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1.1.0 Initial Thoughts

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  • 1.1.0 Initial Thoughts

    Just gonna go through the patch notes real quick and offer my thoughts.

    - Added Octavo as a playable character with unique story campaign, unlockable by completing the game once.
    UPDATE: See post #4 in this thread.

    - Added Dungeon Mode, a mode for playing through the game in a new way, closer to the original NecroDancer experience
    This is a FANTASTIC addition. More or less cuts out the parts that are a bit slower-paced in the speedrunning context and replaces it with densely-packed action. I could see us having a lot of fun racing this. My biggest gripes in its current form are as follows:
    1. Letting the player restart right at a boss without having to redo the whole zone is a nice sentiment on paper, but in execution it's arguably having the opposite effect, especially if you're playing more challenging categories. A player who, for one reason or another, is relying on temporary equipment, potions/fairies, or items with limited ammunition (bow/bombs/bombchus) might find themselves getting stuck upon dying at a boss, as they're completely locked out from leaving to collect more diamonds, additional ammunition, or new temporary equipment. Being locked into a psuedo-low% build after a death to a boss isn't a pleasant experience. Giving the players a two-way portal back to the start of the zone (much like in Story mode with the portal outside of Ganon that lets you freely go back to the start of Future Hyrule dungeon) would probably be the ideal fix, but providing any source of additional bombs or diamonds in the pre-boss lobby or boss fight itself could also work.
    2. Unless I missed something, weapons are completely removed from the pool when playing as single-character Yves. This poses a pretty big issue for the Ganon fight, where getting better weapons for the helper characters is pretty essential to make the mini-boss spawns manageable.
    - Added shrines, mysterious objects that appear in dungeons, with unknown effects.
    Liking what I'm seeing here for the most part. I'm not sure the Shrine of Mystery is ever really usable, though - enemy variety is much too heavy in dungeon mode and Future Hyrule to reliably identify mystery enemies. Beyond that, I'd have to play around more to get a better feel on the balance of the shrines.

    - Added some new level generation features, both in dungeons and the overworld.
    A lot of neat things here, though I do want to comment how easy it is to softlock on one of the new wind turbine puzzles that can spawn in dungeons. As it turns out, pointing two opposite directional wind turbines does NOT cause the winds to cancel out. See the attached picture. I feel like the button on the side of the treasure should maybe spawn more than just the one bridge.

    Still haven't seen everything here but I'll be sure to update if I come up with any other comments.

    - Added 4 new achievements relating to Octavo, dungeon mode, and shrines
    Not much to say, new cheevos are always nice.

    - Adjusted the random distribution for spawning certain types of dungeon items, to better ensure seed consistency
    A HUGE thank you for this. This was the biggest thorn in every racer's side. Losing a race to getting a spear vs. your opponent's rapier out of the same chest felt awful, and to be completely honest given discussion after our last major head-to-head tournament, it's not a stretch at all to say races like that scared a LOT of potential racers away from the game. Assuming this change works as intended (haven't throughly tested it yet), this might be what we need to raise the interest levels again.

    - Allow the player to carry multiple copies of each scroll type
    Great change, scrolls always felt weak. Investing time on a mini-boss kill/chest open only to find duplicates of a scroll you already had felt pretty bad. Allowing players to accumulate a large stack and use them more liberally addresses both of these issues.

    - Add UI for changing weapons of the helper characters during the Ganon fight
    YES. No more glass break into weaponless fist-bumping ""helpers""!

    - Add display of the current world generation seed to the pause menu, so it can be recreated later in seeded mode
    Love this, makes it a lot easier for people who like to optimize potentially fast seeds for seeded mode.

    - Fixed some bugs where multiple dialogues/cutscenes could be activated at once, with unintended results
    - Fixed a bug where Ganon could be defeated with a bomb during the between-phase cutscene
    - Fixed a bug where getting hit by a bomb and using the hookshot on the same beat could cause the player to move incorrectly
    - Fixed a bug where using the hookshot would add extra steps to the player's step count in fixed beat mode
    - Fixed a bug where items could be duplicated by collecting them and moving between screens at the same time
    AKA the anti-CloudMax batch. While there was some cool tech here for the speedrun, I totally get patching these.

    - Fixed an exploit that allowed some bosses to be cheesed with projectiles from outside the boss arena
    Ack, RIP to all our quick-kills. That aside, it's overall good that boss fights aren't completely trivialized. At the same time, though, I find myself wishing again that it was more consistently possible to hit Wizzroboe whenever he attacks - the fight length feels significantly more RNG-dependent than any other boss fight.

    - many other bug fixes
    Typing F in the chat for the BLARINGLY LOUD BASS-BOOSTED NecroDancer target dummy + battle torch death. Would be great to know if there's anything else major fitting under this umbrella.

    Outside of what's mentioned in the patch notes, I do want to comment that I noticed a minor change to the Octavo fight. Previously, he shot three 1-damage yellow non-elemental projectiles, but now shoots three .5-damage purple fire-elemental projectiles that inflict burn. This is actually a pretty big problem for low-damage builds. A key point to being able to handle the tanky Guitarmos Knight spawns in that fight is that Octavo would pepper in fireballs that would usually end up hitting the knights, helping to break down their massive health pools. With the projectiles now being fire-typed, and Guitarmos being completely immune to fire damage, Octavo no longer offers any support. This means that with a low-damage build, you can potentially get locked into an endless cycle of constantly attacking Guitarmos Knights forever, without ever having an opportunity to attack Octavo. Doing so would allow the currently-spawned knight to close the distance, leaving you with too little space to kill it before it crushes you into the wall. In my Yves Dungeon Mode attempts, I found that the only consistent way to stand a chance in the fight was to either enter the fight with damage-up items (which runs into the aforementioned "you are locked into psuedo-low% after you die to a boss" issue), or reset until the Wizzrobe phase came up first, then deliberately hit the spawn cap with Wizzrobes to prevent Guitarmos from spawning altogether. This seems like it could use some adjustment.

    EDIT: Also, looks like the leaderboard issues are no more! Broken leaderboards were a huge source of discontent among the non-racing speedrunning crowd (no one wants to have to do the additional steps of logging into and filling out the run submission form) and I'm super glad to see they're fixed.

    Anyway, that's it for now. Will update with more as I play more.
    Last edited by Spooty; 12-20-2019, 10:05 PM.

  • #2
    Hey Spooty! Gosh, thanks for all this! Glad to hear that you're happy with the patch overall I'll make sure the team sees this.
    Brace Yourself Games - Senior Community Developer


    • #3
      Another point I remembered - Yves could use some filtering on secret shop types in Dungeon Mode. Fairy fountains and blood shops seem like a poor fit for him.


      • #4
        Alright, so I tried out Octavo for the first time today.

        ++ I really like that he takes the Melody formula from NecroDancer, but refines it in a few ways. Melody was a character of extremes - the lute pretty much auto-killed everything on the field, whether you intended to or not, and was pretty much the strongest weapon in the game. That all came to a screeching halt the moment you warlock-teleported yourself into a full-surround, though. With nowhere to move, your power-mad rampage turns into a gut-wrenching drawn-out death where you helplessly watch your HP slowly whittle down to zero. Octavo delivers much of the same experience and the same fun move-attacks without either extreme. Cutting the attack range down to only tiles you're moving to makes him less of a mindless murder house and grants a finer degree of control on what he kills, making it easier to avoid attacking things you might not actually want to (such as Bomb Fairies and Green Poes). Meanwhile, granting the ability to stand still and target an adjacent enemy prevents those agonizingly slow surround deaths. The fact that his attack pushes back most enemy types still allows for efficient kills, even though the lack of retreating damage means you can't do the exact same "drive-bys" that Melody did.

        ++ The final boss on his story is a lot of fun. I almost feel like you could maybe even up the enemy spawn rate a bit to really emphasize the crowd-control aspect of the lute's attacks, similar to the NecroDancer 2 fight from CotN.

        + The lack of starting Telescope and the question of whether to go out of your way to Link's house to get it is an interesting dilemma to deal with in speedrun routing.

        - The lack of an alternate boss on the Hyrule Castle stage was a bit disappointing.

        - Doing well on Octavo seems a little over-dependent upon finding exactly Boots of Power. Doubling the move-attack AoE damage of the Lute is VERY strong, but with the weapon-lock in place, the only other options are Glass Slippers (tend to break when mashing with Haste), Enchant Weapon (very temporary), and Ring of Risk (typically unusable on any character with hands, since the process of dropping your health into the risk threshold tends to break the ring). I do kinda wonder if sticking with the Melody trait of being damage-locked to 1 would have felt better. Hard to say.

        --- Haste. Oh boy, haste. I feel like a sleep or slow ability that locks or slows enemies down for 10-ish beats would have fit better thematically while still giving you the same powerful feeling of being able to run literal laps around enemies. Sadly, I kinda feel like all the attention to detail on refining and polishing the old Melody formula is completely overshadowed by how ridiculous this ability is, as speedrunning Octavo is almost entirely about how often you get to press R. Here's a breakdown of my problems with Haste as it currently stands.
        • Lack of speed cap. Haste ignores the usual speed limit normally enforced by fixed-beat mode, allowing you to go as fast as you can mash. This necessitates an uncomfortable double-mashing pose where you mash both the D-Pad and the analog stick together in order to maximize value in a speedrun.
        • Lack of any comparable ability. I honestly can't give any feedback on Octavo's L ability, Fireball, because there simply is no reason to ever use it right now. Fireball could maybe help in some normal combat situations, but why would you ever spend stamina that could be going towards another Haste cast?
        • Lack of scaling to alternate modes. Haste is absolutely broken in normal gameplay, kinda meh in double time, and literally useless (outside of some weird glitches - CloudMax has been talking about being able to run across air without hover boots thanks to Haste) in fixed beat mode.
        • Lack of strategic timing. Even other very strong abilities still require some amount of finesse on timing. Take Nayru's Love for example, an ability the speedrunning community has felt to be maybe a bit too powerful for some time. Even with all its power, it's not something you can just throw out at any point. You need to make sure you're getting the timing right to reflect (not just block) damage, and you're still spending the beat and stamina on the action - if you're spending all your time spamming Nayru's, you're missing out on cases where your normal attack would do more damage, committing more beats to standing still, and probably running out of stamina with potentially disastrous results. Haste, on the other hand, will always generate a ton of value. The question "When should I cast Haste?" is pretty much always answered with "If you have stamina, right now."
        • Lack of clear visual cues. The only indication of Haste's duration is a subtle particle effect surrounding Octavo, which flickers slightly right before it runs out. Haste ending is always a jarring experience with a lot of mashing into missed beats. Some sort of timer on screen, probably right above the beat bars, would help make this a lot clearer - think of how the Heart Transplant in CotN replaces the beatbars with a timer.
        • Adds a lot of focus on getting lucky with random common enemy drops. "Getting lucky on common drops" previously meant getting the occasional $20, 3x bomb drop, or a magic refill that meant a couple extra pegasus anklet dashes or Nayru's Love - all things that, at most, save you maybe a small single-digit pile of beats. Now, getting lucky and finding a stamina refill means insta-dashing past another dungeon floor, or sprinting across 3 overworld tiles. With as powerful as it is, I feel like Octavo should maybe not have access to random stamina drops at all.
        Octavo's got a lot of interesting things to offer, but sadly almost none of them are on display at high level play. Top-level runs mostly amount to chain-hasting, circumventing the core rhythmic fundamentals of the game. I think Haste needs some reworking for him to remain an interesting racing/speedrunning option.

        EDIT: I think I'd be better equipped to really give a definitive say on Haste as a mechanic if it were re-worked to offer something that feels more consistent, starting with clearer cues on ending time and a more consistently understandable behavior from enemies while it's active. Beyond that, I'd be interested to see how it felt if it worked for a specific number of turns, rather than an arbitrary number of seconds. I could see this being pretty powerful but still allowing Octavo's other traits to shine if it, say, stopped enemies and let you move freely at your own pace for 8 turns. That would make it a powerful ability that you'd want to use often, but one that wouldn't necessitate painful mashing and allow you to rush across entire floors in half a second.
        Last edited by Spooty; 12-22-2019, 08:05 PM.


        • #5
          And some other random observations not to do with Octavo:

          ++ Ganon no longer getting a massive speed buff on all his abilities in phase 2 and summoning the mini-boss first are great changes. The massive 6-tile AoE is more consistently survivable and the mini-boss can typically be handled before Ganon jumps down. This fight feels like it's in a much more balanced place now, to the point where I'm not even really minding the lack of stronger helper weapons on Yves runs now.

          - The dungeon setpiece with the purple chest surrounded by walls that conceal pits underneath is a very nasty surprise if you have courage shovel.

          - A number of dungeon setpieces seem to be setup without consideration for the fact that the items they provide are inside chests. Take the attached image for example - the intent is pretty clearly to use the wind turbines to hop from island to island, but it ends with a chest sitting right on the destination tile of the last jump, meaning you just fall into the pit! Similar thing going on with the green slime bridging a gap directly to a purple chest - it seems intended to be able to downthrust bounce across it, but with the chest blocking the movement, it doesn't actually work out (although in that case, you at least have several clear options - freezing the green slime and walking on it, or bombing the chest from below before bouncing on the slime).

          - Dungeon mode could use some sort of middle ground for the midgame in terms of weapons. As it is, getting an infused weapon is far more work than it's worth in a speedrunning context. The time spent finding a decent base weapon, farming up diamonds, and then finding a great fairy for an infusion is better spent just pushing to zone 4 for legendary weapons. Perhaps make basic weapons easier to obtain (maybe even in unlocked chests), ruby/emerald weapons appear in locked chests early on, titanium/obsidian weapons appear in locked chests mid-game, and then legendaries in the last zone or two? Also worth commenting that currently, resetting for an early damage up (usually Glass Slippers out of the first chest) seems VERY strong, compared to any alternatives (other than maybe Wisdom Torch, which lets you find damage-ups and glass weapons). Perhaps restricting the damage-boosting support items until the mid-game would help facilitate a more natural build progression?
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Spooty; 12-20-2019, 10:52 PM.