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Subject: Normal vs. Story Mode? rss

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David Griffin
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What is the experience playing story mode? Does it lengthen (or shorten) the "infant mortality" effect that seems to be part of every video I watch where the players are REALLY easy to one-shot till they have picked up some skills and items? The skill effect from micro experience would suggest lengthen, but the starting with items would suggest shorten.
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Frank Franco
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Story mode is shit. Don't bother.
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David Griffin
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Mr Skeletor wrote:
Story mode is shit. Don't bother.


Opinion noted, but without knowing why you think so, it's not as helpful as it might be.

I feel like there are two aspects of the game that make the players powerful -- skills and stuff. Story mode limits your experience such that you acquire skills EVERY SO SLOWLY. On the other hand, you mostly get the equipment the normal game has, but (and here's the catch) you can't use it till you get to that level during every game. That means that you continually have to have multiple sets of equipment and keep switching (which IS kind of shit, to put it colorfully).

On the other hand, after playing the introduction (in story mode) I am now starting the 2nd mission with 2 skills (1 each for 2 of my 4 characters) and 4XP for the others along with 6 cards for each of them which will probably be divided between level 1's I can use right away (nobody has a 2nd level skill so I will still start at level 1) and the "good" stuff. That is REALLY annoying, surely there was a BETTER way to do that, but we'll see how it goes. For instance, maybe when using gear with higher levels you lose the lowest dice from attack or defense but you can't lose the last one or something? Or lose an ability? Oh well. On to adventure 2.

I still want to know what people think of story mode vs. normal mode, but I'd like details on why they feel that way. What specific thing do you like or dislike about it and how would you have done it differently.
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Frank Franco
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carbon_dragon wrote:
[q="Mr Skeletor"]
I still want to know what people think of story mode vs. normal mode, but I'd like details on why they feel that way. What specific thing do you like or dislike about it and how would you have done it differently.


Story Mode was tact-on and it feels tact-on.
All it does is slow the meta game down. The game is not exactly a riches of tactics as it is, one thing that keeps it interesting really is the rapid leveling up. Slowing that down (which is what Story mode does) just makes the game more grindy and boring. I get to sit on lower levels for longer, whoopie.

As far as balance goes it makes earlier quests harder and later quests a cakewalk, so it really just amplifies the balance problems of the game.

I would have done it differently by not doing it at all. The games framework can't support a campaign mode.
If it really had to have one then they should have designed quests for a campaign mode rather than try and retrofit the existing ones to work with it.
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Not every game needs a campaign mode, I wish developers (and gamers) would realize that. Well done campaign modes are great, but anything less than a well done campaign mode is a complete waste of time.
 
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Ratimir Ismailobrat
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The equipment rule broke it for me.

Six item limit? Sure. Six item limit including the level 1 crap that you're forced to wield despite carrying good stuff that you could use before and will use again but can't right now because reasons? Ugh.

So in order to not have to arm down before each quest, I pushed a hero through to level 5 ASAP. Now the level 1-4 treasures are barely used, the 1-4 guards and lesser roamers never. Quests lose all sense of progression, since you're at the same level all the way through, and get even more repetitive. The campaign loses all sense of progression, since every quest is running at the same level with the same OP gear combos, pretty much defeating the purpose of playing a campaign.

Two quests later, campaign suspended, probably never to be resumed.
 
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David Griffin
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ratimir wrote:
The equipment rule broke it for me.

Six item limit? Sure. Six item limit including the level 1 crap that you're forced to wield despite carrying good stuff that you could use before and will use again but can't right now because reasons? Ugh.

So in order to not have to arm down before each quest, I pushed a hero through to level 5 ASAP. Now the level 1-4 treasures are barely used, the 1-4 guards and lesser roamers never. Quests lose all sense of progression, since you're at the same level all the way through, and get even more repetitive. The campaign loses all sense of progression, since every quest is running at the same level with the same OP gear combos, pretty much defeating the purpose of playing a campaign.

Two quests later, campaign suspended, probably never to be resumed.


Yes the dual equipment set is a problem. Like I said, I would have preferred some *simple* rule that nerfed the better equipment a little until you got to that level by removing dice or abilities. That way you only need 1 set of equipment and it gets better over time. Maybe if you have a level 3 longsword, you can just take the level 1 and 2 cards free and substitute them for your sword till you get to level 3. Problem is some cards don't have multiple versions. I suspect they might have thought of this and just thought it was too complex.

Or maybe instead of HAVING level 1-5 longswords you have only 1 card which works better over time depending on your level.

It damages the immersion a bit to have to switch between equipment sets. But it does feel like it's the same group and I like that. We'll see how it goes. If all else fails, I can just go back to the standard game.
 
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ratimir wrote:
The equipment rule broke it for me.

Six item limit? Sure. Six item limit including the level 1 crap that you're forced to wield despite carrying good stuff that you could use before and will use again but can't right now because reasons? Ugh.

So in order to not have to arm down before each quest, I pushed a hero through to level 5 ASAP. Now the level 1-4 treasures are barely used, the 1-4 guards and lesser roamers never.



Well, you kind of screwed yourself by going to lvl 5 ASAP. If you followed normal character progression you would have been able to play it for a while longer.
And you do know you're able to use the level of equipment your character is at right? Why are you hauling level 1 stuff around?
By going to level 5, the entire dungeon is level 5, the mobs are level 5, you can use level 5 equipment and skills (if the hero is level 5). The only thing that's bound to the tile level is is the equipment you get from the chests that spawn there. So at the level 1 tile you spawn a level 5 mob but only get level 1 stuff from the chests.

Btw, how did the rest of your party survive if every quest started at level 5 with only one of the chars being that level? Can't imagine fighting level 5 mobs with level 3 characters.
 
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Bone White
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Story mode plays just fine in my experience. I think, judging from this thread, that you're missing a few/lot of rules, which is why it seems "tacked-on".
 
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David Griffin
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Bone White wrote:
Story mode plays just fine in my experience. I think, judging from this thread, that you're missing a few/lot of rules, which is why it seems "tacked-on".


What is your experience playing story mode?
 
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Nigel Buckle
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Story mode just doesn't work for me as written

Early quests are a bit tougher, or impossible if you are unlucky and get a wandering monster with the right equipment (or rather wrong from the Heroes perspective). However get to level 2 or 3 with some decent weapons and the whole thing just becomes really easy and a bit snore

I think it is because game is designed to ramp from nothing to massively high in a single quest - so how can a campaign work in that framework? All they've done is slow the XP acquisition.

A number of people have suggested variants to fix/improve it. I've done one (in the file section) and it works for me Played over a dozen games with it now. What my variant does is treat the vast majority of what you get in a quest as temporary, but you keep the same rate of XP acquisition (like standard not story) micro XP is just used for minion kills and paying for signatures. All the skills you get in the quest are lost at the end apart from one that you keep, so each quest you start with one extra skill. So most of the game plays like standard (which does work) but you have a bit of development too.
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Brian M
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Bone White wrote:
Story mode plays just fine in my experience. I think, judging from this thread, that you're missing a few/lot of rules, which is why it seems "tacked-on".


Characters have around 100 XP worth of skills to gain. After the intro and 2 quests, we had at least 40 XP each. And the quests get longer and at higher levels you meet more large groups of minions, so the rate of XP gain would be going up. In another two quests we'd probably have all the skills.

Meanwhile, we'd cleaned out the level 4 treasures in the last game and gotten all the stuff we wanted from it, and were starting at level 4 already.
 
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David Griffin
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StormKnight wrote:
Bone White wrote:
Story mode plays just fine in my experience. I think, judging from this thread, that you're missing a few/lot of rules, which is why it seems "tacked-on".


Characters have around 100 XP worth of skills to gain. After the intro and 2 quests, we had at least 40 XP each. And the quests get longer and at higher levels you meet more large groups of minions, so the rate of XP gain would be going up. In another two quests we'd probably have all the skills.

Meanwhile, we'd cleaned out the level 4 treasures in the last game and gotten all the stuff we wanted from it, and were starting at level 4 already.


So are you saying you like the way it works? Or are you saying it doesn't. Hard to tell.
 
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David Griffin
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Ok finished episode 1 (2nd game) in story mode.

3 characters are level 2, 1 is level 1 but has 9XP (barbarian who lacks a lot of 5 point skills at low level). I don't have a sense of what the important skills are yet. I suspect I would get a better idea of that in regular mode where you see more skills earlier on.

First game wasn't too bad because it was short. Saw a lot of guard groups and a couple of wandering monsters and they were tough. Never died during the game and left 1 room unexplored. I didn't feel TOO overpowered on game 1 (introduction).

Second game wasn't as easy. Soft start but things took a turn for the worse from me going quickly to tile 3 and then back to tile 2 because 2 of the 3 possible artifact spots were on tile 3. I ended up fighting the Ogre mage and a guard group at the same time. This did get me to my higher level gear (from game 1 but unusable until I got to that level in game 2 -- REALLY ANNOYING) more quickly. But I also ended up in a near death slog up through tile 2 into tile 4 (final room) fighting the extra monsters in the special room while being pursued by lesser wandering monsters. Then since I was on tile 4, I started drawing greater wandering monsters and between that and the guard spawns I must have spent an hour and a half on the last tile being worn down by a neverending stream of monsters. Wizard died twice.

The frustrating part was I didn't QUITE have the dice to get through the colossal defenses of even the level 4 guard groups. Add a piece of armor and they were sporting 4-5 defense dice. I just couldn't generate the dice from the gear I had (and story mode means my skills were lower level and fewer than they "should" have been). I made it through but there were a lot of frustrating rolls with no damage through.

You don't realize what a knife edge this game is balanced on. Even though I think the gear is more important than the skills, the skills put you just up enough to manage the defenses of the later monsters, and in story mode you don't have it. And I'm not fond of having to keep two levels of gear -- one to start the adventure and one to "grow into" every single game. Game 3 will start at 2nd level so the level 1 gear is toast but I still have to keep 2 levels of gear.

I still think Story mode is viable (and fun) but am looking for a solution to betting slightly higher damage for attacks.

Strangely, my Battle Mage ended up getting NO magic weapons till middle of the 2nd game! All I had were melee weapons, so he took sword and spell and is rocking a couple of good melee weapons including the King's mace and the rest of the king's gear. It makes him not GREAT, but not at all bad. He has less range, but the Ranger is my ranged character currently with a fire bow.

I have a town phase to work through before the next game.

EDIT: I've worked through the town phase and I'm going to house rule the number of kept items per character to 7 due to the need to carry weapon and armor for both the level you start at and the level you are saving for your long term weapons. Otherwise you can't carry ANYTHING extra like artifacts or ... well... anything really. Even 7 isn't really enough because you have to make some hard choices and leave some really good items behind.

If the item rule somehow limited items to some fixed capability based on what level you were actually at so you could use a level 4 axe at level 2 only with less capability, then even 5 items would be enough probably.

Keep in mind also that I'm not looking for a near death experience in a game. I'm looking for thinky and fun with a good challenge but a higher than 50-50 win rate. I know a lot of you are houseruling the game to be harder, but that's not the game I personally want to play, even though it's perfectly valid to do.
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Mr Suitcase
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Nice. Carbon Dragon - you need to post that up in a session report!
 
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David Griffin
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mrsuitcase wrote:
Nice. Carbon Dragon - you need to post that up in a session report!


I'm doing that on the "Solitaire games on your table" geeklist. I spend a lot of time over there.
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Hey I taught the game to my friend and we played the introductory game (the one I already played with my story mode group). So I got a chance to see what the same introduction is like using the normal game mode.

It started out pretty normally since we were starting out with no equipment except for starting equipment and no skills. The characters got XP much faster though and when we got the few 3rd level equipment cards we managed to get by transmuting, we could (of course) use them.

The latter part of the game (tile 2) went differently. Where in story mode, I was pretty careful about getting into a situation where I could be overwhelmed (since I had no more than 1 1st level skill and no level 3 cards I could use), in this game, we had acquired a LOT of 1st and 2nd level skills, in fact I think all four characters got all of the ones available. And we did have a few 3rd level equipment cards as well.

At one point, we opened a door on tile 2 which spawned 2 guard cards (which I haven't seen in my solo games) -- one on OUR zone and one on the third zone of the room. Then in the Event phase we spawned a wandering monster on tile 1. After killing the guards in our square we debated running. But we decided the intro is about learning the game so we stood our ground. Not only did we kill the WM and the guards, we got the spider spawned right on top of us on tile 2 and we killed that one too (losing the Barbarian once). It was a rousing good time, we really felt like badasses (if cautious ones ).

There was a difference here. Loaded with skills and a few good items, the Ranger was super effective. She was only firing 1 red and 1 yellow, but her ability to reroll attacks and remove an enemy shield DIE was a great can opener for big defenses. The power level WAS definitely higher.

I feel like both modes are viable (so far -- let you know after my third story mode game) but they also feel different.

Here's our triumphant moment when we killed the giant spider. Killing blow from Whisper the thief.


EDIT 9/26/17 Played episode 3 Chosen One. It was fun, but my 3rd level group was mowing down the monsters through most of the game. This was partly because I got ALL of the good events I think, and only a few of the bad ones. Also because I was moving pretty well, denying the monsters the chance to really mob me. But I had bad moments -- an agent spawning on the opposite side of the board and having to run over there before he spawned too much; and the final battle with 2 groups of 4th level guards and a Nightmare Thing at the same time. But in general, my group was doing a good job of disposing of the monsters nearly as fast as they could appear.

Didn't manage to get to 4th level, so I'm still starting the next episode at 3rd level. It's a little annoying to have to go through so many tiles at level 3, picking up mostly lower level treasures which my group doesn't get much benefit from. But the tactics are still fun. So far the kickstarter monsters and extra heroes are on the same power levels as those which come in the box. Haven't painted the extra mobs yet though.

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Paul Tessmann
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carbon_dragon wrote:
So far the kickstarter monsters and extra heroes are on the same power levels as those which come in the box.


From what I've played, some of the Black Plague characters are ridiculously overpowered (Baldric) or wonky/bad (Kurt, Ariane). Kurt's issue is that his 2 abilities require you to go S&S Battle Wizard to both be usable (but if you do that, he's fine), while Ariane's issue is because she's recommended to be a Nightrunner, which is a poorly designed class in general and exacerbated by her shadow power needing a Bam to function.
 
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David Griffin
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Dainslaif wrote:
carbon_dragon wrote:
So far the kickstarter monsters and extra heroes are on the same power levels as those which come in the box.


From what I've played, some of the Black Plague characters are ridiculously overpowered (Baldric) or wonky/bad (Kurt, Ariane). Kurt's issue is that his 2 abilities require you to go S&S Battle Wizard to both be usable (but if you do that, he's fine), while Ariane's issue is because she's recommended to be a Nightrunner, which is a poorly designed class in general and exacerbated by her shadow power needing a Bam to function.


Yes, which is why I'm making the comment. The follow-on monsters in Black Plague seem more powerful than the base set and the Heroes are also more powerful. So far, from what I'm seeing, this game is unlike Black Plague in that respect. In fact my favorite character in Black Plague is Xena (oops, I mean Xuxa). Even made a Chakram for her.

Now I have only played a few of the KS monsters and none of the new characters, but I've been through the cards and the skill sheets and nothing leaps out at me. But then I didn't appreciate the true power of the Ranger till I played her!
 
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carbon_dragon wrote:
Now I have only played a few of the KS monsters and none of the new characters, but I've been through the cards and the skill sheets and nothing leaps out at me. But then I didn't appreciate the true power of the Ranger till I played her!


Most seem pretty tame, but Baldric gets to dual wield 2 handed Magic weapons as a baseline ability along with a free Bam in shadow mode. It's pretty excessive.
 
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David Griffin
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Finishing up Mission 4 (5th game) in story mode. I'm publishing a history of the game in Solitaire Games on your Table (SGOYT) geeklist. The long and the short of it is though that as my characters finish this game, they are now level 4 with significant level 4 gear.



It's tough to scare them. With level 4 equipment, my Ranger nuked the Greater Oni in 3 shots. The Cliffbreaker Cyclops went down from 3 character concentrating on it. Ironically the class that falls behind is the Paladin who is somewhat marginal. The Ranger is a powerhouse. The Wizard with two melee weapons and the King's gear and some skills is pretty destructive, especially with the Mage's charm. The Barbarian can also do a lot of damage and has his head butt as well.

It's still a very interesting intellectual puzzle to blitz through the dungeon deciding carefully where to place the characters, what risks to take, and so on. Fun, but not as scary. I suspect it would actually be a lot harder in normal mode at this point just trying to get through all the tiles before they disappeared.
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Off-topic but your painted minis are amazing! Who did that?
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evilbob65535 wrote:
Off-topic but your painted minis are amazing! Who did that?


Just me. And I'm not a good artist, I'm just trying to use easy techniques. Still trying to decide about the bases. I've tried to do complex bases and it hasn't worked out well. I can't freehand paint bricks and tiles so I'm leaving them blank for now.

You can do a lot with washes and dry brushing. Nuln Oil covers a multitude of sins. Thanks though. I've been struggling along for decades and I'm better than I used to be. Then I go to the game store and see what the real artists are doing. Wow you should see those Warhammer guys.
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carbon_dragon wrote:
evilbob65535 wrote:
Off-topic but your painted minis are amazing! Who did that?


Just me. And I'm not a good artist, I'm just trying to use easy techniques. Still trying to decide about the bases. I've tried to do complex bases and it hasn't worked out well. I can't freehand paint bricks and tiles so I'm leaving them blank for now.

You can do a lot with washes and dry brushing. Nuln Oil covers a multitude of sins. Thanks though. I've been struggling along for decades and I'm better than I used to be. Then I go to the game store and see what the real artists are doing. Wow you should see those Warhammer guys.


For quick basing, check out GW's texture paint
https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Texture-Astrogranite-24...

Really easy to use even without taking the figure off the base. I just paint the base black, slap on a bit of the texture paint, wait for it to dry, then null oil wash then highlight by drybrushing (grey/stone then white).
 
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David Griffin
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Well, I may end my Shadow Mode campaign at Mission 5. You can read the story here https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/229124/item/5672077#item5...

By the time you're playing this mission, you're playing with a well oiled, well-equipped, highly skilled bunch of badasses who can pretty much kill the monsters by just giving them a hard stare -- especially the Ranger. There is strategy in the mission, but the monsters aren't actually dangerous anymore. Of course I haven't gotten to a level 5 tile mission but I can't see how it would matter since I fought all Greater RMs. Fun, but I may have to switch to normal mode with a variety of characters. Or I may do some mods.

This boy spawned at the end on tile 3. With the bridge gone, he was mad about not being able to walk into the line of fire.


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