Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?


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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 09:13

Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Quite often there are new players with surprisingly high spellcasting skill, asking for advice in this forum. The most recent topic is [CiP] HEWz: invest into Necro?

Of course these players would benefit from putting their XP into other skills - but why do new players make this strategic mistake so often? Is there any wrong information somewhere? Or does it just sound logical to push "spellcasting" when you cast spells? Any other idea?
"Crawl is all about trial and error" (Bart)

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 09:50

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

1. Most players do not know what skills do. They may notice that Spellcasting skill is improving their failure rates and spell power, but are unlikely to figure out that 1 level of Spellcasting counts as 0.25 levels of every spell school for those purposes.
2. Most players do not know how much skill costs increase with level, or how strong the diminishing returns are on spell success/power. This is why you see people training skills to 27 and believing it is optimal.
3. For Spellcasting skill specifically, some people wrongly believe that spell hunger is meaningful.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 09:56

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

I guess there is also another reason: that horrible thing called automatic skilling. When you play a conjurer guy and cast a lot of spells, the automatic skilling will simply put most of your xp into spellcasting, practically no matter what. And because the automatic mode is default, most newbies use that and the overwhelming majority is unaware that they do. (I played for months and was over my first couple of wins when mostly by accident I realized that it exists.)
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Dis Charger

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 11:36

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Spellcasting has been my highest skill in 38% of my wins...you calling me a new player!? haha. I'm kidding. There's two PRIMARY reasons for that: 1 (Spell levels) and 2 (Ashenzari) [Skill boost was raising my primary skill to 27 from (I think it was 23-24) so I turned it off; but I still trained Spellcast.] Also in a specific case for one game...I was bloody starving that's the reason I trained it heavily for part of the game...then I got necromut and trained it for spell-levels (was using IOOD a lot in a chunkless branch and almost ran out of permafood)
I'm beginning to feel like a Cat God! Felid streaks: {FeVM^Sif Muna, FeWn^Dithmenos, FeAr^Pakellas}, {FeEE^Ashenzari, FeEn^Gozag, FeNe^Sif Muna, FeAE^Vehumet...(ongoing)}

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 11:44

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Its called: "Spellcasting"
I take it most new players figure it is important for casting spells.
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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 11:56

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

What is too much exp for you?
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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 13:04

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Lacuenta wrote:Its called: "Spellcasting"
I take it most new players figure it is important for casting spells.

This. Also they hear it increases your mp. More mp is good, right?

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 13:19

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Spell casting reduces spell failure, spell hunger and gives me more mp and spell levels all in one skill!?!? Sign me up!

It might be an idea to either remove some of these functions or generally simplify the magic skills.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 13:29

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Once you understand how Spc's benefit to spell skills is limited, I think it works fine. It probably needs to be better communicated to newbies though.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 14:14

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

What should the skill say, "oh btw, i know you have +3 spellcast apt and -2 fighting but dont level this skill, even if you are a wizard sif worshipper who havent found any other book yet and your spells dont rely on power to be effective"? Honestly, how do you expect new players to not make that mistake? Its all part of learning how to play.
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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 14:19

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

pretty sure part of it is they are excited to learn new spells and see what they do/how good they are, so they want more MP and spell levels very quickly.

also when i started playing i trained spellcasting a lot because i hated spell hunger. it grossed me out to think of my wizard just constantly mulching up corpses in his disgusting ravenous gut, to fuel some repulsive arcane appetite

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 15:37

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

ydeve wrote:Also they hear it increases your mp. More mp is good, right?

Yes.
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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 15:42

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Hey, I'm a new player.
At many spell users of my game, the highest skill is spellcasting.

You can check how new players take wrong choices by checking my morgues:
http://crawl.akrasiac.org/scoring/players/radinms.html

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 16:00

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Proposed solution: put a warning on the skill screen about how spellcasting works compared to schools. Flash it or something if a new player focuses spellcasting. Experienced players get an rcfile entry to toggle to turn it off forever.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 16:05

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

radinms, i looked at a few morgues of your successful characters with archmage or sorcerer title and notice they are mostly DE and Sp. These species have good spellcasting and MP apts, and low HP. And, of course, Sp is fast. But I think other spell using combos benefit less from rushing spellcasting, and more from training fighting.
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Dis Charger

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 16:11

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

[11:10.44] <Bcadren> !lg . skill=spellcasting s=crace won
[11:10.45] <Sequell> 9 games for Bcadren (skill=spellcasting won): 2x Felid, Human, Demonspawn, Draconian, Octopode, Formicid, Demigod, Ogre

...ok
I'm beginning to feel like a Cat God! Felid streaks: {FeVM^Sif Muna, FeWn^Dithmenos, FeAr^Pakellas}, {FeEE^Ashenzari, FeEn^Gozag, FeNe^Sif Muna, FeAE^Vehumet...(ongoing)}

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 16:25

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

vOv

my earliest casters had high spellcasting and constantly died in early dungeon. when i took the common advice to train less spc and more fighting, i began to find it easy to survive through lair. maybe rushing spellcasting is not a mistake, but for new players who make many mistakes, fighting/dodging/stealth can make their casters less powerful but more forgiving. just some input from a not-so-good player on why not-so-good players do some things they do.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 17:04

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

daggaz wrote:
ydeve wrote:Also they hear it increases your mp. More mp is good, right?

Yes.

Yes, more mp is good. My point is it isn't as good as a lot of other choices when they go for it. But the interface is telling them that they're constantly running low on mp, so they value it more than it's worth.

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 17:24

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

I'd suggest renaming it, but nothing I'm coming up with flows off the tongue while still solving the problem.

Maybe Magicality? Magicalness?
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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 18:07

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

I have to admit that I sometimes fall into the trap of overtraining Spellcasting when worshipping Vehumet, to make room for gifts that I don't really need. :roll:

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Post Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 18:53

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

A few reasons that come to mind for me:

1. Really early on, spell hunger feels 'scary' (or at the very least, annoying), so you prioritize getting rid of it. Eventually you learn to pretty much ignore hunger as a mechanic, as much as the game lets you.

2. When you're new, you don't really understand noise (honestly, I still don't fully understand it) and conjurations tend to be noisy, so you're likely to end up fighting extended battles. This means that you burn through more MP, as you have to fight longer before you can rest. Eventually this becomes less of a problem, as you start luring more (keeping the encounters smaller) and, if using particularly noisy spells, you might retreat from where you fought most recently before resting/channeling. I often still train Spellcasting more than is optimal for the MP, just because luring annoys me. If you make good use of luring and various forms of dancing, you don't really need the extra MP, since you either keep the encounter small or you employ a degenerate tactic to regenerate it safely during combat.

3. The skill you should probably be training instead (Fighting) doesn't sound like something a 'mage' would use. Mages have a long history of being the glass-cannon archetype in RPGs. The trouble is that glass-cannon and perma-death don't go together especially well, particularly in dcss, where games can run a bit long. Defensive skills offer a buffer against mistakes and, if the game runs long enough, a few mistakes are pretty much inevitable. Crawl combat has enough variance that particularly fragile characters can be one-shot in some encounters, which is a huge risk to be walking around with.
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 01:12

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Jarlyk wrote:1. Really early on, spell hunger feels 'scary' (or at the very least, annoying), so you prioritize getting rid of it. Eventually you learn to pretty much ignore hunger as a mechanic, as much as the game lets you.

#RemoveHunger2016 #MakeCrawlGreatAgain

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Post Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 18:27

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

TeshiAlair wrote:I'd suggest renaming it, but nothing I'm coming up with flows off the tongue while still solving the problem.

Maybe Magicality? Magicalness?


Magic Theory? - (borrowed from Ars Magica)

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Post Thursday, 10th March 2016, 18:22

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Jeremiah wrote:
TeshiAlair wrote:I'd suggest renaming it, but nothing I'm coming up with flows off the tongue while still solving the problem.

Maybe Magicality? Magicalness?


Magic Theory? - (borrowed from Ars Magica)

Dcss really needs perdo vim
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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 14:21

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

The problem with the hunger issue is that new players skill poorly and play poorly, so this otherwise almost pointless mechanic suddenly becomes very important.. it is self reinforcing when your bad play causes starvation and the answer to starvation is to further weaken your spell power by pimping spellcasting.

The whole system needs to be rooted out and reworked. Frankly there is as little need for spellcasting as there is for spell hunger. MP limits work just fine to limit spell slinging, and INT and XL are more than fine for setting max MP. If you really want to modulate it from there, casting costs could be reduced based on your overall skill in the requisite schools. Just increase the numbers used to allow a finer resolution, people only care about percent of max MP (how many times can I spam ☓ without resting) than the numerical value of the cost anyhow.

As it stands, the spell skill system now is worse than the old stabbing mechanics.

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 14:27

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

I also think it is a terrible design flaw, that an entire hemisphere of the game (offensive spellcasting) is penalised so much harder by the food clock than the other (offensive melee).

A heavy hitting high AC build with regeneration and Mahkleb doesn't spend anywhere near the same amount of time to safely clear an entire floor. And you don't even need to look at such an extreme example to see a huge bias.

Apparently, the food clock is only there to punish people who want to use Crawls extensive spell system, and has little to do with actually pushing any given player deeper into the game.

PS obviously I am talking about total imposed food costs and ignoring the fact that there is an absurd amount of permafood in the game, even looking past the overabundance of gold and food shops.

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 15:53

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Food is a resource which everyone has to collect and use, but it is mostly irrelevant except for low-int spellcasters, species with food gimmick, rod users and maybe some ability abusers. How can a single type or resource balance these multiple, unrelated cases? My answer is: it cannot. If it is desired to use hunger in order to define exploration pace, the hunger shall work in a similar manner for everyone. I believe that hunger for actions not related to exploration could be either just removed or - if it is deemed necessary - replaced with some other mechanics.

daggaz wrote:Frankly there is as little need for spellcasting as there is for spell hunger (...)

With this part I disagree. Mana pool size, all-schools-wide success and power boost, eventually the number of memorizable spells are features of spellcasting that I wouldn't like to be tied to INT/XL/species. It is nice to have a choice of improving these parameters directly. I also like how good/poor spellcasting aptitude impacts some species. Ogre and Hill Orc mages are very distinct to me because of their imbalanced spellcasting apts.

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 16:05

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

No reason you can't tie spell levels available into some metric based on skill ranks in the skills (spell schools) that actually do something.

Remember the point of this thread. Why do n00bs burn xp on a wasteful skill instead of putting it where it counts. Fix the problem, don't perpetuate it.

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 16:24

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

New players training spellcasting because they dont know what it does.

Experienced players training spellcasting because they know what it does.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 17:39

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

I am intrigued by the potential food removal has to turn every chaos knight into a mummy chaos knight with curing.

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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 17:55

Re: Why do new players invest so many XP into spellcasting?

Jeremiah wrote:I have to admit that I sometimes fall into the trap of overtraining Spellcasting when worshipping Vehumet, to make room for gifts that I don't really need. :roll:


This is rather natural. You get limited time on vehu's roulette wheel, and you nearly always want to have ~4 spell levels available in case an important spell shows up.

Book destruction amnesia also becomes important.
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Post Friday, 11th March 2016, 17:56

I'm really surprised about that much feedback on my original post.

The point is: when I read a newbie's CIP with spellcasting being the highest skill my first answer is: "Turn it off." (And the first question I ask myself: "Why again?")

But as it looks like, there are several reasons why new - and advanced! - players behave like this. That's a strange thing...
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