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Thread: Why DK1 is better than DK2

  
  1. #1
    Fly Gold Knight's Avatar
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    Default Why DK1 is better than DK2

    DK1 definitely has a charm to it that is just not quite present in DK2. It just feels a lot more like DK1 was built with a true passion. While DK2 definitely has some good aspects, I think DK1 is definitely the better game. Despite not having played DK2 for a decade, I certainly played it enough to recall most differences. It was a refreshing change from DK1, and there are many things I enjoyed about it.

    This was originally intended to be a short reply to a post and not such a long essay, but my eternal love for DK1 took over me. I guess you could say it possessed me. I ended up just collating a bunch of thoughts that have always lingered in my mind, but have never seen daylight. I hope you enjoy the read!

    The humanoid revolution

    DK2 omits most "monster" creatures in return for humanoid creatures, which I feel significantly detracts from the experience. I feel like this was done so that various rooms like the Torture Chamber and Casino could become standardised. Couple that with the huge reduction in creature spells (I go over this further down) and all the creatures just start to feel the same.

    Bye Beetle.
    Bye Demon Spawn.
    Bye Ghost.
    Bye Hellhound.
    Bye Spider.
    Bye Tentacle.

    Hello Black Knight.
    Hello Dark Angel.
    Hello Dark Elf.
    Hello Goblin.
    Hello Rogue.

    I'm aware that most of the removed creatures were not exactly the strongest, but that doesn't mean they were any less important. In fact, half of the removed creatures were the only evil creatures to have the incredibly powerful Freeze spell, which added a nice dynamic to DK1. Grabbing several lv 4 Spiders would surprisingly be enough to chain-freeze the Avatar and eventually take him down. Even Ghosts became incredibly useful once they were fixed in KeeperFX to phase through doors as they were originally intended. In DK1, most creatures were designed to have some kind of specialised utility or ability that was unique. The same cannot be said for DK2, by any means of the imagination.

    Another issue is that several creatures seem to have been given a direct hero counterpart in DK2. For example, the Dark Elf is almost the same as the Elven Archer, the Rogue and Thief are identical and the Wizard and Warlock pretty much share the same skillset. No single hero can be directly matched with any creatures in DK1 – if you think otherwise, I suggest you take a look here. This just reduces the creature diversity even further. Instead of having 30 different and unique characters like DK1, it feels like there are only a dozen in DK2.

    In addition, many creatures were "rebalanced" in DK2 or simply changed into less specialised creatures. For example, the Dragon – a super tank with relatively low damage output (but a different story in possession) – is replaced with the rather ordinary Salamander which, aside from its lava immunity, doesn't really bring anything new or different to the table than your run of the mill Goblin. In fact, their damage, health and wage are both the same.

    I also find it sad that the game's mascot, the Horned Reaper, is reduced to a spell. Commanding an army of lv 10 Horned Reapers in DK1 is amazing fun, and I particularly enjoy possessing one and tearing up the enemy Heroes (and often Keepers). There have been several times in Campaigns where I've accidentally stumbled upon a large group of Good Horned Reapers and I've always become excited when faced with the sudden shock and challenge. These things sadly can't happen in DK2… all you can do is summon Horny and watch him saunter around aimlessly and hopefully kill a few enemies along the way. The Mana would be much better utilised elsewhere.

    Horned Reaper

    As much as I really love the Horned Reaper's design in DK2, I don't think the "intelligent" design that is portrayed properly represents him. The Horned Reaper was really meant to be the ultimate representation of pure evil - a mindless, volatile killing machine hell-bent on tearing through as much flesh as possible. His distinct lack of pupils in DK1 was likely meant to portray this the most, as the eyes are generally regarded as "the window to the soul," and a lack of pupils represents the absence of one. In DK2, it seems like "Horny" has a genuine motive, albeit hatred-inspired, which is certainly not pure evil by any means of the definition. It makes sense though, given that DK2 distanced itself from the much darker tone of DK1.

    Tone

    DK2 adopted a similar yet vastly different tone to DK1. It maintains the "bad" theme, but infuses it with a rather sarcastic, satirical and exaggerated sense of humour. DK1 was primarily dark with a side of humour. By contrast, DK2 seems primarily humour with a side of dark.

    I tend to prefer subtle, unforced humour that lies in the background waiting to be discovered, rather than being pointed out or shoved in my face. I'm not saying that I don't like DK2's humour, but it is certainly not as effective as it could have been. Of course, I am aware that this is probably the most subjective difference of the two games, so it cannot really count as a true comparison. It almost feels as if the DK2 developers had a discussion about the game's level of darkness and they concluded that it'd be easier to just pull the "It's just a joke!" card. After all, the DK1 team did actually receive death threats for consorting with the devil.

    On a minor note, DK2 creatures seem to have also moved away from the themed designs of DK1 and towards a more "realistic" colourisation – e.g. blacks, browns and greys or a combination of the former with an often minor "highlight" colour. Contrast this with DK1 where every creature (heroes included) has a prominent theme colour and you can start to see just how different the two games are when it comes to tone. I know a dungeon should realistically be dark and grim with only reds and greys, but mimicking reality almost never resulted in a better game.

    Possession

    In DK1, the individual characteristics and differences of each creature are masterfully implemented. The view slightly bounces with each step and the step sound effects sync up perfectly. Each creature walks differently and you can pretty much guess any creature from its walk alone. The Bile Demon's movement is my favourite, not only because of its jaggedness, but because moving backwards feels really awkward like the Bile Demon should be when attempting to go backwards. It all just fits together so well. Even the subtle camera roll when yawing as an airborne creature makes a world of difference. First-person movement in DK1 feels incredibly fluid and really well-executed.

    DK2 is a huge let down in the possession department. While possessed in DK2, creatures move incredibly unnaturally and at a bizarrely fast pace (and completely different to their otherwise generally sluggish speed when not possessed). Whether you possess a Bile Demon or an Imp, every creature feels the same and gliding across the map is no problem. Everything just feels like it's on a set of wheels in DK2.

    The fact that players cannot attack their own creatures in DK2 is also a bit of a letdown. I've spent many hours in DK1 killing friendly creatures for a variety of different reasons.

    - Grinding experience on higher level creatures
    - Getting rid of unwanted or weak creatures (in a fun way)
    - Creating corpses for producing Vampires
    - Getting revenge on the idiot Warlock who shot my highly trained Imp to death in the Library (i.e. punishment)

    There's also nothing quite like locking a few dozen Imps in a small room, getting a Dragon or Bile Demon and unleashing hell on them all.

    I feel like grinding experience on one's own creatures is a subtle game mechanic – which comes at the cost of dungeon management – that allows experienced players to gain a slight edge over their opponents (particularly for multiplayer scenarios). Not only is it free, but it is also much faster, depending on the victim. DK2 essentially automates a large portion of this with the Combat Pit, and it feels nowhere near as engaging or fun. Besides that; there's nothing necessarily evil about an organised fight, but you can't say the same for using others' pain for your own gain (against their will, of course).

    The attack/swing effect animations while possessed in DK2 are also insanely slow. Because the animation is so slow, it is often jarring when attacking an enemy while it's in range, as by the time the "swing" animation has ended, the enemy may be several tiles away (and yet the attack still registers).

    And don't get me started on not being able to forcefully traverse lava while in possession of a creature.

    Things are just slower

    Not only are the combat animations slower, but the actual combat is slow. The cool-downs on even simple melee attacks are extremely lengthy. It often takes upwards of a few seconds to recharge a simple attack such as a fireball. I recall the first time I was excited to get a Dark Mistress in DK2 for her deadly Lightning spell, only to be completely disappointed when it turned out to be terrible with an incredibly long cool-down.

    In DK2, Imps look like they're mining at half the speed as they did in DK1. It also feels clunky in that the mining animation doesn't seem to line up with the destruction of walls. In fact, none of the animations seem to truly synchronise with the game logic, which just feels awkward. Imps also claim territory a hell of a lot slower too, which I fail to understand how that can be considered an improvement over DK1.

    Imps

    In DK2, Imps gain experience from doing work. While this is a pretty cool idea, I think it detracts from the game strategy-wise. In DK1, Keepers can make a choice between a working Imp and a training Imp. This is a strategic compromise between short-term and long-term gain. Training an Imp will, in the short-term, cost gold (training cost + not mining), take up Training Room space and leave the player with one less Imp doing other important jobs. However, the long-term gain is the Imp's acquisition of Speed at lv 3 and, further down the line, Teleport at lv 10. Furthermore, one must not forget the Imps' ability to consistently get themselves into trouble. Whether it's worth training up an Imp just for it to tread on a Lightning trap or teleport into enemies is also an important aspect to consider.

    I feel like DK1's system adds a complex layer of strategy, rather than the automated and barely noticeable one utilised by DK2. An experienced Imp feels infinitely more precious in DK1 than in DK2. And don't forget the nifty little trick that DK1's mechanics allow for – grinding experience on a high level creature by possessing an Imp.

    Another aspect that I don't like about the Imps in DK2 is that they cannot be captured and imprisoned. This was likely due to the change that made Imps magical conjurations rather than actual living creatures – both a good and bad change. A valid strategy in DK1 was to capture so many of the enemy's Imps (which never starved) that they could no longer afford to spawn any new ones. The only positive side to DK2's Imps is that they don't leave corpses, which means Keepers can't easily grind Vampires by killing all their Imps, and that Imps won't be trying to run into dangerous territory to collect the bodies of their fallen buddies and potentially joining them. It also makes more logical sense that they are magical conjurations, providing a good explanation for their lack of food, wage and rest requirements.

    Another problem with DK2 is that Imps are automatically replaced when there are less than 4. This not only prevents the strategy of starving a Keeper of their Imps, but it also removes the possibility of having some unique map designs (as there are in DK1) where the player does not start with any Imps or the respective Create Imp spell.

    Temple

    In DK1, the Temple protects creatures from scavenging, and will reduce their anger. It can also be used to cure creatures from being turned into chickens and protects against the spread of disease. It is particularly important for calming down angered Horned Reapers before they go "berserk." Sacrificing Imps to reduce their cost is especially useful, and there is a myriad of sacrificial combinations that can result in a range of good/bad/funny results. Put simply, the Temple has many uses in DK1, particularly for a single room.

    Contrast with the Temple in DK2, which doesn't seem to offer most of the above. It simply increases mana generation when creatures pray there (and it heals them… yay). The only "bad" or "humorous" sacrifices are few and far between, as well as only resulting in creatures (i.e. two Mistresses return a Skeleton) – and even that's borderline. The Temple in DK2 just feels nowhere near as "deep" as DK1's counterpart.

    Sound

    I feel like this definitely needs to be mentioned. The sounds of DK1 are all beautifully executed. The sound effects are crisp and accurate, and they sync up wonderfully with the animations and game logic. When a Warlock punches a door, it actually sounds like what it would if I were to do the same in reality. DK2 tends to use a more comically exaggerated "thwack!" sound effect for everything, and it just doesn't have the same impact.

    Creature spell diversity

    Creature spell diversity is another problem in DK2. Every single creature in DK1 (including heroes) learns at least one spell (in addition to their default attack), with the average at roughly 3.67 spells per creature. Contrast that with DK2's measly 1.42 spells per creature and the lack of diversity becomes quite clear. In fact, nearly half of the creatures in DK2 don't even learn a single spell, and none learn any more than 3. This results in a rather stagnant creature pool, with creatures valued around their raw stats rather than a much richer combination of stats and abilities like in DK1.

    Additionally, every single additional spell to a creature's default attack in DK2 (with one exception) is learned at either lv 4, 8 or 10. If a creature or hero learns a spell at lv 4, it is also guaranteed to learn another at lv 8. This is likely due to the way in which the Training Room doesn't allow training past lv 4, and similarly lv 8 with the Combat Pit – two additional problems with the game. On many maps, the player doesn't have access to a Combat Pit or it is simply not a viable strategy, and so spell diversity is limited even further.

    Another key difference with DK2 is that almost every creature spell is unique. I know I've just argued why creature diversity is so important, but the fact that almost every spell is specific to a particular creature is actually fairly limiting.

    Imagine a scenario where every creature does a different level of damage depending on the creature they are fighting. For example, Trolls do 60% damage against Knights, 80% damage against Fairies, etc.; Warlocks do 120% damage against Imps, 90% damage against Giants, etc. Now apply these one-to-one relationships to every creature. Would that be confusing, or would that be confusing? This scenario certainly demonstrates a tremendous level of diversity, but it would also introduce a level of complexity that would completely destroy one's ability to learn the game.

    This is not the case in DK1. Because creature spells are largely "stand-alone" in DK1 – that is, the damage output or effect is based on the spell itself rather than the creature's strength – an interesting dynamic comes into play. The statistically weak Fairy can become a deadly force when rapidly firing off Drain and Lightning from behind the front lines. The frail Skeleton can become a proficient support creature once it reaches lv 10 and acquires Lightning. Even the Beetle and Spider can become quite useful once they learn Freeze. The fact that these spells are all shared across multiple creatures gives players a much better chance at learning their powers and effects, and allows for much more balancing flexibility within the game's design. It also allows each creature to have a much richer range of skills and abilities, helping to make each creature stand out with all the different combinations and possibilities.

    DK2 has 14+ (of roughly 24) spells that are only learnt by a single creature, and nothing learnt by more than 2 creatures. Compare that to DK1's absolutely "massive" unique spell collection of Fart and Arrow and it becomes obvious just how different the combat systems of the two games are. You can compare just how different the two implementations are here: DK1 spells vs. DK2 spells (note: default melee attacks are not shown for DK2 due to space constraints).

    User interface

    I noticed something while putting the above DK2 spell table together. While DK2's user interface is cleaner and more elegant than DK1's, it completely eliminates colour as a useful recognition tool. I really don't see the use in omitting one of the key elements of design. It may add a degree of harmony, but it is at the cost of making interface elements take much longer to distinguish.

    Map details are another element that is hard to distinguish in DK2. I can't even remember if there is a full-screen version of the mini-map in DK2, but I have a strong feeling there is not. I can hardly last a minute playing DK1 without pressing M for a full-screen view of the entire map (particularly on those Tunneller invasion maps), and I'm not sure how I would have managed playing DK2 without the ability to do this.

    The only thing I'd strongly argue in DK2's favour is the tooltip implementation. Tooltips are easily visible in DK2 as they have a large dedicated horizontal space at the top of the screen. DK1's tooltips are small and force the player to always wait for the text to slowly scroll across. With that said, there is a price to pay for having a portion of precious screen real estate permanently covered with UI.

    It's the little things that count

    There are so many little details within DK1 that really give it that charm that many other commercialised games don't employ. It feels like a great deal of care and passion was mixed into DK1's formula, something I find quite rare in the industry today. Below is a collection of all the little things (strategies, design characteristics, and gameplay elements) that made DK1 so enjoyable and rewarding to play. I know there are many more but seeing as most of them are usually hidden or not prominent features, it is hard to keep track of them using memory alone. Anyway, here they are below.

    Did the DK1 team really spend time programming the change in camera pitch for possessing a chicken, or was it just the accidental result of really good design? I like to think it was the former.

    Warlocks shoot fireballs at disruptive or accompanying dumb creatures while they're trying to research. Hellhounds urinate on corpses to help them decompose. Spiders enjoy going around and "preserving" prisoners. I feel that unique behaviours like these add a huge level of depth to the creatures and the game. It adds an extra layer of personality that makes them feel more like actual living things than just programmed AI.

    In fact, all of the creatures in DK1 have personality traits. For example, when they are angry enough, they will all perform various "destructive" tasks such as destroying rooms, destroying walls, stealing gold, going on a killing rampage, attacking creatures, defecting to the enemy team and leaving the dungeon. None of this happens in DK2 – creatures simply join the hero team or leave the dungeon when angered enough.

    The ability to use spells on creatures via the Fight window is an excellent example of UI design. Even just using the Fight window to rescue creatures is useful enough – something not present in DK2.

    I love how the Torture Chamber tortures each creature differently. Beetles are floated upside down, Wizards are transformed into pumpkins and Vampires are nailed with a stake (among many others). Even though not all of the creatures get their own specialised treatment, I feel like this aspect alone adds a lot of detail and helps to give more personality to the creatures. It also creates a point of interest and mystery – "I wonder what treatment this new creature will receive?" While I do love the modern Torture Chamber in DK2 (particularly that electric chair), I feel a lot of the charm is lost in its rather standardized implementation.

    Some creatures can transform and become new creatures when they pass level 10. Unique abilities like these give yet another difference between creatures and help to increase the game's "genetic diversity."

    Rooms and spells that are unavailable are not only greyed out, but darkened as well. Many modern games forget that it's not easy to distinguish whether an inherently greyscale ability or item is available or not (applies to things like Armageddon, Armour, Cave In, Iron Doors and Whirlwind).

    Creatures all have a (rather pointless) blood type. Subtle humour like this is right up my alley.

    Melee attacks have travel time. The distance one stands from their target changes the delay from when the attack was initialised to when it makes contact. It's a subtle detail but it makes a big difference. Most modern game designers don't even consider such tiny details (I can think of many modern melee combat implementations that lack this).

    Creatures move around in the Lair. This minor detail not only adds a bit of realism – creatures get restless or need to have a stretch – but also gives the player an idea of how healthy a creature is, and whether the creature is ready for work. This is particularly useful in possession when grinding experience, as a creature that gets up for a stretch is clearly healthy enough to take more of a beating.

    Specific environmental (sound) effects can be used to allow players to guess where bodies of water or lava are. This includes water dripping from ceilings and fireballs bouncing out of lava.

    The subtle camera shake when placing room tiles goes a long way. It makes the tedious task of room placement a bit more bearable.

    Creatures that are slapped while frozen instantly explode (and die, if it wasn't obvious).

    Boulders can be slapped to be activated or alter their direction. I think this is one of the few "little things" that DK2 actually kept.

    Poison gas can be influenced and blown around by the Whirlwind spell (one of the primary behaviours of the Priestess).

    The Horned Reaper permanently going berserk if angered enough is a nice touch.

    Creatures all work harder when another creature is being tortured in the Torture Chamber. In addition, it also causes any creatures of the same type to take only 50% of their wage at the next payday. It's not only humorous but functional as well.

    Some creatures gradually gain experience if they make their lairs near certain dungeon terrain. Warlocks will gain experience if they sleep near gold, Tentacles like water, and Dragons will be enhanced if they stay near lava.

    Miscellaneous

    Below are a few miscellaneous things that annoyed me in DK2. I didn't originally intend to explain my reasoning for disliking these things – the whole reason behind this list in the first place – but I realised some things weren't quite obvious and just a sentence or two is enough to get the point across.

    - Being able to mine through unowned reinforced walls in DK2 severely limits level designs. Map makers are no longer able to restrict or influence progress like they can in DK1.
    - There are no visible Tunneller parties that players have to scramble all over the dungeon fortifying walls to keep out. DK1 already has very limited map scenarios – DK2 limits it even further.
    - Creatures don't immediately die when they run out of health. As long as a player wins an entire battle (and can thus revive their fallen minions), they can easily avoid any losses. Entire games can be decided with just one battle.
    - DK2's fog of war looks like earth, making it harder to discern whether an area is explored or not.
    - DK'2s Imps bounce when claiming land during possession, if I recall correctly. Possessing an Imp becomes less worthwhile if it still performs tasks just as slowly as it originally did.
    - Not sure if I'm recalling correctly, but either creatures keep making various noises while they're being held (even any held creatures during possession), or the sound gets bugged and keeps looping.
    - There are no "high" rooms to block enemies when placed beside water or lava. Height was also another characteristic that helped distinguish the different rooms in DK1.
    - There is no Conceal spell in DK2. One of DK1's many unique and defining strategies – concealing Imps and claiming enemy territory – is completely removed.
    - Traps and Doors cost gold. I don't know how many DK1 maps I would have failed had I not been able to grind gold through the workshop. If someone has a good reason as to why DK2's system is better, I'd love to hear it.
    - The muddying of the hero category with specialised heroes (e.g. "The Princes," "King Reginald"). Specialised heroes that only exist on a single map just complicate things so much. DK1 had precisely 13 types of unique and distinct heroes. How many does DK2 realistically have?
    - Creatures cannot travel through each other. Corridors can get pretty crowded and don't even think of trying to walk through a passage lined with Sentry Traps.
    - What happened to the super sturdy Magic Doors of DK1? There are no viable options for stopping any strong creatures in DK2 for a substantial amount of time.
    - Having creatures restricted to lv 4 on a lot of maps and lv 8 on others is just bizarre. I can see what the DK2 team was trying to do but I don't think it turned out very well.
    - The Dungeon Heart stores gold, removing the possibility of "no gold" maps as there are in DK1 where the player must make do without gold for a certain time. It also reduces the impact of capturing an enemy Treasure Room and consequently starving them of gold.
    - Every creature seems to train at the same speed. I'm not 100% certain whether this is true or not, but if it is, it is yet another balance handle left completely unused.

    The problems

    Of course, no amount of praise can distract one from the fact that there are certainly clear issues with the game. DK1 is plagued by bugs, poor AI, unfinished features and completely broken level designs. A lot of these problems were likely due to the game's lack of direction and oversight during development, along with the fact that changes were still being made in the early hours of the morning on ship day. But it can also be said that the lack of direction resulted in a game that was simply grown from the heart. While the bugs were the only real problem of DK1, I feel like it was DK2's design that let it down. For me, the design is the single most important aspect to a game and I'll always take a masterfully designed yet buggy game over a decently designed yet functional one. And with that said, DK2 has its fair share of bugs as well. At least they really focused on the level design and storyline in the second game.

    DK2 isn't all bad (even though it's good to be bad)

    Whilst I have certainly given DK2 quite a beating, there are many things that it did better. A few of them may seem trivial, but I think it really is the little things that count.

    Prisons have a single tile of padding around them. It never really made sense in DK1 how an Imp could run straight through the prison (and maybe even fortify its walls or something) and none of the prisoners would bat an eye.

    Chickens don't magically grow from the ground. I like the little coop in DK2 that bounces around when the rooster/hens are getting it on. It would have been a nice micromanagement bonus if the coops could be slapped to temporarily boost production.

    Spells can be upgraded. This adds a nice extra layer to the library that didn't exist in DK1 where the library just became useless after everything was researched. I also seem to recall Warlocks levelling up while researching, which was also a nice touch.

    The total number of creatures that the Portal attracts is unaffected by any creatures obtained via the Temple, Prison, Torture Chamber or Graveyard.

    The Portal is of a nicer design. It looks like creatures actually emerge from the depths of hell, rather than just appearing, seemingly out of nowhere, as they do in DK1. I also like how creatures enter through the Portal with some kind of special effect pertaining to its species (e.g. Salamander enters through an inferno).

    Imps sound a lot better in DK2 compared to that relentless "Yookyiyipyapyup" and "Yipee" from DK1. Having a variety of different vocal sounds that can be played when picking up or dropping creatures makes a world of difference.

    I like the idea of the Spike Trap as it does not hit flying creatures. Although the Lightning Trap in DK2 is more powerful than the Spike Trap, I like the concept of having a choice between a more powerful trap that does not hit airborne creatures and a weaker trap that hits both ground and airborne creatures. Also, spikes are much more fitting for a "trap" and the trap designs in DK2 are a lot better – DK1's traps (save for the Boulder) are all essentially magical totem poles.

    I like the Imp animations of claiming and fortifying in DK2 a lot better. The way the Imps stamp the ground to claim territory or push up into the air to fortify walls is quite endearing.

    I think DK2's Dark Mistress physical design is better than DK1's. Although DK1's version will always have a Lair (place) in my dungeon (heart), DK2's Mistress definitely better represents the Mistress as a sadomasochist. With that said, I do feel that the DK1 Mistress was a lot creepier – particularly due to being completely sliver/black from head to toe – which suited the game's tone more (seriously though, that thing is scary).

    On the topic of DK2's Mistresses, I love how they get involved with the torturing of other victims in the Torture Chamber. I feel like it adds a nice degree of personality to them – something I believe is pretty important and quite lacking in DK2. This may have been originally intended for DK1 as well, as there is a "whip" attack cut from the final game that was likely for the Mistress to use in the Torture Chamber (similar to how the Spider uses Freeze in the Prison).

    I like how the Training Room accommodates casters and ranged attackers in DK2. It never really made sense in DK1 how a creature swinging at spinning spike poles taught it how to use magic.

    I like how the mentor explicitly states which creatures have become unhappy or angry and why. For example: "A Bile Demon has become unhappy because it has no food," is a lot nicer than, "Your creatures are upset because they are hungry."

    Skeletons require no wage, which makes more sense seeing as they're just animated bones (although there are many things that don't make sense). I feel it would have worked better in DK1 as an incentive to use them over other creatures or in gold-scarce maps. DK1's Skeletons were relatively powerful but just not quite "meaty" enough to warrant using them over other creatures. It could have also made "no gold" maps viable as well.

    The Lightning spell only works on one's own territory. The Lightning spell was completely broken in DK1 where it could be cast anywhere on the map.

    I think traps can be armed or disarmed, which allows for traps to not be wasted on weak creatures, or to be used at a more suitable moment.

    Rats roam around the Prison. It's a subtle detail that adds a lot of value. I'm fairly sure they could be slapped and had tooltip descriptions as well.

    A creature's experience is depicted on their health flowers rather than in a separate information window as in DK1.

    It's always obvious which spell or room is being researched in the Library.

    There is a thoroughly fleshed out storyline in DK2 that actually makes sense and works well with the gameplay. In comparison, DK1's storyline is nowhere near as polished or even thought out. I recall an interview where one of DK1's developers said the single player campaign of DK1 was slapped together just days before shipment.

    Those cinematic cut scenes are pretty awesome.

    I should really wrap this up

    On the outside, DK2 seems incredibly similar to DK1. But those who are very familiar with both games should be able to see that there is actually a world of difference. I have sunk thousands of hours into DK1 and hundreds into DK2, so I think I'm reasonably qualified to compare the two. I think it is this level of familiarity with the games that is necessary to truly compare them, as there are so many minor details and nuances that collectively have a big impact on how the games play and feel.

    There are dozens, if not hundreds of other things I could mention about all the differences between DK1 and DK2, such as the sprites vs. models, Dungeon Heart design, room placement method, tagging slabs for digging, creatures stunned when dropped, Mana vs. gold, etc. but I would likely be at this for weeks.

    Hopefully this small sample of my perspective helps to align yours as to why DK1 is the better game of the two. Maybe it consolidates what you already thought but never really analysed. Either way, I hope it may spark some discussion and I would love to hear from anyone who thinks DK2 is the better game, or disagrees with some of my points.

    I feel like I should be thanking you for getting through this entire post. I might continue this sometime, but I've had enough for now. I hope it was worth the read!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Yeah, everybody knows DK1 is by far the better game of the two. I assume you read that here first.
    I have to say though, DK1 has its share of design issues as well.

    I actually like the fact that in DK2 imps can't be captured or turned into vampires. And I dislike how the prison looks in DK2. Far too small effective area in a big room. If they wanted a border, it should have been a half tile border at most, not a full tile border.

  3. #3
    Fly Gold Knight's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Yeah, everybody knows DK1 is by far the better game of the two. I assume you read that here first.
    I don't know whether that's really true or not. It may seem obvious to us, but I know there are a significant number of people who prefer DK2. Even the DK2 forums here are more active. And yeah, that's where I was originally due to reply!

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    I have to say though, DK1 has its share of design issues as well.
    Absolutely, which I did mention but didn't really go too in-depth (or I'd be here all year).

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    I actually like the fact that in DK2 imps can't be captured or turned into vampires.
    Care to explain why you prefer Imps as uncapturable? I feel like it eliminates one of the more strategic victory options.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    And I dislike how the prison looks in DK2. Far too small effective area in a big room. If they wanted a border, it should have been a half tile border at most, not a full tile border.
    I can see what you mean, but I doubt a half-tile would work well seeing as DK1 uses a 3x3 grid tile system; it would likely be 1/3. It could work very similarly to the Hatchery, where creatures don't seem to want to travel through the middle. I think a 1x1 Prison with a 1/3 border might just not be quite large enough to look legitimate though.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Quote Originally Posted by Gold Knight View Post
    I don't know whether that's really true or not. It may seem obvious to us, but I know there are a significant number of people who prefer DK2. Even the DK2 forums here are more active.

    Care to explain why you prefer Imps as uncapturable? I feel like it eliminates one of the more strategic victory options.
    I think more people still play DK2 yes, but don't forget that the mayor advantage of DK2 is that it simply had more content (skirmish maps, pet dungeon), multiplayer and ran better on modern computers. KeeperFX changed that, but that came out years after most of the players already left. Also if you're late to the party, it's natural to try the newest game in the series.

    As imps are created magically, they should die magically. Turning them into vampires or ghosts just feels like an exploit to me. Creatures in prison are supposed to die from hunger, but imps last forever. You can't torture your own imps, but can torture enemy imps, that's just strange. As you can create countless imps, they simply should not be able to be transformed into anything more powerful than an imp. Thematically it also fits just fine, if they don't need food, sleep or money, they shouldn't leave bodies either.

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    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    I think more people still play DK2 yes, but don't forget that the mayor advantage of DK2 is that it simply had more content (skirmish maps, pet dungeon), multiplayer and ran better on modern computers. KeeperFX changed that, but that came out years after most of the players already left. Also if you're late to the party, it's natural to try the newest game in the series.
    Yeah, I think many people "prefer" DK2 simply because they experienced DK2 first or never even tried DK1.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    As imps are created magically, they should die magically. Turning them into vampires or ghosts just feels like an exploit to me. Creatures in prison are supposed to die from hunger, but imps last forever. You can't torture your own imps, but can torture enemy imps, that's just strange. As you can create countless imps, they simply should not be able to be transformed into anything more powerful than an imp. Thematically it also fits just fine, if they don't need food, sleep or money, they shouldn't leave bodies either.
    Of course; I already explained why I agree that Imps should not leave corpses in my original post which I have quoted below. I definitely agree that they should not produce Ghosts when tortured to death either. But I don't think removing the ability to capture/torture them because it "makes more sense" is more important than an entire strategy. It does feel a bit odd that players cannot torture their own Imps, but I've honestly never really considered it as anything important. Even if they could just be captured but not tortured would be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gold Knight View Post
    The only positive side to DK2's Imps is that they don't leave corpses, which means Keepers can't easily grind Vampires by killing all their Imps, and that Imps won't be trying to run into dangerous territory to collect the bodies of their fallen buddies and potentially joining them. It also makes more logical sense that they are magical conjurations, providing a good explanation for their lack of food, wage and rest requirements.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    The 'Keep all imps captured' strategy also feels like an exploit to me, as this is simply something the rival computer player cannot deal with. He does not build new imps, so starves to death. Against a human player with a temple it is hardly a valid strategy.

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    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The 'Keep all imps captured' strategy also feels like an exploit to me, as this is simply something the rival computer player cannot deal with. He does not build new imps, so starves to death. Against a human player with a temple it is hardly a valid strategy.
    That's not poor game design; that's poor AI design. Half the game can be considered an exploit if you only consider things in relation to the terrible computer player intelligence. While I agree most experienced players would likely sacrifice their Imps to reduce the cost, there are circumstances where the Temple is not available or viable. Additionally, a mechanic like this creates a higher skill gap between the bottom players and the top players. I disagree that a feature or mechanic should be ignored or deemed unbeneficial just because top players can easily use/avoid it. In fact, most competitive games would likely suffer if only top-level mechanics/balance existed. Nevertheless, I don't think the multiplayer scene of DK1 really exists anymore (if it ever did) so this point is rather moot anyway. Even in single player, killing enemy keepers the same way every time can get tiresome and innovation that is rewarded can be quite stimulating/enjoyable.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Call it what you will, and if you enjoy capturing imps I understand you want this mechanic to stay.

    Personally I feel like the prison/torture/graveyard rooms are/should be based around actual creatures coming from the portal. Being able to create vampires for 1500 gold on maps with a temple is simply a broken mechanic. And I would indeed call it dungeon keepers most serious problem that so many of its core mechanics are so exploitable that any mapmaker has to find really creative ways to handicap the player in order to create any challenge.
    The imp-capture trick I do not consider an exploit because the AI can't handle it, but because it's only useful BECAUSE the AI can't handle it. If the CP would simply build new imps you'd have no reason to ever keep imps in your prison and would turn them into ghosts instead. As far as I'm concerned there is no DK1 multiplayer.

    In a DK3 I'd like the imps to explode in a big splash of blood and intestines, with some magical sparks dissipating of the corpse. I'd like to see some completely new mechanics to compete with a rival keeper instead, that have nothing to do with imps. Most of all I'd like to see keepers competing for creatures coming from the pool by building the dungeon to suit their needs the best.

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    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Call it what you will, and if you enjoy capturing imps I understand you want this mechanic to stay.
    I'm not saying I personally enjoy it, I'm saying that it gives players options in a game that otherwise provides very few.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Personally I feel like the prison/torture/graveyard rooms are/should be based around actual creatures coming from the portal. Being able to create vampires for 1500 gold on maps with a temple is simply a broken mechanic. And I would indeed call it dungeon keepers most serious problem that so many of its core mechanics are so exploitable that any mapmaker has to find really creative ways to handicap the player in order to create any challenge.
    Absolutely, and I've consistently agreed that Imps leaving behind corpses is a very broken mechanic. I'm just not so convinced removing the ability to imprison them really improves the game. I think all rooms should have a purpose though, and having Graveyards, Prisons and Torture Chambers only for attracting other creatures is not interesting at all. Sure, the way they are implemented in DK1 is fairly broken, but I feel like completely removing their function is just an easy escape from figuring out a better design.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    The imp-capture trick I do not consider an exploit because the AI can't handle it, but because it's only useful BECAUSE the AI can't handle it. If the CP would simply build new imps you'd have no reason to ever keep imps in your prison and would turn them into ghosts instead. As far as I'm concerned there is no DK1 multiplayer.
    I know, and I'm saying you should generally avoid analysing gameplay elements within the limited context of poorly implemented computer player AI. Even if you choose not to view a game's balance/mechanics from a purely PvP standpoint, you should at least view it in relation to an AI of equal skill to the player's.

    Here's why I see the imprisonment of Imps as an interesting and viable strategy:

    - It confuses enemy Keepers as to how many Imps they have available. The number in the side panel might read 20 but 18 could be imprisoned and unusable.
    - To acquire more usable Imps, the enemy Keeper has to cast the Create Imp spell. As any imprisoned Imps are not considered dead, the cost of the spell is not reduced and could potentially be very expensive.
    - If the enemy Keeper is a skilled player who is both aware of sacrificing Imps and the strategy their opponent is using, they are then forced to take their focus from other areas of their dungeon to spend time sacrificing Imps (potentially many times).
    - The enemy Keeper gains another objective: attack their opponent's Prison.
    - Players gain an additional way of defeating their opponent. Additionally, starving a Keeper of their Imps feels infinitely more strategic and clever than simply using brute force.
    - It lengthens the gap between skilled and unskilled players.

    Most of these aspects are not only useful in a PvE situation. In fact, most of them rely on the enemy Keeper being a human player. I would love it if the computer player was smart enough to determine how many of its own Imps were imprisoned and took mitigative measures. Sure, the strategy might not be as effective, but it'd be quite similar to facing a skilled human opponent.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    In a DK3 I'd like the imps to explode in a big splash of blood and intestines, with some magical sparks dissipating of the corpse. I'd like to see some completely new mechanics to compete with a rival keeper instead, that have nothing to do with imps. Most of all I'd like to see keepers competing for creatures coming from the pool by building the dungeon to suit their needs the best.
    I would love to see that as well. If EA ever hire me someday, I'll give it my best shot.

    I'm all for additional mechanics, but seeing as Imps are such an integral part to the proper functioning of a Keeper's dungeon, I think they do need to be explored as a viable target when considering PvP.

    What I'd like to see is Keeper actions influencing what comes through the Portal as well. For example, Keepers that slap their minions a lot may be more likely to attract a certain creature, or having one's creatures always at max happiness may attract something else, etc.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why DK1 is better than DK2

    Of course I'm not saying that the functionality of the prison/torture/graveyard rooms should be removed entirely. Those are for a large part what makes the game interesting in the first place. What I'm saying is that the game having so many potentially exploitable tactics makes it very difficult to make good and interesting maps. For those rooms I proposed one of many possible solutions in this topic to balance them out.

    And as for your imp strategy, you say it is interesting and viable, I would say it is trivial in both player engagement and impact. Even against another human player or a hypothetical good AI. You say it is a mechanic worth having, I feel any potential interesting game play is outweighed by it thematically not sitting right with me. It's a matter of opinion, but it does adequately explain why I prefer my imps to go 'splat poof' instead of fainting when they get hit on the head by an enemy Orc.

    And yes, in a DK3 I would like to see more gameplay mechanics centered about using and opposing imps. Them automatically getting dragged off to prison where they will stay forever without any further player interaction is not it for me.

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