Make stabbers great again!


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Temple Termagant

Posts: 9

Joined: Monday, 16th June 2014, 21:54

Post Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 18:03

Make stabbers great again!

Apparently developers hate stabbers with passion. Every second version nerfs them directly or indirectly. 0.21 generates awake monsters. What is next? Perhaps stealth and stabbing need some love?

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 146

Joined: Wednesday, 30th August 2017, 23:08

Post Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 18:19

Re: Make stabbers great again!

It's not really that much of a nerf - wandering monsters generated awake, too. Stealth and stabbing was never a reliable plan as your only way to kill stuff.

That said, stealth gets a bad rap. Even if you never stab anything, it's very, very useful. It can turn pillar dancing into a free escape when they forget you're around a corner. It lets you effectively position such that you only fight one thing at a time. It lets you engage dangerous enemies on your terms, not theirs. It's on the same level as poison magic or evocations, in my mind. It can't be your only skill to deal with enemies, but it's a solid option for lots of characters to deal with lots of threats.

Also, DCSS isn't really a "stealth game." Buffing stealth directly to the point where it WAS viable to kill everything in the game would likely make the game either boring or needlessly complex. The current "on or off" stealth system isn't very strategically complex - getting next to a sleeping monster means it's dead. Now, if there's a system (new god? New species? New spells?) that can give you tactical bonuses to stealth without making it "lol, everything's asleep," I'd be happy to hear it, but just buffing stealth directly seems like a bad idea.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8775

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 18:30

Re: Make stabbers great again!

I'm having trouble thinking of any stabber nerfs in recent versions, aside from reducing the availability of invisibility. Is that all, or was there something else you were thinking of?

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 6341

Joined: Tuesday, 30th October 2012, 19:06

Post Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 18:49

Re: Make stabbers great again!

Also there was a recent shadow step upgrade (not a big deal in terms of stabbing, but a slight improvement)
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Crypt Cleanser

Posts: 652

Joined: Saturday, 12th December 2015, 23:54

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 03:40

Re: Make stabbers great again!

#StabbersWereNeverGreat
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Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1192

Joined: Friday, 18th April 2014, 01:41

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 04:45

Re: Make stabbers great again!

they were never good, you probably just played spriggan. having a movespeed bonus makes a stealth-based playstyle seem a lot better than it is for normal races.
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Tomb Titivator

Posts: 838

Joined: Friday, 2nd October 2015, 04:47

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 05:48

Re: Make stabbers great again!

Spell augmented stabbing is pretty good imo, at least in the short game.

Ensorcelled Hibernation can work wonderfully in Depths, and somewhat in Zot. I dunno about extended.

Mephitic Cloud and Confuse or Confusing Touch are also quite strong if you have the aptitude/books to learn them early enough.

Later on, you might want more regular weapons or bigger spells/blades to supplement. But by then, you can probably find or afford some, and get xp to train them.

(PS Not complaining!)
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Temple Termagant

Posts: 9

Joined: Monday, 16th June 2014, 21:54

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 09:38

Re: Make stabbers great again!

I vaguely recall back when hilldwarves existed stabbers were good. Passwall onto sleeping enemy worked even in extended. There were less impassible walls. Less noise. More invisibility. After you leave the floor for long time monsters could go back to sleep. With no separation between depths and dungeon you could dive deep to hunt sleeping monsters, now you must manfight your way to depths.

bel

Cocytus Succeeder

Posts: 2162

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:05

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 10:25

Re: Make stabbers great again!

muxecoid wrote:I vaguely recall back when hilldwarves existed

Hill Dwarves were removed in 0.3, apparently. You really want to go back that far?

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8775

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 17:29

Re: Make stabbers great again!

muxecoid wrote:Passwall onto sleeping enemy worked even in extended. There were less impassible walls.
It works now too. It's true that there are more impassable walls now but I'm not convinced that makes a difference.
muxecoid wrote:Less noise.
This is definitely not true. The impact of noise was greatly reduced in 0.8 when walls started reducing noise, in pretty much all practical situations - as the commit says, noises are now louder on extremely open levels but very few levels are that open (and stealth was awful on those levels in the first place anyway).
I suppose Lair, Zot, and Snake have gotten more open though - not open enough that the impact of noise is higher than it was in <0.8 versions, but open enough to make stealth itself worse.
Crypt and Tomb are the exceptions of course, since noise is effectively way louder there now, but that's two branches, one of which doesn't get visited in normal games.
muxecoid wrote:After you leave the floor for long time monsters could go back to sleep.
Oh yeah, forgot this was removed. Fair point.
muxecoid wrote:With no separation between depths and dungeon you could dive deep to hunt sleeping monsters, now you must manfight your way to depths.
I'm not seeing how the separation matters here. Just the fact that there's a single staircase instead of 3? (Also, this wouldn't have been a good strategy even in 0.3.)
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Wednesday, 18th July 2018, 18:35

Re: Make stabbers great again!

I wonder if these changes affect certain sprints more heavily than one would expect. So there is the one with the invisibility cloak, I wonder how it was meant to be played.
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Tartarus Sorceror

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Post Thursday, 19th July 2018, 02:18

Re: Make stabbers great again!

Everything sucks in crawl except for heavy armor brutes. Preferably with shields so that EV is unnecessary. Luckily at least 70% of starts can be played this way.
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bel

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Post Thursday, 19th July 2018, 02:24

Re: Make stabbers great again!

Berder wrote:Everything sucks in crawl except for heavy armor brutes.

No it doesn't. But it's offtopic here. Then again, this is CYC.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 5331

Joined: Friday, 25th November 2011, 07:36

Post Thursday, 19th July 2018, 12:09

Re: Make stabbers great again!

Stabbers to me always seem pretty easy early on, but then stabbing stops working well enough to cover large swarms of mid/late game monsters, and you've got all this experience stuck in skills that aren't good enough alone anymore. You try to transition to something else, but something else is horribly under leveled and then you die.

I realize this is more of a personal experience (although probably shared by some/many) than a universal truth, and it certainly can work...but I never really felt the urge to go too heavy on stabbers. I consider Yermak to be superhuman :)

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 26

Joined: Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 12:54

Post Friday, 27th July 2018, 14:08

Re: Make stabbers great again!

I have noticed that pivoting with stabbers can be difficult. One thing I've found to help me is to take advantage of cross training with long blades- which are the better weapon for longer fights. Stabbers tend to be more EV focused since heavy armor hurts stealth score, which coincidentally pairs well with long blade's riposte for free attacks. Long blade's higher base damage also helps when you need to fight something head on and get damage through mid game. The trick is to train small blades part of the way, maybe level 8 or so, then pivot to long blades, and the x training will get short blades to min delay with your long blades at a useable level by the time you need them mid game.

The other thing that tends to plague me with stabbers is that I often forget to take advantage of all my options. Its easy to get into a rut where you go from stab stab stab to a prolonged fight relying on your short blade + dodging- which doesn't work great vs really fast accurate enemies or those with excessive amounts of AC. Remembering to dive into your toolbox with evocables, blowguns, etc can make a huge difference in fighting effectively against mid game mobs.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 31st July 2018, 05:22

Re: Make stabbers great again!

How late are we talking about pivoting here, I find that hexes are good enough tool through at least vaults, here's what my skills/actions looked like in a recent OpEn game through vaults:4:
  Code:
Skill      XL: |  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 |
---------------+----------------------------------------------------------------+-----
Short Blades   |     2     3  4     5  6                 7  9 10 11             | 11.0
Stealth        |           5     6  7  8       10 11 12                         | 12.0
Spellcasting   |              3              4        8    10 11 12             | 12.1
Hexes          |                 4  5  7  9 10 11 13 14             16 17    18 | 18.0
Fighting       |                       2  5     7  8                   10 12    | 12.0
Ice Magic      |                       1  3                                     |  3.0
Dodging        |                             8                       9 11    12 | 12.0
Shields        |                                4             10 13 15          | 15.0
Long Blades    |                                   3  4                   11 12 | 12.5
Conjurations   |                                      3  6  7     9             |  9.3
Fire Magic     |                                      3  6  7     9             |  9.3

Action                   |  1- 3 |  4- 6 |  7- 9 | 10-12 | 13-15 | 16-18 | 19-21 || total
-------------------------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------++-------
Melee: Dagger            |    53 |   144 |   291 |   394 |  1071 |  1063 |   903 ||  3919
       Constrict         |     9 |    31 |    64 |    59 |   171 |   128 |   152 ||   614
       Tentacles         |     3 |    20 |    48 |    85 |   199 |   224 |   343 ||   922
       Demon trident     |       |       |       |       |       |    32 |       ||    32
       Demon blade       |       |       |       |       |       |       |   339 ||   339
 Fire: Blowgun           |       |       |       |       |     1 |    15 |     5 ||    21
Throw: Stone             |       |       |     3 |    11 |     9 |    12 |    14 ||    49
 Cast: Corona            |    14 |    10 |     1 |     3 |     2 |     5 |     4 ||    39
       Ensorcelled Hiber |       |     4 |    61 |    95 |   219 |   156 |    48 ||   583
       Confuse           |       |       |    52 |    79 |   265 |   337 |   323 ||  1056
       Dazzling Spray    |       |       |       |     2 |    12 |    56 |    40 ||   110
       Conjure Flame     |       |       |       |       |     4 |       |    14 ||    18
       Fireball          |       |       |       |       |     7 |    27 |    31 ||    65
       Sticky Flame      |       |       |       |       |     1 |       |    22 ||    23
       Cause Fear        |       |       |       |       |     2 |     6 |       ||     8
       Shroud of Golubri |       |       |       |       |       |     2 |     1 ||     3
       Inner Flame       |       |       |       |       |       |     1 |     3 ||     4
       Discord           |       |       |       |       |       |     2 |    14 ||    16
       Summon Guardian G |       |       |       |       |       |       |     5 ||     5
Invok: Lunge             |       |       |    27 |    65 |   192 |   130 |   120 ||   534
       Whirlwind         |       |       |     1 |    35 |   143 |    81 |   135 ||   395
       Wall Jump         |       |       |       |     6 |    22 |    25 |    34 ||    87
       Heavenly Storm    |       |       |       |       |       |       |     1 ||     1
Evoke: Wand              |       |       |       |       |     1 |     2 |    13 ||    16
       Lamp of fire      |       |       |       |       |       |       |     2 ||     2
  Use: Scroll            |     2 |       |    15 |     8 |    30 |    23 |    17 ||    95
       Potion            |       |       |     3 |       |     3 |    22 |     8 ||    36
 Stab: Sleeping          |     7 |    14 |    47 |    84 |   243 |   120 |    82 ||   597
       Confused          |       |       |    17 |    48 |   115 |   195 |   177 ||   552
       Distracted        |       |       |     1 |     1 |     3 |     3 |     1 ||     9
       Invisible         |       |       |       |     1 |    10 |    23 |     4 ||    38
  Eat: Chunk             |       |     2 |    14 |     9 |    20 |     4 |    10 ||    59
       Ration            |       |     1 |     3 |     6 |     9 |    14 |    14 ||    47
Armor: Skin              |    10 |    35 |    39 |    12 |    31 |    31 |    23 ||   181
Dodge: Dodged            |    29 |    85 |   121 |   112 |   436 |   462 |   350 ||  1595
Block: Buckler           |       |       |       |    18 |   199 |    56 |       ||   273
       Shield            |       |       |       |       |       |   412 |   429 ||   841
Rpst.: Demon blade       |       |       |       |       |       |       |    23 ||    23


For reference here's the spells and equipment I was using at the time:
  Code:

Health: 143/143     AC:  7    Str: 10    XL:     21   Next: 60%
Magic:  38/46      EV: 30    Int: 29    God:    Wu Jian [******]
Gold:   2040       SH: 18    Dex: 21    Spells: 0/44 levels left

rFire    + . .     SeeInvis .   a - +1 dagger (venom)
rCold    + . .     Gourm    .   G - +5 shield
rNeg     + + +     Faith    .   F - +2 hat {Int+3}
rPois    .         Spirit   .   R - amulet of regeneration
rElec    +         Reflect  .   k - +4 ring of protection
rCorr    +         Harm     .   f - +6 ring of evasion
MR       +++..                  P - ring of Taal Lut {rCorr rElec MR+}
Stlth    ++++++....             z - ring "Ozxais" {MP+9 Str+4}
HPRegen  0.73/turn              C - ring "Haustits" {rN+ Dex+3 Slay+2}
MPRegen  0.30/turn              D - ring of Ubbuky {rF+ MR+ Dex+4}
                                i - ring of wizardry
                                U - ring of Ytacs {rC+ rN+++ Str-5 Int+4}

You knew the following spells:

 Your Spells              Type           Power        Failure   Level  Hunger
b - Fireball              Conj/Fire      ######....   1%          5    ##.....
c - Confuse               Hex            #######.     0%          3    None
e - Ensorcelled Hibernat  Hex/Ice        ######       1%          2    None
g - Summon Guardian Gole  Hex/Summ       ######..     1%          3    None
i - Inner Flame           Hex/Fire       #######.     1%          3    None
o - Corona                Hex            #######      0%          1    None
s - Sticky Flame          Conj/Fire      ######..     1%          4    None
t - Tukima's Dance        Hex            #######.     0%          3    None
z - Dazzling Spray        Conj/Hex       ######       1%          3    None
C - Conjure Flame         Conj/Fire      ######..     1%          3    None
D - Discord               Hex            #######...   4%          8    #######
F - Cause Fear            Hex            #######...   0%          4    None
G - Shroud of Golubria    Chrm/Tloc      ###.......   1%          2    None

Inventory:

Hand Weapons
 a - a +1 dagger of venom (weapon)
 b - a +4 demon blade of slicing
 v - a +4 dagger of speed
 w - a +5 blowgun
Missiles
 j - 1232 stones (quivered)
 J - 11 throwing nets
 K - 8 curare-tipped needles
 O - 3 needles of confusion
 Z - 8 needles of sleeping
Armour
 F - a +2 hat of intelligence (worn)
 G - a +5 shield (worn)
Jewellery
 f - a +6 ring of evasion (right tentacle)
 h - an uncursed ring of protection from magic
 i - a ring of wizardry (on tentacle)
 k - a +4 ring of protection (left tentacle)
 l - an uncursed ring of poison resistance
 z - the ring "Ozxais" (on tentacle) {MP+9 Str+4}
   (You found it on level 4 of the Shoals)   
   
   [ring of magical power]
   
   It affects your strength (+4).
   It affects your magic capacity (+9).
 C - the ring "Haustits" (on tentacle) {rN+ Dex+3 Slay+2}
   (You acquired it on level 14 of the Dungeon)   
   
   [ring of positive energy]
   
   It affects your dexterity (+3).
   It affects your accuracy and damage with ranged weapons and melee attacks
   (+2).
   It protects you from negative energy.
 D - the ring of Ubbuky (on tentacle) {rF+ MR+ Dex+4}
   (You acquired it on level 14 of the Dungeon)   
   
   [ring of protection from fire]
   
   It affects your dexterity (+4).
   It protects you from fire.
   It affects your resistance to hostile enchantments.
 P - the ring of Taal Lut (on tentacle) {rCorr rElec MR+}
   (You bought it in a shop on level 1 of the Vaults)   
   
   [ring of resist corrosion]
   
   It insulates you from electricity.
   It affects your resistance to hostile enchantments.
 R - an amulet of regeneration (around mantle)
 T - an uncursed ring of see invisible
 U - the ring of Ytacs (on tentacle) {rC+ rN+++ Str-5 Int+4}
   (You acquired it on level 2 of the Spider Nest)   
   
   [ring of protection from cold]
   
   It affects your strength (-5).
   It affects your intelligence (+4).
   It protects you from cold.
   It renders you almost immune to negative energy.
Wands
 p - a wand of digging (41)
 Q - a wand of iceblast (48)
 S - a wand of paralysis (39)
 Y - a wand of enslavement (13)
Scrolls
 g - 2 scrolls of amnesia
 m - a scroll of summoning
 n - a scroll of fear
 o - a scroll of vulnerability
 r - 3 scrolls of teleportation
 t - 13 scrolls of remove curse
 x - 7 scrolls of blinking
 y - 6 scrolls of magic mapping
 B - 4 scrolls of fog
 N - 7 scrolls of identify
Potions
 d - 6 potions of lignification
 e - a potion of agility
 s - 5 potions of curing
 u - a potion of invisibility
 A - 5 potions of might
 E - 5 potions of haste
 H - 4 potions of resistance
 I - 10 potions of flight
 L - 5 potions of brilliance
 M - 7 potions of ambrosia
 V - 3 potions of cancellation
Miscellaneous
 W - a lamp of fire
 X - a phial of floods
Comestibles
 c - 17 rations


I used Wu Jian and pretty much chewed through everything in sight, mostly with a +1 venom dagger.

As you can see I've just started to pivot towards long blades, and I've gotten enough points to get fireball working, but it's not something I need to rely on yet.
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