Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)


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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 19:25

Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

If it's so powerful throughout the game why doesn't Necromancer have a high win rate? They get this absurdly powerful spell, guaranteed! How do you explain it?

(hint: it's actually not that powerful, especially not now that it expires)
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 19:38

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

"Too powerful for level 1" does not mean it wins you games.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 19:41

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

So - it has no measurable impact on winrate and the background that starts with it has an average to below-average winrate - even over the majority of versions when skeletons lasted forever - but somehow it's still too strong? That doesn't make sense. If something doesn't help you to win, it's not strong.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:12

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:If something doesn't help you to win, it's not strong.


This thread is not about Ne. If Ne needs a buff (IMHO it does not), you can increase starting skills or give a better weapon. It is about spell Animate Skeleton.

My experience tells me that Animate Skeleton is extremely powerful all game. Early game it allows to shield from confusion by Sigmund, in Lair it allows to have allied hydra, even in Zot you can have allied draconians basically for free.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:28

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Animate Skeleton is a spell with serious downsides. Yes, it can make you some strong skeletons, but any ally play messes with proper melee positioning and LOS management (e.g. summoners summoning things to attack your skeleton beyond LOS), and also makes ranged combat difficult, a significant downside. Skeletons additionally are slow, which makes them much less useful, and you have to be able to kill a thing in order to make a skeleton from the thing. And there is the fact you need to yell to direct the skeletons.

Then there's the significant psychological factor that if you have skeletons with you, you feel more secure in fighting a group of enemies in the open, because you feel like you have backup. Then your skeletons die and you're left facing many enemies in the open. It creates false confidence, in other words. It's a lot easier to gauge what you the individual character are able to fight, than to gauge what you plus a motley assortment of skeletons are able to fight.

So, do the downsides outweigh the upside? Potentially. The point is that just looking at the skeleton and saying "hey I'd rather have a dragon skeleton than not have one" is not sufficient to show that it really helps you win. You really have to look at the records of actual players.

My usual reasoning about skeletons in the mid/endgame - if I'm not already going for heavy necromancy or ally play - is generally that I am already strong enough to finish the rest of the game securely using the same comfortable playstyle I've been using. So there's no need to bother with them, as they'd make no real difference; I win either way if I play right.

Slightly less often, I have a strong ranged attack and therefore don't want any skeletons around to get in my line of fire. That's a big one. A ranged attack is way more significant than a few skeletons.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:34

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:The point is that just looking at the skeleton and saying "hey I'd rather have a dragon skeleton than not have one" is not sufficient to show that it really helps you win. You really have to look at the records of actual players.


Are you serious here? It's like saying "Finding a vampiric demon blade before Temple makes player play less carefully so I am not sure it helps to win". Sorry, I don't want to discuss obvious.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:37

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Sandman25 wrote:
Berder wrote:The point is that just looking at the skeleton and saying "hey I'd rather have a dragon skeleton than not have one" is not sufficient to show that it really helps you win. You really have to look at the records of actual players.


Are you serious here? It's like saying "Finding a vampiric demon blade before Temple makes player play less carefully so I am not sure it helps to win". Sorry, I don't want to discuss obvious.

I'm pretty sure that if we looked at good players who found a vampiric demon blade before Temple, and compare them to games that did not find such a weapon, we'd see a substantial increase in winrate for those with the demon blade. Do we see any increase in winrate for those who use animate skeleton?

Siegurt wrote:I personally think both animate skeleton and animate dead should have a chance of failing depending on the HD of the corpse and the spellpower it's cast at. Animate skeleton having a lower cap on spellpower would probably fail a lot when trying to animate higher level corpses. (Also I'd make a failed animation spoil the corpse so it couldn't be animated thereafter)

This would serve both to distinguish the spells further and also make the low level animate skeleton less useful as a high level player, without impacting a player using them for their intended purposes much at all. (Also it would make investing in them for spellpower actually useful)

That's just how I would handle it, personally, though.

This would be a good idea only if it came with removing the cap on skeleton/zombie duration. Skeles/zombies definitely don't need another nerf.
Last edited by Berder on Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 20:40

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:I'm pretty sure that if we looked at good players who found a vampiric demon blade before Temple, and compare them to games that did not find such a weapon, we'd see a substantial increase in winrate for those with the demon blade.


I am not so sure. I remember a game where I had DD of Makh with vampiric weapon in Lair, it died horrible death and it had nothing to do with my skills.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 21:06

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:Do we see any increase in winrate for those who use animate skeleton?

You seem like you missed my point. You compared Necromancers to non-Necromancers, and noticed that Ne don't win as often. But Ne differ from other classes in more ways -- and far more important ways -- than just having AS in their book. So it's wrong to assume that Ne being weak means that AS is weak too.

It's like saying that, since Be win all the time, obviously animal skins must be really powerful.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 21:17

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

can we try just ignoring obviously ridiculous stuff like "why doesn't Necromancer have a high win rate", "most spells are junk", tone argument, difficulty argument, etc.

even if these two posters aren't being ironic (which I seriously doubt) they clearly aren't interested in discussion

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 21:28

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

ontoclasm wrote:
Berder wrote:Do we see any increase in winrate for those who use animate skeleton?

You seem like you missed my point. You compared Necromancers to non-Necromancers, and noticed that Ne don't win as often. But Ne differ from other classes in more ways -- and far more important ways -- than just having AS in their book. So it's wrong to assume that Ne being weak means that AS is weak too.

It's like saying that, since Be win all the time, obviously animal skins must be really powerful.

But you've reversed it there! Here you're using winrate to say a particular part of the starting package is powerful, which is invalid, but I'm using it to say it is not very powerful. It only works one way.

Here's what we can say about it:

If a starting class is powerful then it must have some powerful starting components - but not necessarily every starting component is powerful.
If a starting class is not powerful then it must not have any powerful starting components - at least no components, powerful enough to compensate for its deficiencies.

So what we can really say about Ne is that Animate Skeleton is not powerful enough to compensate for any other deficiencies of Ne. And here I would ask, "What deficiencies?" Pain is an extremely powerful level 1 spell, drain life is capable of handling enemies up to and including black mambas, and Ne can also cast Regeneration and Control Undead, or can transition to melee like any other background. So I don't think Ne has any tremendous deficiencies.

If Ne doesn't have any big deficiencies, then Animate Skeleton must not be that great! Consider the alternative: if Animate Skeleton was great, and Ne has no big deficiencies - the combination should be very strong! And it isn't.
Last edited by Berder on Sunday, 30th August 2015, 21:57, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:01

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:If a starting class is not powerful then it must not have any powerful starting components - at least no components, powerful enough to compensate for its deficiencies.

If Ne doesn't have any big deficiencies, then Animate Skeleton must not be that great! Consider the alternative: if Animate Skeleton was great, and Ne has no big deficiencies - the combination should be very strong! And it isn't.

People aren't arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful starting component, though. They're arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful mid/late-game component.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:08

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

CanOfWorms wrote:
Berder wrote:If a starting class is not powerful then it must not have any powerful starting components - at least no components, powerful enough to compensate for its deficiencies.

If Ne doesn't have any big deficiencies, then Animate Skeleton must not be that great! Consider the alternative: if Animate Skeleton was great, and Ne has no big deficiencies - the combination should be very strong! And it isn't.

People aren't arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful starting component, though. They're arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful mid/late-game component.

Ne still has Animate Skeleton in the mid/late-game as well, you know, and still dies in large numbers in those parts of the game. Though it does seem to be above average, it's not in the top five in terms of winrate among skilled players for xl>10 or xl>15.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:18

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:People aren't arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful starting component, though. They're arguing that Animate Skeleton is a powerful mid/late-game component.

Ne still has Animate Skeleton in the mid/late-game as well, you know, and still dies in large numbers in those parts of the game. Though it does seem to be above average, it's not in the top five in terms of winrate among skilled players for xl>10 or xl>15.[/quote]

Mods, could you please split it into another thread if it's not too hard? I see Berder cannot stop discussing Ne instead of Animate Skeleton :)

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:22

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Sandman25 wrote:Mods, could you please split it into another thread if it's not too hard? I see Berder cannot stop discussing Ne instead of Animate Skeleton :)

I am discussing Ne as it relates to Animate Skeleton, considering Ne is the most common user of the spell!
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:24

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:
Sandman25 wrote:Mods, could you please split it into another thread if it's not too hard? I see Berder cannot stop discussing Ne instead of Animate Skeleton :)

I am discussing Ne as it relates to Animate Skeleton, considering Ne is the most common user of the spell!


No. I am ok with Ne using the spell, it trains Necromancy for other spells usually. I am opposite to using the spell with other backgrounds who often use it with 0 Necromancy (and even 0 spellcasting) without any problems.

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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:26

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Sandman25 wrote:No. I am ok with Ne using the spell, it trains Necromancy for other spells usually. I am opposite to using the spell with other backgrounds who often use it with 0 Necromancy (and even 0 spellcasting) without any problems.

Yes - as Ne is the most common user of the spell, looking at Ne can shed light on how powerful (or not) it may be for other backgrounds. You're trying to declare this off topic solely because it doesn't agree with your claim that animate skeleton is OP.
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Post Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:31

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:
Sandman25 wrote:No. I am ok with Ne using the spell, it trains Necromancy for other spells usually. I am opposite to using the spell with other backgrounds who often use it with 0 Necromancy (and even 0 spellcasting) without any problems.

Yes - as Ne is the most common user of the spell, looking at Ne can shed light on how powerful (or not) it may be for other backgrounds. You're trying to declare this off topic solely because it doesn't agree with your claim that animate skeleton is OP.


I am claiming that your statistics is wrong, partly because you don't limit deaths to D2-3. I am claiming that Ne is one of the best backgrounds in the game but it is not as straightforward as Be or even IE so some "good" players die in Vaults or Zot (because Animate Skeleton is not OP of course <sarcasm>) and I am not going to prove it. Sorry.

Edit. Yes, ruin the thread by more statistics :(
Last edited by Sandman25 on Sunday, 30th August 2015, 22:32, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 00:18

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:Animate Skeleton is a spell with serious downsides. Yes, it can make you some strong skeletons, but any ally play messes with proper melee positioning and LOS management (e.g. summoners summoning things to attack your skeleton beyond LOS), and also makes ranged combat difficult, a significant downside. Skeletons additionally are slow, which makes them much less useful, and you have to be able to kill a thing in order to make a skeleton from the thing. And there is the fact you need to yell to direct the skeletons.

Then there's the significant psychological factor that if you have skeletons with you, you feel more secure in fighting a group of enemies in the open, because you feel like you have backup. Then your skeletons die and you're left facing many enemies in the open. It creates false confidence, in other words. It's a lot easier to gauge what you the individual character are able to fight, than to gauge what you plus a motley assortment of skeletons are able to fight.

So, do the downsides outweigh the upside? Potentially. The point is that just looking at the skeleton and saying "hey I'd rather have a dragon skeleton than not have one" is not sufficient to show that it really helps you win. You really have to look at the records of actual players.

My usual reasoning about skeletons in the mid/endgame - if I'm not already going for heavy necromancy or ally play - is generally that I am already strong enough to finish the rest of the game securely using the same comfortable playstyle I've been using. So there's no need to bother with them, as they'd make no real difference; I win either way if I play right.

Slightly less often, I have a strong ranged attack and therefore don't want any skeletons around to get in my line of fire. That's a big one. A ranged attack is way more significant than a few skeletons.


"Tenpercenter" streak rate arguments were bad enough, but arguing that a spell that can give powerful allies at level 1 has a lot of downsides because of its psychological effects on gameplay is a new low.
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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 00:40

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

tabstorm wrote:"Tenpercenter" streak rate arguments were bad enough, but arguing that a spell that can give powerful allies at level 1 has a lot of downsides because of its psychological effects on gameplay is a new low.

So your first claim is that "tenpercenter streak rate" arguments were "bad" - based on why? You provide no justification for your claim.

Then you claim that talking about "psychological effects on gameplay" is a "new low" - based on why? No justification for that one either.

But hey, thanks for your post! :)


A few notes:
  • streaking stats and tenpercenter stats are completely different. Nobody is talking about "tenpercenter streak rates."
  • Psychological effects on gameplay are highly significant, since with perfect decisions you can achieve above 90% winrate. Everything that falls short of that is due to poor decisions. If a spell makes your decisions more complex, that's going to result in more bad decisions.
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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 00:50

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder, can you please ignore the thread? Your point is clear, you do nothing but derail the thread at this point.

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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 20:08

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Split this off of the GDD animate skeleton nerf proposal for being off-topic.

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Post Monday, 31st August 2015, 21:55

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

ahhhahahahaha oh man

yeah animate skeleton sucks, level-appropriate allies for no necromancy skill and one spell level is sooooo shitttyyyyyyyy

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 06:01

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

ontoclasm wrote:"Too powerful for level 1" does not mean it wins you games.

But everybody say that if you managed to get through the early game then you are 99% won the game!

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 06:05

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Berder wrote:How do you explain it?

tenpercenters suck at Crawl

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 06:07

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

ololoev wrote:
ontoclasm wrote:"Too powerful for level 1" does not mean it wins you games.

But everybody say that if you managed to get through the early game then you are 99% won the game!

Yeah, you can't simultaneously believe this, and believe that anything in the later game is powerful. If the game is already 99% won then no support spell you add to your character is going to influence that winrate at all. Unless you think a 1/1000 increase in winrate is worth crowing about.

(it's not actually true - there are significant death rates in the late game - ololoev and I are just playing one dcss myth against another)

Sar wrote:
Berder wrote:How do you explain it?

tenpercenters suck at Crawl

Maybe so. I prefer to look at my streak data, which has more of a 50-60% winrate. In either case, how a real game plays out with real mistakes is more meaningful than what the spell might do for Hypothetical Optimal Play - which really would be 99% won with or without any particular spell, beyond the early game.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 07:32

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Berder wrote:If it's so powerful throughout the game why doesn't Necromancer have a high win rate? They get this absurdly powerful spell, guaranteed! How do you explain it?


My tip: I think the vast majority of players play necromancers incorrectly. My guess is that they play it as a "pure caster", trying to kill everything with undead servants and spells. Playing a pure caster is always a bad idea (although it is viable with conjurer), but an especially bad idea with Ne.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 12:35

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

ololoev wrote:But everybody say that if you managed to get through the early game then you are 99% won the game!


I don't know any player for which it would be true. Those "everybody" are wrong.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 12:38

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Magipi wrote:My tip: I think the vast majority of players play necromancers incorrectly. My guess is that they play it as a "pure caster", trying to kill everything with undead servants and spells. Playing a pure caster is always a bad idea (although it is viable with conjurer), but an especially bad idea with Ne.


And a big part of other players play necromancers incorrectly by undertraining magic early.

Yes, tenpecenters should not be considered as a whole, it is obvious: one person has 10% winrate and another has 40% winrate with Mu of Chei while playing with self-imposed conducts, what can they have in common?

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 15:19

Re: Nerf animate skeleton: hostility

Berder wrote:Maybe so. I prefer to look at my streak data, which has more of a 50-60% winrate. In either case, how a real game plays out with real mistakes is more meaningful than what the spell might do for Hypothetical Optimal Play - which really would be 99% won with or without any particular spell, beyond the early game.


How a real game plays out with real mistakes is more meaningful than what the spell might do for streak data too

your obsession with data is tearing this family apart, please, get help

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 15:32

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

I for one welcome any data points to the discussion, as otherwise it tends to be just memes, anecdotes, and speculation. They can all make a fun thread, but not a very informative one.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:09

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

I think the problem here is that there is disagreement as to what data is relevant.

An example that might illuminate the problem:

Imagine there was an ability that let you instantly kill any creature as long as you travelled manually (with no auto travel) all the way back to the dungeon entrance it can be used an infinite number of times for no additionsl cost, and can be used in perfect safety.

Now once in the game, the ability is rare, so you don't get it much, and infrequently used (because even if you see it, you are usually at a part of the game where manually going back to d1 sounds just awful, even as an emergency measure)

The question comes up, is this ability balanced? Well in absolute, optimal play terms, since you can use it on everything at no cost, then in theory, yes it is unbalanced and rediculous on the face of it. But in order to arrive at that conclusion we cannot use *practical* experience from real games, because normal players playing normally don't take advantage of it, not because it isn't powerful, but because it is really really boring, and normal people prefer to enjoy their games.

The fact that that ability is overpowered, cannot be extracted from any subset of game data, and instead must be extracted from the facets of its possible application, how much damage does it do, how safely can it be used, how costly is it, when is it possible to use it (not *practical* or *conveinient* but possible) these are the facets that are important to game design rather than game play.

In the actual case at hand the argument is that it is possible to use the spell in question overpoweredly, not that it is practical or common to do so, so real data about real games isn't relevant. The relevant data is actually the possible applications of the spell, its costs and damage and safety measurements.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:19

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

I concur with threeinvisibleducks; data is a meaningful addition to the thread, and Berder tends to analyze it competently.

On the other hand, it's important to remember that data shows what it shows exactly, and any conclusions which are applied to a given topic tend to be somewhat subjective when you have imprecise data (the typical data you have to work with in soft sciences.) For instance, we know that streakers tend to win felids more than nagas. Stating that this means felid is stronger than naga is a data-informed opinion, not a fact. And there can be legitimate disagreement based on what precisely we mean by 'stronger', and on disagreeing with the premise that streakers are representative of optimal play (not that they are optimal play, but that they can qualitatively simulate it.)

I think the toxicity of these discussions would go down if we all stated our facts as facts and our opinions as opinions.

Now for my non-meta thoughts. ;)

The other thread that was cited proves that Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games among competent players than most other backgrounds. It's my opinion this is because Ne is a weak background. It could alternatively be that it's because otherwise competent people play Ne fundamentally wrong, but I doubt it.

I disagree with Berder that what makes Ne weak is that animate skeleton is weak. I think it's mostly fine on trunk. I think the problem is that Ne is an XP intensive background, wanting you to skill Ne significantly and train weapons skills. Some backgrounds where that's true, like summoners, get by with it because your power is very reliable. Necromancers run into a problem where they can easily end up facing an enemy who's immune to their offensive spells without any meatshield support.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:21

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:I think the toxicity of these discussions would go down if we all stated our facts as facts and our opinions as opinions.

Pretty sure the only way to reduce the toxicity of these discussions is to quit gettin' mad about video games.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:25

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Siegurt wrote:The fact that that ability is overpowered, cannot be extracted from any subset of game data, and instead must be extracted from the facets of its possible application, how much damage does it do, how safely can it be used, how costly is it, when is it possible to use it (not *practical* or *conveinient* but possible) these are the facets that are important to game design rather than game play.


This. Ne is one of the last backgrounds I won with, exactly because I didn't enjoy animating every possible corpse, luring every monster upstairs to be attacked by zombies from previous floor, exploring manually to make sure I am always in the best position to take advantage of my zombies, using portal projectile instead of simple shooting etc.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:33

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:The other thread that was cited proves that Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games among competent players than most other backgrounds.


No, the other thread shows that some players lost Ne while streaking, that's all. To tell more, we should analyze every morgue: was there a player mistake? bad luck with early banishment? was the death in Zot 5 by paralysis from A.Lich? bad luck with drops? The real question is "is the death related to being Ne or to something else?"

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:41

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Sandman25 wrote:
byrel wrote:The other thread that was cited proves that Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games among competent players than most other backgrounds.


No, the other thread shows that some players lost Ne while streaking, that's all. To tell more, we should analyze every morgue: was there a player mistake? bad luck with early banishment? was the death in Zot 5 by paralysis from A.Lich? bad luck with drops? The real question is "is the death related to being Ne or to something else?"

I stand by what I said. There's no difference between 'more of this set of players lost 3-rune games with Ne' and 'Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games in this set of players'. It's a statistic, and is entirely true. Yes, it could simply be bad luck; along with any other explanation (like the two I cited; Ne being weak, and Ne being played wrong) that's 100% in the opinion column. But they do tend to lose more for whatever reason.

Edit: in case it wasn't clear, I'm approximating 'competant' as wins 10% of games. Clearly, that word could be used to mean a lot of different things, but this is probably one of the more useful definitions for this discussion.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:46

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:I stand by what I said. There's no difference between 'more of this set of players lost 3-rune games with Ne' and 'Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games in this set of players'. It's a statistic, and is entirely true. Yes, it could simply be bad luck; along with any other explanation (like the two I cited; Ne being weak, and Ne being played wrong) that's 100% in the opinion column. But they do tend to lose more for whatever reason.


Maybe it is caused by my bad English but for me "tend" means that there is some objective reason for that. For example, I will never tell "We tend to get more tails" when we got 6 tails and 4 heads in 10 tries, I will tell "We got 6 tails and 4 heads" without any tendency.

Edit. I agree with your post by the way :)

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 16:59

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Sandman25 wrote:
byrel wrote:I stand by what I said. There's no difference between 'more of this set of players lost 3-rune games with Ne' and 'Ne tend to lose more 3-rune games in this set of players'. It's a statistic, and is entirely true. Yes, it could simply be bad luck; along with any other explanation (like the two I cited; Ne being weak, and Ne being played wrong) that's 100% in the opinion column. But they do tend to lose more for whatever reason.


Maybe it is caused by my bad English but for me "tend" means that there is some objective reason for that. For example, I will never tell "We tend to get more tails" when we got 6 tails and 4 heads in 10 tries, I will tell "We got 6 tails and 4 heads" without any tendency.

Edit. I agree with your post by the way :)

You are mostly correct about the usage of the word 'tend' and 'tendency'. It means "outside of expected deviation" and "can be used as a predictor for statistical behavior".
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 17:43

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:I disagree with Berder that what makes Ne weak is that animate skeleton is weak

Correction: I think that animate skeleton is not strong enough to make Ne strong. That's different from believing it makes Ne weak.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 17:52

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Berder wrote:Correction: I think that animate skeleton is not strong enough to make Ne strong. That's different from believing it makes Ne weak.


Is there an easy way to get links for Ne losses that happened to get into your streak data set?

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:18

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Siegurt wrote:You are mostly correct about the usage of the word 'tend' and 'tendency'. It means "outside of expected deviation" and "can be used as a predictor for statistical behavior".


This goes into the whole sample vs. population thing. There is a tendency in the sample of 10 coin flips with 6 tails to roll tails. There is not a tendency in the general population of all coin flips everywhere. The difference is statistical significance. And 'tend' doesn't always imply statistical significance. It really can't, as significance itself is a meaningless concept without a probability threshold for significance.

Generally though, the word 'tend' indicates that you're considering it in light of possible significance. If I'm evaluating a coin for fairness, and it flipped 6 tails, I'd say it tended toward tails, but the sample wasn't large enough for significance. If I'm assuming a fair coin, I'll say I happened to get lucky with tails. In the case of necromancer streak results, I'm going with the former meaning; I'm not certain we have enough data for statistical significance, but it did tend in one direction.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:20

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Berder wrote:
byrel wrote:I disagree with Berder that what makes Ne weak is that animate skeleton is weak

Correction: I think that animate skeleton is not strong enough to make Ne strong. That's different from believing it makes Ne weak.


Well, then I wholeheartedly agree with you. My experience is that necromancer is not a particularly strong background, because it's power peaks are bad. Animate skeleton is good, and scales remarkably well for a level 1 skill, but isn't enough to make it powerful, as it's early game power is only OK much of the time.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:20

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

If you torture data long enough, you can get any confession.

The basic point people are complaining about is not the use of data, but the use of manifestly irrelevant data to draw unsupported conclusions.

I have sometimes agreed with Berder's data and sometimes use sequell queries myself, but looking at Ne winrates does not pertain to Animate Skeleton power, sry.

Also, I agree with Siegurt's point, and even alluded to it in the other thread. I rarely use animate skeleton in my (non-Ne) games, even though it is useful, because I'm lazy, and generally feel powerful enough to survive without it. That doesn't mean it is not OP for a lvl 1 spell.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:29

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

bel wrote:I have sometimes agreed with Berder's data and sometimes use sequell queries myself, but looking at Ne winrates does not pertain to Animate Skeleton power, sry.


I have to disagree; I think Berder's latest statement is definitely confirmable by sequell querys assuming we have enough data.

Berder wrote:Correction: I think that animate skeleton is not strong enough to make Ne strong. That's different from believing it makes Ne weak.


It's also doesn't set a very high bar for animate skeleton power. Freeze doesn't make IE good, MD doesn't make Wz good, and sticks to snakes isn't strong enough to make Tm strong. In the end, I think this is fairly irrelevant to whether Animate skeleton is OP, but it does indicate that perhaps Ne should get a compensatory buff in a less non-Ne accessible place. The problem isn't Ne is strong. The problem is that heavy armour trolls can get AS's late-game power practically without giving anything up.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:35

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:Freeze doesn't make IE good


actually it does, but that's beside the point
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:36

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

Sandman25 wrote:
Berder wrote:Correction: I think that animate skeleton is not strong enough to make Ne strong. That's different from believing it makes Ne weak.


Is there an easy way to get links for Ne losses that happened to get into your streak data set?

This is from the latest set of streak data, so somewhat different from the streakability post.

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/hyp ... 031613.txt
http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/jea ... 143907.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/78291 ... 222418.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Harco ... 141621.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 014627.txt
http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/hyp ... 171118.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/danha ... 223641.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/crate ... 022725.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Shadowmage9 ... 161014.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/ebarrett/mo ... 035728.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/zzxc/ ... 185124.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/NOPE/morgue ... 024817.txt
http://crawl.berotato.org/crawl/morgue/ ... 200919.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/herbaltea/m ... 173051.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/point ... 184119.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/daftf ... 150206.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Pseud ... 080837.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Pac/m ... 080154.txt
http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.10/Ja ... 000231.txt
http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.12/co ... 142245.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Wahaha/morg ... 234548.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/lessens/mor ... 150946.txt
http://crawl.berotato.org/crawl/morgue/ ... 222135.txt
http://underhound.eu:81/crawl/morgue/ma ... 181533.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/RBran ... 011042.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Roarke/morg ... 082050.txt
http://underhound.eu:81/crawl/morgue/Th ... 082321.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Lasty/morgu ... 235008.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/moose/morgu ... 071950.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Lasty/morgu ... 145109.txt
http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Oddbjorg/mo ... 101205.txt
http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.16/kr ... 204433.txt
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Parti ... 233420.txt

And here is the updated chart. This looks at games that had the potential to be 4th in streak or later, and it excludes streak-breakers that had morgues on a different server from the rest of the streak (because those are probably the griefer - I have since learned through personal experience that he's not limited to LLD).
Image


I would caution drawing excessive conclusions from looking at the individual morgues. Remember that a lot of deaths for other backgrounds would also have been for reasons unrelated to the background; so it should average out given enough games. And also, deaths can be for reasons that a stronger background could have overcome, even if it doesn't seem the background was the immediate reason why they died. Remember, for example, that warpers start with an extra scroll of blinking.
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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 18:54

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

byrel wrote:The problem is that heavy armour trolls can get AS's late-game power practically without giving anything up.

I mean, I still haven't seen this "late-game power" really demonstrated. Skeletons aren't strong; AS is like a slow, frustrating version of Summon Butterflies, a level 1 spell that is vastly more powerful than AS in the late game. Sure, skeletons can tank a few more hits and can be directed, but it doesn't really change the fact that any late game character can get far more convenient meat shields through a variety of methods.

Nor do I really understand why level 1 spells must necessarily be bad, or why it's a problem that finding a book with a level 1 spell is nice for characters who otherwise aren't "casters." This seems like an illusory balance issue instead of an actual balance issue; the game is filled to the brim with items that are good for every character and require no investment to use successfully, many of which are a lot more problematic than weak and impermanent allies.

Berder wrote:Remember that a lot of deaths for other backgrounds would also have been for reasons unrelated to the background; so it should average out given enough games.

I mean, this statement assumes that all backgrounds are equally impactful, but that's just one of the many ways in which this data is woefully insufficient when it comes to making qualitative statements about the game's "balance," imo.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 19:07

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/hyp ... 031613.txt
No AS

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/jea ... 143907.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/78291 ... 222418.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Harco ... 141621.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/keyma ... 014627.txt
Player mistake (Inner Flame and Warlord in Orc 3 before entering Lair)

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/git/hyp ... 171118.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/danha ... 223641.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/crate ... 022725.txt
Quit the game at full HP without monsters in LoS

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Shadowmage9 ... 161014.txt
No AS

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/ebarrett/mo ... 035728.txt
1 cast of AS, XL 18

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/zzxc/ ... 185124.txt
Player mistake (Inner Flame, lost Dex, had a potion of haste, some problems with skilling)

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/NOPE/morgue ... 024817.txt
1 cast of AS, XL 4

http://crawl.berotato.org/crawl/morgue/ ... 200919.txt
Death in Snake 5

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/herbaltea/m ... 173051.txt
Death in Orc 4 without entering Lair

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/point ... 184119.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/daftf ... 150206.txt
Golden Dragon on D19

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Pseud ... 080837.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Pac/m ... 080154.txt
  Code:
3074 | D:3      | Learned a level 3 spell: Vampiric Draining
  3184 | D:3      | Learned a level 1 spell: Animate Skeleton
  3227 | D:3      | Noticed Jessica
  3511 | D:3      | Killed from afar by an orc wizard

and no skeletons in LoS, I suspect no casts of AS

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.10/Ja ... 000231.txt
Minotaur in lab. Had Kiku and AS but it didn't have any skeletons

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.12/co ... 142245.txt
1 cast of AS, XL 8

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Wahaha/morg ... 234548.txt
No AS

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/lessens/mor ... 150946.txt
Underestimated damage from Hill Giant, had scroll of blinking

http://crawl.berotato.org/crawl/morgue/ ... 222135.txt
Zot 5, 111 damage from A.Lich

http://underhound.eu:81/crawl/morgue/ma ... 181533.txt
No AS

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/RBran ... 011042.txt
Surrounded with monsters called by Sp Druid (3 scrolls of blinking, not sure if there was room to blink to).

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Roarke/morg ... 082050.txt
Berserk mutation and berserked vs Polyphemus

http://underhound.eu:81/crawl/morgue/Th ... 082321.txt
Vault4, 103 damage from A.Lich

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Lasty/morgu ... 235008.txt
Chei, Snake 4, 7 scrolls of blinking

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/moose/morgu ... 071950.txt
Zot5, 127 damage from A.Lich

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Lasty/morgu ... 145109.txt
Underestimated Hill Giant, a scroll of blinking

http://dobrazupa.org/morgue/Oddbjorg/mo ... 101205.txt
1 cast of AS, XL 26

http://crawl.develz.org/morgues/0.16/kr ... 204433.txt
Unseen horror, scrolls of blinking/tele

http://crawl.akrasiac.org/rawdata/Parti ... 233420.txt
1 cast of AS, XL 8

So let's stop saying that the stats prove that AS is not strong enough or that Ne is weak. Most of those deaths were caused by players playing Ne as fighter (ignoring AS) or by player mistake which had nothing to do with being a Ne. I don't see any inevitable deaths which were caused by being a Ne which would happen in theoretical case if Ne and Animate Skeleton were weak indeed.

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Post Tuesday, 1st September 2015, 19:17

Re: Is animate skeleton strong or not? (again)

So new theory; Animate skeleton makes Ne weak by virtue of being so annoying noone uses the power built into the Ne kit.
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