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    dkirschner's Ring of Pain (PC)

    [October 26, 2022 06:35:00 PM]
    Ring of Pain scratches a card game itch even though it's not a card game. Since my last entry, I've beaten it a couple more times and unlocked most of the items, like 290/350, and am at 52/122 (42%) achievements. I think I'm done though. It's pretty much exhausted itself; runs feel more rote, and the challenge more frustrating due to the game's randomness on harder difficulties. You can still obliterate the game by stacking a couple different stats. Speed + attack, for example, is great because with high speed you can always attack first, and with high attack, you can one-shot most anything. Get lucky and find some specific items, and you'll be sneaking past whatever enemies you happen to not be able to kill, gaining permanent HP every time you equip an item, automatically knocking back enemies you attack, and finding other items that are absurdly useful. Get a bunch of crap items though, or fail to synergize your stats, and you'll be hurting.

    The game has daily dungeons that are pretty fun. Each day, you can play a shortened ring that has two modifiers. These could be like, "start with 100 health and no potions spawn," "start with a full set of 'explosion' items," or my favorite, "all item drops are commons, but everything you have equipped evolves each room exit." All the RNG is pre-determined in the daily dungeons, so each day's ring has the same weapons, the same enemies, the same scrolls, curse potions always either curse or heal you, etc. This makes it so, if you're having trouble, you can memorize the beginning and get a better start. Even more so than the regular mode, your power accumulates in the daily dungeons and you will just be plowing through the final rooms. The reward for doing these is an achievement (for trying 7 daily dungeons) and getting on a leaderboard. I've at least temporarily held the #1 spot several times. I mean, not a lot of people play these, but still!

    So yeah, I really like Ring of Pain. It's simple, with a creepy aesthetic. I hope they update it with new mechanics, enemies, items, story bits, and so on. I'd totally come back. But for now, finished!
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    [October 15, 2022 10:13:01 PM]
    I thought Ring of Pain was a card game going in. It was a freebie on Epic recently and looked interesting because of the art—the creepy yellow owl character specifically—and…well, whatever the “ring” was. Videos looked like cards in a circle that you choose among and fight. Okay so, something like that, but not quite what I thought.

    There aren’t cards. No cards. Well, cards, maybe. But no deck. You’re dropped in with very little explanation. The game has card elements, dungeon crawling roguelike elements, and RPG elements. Each level (a “depth” in some horrible place of light and dark) has a ring of creatures and treasures. You’re standing at the front of the ring, with two…I don’t know what to call them generally…objects…in front of you. Objects can be creatures, treasures, potions, doors, etc.—things to interact with. You can rotate the circle clockwise and counterclockwise, bringing some objects toward you and sending others away. In another universe, this game was a locker opening simulator. Spin the dial back and forth…

    You need to kill monsters to get soul points to spend to get equipment. Harder monsters and better rarity equipment = more soul points. You have like 15 equipment slots and various stats (health, attack, defense, etc.). The name of the game is increasing stats. The bigger stats you have, the better you fare against increasingly strong monsters. Your attack can overcome their defense (and their attacks will crush you if you don’t get more defense), your speed determines who attacks first (and increases dodge chance and stealth chance—your ability to be able to move past an enemy without them attacking), and your clarity affects a variety of things: how much extra healing you receive from potions; critical hit chance; chance to be cursed by items; and bonus souls from enemies. So far, I have found that the best strategy is to focus on attack, speed, and HP so that you can generally one-shot everything. However, I have also found that stacking clarity can net you tons of soul points, which means you’ll get tons of useful items. Stacking speed is only useful to a point (after around 20, you’ll attack before most every enemy) and stacking defense doesn’t really matter if you’re one-shotting everything.

    Some enemies move toward you on their own. Others explode upon reaching you. Some you can’t move past unless you kill them. Others shoot projectiles at you from a few spots away. There’s a nice variety of enemies to deal with. Although the RNG is heavy, there is a lot of strategy to manipulating the ring to deal with enemies and get as much treasure as possible. You can use exploding enemies to blow up one another, for example. You will learn which items are more important than others, and learn how to create synergies from items that you can use to your advantage in dealing with various types of enemies. You’ll learn how to use the various scrolls and spell books to your advantage.

    For example, in my last victory (I’ve beaten the game twice on normal, one “light ending” and one “dark ending”), I early on got some pants that did 1 poison damage to an enemy. Poison does damage every turn (defined as an action; you act, then the monsters act, and that’s a turn), and 1 poison is removed every turn. So 1 poison damage is basically just 1 damage, applied after you attack. But then I found some other item that did 3 damage to poisoned enemies. Ooh. Now if I attack my poisoned enemy, I hit for another 3. So by this point, I’m on the lookout for poison items. I found another that does 5 poison damage on attack, and another that lets you double the poison applied. Now I’m stacking 6 poison on enemies and can make it 12 on a cooldown. Hit them, apply the 6 poison, rotate the ring away (which is an action, 1 poison is removed, and the enemy ticks for 5). Rotate the ring back to them (1 poison removed, enemy ticks for 4). Rotate away, tick for 3. Etc. That one attack that applies 6 poison will deal 6+5+4+3+2+1 extra damage. And if the enemy is especially tough, double it to 12. 12+11+10+…that’ll kill most anything.

    In my first victory, I built an item set that buffed my HP to almost 70 by the end (it was barely half that in the second victory). I did this with an item that gave me 1 HP every time I consumed a potion at full health. Usually, you want to save potions until you’re really hurting because they’re finite, but with this item, I decided to try to do what normally would be wasteful and use them at full health. I found another item that gave me 1 HP every time I equipped an item. And I grabbed any other incidental health bonuses I found. Between those things, I gained a boatload of health and was basically untouchable by the end. Amping up any of your stats is like this. If your attack is ridiculous, you one-shot everything. If your defense is ridiculous, nothing can kill you. If your clarity is ridiculous, you get tons of extra souls from enemies (which means you can unlock most any chest you find and reroll for better items), health potions become super powerful, your crit chance (double damage) goes way up, and you avoid almost all curse damage (which means you have more usable potions and acquire more stat bonuses).

    There do seem to be some items that are no-brainers in your run. There’s a mask, for example, that makes it so projectile enemies don’t fire at you (this prevents you from getting caught by ranged enemies). There’s armor that nullifies explosive damage, boots that make it so you can only take 2 poison damage at a time. There are a couple items that make it so you can see every object in the ring. Typically, enemies are shrouded until you encounter them, so the visibility lets you plan. Winning without it seems nearly impossible. Once you beat the “dark ending,” you unlock a new default starting candle that lets you choose a common item to start with. This seems really powerful—that +1 HP mask I mentioned earlier is a common item.

    Some paths are also no-brainers. There are 16 depths, but you can take “side” paths in between them, which add extra challenges and rewards. One of the side paths is a wishing well into which you can toss up to three items to permanently gain their primary stats. This is fucking awesome. You want to burn your highest stat items that don’t have great secondary benefits. This has the double benefit of permanently boosting your stats and freeing up an item slot to find something else. Toward the end of a run, you can easily boost your stats variously by 15 points at the wishing well. In one of my victories, I actually found two wishing wells. Other paths lead to specific treasures if you sacrifice some health or other stats, guaranteed chests, rooms with specific enemy configurations, and so on.

    You’ll also want to go achievement hunting, as you unlock new items that can be found in the ring by completing achievements. This adds the permanence to the metagame; once found, they have a chance to appear forever. So, the more achievements you get, the more variety of items you unlock, the more cool stuff you find, and the farther you will get in the ring (to unlock more achievements, to unlock more items, etc.). I’ve so far gotten about 40/120 achievements and have unlocked over 2/3 of the items. I definitely want to see more and, even though I’ve beaten the game twice, will keep at it because I unlocked the next difficulty level and another starting item. I feel like there are more secrets to find and more story to uncover too (what is the backstory with the owl and the darkness? Who am I?). Plus, the game gets easier as you approach the final rings. Every time I’ve made it to ring 10, I’ve finished the run. Until then, the game can throw you. I’m sure it still can, but I seem to be really tough by around ring 12.

    I wonder how much harder the next difficulty is!
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    dkirschner's Ring of Pain (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 12 October, 2022

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 25 October, 2022

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Neat so far. Thought it would be more of a deck-builder, but it's not at all. --------- Fun RNG-based rogue-like-ish game.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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