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#1 2013-06-17 12:09:13

Registered: 2013-05-07
Posts: 505

A quick recap, and why v9 is an improvement, but not a perfect fix.

Disclaimer: I was away for the weekend, and didn't try v9 before tool prices got raised, so I'm only speaking about the current, high-tool-price v9 gameplay.

So, the Castle Doctrine has been out to the public since v5, and I'm going to do a quick recap of all the versions, both their good parts and bad ones. I'll then apply what we learned to critique the current v9 release. So let's start off with v5:

At first, v5 was incredibly fun. There was lots of sneaking around, and I loved it. I would enter a house, scout around, possibly find a weakness, return with the right tools, and get the steal. Of course, the same happened to my house, and, in that first week or two, the top of the house list was turbulent. Here, people could both affect the puzzles of your traps (which switches would be hit) and the structures in your house (walls to break through). They could solve the puzzle, or solve part of it and bypass the end with well-used tools, or eventually cut through your house completely to get to the vault. But then the 9 thick wall came, and forced people to only affect puzzle elements. Combo locks became common, and that was definitely bad. However, these locks cost very much money, so many players simply went on robbing the middle class houses, leaving the few combo locks sitting at the top of the list. Then the magic dance was created, and it was so cheap that everybody had an unbreakable house.

v6 was meant to fix that with blueprints. At first, it worked, and combo locks and magic dances became obsolete. However, many other houses, like a maze or multiple commitment traps, also became non-viable, and there were few houses that worked from starting cash. The starting cash was tripled, and houses flourished... but these new houses were obfuscated monstrosities that were fit for an electrical engineer. Zed built a three bit counter, and I even made a five bit read-write lock, designs no newbie could ever solve. I was having some fun, but many people weren't, and the advent of one of my close friends playing showed me that; he had no idea how to solve the top houses, but kept getting robbed by the top players.

v7 was a small update that added the Ignore House button, to counter "once-robbable" houses cluttering up the list. It was useful, but not a major change. v8 added an un-Ignore button, which was a simple change to fix accidental ignoring, and the permadeath server, which was fun, but didn't affect any of the problems with the game.

And now there's v9. Any house can be robbed; the only question is if the robbery will be a net gain for the robber. The best thing about v9 is that there's lots of sneaking around. I enter a house, scout around, possibly find a weakness, return with the right tools, and get the steal. Sound familiar? v9 recreates the v5 feel without letting backpack size force people to solve a puzzle. However, it seems like there might be a new problem: exepensive-to-solve houses. If a house costs $1000 to solve, a player will probably do so once it has more than $1000 of stuff in it. However, if the house costs $10,000 to solve, not everybody will have the money to solve it. For example, this design from largestherb (slightly modified due to an error in the original design): It's functionally once-robbable, as after the first robbery it would cost 25,200 to get to the vault. People would enter the house and immediately leave, and then make the house start earning money again, as one of the last two robberies was not successful. If the setup of v9 prevents people from getting the $96900 to build this house in the first place, that's good, but if we start getting to that point, the game will stagnate once again.

tl;dr summary:
v9 recreates the tension found in exploring houses that v5 had, but expensive to solve houses could become the problem with this version.

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#2 2013-06-17 12:34:29

Registered: 2013-04-02
Posts: 537

Re: A quick recap, and why v9 is an improvement, but not a perfect fix.

The tool prices were high from the start with v9 unless I forgot about it, the change made was the salary update.

I think the house herb designed is incredibly far fetched. It costs $96900 to make and from what I see only $6600 to solve by just killing all the dogs with $100 crowbars then cutting through the last wall. To be honest I doubt this would ever be a viable house and if someone spends forever building it up then I think they deserve the little bit of rest it would take for someone to gather up $6600 and rob it. Even if he manages to kill off his family so that he doesn't need the dog route anymore it costs a whole load more to make than it does to break.

V5 ended in combination locks and unbreakable guessing traps,
V6 ended in far too complicated wiring puzzles,
V9 is looking pretty good right now.

Last edited by colorfusion (2013-06-17 12:38:18)


#3 2013-06-17 12:47:51

From: england
Registered: 2013-05-27
Posts: 381

Re: A quick recap, and why v9 is an improvement, but not a perfect fix.

my brain farted and i meant to put the chihuahua just below the entrance row! the point of my house was more to display the price-gap between killing a family and raiding a vault, but it also works to display a completely insane house [if you put the family just below the entrance row so that doormat to vault is completely pits, the currently most expensive tile to counter.

v9 is pretty good, i am having fun! it is fun waiting to see who will come in and completely destroy my house. i welcome the inevitable destruction, as frustrating as it is smile


#4 2013-06-17 13:28:05

Registered: 2013-04-01
Posts: 1,231

Re: A quick recap, and why v9 is an improvement, but not a perfect fix.

So... the prediction is that several players will eventually have too-expensive-to-beat houses?

There is a tendency for a kind of "annealing" to take place, where one at a time, players cross some threshold into invulnerability and then stay there.  Those houses build up at the top of the list.

In this case, you might have a house that would cost $25K to rob a second time, which would build up money indefinitely (largestherb with a few fixes).

Obviously, no small-time crook would be able to afford the vault.  Would anyone?  Well, after the value passed $25K, some rich player would want to.  But wouldn't that be a player who also has a too-expensive-to-rob house?

I guess at that point, those folks would just rob from each other.  You know, why not?  I can afford $25K in ladders to get $50K, in turn bringing that player down to $0 and ruining the security.  Which means that the house is NOT too expensive too rob, and that player would be knocked down and have to start over as a low-level crook again.

There are questions about how this will work itself out.  Will players ever get to the point of amassing enough money to buy $90K worth of pits?  But I think it's pretty clear that NO house will be invulnerable forever.

I'm guessing that tiers may develop, which is fine and natural.  So far, though, I haven't seen anyone able to bootstrap themselves that high.


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