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Yeah, this is something I struggle with. To us, the checkpoint seed sort of *is* the character of the TumbleSeed. So it's sort of that in his default state TS plants checkpoints. Haven't talked about this much with other people on the dev team, but it's something I've been mulling over personally.

Yeah, I can totally understand that commitment to the character. Its actually a very interesting conversation to be having and I'd like to hear what other people have to say as well. I think a big argument for changing the default is to appease the nature of roguelikes. By making the default seed the checkpoint seed you're establishing a meta where the beginning of every run begins exactly the same: the player has to switch to a different seed than the one equipped. That sort of goes against the idea of varied gameplay, in a way.

Related: Have you considered starting the player with more crystals so that the approach to the beginning of the first biome, as far as plots go, has more potential for variance?

Related: Have you considered starting the player with more crystals so that the approach to the beginning of the first biome, as far as plots go, has more potential for variance?

Hopefully forcing players to mine and kill enemies for more crystals and how they go about that is in and of itself an interesting initial strategy decision with some variance. Do you start off with the crystal seed and get more crystals and avoid enemies? Are there some crystals lying around so you can jump-start your economy by picking them up, getting some thorns, and kill some big enemies for crystals? Do you use the prevalence and ease of access of plots in the first biome to instead plant as many hearts as possible so you can get a head start on health and worry about economy later?

All this to say that my hypothesis is that adding to the initial crystal count would remove decisions -- whether or not you want to get more crystals, and how you want to go about getting them -- rather than adding decisions.

The beginning of the game is not always the most exciting, and we've spent a lot of time worrying about making it as interesting as possible without making players feel like the optimal strategy is to restart until they get a nice initial spawn/randomness (i.e. the more strong variance we add, the more immediately restarting until you get good initial variance is rewarded).

This latest build from today actually attempts to address that a bit by making killing large enemies worth a lot more crystals. My early play has now shifted to trying to get as many thorns as possible and not only kill enemies, but avoid killing low health enemies which is its own challenge. So, things are still changing and we are definitely open to ideas on this problem!

Sorry this was rambling!!

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Definitely not rambling, thanks for all the insight. I would say a portion of my suggestion definitely comes from my lack of experience with the game, so I guess I need to play some more!