Incremental Progression

Once more to the daily grind.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Darkest Dungeon recently. The full release is something I’ve been anticipating for quite some time and I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the story in its entirety, including, most importantly, the actual Darkest Dungeon. Wherein I expected to find mechanics unlike those we’ve seen before. Having been to the Darkest Dungeon already (admittedly on a suicide run) I was both surprised and disappointed at what I found in there.

That said, as a whole, I’m already getting bored with the full release.

I’m really impressed with the level of detail they’ve gone into balancing the classes on release. Many classes now work much better together and some of the more questionable abilities, such as Target Whistle, which used to be an exclusive debuff, now applies a mark to the target and allows more synergy across the party. Damage over time effects seem to have generally received a boost (especially for the Jester), and it’s now much more interesting deciding on a party. I’ll also admit that I’d undervalued and overlooked the Leper for a long time, until realising he hit like a freight train and had surprisingly useful survivability skills now.

That said, I’m not sure if this is an on release change, or a change some time during Early Access, but the rewards from quests seem to have been toned down. Very rarely do I find that even a Lvl 3 quest provides more than five to six thousand gold. (Once you account for provision costs, diseases, quirks, stress, and so on.)

"The ground quakes!"
“The ground quakes!”

I’m also finding that quests are providing smaller increments towards overall progression each time. Which one might argue is a natural depreciating curve as, as you develop more of the hamlet, or your roster, there is less and less to improve each time. Except there’s a lot to improve on- negative quirks to be cured, diseases to be cured, buildings to be rebuilt, and so on. But I find it hard to care about most quests unless they’re for a boss clear or I meet a Collector or something similar (for the gold boost) during the run. It feels like such a grind now.

Now that I’m taking on the Lvl 3 bosses, I’m finding it harder to want to come back each time I stop playing.

It’s similar to how I feel about Diablo III. You’ll get the occasional decent item, you’ll maybe score a few hundred Blood Shards and get lucky, or you’ll roll an Ancient Legendary at the blacksmith, and then you’ll be back to grinding out repeated content. Often times with very little reward, besides a few hundred thousand gold and a few salvageable Legendary/Set items to get some additional Forgotten Souls. Which has always been my argument even when the Auction House was still a thing. It’s not that the Auction House was a bad idea- it was actually a pretty good one- but the drop rate/quality of dropped items was so low that you needed it to progress. Unless you wanted to grind for hours on end.

However, most would argue that the grind was a prominent feature of the Diablo series (and ARPGs in general). But for Darkest Dungeon it’s become somewhat of a disappointment. It’s not enjoyable (to me at least) to spend all that time and effort for little to no reward besides the odd level up, trinket, or progression towards another boss.

Which is a shame. I really wanted to enjoy what Darkest Dungeon had to offer but I’m finding it hard to do that at the moment.

Have a nice week, all!


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