An important aspect of roguelike game play is variation. If the game implements permadeath, then it is important that each game is different enough from the last. While I enjoy roguelikes a lot, I think that most of the major roguelikes have a problem with variation. One goal of TGGW is to make sure each game is very different, and I think that I have succeeded with this.
Variation in progress
In order for each game to feel different, I think the player has to play the game differently each time. To achieve this, the player cannot fully choose how to progress – instead progress is mostly determined by whatever you happen to find. For this to work, the player needs to find very different things each play. For instance, in one game you may not find a weapon on the first five levels, which plays quite differently from a game where you find an extremely powerful weapon on the first level.
Variation in Items
Items may be found anywhere in the dungeon regardless of level. That is, you are not more likely to find better items deeper or worse items earlier. With the many many items of TGGW this means that you are likely to find items you have not seen before quite often. TGGW has a rarity system for items ranging from “common” to “very rare”. There are also a lot of items that can be found only through certain monster drops or by upgrading from other existing items. This means that there are some items that are so rare that you are unlikely to ever find them. An example would be an item that can only be obtained by getting it dropped from a very rare monster and upgrading it through an expensive service that also rarely shows up.
Variation in services
Another thing that makes each game highly different is the services that are available. A service in TGGW is a character in the dungeon that is willing to help you out if you pay them gold. There are many kind of services: various shops, trainers, service magicians, craftsmen, enchanters etc. Different services may show up in different games, and they have a huge impact on what you can do with the money you have found. In some games you will find a lot of services, while in other games not so many. Some items are only available through certain services (for instance, to upgrade your leather armour to a better one, you will have to find an armourer).
Rare events and discoveries
In general TGGW contain a lot of rare or very rare events, monsters, items and services that does not show up in every game. This makes the game more interesting since it will take a long time (if ever) before you have seen it all. My intention is that it should still be possible to be surprised after playing the game 100 times.