on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical


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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 06:40

on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

Apparently, pure ranged is not meant to be a viable playstyle. Fulfilling certain player expectations of Hunter archetypes is not priority. Now, that sounds okay all by itself - it's a perfectly viable design decision. But look at the implementation. The idea works great with artificers. But with hunters, at least archers, it is easy to avoid running out of ammo even without ammo gifts, as long as you just melee popcorn. It does not add tactics or depths or anything like that. What it does do is refuse you the option to annihilate river rats with your longbow. It slows the game down when you're facing harmless monsters. So it doesn't curb power. Then it must be because we prefer the flavor and fun of conserving a resource (frankly this merits a defense but I haven't found one), since you can just use your primary ranged option on anything threatening, and this gamefeel we choose to meld specifically to ranged combat (melee weapons could have durability points but we haven't gone down that route).

Heroism/Vitalization/DivineShield can likewise be spammed, and thus could easily become passive buffs (coupled with a nerf to piety gain), but at least they do nothing against some threats, and dig into your Finesse/Angel piggy-bank, so there's some game to recognizing when the buff is relevant. But if your most damaging weapon is ranged, there is never any question as to whether it's going to do anything. More damage is always better.

Monsters have a threat level that must pass a certain threshold for you to choose to use a finite resource. The threshold for turning on Heroism is low enough that worshippers of Okawaru can have it on frequently, but the good flavor and interface make it palatable. The threshold for switching to your superior ranged weapon is even lower, much lower, and the interface+flavor screw is enough to turn off many people from playing ranged characters.

This idea can be expanded to other things like food. Resources that are finite but not meaningfully limited do not serve a purpose beyond fluff, but it is usually negative (annoying) fluff.

Oh and here's a bow+xbow proposal (which is trivial to implement):
Spoiler: show
-bows and crossbows use the same skill
-arrows never mulch, or bows do not use ammo and are instead evoked, like polearms
-bolts always mulch (flavor: bolts must be in pristine condition) (but don't make the game generate more bolts)
-nerf bows (e.g. shortbow->ranged club, longbow->ranged scythe)
-buff crossbows (make their mindelay 0.7, etc)
Last edited by HardboiledGargoyle on Thursday, 9th June 2016, 06:14, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 06:55

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

I feel as though I must ask: Do you intentionally attempt to think outside the box or do these whacky ideas just come naturally?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I always dislike your ideas, in fact a lot of the time I think you have really good ideas, but I think we can all agree that you have some of the wildest proposals the tavern has ever seen.

As for this particular proposal, I think I see where you are coming from, albeit confusing. I don't like the proposal, I think it would make more sense to leave ammunition to throwing and make crossbows/slings/bows have unlimited ammunition. But I think I understand what you are getting at, and I respectfully disagree and stand by my position as the best way to fix the problems that exist in ranged combat.
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 07:18

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Crawl already has a relatively well-designed ranged attack with tactical limitations (conjurations) and a relatively well-designed ranged attack with strategic limitations (evocables, assuming we forget rods exist for the moment). That doesn't leave much space for ranged weapons to be interesting. Currently, as OP suggests, they're kinda-finite-but-effectively-infinite, but OP's suggestion doesn't improve the situation design-wise. Bows would be like conjurations without a drawback, and xbows would just be like evocables.

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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 07:40

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:The threshold for switching to your superior ranged weapon is even lower, much lower, and the interface+flavor screw is enough to turn off many people from playing ranged characters.

I don't see it. The 'interface screw' is actually tiny. You press your weapon swap button when you see popcorn, then you tab said popcorn. What do you find so bad about it? The worst is probably the targeting interface when there's a mixture of popcorn and threats. But at that point the player should probably just shoot.

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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 10:09

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

I think this is a fair attempt to solve some of the problems with current ranged weapons in Crawl. It solves the problems of ammo mulching and half-solves weapon switching -- half-solves because you still have a better-but-limited resource (bolts) that you want to avoid using on chaff. The proposal does not solve the problem of ranged combat being strictly better than melee combat or the problem that ranged combat requires almost no tactical positioning.

The only proposal I'm aware of that solves all of these issues is the one I've been meaning to implement for a while, which looks something like this:
1) Launchers have their own slot.
2) Ammo always mulches and is meaningfully limited in quantity.
3) Ranged weapons are powerful.

In this plan, ranged weapons are much more like wands: no added interface overhead, a finite resource that all characters want but which improves with investment, and a tactical option that offers more flexibility in positioning and power at the price of limited use. Ranged weapons can be distinguished from wands by being single-target, scaling better with investment and having different availability but not being as generalizable as Evocations. In this conception, ranged combat skills would be something all characters want, but the competing demands of the skill system would require meaningful tradeoffs in order to take significant advantage.

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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 10:26

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

How about 4) you can't use a launcher at melee distance.
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 11:04

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Sprucery wrote:How about 4) you can't use a launcher at melee distance.


It's not very fun to kite the same ogre to one of two stairwells over and over again. In the status quo, I can just shoot it twice more and kill it. If I'm disallowed from shooting it by game rule, I'm going to start walking away before it reaches me because I'm not going to use a short sword on a dangerous monster if my points are in crossbows.

Granted, kiting is a problem regardless, but blocking launcher melee makes it worse.
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 11:09

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Lasty wrote:I think this is a fair attempt to solve some of the problems with current ranged weapons in Crawl. It solves the problems of ammo mulching and half-solves weapon switching -- half-solves because you still have a better-but-limited resource (bolts) that you want to avoid using on chaff. The proposal does not solve the problem of ranged combat being strictly better than melee combat or the problem that ranged combat requires almost no tactical positioning.

The only proposal I'm aware of that solves all of these issues is the one I've been meaning to implement for a while, which looks something like this:
1) Launchers have their own slot.
2) Ammo always mulches and is meaningfully limited in quantity.
3) Ranged weapons are powerful.

In this plan, ranged weapons are much more like wands: no added interface overhead, a finite resource that all characters want but which improves with investment, and a tactical option that offers more flexibility in positioning and power at the price of limited use. Ranged weapons can be distinguished from wands by being single-target, scaling better with investment and having different availability but not being as generalizable as Evocations. In this conception, ranged combat skills would be something all characters want, but the competing demands of the skill system would require meaningful tradeoffs in order to take significant advantage.

If you do this, please, please, please allow equipping rods in the ranged slot. Swap, evoke, swap is so miserable, especially if you use it rarely enough that the rod's not on a) or b)!

Maybe enhancer staves could go in either slot as well - allowing you to be melee-with-spells, or spells-with-arrows?
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 12:39

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

KoboldLord wrote:It's not very fun to kite the same ogre to one of two stairwells over and over again. In the status quo, I can just shoot it twice more and kill it. If I'm disallowed from shooting it by game rule, I'm going to start walking away before it reaches me because I'm not going to use a short sword on a dangerous monster if my points are in crossbows.

I read Lasty's suggestion as in 'everyone wants to have some ranged attack but it is never the only attack method'. So you should always have some other method for finishing off the ogre you have softened up with ranged. Of course, I may have misinterpreted it. And anyway you're right in that it would make the kiting problem worse. So yeah, bad idea I guess.
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 16:04

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Lasty wrote:The only proposal I'm aware of that solves all of these issues is the one I've been meaning to implement for a while, which looks something like this:
1) Launchers have their own slot.
2) Ammo always mulches and is meaningfully limited in quantity.
3) Ranged weapons are powerful.


My alternate proposal:
1) Launchers remain in the weapon slot
2) Basic ammo is unlimited, doesn't take an inventory slot, and always mulches. Special ammo (one or two types per launcher type) is available in limited quantities, and always mulches.
3) Ranged weapons are balanced with standard melee weapons, just like polearms and axes are.

The best way to do (3), I think, is to reduce damage at longer ranges. Perhaps like this:
1 or 2 squares away: 100% damage
3: 90%
4: 80%
5: 70%
6: 60%
7: 50%

Or perhaps like:
1-3 squares away: 100% damage
4-7: 70%

And then set base launcher damage accordingly, probably to a little less than corresponding polearms for bows and slings, and a good deal more for xbows (because of longer attack delay)
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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 19:19

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Tiktacy wrote:I feel as though I must ask: Do you intentionally attempt to think outside the box

Thanks, I guess, but I don't quite see the box you're talking about. My proposal gives a powerful and limited ranged option (you get roughly 1000 xbow shots in a game), provides a hassle-free way of playing pure ranged if the player really wants it (but I guess it's something we really want to deny players, despite Conjurations existing?), achieves greater complexity (e.g. enchant bow or xbow?) with simpler mechanics (no sometimes-mulch, no 1.0 mindelay), and can be implemented simply by tweaking a few weapon stats (including setting xbows to use the bows skill) and setting mulch rates of arrows and bolts to 0% and 100%. And banning arrow gifts. By comparison, most other proposals are way farther out of the box: damage depending on distance, a new slot, special ammo, bolts used as currency, etc.

all before wrote:OP's suggestion doesn't improve the situation design-wise. Bows would be like conjurations without a drawback, and xbows would just be like evocables.

Well, are we comparing to current Crawl or some Crawl that has "solved" or got rid of (x)bows? Because OP's suggestion is not competing with the latter.

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:I don't see it. The 'interface screw' is actually tiny.

That's okay, not everybody is you. I think that having to brace yourself, and think "oh shoot, that's a weak monster, I shouldn't be shooting it" is what irritates people. And it is still slower, and drags down the game's pace, compared to being able to continue shooting at everything, in a game whose default pace is pretty slow anyway.

Lasty, maybe post the formulas you plan to use for ranged reform so we can tear it apart before it's implemented.

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Post Monday, 16th May 2016, 21:46

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

The formulas are pretty irrelevant to my plan above. Obviously, I'll have to pick some, but if they don't work out well, we'll pick another. The important aspect of the proposal is the macro-level changes, which you should be able to evaluate independently of the formulas chosen, because they're not aimed at a very specific level of character balance.

Happily, your proposal is the same: there would be no point in me asking you to provide formulas because they're entirely incidental to your goals.
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Post Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 01:48

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Well, actually, I think asking for formulas helps straighten out intentions, even if they are only ballpark, therefore I mentioned number of bolts in the game and compared to clubs and scythes. It's actually hard to judge without specifics, like the "make other amulets more like faith" proposal. What is 'meaningfully limited' and 'powerful'? Do artifact launchers still exist, but stripped to their enchantment and brand? Where does the launcher slot go and what commands are associated with it? Do you want launchers to be on the same footing in terms of power and ammo constraint? You have to settle on some numbers anyway, in order to implement anything, I don't see the point of holding off until it's in the game before becoming open to changing it.

IMO I think it's not nice to destroy unlimited non-magical ranged archetypes because they promise a unique if niche playstyle.

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Post Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 05:26

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:Well, actually, I think asking for formulas helps straighten out intentions, even if they are only ballpark, therefore I mentioned number of bolts in the game and compared to clubs and scythes. It's actually hard to judge without specifics, like the "make other amulets more like faith" proposal. What is 'meaningfully limited' and 'powerful'? Do artifact launchers still exist, but stripped to their enchantment and brand? Where does the launcher slot go and what commands are associated with it? Do you want launchers to be on the same footing in terms of power and ammo constraint? You have to settle on some numbers anyway, in order to implement anything, I don't see the point of holding off until it's in the game before becoming open to changing it.
thanked for this. I see this cycle so much, in crawl and other projects:
person A: "i'm going to add [thing] to the game"
person B: "[thing] has a bunch of problems"
person A: "hey, wait until it's implemented before poo-pooing it. how do you know how it will play until you try it?"
([thing] gets added to the game)
person B: "[thing] has these problems, like I said it would"
person A: "why didn't you tell me before it was implemented? we can't change it now, all this work went into it"

(here, person A is like 99% of crawl players and does not know what the sunk cost fallacy is)

it is much better to pay attention to design problems in the design phase, rather than wait until the testing phase

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:IMO I think it's not nice to destroy unlimited non-magical ranged archetypes because they promise a unique if niche playstyle.
did not thank for this. this is ridiculous. the fact you had to specify "non-magical" shows that it's NOT a unique "playstyle", it already exists with conjurations.

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Post Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 09:41

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

I'm not saying people can't pooh-pooh my plans, but they should understand that the important parts of the plan, the parts worth discussing, are not the specific formulas. Questions like "what key will be used to equip/unequip a launcher?" are good, and can only help me come up with better plans. Questions like "how much damage will a short bow do at 15 bows skill with 10 fighting, 12 dex, and 13 strength?" are bad questions. These questions can only help if the design goals are definitely correct but are in some way contingent on the specific numbers chosen, which is not the case here.

Also, asking for "formulas" does not to me mean "ballpark". To me this is like saying "tell me the exact details, but just give me a quick overview."

So, let me address the good questions that HbG offered:
What is 'meaningfully limited' and 'powerful'?

By "meaningfully limited", I mean generating about the same amount of ammo on the floor as now, but mulching all ammo that monsters fire or drop. If that doesn't feel right, I'll revisit it. The intention is to make it sufficiently limited that you cannot use it on every powerful monster you meet.

By "powerful", I mean being more damaging than equivalent melee weapons in general, but particularly at high investment. So, a hunter's starting launcher at starting skill would do more DOTthan any other starting weapon at starting skill -- somewhere in the range of 10-40% more. At very high skill (20+), a launcher might get as high as 50-100% more than equivalent melee DOT. This will have to be considered carefully, because there's a potential for overall power creep here and I would like to avoid that.
Do artifact launchers still exist, but stripped to their enchantment and brand?

My plan is to remove randart launchers but allow unrand launchers. Without non-enchantment, non-brand properties, the only meaningful attribute of a randart is unenchantability, and I'm not sure that's worth much by itself.
Where does the launcher slot go and what commands are associated with it?

I'm not sure what you mean by "go". I was initially thinking of putting it on w, but that creates a lot of complications. I then considered W/T since that already has the interface required to cleanly support it. After speaking w/dpeg recently, I'm thinking perhaps it should go on Q, but that would require doing something about blowguns, the last launcher that supports multiple ammo types.
Do you want launchers to be on the same footing in terms of power and ammo constraint?

I'm still going back and forth on this. I like the division of crossbow and bow by attack speed/armour penetration. I also like the idea of having a single ranged skill (e.g. Launchers), but if we were to do this I'd want to unify them to take a single type of ammo so that you don't end up collecting both bolts and arrows and bullets and a bow and a crossbow and a sling and then choosing which one to use based on ammo availability and monster threat level. That would be worse than current weapon switching.

IMO I think it's not nice to destroy unlimited non-magical ranged archetypes because they promise a unique if niche playstyle.

The problem is that we do not have a unlimited non-magical ranged archetype that promises a unique playstyle, and ranged is only niche because it's so unpleasant for so many players. Ranged combat is not unique (it overlaps with wands and conjurations), and it's also also fundamentally flawed as constructed right now.

Imagine if we had a form of attack where when you press "rest" repeatedly monsters on screen start randomly dying. Imagine that doing this is about as effective as attacking those monsters in melee, but you can do it from anywhere on screen. Imagine that there are items in the game that buffed that form of combat but not other forms. Would that be unique? Would it be interesting or worth preserving? Now switch the "rest" key to tab and "randomly" to "whichever monsters you choose" and you don't have to imagine: that's what ranged combat is right now.

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Post Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 10:48

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Lasty wrote:After speaking w/dpeg recently...
Nice to see you survived Görlitzer Park! That should be worth a tourist t-shirt (but there are none, of course, another proof that the free market is not perfect).

Perhaps it can help if I spell out how I understand ranged reform:

Analysis:
  • There are several competing sources for dealing ranged damage. Launchers compete with conjurations and some evokables, including wands.
  • All forms of ranged damage need to be kept in check: they avoid the intricacies of terrain, and are something you always want to use (you can attack monsters as soon as you see them, most monsters cannot attack you at range.)
  • Conjurations has one strong constraint (MP cost -- lack of MP often kills characters) and some weaker ones (reduced ranges on many spells, need to find the spells, need to have the spell slots, need to train probably more than one skill).
  • Launchers have no strong constraint at the moment, and the weaker ones only work partially (there is ammunition shortage in the early game). Inventory limit and (obsolete) item weights might have been seen as constraints in the past, but don't count for me.
  • On top of that, launchers are very cheap to skill, and do great damage for that investment. Further bonus are egos, which can greatly increase versatility (penetration, silver etc.)
As always, one option is to remove. With conjurations fully fleshed out, it's clear that the ranged damage spells are bound to stay. So if removing something, the natural candidate are launchers/missiles. We think there are some reasons why we should not remove just yet:
  • There ought to be a meaningful distinction between conjurations and launchers.
  • Monsters throw things at us, so it feels good to be able to throw something at them. (This is a minor point: it is only player-monster consistency, a form of flavour.)
This gets us to what we could do. I am just paraphrasing (I hope) Lasty's concept.

The proposal
  • We force ammunition scarcity to be the one, meaningful constraint of launchers. This is achieved by automatic mulch. Doing this means that, unlike spells, you cannot use missiles on everything; perhaps not even on anything dangerous. You would have to assess when to use one of your precious missiles. (A case where this works well, in my opinion, is the early Hunter game.)
  • In exchange, you get a damage options that's full (LOS) range and high damage. (In the simplest version, missiles could always hit.)
  • To avoid that everyone picks up a bow, and a crossbow, and javelins, without investing in skill, damage should depend more strongly on skill. High damage is okay, but you should pay for it.
It should be said that this move would make launchers less like conjurations but more like evokables. This is because damage wands are also constrained by few uses (slightly replenishable, but that's a corner case) and have a single skill governing them. So we could just shift the design burden with this move. On the other hand, Evocations need scrutiny anyway, and with the above proposal, missile skills would have a clear meaning (whereas Evocations does not right now).

Another observation I want to share is from recent ogres I played: large rocks are very powerful. And noticeably slow. This is also something that can (and is) used to differentiate combat forms.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 08:42

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

Lasty wrote:The problem is that we do not have a unlimited non-magical ranged archetype that promises a unique playstyle, and ranged is only niche because it's so unpleasant for so many players. Ranged combat is not unique (it overlaps with wands and conjurations), and it's also also fundamentally flawed as constructed right now.

Imagine if we had a form of attack where when you press "rest" repeatedly monsters on screen start randomly dying. Imagine that doing this is about as effective as attacking those monsters in melee, but you can do it from anywhere on screen. Imagine that there are items in the game that buffed that form of combat but not other forms. Would that be unique? Would it be interesting or worth preserving? Now switch the "rest" key to tab and "randomly" to "whichever monsters you choose" and you don't have to imagine: that's what ranged combat is right now.


This is mostly true of conjurations, if you switch rest/tab to "z.."; sometimes you just don't want to fiddle with INT/MP/ER/etc.

I thought that attack wands have range by convention, rather than as an integral property. I was wrong?

This could be a good time to remember how boring melee is. Melee consists of locking a monster and your character together, and watching their HP go down. Positioning comes down to wall-hugging. Indeed, I see many people find it more interesting to watch the health bar fluctuate, than what is happening on the battlefield. When you use ranged, combat is much more dynamic: you position to get a shot at a more dangerous monster when popcorn is in the middle, you retreat as monsters come into view, the direction of your approach is often more important than with melee, stuff like that. It makes me forget the harmlessness of popcorn, either because of the tiny puzzles ranged asks you to solve all the time, like lining up a shot so it may hit one of multiple targets, or because ranged doesn't make your character jerk around like a playground victim of keep-away. It's easy to forget all this, however, when ranged tends to make stuff die so quickly and you don't need to run away to recharge MP. Other games that support both melee and ranged tend to either make ranged chars vulnerable to damage, or make melee absurdly powerful compared to ranged. But if you make them equally powerful, as Crawl does (actually, longbow > glaive in 1v1 melee), it's gonna be bad - what else can you expect?

duvessa wrote:ridiculous. the fact you had to specify "non-magical" shows that it's NOT a unique "playstyle", it already exists with conjurations.
NO U. Would it be ridiculous to have to specify "ranged" ways of dealing damage? Is melee and evo redundant with magic for dealing damage, because magic can already do damage?

dpeg wrote:There ought to be a meaningful distinction between conjurations and launchers.
And you just listed some of them right up above??

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 14:28

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

I always thought the limited flexibility of ranged attacks was their main weakness. What can you do with a bow? Shoot an arrow at a single target. What can you do with fire magic? Put up a blocking wall, deal damage over time, deal damage to one target, deal damage to a line of targets, deal damage to a 3x3 square of targets, or firestorm an entire Zigg to death. Even the fire immune mobs. Bows are very simple, only do one thing, and bad against swarms or creatures with high evasion.

I don't play many ranged characters these days because picking up all the ammo is tedious and takes a lot of turns, and I like to try to keep my turn counts trending lower. My favorite use of ranged lately is slings for an early game only weapon, that's later abandoned. They work pretty well for that, although you do have to constantly switch back and forth between stones and sling bullets, which is the pure ranged version of switching back and forth between a ranged weapon and a backup melee weapon.

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 14:44

Re: on finite, unlimited resources (arrows)

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:This could be a good time to remember how boring melee is. Melee consists of locking a monster and your character together, and watching their HP go down. Positioning comes down to wall-hugging. Indeed, I see many people find it more interesting to watch the health bar fluctuate, than what is happening on the battlefield. When you use ranged, combat is much more dynamic: you position to get a shot at a more dangerous monster when popcorn is in the middle, you retreat as monsters come into view, the direction of your approach is often more important than with melee, stuff like that. It makes me forget the harmlessness of popcorn, either because of the tiny puzzles ranged asks you to solve all the time, like lining up a shot so it may hit one of multiple targets, or because ranged doesn't make your character jerk around like a playground victim of keep-away.
All this tells us is that you are really bad at melee tactics.
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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 16:52

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

What does it tell you about my melee tactics, more specifically?

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Post Monday, 23rd May 2016, 18:12

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

It tells me that you are only willing to use basic melee tactics (like "retreating as monsters come into view") when you are using ranged combat.
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Post Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 02:04

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

How did you manage to deduce something like that? There's often no use to retreating in those situations, if you're just meleeing and have good terrain. You'll stick to one monster, then another, anyway. It's useful much more often with ranged. There's a direct benefit to lining up monsters for ranged, which motivates you to shift the battlefield on an ongoing basis. And if you move away from a monster, and that monster does something other than move right along with you, like cast a spell or use a consumable, you can still shoot it, but you can't melee it. Also, ranged encourages you to keep a (non-yaktaur/cyclops-type) monster in sight as long as possible, which is the opposite to what melee encourages, because monsters do less damage to you when they are not adjacent, while you do the same damage to them regardless of distance. Maximizing the time monsters spend non-adjacently in your LOS takes about the same kind and amount of skill as minimizing it.

Edit: I don't mean to say that I'm actually good at this game.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Thursday, 9th June 2016, 03:33

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

To reiterate, if you just hit tab whenever you see a monster, that's bad tactics, no matter whether you're melee or ranged. If well-played melee and poorly-played ranged are similarly powerful, that's a balance issue rather than an intrinsic flaw of ranged.

duvessa, I have found this old thread of yours, and what I get out of it is that you and crate and others like positioning and dislike repositioning.

There are monsters that may make melee more interesting, in the sense that optimal play tends to be simpler for ranged chars, and these are monsters that create or enforce distance: throwers, kiters, fear-casters, and the like. But these are exactly the kinds of monsters that get weeded out the game, are "impossible to melee" and "highly undesirable".

Of all other monsters mentioned in that thread, only monsters with spines and jellies that corrode you when you hit them actively punish melee; the other ones just have nasty melee or nasty melee-range abilities.

A tangential but important point: when I play, I'm not just making tactical decisions. I'm also actively spectating my own game. And a game where everything keeps moving around the battlefield, and when every step matters, is much more exciting to watch than when you have several turns of leeway at the beginning of most engagements and when you can hunker down at a great spot and tab through a wave of monsters while playing optimally.

P.S. saying that repositioning destroys positioning sounds like an interesting insight, but I think this is a case where it is as it seems at first glance: silly and false. (It would only be true if "repositioning" rando-teleported your char every turn. crate tried to approach this extreme case, and conflate with it, when he started using Tele Other as an example.) Consider real-life wrestling for a moment: your opponent is allowed to reposition you, but that does not make your positioning irrelevant to your chance of winning the fight.

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Post Thursday, 9th June 2016, 05:00

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

Melee positioning generally has more depth because melee attacks only work between adjacent players and monsters (unless reaching is involved and I think reaching is silly and bad). This leads to melee being more committal than ranged attacks. It also leads to melee being an obviously bad option if you can't stay adjacent to the monster, because you could just use ranged attacks instead in that situation - my biggest design objection to maintain_range, throw, etc. is that ranged attacks exist, though without ranged attacks in the game I would still share crate's objection to randomly moving the player.

I do think that tactics would be more interesting if digging were altogether removed from the game, since a correctly made killhole is just better than any other terrain, and the game isn't in need of so many consumables (which is what wands of dig/disint are). The unlimited sources of digging especially need to go, except Shatter since Shatter's wall destruction is almost impossible to make advantageous outside of specific vaults, and vaults are vaults.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Thursday, 9th June 2016, 05:14

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

I strongly agree with the opening post description of current ranged. Don't agree with the proposal because the advantages/disadvantages are not described and it still requires swapping between a good and a bad weapon to conserve ammo.

Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 10th June 2016, 18:19

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

The circus animals fork has unlimited unbranded ammo and limited branded ammo, making a pure ranged character viable. Ranged attacks have been nerfed in other ways to balance things of course. For example, distance adds an accuracy penalty, which is fairly significant at max distance (basically cutting chance to hit in half). I've played dozens of ranged attacker games in this fork, and it's so much nicer to not have to keep swapping to melee and being afraid to ever use ranged attacks because I wanted to conserve ammo.


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Post Saturday, 11th June 2016, 04:37

Re: on finite, unlimited resources + ranged is untactical

close range combat is very similar to real life. You typically would not melee a group of enemies on your own out in the open. You would want allies so it's an actual melee. Smaller groups defend against larger groups by fighting in confined areas. And holding portals is usually the best defense for the few against the many.

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