Gameplay Mechanic Graveyard, part 1

The death of a pun.

In the spirit of giving deeper insight into the game development process, I’m taking/stealing a page out of Sid Meier‘s play book and sharing with you guys one of my bad ideas.

In an earlier iteration of Dungeons of Dredmor, spells were learned from spellbooks found on the ground, of various “magical strengths”, which had different statistical probabilities of yielding spells.  Strong spellbooks would likely yield multiple spells, or higher level spells (which were harder to get), but you were never guaranteed a spell.  Not only that, but spell-casters had a better chance to learn spells than fighter-type characters, and so would end up with more spells, but there was always that chance that a fighter could “go for it” and get a really sweet spell to use when they had no more options.

It turns out that this was a terrible idea.  People hate the concept of failing to gain spells and instantly are less inclined to submerge themselves in the “Dungeons of Dredmor” experience.  We then were struck with a bad situation because if we guaranteed that spells would be learned, people would always go for the higher level spells in the book and always be above the power curve.

The solution?  We got rid of spell books and implemented a wizard leveling mechanic which rewarded players with the next level spell of whichever spell school they chose.  It combines limited choice (always a good thing) with automatic advancement (something which keeps players interested and rewarded for their zomby killing) …(and yes, that’s supposed to be “zomby”).

Next Friday, another exciting look into another one of my bad ideas =)  See you then!

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