Transparency

One thing I like about Slay the Spire is that it explains the consequences of your actions. Maybe folks consider hidden information to be Explorer content, but in a fairly difficult game with permadeath, consistent but limited information comes to “fail and die until you try every option and memorize it” or “read the wiki.”

For example, when you start a run (assuming you made it to the first boss), you get a choice of bonuses, some with tradeoffs. Many roguelikes would have you pick one of four doors with vague descriptions like, “the red door smells of blood and gold.” Slay the Spire just says explicitly, “start with half health and 250 gold.” Similarly, events in Slay the Spire tell you what your choices mean. For example, when an event offers you a choice between a banana, donut, or box, you are told the implications. There is no obvious reason why a banana would heal and a donut would add permanent hit points, so it would be just a blind pick without the info, until you memorized the outcomes of the event. Or read the wiki.

Perhaps what I am getting at is that many games punish you for not reading the wiki, and it seems like bad design to drive players to the wiki rather than putting the relevant information in the game. Yes, you could count that as a spoiler or learning the game, but given that the penalty for failure is starting over from the very beginning, hidden information is closer to Fake Longevity than Explorer content. And I’m saying that as an Explorer; don’t do that for me, I hate it.

: Zubon

3 thoughts on “Transparency”

  1. Hmm. Those two examples are not equal. I completely agree about the arbitrary assignation of effects to objects. There is no logical connection between bananas and healing or donuts and hit points and its completely unhelpful for the game to behave as though there is. On the other hand, a description like “the red door smells of blood and gold” is far from vague and certainly neither arbitrary nor unguessable. Clearly that door leads to an area in which there will be combat and treasure. Whether that’s fair and entertaining in context would depend on what the description went with the other three doors.

    I’m entirely in favor of non-numerical descriptions. I know a lot of gamers have a numeric bias but there are lots who lean more to the literary end of the human scale. Expecting people to second-guess the developer’s whims and fancies, however, pleases neither demographic.

  2. The explorer content shall contain provoke awe and contain wonder. Without those feeling of discovering something marvelous or interesting this not Exploring but try and test.
    For me Exploring is not so much about choice but more about finding hidden gem.
    Thr “red door” exemple is great if this is the only choice : I love to be warned about what is coming without knowing exactly. This make my imagination running !

  3. There can be middle grounds between Wiki and memorize. Has-Been Heroes, for instance, remembers what items you’ve owned before and shows you descriptions you could “remember”. So the first time you see the blue pill, you might guess that it buffs magic somehow because blue and give it to your magic user, but the second time you see it you’ll know exactly what bonus it gives.

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