Why do people like roguelikes?

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Raging Justice
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Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by Raging Justice »

I can't wrap my head around the appeal of this bizarre genre that has infested gaming lately. Everywhere I look, particularly in the indie scene, I see endless droves of roguelikes. There's this weird obsession with the genre these past few years.

I hate them. I don't like FORCED deaths in a game i.e. none of your skill, strategy, or practice matters...YOU'RE STILL GOING TO DIE. On top of that you're possibly going to have NPC characters pointing out how you died and how much you suck in order to bruise your ego (the game Hades comes to mind)

I also don't understand the appeal of a genre that is so focused on RNG, removing the craftmanship that makes me appreciate a talented game designer in favor of some random bullshit generator i.e. "procedurally generated" gameplay.

Lastly, these game are grind fests by nature, because you will need several runs through chunks of the game before you become strong enough to MAYBE survive long enough to actually beat it.

I also don't like the concept of "runs" i.e. you have to sit down and play for long sessions because the game isn't saving your progress

I've tried Hades multiple times and ultimately realized that I hated it. I'm playing Inscryption right now and so far I hate it. I don't get it. Why do people like these things?
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by marurun »

Well, developers like them because:
  1. Procedural generation routines can be lots of fun to create
  2. Procedural generation routines can generate a lot of content with less work, because then you don't have to hand-place every element in the game
  3. Multiple runs allows you to build more game time for less investment of developer time, and lean really hard on those procedural generation routines for content
  4. The whole improving with every run, slowly building skills and abilities each time, means less time spent trying to meticulously balance difficulty. The player will improve in skill but also abilities and you don't have to be constantly trying to anticipate what every player will find challenging. This way a player can kind of grind their way to the top if they need to.
Players like them because:
  1. Procedural generation means there's enough differences (if done well) to keep them on their toes and constantly seeing new situations.
  2. Procedural generation means that the skills they learn will continue to be applicable across multiple runs, because there's always a base familiarity underlying the changed/reformulated content every new run.
  3. Player gets that steady drip of "hey, I'm getting better" as they play multiple runs and their skill and familiarity improves, but also as they acquire some kind of perk across runs, like new abilities or skills or whatnot.
No single game type is for everyone, and there's lots of games out there that don't incorporate rogue-lite systems, so it's not like you're facing limited choices. But if you're a developer on a budget there's going to be an appeal because you can kind of optimize your effort in terms of total play time and experiences your player will get out of your work. And also a lot of programmers really love playing with procedural generation. That's like something that's pretty popular among certain types of developers.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by ElkinFencer10 »

I, personally, hate them because I want hand crafted worlds, not worlds generated based on an algorithm or some such shit, but given the near-infinite different experiences each game can provide, I can definitely see how people who are more about gameplay diversity than story or lore would dig them.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by Raging Justice »

marurun wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 2:30 pm Well, developers like them because:
  1. Procedural generation routines can be lots of fun to create
  2. Procedural generation routines can generate a lot of content with less work, because then you don't have to hand-place every element in the game
  3. Multiple runs allows you to build more game time for less investment of developer time, and lean really hard on those procedural generation routines for content
  4. The whole improving with every run, slowly building skills and abilities each time, means less time spent trying to meticulously balance difficulty. The player will improve in skill but also abilities and you don't have to be constantly trying to anticipate what every player will find challenging. This way a player can kind of grind their way to the top if they need to.
Players like them because:
  1. Procedural generation means there's enough differences (if done well) to keep them on their toes and constantly seeing new situations.
  2. Procedural generation means that the skills they learn will continue to be applicable across multiple runs, because there's always a base familiarity underlying the changed/reformulated content every new run.
  3. Player gets that steady drip of "hey, I'm getting better" as they play multiple runs and their skill and familiarity improves, but also as they acquire some kind of perk across runs, like new abilities or skills or whatnot.
No single game type is for everyone, and there's lots of games out there that don't incorporate rogue-lite systems, so it's not like you're facing limited choices. But if you're a developer on a budget there's going to be an appeal because you can kind of optimize your effort in terms of total play time and experiences your player will get out of your work. And also a lot of programmers really love playing with procedural generation. That's like something that's pretty popular among certain types of developers.
You make some valid points

Here's a big issue that I have. To me, a game where you have to die repeatedly before you can make progress is a game that DOESN'T reward skill. It's no better than grinding in a RPG until you're twenty levels higher than you should be, and stomping everything in the game from that point on. Don't get me wrong, that can be fun, but I'd rather that be OPTIONAL. There's something very oft putting to me about that being required to make progress. Like, all of your strategies and skill are meaningless. The great thing about RPGs is that a truly skilled player can do low level runs or put other restrictions on themselves and still beat the game. Rogueslikes don't seem to reward skill. Instead they just gate off stuff you need to make progress until you die enough times. In a way, this makes them feel like cheap, crappy, mobile games to me. Might as well just ask the player for money to buy whatever they need to make progress

Roguelikes just feel like a manipulative and lazy way to design a game to me.

Also, I think procedural generation could be fun as a sort of extra mode to try after you've beaten a game, a way to squeeze more play time out of it. However, having the MAIN game be designed that way feels lazy to me and uninspired. There's no sense of craftsmanship to me. Like imagine if famed developers like Shigeru Miyamoto just cranked out procedurally generated games. If the original Zelda had just been some procedurally generated game, would we still have held Shigeru in such high regard? He's famous because of the craftsmanship that goes into his games, the masterful design.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by MrPopo »

So a few things.

1. Elkin, never ever play Daggerfall

2. People speedrun modern roguelikes all the time on fresh files. The ones that offer incremental progress through persistent stats or gear are only a subset of the genre

3. It's not a new phenomenon. Rogue came out in 1980 and Nethack first came out in 1987 with continuous development ever since. Both of them start you fresh every run (even the potion colors are randomly selected on new game)
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by Gucci »

As marurun mentioned, they can be a lot of fun. I haven’t played many, but the five I have played I have a blast with.

FTL is probably my favorite one on the list. Love space games. Managing your resources, crew, weaponry, and hoping for the best in a random encounter. The ending segment is the same but the journey is where it shines.

Out There is another space game. Less complex but still can be difficult with resource management.

Crypt of the Necro Dancer is an awesome rhythm game that has some progression but every run is different obviously. Released on a ton of platforms and fantastic soundtrack.

The Binding of Isaac. The newest version is Afterbirth and has two DLC that adds a shit ton of items. It’s basically Zelda pre-3D meets shmup.

Last one is Dead Cells. Metroid like gameplay. Sort of like Mark of the Ninja and Shank.

That’s about it for me. All those games are quite different but are cut from the same cloth. Every run will be different and fresh. Sometimes you make it. Sometimes you don’t.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by marurun »

Very good point @mrpopo. Many do not feature advancement. I would say a great many roguelikes and roguelites are skill-based. You learn the mechanics and the game rules but they prevent you from memorizing any specific stage elements, so in fact you are playing off raw skill and knowledge with no help from memorization.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by prfsnl_gmr »

marurun wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:30 pm Very good point @mrpopo. Many do not feature advancement. I would say a great many roguelikes and roguelites are skill-based. You learn the mechanics and the game rules but they prevent you from memorizing any specific stage elements, so in fact you are playing off raw skill and knowledge with no help from memorization.
I agree with this. One of my favorite rogue-likes is 20XX, which is both: (1) the best Mega Man X game since X4; and (2) the hardest game like Mega Man X. You certainly acquire some upgrades as you progress, but in the end, none of them matter that much. Mostly, you just get better at the game as you play and learn from your mistakes, memorizing boss patterns so that you can beat them with basic weapons, learning how some parts of the levels fit together into a cohesive whole, etc. Beating the game on what started out as a pretty mediocre run felt like a momentous achievement. Maybe give that one a try sometime? Rogue-likes are known for their difficulty, though; so, if you get frustrated easily or just don’t like unforgiving games, it may not be a genre for you.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by stickem »

I've been playing dead cells since it came out. I like it because i've gotten familiar with all the layouts, enemies, weapons, the combat system; but it still feels like a new game every time I play. Every game is different. when I die, it's my fault. I can play different styles based on what the game offers up that game. It just never gets old, but you get better.
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Re: Why do people like roguelikes?

Post by Raging Justice »

Gucci wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 7:31 pm
FTL is probably my favorite one on the list. Love space games. Managing your resources, crew, weaponry, and hoping for the best in a random encounter. The ending segment is the same but the journey is where it shines.

That’s about it for me. All those games are quite different but are cut from the same cloth. Every run will be different and fresh. Sometimes you make it. Sometimes you don’t.
These comments perfectly exemplify one of the things I hate about the genre, your success being dependent on luck. No reward for skill, as no matter how good you are you can be undone by random bull crap.
prfsnl_gmr wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:39 pm
marurun wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:30 pm Very good point @mrpopo. Many do not feature advancement. I would say a great many roguelikes and roguelites are skill-based. You learn the mechanics and the game rules but they prevent you from memorizing any specific stage elements, so in fact you are playing off raw skill and knowledge with no help from memorization.
I agree with this. One of my favorite rogue-likes is 20XX, which is both: (1) the best Mega Man X game since X4; and (2) the hardest game like Mega Man X. You certainly acquire some upgrades as you progress, but in the end, none of them matter that much. Mostly, you just get better at the game as you play and learn from your mistakes, memorizing boss patterns so that you can beat them with basic weapons, learning how some parts of the levels fit together into a cohesive whole, etc. Beating the game on what started out as a pretty mediocre run felt like a momentous achievement. Maybe give that one a try sometime? Rogue-likes are known for their difficulty, though; so, if you get frustrated easily or just don’t like unforgiving games, it may not be a genre for you.
It's not difficulty that bothers me, it's cheap, artificial difficulty. It's like someone handing you a knife and telling you to go fight a guy with a gun and then smiling at you as if you're stupid enough to not realize that you're being screwed over. 20XX doesn't sound so bad though, and I do love me some Mega Man X.
stickem wrote: Mon Jun 03, 2024 8:51 pm I've been playing dead cells since it came out. I like it because i've gotten familiar with all the layouts, enemies, weapons, the combat system; but it still feels like a new game every time I play. Every game is different. when I die, it's my fault. I can play different styles based on what the game offers up that game. It just never gets old, but you get better.
THIS is what I like, what you said about dying being your fault

I guess I need to try different types of roguelikes. Inscryption sucks despite all of the praise and hype that I've seen for it. Everything about the game is cheap and rigged, plus there are cryptic things that are never explained to you increasing the game's difficulty. Skill and strategy DO matter. However, due to how rigged many of the card games are those two factors will only get you so far. You need a little bit of luck (with regards to what spawns on the map for you to use) as well as fore knowledge of what's coming in order to make the right choices as you explore the map. You can get to a card game where you don't have what you need to win because of choices you made beforehand. It's blatantly unfair. On top of that, when you start a card game every card you and your opponent will draw is predetermined and set in stone. This means that you can't reload your save file and hope for a better draw. You're stuck with whatever the game has decided you will play with. This throws whatever strategies your deck may be designed around right out the window and just further adds to the rigged feeling of the game.

I have heard that there are various exploits that make the game easier, but the things you need to do to use them are only unlocked after you die a few times. Like I said before, no reward for skill, strategy, or preparation. Instead the game rewards you for your inevitable deaths. Essentially you are playing the game handicapped because so many features are unavailable to you until you die.

Inscryption is an awful game that exemplifies everything that I hate about roguelikes. If there are GOOD roguelikes as some of you saying, this certainly isn't one of them.
Last edited by Raging Justice on Tue Jun 04, 2024 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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