of information about the game. Among the sayings were: "Healers are strange people -- they enjoy it if you throw stuff at weak ones..." and "... the right stuff that is." I took this as a hint on how to complete the healer quest and spent lots of time throwing nice things like money, equipment, potions of healing, potions of attributes, and bandages at damaged or weak monsters, even throwing bones at skeletons but none of that worked.

  32. With regards to "community quests":

    A grey-elf fortress of six levels, town+shop on the second level and a dark-elven infestation and boss on the eighth level, aimed toward characters level 15-20 (post-Pyramid, pre-ToEF). Lots of missile damage, dangerous for people without Dodge. Could be a combination of forested/walled-in.

    Water dungeon, with several guaranteed river maps and fully underwater maps on the final levels, to provide another use for both Swimming and helm of water breathing/ring of the fish.

    It'd be interesting to have a counterpart to the ToEF that focuses on ice and cold resistance, usually obtainable, and featuring a friendly three-headed great white wyrm who might help with rings of ice, and would provide a difficult battle if one dared attack.

    A holy tower that primarily generates lawful monsters, but generates them in a manner similar to DH-- level 35 players would find ki-rin (and solars?) there. Specific benefits in going there if you're a priest, paladin, with possible lawful benefits as well?

    "Mini maps":

    A busy town, similar to HoleInTheWall but even more sinister and dangerous, where breaking into people's houses/pickpocketing would be worthwhile enough to warrant a visit and some chaotic activity.

    A surface-level farm, run by a friendly troll farmer, who sells herb seeds and allows you to purchase a plot of land, an eighth of the map to experiment with planting and farming. Now that herb-scumming has been reduced, it'd be nice to have a safe place to grow some base-level herbs, and some guaranteed food sources for the late game-- I usually need to rely on Big Room pacification + stomafillia growth once the lizards run out in the late game.