Thursday, 19 November 2015

999 Problems

Unlocking the new hidden character in the Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth required some pretty insane puzzle solving, but you didn't have to do any of it. The summary of the event can be found on reddit. Somehow Edmund McMillen traveled back in time to hide a clue in a movie from the 80s.

But now that that's all done all you have to do is download the most recent update. Well, that and fill up the Greed Machine.

100 Greed Machine

The Greed Machine is a lot like the donation machine but it appears after you beat Ultra Greed. You put any leftover coins you have after winning into the machine. You'll need to put 1000 coins into it to make it explode and unlock the Keeper.

That's no problem because it's pretty easy to break Greed mode and end up with a ridiculous build plus full money. But wait, it is a problem, because every 5 coins you donate with any character increases the chance the machine will jam with each coin by 1%. So after donating 50 coins with Judas, every coin you donate with Judas has a 10% chance to jam the machine, meaning you'll only average 10 coins per run. Until you get to 100 coins at which point you'll only average 5 coins per run. This jam percentage is tracked individually by character but carries over between runs.

So assuming you always get to the machine with infinite coins, your first run averages 29 coins. If you get 29 coins in, the next run averages 13, then nine, then seven and a half. At that point you are at 59 coins donated and can expect to get six or seven coins in per run, making it about 11 runs to get to 100 for a character. You can do that with ten characters for 110 runs, but that would involve playing a lot of times with some very weak characters. You could instead play each character to about 50 coins and then work out the rest on a strong character like Judas or Lilith, doing about 100 more runs with whichever one you choose after getting everyone to about 50 coins.

People certainly play more than 100 games of the Binding of Isaac. People play successful win streaks twice that length. But it's an awfully big grind for those who aren't professional Isaac streamers.

There is a short cut. Basically you break the game to get infinite money in one of many ways, then buy every item in the game until you get the Glowing Hourglass. You'll also, somewhere in the middle of that, want to pick up a Chaos card. The Glowing Hourglass resets you to the beginning of the last room as if you had done a save state, but it doesn't reset the coins donated to the Greed Machine, which are persistent between games.

So no problem, with a Chaos card you can kill ultra greed every 30 seconds or so. If you get to donate 5 coins per kill then 100 kills will only be about an hour of grinding.

Random numbers in Isaac aren't generated on the spot, though, they are pre-seeded. The rolls the Greed Machine will roll to see if it jams are determined when you start your run, not each time you enter the room. So if you go in and donate 5 coins after killing Ultra Greed, assuming your jam percentage is already maxed, you will donate 5 coins every time. It might not be 5, it might be 4 or 6 or 10. This is determined when you start the run, but you have no way of knowing until you reach the last floor.

Setting up this combo isn't a short process either. It took me about an hour and a half to get everything together, and that was after two failed attempts at about 20 minutes a piece. When I got to Ultra Greed, I didn't get 10 coins, or 6, or 5, I got 2.

At least it wasn't 1.

So two nights ago I killed Ultra Greed about 100 times in a row. Last night I killed him about 220 more times in a row.

I wasn't exactly thrilled with this mechanic for unlocking the new hidden character. Unlocking the Lost took less time and was a lot more interesting and skill intensive. This reminded me Dragon Warrior.

1 comment:

  1. They nerfed the greed machine breaking chance pretty heftily... I got to put over 100 coins in with 3 different characters right after that patch. Including with The Lost!