“Roguery” here meaning Rogue-like games. I’ve been pondering my experience in ZTK, along with Dungeon Crawler’s comments in my previous ZTK post.

DC may have a point about treating it like an arcade game. I poked around in some of the info files, and saw that the two goals of the game – Oberon and the Serpent of Chaos – are on levels 99 and 100, respectively. That’s a long way down.

Very long. I cheated and looked at some of the monsters that are waiting on the lower levels, and it seems to me that getting past them would be a job and half, if not impossible. For one thing, your character is capped at 50, which isn’t all that high.

Of course, there are various magic items in the game to help you along, provided you can get your hands on them. Still, given how easily death comes in this game, I don’t see how anyone could reach the finale without intense dedication and many play sessions.

So where do arcades come in? The originals were coin-op machines, and the goal there was to keep you feeding in the quarters. Losing was built-in, really. You could get better over time, but sooner or later, it was “game over, man.” Thus the point of playing was to get on the scoreboard.

I can’t see doing that here. It’s one thing to start an RPG, try out a few characters, get a feel for the game, and then go on to eventual victory. It’s another to start up knowing that victory is not only unlikely, but out of reach to all but the most obsessive and lucky.

It’s the lack of a save feature that does it. Death is permanent, unless you cheat by copying the file out before a session. Even that has its drawbacks. Doing a save/quit/copy every little while would soon become a burden. Just one real save position would make this game much more playable and enjoyable.

ZTK has thirty (!) races and eleven classes, which is quite a spread, far more than you’d find in most “A” RPGs. There’s so much to fool around with, but it isn’t much fun when you know that those characters will be dying sooner or later, usually sooner.

And there’s more than just becoming attached to them (which, of course, I do); it’s watching all that time and effort go down the drain, often because of a bad break. So far, 4 is the highest I’ve taken anyone, and I think: what if I get this one up to, say, level 10 or so, and then – whammo!

Would I be inclined to start over, determined to do better? Or would I just say “forget it”, because I know the same thing is likely to happen to the next one?

I really feel a pull here in two directions. On the one hand, it’s something to play, and it has just enough to keep me interested. On the other hand, it looks like a fruitless endeavor to continue playing. Maybe what I need is “Easy Rogue”, that comes with a real save feature. Some might say such a game wouldn’t be a real Rogue-like, but I wouldn’t mind at all. At least then I’d have a reasonable chance of winning.

As it is, I’ll keep up with ZTK for a little while longer. But I suspect it isn’t going to be too much longer. Starting over again many times just isn’t my style.