AK: Which Weapon to Distort


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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 16:04

AK: Which Weapon to Distort

It seems to me that there are three options for how an Abyssal Knight might use the ability to brand a weapon with distortion, but I don't know which is best:
  1. Brand a short blade and use it all the time.
  2. Brand a large weapon and use it all the time
  3. Brand a short blade, use a large weapon most of the time, and switch to the distortion for big threats.
For small species (SpAK) or those that get a bonus with Short Blades (VSAK), option 1 seems best. For medium and larger races, the choice between 2 and 3 seems to me to come down to two things: whether distortion is worth having at speed 7 or whether it really needs speed 5 or 6 to shine, and whether its liabilities of blinking or teleporting enemies are worth having "on" all the time to get the banishment effect. I don't have the experience to evaluate that, hence my question.
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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 17:04

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I realized just now that since Lugonu worshipers can swap distortion weapons without penalty, this suggests that there is a premium on option 3. This in turn suggests that distortion is not a good always-on brand.
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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 17:20

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I believe it is optimal to use Distortion on hand axe if you use Polearms/M&F/Axes. Due to crosstraining attack speed will be good enough.

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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 20:13

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Sandman25 wrote:I believe it is optimal to use Distortion on hand axe if you use Polearms/M&F/Axes. Due to crosstraining attack speed will be good enough.
I have to say this is confusing. If getting a sub-7 attack speed with the distortion weapon isn't important, then why not brand a big weapon of the same type you're already wielding most of the time so you're doing more damage on the distortion effects that do little or nothing? If I'm M&F, I figure I want either a demon whip for speed or an eveningstar/great mace for damage, but not a cross-trained small weapon that's both slow and wimpy. Unless it's the cleaving I'm after, to disperse crowds?
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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 20:16

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Wait. Does distortion apply on CLEAVE? I had no idea...
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Post Monday, 15th June 2015, 20:22

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

For me primary use of distortion with Lugonu is when I want something to be banished/teleported, not dead (unless I am SBl user of course).
Yes, I believe distortion works on cleaving (though I had this combo almost 2 years ago so I am not 100% sure).

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 02:18

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Indeed, it procs on cleave hits. I'd put it on something that hits fast and use it when you intend to get rid of things without necessarily killing them. Spear + spec weapon seems like it'd be solid too, though never tried.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 14:02

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I just had an aha! moment. Distortion is primarily a notdietodudes brand instead of a killdudes brand.

It has the weakest of the direct additive damages, +4.6/hit physical vs. +5.7/hit for electrocution and +0.5Nec/hit for Pain (also venom but that's harder to quantify). Its extra damage is uniquely reduced by AC, though it does affect all monsters. So it's main attraction is the 20% change of evicting the target from LOS temporarily or permanently, and an extra 10% chance of evicting them from melee range--these are all defensive.

So my takeaway then is to have a fast weapon that is chosen for speed, not base damage, and to swap to it when you want to get rid of a troublesome monster.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 14:34

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I suppose the axe idea makes some sense in that application as well, to get yourself un-surrounded. Although in that case it might make more sense to blink.

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 14:54

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Cleaving would be the only reason I'd choose a speed 7 axe over speed 5 whips, spears, or short blades if my goal is evicting nasties.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 14:58

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Does AC apply to distortion?

EDIT: Rephrased as question >_>

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 15:17

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Zwobot wrote:Does AC apply to distortion?
The wiki FWIW don't assign a damage type to the two random options that deal extra damage, so I interpreted that as physical damage reduced by AC.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 15:25

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I haven't played a lot of lugonu characters but I've played two FoAKs with polearms recently, one died in elf, and one won with 3 runes. In the first I branded a trident, and the second a halberd, basically determined by what I had found around the time I reached max piety. My feeling was that the halberd was actually better, because it was usable _both_ for killing and making things go away longer than the trident. I didn't play these games close together enough to notice if the trident was better at getting rid of stuff, but the halberd was certainly just fine at this. But in any case, my approach in the few lugonu games I've played has been to brand something in my weapon type that is not too slow, but reasonably high damage, as soon as possible after max piety. And then swap this with something non-distortion. On these characters as far as I can see it would have made no sense at all to brand a short blade.

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 15:36

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Well you can cheerfully melee OoF's with distortion and kill them (if you arrange things so that the blink effect doesn't hurt you), so I'm kinda surprised by the AC bit. I did check the source code, but gave up after not finding the relevant bit in attack.cc.

Ah well. For what it's worth I like using demon whips since like advil I like using it for actually killing. If you don't have any ranged threats you can basically tab away like that. You definitely want an alternative though - nothing is as annoying as fighting Yaktaur packs with a distortion weapon :x

PS: DsAK with nightstalker is just pure fun. Small LOS, everything just melts or blinks out of sight.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 15:48

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

After source diving, I'm about 90% sure that disto damage bypasses AC.
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 15:57

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Zwobot wrote:Does AC apply to distortion?

EDIT: Rephrased as question >_>

Not to the bonus damage, no.

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 16:03

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

dowan wrote:I suppose the axe idea makes some sense in that application as well, to get yourself un-surrounded. Although in that case it might make more sense to blink.


Not in Zot 5. My last character who used distortion failed to kill any OoF. One was banished by first attack, all others got teleported and I never saw them again.

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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 17:14

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

So distortion effects from a branded weapon cannot be resisted by any means?
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Post Tuesday, 16th June 2015, 17:37

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

MainiacJoe wrote:So distortion effects from a branded weapon cannot be resisted by any means?



... blink frogs resist and occasionally even heal. Yeah.
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Post Wednesday, 17th June 2015, 21:47

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

MainiacJoe wrote:Cleaving would be the only reason I'd choose a speed 7 axe over speed 5 whips, spears, or short blades if my goal is evicting nasties.

This is why you brand the hand axe: sub 7 attack speed AND cleaving.
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Post Monday, 29th June 2015, 15:43

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Sandman25 wrote:
dowan wrote:I suppose the axe idea makes some sense in that application as well, to get yourself un-surrounded. Although in that case it might make more sense to blink.


Not in Zot 5. My last character who used distortion failed to kill any OoF. One was banished by first attack, all others got teleported and I never saw them again.


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There were only two OoFs in Zot:5 -- you just kept fighting the second one repeatedly.

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Post Monday, 29th June 2015, 15:46

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Rast wrote:
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There were only two OoFs in Zot:5 -- you just kept fighting the second one repeatedly.


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We should stop having dump filled with "Noticed orb of fire", it removes fun because you know how many OoFs are still wondering on the level

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Post Monday, 29th June 2015, 18:16

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Oh, it only says that the first time you see each one?

So how many were there really, then?

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Post Monday, 29th June 2015, 18:23

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Rast wrote:Oh, it only says that the first time you see each one?

So how many were there really, then?


Yes.

5 OoFs in Zot including 3 in Zot 5. One OoF in Zot 5 was banished, other 4 were teleported away.

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Post Tuesday, 30th June 2015, 07:10

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Doing some comborobining, I came across a random altar, which rolled Lugonu. I was quite happy with this outcome, as you can imagine. (It's an HOFi, plan was to go kiku if reasonably possible and build as I suggested in the recent kiku thread/pain brand thread, but Lugonu w/ ** on D:2 is pretty damn good.)

Anyway, went maces initially, but got a battleaxe before a great mace, so I distorted the battleaxe. Very solid main weapon. The blink is annoying and the tele makes actually clearing levels hard if you actually care to do so (I don't, generally). It complements the axe melee playstyle in that it usually keeps things from getting too thick (and when they get too thick anyway, there's corrupt and depart to abyss). There's some minor loss of xp, but piety-wise it's fine.

V solid, A+++++ would brand battleaxe again.
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Post Thursday, 2nd July 2015, 19:27

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Yeah, HO (or Mi or whatever) with a distortion battleax is very fun, and worth trying out.

In general, distortion is still really good on a big weapon. You do want a different backup weapon, because blinking some enemies can be a problem.

Basically it comes down to whether you want to mainly use distortion and occasionally swap to non-distortion, or vice versa. If the former, put it on the overall best weapon type for the character. If the latter, go for the fastest weapon available for the skills you have invested in. (Maybe worth getting 8 levels in sbl if a quick blade is available, though that's pretty rare obviously.) In either case, don't delay branding a weapon in order to wait for the "perfect" one.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 05:33

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

My 2 cents:

Distortion brand does essentially +flat damage, rather than + % damage. This means it is best used on a fast weapon. The best of the fast weapons being the quickblade. Following that logic, you're not going to need a ton of Str, but rather you want Dex. That means an axe doesn't make nearly as much sense for this brand. If you build a Str character, you won't want them using the quickblade, but an axe would be good - and a nice brand on it is vampiric, cold, fire, etc...something that either takes advantage of the damage or multiplies it rather than adds to it. The same applies for electricity, which also is super on a fast weapon but not as amazing on a slower beater.

You could with a quickblade of distortion have it be a killer, but you're not as likely to have a great AC optimally. I feel that it's better as a backup option for when a stab fails, or you ran out of mana. Don't get me wrong, if you have a high dex character with a quickblade of distortion, you likely can just use it as a beater the whole game... but no doubt you'll be getting in a bunch of stabs even if you wanted a rumble, unless you run around making a lot of noise or something which would be negating your Dex advantage. The trouble I've experienced with it is say you're fighting in a tunnel against a line of enemies, and it blinks the guy you're fighting to the opposite side of you, thus sandwiching you and cutting off your retreat. For this reason I'd probably overall prefer electric on a quickblade even though some things can resist it. If you encounter something with electric resists which could kill you, chances are you still will get the drop on it thanks to stealth, and so you can opt for a different tactic or buff to make sure you get the stab.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 05:48

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

svendre wrote:My 2 cents:

Distortion brand does essentially +flat damage, rather than + % damage. This means it is best used on a fast weapon. The best of the fast weapons being the quickblade. Following that logic, you're not going to need a ton of Str, but rather you want Dex. That means an axe doesn't make nearly as much sense for this brand. If you build a Str character, you won't want them using the quickblade, but an axe would be good - and a nice brand on it is vampiric, cold, fire, etc...something that either takes advantage of the damage or multiplies it rather than adds to it. The same applies for electricity, which also is super on a fast weapon but not as amazing on a slower beater.

This is a common misunderstanding, it's *not* that flat brands are better on fast weapons than slow weapons, it's the inverse, fast weapons are much better off with flat brands than percentage brands, slower weapons it's much closer to evenly matched (with the edge given to percentage based brands in certain cases, but the bulk going toward the flat brands winning)

So flat vs percentage doesn't help you select weapon type, weapon type helps you select flat vs percentage.

What that means is that the OP should select the best weapon type that's in accordance with his availabilty and training, and brand that.
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 05:50

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

svendre wrote:Distortion brand does essentially +flat damage, rather than + % damage. This means it is best used on a fast weapon. The best of the fast weapons being the quickblade. Following that logic, you're not going to need a ton of Str, but rather you want Dex.

Unless things have changed, Str and Dex have exactly the same effect on damage for a quick blade, which is to say very little. (the accuracy bonus is all Dex... but quick blades already have a good accuracy bonus so that might not do anything)

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 06:14

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Siegurt wrote:This is a common misunderstanding, it's *not* that flat brands are better on fast weapons than slow weapons, it's the inverse, fast weapons are much better off with flat brands than percentage brands, slower weapons it's much closer to evenly matched (with the edge given to percentage based brands in certain cases, but the bulk going toward the flat brands winning)

Both statements are true.

So flat vs percentage doesn't help you select weapon type, weapon type helps you select flat vs percentage.

But it does. As an example consider a human with 16 str and 12 dex, 26 long blades (16.4 short blades with cross training) and 14 fighting.

Against a hill giant, a +9 quick blades does 19.2 AvEffDam, and a +9 triple sword does 25.5 AvEffDam.

But you have the option to get electrocution! Should you put it on the triple sword? No: you're better off with the quick blade:

Against a hill giant, a +9 elec quick blade does 33.2 AvEffDam, and a +9 elec triple sword does 31.2 AvEffDam. And a +9 flaming triple sword does 32.2 AvEffDam.

Of course, there comparisons can go all over the board depending on what you're fighting, your stats, your skills, and what you're comparing, so this isn't representative.

I don't know how the comparisons go with distortion, but I would be wholly unsurprised to learn a quick blade of distortion is better than whatever other weapon you might have been training up... and short blade training doesn't take much experience, so that's not going to be the limiting factor in the decision.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 06:22

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Err..

But wanting +Flat damage on a fast weapon from distortion or electric also had to do with a number of other factors:

It's a stabbing capable weapon, dumping to STR and not wearing heavier armor is sub-optimal, wearing heavy armor wielding a stabber is sub-optimal
The base damage of the fast weapon often won't punch through heavy armor well enough in the first and you can waste additional damage from Str
The flat damage from distortion (or banishment) and electricity help get around the cases where you aren't punching through AC enough

Perhaps I am not understanding clearly about: the brand doesn't choose the weapon but the weapon chooses the brand (?) The OP is at least asking hypothetically, listing a number of weapons, perhaps he has a stack of brand scrolls and/or full piety in Lug, I don't know.

To be clear, I wasn't ever trying to say that STR doesn't help you in any way. I was just saying that if I were considering a brand like distortion, I'd most likely want it on a fast weapon like a quickblade, and then a host of other factors about the character development and design would also come into play. I'd probably want more Dex than Str in this scenario.
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 06:29

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

svendre wrote:It's a stabbing capable weapon, dumping to STR and not wearing heavier armor is sub-optimal, wearing heavy armor wielding a stabber is sub-optimal

Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with swinging a quickblade of distortion on a high-strength character in Crystal Plate Armor, however goofy it may be - stabbing be damned.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 07:40

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I've seen people use quickblades of distortion. It's a silly thing to do even on an AK. The high rate of attack results in more damage from distortion effects, but it also causes more blinking, teleportation, and banishment, especially the first two. In practice, this means you're spending more turns approaching or waiting for monsters than you are actually attacking them and your attacks do terrible damage compared to other distortion weapons. It only makes sense to do this if you want to banish things, but this isn't a good plan for a primary attack.

On the other hand, if you're an AK, the distortion brand gives you an endgame quality weapon in early midgame. This is a great thing because it means you can dump your ew scrolls on a good weapon early without fear that you'll want to switch to something better. You're wasting one of the major advantages of Lugonu, imo, if you don't use the distortion brand as a primary weapon (barring finding something obviously better, which is not going to happen in every game). And if it's going to be your primary weapon, you want a solid base type so that even when you're blinking and teleporting things, you're still getting good damage.
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 09:42

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

mps wrote:And if it's going to be your primary weapon, you want a solid base type so that even when you're blinking and teleporting things, you're still getting good damage.

Human 16 str 16 dex, 16 fighting 8 short blades, 20 maces & flails.

Comparing +9 quick blade of distortion to +9 great mace of distortion:

Against a hill giant, the quick blade does about 10% more AvEffDam (31.7 vs 28.9).

Against a stone giant, the quick blade does about 2% less AvEffDam (23.3 vs 24.5).

I'm not entirely sure how wizmode accounts for banishment; either the quick blade is quite a bit better than the numbers indicate or quite a bit worse. A quick blade of electrocution does about the same damage, so I imagine it's the former: the above numbers don't account for the fact the quick blade banishes a lot more.

So once again, we're faced with the fact that a flat damage bonus, applied often enough, is quite competitive with the bigger weapons, and with much less skill investment. The mace is better if you're fighting something you can't afford to blink (and the chance of banishing it isn't great enough to make it worth risking the blink) -- but if that's something you worry about, I imagine that you'd be even better off using a great mace with a different brand.

(again, different weapon comparisons can be different, and this analysis does not imply that you should put off using the blessing)

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 09:54

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I prefer polearms (demon trident) with distortion, reaching makes blink effect less annoying while tabbing.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 17:27

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Hurkyl wrote:
mps wrote:And if it's going to be your primary weapon, you want a solid base type so that even when you're blinking and teleporting things, you're still getting good damage.

Human 16 str 16 dex, 16 fighting 8 short blades, 20 maces & flails.

Comparing +9 quick blade of distortion to +9 great mace of distortion:

Against a hill giant, the quick blade does about 10% more AvEffDam (31.7 vs 28.9).

Against a stone giant, the quick blade does about 2% less AvEffDam (23.3 vs 24.5).


. . .

I thought I addressed this above. If the monster blinks, you won't hit it again for a few turns. Do you think that's reflected in your fsim data? I think it's not. You cannot assume you're just wailing on the monster over and over again and collecting more distortion bonus damage. That's not how distortion works. Those turns when you're not attacking wipe out the advantage in dps you think exists for fast weapons. You get a few strikes and then the monster will blink and/or teleport. If you want to kill anything, it's important how much damage those strikes do. The number of strikes you get does not depend much on the type of weapon you use (yes, there is a minor effect due to teleportation delay, but blinks are the dominant factor). Which weapon do you think does more damage if you look at damage per strike instead of per unit time?
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 17:47

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

But the blinked-so-I'm-not-hitting-them case is significantly compensated for by a flat chance to effectively kill the monster outright. You have ~10% chance of outright killing, and then yes, 15% chance of missing a few hits. The ability to entirely ignore AC and just banish them is great in the super late-game, and even if you don't luck into that, you blinked them away. That means you can kite them again.
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 18:34

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

mps wrote:I thought I addressed this above. If the monster blinks, you won't hit it again for a few turns. Do you think that's reflected in your fsim data? I think it's not. You cannot assume you're just wailing on the monster over and over again and collecting more distortion bonus damage. That's not how distortion works. Those turns when you're not attacking wipe out the advantage in dps you think exists for fast weapons.

If we're ignoring banishment, and if those turns actually need to be counted into dps (as opposed to, say, actually being better than not blinking because you can arrange to get the first attack in after reengaging in melee), then it neuters the damage of slow weapons too; you'll get better dps out of a vorpal great mace.
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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 19:23

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

A recent character of mine alternated between quickblade+warp_weapon and the Autumn Katana. The disto-qb was generally the safer way to deal with enemies, especially crowds. The katana was nice for easy fights and for cleaning up after a distortion-fest, and it's a rather good weapon on its own.

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Post Thursday, 9th July 2015, 22:26

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Putting in my vote for dire flails. Lets you have a non-distortion great mace for otherwise, and dflails are min delay 0.6 so its reasonably fast too, while still having reasonable damage output.

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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 00:50

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Hurkyl wrote:
mps wrote:I thought I addressed this above. If the monster blinks, you won't hit it again for a few turns. Do you think that's reflected in your fsim data? I think it's not. You cannot assume you're just wailing on the monster over and over again and collecting more distortion bonus damage. That's not how distortion works. Those turns when you're not attacking wipe out the advantage in dps you think exists for fast weapons.

If we're ignoring banishment, and if those turns actually need to be counted into dps (as opposed to, say, actually being better than not blinking because you can arrange to get the first attack in after reengaging in melee), then it neuters the damage of slow weapons too; you'll get better dps out of a vorpal great mace.


. . .

Yes, obviously, you get lower dps with distortion than with certain other brands if you look at an opponent with enough hp to survive five or more hits. Even if you count banishment, the number of banishments you will get per unit time does not depend much on how fast the weapon is by exactly the same reasoning as the previous post. The quick blade will just give you very slightly more front-loaded banishment times. Again, the thing to look at is number of strikes, not strikes per aut, because w/ distortion you spend many turns not attacking against a single opponent. I repeat, quick blade of distortion is a silly idea and if you watch someone do it, you'll see that they're not getting the incredible damage you discuss upthread. If you fight many monsters in a row in a dead end corridor, you will see somewhat higher total damage per aut and faster application of blink/tele/banishment, which means you'll break up the crowd quickly, but not necessarily kill very much of it.

Quick blade distortion is theoretically good in situations where the monster is already screwed because it's in a corridor or it's alone with a murderhobo. In these situations, blinks and teles are bad and kill your dps. By contrast, with axes, the better the situation gets for monsters, e.g. murderhobo is outnumbered and not in a position to retreat or fight one on one, the more the distortion screws them up. You still get the high rate of distortion effect applications you see in the theoretical quick blade scenarios, except that you get it in realistic scenarios where they actually help you instead of screw you up, i.e. the blinks and teles keep you from being totally surrounded while you stack up large numbers of high damage, maybe banishing attacks on multiple targets.
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 02:06

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

mps wrote:Even if you count banishment, the number of banishments you will get per unit time does not depend much on how fast the weapon is by exactly the same reasoning as the previous post. The quick blade will just give you very slightly more front-loaded banishment times. Again, the thing to look at is number of strikes, not strikes per aut, because w/ distortion you spend many turns not attacking against a single opponent.


I really disagree with your metric. The thing is there are usually, for most opponents, different values for time-with-monster-next-to-me and time-with-monster-halfway-across-the-screen. Most monsters, even casters, are much more dangerous in melee because it limits your options. You can't break LOS with a melee-range 10 speed monster, for instance. Your tactical options open way up when they blink away. Yes, you're spending a lot of auts not attacking. And you're spending it valuably, repositioning or using ranged weapons or summoning or buffing, or whatever. That time gets reused in a way that the time spent slogging away at lower dps with a non-distortion weapon doesn't.

I repeat, quick blade of distortion is a silly idea and if you watch someone do it, you'll see that they're not getting the incredible damage you discuss upthread. If you fight many monsters in a row in a dead end corridor, you will see somewhat higher total damage per aut and faster application of blink/tele/banishment, which means you'll break up the crowd quickly, but not necessarily kill very much of it.


If crawl was a game about killing things, you might have a point. But it really isn't. Breaking up crowds and eliminating the proximity of dangerous threats is actually more useful than actually killing. The point of quick blade distortion (I've used it occaisionally, btw) is that I can stand next to an executioner or killer klown, or caustic shrike, or whatever, and be essentially guaranteed that it will only get 2 auts or so before I have maneuvering room again. And yes, in that 2 auts I'll be doing more damage per aut to it than with any other brand on the weapon, and have a ~1/3 chance of just killing it outright. That's good, because it means that you're optimizing your damage-per-locked-in-combat-time, which is really what I care about.
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 02:38

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

w... t... f...

byrel wrote:I really disagree with your metric. The thing is there are usually, for most opponents, different values for time-with-monster-next-to-me and time-with-monster-halfway-across-the-screen. Most monsters, even casters, are much more dangerous in melee because it limits your options. You can't break LOS with a melee-range 10 speed monster, for instance. Your tactical options open way up when they blink away. Yes, you're spending a lot of auts not attacking. And you're spending it valuably, repositioning or using ranged weapons or summoning or buffing, or whatever. That time gets reused in a way that the time spent slogging away at lower dps with a non-distortion weapon doesn't.


How does any of this address the points above? Quick blade of distortion does marginal damage in practice and the speed advantage in applying distortion effects is also marginal. But none of this matters because no matter what weapon you have distortion on you can still "spend turns valuably" after something blinks.

If crawl was a game about killing things, you might have a point. But it really isn't. Breaking up crowds and eliminating the proximity of dangerous threats is actually more useful than actually killing. The point of quick blade distortion (I've used it occaisionally, btw) is that I can stand next to an executioner or killer klown, or caustic shrike, or whatever, and be essentially guaranteed that it will only get 2 auts or so before I have maneuvering room again. And yes, in that 2 auts I'll be doing more damage per aut to it than with any other brand on the weapon, and have a ~1/3 chance of just killing it outright. That's good, because it means that you're optimizing your damage-per-locked-in-combat-time, which is really what I care about.


Actually, crawl is a game about killing things. I don't know what else to tell you.
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 02:49

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

mps wrote: in practice

So what is your experience with distortion? Did you, like, have a game where you alternatively cast warp-weapon on a quickblade and a greatsword, and consistently saw better results with the greatsword than with the quickblade?

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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 03:04

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

I've played a number of characters with distortion on heavy weapons, especially battleaxes. It's "quite powerful," as they say. I would never distort a quick blade myself, since for one finding a quick blade is unlikely to happen before ****** and you should always make the distortion weapon when you have the piety to do so without delay, barring complete garbage weapon drops. (As I said upthread, though, I can see the argument for distortion on a fast polearm, because the reaching helps with blink travel time and works well with spectral weapon if you have it.) However, I've specced a few people who have used distortion quick blades (not as Lugonu followers) against zot monsters. What I can say from direct observation is that it's considerably weaker than a battleaxe, the damage is bad, and the blinking and teleportation is dangerous because you're not actually killing things, you're just hoping for banishment.

The point is that the number of attacks you get per unit time is dominated by blinking and teleportation travel time, not weapon speed, except against monsters with little hp that don't matter anyway. This means that the base damage of your weapon has more impact than the fsim results suggest.
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 04:29

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

mps wrote:Even if you count banishment, the number of banishments you will get per unit time does not depend much on how fast the weapon is by exactly the same reasoning as the previous post.

Something like an average of 11 strikes to get a banishment. That means banishing with a quick blade is 4.4 auts quicker than banishing with a great mace. Actually more than that, for three reasons: accuracy isn't 100%, quick blade has a better accuracy bonus, and the quick blade will get more attacks in before something teleports. (assuming you aren't counting teleporting as a victory)

Also, against a great many things (e.g. nearly anything those only threat is melee), blinking it improves your dps over the relevant period of time; focusing on the time when you're not next to the monster is a red herring, because the monster is also not next to you.

The point is that the number of attacks you get per unit time is dominated by blinking and teleportation travel time, not weapon speed, except against monsters with little hp that don't matter anyway.

And my point is every argument you've made against a quick blade of distortion is actually an argument against an anything of distortion. If blinking a monster is such a bad idea you need to count it against dps, then you should not be wielding anything with distortion on it.

(everything I've said in this thread has been in the context of a Lugonu worshipper)

Really, everything you've said seems to really miss this key point. In the context of Lugonu, if translocation effects are bad, then quick blade of distortion vs great mace of distortion is irrelevant: you should be wielding that vorpal great mace. If translocation effects are good, then you should be wielding a quick blade of distortion. There is no obvious niche for great maces of distortion here. (aside from "I wanted to distort a weapon before I had access to a quick blade")

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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 04:56

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Hurkyl wrote:
mps wrote:Even if you count banishment, the number of banishments you will get per unit time does not depend much on how fast the weapon is by exactly the same reasoning as the previous post.

Something like an average of 11 strikes to get a banishment. That means banishing with a quick blade is 4.4 auts quicker than banishing with a great mace. Actually more than that, for two reasons: quick blade has a better accuracy bonus, and the quick blade will get more attacks in before something teleports. (assuming you aren't counting teleporting as a victory)

The point is that the number of attacks you get per unit time is dominated by blinking and teleportation travel time, not weapon speed, except against monsters with little hp that don't matter anyway.

And my point is every argument you've made against a quick blade of distortion is actually an argument against an anything of distortion. If blinking a monster is such a bad idea you need to count it against dps, then you should not be wielding anything with distortion on it.

(everything I've said in this thread has been in the context of a Lugonu worshipper)

Really, everything you've said seems to really miss this key point. In the context of Lugonu, if translocation effects are bad, then quick blade of distortion vs great mace of distortion is irrelevant: you should be wielding that vorpal great mace. If translocation effects are good, then you should be wielding a quick blade of distortion. There is no obvious niche for great maces of distortion here. (aside from "I wanted to distort a weapon before I had access to a quick blade")


Well, that presumes that "best case" is banishment, killing things is really just as acceptable as banishment (If not every so slightly more acceptable), and if you already have a great mace and a bunch of skill using it, the case for "distort a quickblade" becomes fairly weak (even if you find one), even though it doesn't take much XP to get a quick blade to min delay, it doesn't take any additional XP to use the weapon you've already trained for.

That being said, I feel like the translocation effects are actually a small net gain overall, however they do require significantly more cognative load, more time, care and attention needs to be paid to what you're doing when you have a distortion weapon in hand, and I suspect that's the real reason some people find them annoying, is because it screws up the normal course of just finding a good spot and bashing everything to death unless you need to flee.

My personal opinion is that you should distort whatever weapon you would want to kill things with if it wasn't distorted, but had like the elec brand on it instead, but that's because on the whole I like distortion, and don't mind working around the odd ways it changes how combat works. Note that quick blades are in fact great for this purpose, in the exact same way that an elec quick blade is great, should you find one, it all depends on whether you're already built to take advantage of short blades, if you aren't, then you shouldn't about-face and ditch a bunch of invested XP, unless you're fairly early in the game.
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 05:08

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Siegurt wrote:if you aren't, then you shouldn't about-face and ditch a bunch of invested XP, unless you're fairly early in the game.

Don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy! Only stick with the bunch of invested XP if it will pay off, or the new investment won't. You shouldn't switch if you get no improvement... but if it turned out to be a 10% improvement? It's almost surely worth it.

This advice is usually given when the switch is also a huge investment, but switching gears to pick up an awesome quick blade is a very different proposition than switching gears to wield an executioner's axe of speed or somesuch.

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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 05:14

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

Hurkyl wrote:
Siegurt wrote:if you aren't, then you shouldn't about-face and ditch a bunch of invested XP, unless you're fairly early in the game.

Don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy! Only stick with the bunch of invested XP if it will pay off, or the new investment won't. You shouldn't switch if you get no improvement... but if it turned out to be a 10% improvement? It's almost surely worth it.

This advice is usually given when the switch is also a huge investment, but switching gears to pick up an awesome quick blade is a very different proposition than switching gears to wield an executioner's axe of speed or somesuch.

Well, it's not a 10% improvement, a quick blade of distortion at min delay isn't significantly better than a great mace of distortion at min delay, it's not significantly *worse* but it's not worth spending XP on if you've already got the great mace there.

(Admittedly getting the quick blade to min delay is about equal to the cost of like the last 2-3 points of getting the great mace to min delay, so it's probably worth it if you're even just 'not quite there yet')
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Post Friday, 10th July 2015, 06:08

Re: AK: Which Weapon to Distort

@hurkyl...

This is getting tedious. The amount of time you spend getting 11 strikes on a single target with distortion is a lot more than 11 times your attack rate. Even with slower weapons, teleports usually go like this: Whatever looks unstable, hit hit hit, blink, teleport. Obviously, I agree that there is a difference between, say, a battleaxe and a quick blade in terms of absolute number of auts, but it's small compared to the total number of auts spent.

Look, with distortion you get a certain number of attacks on average before something triggers that interrupts combat and draws out the encounter. You get two kinds of damage: Damage from the base weapon and damage from the distortion effects. If the first is good, you'll kill a lot of things before you're interrupted. This is where distortion is good. If the base damage is bad, you'll get mostly distortion effect damage and more translocation effects, because you'll have to hit things more times to kill them. This is where distortion is questionable. Damage per aut in rock'em sock'em robot melee is not a useful indicator because it has nothing to do with the way combat works with the distortion brand.

Of course the translocation effects are a downside of distortion. If it weren't for these effects, distortion would be hands-down the best brand, by far, and every character would use it, even with the unwield mechanics. How do you mitigate this downside? Well, you use a weapon that will not need a huge number of hits to kill things so that fewer of the undesirable effects trigger. Your fsim data shows that the great mace needs about half as many hits as the quick blade to kill a typical monster. This means less blinks and less teles. Also less banishments, because you'll kill more things outright. This is good.

Yes, you're getting less bonus distortion damage with the bigger weapon, but you're missing out on damage you don't need. Meanwhile, you've gone from a weapon with good damage to a weapon with great damage and you've done it in early midgame. I honestly don't get what's hard to understand about this. You're literally arguing that you should go quick blade because fsim says you'll get 10% more damage per aut, even though the fsim combat model is totally, completely wrong and has nothing to do with how distortion actually works, even though you won't actually have a quick blade, and even though a reasonably informed interpretation of your fsim data actually implies that you'll kill things faster with a bigger weapon of distortion than a smaller one. By the way, the monsters that actually matter in crawl still do stuff when they aren't next to you. Also worth noting: While you dick around taking twice as long to kill one monster, other monsters continue to act.
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