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Disco Elysium tips and tricks? (unmarked spoilers probably)

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I'm throwing myself at this game more or less completely blind. I don't know what its about or how its gameplay mechanics work or how to approach it. Just kind of rolling with the punches.

So I'm playing as a drunk cop trying to investigate a dead body but it's really, absurdly difficult to get this body off a tree for some reason. My partner took a shot at it and then I did, and I guess when the game told me I lost morale I didn't cure it fast enough it just went to a hard game over where my guy had a tantrum and quit? Like kicked me back to the title screen with no continue option and my last autosave was like, over an hour ago of talking to half a dozen people and unlocking like, ideas and stuff.

It really killed my momentum and now I don't want to play anymore just yet. I guess I should be quick saving more often?
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
Having played the game for a while myself, I can give you a few pointers.

1) Don't be afraid to take whatever you want. This isn't Skyrim, nobody's gonna try to kill you if you swipe change laying around or stuff out of boxes. This will also help you get meds you will absolutely need in the early game if you have a low Psyche or Physique; quite a few are laying around in random places. Clothes which alter your stats can be found as well.

2) Time doesn't advance unless you're in a dialogue screen. If you can't do a thing right now, go get some exploring in. Talk to the locals, examine objects and scenery. You can find XP boosts in the unlikeliest of places.

3) If your health or morale stat is critical, heal right away. "Critical" means that you are going to die or quit if you do not heal.

4) You don't have to try checks right away. If you're afraid of failing, check your clothes to see if you can swap to something that buffs the relevant stat or removes a debuff, and/or use booze/cigs/drugs if you absolutely must pass a check. If you fail a white check, you can always unlock it again later by boosting the relevant stat or even just by learning stuff through dialogue.

5) Prioritize the Thought Cabinet. Mastering new thoughts can be both beneficial and detrimental, but the benefits generally outweigh the disadvantages. Some can permanently boost learning caps for stats, which is especially useful for the ones you're no good at.

As for general stuff to do in the opening besides the body, I'd recommend stuff like talking to the Wild Pines rep or checking out the bookstore or trying to get into the apartment complex.
 

Lokii

Administrator
(He/Him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm throwing myself at this game more or less completely blind. I don't know what its about or how its gameplay mechanics work or how to approach it. Just kind of rolling with the punches.

This is the way to play you're doing it
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
It takes a while to get the body down for most people unless you get a lucky roll. Just find other stuff to do until you can increase the appropriate skill(s).
 
This more than any other RPG I've ever played embraces the idea of failing forward. So rolling with the punches is like triple the good advice it usually is.

There's a slight quirk of the stat screen where if you assign a point and switch to another menu without confirming or undoing it the game will auto-confirm and spend the point. That's kind of the only thing I can think of to be careful about other than the aforementioned heal right away when the game flashes about your health/morale being critical.

You also don't need to worry about being constantly topped off on Health/Morale unless you're aiming for a check that is specifically Endurance or Volition. The game will sometimes give you a full heal for either one. Be careful if you're nearly empty on them, but otherwise it's usually fine.
 

karzac

(he/him)
Yeah don't use healing items until you need to - the game prompts you to use them when you're about to hit 0, so just save them until then.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I've played quite a bit and am still on the first day. Mostly getting into long meandering conversations and occasionally laughing out loud at one of the dialogue options I get to pick.

Also I'm already thinking of re-playing it as the more physically burly option to see how different it is. Currently I am doing the smarty build so I feel like the game's giving me a much more elaborate world-building than I otherwise would have and I do like the idea of playing as an alcoholic Holmes type who's like very perceptive and putting things together in a creative yet logical way and is a little fourth wall breaky. But like I'm also wondering how fun it would be to do a burly meathead with a heart of gold run and is this the game? Cuz I like it so far.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ok so here's the next preferably spoiler free tip I'm looking for: I now feel like I "get" the game more than I did before and feel like I may have spent some of my level up points unwisely. Like maybe I should have held off on learning Hobocop because I want to pick up Communism now but can't do so without spending a skill point in some way. I feel like there's three directions I can go here:

1. Shut up and keep going in the haphazard not thinking about it too hard way you've been playing. You'll have ample opportunities to grow your character in fun and interesting ways and aren't as locked down by your starting "class" as you think.

2. Say to hell with it games are to be played and experimented with however you want. If you want to begin a new run as a different "class" and see whether or not you get a worthwhile unique experience is what it's fuckin about baby! Be a rebel! Burn the system down!

3. If the game lets you run multiple saves, just you know, make a secondary save and play it as much as you want. If you don't think starting over was worth it, go back to the first one. Feed that toxic OCD!
 

fanboymaster

(He/Him)
The very nature of the thought cabinet spurns the idea of having a perfect idea of what your build will or should be, but for what it's worth, spending a skill point or two suboptimally is probably not a huge thing to worry about. Failure states often lead to some of the best moments in the game anyway. You don't really have a class, you just have a collection of weird brain hangups.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
As long as you do a regular save before you switch over (i.e. not a quicksave or autosave that'll be overwritten), by all means try #3 if you want. Dialogue can go in many different directions depending on what stats you prioritize and how checks pan out.
 

MetManMas

Me and My Bestie
(He, him)
The very nature of the thought cabinet spurns the idea of having a perfect idea of what your build will or should be, but for what it's worth, spending a skill point or two suboptimally is probably not a huge thing to worry about. Failure states often lead to some of the best moments in the game anyway. You don't really have a class, you just have a collection of weird brain hangups.
This, and also Hobocop is a good thing to have if you want more money for buying stuff. Tare is finite but there's a lot of it to find.

And when you need to, you can always spend a point to unlock a new thought slot. Or if they're full, delete a thought you no longer need.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ok, so I did end up starting over. Waffled back and forth a couple times but I think I'm sticking with the physical starting class now. I think I enjoy the mood-setting tone poems that Shivers gives me over the infodumps of Encyclopedia.

Also I found a yellow bag and started using it to collect bottles off the streets, but I have no idea where to sell them, none of the merchants I've talked to thus far seem to be in the market for them.

My idea so far is to play, Harry I now suspect his name is, as a burly tough guy who cleans his act up and quits smoking and drinking like the doctor told him to and starts thinking things through more over time. However I did buy a pack of cigarettes, but both times I've been tempted to smoke them so far I've stopped myself, the game's method of telling me "Don't worry, you can still start smoking in the future" is amusingly bleak.

Here's where I'll outright ask for some advice again: Is it a mistake for me to build a character this way, with the intention of going against type? Will that low starting intelligence make it impossible for me to actually follow through on improving things like Logic and Conceptualization over time? Is the game more expecting that I should put my points into the physical skills where I have significantly more innate potential? Or am I just overthinking it again?
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
There's a recycling machine in the Frittte store. It's right next to the Whirling-in-Rags, very much intended to be an early cash source.

Generally speaking, it's impossible to get into a failure state. The stats mostly inform the direction you solve problems in. So for your jabroni, while it's not impossible for them to do Intellect checks where needed (especially with situational bonuses as they crop up), you should aim for solving things the brute force way wherever possible. Additionally, you can use clothing items to shore up the difference in instances where a white check for an Intellect skill is in your way.
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
I also happen to be playing this right now for the first time! I just hit the second day and while it feels like at least one or two of the things I've done so far were meant to be done the first day (a couple instances of asking about or revealing already-confirmed info), that's the only real issue I've seen so far. One thing is that there doesn't seem to be much sense of progress, except for a few skill points here and there. I actually haven't even looked at the Thoughts yet... Jesus, duh, I should probably do that, shouldn't I?
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Thoughts are very important. The initial stat mods don't usually make much difference and may not be present on the final internalization, and that internalization can be VERY strong. They can also offer some unique dialogue, and really, isn't that what you're here for in the first place?
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
Yeah, I went ahead and put some on right after making that post. I picked the Communist one and didn't end up liking it (+4 exp on left-wing answers, except I went through a couple dialogs and didn't get any bonus xp on what I thought were left-wing answers, and didn't much feel like playing a full-blown communist anyway) so I spent a point to forget that one. It seems like most of the rest of my levels will be spent opening new thought slots for a little while. I have no idea how many levels one can expect to get, but presumably enough to comfortably unlock all the cabinet slots with room for forgetting some thoughts and still getting some points. They seem to come slowly though; I honestly have no idea how long I can expect this game to be.

I'm trying not to think too hard about actually working my stats and "build" too much because of the nature of the game, but I can't help it, that's one of the biggest ways I like engaging in games, by getting into the character-building mechanics. I can definitely let roleplaying guide that, though, when picking my skills and gear...though I've taken to looking up just the mechanical benefits of completed thoughts before I commit.


I had an absolutely insane experience yesterday. I moved the crate in the shipping yard and couldn't get in, so I said "what the hell" and rolled on my 8% chance legendary rhetoric check to convince the crate door to open....and succeeded, and it worked. Even Kim was like, "You have got to be kidding me." Then I went inside and there was a mega rich light-bending man there violating the laws of physics and warping spacetime around him. As it turns out, this was because he was so rich and I was so poor that reality bent around him to my eyes (Kitsuragi just saw an overdressed guy in a shipping container). There was an amazing little game design detail too - your currency counter goes wild as you walk around him, spinning through absurdly massive numbers like a compass in the bermuda triangle until you leave his area. Anyway, the chance came up so I said what the hell again and managed to succeed on another 8% chance legendary check to convince him to invest in me (I mean, my youth center idea) and he gave me 100 réal. Of course, those rare successes have been balanced out by what otherwise pretty often feels like a pretty stingy success rate even when I'm looking at supposedly high-chance rolls.
 

fanboymaster

(He/Him)
I had an absolutely insane experience yesterday. I moved the crate in the shipping yard and couldn't get in, so I said "what the hell" and rolled on my 8% chance legendary rhetoric check to convince the crate door to open....and succeeded, and it worked. Even Kim was like, "You have got to be kidding me." Then I went inside and there was a mega rich light-bending man there violating the laws of physics and warping spacetime around him. As it turns out, this was because he was so rich and I was so poor that reality bent around him to my eyes (Kitsuragi just saw an overdressed guy in a shipping container). There was an amazing little game design detail too - your currency counter goes wild as you walk around him, spinning through absurdly massive numbers like a compass in the bermuda triangle until you leave his area. Anyway, the chance came up so I said what the hell again and managed to succeed on another 8% chance legendary check to convince him to invest in me (I mean, my youth center idea) and he gave me 100 réal. Of course, those rare successes have been balanced out by what otherwise pretty often feels like a pretty stingy success rate even when I'm looking at supposedly high-chance rolls.

Every single way this conversation can play out are among my favorites in the game but I love that
IIt's possible to fail to pitch a good idea or succeed in pitching a bad idea which will lead to the same result
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Starting over so soon turned out to be a mistake. Not the game's fault but I fell into an OCD hole and started obsessively switching back and forth and trying new characters out and over analyzing every little thing that goes differently. It was a bad time, similar to the experience I have in the Sims character creator.

Anyway I decided the only solution was to take a break from the game a few days and let my brain reset. I had to delete all my saves to make this work because I know for certain if I didn't I would keep switching back and forth between them and ruining the experience. Not a one of them was past Day 1 so I doubt I'll care all that much about going through everything again.

Today I'm going to start a new character and that's IT. That's my only Harry? until I beat the game at least once.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ok I made my new save. Waffled over the character creation screen for a bit then told myself to fuck off and pick the thinker archetype again and go for it. I didn't mirror the actions of my first playthrough so I feel like I somewhat got through the first day rapidly going after some things that it took me a while to figure out on other runs.

Also I feel like I may have just understood something as of last night... maybe I don't spend my skill points right away when I get them. Maybe I wait until I need to bump a skill to retry a check I can almost get or go for a red I really really want. Or when I see an interesting thought I'd like to internalize. That seems like it will open things up a lot. Though I won't restrain from bumping a skill just because I feel like it makes sense based on the playthrough so far.

Also I've done a good job avoiding spoilers but I have gotten enough contact wiffs of the fandom to know there is a certain love for one Kim Kitsuragi and I'll even break my own indulgence in unmarking the spoilers in my own threads to talk about it. The scene with the hubcaps really stabbed me in the heart in just the right way. Playing through the first day a bunch of times really let me spend a lot of time seeing him react to my nonsense and I make it a point to always do the thing where I turn on the radio and discover he's secretly a big speedster car nut made me immediately both want to investigate the rims because I picked up right away that they weren't just something he happened to have. I turned him down at first because the gesture moved me enough to immediately go into "we are definitely friends we are best friends now" mode. Then he rather bluntly shut me down while still making it my choice and my logic popped in and more or less agreed so I caved and sold the rims.

After talking with him on the balcony though I ran to the pawnshop in the hopes that there was an option to buy them back later.


Also on this playthrough I threw up a THIRD time even after getting my shit together. It was actually having to level and put a point in endurance that planted the seed for me to look at leveling as more of a tool for progress than something to be popped off at will.
 
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Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
I've been putting almost all of my points into thoughts for a bit now, but I'm running out of thoughts I have that I'm particularly interested in following up on, so I have a couple extra lying around and I spent one doing just that to boost my Endurance for the vomit check.

I like how my character spec build includes "deep thoughts about Finger Guns and High Fives."

Also, I made one of the biggest mistakes I think I could have made up to now: I shaved. My god, what have I done
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
There are a lot of cases in the game like that, where you can see that the results are going to be awful but you basically have no choice but to do it anyway. (You totally have the choice a lot of the time, but it's compelling! I mean, I'm playing an addict, right, so it's just RP!)

My next run through, if I ever do another, I'm going to basically just be the biggest asshole I can. I'm a little all over the place on this run-through but generally keeping to feeling bad about myself and trying to do better, and being generally good to most people. Next time around I want to see just how bad it can get. (Though I'm still not convinced the game will have much replayability overall, at least for me.)
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I am already craving the replayability myself.

As stated I went with the thinker archetype for my "first" run through here and I decided that was the best fit as it gives you a lot of world-building details as well as makes the crime-solving aspect of the game real fun. I had an amazing payoff where earlier I analyzed a bunch of footprints around the body then later when I confronted a bunch of dock workers in the cafe I was able to scan the room and determine that they're almost certainly our guys.

I also did drugs and got the dead body to talk to me.

So much cool shit, I definitely can't wait to see how different subsequent playthroughs will feel. I'm currently playing my slate fairly blank, more interested in learning all the details and solving the "puzzle" of the game more than anything else, a scruffy Sherlock Holmes if you will. But I'm definitely keen on doing a Psych run that's more bombastically charismatic and anarchic, as well as a tough guy run (where I think I will go hardest on the quitting drugs aspect of the game).
 
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