Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spears?


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Swamp Slogger

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 08:03

Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spears?

Cleave and reaching are both really good to have for melee fighters.
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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 08:07

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Yes, other weapons do more damage for less XP than axes. Especially in the early game that is important.

The best reason not to use axes or polearms is: The first good weapon you find is not one of those.

Also species (aptitudes and innate mutations) can make a big difference to sensible weapon choice. Trolls and ogres should usually not go for axes or polearms.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 08:27

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Axes are the worst weapon category for the reason stated above and because cleaving is mostly useless (except maybe speed run and don't know if anything else). This because either:
a) you're fighting a dangerous enemy so you want ideally to have only him in LOS or at least fight only with him while others monster can't participate -e.g. using corridors
b) you're fighting weak monsters so there's no real difference between having cleaving or not - except turn count

Polearms are usually the best weapon for most char because even if they have lower base damage than other weapons - e.g. long blades - they actually can dash more pain in a common combat thanks reaching giving (at least) one extra attack. And reaching itself is kinda abusable and useful to have.

But the rule of thumb how choose a weapon has already stated by 4Hooves2Appendages: a D:2 gnoll drop an halberd? Go polearm. Killed crazy yulf and you can cope with (early) bad chaos effect? Go staves. Slayed an orc warrior with an elec battle axe? Go axe
Obliviously this rule doesn't apply in all cases - e.g. some races, such as merkfolk, are heavily inclined to a category of weapon, while some book combo can happily postpone the choice because they can easily will things in other way.
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 11:12

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Lajatang of speed.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 12:11

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Maces can do good damage with lower skill investment than axes and polearms. Swords is the one weapon category I almost never go for. I am not sure if there is anything that makes them stand out above other weapons.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 13:02

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

ajon wrote:I am not sure if there is anything that makes them stand out above other weapons.

Triple swords are stronger than great maces, and that's about it.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 13:42

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Some races have much better aptitude for blades. Also, if you find a branded double sword, demon blade or great sword early that's a good enough reason.
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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 16:41

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Long blades give you free shortblade skill for stabbing. Given the cost of 10 skill for dagger this probably isn't actually meaningful but I still like it if I'm going to be doing a little stabbing but mostly meleeing (light-armour Ru characters that didn't sacrifice stealth, for example).
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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 17:53

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Yes, a whole bunch of reasons.

Aptitudes for faster training = more damage.
Brands can be better with certain weapons.
Staves are good for casters.
short swords are excellent for stabbing. You basically one-hit k.o. most of the time.
Long swords are often branded and favor dexterity. Good for low strength races.
Maces are low train, high damage. whips with good brands are strong. A good safe choice.
Pole arms can one hit a lot of weak things. Top pole arms favor high strength.
Axes are simply ideal for high strength. And a lot of brands work very well with cleave.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 18:09

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

TonberryJam wrote:Yes, a whole bunch of reasons.

Long swords are often branded and favor dexterity. Good for low strength races.
Pole arms can one hit a lot of weak things. Top pole arms favor high strength.
Axes are simply ideal for high strength. And a lot of brands work very well with cleave.


Strength weighting doesn't exist anymore. For all weapons, str increases damage a bit, and dex increases accuracy a bit.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 19:04

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

It's trivial that you don't want to use cleaving if you can avoid it. Sometimes you can't, then it is good to have. (These situations are rare but also important.) How much base damage this is worth, I don't know.

There are circumstances when cleaving is stronger: rage/Trog, vampiricism, Uskayaw.

I hope that there is concensus all weapon categories are playable. Cleaving does make a slight tactical difference, so it's a rather nice weapon move, in my opinion (reaching, by contrast, has worse interface and some abuse potential). If we feel that axes are under/overpowered, there are always parameters to change.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 19:10

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

dpeg wrote:There are circumstances when cleaving is stronger: rage/Trog, vampiricism, Uskayaw


Chei, Oka, Qazlal, Makhleb, Xom, Lugonu, Zot 5, Tomb, Pan, Hell, Naga, any species who can cast Haste/Song of slaying or quaff might/agility/invisibility/haste etc.
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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 19:14

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Felid: sure, sure. My point is that it should depend on circumstances. If axe base damage is too low compared to other weapons, then these "softer factors" wouldn't suffice. But the numbers are ours.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 19:23

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Axe balance is fine. I still think cleave should do full damage to all targets instead of the 75% for secondary targets, though (for clarity reasons, not balance reasons).

I strongly believe the game would be better without reaching, since it makes fights take significantly longer in real-time whether it is a player or monster wielding the weapon. I do not see a fix for the interface problems with reaching. Something like a player-only charge attack (as Brogue rapiers), or player-only free hit on monsters that move adjacent to you, could be a good replacement.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 20:01

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Bit ugly perhaps, but couldn't polearms just always hit both tiles in any diagonal or straight direction? That turns them into single direction key use, easy tab. It's a power boost, but I'm not quite sure how much.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 20:12

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:Bit ugly perhaps, but couldn't polearms just always hit both tiles in any diagonal or straight direction? That turns them into single direction key use, easy tab. It's a power boost, but I'm not quite sure how much.


It's much stronger than axes because it would let you stand in a corridor to attack two enemies at once while only being hit by one.

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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 20:14

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

4Hooves2Appendages wrote:Bit ugly perhaps, but couldn't polearms just always hit both tiles in any diagonal or straight direction? That turns them into single direction key use, easy tab. It's a power boost, but I'm not quite sure how much.

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i oppose on geometric grounds any version of reaching where you'd be able to target b, but not a
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Post Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 20:43

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

duvessa wrote:Axe balance is fine. I still think cleave should do full damage to all targets instead of the 75% for secondary targets, though (for clarity reasons, not balance reasons).
Good to know about axe balance. Regarding cleaving damage: 100% would be fine. The only potential saving grace of the current system is that an axe user has to choose a major target (the guy that gets the 100%).

I strongly believe the game would be better without reaching, since it makes fights take significantly longer in real-time whether it is a player or monster wielding the weapon. I do not see a fix for the interface problems with reaching. Something like a player-only charge attack (as Brogue rapiers), or player-only free hit on monsters that move adjacent to you, could be a good replacement.
There is an old idea about passive damage through moving, but the Brogue rapiers are definitely better than Crawl polearms. I'll try to keep these ideas in mind for when/if we ever talk about weapon moves again. (In my experience, Tab takes some pain out of the polearm interface hassle, but it's just between bandaid and crutch, of course.)

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 01:37

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Nethack polearm reaching sucks, it encourages fiddly positioning that doesn't make sense. Think Searing Ray on every swing. Reaching has to be able to reach all eight tiles from the get-go or it's awful.
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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 02:11

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

dpeg wrote:Regarding cleaving damage: 100% would be fine. The only potential saving grace of the current system is that an axe user has to choose a major target (the guy that gets the 100%).


I struggle to see how that can be interpreted as a saving grace of any kind. It is, on the contrary, THE problem with cleaving not giving 100% damage. (What other issue can you think of? That 75% is spoilery? 100% is kinda spoilery too.) With a sword, you just pick one target and kill it, then pick the second target and kill that. With an axe, when you're cleaving, you have to constantly monitor the monsters' health bars between each swing. Instead of being the most tabbable weapon group, axes are thus the least tabbable weapon group.

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 03:58

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Xion350 wrote:Cleave and reaching are both really good to have for melee fighters.


No, because you should only be playing HO or Mf.
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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 07:06

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Airwolf wrote:
Xion350 wrote:Cleave and reaching are both really good to have for melee fighters.


No, because you should only be playing HO or Mf.


Saying only HO and Mf should use axes and polarms respectively is like saying only tengus should use air magic.
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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 07:24

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

There are a lot of reasons to use each type of weapon:

Short Blades - Better for stabbing [Especially Daggers]. Speed Brands. Generally high aptitudes. Generally common so you can generally find a specific brand quite easily. Low Req to mindelay
Long Blades - Generally lower skill reqs than other weapons barring short blades. Agi-weighted or 50/50. Demon/Eudemon Blades are great. Tend to be somewhat common.
Maces+Flails - Highest damage per swing; making them the strongest in 1v1's [corridors!]. Demon Whips are the best one-handed weapons. Best M+F weapons tend to be rather rare
Polearms - Reaching, making them very attractive to summoners
Axes - Cleaving; although by using this you are also inherently putting yourself in danger. Also only 4 races have an Axes apt above 0 and only 9 have 0 or above. Best Axe [Excecutioners] tends to be very rare
Staves - Powerful weapons that can spawn early. Magic Staves can have powerful bonus effects [A Staff of Earth can deal more damage than almost any other weapon; for example]

Personally I find myself using Maces+Flails the least, followed by Axes; Long Blades; Short Blades; Staves and Polearms. But that's because like 80% of the time the first randart weapon I find which is good is a Spear; and I play a fair amount of MfTm so Polearms is a good backup if I can't get any higher-level Transmutations.

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 07:55

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

"Highest damage per swing" is the Long Blade thing, Maces and Flails thing is being pretty common, having the most common top tier weapon and not cutting of hydra heads, I guess, which is not very important.

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 08:42

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

raikaria wrote:snip
There are some inaccuracies in your post.
Long blades: have the "Highest damage per swing" as mentioned by Sar. There is no more strength/dex weighting on weapons. Long blades are less common in early game than m&f; Eudemon blades are extremely rare.
M&F: Depending on enemy type, demon whips might not be the best 1h weapons both because AC and holy weapons exist. Also, best 2-h M&F is very common, while good 1-h m&fs are not less common than counterparts in other categories.
Axes: it is impossible to always avoid being attacked by multiple creatures at once and in these cases cleaving shines. I do not get the reference to number of species with positive aptitudes, as these numbers aren't off compared to other weapon types.
Staves: are better described as weapons which offer the highest damage per invested skill, but the strongest staff falls behind the strongest weapons in other types (obviously except short blades). It's worth noting that staves can get speed brand, too, and lajatang of speed is extremely good. Staves of magic shall not be considered unless one is playing a dedicated spellcaster. Even then, staff of earth does very mediocre damage against anything with armour.

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 10:35

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

HardboiledGargoyle wrote:
dpeg wrote:Regarding cleaving damage: 100% would be fine. The only potential saving grace of the current system is that an axe user has to choose a major target (the guy that gets the 100%).


I struggle to see how that can be interpreted as a saving grace of any kind.
There seems to be a mismatch in mental approaches. My point is that with uneven cleaving damage (currently: main target gets 100%, everyone else 75%) you create a choice: the player has to decide which of the potentially eight targets to attack. One can argue (as you do) that this slows down axe use too much. However, this won't change the fact that the choice is real.

Whether to rate convenience higher than choice generation, is a subjective matter. As a developer, I like to err on the side of decisions. (In this concrete instance, I see it like this: in battles where the distinction between 100% and 75% is crucial, I am playing slowly anyway.)

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 10:41

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

duvessa wrote: cleave should do full damage to all targets instead of the 75% for secondary targets, though (for clarity reasons, not balance reasons).

I've been playing (and winning) a lot of axe guys recently, and now I learn this. Transparency in Crawl strikes again :D

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 11:01

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Magipi: Just had a look, and the skills section of the manual does mention cleaving for axes, but not this part. So it is Officially Spoilery!
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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 12:41

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Bart wrote:best 2-h M&F is very common
worth mentioning that the worst 2-h M&F is pretty good too (though same goes for long blades and axes).

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 16:37

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

dpeg wrote:
HardboiledGargoyle wrote:
dpeg wrote:Regarding cleaving damage: 100% would be fine. The only potential saving grace of the current system is that an axe user has to choose a major target (the guy that gets the 100%).


I struggle to see how that can be interpreted as a saving grace of any kind.
There seems to be a mismatch in mental approaches. My point is that with uneven cleaving damage (currently: main target gets 100%, everyone else 75%) you create a choice: the player has to decide which of the potentially eight targets to attack. One can argue (as you do) that this slows down axe use too much. However, this won't change the fact that the choice is real.

Whether to rate convenience higher than choice generation, is a subjective matter. As a developer, I like to err on the side of decisions. (In this concrete instance, I see it like this: in battles where the distinction between 100% and 75% is crucial, I am playing slowly anyway.)


This decision can't happen until the player actually knows about that mechanic though. I didn't until just now.

The game probably needs to mention this in some prominent-ish location. Instead of "it can hit multiple enemies in an arc around the wielder" in axe descriptions, specifically mention the reduced damage to secondary targets -- something like "When the wielder attacks an enemy, he attacks all others around him for slightly reduced damage." Could probably be worded better.

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Post Wednesday, 8th June 2016, 18:42

Re: Is there any reason to use anything other than axes/spea

Tiktacy wrote:
Airwolf wrote:
Xion350 wrote:Cleave and reaching are both really good to have for melee fighters.


No, because you should only be playing HO or Mf.


Saying only HO and Mf should use axes and polarms respectively is like saying only tengus should use air magic.


I was being snarky, but my implication was the other direction: HO should favor axes and Mf should favor polearms because of their aptitudes. ("should favor" means assuming access to roughly equal weapons: e.g. if a +4 whip of electrocution drops on D:3 and you're using a plain +0 hand axe/spear, then it's time for M&F!)

Personally, I'm mostly agnostic about the implication in the other direction: the weapon categories are similar enough (except SBlades & maybe UC) that any of them will work fine for many styles & stages of the game. I should be choosing on access, but often I choose on flavor, e.g. I end up using LBlades more and M&F less often than I probably should.

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