"The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN)


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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:14

"The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN)

The combo system is a mistake. Making arbitrary combinations of independently designed species and backgrounds results in a ton of garbage, much of which plays the same (go Fedhas/Yred/Trog/Hep/Nemelex, get tons of experience in lair, then do whatever you want). When players whine "Oh, but I want to make a Troll Wizard, why am I only allowed to make a Troll Warrior and a Troll Cleric?" The answer is that you should have collapsed it into a single choice in the first place so they wouldn't have thought of that stupid question.
Last edited by archaeo on Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 18:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:23

Re: Food reform AGAIN

I think combos are okay. If you don't have combos, I think you end up with something like Brogue where you are forced into playing in a certain way contingent on floor drops. This is fine for some people, but what if you simply don't like playing a mage, for example? Too bad, suicide or play it out.

The other thing with perverse combos is that not all of them are bad. You can easily convert a TrWz into a TrFi or a MiFE into a MiFi. Hardiness of Mi/Tr/DD and the like aside, you cannot easily convert a DEFi into a DEFE, because development of magic users is strongly contingent on irregular spellbook drops or divine assistance whereas melee characters can expect to find good enough items to go down their path of development without too much hassle unless they're extremely weak like DE, Op. A mage character can easily be developed into a melee one because the starter book can carry a character through Lair, in which you can go off the XP curve without any significant tradeoff in power growth because damage spells hit a wall around level 6.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:27

Re: Food reform AGAIN

TrWz is fine, it can cast fire storm in 3 rune game without any problems. With Vehumet of course.
Basically I see 3 ways:
1) total XP is limited. So TrWz will never be able to get fire storm without vehumet
2) total XP is unlimited (current situation). TrWz will be able to get fire storm without vehumet, but it takes farming or more than 3 runes
3) total XP is unlimited but you cannot get more than n1 skills higher than m1 level, n2 skills higher than m2 level and so on. For example, you cannot train more than 3 skills above 20 level and more than 5 skills above 15 level. That would be most interesting to me but I think it won't happen.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:28

Re: Food reform AGAIN

It is fine to offer a choice of starting characters to play, but {20 some species} x {20 some backgrounds} isn't the way to do it.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:29

Re: Food reform AGAIN

Just becoming a TrFi is the path of least resistance, though.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:31

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:The combo system is a mistake. Making arbitrary combinations of independently designed species and backgrounds results in a ton of garbage, much of which plays the same (go Fedhas/Yred/Trog/Hep/Nemelex, get tons of experience in lair, then do whatever you want). When players whine "Oh, but I want to make a Troll Wizard, why am I only allowed to make a Troll Warrior and a Troll Cleric?" The answer is that you should have collapsed it into a single choice in the first place so they wouldn't have thought of that stupid question.

Wrong. Crawl used to have restricted combos (for example, ghouls could only be fighters, trolls fighters or berserkers) and liberating combos was the best single design decision in Crawl so far (imo, of course).

You are still free to play only ghoul fighters if you so wish.

goodcoolguy wrote:It is fine to offer a choice of starting characters to play, but {20 some species} x {20 some backgrounds} isn't the way to do it.

I wholeheartedly disagree.
...DDAs}{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}
{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAM
BaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe

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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:33

Re: Food reform AGAIN

I know that it used to have restricted choice. I am saying that both unrestricted choice and restricted choice are bad.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 14:58

Re: Food reform AGAIN

So... you're just being contrary? Or are you saying there should be no choice at all, and everyone just gets a human wanderer or something?

I'll just assume you're saying nothing at all until you say otherwise.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:06

Re: Food reform AGAIN

I said what I meant in my first comment on the matter: It should be collapsed into a single choice.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:09

Re: Food reform AGAIN

Yes, DgBe, FeFi and FeHu should be a thing.

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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:32

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:I said what I meant in my first comment on the matter: It should be collapsed into a single choice.

Some might call a single choice.... restricted.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:49

Re: Food reform AGAIN

Hm, playing word games instead of reading... you've made it into an elite group, my man.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:52

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:When players whine "Oh, but I want to make a Troll Wizard

what do you do when players whine "oh the combo system is a mistake", though

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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:56

Re: Food reform AGAIN

Wait, is goodcoolguy suggesting that Troll should always start with shield and UC and Deep Elf should always start with book of conjurer?
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 15:58

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:I said what I meant in my first comment on the matter: It should be collapsed into a single choice.

Actually I think your original suggestion is just unclear, I don't think I know what you mean by "collapsing it into a single choice"

Do you mean:
1. You should pick nothing at character creation, and all characters start with the same basic setup.
2. We should not have backgrounds (0r races) you pick one thing at the start of the game and that's it (each race has a specific starting setup, or each background starts with a generic-ish set of racial attributes)
3. We should have a curated set of choices, so you can pick a "troll fighter" or "troll berserker" a the start of the game, but not a "troll wizard" because that's just not an option.
4. Something else entirely (if so what is it)
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 16:11

Re: Food reform AGAIN

3, but it should not be presented as or reduce to a combination of independent things where you could have a minotaur fighter and a troll fighter, in other words two choices that clearly differ only in a choice of species or "class."
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 16:19

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:3, but it should not be presented as or reduce to a combination of independent things where you could have a minotaur fighter and a troll fighter, in other words two choices that clearly differ only in a choice of species or "class."

So there's only one background for Troll, and one (different) background for Minotaur (Or if you want to look at it the other way around, one race that can be a "fighter" and one race that can be a "berserker")

That's really what I meant by 2. (You have a unique list of e.x. races, each of which comes with a "background" (aka set of starting equipment and starting stat modifications and some skills))

If you think that would be better, I recommend you actually make a thread for proposing it.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 16:33

Re: Food reform AGAIN

I don't think there's any point in making a specific proposal on this. The crawl model is what it is, and as mistaken as it may be in various ways, I wouldn't expect it to change significantly.

Starting characters should be designed as individual, mutually distinct entities. I mention this just to amplify the challenge to the way combos work now made upthread. It doesn't have to be the way it is and there are better ways it could be.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 16:55

Re: Food reform AGAIN

I hope you realize that while removing arguably duplicates (HO with axe is really similar to Mi with axe) you are also removing unique things like Troll Wizard.
I don't see much harm in existence of similar characters since you can choose what you want to play. It reminds me threads with "let's remove <species name>" where posters do not care about other people who actually have fun with the species.

Also why stop at species? Troll of Trog is very similar to Hill Orc of Trog and even to Deep Elf of Trog, let's remove all species and backgrounds and have just starting gods instead?
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 17:18

Re: Food reform AGAIN

goodcoolguy wrote:I don't think there's any point in making a specific proposal on this. The crawl model is what it is, and as mistaken as it may be in various ways, I wouldn't expect it to change significantly.

Starting characters should be designed as individual, mutually distinct entities. I mention this just to amplify the challenge to the way combos work now made upthread. It doesn't have to be the way it is and there are better ways it could be.


So if you don't think it could happen in crawl, why are you bringing it up in this thread? I realize people keep asking you about it, but why bring it up in the first place if you're not even really suggesting it should be in the game?

Sorry, I'm not purposely being dense, I truly didn't grasp what you were exactly suggesting. Are you saying balance discussions would be simpler if that were the case, because I'll agree with you there, it's tough to have a game that's "hard enough" for both a MiBe and a MuGl. But I really like the option of playing weird combos, and I would prefer if every combo were at least semi-viable. I'm OK with MiBes being super easy, because I can play a MiWz or a DeBe to make it harder.

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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 19:45

Re: Food reform AGAIN

dowan wrote:why bring it up in the first place if you're not even really suggesting it should be in the game?

It says a lot about tavern culture that a statement of opinion is automatically assumed to be an attempt to influence the game. Nay, that it's considered impossible for a statement of opinion to be a harmless statement with no intention to push it in.

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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 19:58

Re: Food reform AGAIN

Psieye wrote:It says a lot about tavern culture that a statement of opinion is automatically assumed to be an attempt to influence the game. Nay, that it's considered impossible for a statement of opinion to be a harmless statement with no intention to push it in.


It was GDD thread when it happened.
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Post Wednesday, 12th October 2016, 23:14

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

The crawl combo system is one of the few things that make crawl unique. Just go play another game at this point

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 00:17

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

CypherZel: Hey, what about the gods!!!

OP: I think I understand where you're coming from, but if that's your position, you're barking up the wrong tree. You probably know yourself that we won't change the species/background approach, and we won't restrict it after having it opened up for all combinations in DCSS.

Replayability can come from various sources, having a 25*25*25 pool of combinations is one aspect. Yes, they're not nearly as diverse as they should be, but differentiation among backgrounds, species and gods has gone a long way since DCSS 0.1.

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 01:24

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

The combo system works fine for humans, high elves, octopodes, etc.

The problem is that many races have very strongly weighed apts and stats and mutations that not only push them towards a certain play style, but make other play styles nearly impossible, and outweigh whatever their background gives them. The main culprit here is horrible casting apts, but it is not the only culprit.

As a start towards fixing this, I think all apts currently at -3 should be considered for bumping up to -2. Then, all apts at -4 or -5 should be bumped to -3, without exception.

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 05:30

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

Counterproposal: Give all starting backgrounds unique special abilities, for even more strategic variety (and potential fail combos).

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 07:00

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

Rast wrote:As a start towards fixing this, I think all apts currently at -3 should be considered for bumping up to -2. Then, all apts at -4 or -5 should be bumped to -3, without exception.

For as significant of a change as this sounds like, it wouldn't be all that drastic and would probably be a good move. The only -3 that people really train that I can think of is armor/dodging on a centaur, which is an attempt to at least somewhat limit their power (not terribly effective, but they could keep those -3's).

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 08:36

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

On one side, I'd like it if backgrounds could be substituted by a point-buy system for skills and attributes with a given starting gold amount to buy some equipment before the game starts (choosing a god also costs money). On the other hand, it would be a pain for new players, and high mortality on the first floors would make it frustrating for more expert ones, too.

If there were a local patch for this, I'd try it.
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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 12:24

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

CypherZel wrote:The crawl combo system is one of the few things that make crawl unique. Just go play another game at this point


The combo system is right out of dungeons and dragons. In computer games, it goes back all the way to Ultima: Exodus at least. Core identifying features of crawl are gods and the skill system. Most of the rest is inessential.

@dpeg: Of course I don't think you guys will change the combo system, though it would be worth thinking about. Some enterprising fork developer may pick up the idea though. There's a lot more diversity to be had in crawl starts if someone wanted to go that way. I get that a big piece of what's going on here is devs holding court, but there's more possibility out there than just dcss.
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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 13:11

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

gcg: On combos: Crawl does have something of a unique twist on combinations, with backgrounds not changing any rules, and only providing a starting kit. (I think -- thankfully I never had to play any RPGs.)

On other ways: absolutely!

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 13:56

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

The combo system comes out of dungeons and dragons? I guess as much as XP, character levels, and rpgs in general did that's true... But in AD&D all non-human races had 1 class they were not limited in, and in any other class there was a top level they could achieve, and that was it. So it really didn't support playing whatever weird mix you wanted. I don't know why they even let you be a Half orc illusionist, and limited you to level 6 or whatever, instead of just not allowing it. It really seemed like it was trying to push you toward just playing a human.

I know things have changed in the dungeons and dragons world since then, but when computer games were starting to steal dungeons and dragons ideas, that's what it was like.

Dpeg, you know you can play RPGs voluntarily, they're not something you get sentenced to or anything :P. But do you mean like pen & paper RPGs, or just RPGs in general? (You never played any final fantasy, dragon warrior, etc?)

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 17:14

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

So a slight corrction, *original* DnD (the "basic" set as it came to be known later) did *not* have a combo system, you chose a fighter, thief, cleric, mage, elf, dwarf, halfling and that was it, all the non race choices were "humans" the racial choices had a set of specific abilities (for example the "elf" got some fighter and some mage stuff) the also had an explicit level cap, which humans did not, which was a little odd.

By third ed, combos were not only the norm, they in fact introduced specializations, which added a third dimension to "combos"
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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 20:45

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

So dpeg, do you mind telling us what games you play (if at all. Are you even human?)

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 21:05

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

CypherZel: I play Go (I'm a 1-dan). I play the piano. I play very few computer games, but I like to watch friends play them. By RPGs I meant pen & paper, because that's a level of escapism that's strange even for me (I'm a mathematician, and I like to say that maths is a socially-accepted form of escapism). I did play Wizardry 7 and 8 together with a friend (the single CPRG I touched). Apart from that, the only computer games I can recommend are: Heroes of Might and Magic (about 1-4), Spaceward Ho! (all of these excellent strategy games), the Kingdom Rush tower defense series (it is very interesting to disassemble these games from a design POV) and I'm a sucker for classical shmups such as Gradius, Darius Gaiden, R-Type... I've never understood the obsession with 3d in games (but then again, I've never played tiles either), and I think it's a disgrace to centuries of cartography and mapmaking that they now ship strategy games with 3d graphics... Sun Tzu, Napoleon and Blücher are probably rolling in their graves :)

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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 21:15

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

I'd say that this explains everything but it actually doesn't!
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Post Thursday, 13th October 2016, 22:29

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

I never understood people who play console instead of tiles.

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Post Friday, 14th October 2016, 04:30

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

dpeg wrote:Spaceward Ho!

That's a name I haven't heard in a while. Watching my dad play that game is one of my earliest gaming-related memories.

BabyRage wrote:I never understood people who play console instead of tiles.

I can't speak for everyone, but I play mostly console because the roguelikes I played before Crawl were console-based, and that sort of minimalist style really grew on me. I like the simplicity of console.

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Post Friday, 14th October 2016, 05:11

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

Idk why but I'm imagining dpeg to be a 54 year old math theorist who has never experienced any golden age of 3D games (platformers, shooters) and if we gave him VR he would die from shock
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Post Friday, 14th October 2016, 11:03

Re: "The combo system is a mistake." (was: Food reform AGAIN

more like die of motion sickness, heyooooo

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