I should have realized this would become a series, given the various roguelikes I’ve covered and their propensity to update. New readers may wish to read my introduction to roguelikes or peruse my Roguelike Highlights. Everyone else can read on for the updates!
The big news is a new, free expansion pack for Dungeons of Dredmor (read my highlight here), released not long ago. What’s it called, you ask? Well you see, You Have To Name the Expansion Pack. Although when I tried it out, I was dismayed to discover that naming the expansion pack is not actually required. But it is possible. I named mine “Dredmore” because I am not as clever as I think I am. Pleasingly, it seems I can rename it as many times as I want, so I can change it once I think of something better.
Incorporating content from valiant modders, the main attractions of the expansion pack are the four new skill lines, many of which are specifically designed to work together with other skill lines. Then there’s a whole bunch of new items, enemies, rooms, and, of course, humor. I’ve enjoyed the small amount I’ve played so far, although I found it odd that despite being a free add-on, the expansion pack is still treated as DLC on Steam and therefore will not automatically update the game; it must be installed manually. I guess the upside is that players who for some reason do not want the expansion pack can keep playing the base game.
I should mention that this is only the latest in a series of updates for Dungeons of Dredmor. An earlier patch added the option of a female adventurer as well as new equipment slots, an improved crafting interface, new items, and official mod support (which seems to have led to the most recent expansion). And let us not forget that there was also an earlier expansion to the game, Realm of the Diggle Gods, which was not free. I haven’t tried that one yet myself, seeing as I’ve not had that much time to play the base game, but I imagine I’ll pick it up eventually. It adds six whole new skill lines, five new dungeon levels, and a slew of new items and enemies.
Next we have Brogue (read my highlight here), which had been updated to v1.6.4. This update is a bit less exciting than some previous ones, acting more as a refinement of existing content rather than adding a lot of new stuff, but it certainly makes the experience more enjoyable. Out of depth enemies that can easily kill a low-level adventurer have been scaled back, meaning fewer frustrating deaths and more non-frustrating deaths. Characters also have an innate, although rudimentary, search ability, so rings of awareness are no longer essentially required to play the game. And the special treasure rooms, some of the coolest things in the game, have been further refined.
Finally, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (read my highlight here) has been updated to v0.10.2, with the release of v0.11 on track in a few months time. This is basically just a bugfix release after the big update in v0.10, but it’s also the first chance I’ve had to try the game since the v0.10 update. While I miss Mountain Dwarves (the race I used for my first and only victory), I’ve been having fun with some other race and class combinations and I’m enjoying the other improvements so far. I do worry that new players will have trouble finding an easy combination to play. There are some easy options, like a Deep Dwarf Berserker, but they tend to play in unusual ways and will be hard for a beginner to get used to. Most people point to Minotaur Berserkers as the default beginner class but I find they have a harder time in the early game than Mountain Dwarves did because they don’t get a racial bonus to armor and can’t wear helmets. Hill Orcs might be a better choice as they will get bonuses from Orcish equipment, provided the player doesn’t mind playing a race generally considered to be both evil and ugly. It’s also a lot easier to find new Orcish equipment than Dwarven equipment, and Hill Orcs get the option to worship Beogh, the Orc God, provided they can find his altar.
I don’t want to sound too negative though, because Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is still my favorite roguelike. If you’re looking for a deep, very challenging game that can keep you occupied for years, look no further. Those wanting some lighter but still quite enjoyable fare could do a lot worse than Dungeons of Dredmor or Brogue, and Tales of Maj’Eyal offers a rather different spin on the genre. Enjoy the updates!