Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't


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Post Sunday, 21st January 2018, 22:41

Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

A quick thought on why these two similar feeling mechanics play out quite differently:

Both spell hunger and limited ammo constrain your character in using their most powerful weapon. Both consume a finite resource which you get more of during the game. But spell hunger has interesting tactical options associated with it; if I'm running low on food, I can do some combination of:
- Train Spellcasting
- Use my less powerful spells
- Go to chunk-heavy branches
- Try harder than usual to get all chunks from a fight
- Train a melee weapon until it's good enough
With ammo, you pretty much only have the last option. And it's the least interesting one - deciding how good your crappy melee should be, and then what you can kill with it, is pretty tedious. Am I missing something? At the moment, finite ammo seems to make ranged characters a tiny bit harder and a lot less fun to play, without really adding any exciting moments to the game.
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Post Sunday, 21st January 2018, 23:28

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I don't think spell hunger is like ranged ammo. Spell hunger is mostly irrelevant given how much food is in the game.

Ranged ammo being limited is also similar to wand charges being limited, but nobody complains about that.

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Post Monday, 22nd January 2018, 20:24

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I don't really care that ranged ammo is limited, I care that I have to pick it back up after firing it.

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Post Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 05:54

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

tasonir wrote:I don't really care that ranged ammo is limited, I care that I have to pick it back up after firing it.
I tried using throwing in a game without Shoals and had 11 (eleven) javelins after 3 runes with Okawaru (had Throwing 7+ during all depths and vaults 5). I almost didn't use javelins so at this point I abandoned the idea to become a melee/ranged character and went for lesser beckoning instead.
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Post Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 09:35

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I think spells are funnier than ranged, but that's because of many reasons -- spells have variety, unlike ranged, and are based on a tactical resource, instead of a strategic one, so they force you to make choices in the here and now. With ranged, the big choice is "do I want to use this arrow (that might be destroyed, leaving me with 349 more) now or later?"

So I think that it's more MP vs arrows than food vs arrows.
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Post Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 16:29

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

Is there a reason why we haven't counted how many shots you get per arrow on average in the current game, multiply ammo drops by that much, and make ammo mulch 100%?
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Post Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 19:04

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

mattlistener wrote:Is there a reason why we haven't counted how many shots you get per arrow on average in the current game, multiply ammo drops by that much, and make ammo mulch 100%?

It's been suggested, one problem is that while that retains the same number of shots overall, during the portion of the game when ammo is actually a constraint, you have considerably more shots per encounter (presuming you don't usually go retrieve all your arrows and then shoot them again when you have like 10)
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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 03:11

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

(presuming you don't usually go retrieve all your arrows and then shoot them again when you have like 10)


In practice you can usually do this and it's super tedious and you take a few extra hits while picking up ammo but mostly its just an awful experience.

Currently ranged combat in crawl is balanced by being miserable rather than by having appropriate damage numbers.

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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 07:13

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

chequers wrote:I don't think spell hunger is like ranged ammo. Spell hunger is mostly irrelevant given how much food is in the game.

Ranged ammo being limited is also similar to wand charges being limited, but nobody complains about that.

Interesting... for me, maybe half of blasters have a tricky time with food at some point.

Hmmm. Wands is an interesting example. There are two roles they could play:
- Supplement to other weapons, giving you decent blast/hex options with minimal skill investment.
- Main weapon for a character.
Wands are designed to do the first job, and for that option being a limited consumable makes loads of sense. The limit also means they can't do the second job. Ranged feels different, because I think (though I could be wrong) that it's intended to be a sensible path to win the game using ranged combat to kill every difficult enemy.

(I agree with people who dislike picking up ammo, though I think less of a problem)
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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 07:53

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I think the difference is one of what people feel ranged weapons "should" be (an unlimited primary weapon, like spells) vs what they actually are (a backup weapon, like wands).

Mechanics wise, I feel that bows are identical to wands, except they do less damage and have more ammo. It's not a very good niche, especially considering wands have more interesting effects.

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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 07:58

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

If Pakellas was removed for providing unlimited wand charges, I don't see why Oka and Trog still provide unlimited ammo (many people won games where they killed everything with Throwing or Bows). Remove ammo gifts and problem is solved or at least mitigated (you would need luck with ammo to use ranged all game)
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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 20:48

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

chequers wrote:I think the difference is one of what people feel ranged weapons "should" be (an unlimited primary weapon, like spells) vs what they actually are (a backup weapon, like wands).

Mechanics wise, I feel that bows are identical to wands, except they do less damage and have more ammo. It's not a very good niche, especially considering wands have more interesting effects.

This is exactly it. I can't pin down why, but my impression from the game is that ranged weapons "should" be an unlimited primary weapon. If the designers don't intend that, then the problem (for me - it might be a very limited problem!) is that impression, rather than ammo limitation.
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Post Wednesday, 24th January 2018, 21:35

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

Ranged weapons are very close to being an unlimited primary weapon outside of the early game. You have a situation where you can use a longbow against all but the most trivial monsters and are encouraged to switch to 0 skill melee for those monsters to conserve shots in case you run out. Compare to wands which (despite generating with too many charges right now) cannot be used to do all your damage in 90% of fights in the game. Wands feel like an extra tool you have to deal with threatening situations because they're much more limited, while ranged combat feels like something you should be able to use every fight because you can use it in practically every fight, and it's annoying to swap to an inferior weapon to kill trivial stuff just in case 500 arrows isn't enough for depths + zot. You can fix this either by restricting ammunition by a lot, turning ranged combat into the boring evocations skill, or you can fix it by making ammunition actually unlimited and have it fully become "melee but full los". If ammunition is going to exist it has to always mulch though. Picking up ammo off the ground after every fight is horrible for game flow and encourages annoying, unfun gameplay around deep water, lava, and plants.
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Post Thursday, 25th January 2018, 01:06

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I have never run out of ammo on non oka/trog while o tabbing everything exept in the very early game. Just pick up a sling for popcorn.

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Post Thursday, 25th January 2018, 13:33

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

mattlistener wrote:Is there a reason why we haven't counted how many shots you get per arrow on average in the current game, multiply ammo drops by that much, and make ammo mulch 100%?

Isn't that the hellcrawl approach? It's not as if working out shots per ammo is particularily hard. What are people's experience with it?

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Post Friday, 26th January 2018, 00:42

Re: Why spell hunger is fun, and ranged ammo isn't

I think it's great and I agree that mainline crawl should take it. Having more shots in the same encounter on d:2 when you only have 20 arrows isn't a big deal. You really shouldn't be firing more than 20 to begin with in most fights. Sure it happens sometimes, but that isn't really the limiting factor for hunter backgrounds.

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