Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content


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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:08

Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

I have a suspition thats Crawl lose at updates more creatures than recieves. Maybe it's not bad but with each retired monster game lose part of its atmosphere. And that can be not very good for Crawl. So maybe you'll think about returning some of retired enemies to countervail remove of some already familiar content?

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:25

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Most removals happen because the enemies aren't different enough from other enemies. Some happen because the specialties that made them different were bad for the game.

Which enemies in particular are you interested in bringing back? How are they different from other enemies that could be used instead? How should the problems that led to their removal be solved?

And it is up for debate whether crawl has too many different enemies or too few. I understand why people say that too many different specialties becomes confusing and difficult to learn, but I think improvements to descriptions are solving a lot of that.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 14:43

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

The arc of crawl development, roughly, looks like this: You started with a rough, crufty game, full of ideas and odds and ends, barely more playable than omega. People who wanted an alternative to nethack other than angband added autoexplore and it got significantly more playable. Since then, it's been a process of smoothing and removing cruft, while adding some select odds and ends. The removals, by and large, are actually the good part. For example, imagine if they finally just removed food. Dare to dream, amirite?

Adding removed monsters back in almost every case is going the wrong way. There are tons of monsters that still remain that ought to be removed, but who the hell wants to talk about removing Yak type-XIV?
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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 15:07

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

jejorda2 wrote:Most removals happen because the enemies aren't different enough from other enemies. Some happen because the specialties that made them different were bad for the game.
Which enemies in particular are you interested in bringing back? How are they different from other enemies that could be used instead? How should the problems that led to their removal be solved?


Well, I don't know much about problems that were caused their removed. But I can name some of enemies and if you tell me about problems with them, I'll be glad to suggest some ways to solve that problems.

At first that's a Goliath beetle. That is good fat enemy that on the first floors can cause troubles with killing it. Also:
- Various deep dwarfs
- Boring beetle
- Centipedes
- Grizzly bears, maybe also Ancient bear
- Stone golems
- Pan
- Some holy creatures - Shedu, Paladin, Phoenix
- Lamia
- Ravens
- Unborn

upd* And you guys obviously don't like dwarfs. Normal dwarfs has been removed and surviving deep dwarfs as monsters also lost most of the specieses :( While the elves have two specieses and personal branch.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 15:36

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Melee monsters slower than the player are pretty silly because you can just walk away from them. (Torpor snails obviously are an exception here.) Fooling people into melee'ing them is not a good enough reason to leave them in the game, they're just free experience that's more tedious to kill safely than other monsters.

I don't think you should conflate number of monsters with amount of content. A bunch of those monsters didn't really increase the variety of the game, they kept it the same while increasing the difficulty for a new player to learn and integrate. Simplicity is virtuous in and of itself, copies of existing monsters with new names makes the game more obtuse but not any more interesting. A proposal to add a "dung beetle" enemy that is identical to a goliath beetle except with slightly different stats should be readily rejected, so should keeping goliath beetles.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 15:56

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Also fwiw, there have been some discussions about this in the past and someone actually went and crunched the numbers and crawl has, in every major version so far, added more things than were removed, so the initial premise here is flawed.
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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 16:16

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Siegurt wrote:Also fwiw, there have been some discussions about this in the past and someone actually went and crunched the numbers and crawl has, in every major version so far, added more things than were removed, so the initial premise here is flawed.

I strongly sure that's in current Thunk were removed more monsters than added.
And that doesn't change the fact that the dwarfs in Crawl have suffered)

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 17:14

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

What is the most important way that dwarfs are different from orcs?

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 17:58

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

I think adding dwarves that are early, defensive, shield wearing enemies might be unique. Whether giving more shields early is a good thing, or tanky enemies with low damage are a good addition, is another matter. I suspect that enemy type would only hurt spellcasters.

Deep dwarves are certainly terrible though at least they didn't have the problem zombies have where there's no way to tell if they are almost dead.
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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 20:26

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

I'm pretty sure that in dpeg's castle/sex dungeon, there's a projector hanging right above the orgy pit that has been programmed to display every new instance of someone complaining about Mountain Dwarves being removed.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 20:41

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Cthulhu_55 wrote:Goliath beetle
- Various deep dwarfs
- Boring beetle
- Centipedes
- Grizzly bears, maybe also Ancient bear
- Stone golems
- Pan
- Some holy creatures - Shedu, Paladin, Phoenix
- Lamia
- Ravens
- Unborn

-Goliath beetles are ok because despite the fact that you can walk away from them, they can occupy an area and make it harder for the player to explore it. You can walk away from all speed 10 monsters too btw so I don't see goliath beetles as particularly different. This applies to all slow monsters. But some people think slow monsters are completely harmless so they were removed for that reason.
-Deep dwarves did not heal so they were easy to kill by fighting them multiple times, chipping away their health. Of course most of the time you could just kill them right away but theoretically it's bad to have monsters that don't heal.
-Boring beetles: More interesting than goliath beetles, pretty sad that they were removed (for the same reason).
-Centipedes: removed for being always irrelevant.
-Grizzly bears: literally nothing wrong with these, they have a special ability. Removed for being too similar to polar bears except that's not true because grizzly bears appeared in Dungeon even before Lair and were a unique threat at that level.
-Stone golem - see goliath beetle.
-Phoenixes were unique enemies, and encouraged using a corpse destroying ability. Good enemy in my opinion, dealing with the corpse during a fight is interesting, and 1v1 it's easy to press c on it. Removed for being annoying in zigs? Alrighty then.
-Shedu: I never knew they resurrected each other until right now, so I guess that's why they were removed. This could be fixed by making their resurrection work, but removing is easier.
-Lamia: too dangerous? If some people are going to complain about slow monsters being useless, well maybe you shouldn't remove this one.
-Ravens: ok enemy that was too weak for when it appeared.
-Unborn: deep dwarf

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 21:29

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

@Wahaha: mostly agree, except IMO Phoenixes were pretty awful, shedu were beyond awful and ravens were actually occasionally surprisingly deadly if your char had low AC.

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 23:30

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

I actually kind of liked goliath beetles for the educational opportunities. By that I mean that meleeing them was actually generally safe - if you let it take the step towards you, you hit it, and then backed up, it would again walk towards you and you could repeat this without taking hits. I feel like that's a good explaination of how turns/auts/time in general works. You would have to figure in if your attack speed was faster/slower than 10 auts, of course. And you could still take hits because of energy randomization. So there's a ton of valuable learning tools all wrapped up in one monster!

Also, the vulnerability to poison demonstrated how useful having a blowgun and poison needles, even with 0 throwing, could be.

Of course, once you learned all of this it was a harmless monster, and it could always be killed safely at ranged, especially if you had the sting spell. I understand it was removed for those reasons, but how will people learn "hack and back" now? HOW? ;)

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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 23:32

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

There are still worms.
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Post Friday, 28th August 2015, 23:53

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Cthulhu_55 wrote:I have a suspition thats Crawl lose at updates more creatures than recieves. Maybe it's not bad but with each retired monster game lose part of its atmosphere. And that can be not very good for Crawl. So maybe you'll think about returning some of retired enemies to countervail remove of some already familiar content?


The total number of creatures has gone down recently (from a high in 0.14), but is still far above historical numbers:

  Code:
673bdae*    332
1d0f57c†    351
0.1.1       349
0.2         352
0.3         356
0.4         358
0.5         375
0.6.0       411
0.7.0       430
0.8.0       489
0.9.0       494
0.10.0      491
0.11.0      502
0.12.0      526
0.13.0      548
0.14.0      554
0.15.0      526
0.16.0      529
master‡     524


Numbers include dummy monsters, but not "axed" (removed but still in the enum) monsters.
  • *: initial import of crawl-ref (pre-stone soup)
  • †: stone soup merged into crawl-ref
  • ‡: current trunk

Edit: I can't count, high was in 0.14 not 0.13.
Last edited by neil on Saturday, 29th August 2015, 00:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Saturday, 29th August 2015, 00:19

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

A slow monster will only "block off" an area if you leave it there. You can put the slow monster anywhere you want or you can just kill it (which is optimal anyway because it gives xp/piety) without getting hit since it can't catch you. Saying goliath beetles were dangerous is like saying the bear trap locked in your shed is dangerous because you took the bear trap out of the shed and set it up in your own toilet. Sure you can come up with some really contrived situations where a slow monster can do something, like stepping around a corner and getting one-shotted by a goliath beetle, or teleporting next to a cyclops, but these are vanishingly rare in practice and aren't exactly glowing endorsements of slow monsters when they do occur.

Like, can you really think of any hostile monster (in any crawl version) that's more interesting when it's slower than the player, instead of the same speed or faster? I sure can't.
Wahaha wrote:-Grizzly bears: literally nothing wrong with these, they have a special ability. Removed for being too similar to polar bears except that's not true because grizzly bears appeared in Dungeon even before Lair and were a unique threat at that level.
If you're going to say "literally nothing wrong with these" you probably shouldn't immediately follow that by saying something that was wrong with them. And there are still two bear monsters left!
Wahaha wrote:-Lamia: too dangerous? If some people are going to complain about slow monsters being useless, well maybe you shouldn't remove this one.
What evidence do you have that Lamia was removed for being dangerous? I can't find anything to suggest that, and would be surprised if I did, since Lamia wasn't dangerous...

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Post Saturday, 29th August 2015, 02:02

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

duvessa wrote:If you're going to say "literally nothing wrong with these" you probably shouldn't immediately follow that by saying something that was wrong with them. And there are still two bear monsters left!
What evidence do you have that Lamia was removed for being dangerous? I can't find anything to suggest that, and would be surprised if I did, since Lamia wasn't dangerous...
Grizzly bears - you clearly misread what I said. But I confused grizzly bears and black bears so... removing grizzly bears is fine.
Lamia - It was a guess, that's why I put a question mark there. The following phrase makes it seem like it wasn't a guess, but it was. If I remember correctly Lamia had a pretty high kill %, that's why I guessed she was removed for being too dangerous. I'd like to know the real reason of course.

If you're going to claim that she wasn't dangerous then every speed <=10 monster in the game is also not dangerous. Which is true in a way but it's a pointless statement because a big part of playing this game consists of making speed 10 monsters not dangerous. It's like saying "these monsters are not dangerous if you spend 80% of your time playing the game performing actions to not die to them". This applies to Lamia as well.

You're right that slow monsters are easier to deal with, but in my opinion that's fine. I don't believe that goliath beetles are dangerous, most of the time they aren't, but crawl for me was never about playing the most interesting tactical combat experience possible. I'm fine with some monsters that can be defeated easily in some ways. Goliath beetles demand specific ways of killing them that are sometimes different from killing other monsters and I like that variety. As for slow monsters with ranged attacks, they're mostly the same as speed 10 monsters and can get a stat boost to compensate, there's hardly any problem with them.

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Post Saturday, 29th August 2015, 03:13

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

Cthulhu_55 wrote:Maybe it's not bad but with each retired monster game lose part of its atmosphere. And that can be not very good for Crawl.


Crawl Development pretty consistently prioritizes gameplay over flavor (it may not have always done so in the past, but that's definitely how it operates right now). If an enemy weakens Crawl's gameplay, it will get removed, even if the enemy is great for flavor.

I think generally, nearly every monster that has been removed can be put into one of two categories, each of which has two subcategories.

Category 1: Enemy is more annoying than insteresting.

1a. Enemy is not interesting at all, but is annoying. Goliath beetles are a good example of this. It's very rare that you have a dangerous encounter with a goliath beetle. On the other hand, killing a goliath beetle safely is often very tedious, but still optimal (for experience). Thus, goliath beetles frequently create annoying situations, and rarely create interesting ones. They are therefore bad for the game.

1b. Enemy is interesting, but extremely annoying in a way that outweighs that. Alternatively, things in this category could generally be said to be interesting in theory, but annoying in practice. I think Phoenixes and Shedus are both good examples of this. In theory, both have unique and interesting mechanics that change the way you approach fights with them. In practice, both are frequently non-threatening but a massive nuisance to kill. Lamia could also arguably fall into this category. At least, when she got deleted, the general gist of the discussion that I got was that she was so easy to run away from but threatening enough to kill that there was basically no reason to ever fight her, which I think qualifies.

Category 2: Enemy is incredibly similar to other enemies already in the game, making it redundant.

2a. Enemy appears in the same branch as the enemies it is redundant with. It therefore adds nothing to the game's gameplay, because similar threats already exist in that area, but it does increase the knowledge required to play the game, since you have to know that those enemies are effectively the same for the purpose of handling them. The only point in its favor is atmosphere, but Crawl's current development philosophy clearly prioritizes gameplay over atmosphere.

2b. Enemy appears in a different branch from the enemy it is redundant with, but is a different enemy for flavor reasons. An example of this is Ravens, which are basically just harpies or bats that appear in the Swamp and have slightly different stats. In this case, the issue is that different types of threats is a big part of what makes different branches interesting, so putting the same type of threat with a different coat of paint in several different branches generally isn't very interesting. Ravens didn't really contribute anything to the Swamp. They were just "here's a Swamp-flavored weak batty creature." So they're redundant and don't really serve any gameplay benefit while increasing the knowledge required to play the game. There are cases where, if the gameplay context is different enough, very similar enemies are allowed to appear in different branches - Vault guards are extremely similar to Orc Knights, for example, but there's a big difference between that type of enemy appearing in the middle of an orc pack or it appearing in the middle of a vault human pack, and flavor-wise orc knights travelling around with vault wardens and ironheart guys would be silly, so they stay despite being somewhat redundant. But other cases, like ravens, aren't worth keeping.

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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 22:16

Re: Suggestion: thinking about returning retired content

duvessa wrote:
Wahaha wrote:-Lamia: too dangerous? If some people are going to complain about slow monsters being useless, well maybe you shouldn't remove this one.
What evidence do you have that Lamia was removed for being dangerous? I can't find anything to suggest that, and would be surprised if I did, since Lamia wasn't dangerous...

This post is evidence lamia is dangerous to the tavern!

Imho Lamia was pretty dangerous to melee characters but was a lot easier if you had any sort of ranged attack and could deal with her from a distance.

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