Author Topic: Improving The Stranger?  (Read 590 times)

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RapturedSong

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Improving The Stranger?
« on: October 31, 2017, 04:01:04 PM »
Every time I discover The Stranger in a dungeon (or witness another player do so) I let out an exasperated sigh. It has got to be the most frustrating mechanic in the whole game.

I say this because, as a player, I hate having control taken away from me. There is no worse feeling than having The Stranger walk you into a Lightning Strike peril and losing your entire turn after failing it (especially if your hero doesn't even have the Spirit to pass it.) Sure, The Stranger has an equal chance to do something that benefits you, but those beneficial outcomes don't feel good enough to outweigh all the times that she's messed up my well laid plans. When she takes me one tile closer to my goal, I don't think "Cool, thanks Stranger," I think, "Phew! She didn't totally mess things up this turn. She better not walk me into that peril next turn!"

I won't say "Remove The Stranger!!!!!" because that seems a little unreasonable, but I think that she needs something to make her more fun. I'm not even sure what that something should be. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Darcy Smith

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 05:29:23 PM »
Totally on board to hear what suggestions people might have surrounding The Stranger!

Chariot Rider

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 07:39:07 AM »
So here are my thoughts about the stranger.  I see a lot of people complaining about randomness in Armello.  Usually I think that the random factors in Armello are not a problem, however in the case of the stranger I am going to agree with the critics.  In my opinion, the stranger is the weakest random factor of Armello, because players don’t have a lot of control over his randomness and his randomness is not going to lead to interesting scenarios.

With every other form of randomness players have some amount of control over the randomness.  The cards are split into 3 piles so you can cut out 2/3 of the cards you don’t need when drawing cards.  Players can burn cards to guarantee dice rolls.  Players have a risky and non risky quest choice.  Dungeons usually give the players a bonus, but even if the player has to fight a bane they still might get prestige or rot and coming to a dungeon prepared to fight is something you can do.  However the stranger doesn’t work like the other forms of randomness.  Players have no control over the stranger.  No matter what it is up to the RNG.  No equipment or strategy can be used by the player to mitigate the effects of the stranger.  I feel that if you changed the stranger so players could at least have some control over the stranger that would be much better.

I also mentioned that the strangers randomness isn’t going to lead to interesting situations.  Let’s compare this to combat.  Because of the explode mechanic there is a small chance that you will enter a combat equipment in hand ready to slaughter that pipsqueak rat however you roll your dice and they all miss for the most part, but your opponent rolls his couple of dice and they all just explode into explosions and you get slaughtered.  Yes the RNG completely hosed you and you should have lost that fight but at least now you have this crazy story you can tell to all your friends about that one time you got completely screwed out of a victory.  The stranger will never lead to this sort of story.  He will help you get a bit ahead at best but at worst he will kill you at an extremely important time and I feel that the Strangers randomness is just sort of a dull annoyance.  This being said here is my suggestion for an ideal stranger that still has a random effect, however you could have him give a constant effect as well and that would solve these problems.

The Stranger
Follower
The stranger discards a random card from the players hand every turn

I think this version of the stranger is far superior.  While randomly discarding a card is not as exciting as rolling a pile of dice, I think it can still be a bit more interesting to discard a card that you really needed than moving onto a swamp and taking a point of damage or wasting AP.  However the more important thing it changes is that it gives the player more control over the randomness.  If you have an important card you really don’t want to lose you will try to play it as soon as possible.  You could also choose to not play certain cards so the odds that the card you need being discarded is lower.  You could also try to increase your wit to fight the stranger effects.  Overall I think this stranger is much better.

Hope this helps.

Some people think chivalry is dead but I think it just has a really bad cold

RapturedSong

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 12:03:27 PM »
So here are my thoughts about the stranger.  I see a lot of people complaining about randomness in Armello.  Usually I think that the random factors in Armello are not a problem, however in the case of the stranger I am going to agree with the critics.  In my opinion, the stranger is the weakest random factor of Armello, because players don’t have a lot of control over his randomness and his randomness is not going to lead to interesting scenarios.

With every other form of randomness players have some amount of control over the randomness.  The cards are split into 3 piles so you can cut out 2/3 of the cards you don’t need when drawing cards.  Players can burn cards to guarantee dice rolls.  Players have a risky and non risky quest choice.  Dungeons usually give the players a bonus, but even if the player has to fight a bane they still might get prestige or rot and coming to a dungeon prepared to fight is something you can do.  However the stranger doesn’t work like the other forms of randomness.  Players have no control over the stranger.  No matter what it is up to the RNG.  No equipment or strategy can be used by the player to mitigate the effects of the stranger.  I feel that if you changed the stranger so players could at least have some control over the stranger that would be much better.

I also mentioned that the strangers randomness isn’t going to lead to interesting situations.  Let’s compare this to combat.  Because of the explode mechanic there is a small chance that you will enter a combat equipment in hand ready to slaughter that pipsqueak rat however you roll your dice and they all miss for the most part, but your opponent rolls his couple of dice and they all just explode into explosions and you get slaughtered.  Yes the RNG completely hosed you and you should have lost that fight but at least now you have this crazy story you can tell to all your friends about that one time you got completely screwed out of a victory.  The stranger will never lead to this sort of story.  He will help you get a bit ahead at best but at worst he will kill you at an extremely important time and I feel that the Strangers randomness is just sort of a dull annoyance. 

This pretty much articulates my annoyance with The Stranger, so thank you. It's definitely the lack of ability to mitigate the randomness of The Stranger that's the problem.

This being said here is my suggestion for an ideal stranger that still has a random effect, however you could have him give a constant effect as well and that would solve these problems.

The Stranger
Follower
The stranger discards a random card from the players hand every turn

I think this version of the stranger is far superior.  While randomly discarding a card is not as exciting as rolling a pile of dice, I think it can still be a bit more interesting to discard a card that you really needed than moving onto a swamp and taking a point of damage or wasting AP.  However the more important thing it changes is that it gives the player more control over the randomness.  If you have an important card you really don’t want to lose you will try to play it as soon as possible.  You could also choose to not play certain cards so the odds that the card you need being discarded is lower.  You could also try to increase your wit to fight the stranger effects.  Overall I think this stranger is much better.


Personally speaking, I am not in favor of another effect that could be beneficial or could be detrimental, even if the detrimental effects can be mitigated. I say this because the player does not consent to equipping The Stranger. There are detrimental effects to The Rot, Rot Cards, and being corrupted, but going down the path of the rot is more or less a player choice. If, for example, I die from rot-at-dawn damage at an inopportune time, I might be frustrated, but at least it's because of a choice I made as a player earlier in the game. In your proposed solution, the player is still faced with the possibility of losing game-making cards because they were unlucky enough to get discover The Stranger. I'm the kind of player that will hold onto a Banish card the whole game just in case I need. I think having it discarded via The Stranger would be as frustrating as the peril example I used in my original post.

I'm assuming the dev team designed The Stranger with both beneficial and detrimental effects for a reason, so I'm not going to propose it be strictly a beneficial card. Instead I propose that The Stranger be easier to unequip. Maybe if you're adjacent to another player she is guaranteed to leave you. Maybe if you walk into a dungeon, she'll get distracted by loot or dark magic and you can choose to leave her behind.  Maybe the Wyld prevents The Stranger from entering Stone Circles. I'm not committed to one idea, but if there was a reliable way to unepuip her that would greatly improve the situation as it is.



Fluffhead

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2017, 09:29:07 AM »
Totally on board to hear what suggestions people might have surrounding The Stranger!

Please remove it entirely.  It just ruins fun for most of the game for someone who gets it.  I don't like playing a game for an hour never having control over my turns.  It has way too significant of a negative impact for one unlucky dungeon pull.  When I get it I just think "oh I guess I'm not having fun this game... should I just quit?" 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 09:32:49 AM by Fluffhead »

Chariot Rider

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 01:21:15 PM »
Totally on board to hear what suggestions people might have surrounding The Stranger!

Please remove it entirely.  It just ruins fun for most of the game for someone who gets it.  I don't like playing a game for an hour never having control over my turns.  It has way too significant of a negative impact for one unlucky dungeon pull.  When I get it I just think "oh I guess I'm not having fun this game... should I just quit?"

I will have to disagree with you.  I feel that in theory an annoying little dude you pick up in a dungeon that you pass around to people that get close to you could be quite fun.  Unfortunately his current state is not ideal however I feel that there are plenty of other ways you could improve the stranger, and there have been some pretty good ones suggested in this thread.  No need to jump to the nuclear option just yet.
Some people think chivalry is dead but I think it just has a really bad cold

RedHelm

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 02:44:01 PM »
I know it might sound harsh but I honestly feel the greatest improvement that can be made to The Stranger is to remove it from the game, or make it purely a house rule. I've thought this for a long time, for basically all of the reasons that have been brought up here, but today I played a game that was another reminder on why the Stranger  just needs to be removed.

So, I finally got corrupted and then got caught with the Stranger from a dungeon. Sigh, it's frustrating but whatever. Next turn he walks me right into a stone circle. I'm dead, no turn. Nothing I could do. Could not believe that it was even possible in the programming. Given the amount of dead time in Armello (roughly 3/4s of the time, because there are four players) losing your turn before it even starts isn't just disadvantageous, it means you don't even get to play the game. It's just plain boring. It takes so long to get into and play a game that to lose turns due to randomness is the height of frustration.

So whatever, it happens once, right? Nope, happens again in the same game. So I lost two turns due to randomness. No other players got near me, and both times I tried to get into the castle on my good stat I failed, so couldn't get rid of him that way either. I even tried to play Beheaded on myself at the height of desperation, but it killed my non-Stranger follower instead (go figure.) The Stranger caused me to lose two turns, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Someone may get on this thread and say "Well that's just one game," but sorry, I see this kind of shenanigans a lot with the Stranger. Armello has a lot of random elements, some of which are occasionally frustrating, but I feel none of them are worse than the Stranger.

If you don't want to get rid of the Stranger (for reasons that I cannot fathom, because as has been mentioned by others as far as I can tell he adds nothing positive to the game) one possible fix would be for him to leave whenever you die and then he heads back into the dungeon. A lot of times you can get rid of a bad situation (poisoned, etc.) by suiciding. You lose board position, etc., but it allows you to regain a fresh start with which to enjoy the game.

Another fix might be to have him move each turn to the player with the highest prestige (i.e., the player who is "in the lead"), the most spirit stones, or most completed quests, but due to the incongruous nature of Armello's win conditions (which, I will say, is actually a very good aspect of the game) it is often difficult to determine who is really in the lead.

But really, if he's going to move you at random, and possibly walk you into perils or spaces that will kill you outright, ending your turn before it even starts, the game is healthier without him.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 03:21:01 PM by RedHelm »

CrazyBob05

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Re: Improving The Stranger?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2018, 06:42:29 AM »
I'm going to suggest taking away the Stranger's ability to overwrite or "kill off" a randomly selected companion if you already have a full party.  There's a good chance if you pick him up, he could erase a companion that's been essential to keeping you alive up to that point.  Like Blacksmith or Apothecary.  Also, make it easier to get rid of the little bastard, if you die in battle or against a peril, he leaves.